Accounting in the cloud: the way of the present and future
It has become increasingly difficult not to notice the introduction of cloud-based accounting products in the market over the last year.
With many of the products promoting new time-saving techniques, better security and easier access to live information it’s certainly worth investigating the different products on the market and how they can be integrated into your business.
Benefits of cloud-based accounting packages
• Availability – Access your file anywhere, anytime. You can have access to the latest information from your office, home or even when you’re travelling. It allows you to enter and view information on your computer, smart phone or tablet device.
• No installation or IT maintenance required – Most cloud products don’t require you to install software on your computer. This eliminates the need to update your software, save backups or buy expensive servers to maintain all of your information.
• Sharing is easy – Removes the need to send USBs or discs to your accountant, and ensures your accountant is always up to date and using the latest set of figures.
• Bank Feeds – Data from your bank account or credit card is automatically downloaded into your accounts. In my opinion, this is the area with the most time-saving functionality and should almost be mandatory across all businesses.
There are many products available on the market including, QuickBooks Online, Reckon, Xero, Sassu and MYOB Live. However the most common question I get asked is: How do Xero and MYOB Live compare?
There has been a lot of interest in the emerging Xero software. Unlike their competitors who have moved into cloud-based accounting by offering a hybrid of software with online accounting, Xero is the only product to be created specifically with the cloud in mind.
As there is no software to install on your computer, Xero is one of the only products available for use on any device, such as a smart phone or tablet. It enables your business to move towards a ‘paperless office’ by allowing you to upload invoices and attach them directly to the transaction.
This provides an easy mechanism for the storage of additional information and allows for greater transparency of each transaction from an auditing perspective. One of the most exciting aspects of Xero is its ability to provide integration with various third party products and services, much like apps on your smartphone. It ensures the software can be customised to businesses specific requirements without the need to get reports written explicitly for them, which can be an expensive exercise.
MYOB Live is a product most businesses would be familiar with. It requires software to be installed on the device however a number of their services such as bank feeds are now delivered via the cloud. MYOB Live enables you to toggle between online and offline mode, allowing you to continue to work if you lose access to the internet. Although, this can create multiple versions of the file, so a data sync must be performed regularly. By switching to MYOB Live, you get access to the many benefits of cloud-based accounting like bank feeds, without the cost of retraining staff who may be familiar with many of the MYOB features.
Many business owners would agree that with current compliance obligations, any new technology that works to improve efficiencies and reduce time spent on producing accounts is invaluable. Cloud-based accounting packages certainly provide a solution to these problems.
We would also recommend reviewing your accounting processes and procedures on a regular basis. The technology available to help streamline your accounting requirements is constantly being updated so there should no longer be any reason to keep those ‘shoe boxes’ full of receipts.
If you do decide to move towards a cloud-based accounting package, it is crucial you select the right product and get the software set up correctly.
Cloud-based accounting packages may have their benefits, but they need to be tailored to the individual business requirements to ensure your business gets the maximum benefit.
<p>Doug has overseen the growth of Mitchell Wilson for two decades, where his knowledge and integrity have made him a trusted partner to business owners and entrepreneurs in industries as diverse as financial services, travel, media and transport.</p>
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CEO, Express Travel Group
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