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Small Business

Cloud Accounting Software

June 26, 2012

In the tough economic environment, business owners are craving proactive, timely advice, not a history lesson. As an accountant I’m often asked by a potential client what I can offer them that their existing accountant isn’t offering.

The answer: Cloud Accounting.

So what is a cloud accounting system? It’s quite simple really. It’s a system that sits ‘in the cloud’ (that is, on the internet), and is accessible from any computer or mobile device with internet access, anywhere in the world. This means that you, your business partner, selected employees, your bookkeeper or your accountant (in fact anyone you desire) can access real-time accounting data for your business, anywhere, any time. Compare this to the old-school accounting software that sits on one computer, can only be accessed when you’re in the office or the study at home, and requires you to download a data file (when you get around to it), and trot off to your accountant several months after the fact for some ‘timely advice’. That’s assuming your computer hasn’t crashed, taking all your hard work with it!

Another key feature of the stronger cloud systems is that data feeds directly from the client’s bank account into the ledger. This provides several advantages – it minimises data entry, it allows you or your bookkeeper to keep on top of the minimal data entry that is required, but most importantly, it allows your accountant to view real-time data for your business. When you call your accountant seeking advice, they should be able to provide it based on what’s happening now, not on your financial results of 12 or 18 months ago. Cloud accounting allows the accountant to deal with the present, not the past.

This is key – cloud software isn’t the magic ingredient to develop your business – proactive advice is. Cloud accounting is the pathway to proactive advice.

Is it secure? That’s the most common question we’re asked when we talk about cloud accounting software. The most advanced systems (such as Xero, which we favour) use security equivalent to that used in internet banking. Further, these companies back up data on servers in multiple, secure data centres, meaning your data will never be lost. Too often we hear of clients who have lost months of data entry as their computer has crashed or laptop has been stolen. This can’t happen with a cloud solution.

Is it expensive? Another common question. No. In fact cloud solutions are generally far more cost-effective than ‘off the shelf’ products, and offer the benefit of cheaper, monthly subscriptions, as opposed to an up-front investment of $500-$1,000 for PC-based software. The ease of use of these systems, together with the reduction in data entry, should also reduce bookkeeping costs. ‘Off the shelf’ software packages also generally require an expensive annual update, while cloud solutions usually include all updates in the monthly subscription.

The case for cloud accounting continues to mount.

Cloud accounting really is the way of the future. But it’s here and available now, for businesses of all sizes.

Is your accountant embracing the cloud? Contact us to find out more.

Sean Limpens

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Sean Limpens

CPA, Partner

  • ‍Bachelor of Business (Accounting)
  • Commercial Sector Experience
  • Qualified Mortgage Broker
  • Specialises in Small Business Accounting, Business Advisory and Mortgage Broking.