We truly love cloud-based bookkeeping.
We’re basically evangelists of the cause. The days of installing programs onto your computer’s hard drive are long gone. Everything is in the cloud now. Even the people who still use spreadsheets for their bookkeeping typically use Microsoft 365 (or Google Suite) to back up their work. Cloud computing or storing and accessing data/programs through the internet, is here, and it’s your friend. Most small businesses use the cloud to keep all their essential documents from banking to accounting and bookkeeping.
When it comes to technology in the business space, we like to use shorthand for common things. The two important ones for you to know right now are FinTech (financial technology) and SaaS (software as a service). You have probably come across them in a news article/blog post and wondered, “what the heck is that?”. Well, now you know.
FinTech has been booming over the past few years as many software companies have switched to a subscription-based SaaS model. These include things we used to have to download and install to use, like Office 365, the Adobe Creative Suite, and many more.
It also includes many of the most popular accounting and bookkeeping programs that help with invoicing, expense tracking, customer payments, and so much more. And there are upsides to these software subscriptions. They offer extra benefits like training, webinars, and easier access to tech support. And even with a higher level of data security, they still enable remote access.
Since you can aggregate your data and integrate software, you can get real-time updates. And the best part? Using machine learning and basic AI, you can automate so many tasks to make your life easier.
Security & continuity of your books and financial data
I think we can all agree that keeping your financial information safe is a top priority. The last thing anyone needs is to have to run damage control on the company’s finances. It’s stressful, messy, and costly in more ways than one.
The good news is, cloud-based programs are designed to keep your information safe and secure. Online bookkeeping programs, like QuickBooks and Xero, have security policies in place to ensure the utmost protection of your private, sensitive data. They do this using things like Secure Sockets Layer Encryption and multi-factor authentication. That second one can be a pain, but that extra few seconds verifying that you are whom you say you are is a lot less painful than someone stealing your data. So, we suggest you use it anyway. You get used to it.
What about my shoe boxes?
Anyone who has ever tried to keep track of physical paper (invoices, receipts, even maintenance records!) can probably name a few times where something important got lost or destroyed, never to be seen again. It’s just a fact of life. Or someone spills their coffee on an important document, and suddenly it is illegible. Even files saved to your computer can become corrupted or get deleted. Not only do these technologies keep your information secure, but they also make sure you don’t lose any of it. They have backups, redundant data, and disaster recovery policies in place to make sure your business can continue.
If you are looking to use a cloud-based program for your accounting or bookkeeping, be sure to review their security, backup, and recovery policies, especially if you plan to integrate third-party apps. This information should be easily accessible and, when in doubt, talk to their customer service reps. It always pays to do your homework before making a big decision.
Real-time updates, up-to-date books, and current financial situation
Have you ever sat down to get started on some very important work, only to notice that your computer or the program itself is being incredibly slow? You check the pending updates and, oh look. — There is a list of updates just waiting for you to hit the button to get them going. So now you have to find something else to do because your computer is a brick until it’s finished.
It’s not a fun time.
Thankfully, when it comes to the cloud, programs upgrade and update themselves without you having to tell them to. Even cybersecurity updates and fixes to bugs you may not have realized were there. Sometimes you will even find your program has new features you can start using now. This is much more conducive to productivity than having to repurchase and download/install the latest version of the program. So, you have saved both time and money (and saved yourself from a lot of frustration).
Most of these programs offer tech support for reporting and resolving issues as well. That is an added benefit of your subscription and can save you some tears in the long run.
You can also access your books and any other financial information in real-time (or as close to real-time as possible!) Seeing things exactly as they are at each point in time helps you make quicker, better informed decisions about your business’s future.
Access your books and financial data anywhere
Since all of your information is in the cloud, you don’t have to run home or sprint to your office to check your information. It is easily accessible through your phone or laptop (but only to those who have the correct credentials). That means you can work from anywhere. Your office. A friend’s house. A coffee shop. One of the countless co-working places in your area. The BEACH!!! (Have we mentioned that we love cloud-based bookkeeping??). This ease of access makes it easier to collaborate with your team, vendors, and customers. You can even give your accountant access so they can help keep an eye on your finances.
Word to the wise: never access any cloud-based technology storing personal data or private information using a public wi-fi connection. Even though these programs have high security, it is still always better to play it safe.
Customizable reporting and facilitating the closing of your books
It can be straightforward to make customized reports if you are an expert at macros and SQL. For those of us who have no ideas what those are, you have to ask an IT professional who is an expert to do the work for you. Which costs money.
Good thing the developers of some cloud-based bookkeeping programs made it easy for users to customize their reports with the click of a mouse. No more trying to track down an affordable, trustworthy professional and then waiting for them to do the work. You can do the work yourself in a safe, secure environment.
Because tax season is stressful enough without fighting with programs you don’t understand, these programs can do the heavy lifting for you. You just have to keep your information accurate. This also makes it easier to close your books and share them with your CPA during tax time.
Organization, accuracy, integration, and automation
Using a cloud-based bookkeeping program lets you have a say in how your data is organized. You can choose which programs to integrate to better meet your needs, and they are amazing when they are set up correctly). They help keep your financial data organized and easily accessible to those you choose to allow access. These programs also allow you to automate repetitive tasks, making your process more efficient and saving you time and money.
Here are a few examples:
You use a Point-of-Sale system to track your sales. Integrating that system with your bookkeeping software ensures your sales entries are accurate. It means one less step for you. There are also ways you can enter a vendor you regularly use into your system and set up a process that will handle any payments to them.
All of these solutions are affordable and scalable to the size of your company. And they are certainly a lot easier than trying to keep track of everything in a spreadsheet. It doesn’t matter how organized you are. When dealing with large amounts of data, you will miss something. You have less to worry about this way and can focus on what is important — like actually running your business.
If you want to stay competitive and help grow your business, now is the time to consider switching to cloud-based bookkeeping. Using these programs to their fullest potential can save you countless hours of struggle, saving you money. These programs do cost money but being able to ditch the spreadsheets for something that does your work for you is worth it.
It may seem daunting, but we are here to help you grow your business. Contact us today!