After recently discussing with a friend of mine, a top Brighton accountant, how technology has radically transformed the business landscape in recent years, I decided to write a counterpoint to my colleague’s last piece, which heeded caution for businesses looking to adopt cloud-based accounting solutions.
The fact is, while still in its infancy, it’s already not so far-fetched to say that cloud-based accounting could end up being the biggest revolution in the accounting industry since Dan Bricklin’s VisiCalc was released in 1979.
What is Cloud-Based Accounting Software Exactly?
In simple terms, it means that the software is based in cloud storage online, and therefore can be accessed from any place at any time, and will always be functional and ready.
The introduction of cloud software has begun a revolution of accounting and book keeping globally. Services such as Xero and Intuit have become irreplaceable tools for accounting professionals worldwide, and the trend is only projected to continue.
The efficiency, security and affordability of cloud-based accounting software has made on-premise alternatives seem outdated in a small matter of years, if not months.
But What Makes Cloud-Based Accounting Superior?
There are numerous reasons why cloud-based accounting software is such a booming industry, but it all comes down to the fact that it makes keeping track of accounts for businesses as simple and intuitive as possible.
There’s no need for tedious book keeping tasks, as all the invoicing and cash flow management tasks can be accomplished from any location, even using mobile devices.
Why Should Accountants Use Cloud-Based Software?
The reason for such a rapid growth of cloud-based technology in the accounting industry is that those that use the software can gain a big advantage over their direct competitors.
Here are just four of the more prominent reasons why every accountant should switch to cloud, or risk falling behind their competition:
One area where cloud-based accounting software absolutely blows all of the alternatives out of the water is accessibility.
You just can’t match the ability to quickly update invoicing, cash flow management and other data in a matter of seconds, no matter where you are. This allows for an unprecedented accuracy and dynamic data evaluation, which can make all the business decisions that much more precise.
This also can make collaborative tasks easier than ever. Accessing the same information from multiple locations simultaneously make it a huge step forward from how the process went just a few years ago.
Real-Time Data Updates
Another amazing benefit of cloud-based software is the real-time data updates, which gives you the opportunity to get insights and make decisions based on the ever-changing dynamics of your business.
It has never been easier to quickly see if a decision is working or not, since all the users of the cloud software get updates instantly, without any manual data-entry work, which usually creates a lag between what’s actually happening and the data that is available.
You simply can’t get this with traditional accounting software and thus it gives a significant advantage to any accountant who switches to cloud.
No Maintenance Requirements
One of the more frustrating parts of being an accountant is having to deal with things that are not directly related to your specialty, like dealing with a bug on accounting software and spending hours on the phone with a representative, trying to fix the issue yourself.
With cloud alternatives, you only have to worry about doing your own job. The maintenance is handled by the developers, since it is accessible online. Therefore, even on the off chance that some issue might occur, you can be sure that a team of world-class experts will deal with it in a matter of minutes.
After all, you do have a reputation to maintain, and not being able to do your job because of software malfunctions can instantly make you seem unprofessional to your clients, so avoiding these situations should be one of your highest priorities.
Your Data is More Secure than Ever
While backups have been employed by accountants as a safety net for many years, they were never a completely effective solution because constant manual data updates made the backups obsolete in a matter of days. Not to mention that backups are expensive to maintain, and a real hassle to keep updated.
And since the current, updated version usually ended up on just one computer, that meant losing everything was always just a hardware or operating system malfunction away.
All of this has changed with the introduction of cloud-based accounting software.
Now, any security issues that might have been present have become obsolete – the user data is being kept on state-of-the-art servers, where they are being protected by the most advanced technology to make sure that no one can breach or compromise the information.
What’s more, the data is kept on multiple locations and is updated simultaneously, thus ensuring that no matter what might happen, your information will always be available for you to access.
Cloud-based accounting software is here to stay. More and more accountants every day are realizing that the tremendous benefits offered by going cloud is something that can’t be ignored if you want to stay ahead of the competition.
The possibilities offered by accessibility and real-time data updates, and the security of having your data protected and the software always operational make cloud-based accounting the undeniable way of the future in the industry.
Therefore, even today, using in-premise accounting software means that you are fighting an uphill battle against others who have access to a much faster, more efficient and safer accounting solution.