Barriers to adoption of cloud-based accounting applications in West and East African regions are real and so are the solutions according to Nikki Summers, Director of Sage One in East and West Africa.
In an exclusive interview with Footprint to Africa, Summers said: “In West Africa, one barrier to entry for cloud-based application is the cost of internet connectivity. Secondly, people generally worry about security because the data is not with them. However, it is more likely that someone can steal an external drive device with all your information on it, than hack it out of the cloud. Would you not rather have it secure in the cloud than having it on a memory stick that anyone can pick up?”
She however noted that more and more customers are asking less about security and are becoming more comfortable working over the cloud.
“Accounting in the cloud is relatively new, so we need to keep educating the market. People are familiar with the benefits of desktop-based accounting, but the more you start talking to them about mobility and how much they can do their work on the fly, the more it fascinates them.
“Our statistics show that SMEs spend an average of about 52 hours a week on doing administrative tasks. Now you can say to a small business, “well while you are sitting in traffic you can do your administrative tasks on a mobile”; “while you’re sitting in front of a customer, instead of having to go back to the office to generate your quote, you can generate it right there on your device.”
She adds that the more SMEs start seeing that value, the more it will translate to adoption of cloud applications.
“To give you an idea, at the beginning of the year, we were probably getting around 10 new customers in a month for the cloud application. In September, we got 80 new customers, so the adoption of cloud application is increasing at a rapid rate.
“From an East African perspective, connectivity is really good and it is relatively cheap, so we are also expecting uptake to grow in this region. When it comes to financial data, Kenya in East Africa is very advanced in terms of mobile apps especially with mobile money. From an accounting perspective, a lot can be done around education on that front,” Summers said.