Why cloud accounting makes sense
A business is only as strong as its weakest link; and given that cash flow is as essential to the health of an operation blood flow is to a human body, accounting can never be allowed to become a weak link. We live in an age where technology drives not only innovation but industrial change, and in this climate there is no room for luddites. In order to assure long-term success today’s businesses must be fluid and agile, managing the needs of today while pre-empting the challenges of tomorrow. New technological trends can not only help our enterprises to reach new heights, they can free us of the restraints and constructions with which our operations are traditionally associated.
For example, traditionally few small businesses have the means or resources to employ their own in-house accounting team. As such they have had to outsource to accountants. While this is fine for many, it has led to an itch that those who insist on nothing short of total control over every facet of their operations have been unable to scratch… Until recently.
Get your head in the clouds
The cloud is not a new phenomenon for most of us. We may have been reliant upon it for a number of solutions in our personal and professional lives. It’s where we store files for easy access from any device. It’s where we store our music so that we can have more space on our phones for photos of our pets. Many nascent startups even use cloud-based hosting as a cost-effective and scalable alternative to traditional server-based hosting or a Virtual Private Server.
But did you also know that it can provide a solution for more agile and secure accounting? Indeed, the industry was one of the earliest adopters of cloud-based technologies, although early cloud-based accounting solutions were marketed more squarely at accounting professionals than SMEs. This, however, has changed in the wake of user friendly solutions like Quickbooks and Xero which have demystified the accounting process for entrepreneurs and reduced their need for outsourced accountants and the overheads and loss of control that they represent.
Here we’ll look at 5 reasons why if you haven’t already considered switching to a cloud-based accounting solution… You really ought to be!
1. It’s safe and secure
It’s integral not just to your operational success but to your branding that you are able to assure your clientele that you operate with data security in mind. Data breaches are a constant source of consternation for operations of all shapes and sizes with multinational corporations and small family run entreprises alike finding themselves the target or victim of malicious cyber-attacks or email fraud.
At the very least, a data breach can result in a serious black eye for your brand, and at the very worst it can grind your operations to a halt. Fortunately, online accounting platforms offer state-of-the-art security that is constantly evolving and being improved upon. What’s more, a cloud based solution updates and upgrades its security automatically without any loss of service or down time for your enterprise.
The net result for you? Your business finances remain beyond the reach of even the most determined would-be hackers. Moreover, if any of your enterprise’s desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones or other devices should become lost, misplaced, damaged or stolen, you are not at risk of data loss nor operational compromise as your data remains securely stored in the cloud.
2. Access to your information in real-time
There was a time when agility meant the ability to make proactive decisions on a month by month or week by week basis. I today’s increasingly fast-paced marketplace, however, sometimes entrepreneurs need to be able to track their company’s finances on a minute by minute basis. This is one of the most common reasons why many SMEs embrace cloud-based accounting.
Cloud-based accounting offers entrepreneurs an easy to interpret overview of their finances on a minute-by-minute basis. We all know that your cash flow is intrinsically tied to the health of your operation and this kind of responsiveness can allow you to pre-empt anything that could impede cash flow and enable you to react accordingly, implementing an effective solution before your cash flow has become a problem.
3. Allows you to manage your finances at any time, wherever you are
For decades, entrepreneurs have been limited to their offices when they have needed to access their accounts, move money or check on the status of transactions with vendors and creditors. But in the mobile age, this is not a limitation that many of today’s entrepreneurs are prepared to accept. Fortunately, cloud-based accounting packages are readily available to you whenever you need them, wherever you happen to be.
In many cases, you don’t even need to have your laptop with you, with more and more accounting solutions offering handy apps available on the iOS and Android app stores. Whatever functionality you need from managing payroll to checking on your sales targets, there’s an app that can give you the information you’re after.
4. Quick and easy collaboration
Of course, embracing a cloud-based accounting solution does not mean that you have to cut ties with your accountant. Indeed, if you choose to continue to outsource your accountancy a cloud-based solution can actually facilitate easier collaboration with them. If you need their insight into a particular problem or if you have a specific question about your finances, they can get quick and easy access to the same data as you and give you help and advice in real time, even if they are on the other side of the world.
5. You get paid faster
There are few things more frustrating to an SME than when their cash flow is impeded because they are waiting on a big payment from a debtor. This can create no end of problems, but could-based accounting solutions allow enterprises to issue invoices directly, prompting for payment when it is due. This allows for quick payments, healthy cash flow and smiles all round.
So, with all that in mind, can you really afford not to invest in cloud-based accounting?