Cloud Accounting solutions have been available for years now and it’s no longer just the domain for the early adopters who you would typically see lining up at the local Apple store for the latest new release. We’ve been assisting clients assess and adopt a suitable client accounting service for many years as there are some tangible and significant benefits to embracing these technology opportunities. Read on for most common questions we hear from clients considering a change to cloud accounting.
What is the cloud?
The cloud, quite simply, is the internet. Your data is stored online and accessed via the internet. Typically this access is via a web browser or cloud enabled software installed on your computer. This is different to a software application that is installed on your computer and powered by a server on your premises.
How do I pay for cloud accounting?
The cloud accounting package is accessed by monthly subscription which means you always have the latest version of the accounting package and usually there are no large upfront licensing fees.
Is it secure?
Your data can be accessed by authorised users who you grant an appropriate level of permission to including internal staff, bookkeepers and of course your Accountant. Any data stored on devices that connect to the internet, including data stored on personal computers, is at risk of suffering a security breach, so continuous maintenance of security practices is essential. Most cloud based providers store data in multiple high security locations around the country so if disaster strikes in one location your data can still be easily accessed. The Hanrick Curran recommended Cloud Accounting packages have the highest level of security infrastructure. All data transferred between users and cloud accounting services Hanrick Curran recommend are encrypted to the same standard applied to internet banking.
What are the benefits?
- Reduced cost to the business to maintain access to the latest accounting software. One monthly subscription replaces upfront license costs, version upgrades, maintenance and system administration costs associated with installed software – these are all managed by the cloud accounting service provider.
- Ease of access to your financial data from anywhere, at any time, all you need is an internet connection. Some software vendors offer an offline solution also, which means you can work in your software without being connected, then in a low peak time you can set your data to synchronise and update the Cloud version.
- Efficiencies flow right through your business. The ability to generate a quote quickly and distribute invoices promptly mean you are more likely to get paid quicker. Live feeds reduce the need to spend hours on data entry, freeing up time for more profitable activities. Finally, your accountant and bookkeeper have the ability to access your financial data with ease, eliminating the need to prepare and send multiple files.
- Informed business decisions can be made because you have access to up to date financial data. The data is kept up to date with pre-configured bank reconciliations and clear internal finance procedures. Also allowing your advisors to provide you and your advisor to utilise current data to make the right decision for your business.
- Flexibility to fit your lifestyle. With 24/7 access to up to date information you are able to access business performance from any location.
Should I consider cloud accounting?
All business owners should at least consider cloud accounting because the vast majority of businesses will reap the benefits, however there are some exceptions and also some pre-requisites to be aware of.
- You need regular access to a quality internet connection
- You need to be prepared - set up the data feeds and adopt best practice internal finance procedures that your Hanrick Curran Accountant will guide you through.
- Different Cloud Accounting providers have different minimum computer specifications. Older hardware may have some compatibility restrictions. It’s best to check with us first regarding your computers specifications
What cloud accounting products are available?
There is a number of cloud accounting products available in the Australian market. They include, Xero, MYOB Live, Saasu, Intuit Quickbooks and Reckon One to name the dominant players. For those in the agribusiness space Phoenix Live or Figured are also Primary Production accounting software available. Vendors of these products have varying levels of suitability based on a number metrics, including quality and accessibility of customer support, security framework and financial viability.
Hanrick Curran performs a thorough due diligence on providers and only recommended vendors that meet our strict performance criteria.
Want to explore if cloud accounting is right for you?
If you would like to explore whether Cloud Accounting is right for you please contact your usual Hanrick Curran Adviser or call one of our Business Advisory specialists, Nathanael Lee, Matthew Beasley, Tony Hunt, Jarryd Lazzarini or Simone Gordon on 07 3218 3900.
Please note that this publication is intended to provide a general summary and should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal advice.