Every day more businesses are turning to the cloud for their data storage needs, with services like DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive, but what about other cloud-based services?
From project management to social media, today everything seems to happen in the cloud! If you're a small business, you're probably already using the cloud in many ways - maybe without even realising it. Accounting services seems like a natural extension, but what are the benefits of cloud-based accounting versus using traditional software on a server in your office?
Ease Of Access
One of the greatest advantages of cloud accounting is accessibility. Using a cloud-based service means that all you need is your device and an internet connection to access your records, reports and receipts. The best part is that you don't even need to download and install any software - all you need is a web browser. No more being tied to the office servers when you need your information quickly or remotely. And it's easy to collaborate on your business with partners, employees and your accounting team anytime, anywhere in the world.
Cloud accounting is perfect for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses. There's no up-front outlay for software, hardware or a dedicated on-site employee. All that is required is some setup to personalise your accounts, upload your financial data and learn how to use it, which is no different than on-site software - and is frequently much easier with online tutorials and videos that help you! (We can get you started and provide you with training if you need a friendly helping hand).
Generally with a cloud service, you'll pay a monthly subscription fee, but when you consider that the cloud allows you to consume less electricity, hire fewer IT employees and doesn't require the investment or resources to set up and maintain office servers, the cloud quickly becomes the most economical option. And, don't forget, you won't have to pay for annual upgrades or regular maintenance! In fact, cloud-based services often pay for themselves in three to six months.
Security is critical for any organisation with large amounts of data, and it's particularly important for accounting. The obvious advantage to keeping vital and sensitive information on the cloud is removing the human element and the possibility of lost or stolen hardware. People do make mistakes, misplacing their laptops full of important data and losing months of work, and servers can and do fail. Fortunately, cloud services manage backups for you, so you don't have to worry about losing your data!
Cloud-based accounting also addresses other safety concerns with higher, uniform security standards, automatic redundancies for data and scheduled, seamless security upgrades at no cost to the user. Xero for example use the same level of encryption that is used by banks, and the data is located in enterprise grade hosting facilities that have biometric systems and onsite security guards. Far better protection that small businesses would employ to protect their information. It really is the safer choice.
One final advantage to cloud-based accounting is its scalability. Whether you're a small business just starting out, or a huge firm with hundreds of employees, the cloud grows with your business. And the bit we love the most - it allows businesses like ours to collaborate with you on your business to help you grow.
Using cloud accounting is an accessible, cost-effective and secure solution that easily integrates into your current business structure. Give it a go - before you know it, you won't know how your business ran without it!