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  • Writer's pictureCarol Kok

Cloud-Based vs Desktop-Based Accounting Software in Singapore

As the race for technology accelerates cloud and desktop computing are neck-and-neck for users in Singapore but the jury is still out on whether cloud or desk top is the best choice for you and, at the moment anyway, it is likely to depend on what you use technology for.

Peter Mell and Tim Grance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology define cloud computing as: “A model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable and reliable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal consumer management effort or service provider interaction.”

Cloud applications are often less expensive, simpler to manage, and easier to update and use than a desktop. Since a browser is the most often-used tool for end users, you may find it convenient to work with cloud-based applications that are delivered through a browser.

Cloud is better than desk top for…

Software installation Cloud applications require no installation. You can avoid the time and effort required to download software. The cloud application is rendered in the browser, thereby exploiting browser capabilities such as Cascading Style Sheets and flash content.

Software updates Desktop applications need to be updated periodically. The desktop application prompts you to download updates or you need to manually update the software. Cloud applications are updated by the application service provider.

Resource utilisation In cloud applications, most of the heavy processing is handled by the service provider, which minimises the requirements on your system configuration. Desktop applications require large memory and high processing speed for complex applications such as graphic design.

Platform independence Desktop applications have to be developed for multiple platforms, such as Windows, Linux, Mac, and specific hardware. Since most cloud applications are developed to be used in a browser, they can run on various platforms.

Desktop is better than cloud for…

Networking capabilities A key advantages of the desktop application is its independence from internet connectivity and bandwidth considerations. Cloud applications rely upon the internet infrastructure for data transport and content rendering.


You will encounter adverts in cloud based applications, while few desktop applications display ads within the application. This is not a technical issue, but the fact that bandwidth is a very important consideration in cloud application makes us consider wasted bandwidth that adverts create.

Authentication and authorisation.

Most desktop applications require little if any authentication, and if they do, they will rely on the operating system to determine the privileges, with system administrator having full access. Many cloud applications offer improved bandwidth, additional storage and other value added features compared to the features offered to users who do not have premium service.

Data storage

In desktop applications the data is stored on your own computer, whereas in Software as a Service (SaaS) applications data resides in the server space allocated to you. Since most of the processing is handled on the server side, data needs to be transported to and from the cloud application service provider. This can impose a requirement for high bandwidth to accommodate frequent and large data calls to the cloud server.

Security Desktop applications have information on the internal details of a system, such as data storage location, encryption used, and user privileges. One of the biggest challenges in cloud computing is having lack of proper information on location of the data, recovery policy used, encryption method, and trustworthiness of the cloud service provider. Owing to these factors, users may hesitate to place highly sensitive information on the servers of third party cloud service providers.

The jury is still out on…

Architecture Desktop applications are single-tenant-based applications where as SaaS-based cloud applications are multi-tenant. With a multi-tenant model, application upgrades are taken care of by the SaaS provider. With single-tenant applications, configuration and upgrades are done by the user, which allows you to offer specific functions and customization. Both Cloud and Desktop are similar.

Given the fashion by Asians for buying the newest technology, it seems likely that many end users in the SE Asian market will be migrating to cloud in the near future.

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