The accountancy tool used in your business should make managing your accounts more accurate and efficient. The less time you have to spend on accounts, the more time you can devote to improving and growing your business. Cloud based accounting solutions offer the possibility of being able to work faster and in a more flexible way.
This post isn’t going to look at individual applications or brands. Instead it is going to explore cloud accounting tools in general. Most of the popular accounting software providers and platforms offer a cloud solution. Each offers the same general benefits, so this post can be applied to them all.
What Is The Cloud?
Cloud computing is also known as SaaS – Software as a Service. It differs from the traditional model of computing as applications are stored in the cloud. Think of how your computer operated 10 or 20 years ago – you bought the hardware (the computer) and you installed software on it. Only that computer could run the software.
In the cloud there is no software on the computer. In fact, you don’t even need a computer – applications can be accessed from a range of devices. The software instead exists on servers belonging to the platform provider. This software is accessed via the internet, hence the term the “cloud”.
The general benefits of cloud computing are that it can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. In addition, computer hardware and maintenance costs are lower, and the software is always kept up to date. This means you don’t have the problem of deteriorating performance over time as the version of your software becomes obsolete.
What about the specific benefits of cloud accounting tools, though?
Benefits of Accounting Software Specifically
- Real Time Information from Anywhere
Being able to access real time information from anywhere has enormous benefits, particularly for small businesses. For example, if you have multiple locations, or a disparate workforce, your staff can still all have access to the elements of the accounting platform they need. You could, for example, be with a client who is querying a payment or invoice and will be able to look up previous invoices on your smartphone while in their office.
- Save Time
Cloud accounting tools can save your business considerable time and resources. For example, if you want a report you probably have to contact the person who does your accounts and has access to the software to get them to run it and send to you. With cloud computing you can run it yourself just as quickly and easily as downloading a report sent to you by email. This is just one example though – always available cloud accounting solutions can save time in lots of ways.
What are the downsides to cloud computing? The two biggest problems with the technology in the eyes of some are security and confidentiality. These are real concerns, but when looked at objectively cloud computing is actually more secure and safe than the alternatives.
You have to relinquish control, however, which is a struggle for some business owners. In other words, instead of the computer running your accounts and containing all your data being located in an office in a building that you have the keys for, that information is on a server somewhere in the world owned and operated by a third-party who gives you access to it.
The security that these third-parties have in place, however, is enterprise level, so is probably much more robust, up-to-date, and comprehensive than the standard small business owner has in place. Also, their business model is built on trust, so they do everything in their power to make sure your data is kept safe in order to keep your trust.
This is the internet, though, and data breaches can happen, but they can happen in your office too. So, while there are concerns with cloud accounting tools, those concerns are probably outdated, making the benefits even more appealing.
For more help and advice with your business, or in choosing the right accounting platform for your needs, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.