One of the biggest lessons most businesses have learnt over the past few weeks during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis is how much heavily reliant we are on information technology (IT) and our need for online access to business records whilst working from home.
Many businesses have had to make changes to their IT infrastructures and adapt for remote access to systems. As accountants, we are concerned with our clients’ access to financial records for performing various accounting functions, and we have found the use of cloud accounting to be hugely beneficial as we take full advantage of the features available.
Below is a detailed update on our previous cloud accounting article (which can be found at the following link – https://www.invicta-accounting.com/blog-post/benefits-of-cloud-accounting-for-small-business/) relating to its use as a crucial tool for businesses in general, but also especially during these unprecedented times which have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Features of Cloud Accounting
The essence of cloud accounting is in the use of accounting systems based “in the cloud” (i.e. web-based) rather than having these systems “installed” on local computers or laptops. As can be seen from the benefits listed below, this inherently removes the need for servers and data storage as all information is stored on the internet.
All that is required is online registration of an account through the websites of various providers of cloud accounting software platforms (some of whom are listed below), and then you have full access to the features available. Cloud accounting enables you to access various finance functions of a business, including customer invoicing, supply chain management, banking, payroll, and financial and tax reporting.
Most of the platforms are also accessible via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, where “mobile apps” can be downloaded, and you can gain access to accounting records on the go.
Examples of Cloud Accounting
The most popular cloud accounting software platforms include QuickBooks Online, Xero, Sage Cloud Accounting, FreshBooks and Kashoo, to name but a few. They all provide online / web-based accounting platforms for various sizes of businesses, with some emphasizing on the ease of use and user-friendliness for small to medium enterprises.
As cloud accounting is web-based, good internet access is essential, ideally broadband although you can get by with 4G access.
The cost for access to the platforms is also an important factor as most are priced differently depending on the features required, however at reasonably better rates, taking into account all of the benefits associated with cloud accounting. Most providers price their packages such that users pay a fixed fee on a monthly basis for access to the platform as well as free support.
Benefits of Cloud Accounting
As you would expect set-up is straightforward with online registration. At this stage you will select a username and password, this guarantees security of your data, however you would need to ensure that your device is sufficiently secure to prevent unauthorised access in case password are stored thereon or in emails.
The benefits of cloud accounting far outweigh those of traditional accounting, especially in these times when lockdowns and social distancing measures have been enforced due to COVID-19. The relationship between an accountant and its clients has increasingly become more convenient due to the benefits that both parties can reap from cloud accounting. Remote access is made simpler, eliminating the need for the accountant and client to have “face-to-face meetings”, as both parties can access and discuss accounting information instantaneously and remotely.
Some of the benefits of cloud accounting are listed below, however this list is not an exhaustive:
What can Invicta do for you?
- Remote access to accounting information 24 hours a day for all authorised users on any compatible device with internet access; gone are the days when one user is required to “log-out” for another user to access and make changes the same piece of accounting information; and there is no need to be “in the office” (you can access accounting information from the comfort of your home).
- All accounting is updated instantly, therefore a business can get their most up-to-date financial position or performance in real-time.
- There is no need for installation of software application on computers or laptops, and any inefficiencies associated with software version updates are eliminated.
- The risk of losing data from the “system crashing” is eliminated.
- There is integration of cloud accounting platforms to various external online facilities, e.g. online banking, online government services (such as tax and VAT returns filing), online payment platforms (such as PayPal or GoCardless), to name a few. This enables you to update your bank balances and transactions online, perform instant bank reconciliations online, submit tax returns online, pay bills online, etc. all by just the click of a button from within the platform.
- The need for data storage space and back-ups is eliminated as all information is stored securely on the web.
- Complete management of the business’s sales process, including invoicing and debtor management. Emails can be automatically sent to customers with invoices and statements, and payments can be made by customers instantly from the emails received with links to the integrated online payment platforms.
- Through the use of “Receipt Capture” features, expense receipts can automatically be uploaded into the platform and accounted for instantly.
- The use of “paper” is reduced significantly as all information is stored online.
Invicta Accounting is an extensive user of cloud accounting. Our team of qualified accountants have extensive knowledge of features available within the various platforms that use it. We can provide you with advice on those features you can make use of that are most relevant to your business needs. We perform all accounting functions for you using cloud accounting, from bookkeeping to preparation of company accounts to filing of tax returns, making full use of the features available in the platforms we use. We give you access to your online account so that you can view the status of your business finances are any given time. Because of the benefits associated with remote working, we can meet all your accounting needs with minimal face-to-face interaction (especially in long distance situations), but still maintaining a high level of service delivery for your benefit.
Call Invicta Accounting on 01624 672358 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation or if you require further information.