Posted on: 20/04/2017
Michelle Dale is a manager and VAT specialist, and has nearly 15 years’ experience of working in the financial services industry, two of which were spent at HMRC.
Michelle coordinates our cloud accounting services. She has transitioned a number of our clients to cloud accounting, and continues to support them.
Online access to bookkeeping and accounting is rapidly becoming the must have accounting service model for SMEs. Suited to businesses in virtually any sector, cloud accounting gives you instant access to your key financial information on any device, wherever you are in the world. If you’re thinking about setting-up cloud accounting, it is important to consider some of the below points in order to get the most out of the cloud. We would also strongly advise that you discuss the move with your accountant, who should be well placed to identify the best software for you based on your needs.
1) Plan your approach. Before you start, be sure to outline your objectives and what you want to achieve through the use of cloud accounting. There is a lot of information available about best providers, as well as a whole host of add-ons to consider. If you clearly define how you want to utilise cloud accounting, you will avoid signing up for an add-on that you don’t need.
2) Find your match. Once you’ve identified what you want out of cloud accounting, you will be better positioned to select software that suits your needs. If you already have an existing ecommerce platform, it is important to consider how that will integrate with your chosen cloud accounting software. The choice should come down to the specific needs of your business, the accounting experience of the users, and your personal preference regarding the user interface. We provide a few further tips on our website to help you select the product that is right for you.
3) Make sure your internet can handle it. Is your preferred product available offline? Does your company have sufficient bandwidth to handle hosting the cloud? It is important to check the internet requirements before you sign up to a software contract. A robust internet connection will ensure that your software operates efficiently to give you the best experience possible.
4) Know what your costs cover. It is relatively easy to become bamboozled by pricing structures when searching for the right software. Make sure you know what’s included in your package. That way you will avoid any nasty surprises, and won’t have to pay for any additionals that you thought were included. Most cloud packages and add-on providers work on a monthly subscription, but offer discounts for 12-month sign ups. By getting this right from the start you will be able to factor your accounting costs into the cash-flows, and make the most of any savings.
5) Make the most of training. Like any new software, when you first start using cloud accounting it can be quite daunting. As you start to use it on a daily basis, questions will arise and it’s helpful to know that support is available. Whether through your software company or your accountant, it’s reassuring to know that you are supported.
6) Maximise your capacity for collaboration. Cloud accounting allows you to collaborate with your finance team and share data with your accountant/bookkeeper. This combination of real time cloud technology and your financial adviser’s expertise allows you to get the advice you need when you want it. Make sure you use it!
7) Take advantage of your online storage. The majority of cloud accounting packages have the facility to raise and retain copies of sales invoices online, whilst also being able to e-mail them to customers. This saves on postage costs and space in the office. Similarly for purchase invoices, you are able to scan in the invoice and attach to the transaction. The most common cloud accounting packages are HMRC approved.
8) Secure your data. One of the most common concerns when it comes to cloud accounting is data security. However, storing your data in the cloud actually increases your levels of security since the data resides in the cloud rather than on your hard drive. Most cloud accounting packages also involve a two step login using a random code generator (like most online banking) meaning that should someone hack your password the data is still inaccessible.
9) Think beyond the finance function. A common mistake when moving to cloud accounting software is to consider it only from a finance perspective. The reality is that there are many efficiencies that can be made beyond finance, whether that’s stock control, point of sale or rota management. It’s therefore vital to contemplate how all operations of the business will be affected by cloud accounting, and how this will impact on all employees’ roles and responsibilities, not just those in finance.
10) Be ahead of the game. In a world where we want instant access to our data and expect instant responses to our questions, there’s no doubt that cloud accounting is the future of finance. Such a fundamental change can be a scary prospect, but the benefits of a successful transition both in terms of time and money can be vast. The earlier you and your team start to on board to cloud accounting, the more comfortable you will be using the software, giving your business a competitive edge.Go back to Top Ten Tips