All businesses, whether they are a part of a large or small operation, rely upon various programs to handle day-to-day tasks. Accountants obviously utilize such task-handling resources as well, but at this point in time, cloud-based accounting software is best suited for non-accounting businesses of small and medium size. Any comprehensive self-accounting service offers several benefits, and most businesses have traditionally relied upon in-house methods with information that can only be accessed at the office. However, it’s become increasingly clear that cloud-based accounting software which allows for its users to access their information from any location or virtually any device is the wave of the future.
Services that All Quality Accounting Services Should Offer
Regardless of whether a business operates in a traditional, in-house format with regards to their accounting or they have already moved to a cloud-based service, there are several requisite tasks that all quality accounting software should offer. The list of comprehensive services that are essential to any accounting program worth its money includes:
• reporting and analysis functions that allow for compliance with local government regulations, retrofitted to the country you live in
• a friendly, easy to access interface that includes graphs, charts and other graphics that allow for a non-numerical illustration of accounting figures
• automation of certain tasks, including but not limited to payrolls, timesheets, financial reconciliation, and reporting
• speed of processing, as this lowers the amount of time required to be spent on administrative tasks, which will also allow any business or individual to take on a greater overall workload
• fast-responding alerts to enhance the speed of customer support services, as well as a wide array of built-in support systems, such as alerts, apps, and invoice scanning
• the ability to update the operating system in unison with industry changes, as to avoid using an outdated, inferior product
• scalability, which allows for the growth that most, if not all, businesses aim to achieve
• the ability to integrate cloud-based tools and services, as the cloud is the wave of the future when it comes to accounting, especially for small and medium-sized businesses
When choosing a service for you or your business’s accounting needs, find one that encompasses these features. Preferably, you will find a cloud-based, forward-looking software that allows for scalability as well as cloud-based additions that won’t require you to completely re-haul your accounting tech as the industry evolves.
Why Accounting Practices are Moving Increasingly Toward Cloud-Based Programs
It’s a misconception that accountants and accounting firms alone benefit from the many, evolving cloud-based accounting services. Individual contractors, small businesses, and midsized business often prefer to save money by handling accounting themselves, and many cloud-based services have evolved, offering the typical array of accounting services with some additional benefits. As technology evolves, businesses want to take advantage of more streamlined, cost-effective, and accessible software, and that includes cloud-based accounting.
The move toward cloud-based accounting services has been in the works for years, with large, resource-rich accounting firms investing in such technologies that have since been increasingly perfected. The Journal of Accountancy cited a 2014 study which found that 90% of CPAs surveyed believed that the digital delivery of information to clients, primarily through the use of cloud-based methods, would be a ‘key differentiator among accounting firms in the next five years’. That study is now more than three years old, which means that cloud-based accounting services, both for accounting firms and other businesses and individuals, will likely soon be the norm, not the exception.
That said, every business is different, and each business owner and/or accounting firm should consider which Cloud-based accounting program fits their needs. Lists of cloud-based accounting software which span an array of different budgets are helpful in considering which one suits your personal or business needs best. Quality, cloud-based accounting technology increases the efficiency of all business processes, but spending unnecessary money on a service with features you don’t truly need is never smart. Worse yet, remaining tied to outdated forms of accounting will likely mean lagging behind industry peers, if not becoming completely obsolete.
So, moving your accounting to a cloud-based system should not be a matter of if, but a matter of when. And when you decide to upgrade your accounting processes, consider the cost and different features of each available service, but always ensure that the software allows for quick customer service response and – this cannot be stressed enough – scalability and options for add-ons that will be commensurate with the evolving technological sector as it pertains to individual and business accounting.
The Pros and Cons of Cloud-Based Software
Cloud-based accounting is the wave of the future. Spreadsheets, Excel and in-house services are not going to allow most businesses to reach peak efficiency in their accounting practices, and this will seriously diminish the likelihood of a business or individual’s success.
Cloud-based accounting systems are accessible round-the-clock, available from virtually any location where a smart device can be used, and the information is backed up off-site, making the precious details of any business significantly safer from data-loss. Other benefits of cloud-based systems include real-time monitoring by owners and clients, which will serve as a significant pull factor for any cloud-based product, especially accounting firms who utilize them. Software updates are most often integrated automatically, further saving the user time and money.
Cloud-based accounting methods are the way to go, period. That said, it would be derelict not to mention the less attractive considerations that come with a switch to cloud-based accounting systems. Because many cloud-based services rely upon a subscription model, the cost could eventually outweigh the one-time cost of a non-cloud product. But, the continually updating nature of cloud-based programs means that you may also be saving money, considering additional costs that would come with purchasing a new non-cloud-based accounting service when the current one inevitably becomes obsolete.
Most cloud-based accounting services, with some exceptions, are better suited for individuals and small or mid-sized businesses, which must be considered before making the change to a cloud-based system. This, however, is likely to change as cloud technology attains a larger scale. Many of these cloud-based systems are designed for non-accountants, but it seems that eventually, more accountant-catered cloud-based software will emerge.
Overall, the Cloud is the Wave of the Future
While one must make cost and quality considerations before choosing a specific cloud-based form of accounting software, it seems that most – especially accountants themselves – know the cloud is the future of accounting. While it currently caters toward non-accounting individuals and businesses, larger firms have been looking into forming their own cloud-based systems for years. The benefits – primarily 24/7 information accessibility, improved interface, ease of use, and off-site backup – are too great not to apply to the accounting industry itself. Automation and technological intelligence that comes with cloud-based services must be taken advantage of to ensure your business is evolving and reaping all the financial benefits that it is capable of.