We describe cloud computing as software that’s hosted and held on the provider’s servers not on your PC which means both the software and data can be accessed anywhere from any device.
We are converts to internet or ‘cloud’ based accounting systems and for lots of reasons we are convinced their adoption is a positive and irreversible trend.
If you are considering software for accounting, point of sale, payroll, inventory management, job costing, reporting and analytics or CRM make sure you find the cloud leaders in that space and compare them to existing desktop competitors before making any decisions.
Apart from comparing what the software does, benefits our clients have valued in their choice to move into the cloud include:
- Avoiding server and hardware purchase and maintenance costs, no software upgrades or data migration when you change PCs
- Access from any internet connected device – home, office, road and often tablet or phone
- Multiple users can access the software simultaneously
- No file sharing / sending / upload-download / you-send-it hassles (or re-work when you overwrite the wrong version!)
- Pay as you go pricing which takes the cost risk out of testing software
- Usability, look and feel. Cloud applications are typically easier to use and involve less training time and cost
- Enterprise grade security and back-up
Real time collaboration with suppliers and advisers who can log in and access parts of the software. The obvious application for this is your bookkeeper or accountant who could answer questions or provide advice from anywhere
Connectivity, possibly the most significant future trend. Automated bank feeds, issuing invoices directly into clients’ accounting systems without data entry, suppliers automatically populating your product catalogues for accurate ordering, collecting and benchmarking data and the limitless potential for different software to integrate into a network of different solutions linked and working together in real time.
It’s not just new players that are moving cloud-wards. Stalwarts is our space, MYOB and Quickbooks each have their own cloud-based versions (of varying quality), and even Microsoft Office comes in the cloud these days. Of course the cost, effort and risk of shifting your accounting system should not be underestimated, but if you’re in the market for systems, and currently use a desktop based system, it is an exciting time and there is lot’s to look forward to.