IF YOU READ the business pages, you’ll notice the rise of cloud accounting systems, and you might be wondering “is
this for me”.
I want to share with you some key take outs of what I am saying to my clients at the moment.
Access any time, any place
If you own a mobile device, chances are you want to be able to do things on the go. As such, the face of business ‘on the road’ is changing. A cloud accounting system does exactly this.
Imagine being able to enter sales quotes into your system in real time or raising sales invoices on the spot using a mobile device Similarly, perhaps you are on a plane, and you fancy checking your financial situation to see whether you are on budget for the quarter. This is why I love XERO.
One data file, multiple access
With cloud accounting, team members can now access the same file. This can cut down on convoluted procedures at the end of financial year. With the simple click of a button (and entirely at your discretion), you can give your bookkeeper or
accountant access to your data file.
As a Chartered Accountant, nothing annoys me more (and it should annoy you too) than seeing a clients accounting file not agreeing to the accountants report. If you are in the cloud, its possible through good collaboration to have 1 version of the “truth”.
Real time information
Quick story. Last Saturday I had a business owner who made an offer on a house at auction, which was accepted (gulp!) without him obtaining formal approval for finance (gulp gulp!). Despite his confidence “that he would get the finance”, he rang me immediately and said can we meet 9am Monday
and submit an application to the bank.
By 11am, through the power of real time accounting (he was using XERO), we had submitted the company financials, and had indicative approval.
If he was using a non-cloud based product (like many businesses still are), this wouldn’t have happened. Its all about speed and confidence.
Cloud accounting saves you money, regardless of your business size. As the data file is stored ‘in the cloud’ (meaning, on someone else’s server, not yours) and assuming you move your mail and document management to the cloud as well, you have no need to buy, upgrade or maintain a physical server.
Today, the biggest concern raised about cloud accounting systems is security—concern about financial data being stored offsite.
But think about this: the cloud accounting providers store your data in highly secure storage facilities (apparently guarded by people carrying guns!); the system uses standard bank encryption (so your data is unreadable to a hacker); daily backups are automatically carried out on your behalf. To me, that sounds somewhat safer than having your data file sitting on a server under your desk, backing up manually, and then taking a copy offsite in case your building burns down overnight.
Cloud accounting is the way of the future – and it is not going to stop with accounting.
From streamlining debtors, to workflow, to timesheets, to HR, to Sales – the list goes on – ultimately to keep up with competition you are going to have to adapt or perish to this new world that is here.
By Troy Marchant,