So what is the cloud, why should we do bookkeeping in it and why is it better than traditional bookkeeping software?
First things first… cloud software isn’t really stored up there in the ozone! Anything stored in the cloud is really stored on big servers somewhere in the world. The term “cloud” is generally used to mean that the data can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and an internet enabled device. Think Facebook or Twitter, it’s the same on your phone, iPad or laptop.
What’s the difference between cloud bookkeeping and traditional software?
From a bookkeeping software point of view, this has many benefits over traditional software stored locally on a computer. If your bookkeeping data is stored on your laptop, and that laptop breaks, that’s it, your data is lost. Of course, you may have a backup, but you will need to purchase the software again, load that backup onto your new computer, and begin the whole cycle again. With cloud bookkeeping software you just open your browser on the new computer and away you go. Everything is as you left it.
If updates are needed to traditional bookkeeping software you need to purchase the update from the provider, sometimes at a substantial cost. If you choose not to update your software you don’t benefit from any software improvements, and risk no longer being able to submit compliant VAT returns and payroll submissions. Cloud software usually runs on a subscription basis meaning no nasty upgrade surprises. These are all included in the subscription, meaning you will always be using the most up to date version and your software will remain HMRC compliant. If you decide to move away from a cloud software provider your data isn’t lost, you will be able to restart your subscription and regain access anytime.
Easy accessibility and flexibility
Any device, anytime, anywhere. Accessibility is a key benefit of cloud software. As we already mentioned, the essence of cloud software is that you can use any internet enabled device to access your bookkeeping data. So, if you suddenly remember you promised to send a quote but you’ve left the office, no problem, just log in from home on your home computer and send it. Or you finish a job out at a customer’s premises and want to invoice them right away, no problem, use your mobile phone to send the invoice before you leave.
It will give you back your time
Cloud software uses integrations with other software and your bank to offer automation as a key feature. For instance, by having the bank statement feed in each day you can instantly match transactions on the statement to those in the accounts. No need to download the statement to reconcile. If you use another piece of software to manage appointments and send invoices this can by integrated with the bookkeeping software to seamlessly reflect the changes from one to the other, meaning no more double entering of data. This both saves time and reduces the chance of human error. This time saved means you can get on with doing what you do best, growing your business.
Automation can be taken even further. Imagine a world where you take a photograph of the receipt from a business purchase, this then ends up in your bookkeeping software as a transaction ready to be matched to the bank statement. This is no longer a dream, with the right software set up this is reality.
Collaboration! Get your team working together.
Give the right level of access to the right team members to enable you to segregate duties for efficiency and security. Give your sales team access to just the ability to send out quotes and invoices. Have your bookkeeper enter the supplier invoices and manage the payroll. Reconcile the bank yourself, perhaps you would rather no one else saw the bank statements. Invite you accountant into the data to help with the VAT return submissions and to prepare the accounts. By keeping on top of your bookkeeping you can have conversations with trusted financial advisers to help you make decisions to grow your business based on up to date financial reports in real time.
Cloud bookkeeping software is available for many different types of business, from consultants, to builders, market traders to multi-branch companies. Anytime, anywhere, any device…. Any business.