It may sound futuristic but in fact web based accounting , in the cloud, is now a reality for many small and medium sized businesses around the world. For many it allows them to delegate a non-core activity and reap the full benefits of outsourcing. Yet, I’ve been surprised how few local businesses in Birmingham have embraced the major advantages offered by ‘the cloud’.
Over my twenty odd years in the accountancy profession I’ve been searching for a solution to an age old problem and I think putting your accounts in the cloud is the solution.
Let me explain.
The main tool of our trade, as accountants, is the financial information provided in a company’s accounts. The problem is that this financial information is very often inaccurate and provided too late to allow us to use it to advise business owners.
Inaccuracies creep in when data processing errors are made by client staff, through lack of knowledge or training, and businesses end up paying their accountants to correct these book-keeping errors rather than focusing on the advice needed to improve the position of the business.
For most small and medium sized businesses, without an experienced finance manager in house, financial information, in the form of management accounts, is produced and reviewed quarterly at best. The result? You’re always looking over your shoulder, at the past, when trying to make decisions about where to go in the future.
When I first came across online accounting, in the form of Xero Accounts , I have to admit to being a little sceptical. Why use a web based application? How would it benefit my clients?
I soon realised cloud accounting, in fact any software that’s accessible via an internet connection, can help revolutionise the way a company does business. And it also provides a solution to my age old accountant’s dilemma. Now I can help clients by spotting data processing errors sooner and provide on the spot advice and training to prevent such errors reoccurring. The online access to real time data means advice is based on up-to-the minute information, about what’s happening in the business now, not what happened 3, 6 or 9 months ago. I can add real instant value to a client, rather than being seen as a necessary evil.
The added beauty of cloud accounting is how cost effective it is. In most cases there are no up-front cost for the software, in the case of our Xero Account Service a monthly fixed fee covers online access to the software for an unlimited number of users, full accountancy support plus year end statutory accounts filing and tax.
As you’ve probably gathered I turned from ‘cloud’ sceptic to advocate pretty quickly and when you see what’s possible with the kind of accounts software that’s available in the cloud I think you will too.
Chartered Accountant Birmingham