"It bodes well for our strategy for accounting professionals," says Jamie Sutherland, president of Xero North America. "It's consistent with other surveys."
Not only was the Xero survey optimistic about the current state of accounting in the cloud, but the survey predicted every accountant will offer online accounting services by 2018
But the effort is certainly not consistent with the findings of the recently released results of the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey sponsored by the Network Management Group, headed by well-known consultant Randy Johnston, and conducted by the Insight Research Group, whose CEO, Leslie Garrett, has been known for public relation services to vendors in the tax and accounting market.
The results are pretty much a glass half full and half empty divide when it comes to use of the cloud. The Xero survey, conducted by Zogby, shows 28 percent of accountants responding used Xero for their small business clients. The NMGI survey showed 1.4 percent used Xero for client accounting. That compared to 69.4 percent using a product from Intuit, a group that includes different desktop versions of QuickBooks, QuickBooks online, Quicken and TAASC.
In terms of comparing only cloud products, the game is much closer. The leader was QuickBooks online was 14.3 percent, but second was Bill.com with 11.6 percent and Xero with 7 percent. No other product garnered as much as 5 percent, according to the NMGI survey.
Outside of the questions about cloud computing, the two surveys had different focuses. Xero's questions concentrate on client-account relationships while the NMGI effort was about the products and surveys used by tax and accounting professionals. Xero said it had 400 randomly chosen "small business-focused accountants identified by Zogby Analytics (not all of whom use Xero, or even cloud accounting services, for that matter."
The technology use survey broke out respondents by size of firm and includes questions on virtually all areas of software with some on internet, mobile and hardware usage
Xero also asked accountants about their clients' use of cloud accounting. Only 5 percent said that all of their clients use web-based accounting, up from 3 percent in 2013. Twenty percent said 75 to 99 percent of their clients are in that category, up from 7 percent last year, and 24 percent said 50 to 74 percent utilize Internet-based accounting applications, up from 16 percent the prior year.