The overall forecast for growth in the U.S. economy is predicted to be around 2 percent again this year.

Companies and CPA firms are asking, “How can we grow our businesses in this slow-growth, hyper-competitive environment?”

Is there a “silver bullet” out there to start our growth engines?

Two recent reports say there is a common denominator to growth in this new normal, and it is as close to a silver bullet that I have found.

It is the cloud.

Specifically, leveraging cloud technologies for better collaboration with customers and employees, reduced costs, greater efficiencies, supporting innovation and deploying “systems of engagement.” The results are compelling and supported by two completely different studies. Early adopters of the cloud (CCH calls them “pioneers” and IBM calls them “pacesetters”) are reporting increases in revenue, profits, and increased retention of top talent — all major competitive advantages in this environment.

The two surveys are the CCH Leader Now and Next Survey and IBM’s global survey titled, “Under Cloud Cover: How Leaders are Accelerating Competitive Differentiation.”

First, the cloud and CPA firms.

The clear message from the CCH Leader Now and Next Survey is that firms that take a proactive, strategic and well-orchestrated approach to operating in the new economy add considerable value to their firms.They also succeed in attracting and retaining top talent.”

They do this in three key ways:

  1. Strategically leveraging technology.
  2. Developing a strong leadership pipeline.
  3. A strong, client-focused strategy.

The results are compelling as these firms they call “pioneers” (innovators on the adoption curve) consistently have higher revenues and profits. I would bet they have higher client and employee satisfaction, too.

Next, the cloud and all businesses.

At the same time that CCH released this CPA firm-centric report, IBM released its latest global cloud survey of 802 “cloud decision-makers” across 42 industries and 13 countries with surprisingly similar results. 

“One out of five organizations has discovered a secret source of competitive differentiation. It allows them to serve customers in new ways and reimagine their business models. It can help surface valuable insights from their data and transform how they make decisions. It enables them to tap expertise from across their entire ecosystem.”

And one more thing: It helps these pacesetters grow revenue and gross profit faster than other organizations. What’s their secret? It’s cloud computing –- their engine for growth.”

The IBM survey lists five reasons businesses use the cloud:

  1. It offers better insight and visibility.
  2. It makes collaboration easy.
  3. It can support a variety of business needs.
  4. It allows for rapid development of products and services.
  5. The results are proven — increased efficiency (55 percent), reduced costs (25 percent), and increase in employee mobility (49 percent).

The IBM report goes on to say,

“One out of five organizations has discovered a secret source of competitive differentiation. It allows them to serve customers in new ways and reimagine their business models. It can help surface valuable insights from their data and transform how they make decisions. It enables them to tap expertise from across their entire ecosystem. And one more thing: It helps these Pacesetters grow revenue and gross profit faster than other organizations. What’s their secret? It’s cloud computing -– their engine for growth.”

Ladies and gentlemen, start your growth engines!

Cloud resources:

  • Don’t miss MACPA’s NEW Technology Conference on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, featuring new sessions on technology adoption and IT budgeting (leveraging the cloud).
  • Also, don’t miss the AICPA Digital CPA Conference on Nov. 20-22 at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland, which will feature a “how-to” on moving your firm to the cloud and new services. (Use our special code DCPA30 for a 30 percent discount).
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