Managing Director Greg Bestwick sizes up cloud-based and desktop-based accounting solutions, considering whether it’s time for businesses with desktop software to embrace transformation and jump into the cloud.
Power in numbers
The first advantage of cloud-based accounting is flexibility of access. Solutions such as Xero and QuickBooks Online offer multi-user access, giving more than one person in a business the ability to complete quick bookkeeping tasks, run accounting reports, raise invoices - and much more.
Contrast this flexibility to a desktop-based solution being used by one person at a time, and it’s clear that any business with more than one accounting user can benefit from increased efficiency and productivity offered by a cloud-based platform.
With traditional desktop software, access is licensed on a machine-by-machine basis and mobile access means taking your computer with you. Cloud-based software changes the game by providing access from anywhere, via a web browser or an intuitive mobile app. Remote workers can keep invoices, quotes and inventory ticking along while business owners and managers can run their business operations from the office, from home, or while travelling.
No cloud is the same
Of course, business operations and priorities vary depending on the size and type of business, and on which accounting processes need to be run on daily, weekly or monthly cycles.
With QuickBooks Online or Xero, businesses can benefit from seemingly endless combinations of third party app integrations and automated processes, customising their accounting solution to suit the intricacies and needs of their business. Desktop solutions simply can’t offer the same breadth of tailoring and integration options, with most providing basic custom reporting templates - but not much more.
Secure, backed-up, up-to-date, automatic
Desktop software security often requires full protection of the computer or device the software is installed on and, for some businesses, might require support of an IT department or outsourced IT professional. Data back-ups are often manual and require scheduling, with software upgrades being forced or leading to the purchase of new versions. In short: there’s a lot of manual work, a lot of scheduling, and many potential costs.
Cloud-based solutions remove the manual headaches. The accounting platform and all data are securely hosted, with user permission levels and multi-factor authentication ensuring that only specified users can access the processes and reports relevant to them, and the risk of login credentials being leaked is mitigated. With automated data back-ups and software upgrades, businesses can continue to focus on their operational and client priorities without having to worry about too many manual accounting tasks.
The silver lining
Cloud-based solutions are fully supported by a business’ accounting partner; the partner can set up the system and provide access to users with specific permissions, set up charts of accounts and reporting templates, and coordinate the integration of third party applications where needed. Holding direct relationships with providers such as Xero means an accounting partner can provide cost benefits, economies of scale and ongoing expert support.
Time to jump?
If you’re working with a desktop accounting solution and becoming frustrated with manual processes, inefficiency and a lack of flexibility, now’s the time to consider a jump to the cloud. Licences provide fantastic value for small and medium-sized businesses, and with monthly and annual subscription plans, the cost of your daily accounting doesn’t have to impact your bottom line.
To find out more about cloud-based accounting and how we could support your business with a move to the cloud, contact Greg Bestwick for an informal chat: