By: Raymond Tokar, Controller at Donnelly-Boland.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important now than ever to have access to your accounting files remotely. Many people made the change to cloud-based softwares out of convienence, but now people are making the change out of necessity. Knowing that you want to change is the first step, but there are plenty of things to consider before you make the leap. Many accounting systems are now hosted on remote servers through the Cloud instead of a hard drive. The SaaS model securely host all functions of their accounting software on the internet, typically for a monthly fee. This permits users to access real-time data from any location as long as they have internet access. QuickBooks Online and Daxko are two commonly used Cloud-based platforms used by our employees. QuickBooks Online is the predominant Cloud-based accounting software in the industry. There are even several different versions of QuickBooks Online that offer different features to its users as well as scalability to change as businesses evolve. The broad based functionality of QuickBooks Online makes it a viable Cloud-based accounting software solution for almost any industry. In addition to QuickBooks Online, we have seen an increase in industry specific Cloud-based software. Daxko is a Cloud-based accounting software used by many health clubs and community centers. It offers multiple systems that can be used for different aspects of the client’s operations, such as membership, accounting, customer relations and reporting. The use of cloud-based software offers many benefits to its consumers. Accessibility One of the biggest benefits of Cloud-based accounting software is its accessibility. Being able to access pertinent financial information from any location, on any device with internet access, is a huge benefit in today’s fast paced business environment. QuickBooks Online even offers several mobile apps that can be accessed from your smart phone or tablet. Convenience is key when it comes to working with multiple parties, as it allows all users of the software to have on-demand access when they need it. Cost Most Cloud-based software is setup as a SaaS model, which charges a monthly fee to its users. These fees are based on the features used by the client. These costs are normally much less than the one-time, up front expense of traditional software. You also don’t need to worry about buying multiple licenses for all of your different computers and devices. The ability to access accounting data from any location can also cut back on the cost of traveling and offer your business greater flexibility in the way it’s being run. Intuit also states that “Research shows that 3 out of 4 small business get more work done with QuickBooks Online than with QuickBooks Desktop.” Updates Traditional accounting systems require time and money to upgrade. However, Cloud-based systems do not require installations or additional fees when an update occurs. All data is backed up automatically and updates are available in real-time. This also avoids having to purchase new software every few years. QuickBooks Online offers a Feedback feature for users to report issues, features they would like to see and to make comments on existing features they like. This feedback is used to determine what will be included in the next update. Security The absence of a physical location for data storage reduces the risk of data loss and access to information through theft of items such as laptops or paper documents. It is typical for Cloud-based systems to perform several routine backups each day to ensure your data’s integrity. Additionally, each user can be given modified access based on their responsibilities, so they only see the information that pertains to their job responsibilities. This control over the level of access for each user provides an extra layer of security and strengthens internal controls. By improving these aspects of software, accountants are able to work more efficiently and provide a better experience for their clients. The adaptability of access, cost, updates, and security on a Cloud-based platform creates a system that can be tailored specifically to any user’s needs.