What’s all this talk about Cloud Accounting and why should you consider it?

Cloud Accounting seems to be the big buzz word out there at the moment – so what’s it all about?  Cloud accounting is another word for online accounting, effectively using the internet to access your accounting package rather than installing it and using it from a fixed desktop computer.  We all have internet access, smartphones and tablets, so why not use this technology to your advantage and move your business forward?

One of the main benefits of cloud computing is the amount of costs it cuts for your business.  You may be well aware of the huge costs associated with the purchase and installation and on-going maintenance contracts of desktop accounting packages.  Online accounting packages in comparison are more economical and cost effective.  Each package can be tailored to your own needs and you only pay for what you need, whether it is a basic package or a more advance package with integrated API’s.  The software is automatically kept up-to-date by the provider meaning that you don’t need to download updates, they take the hassle out of that for you.    All your accounts data is stored on the Cloud itself and don’t worry these providers have multi backups to different locations guaranteeing that there will never be any loss to your data.  The advantage to this is that you don’t need any hi-tech computer hardware in your office, thus reducing your overall software and hardware costs to your business. In addition to this, if your laptop was stolen, no one can access your data unless they have a login to the online account. With cloud software, this is where the data lives – not on your hard drive.  In the event of a natural disaster or fire, productivity doesn’t need to be affected and downtime can be eliminated because all your data is safe in the cloud. All of your information is safely and securely stored off site. As long as you have access to any computer or mobile device connected to the internet, you’re back up and running.

Still not convinced?  Online accounting means small business owners stay connected to their data and their accountants.  The beauty of this software is the flexibility it gives you to run your business from work, home, or on the go. You can be confident that you have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are.  Multi users can be working on the accounts at any one time, all in the cloud and from varying locations on one master file, thus improving the accuracy of the information and therefore minimising errors and discrepancies.  If you run into a problem, your accountant can log into your portal and access your data in real time, allowing them to provide you with and offer more in-depth and timely financial expertise to help you with your problem. 

I’m keeping the best to last.  If you’re still not won over by all the cost saving measures, ease of access and having timely and up to date information to make decisions best suited to your company, then here’s the added bonus! The area of API’s (Application Programme Integration) is moving at such an exciting pace.   It allows for the integration of document scanning, enabling invoices to be scanned and automatically sent to the accounting system on a daily basis, updating all the relevant ledgers whilst allowing then accountant access to check them and confirm that the entries are correctly posted. This can dramatically cut the time required for processing and in turn freeing up time for more productive work. Most online packages allow for the uploading of bank statements directly to the package, again reducing the number of transactions that you physically have to process.  If you sell online, link your accounting package directly to your PayPal account and have your ledgers updated directly.  Some packages will also integrate with your payroll software, eliminating the need to duplicate your payroll journals into your accounting system. 

Cloud accounting software won’t suit everyone or every company, but if you are a small –medium sized company, sole-trader/retailer, I think it’s something that you should consider.  Give us a call and we can talk you through it.