Why make the move to the cloud
Amidst a growing trend toward mobile devices and constant connectivity, a buzz term "cloud accounting" has emerged. But what does it mean?
Basically, cloud accounting is about completing a business' accounting function over the internet rather than using a traditional desktop program.
Business accounting software and data are stored at a secure remote location and end-users can access these services/applications anywhere, anytime, via desktop, PC, laptop or mobile device. It is projected that cloud technology will be the most significant change to the accounting industry in the coming few years.
Cloud technology solutions offer far reaching benefits and improved efficiency, including:
- Freedom to be in-touch via online data access irrespective of geographical location/time
- Live invoicing and hence reduced cash cycle
- Real time information on cash position and cash flow
- Scalability tailored to business
- Employee flexibility
- Access to latest software versions
- Security and reliability
- Optimum customer service
- IT infrastructure costs minimised due to: No network/software/hardware failures; Ageing equipment becomes superfluous
The cloud allows your business to respond more efficiently to market demands and provides cost effective, convenient and secure access to the latest infrastructure and services.
Of course, there will be reservations over what the cloud offers and some businesses will be hesitant to embrace the technology. But, you may be encouraged to hear that you might have already made the leap to the cloud without realising it. One of the first mainstream applications of cloud based technology occurred 10 years ago with the rise of internet banking. Initially, this seemed a risky move, but 10 years on most of us can't live without it and even our IT-phobic grandparents use it.
Cloud technology also makes liaising with your external accountant and business adviser easier. No more backups of accounting files, emailing attachments or mailing discs. With the cloud, you simply provide your accountant with access to your online file and they can access live data to assist with your queries, compliance obligations or business coaching.
While the core offerings of cloud products are similar, each provider has added their own unique features which is great for the business owner. The main players for small to medium size businesses are Xero, Quickbooks, Saasu and MYOB and some of the great features include:
- Automatic import and coding of banking transactions
- Up-to-date financial reporting
- Reconcile foreign currency accounts - gains and losses are calculated for you
- Create and send invoices automatically, even when out of the office
- Smartphone apps for easy access
- The latest software version is always available
Many people believe that cloud accounting is suitable for all businesses. Ultimately, you will need to decide whether it is right for your business, but it is important to consider anything that can make your life easier and your business more efficient.
Our Cloud Accounting seminar is coming up soon and you will be able to hear from the providers themselves and get all of the latest information and updates.
In the meantime, if you have any questions please talk to your Lawler client relationship manager, or one of our Business Advisory specialists.
You can also check out Xero's Small Business Guide to understanding the Cloud - a great resource, available here http://www.xero.com/guides/cloud/