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What are your clients’ biggest investment goals for 2016? Are they looking to cut costs, streamline their infrastructure and adopt solutions that make their teams more flexible and productive?

Because if recent research from Gartner is anything to go by, cloud, mobile and big data management feature higher than ever on the list of priorities for CIOs worldwide.In fact, their latest IT survey, which pulls together the views of nearly 3,000 CIOs across 84 countries shows that IT spending is on the rise. Of the approximately £8.82 trillion of budgets handled by the survey respondents, a hefty £273.10 billion was earmarked for IT investment.

Businesses everywhere are taking on board the need to upgrade and overhaul their systems to reap the benefits of cloud computing and meet the demands of today’s clients. The digital side of the business is no longer a geeky computing issue that you leave the support team to figure out. It’s understood as central to the success of the organisation as a whole.

So much so, in fact, that new digital-focused roles are cropping up in the C-Suite. Gartner found that 40% of CEOs have appointed a senior figure with “digital” in their title, and one in 10 companies now have a dedicated Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

But, as the report takes care to point out, there’s more progress to be made if businesses are serious about getting results:

“Beyond simplification, cloud and mobile are now valuable options, if not necessities. New and replacement services need to be architected, starting with the assumption that a public cloud solution will deliver services consumed in a mobile setting having a high level of contextualisation. This requires flipping from a “legacy-first” to an outside-in, “digital-first” leadership mindset.”

In other words, the full benefits of cloud computing can only be realised if you’re willing to take a coherent, holistic approach that roots your business processes in the cloud. Treating cloud solutions as handy add-ons to an existing approach, or adopting piecemeal solutions that aren’t fully compatible, will always come with limitations.

What’s more, CEOs increasingly expect their employees, suppliers, partners and teams to not just “get” how digital can help them work better, but to take a totally different, digitally-focused approach to their role within the business as a whole. They want the people around them to be thinking strategically, to be looking to ways to collect and analyse the data at their fingertips – and to come up with smart ways to use the technology available to them to boost their bottom line.

And if you’re going to keep up with them, you’re going to have to get on board with the cloud.

No business that’s embraced the potential of digital is going to put up with having their timelines stalled or their work processes hampered by their accountancy firm. If they can supercharge their productivity internally using automation, mobile solutions and fast, secure communication, they’ll expect you to offer “virtual accountants” services that fit with these, too.

The good news is that shifting your business to the cloud will speed up your operations and communications, save you money and make you more effective. The great news is that the benefits of cloud computing to accountants are benefits that you also pass on to your clients, helping them to achieve their productivity and digital goals, too.

Increasingly, CIOs are expected to step up and lead the digital charge. CEOs want them to address long-standing challenges in value and risk management that could thwart digitalisation, and replace pragmatic command and control with vision and inspiration. By demonstrating that you have the foresight and ambition to help them become these digital leaders, you will also make yourself an indispensable asset to the business.

As the Gartner report puts it: “for those who succeed, the prize could not be bigger.”

Want to hear more about what what cloud could mean for you and your clients?  Click here to get in touch.

Want to learn more about turning the power of the cloud into a major selling point at your firm? Download your FREE eBook, How Accountants Grow Bottom Line from the Cloud.