Even when accounting software came along, it did little to help the smallest businesses. Often more expensive than hiring an accountant, many solutions were tricky to configure and time-consuming to operate.
With the arrival of cloud software, however, small business accounting has become much more accessible, affordable and straightforward. By hosting accounting software remotely and providing access as a service, all of the technical complexity which could make running accounting software suites on your own IT systems a headache has been taken away.
At the same time, while radically simplifying access, cloud accounting software developers have also focused on creating a much more intuitive and friendly user experience (UX), especially in terms of making information easier to understand and more visible.
Here are three reasons why the cloud has proven to be a perfect match for small business accounting.
With traditional accounting, you sent off all your paperwork to your accountant and then had to wait possibly weeks to find out what sort of condition your finances are in. Even with accounting software, running reports has not always been straightforward. With cloud accounting, you can log on and see your latest figures anytime you like, from your office computer, your laptop at home or your smartphone. All you need is an internet connection.
One of the big improvements cloud technology has made to accounting software is the ability to update and view financial records in real time. One of the friction points of pre-cloud accounting software was getting your figures into the system in the first place – you would either keep spreadsheets that had to be manually uploaded, or make use of intermediary databases to manage the flow of data in and out. This could make looking for specific information when you needed it tricky.
By contrast, the latest cloud solutions can be easily configured to plug directly into your sales systems, your purchasing platform, your supply chain management software or whatever else you use. Spreadsheets and invoices can be connected and imported. It will then automatically select and record any financial data it is set up to look for, keeping your books and accounts right up to date. As well as profit and loss and balance sheets, you can generate reports based on any criteria you like, quickly and efficiently. This all helps small businesses make key decisions based on the most relevant information.
As noted above, cloud accounting software developers focus on usability, from simple sign up and set up procedures to heavy use of visualisation in dashboards to make financial information easy to understand. They also add value with extras like automated invoicing and credit control alerts.
For repeat customers and clients, you can schedule invoices to be sent out automatically each month. The system will then alert you as soon as an invoice is overdue so you are always fully aware of late payments and outstanding debts. Some platforms will also generate quotes and estimates based on whatever parameters you set.
Cloud accounting solutions give you more for less. For small business accounting, they reduce costs, improve accessibility and visibility and support SMEs in managing their finances efficiently and intelligently.
At Kay Johnson Gee, our team are trained to use Xero, Kashflow, Sage, Quickbooks and a host of other cloud platforms. To find out more about transferring your accounting to the cloud, get in touch with our team today.