Technology continues to evolve all around us and the accounting world is no different. Gone are the days of limited access to client files and reports on a single, onsite computer application, dealing with constrains regarding the timeliness of accounting information and storing client documentation either in a filing cabinet or on an office computer that could be susceptible to crashes or security breaches. Cloud Accounting opens the door to the future of accounting offer a powerful solution that is efficient, cost-effective, and extremely convenient for business professionals and clients alike.
What Exactly is Cloud Accounting?
Cloud Accounting, simply put, is where client data is hosted and saved on a remote server where accounting professionals and clients can access files from any computer or mobile device. Often referred to as ‘the cloud’, instead of saving accounting data onto hard drives on office computers and USB drives, accountants can save to a remote system that allows users to access, update, and interact with data from anywhere at any given time.
There are countless benefits that firms of all sizes can enjoy when making the switch to cloud accounting. Not only is this platform revolutionizing how accounting professionals are managing their practices but their clients are enjoying some of the greater benefits that’s providing them more control of their business and adding to their bottom line both in dollars and in time.
The Biggest Benefits of Cloud Accounting Technology
1. Added Flexibility and Convenience
Everyday technology continues to add efficiency and convenience to both our professional and personal lives. Instead of having client files saved on multiple data sources such as a laptop, office desktop, or portable storage devices, cloud technology can allow bookkeepers and accountants to access vendor invoices and review customer payments from any computer or mobile device. The chains of obsolete accounting technology are lifted allowing accounting users to freely access client files from any device at any time.
2. Real-Time Updates for Better Business Reporting
The expression, ‘time is money’ has never been a more vital component in the business world. Accountants and businesses would constantly face limitations regarding how current bank reconciliations and financial reports were presented. Because of the cloud, your financial data lives and breathes in the cloud providing users a complete up-to-date view allowing users to make better and informed decisions about the financial future of their business.
3. Increased Cash Flow and Cost Effectiveness
Not too long ago, when setting up your accounting practice, you would have to record a capital investment when purchasing the accounting software for your business. You’d also have reoccurring costs such as licensing agreements to maintain as well that were costly. With cloud accounting technology you pay a monthly fee instead of buying in bulk reducing your startup and ongoing costs that increase cash flow and eliminates the need of superfluous resources.
4. Automatic Updates at Your Fingertips
When utilizing the services of the cloud, it will remove the burden of having to keep your accounting software consistently updated. The other added benefit is that the updates are free and can sometimes be automatic. This alone is an added convenience of not having to worry about fishing for updates or worrying about not working on the latest and greatest edition.
5. Power and Collaboration Tools Available to You
Accountings rules and principles can be a bit difficult to interpret even for the expert accountants. Cloud technology can offer you all of the necessary information needed in order to understand important accounting and financial topics as well as enabling you to interact with either the software technical and accounting teams to ask even the most technical questions and obtain feedback.
Where to Go If You’re Considering The Cloud as a Solution for Your Business?
So who do you turn to for your cloud accounting needs if you’re sold on the benefits? Two of the top software programs to consider are QuickBooks Online and Xero. Both provide an excellent customer support team, the software is very user-friendly, the monthly subscriptions fees are low, both provide great resources for solidifying your accounting knowledge if you’re ever in doubt, and so on.
One of the biggest things to consider when considering cloud technology is who are you buying it from? You don’t want to invest your time and money, let alone your business into a software company that might not be around in the next five or ten years because you’ll then have to migrate to a brand new system and perhaps relearn everything.
The support teams are also critical not even for yourself as an accountant or bookkeeper, but for your client as well. Chances are, they’ll be using the software too so it’s important for them to feel comfortable using the software and know where to turn for assistance.