Unlocking the cloud

Cloud accounting

Cloud technology is revolutionising the way businesses capture, process, analyse and report their financial information, the way they run their businesses and even how they engage with their customers.

Not only do cloud accounting systems allow a business to streamline their finance function but they also facilitate a stronger and closer relationship with an accountant or adviser. Five years ago cloud accounting was just in its infancy. Now, business owners have a host of options from providers such as QuickBooks Online, Xero, MYOB Live, Reckon One, and Netsuite to name a few.

Cloud based accounting systems allow flexibility, mobile access and collaboration across multiple users, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is an exciting new world of efficiency and information for private business owners embracing cloud technology.

Five reasons why you need cloud accounting today

1. It saves you money

Automation of data processes is central to any well planned cloud system – from automated bank feeds (including coding rules) to payables automation and debtor collection. Reducing the time spent on manual data processing is one of the immediate benefits of moving to the cloud. With the range of options now available, cloud based solutions can be used by small to medium sized businesses or multimillion-dollar corporations. In other words, the technology can grow and adapt with your company.

2. The ecosystem adapts to your business

A fundamental benefit of most cloud accounting systems is that they are designed to integrate seamlessly with other third party tools or add-ons. This means that cloud innovators and entrepreneurs have a mechanism for solving specific business issues without having to build their own general ledgers. So in addition to your core cloud based general ledger, you can have an industry or task specific add-on tools, for example, that integrates with your system. Think of your cloud based general ledger like your smart phone. Out of the box it’s a valuable phone, camera and internet browser, but after you have loaded the apps which suit you and your lifestyle, the power of that smartphone has increased exponentially. Cloud accounting systems are the same. Developing a strong cloud ecosystem can turbo charge your use of the cloud and unlock a range of benefits.

3. Anywhere, anytime access, on any device

Getting your hands on the key data in a timely fashion is no longer the biggest challenge. Cloud systems mean you can use the cloud to access your accounts via your laptop, tablet or smartphone. They can update information wherever you are, while accessing the most up-to-date version of your business’s numbers. Handy features include the ability to scan or take photos of receipts, which can then be stored with each relevant transaction. By using cloud systems you can have access to information which is accurate up to the day, not the month.

Cloud accounting also allows access to multiple users across multiple devices. This makes it easy for your employees to update the company’s accounts wherever, whenever – and there is only one version, instead of several competing versions.

If real time data is available, accountants and business advisers can sit down with clients and have more of those conversations around what this month’s performance is telling us, how key performance indicators have trended and what action needs to be taken to improve the business. As an example, the lifeblood of any business is working capital and timely, accurate information is critical to its successful management. Although timely information is a big step forward for businesses, it’s still only information. Your cloud system doesn’t tell you how to make better commercial decisions or how to manage commercial risk. You need to ensure that from a management and advisory perspective you have the right people to interpret the data and make better business decisions.

4. You’re not an expert in security

Whether you own a farm or run a supermarket, chances are you don’t have time to keep up with the latest in cyber security. Security breaches are on the rise in New Zealand and across the globe, so it’s no surprise to find that as the number of information security incidents continues to mount, so do financial losses. Findings from our Global State of Information Security Survey show that the number of detected incidents leapt 48 per cent from the previous year and this increase comes at great cost: total financial losses attributed to security compromises increased 34 per cent over 2013. Last year, a study commissioned by Microsoft in the UK found that 60 per cent of small to medium sized (SME) business owners that hadn’t yet adopted the cloud were concerned about security. Interestingly, the same study also found that 94 per cent of SME owners who had adopted the cloud had gained security benefits that they hadn’t seen before with on-premises security measures. These companies do the thinking for you by enabling online identity management, activity monitoring, risk management tools and encryption.

5. The cloud is important today, not tomorrow

The cloud isn’t some futuristic tool. It’s here today and its application and benefits will continue to evolve. Private businesses that are not exploring the benefits of cloud technology and opening the gateway to its possibilities are potentially gifting their competitors an advantage. Wind the clock back 25 or 30 years when businesses were writing in A4 books and 24 columns ledgers. At some point they had to see the value of switching to computers. Today’s economy is quickly approaching a similar point – we can’t risk not using the cloud and some of the opportunities it enables.

Talk to us

To find out more about how to unlock the cloud for your private business, head over to Moving to the cloud, or contact our experts.

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