Our personal lives are dominated by a desire for instantly accessible information. Cloud-based software is becoming more and more of a necessity, be it keeping our photos secure or checking a bank balance. Yet so many small business owners are reluctant to migrate from a desktop system that was probably installed on floppy disk. To those that have already transitioned, the reluctance of others is baffling. There are just so many benefits to adopting a cloud-based system. What follows is far from exhaustive but outlines what we consider to be the top five reasons all businesses should implement cloud accounting software:
Saves you money
Let’s start with the one that grabs everyone’s attention. A cloud-based solution will work out significantly cheaper than a desktop package. We recommend Microsoft Xero to most new clients although there are plenty of decent alternatives. Xero starts at £10 a month and comes with a month’s free trial. It’s slick and easy to use and the support if issues do arise is great, something I can’t say for the desktop systems I’ve encountered.
Something else to consider; Cloud-based systems tend to be paid on a monthly-basis as opposed to having to hand over a significant chunk of cash upfront for a desktop system. Not only is this great for your all-important cash flow but it also means if the first system you try isn’t a good fit, you can easily switch to an alternative.
Finally, by subscribing to a cloud-based solution, you’ll always have the most up to date version of the software. Technology is developing at an astounding rate and with significant changes to the finance landscape expected as MTD approaches (more on that later), you simply can’t afford to buy a package that could be out of date in three years’ time.
Instant access – break free from your desktop!
As I alluded to earlier, get yourself a cloud-based accounting system and you’ll have instant access to your financials but more importantly, so will your accountant. This allows both parties to work together to focus on what is happening in the business in real-time.
The value of having to-the-minute sales figures at your fingertips can’t be understated. It allows you to live in the data and use this to make decisions that will actually have an impact on the future performance of your business. Compare this to use of a desktop solution. Chances are your accountant will have access to this and you won’t touch it. As the account-filing date looms, you’ll be handed a set of accounts that are already months out of date and after a couple of minutes of trying to make sense of them, they’ll get signed, never to be looked upon again. Where is the value in that?
MTD – digitalisation is the future
For those not in the know, MTD stands for “Making Tax Digital” and is a government-driven initiative to digitalise the submission of tax returns and eventually do away with all things paper. The aim is to make tax administration more efficient for both the taxpayer and HMRC but with this comes a slew of potential issues.
Despite some recent delays to the current go-live date, the government are not going to change their mind and those sticking with an outdated system are in for a major headache. How do you avoid such issues? Get on the cloud. Most cloud accounting platforms are working on solutions to integrate their software and reduce the burden of reporting to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
As someone who has more apps on my phone than friends in my address book, for me this is perhaps the most exciting aspect of cloud-based solutions. Xero’s marketplace has a staggering number of apps designed to help you run your business more efficiently. As an advisor, this allows us to tailor our service to each client by recommending and integrating a set of apps to tackle the specific problems or annoyances they currently face. Debtors slow to pay? We have an app to help. Want to better understand what’s driving your sales? There’s an app for that too.
No two businesses are the same and cloud-based solutions recognise this. Through the integration of apps, you can implement the services you need and avoid paying for the ones you don’t.
More value and less time wasting
Time is perhaps the most valuable resource of any SME and it should not be wasted. Time spent processing transactions is time not spent focused on ensuring your business is heading in the right direction. A cloud-based solution is designed to align with your business strategy and minimise the time spent on tasks that add little value.
For example, Xero links directly to your bank to automatically import your cash transactions thus avoiding a mind-numbing hour of data entry at the end of each month. This hour can be better spent running any manner of report out of Xero to keep you up to date on exactly what has happened in the business this month. If that’s not enough, there are a host of integrated apps designed solely to produce an unfathomable number of charts, graphs and whatever else you need to make the key decisions any small business owner faces.
Need a hand?
We love talking about new technology and software. If you’re interested in implementing cloud-based accounting software or want to discuss anything else please get in touch.
At Leap Accounts, we’re available to help with any accounting or taxation issues your business is facing. Join the new-age of business advisory services; with cloud-based systems as standard and a forward-looking attitude you’ll get the value you deserve from your accountant.
Book a free consultation today.
Alternatively, contact us on 0203 290 7302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.