You're starting a business. You're scared but really excited. You finally get to be your own boss and focus on what you're good at and be free from office politics, the bureaucracy of filling in endless forms or being sent in all directions. Often the scary bit is dealing with the finances. You've never had to do that part before and it's doing your head in. Well, here's a suggestion. Get your head in the cloud.
Cloud solutions are simply applications that are online, (on the internet), and accessible from various platforms, including computers, smartphones and tablets. Using a cloud application for your accounts has a number of advantages over traditional systems. There are a number of cloud finance solutions like Xero, Free Agent and Kashflow and more. So how can they benefit someone whos just starting up?
1. They are user-friendly and easy to navigate. The interface, (what you see on the screen), is designed to enable even beginners to enter sales invoices and process purchase invoices easily. You instantly see a snapshot of your business when you log in. Dont be fooled by the simplicity. These systems are powerful and in the hands of a professional can speed up accounting processes and produce useful information.
2. Their accessibility from various platforms. Any computer with a decent internet connection, preferably broadband, can access the system. It doesnt even have to be the most up to date or feature-rich computer. An app can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet which enables you to manage invoice and expenses etc. on the move.
3. There is no downloading required to a computer and so no subsequent installation. There is a short set-up process, which is usually straight-forward.
4. As there is no initial installation, it follows that there is no update when a later version is released. Updates are included in your subscription and applied regularly throughout the year. You dont have to wait for up to a year for major improvements.
5. Keeping your accounts data safe is vitally important, but having it online means you dont have to back it up frequently. Not having to worry about having to backup every time you finished and then putting backups off-site or applying extra security is a bonus.
6. Many traditional accounting companies generally dont provide support unless you pay extra, so having your support included in your subscription is a tremendous benefit. Being able to call up any time and not be trying to remember whether youre service support contract is up to date gives peace of mind.
7. Some providers offer discounts if you pay through a partner or reseller, so finding a bookkeeper or accountant partner can be a saving.
8. Providing a back up to your bookkeeper or accountant is a thing of the past as all parties can access your accounts from where-ever they are. No data corruption is likely and everyone sees an up-to-date picture of your accounts instantly. This is a massive benefit and can prevent delays.
9. Some systems allow photos of expenses and purchase invoices to be taken and uploaded to the system once a connection is available, so receipts and invoices are much less likely to be left out or lost.
10. There are many bolt on applications which can be integrated seamlessly with your accounts. These can speed up the flow of work and reduce costs in processing.
11. Most cloud systems allow bank statements to be uploaded or fed in directly from the bank account, so transactions can be paid and reconciled far more quickly than keying in a payment and later reconciling.
There are 5 Things of which to be aware.
1. A decent internet connection is required, preferably broadband.
2. You need to be sure you select the right package for your business, otherwise your accounts may become inaccessible or you cant process all your transactions properly.
3. There is no system restore if a mistake is made and you want to go back to how it was before. There is usually a way around, but these are tracked.
4. Some system dont allow direct printing to a printer. A download is created in the form of PDF or excel file which can then be opened and printed. Its not a big problem, it just takes longer.
5. Not all Banks allow bank feeds directly from customers accounts to cloud systems, but most are on board and the rest will probably follow suit soon, so they are less likely to lose customers who are looking to use a cloud solution.
The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages and many companies are seeing that cloud solutions are the way of the future. Even providers offering desktop solutions have scrambled to launch cloud solutions to keep up with those already available. Start your business accounts in the cloud from the start and then your business success can take off too.
You dont have to take this journey to the cloud alone. Contact me at www.Anchor-Bookkeeping.co.uk and we will discuss your individual situation and find a solution that suits your business.
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