Ask the Experts

PwC Partner Scott McLiver – November 2015

I’ve heard that cloud accounting tools are really helping businesses to be more effective. How do I go about exploring this for my business?

Time is precious to business owners and if you’re busy working on and in a business it can be costly and time-consuming to attend to the administration and accounting aspects of your job.

Cloud accounting tools offer the opportunity to automate and streamline your business’ finance function, whatever that may be.

Bank reconciliations, debtor collection and payables processing are just some of the common, onerous tasks that can be made significantly more efficient by cloud accounting tools.

They allow access to critical, real-time information anywhere, anytime, so you can keep track of the things that matter when it suits you.

Daily bank feeds flowing straight into your accounting system so you no longer have to punch in bank statements, or the ability to automatically send customised reminder emails when an invoice is overdue, means you don’t have to spend as much time doing these tedious but crucial tasks.

You’ll have more time to do the things you’re passionate about – including growing your business – and there are a number of ways you can explore the use of these tools for your business.

First consider this – do you or someone you employ do dull, time-consuming tasks such as manually entering bank statements or supplier invoices?

The answer for the majority of business owners is a resounding ‘yes’, which means there’s an immediate opportunity to help your business be more effective through the use of cloud accounting tools.

Implementing a cloud accounting system with direct bank feeds and a payables automation tool that codes, creates and stores electronic copies of supplier invoices are key base-level tools that significantly reduce the time spent on these tasks and are essential to making any business more efficient.
You should then start to think about other aspects of your business that could be improved by automation or integration with your cloud accounting system.

Do you spend valuable time every week emailing customers that have invoices overdue? Do you manage your fixed assets via a spreadsheet which is hard to monitor? Do you struggle to get meaningful reports from your system that go beyond a profit and loss and track the key metrics for your business in a timely manner?

These are common issues and the tools are available now to address them and more. The combination of these tools will build a cloud eco-system that really drives your business while giving you more time to focus on growing and ensuring success

While there is a wealth of information available on the web, it is recommended you talk to your accountant or trusted business adviser because they can help with deciding if moving to the cloud is appropriate, which cloud accounting tools are right for you, and to assist with any transition if required.

They can help to bring an independent perspective on your business processes and identify what tools may be the most appropriate for making your business both more effective and successful.

As published by Fairfax in November 2015.

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