Cloud accounting simply means that your accounting software and data is hosted on remote computers and accessed via the internet, rather than stored on your local server or personal computer. Many accounting applications now operate online, on mobile and desktop devices, and more are being offered all the time.
Why move to the cloud?
- Reduced processing time – manually entering bank transactions is a task of the past as bank transactions can be imported directly into cloud accounting software.
- Accessible from anywhere, anytime – your accounting data can be accessed using PCs, Macs, iPads and smart phones. All you need is an internet connection.
- Real-time reporting – accessing current data enables you to make better management decisions based on up-to-date information.
- Instant collaboration with your accountant – both you and your accountant can log-on at the same time allowing for issues to be sorted out immediately.
- No need to create backups – data is securely stored and backed-up by the relevant provider, freeing computer hard drive space from numerous accounting file back-ups.
- Automatically updated software – most cloud accounting packages will automatically be updated to the most current version at no additional cost.
Cloud accounting products on offer
Cloud accounting products are typically easy to use and have a similar feel to the desktop versions that you may already be familiar with. Options available include:
MYOB – MYOB offers two product ranges:
- AccountRight Live is a hybrid cloud product that allows you to work online as well as offline, through a similar interface to their desktop versions, a vital feature if you don’t have a reliable internet connection.
- The Essentials range is well suited to small businesses who don’t expect to expand significantly.
Intuit – Intuit, well established in the US, has now brought their product to the Australian market. Intuit provides a conversion service allowing you to convert most historical accounting data to their system.
Saasu – this well rounded bookkeeping product boasts an inventory system and payroll feature.
Reckon One – Reckon’s solution is relatively new to the market and has gaps in the functionality it currently offers, but could become a serious cloud contender in future.
As well as these basic packages, there are a number of new complimentary add-ons which provide more sophisticated functionality. These include Unleashed (inventory), Receipt Bank (automatic upload of invoices) and reporting tools Spotlight and Fathom.
Factors to consider
When selecting a cloud accounting product, consider your current business size and its expected future growth, your financial reporting goals, the type of devices that will access your accounting files, and your budget. It’s also important to evaluate how well a product’s functionality meets your business needs, eg. do you need your software to manage staff employment, inventory, point of sale systems or deal in foreign currency.
Cloud accounting offers many benefits but before proceeding, it’s wise to seek professional advice. Please contact your Accru advisor who will be happy to assist with your migration to the cloud.