Companies often throw out buzzwords like “Hosted,” “SaaS,” and “In-House,” but these words can be more confusing than helpful. If you’re like most tax and accounting professionals, you’re sick of seeing buzzwords and want to know which service is best for your firm.
Each solution is useful in today’s dynamic environment but has different levels of technical know-how and up-front cost requirements. Deciding which type of service is right for your firm comes down to several factors, but the ease of use and cost are the primary deciding factors for most firms.
SaaS (Software as a Service):
Software as a service has become much more prominent over the last few years, especially since Microsoft Office Suite has gone this route. These services are software that you don’t buy but lease and must be used over the internet. Some common examples are Quickbooks Online, Bill.com, and Microsoft Office.
- Native Features – these services were designed to be used online
- Increased Collaboration with Shared Data
- Data Safety with the application developers backing
- Software stays up to date at all times – never worry about outdated software
- Limited Users
- Limited Functionality – you lose many of the desktop features that users have come to know and love
- Requires an internet connection
A hosted solution is the process of taking a desktop-based software such as Quickbooks Premier, Drake, ProSeries etc. and placing it on a server in a remote data-center to allow anytime-anywhere access. You can access this software and the associated data from any device that has an internet connection.
- Same look and feel as the desktop version. Full Functionality. Less disruptive to existing work-flows
- Managed Support
- Multiple Users
- Anytime-Anywhere Access
- Usable with any device
- Customizable to fit your needs. Quickly expand or scale down your server/costs.
- Monthly fee (can be expensive)
- Limited Access compared to In-House
- Requires an internet connection
An in-house solution can vary widely from having a single desktop with the necessary software on it to hosting your server in-house and hosting the desktop software there.
- Complete ability to partition the server as desired
- No Internet Required
- Up-Front Cost – Servers and computers must be owned by the firm
- Recurring Technical Cost – you must have on-staff IT to maintain servers and ensure all software versions are synced
- Possibility of hacking or theft
- Limited Remote Accessibility
- Scaling up requires buying more servers, setting them up, and formatting them to work with your existing system. This process can take days to weeks.
Making the Right Pick for Your Firm:
Deciding which option works best for your firm comes down to several reasons, but we believe that up-front cost and technical know-how are the biggest two. For most small businesses, it is simply too expensive to buy and maintain a server that is secure enough to host tax data. In addition to the cost involved, if you don’t have technical staff in-house and something goes wrong, you are at the mercy of a third party technician. Having someone come out to your office can often take days to schedule and repair, especially if something significant needs repaired or replaced.
Taking in-house out of the picture, we’re left with SaaS vs. Hosted as the best options for most small businesses. For people who are used to working with the desktop versions of tax or accounting applications and are comfortable with the hotkeys, features, etc. then going with a Hosted solution would be the most similar in feel to what you’re currently using without having to adapt to an entirely new system. Most hosted solutions provide a virtual desktop, which gives you the same look and feel of your current desktop but with the added benefits mentioned above. A hosted solution also lets you keep all of your existing licenses.
A SaaS solution is recommended as a cheaper option if you are alright with limited functionality. A small business that only needs to handle their books can get by with a SaaS solution. These solutions are too limited to be used by tax and accounting professionals who must deal with big clients that need complex payroll/inventory management as well as complex tax returns,
If you are interested in learning more about Verito Cloud Hosting solution, please give us a call at 1-855-583-7486 (855-5-VERITO)