Cloud accounting is the practice of recording, summarizing and analyzing financial transactions relating to your business, using cloud-based software.
Put simply, the cloud is a streamlined way of storing all your data and accessing all of your dynamic business applications online, from anywhere. Cloud applications are supplied to you under a software licensing and delivery model known as SaaS (software as a service), which really means ‘software on demand’. You access these kinds of applications simply, through your web browser. Examples of cloud providers are Amazon AWS, Apple iCloud, Google, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure, and there are many more. So if you have dreams of working from a beach or from your boat or simply getting more flexibility into your working locations, moving all your important systems into the cloud are the only way to go.
Cloud accounting has all the functionality of desktop accounting software, but with the advantage of:
- Improved data security and business continuity
- Ability to access the system from anywhere
- Improved integration with other business applications
Why switch to cloud accounting
If you have a lot of manual tasks going on in your business, it is almost certainly limiting your growth. Manual tasks waste your all-too valuable time and money and do nothing for your productivity or your image. Entreflow was one of the first Canadian cloud accounting firms to move their clients’ business applications online. It’s one of our Secret Weapons and can be one of yours. This is because as soon as all of your business transactions such as sales, bill payments, inventory, employee timesheets and so on, feed into cloud-based systems in real-time, you start benefiting right away.
Benefits of cloud accounting
You may have started seeing some of these 12 top cloud benefits in your business already while you’re in transition. Or you may be trying to convince your team to get familiar with new technology, and need proof points. When you get it all done, there’s no reason why you can’t check off every one of these items below.
1. Eliminate errors
People make mistakes sometimes. When you’re storing your files via a manual, physical system, it’s not only tedious but also prone to errors. Let’s not forget the duplicated files and junk items, which makes it so easy to make mistakes. You might find yourself working on the wrong version of a file, plus you’re paying for unwanted storage space.
You can get rid of manual tasks across the board, because of integration between systems. For example, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software used by accounts payable can pull bills to be paid regularly error-free and as soon as they are received, or regular recurring items can be auto-posted.
2. Get more efficient
Surely you want to spend time growing the business, rather than solving complicated data storage and access problems. Manual systems are only as good as your bookkeeper’s and team’s ability to get to tasks quickly and accurately. Implemented well, cloud accounting software makes your operation run seamlessly and eliminates all that wasted effort and lost time. There’s no need for complex installation and software updates either, as that’s done automatically for you.
Here’s a couple of efficiency examples that may have been causing you some pain so far:
Instead of being in a drawer, or shoebox (yes it still happens), receipts and invoices are permanently attached and available to view within the cloud software. This gives you easy access for reference at any time, perhaps for year-end, or in the case of an audit.
You can integrate applications for employee expense reimbursements. This is a sure-fire way to reduce lost or missing receipts. On the plus side for employees, they can get their business expenses entered accurately, approved easily, and paid quicker.
3. Keep your data secure
Whatever kind of business you’re growing, your data could be under threat at any time. When you completely digitize your infrastructure, you get peace of mind because all of your data is secure. You also eliminate physical loss because there are no storage devices to get lost or damaged.
4. Manage costs
The most obvious plus when you move to the cloud is measurable cost savings. For starters, you don’t have the expense of physical storage and maintenance. This means no more paper, no piles of paperwork, and no more paper storage. You’ll also see reduced hardware costs, no need for a large IT department if you need help, and reduced storage, backup and disaster recovery costs as well. When you add in reduced errors, and better productivity, you’re on to a winner. The beauty of cloud storage is you can buy virtual storage across all the platforms and only pay for what you need at the time. This puts you firmly back in control.
5. Easy team collaboration
When the Entreflow team was putting this Blog together, several of us could look at it and update the file at the same time, regardless of where we were in the world. And because there were no duplicate or out-of-date versions, it made our collaboration really efficient. Why’s that? Because it’s stored in the cloud – in this case on Google Drive – and we could all collaborate simultaneously, or separately, with the confidence that we were working on the same, current, version.
6. Simple integration
Talk about streamlined! Cloud systems offer simple integration with other applications. They also have nifty add-ons which make end-to-end operations seamless and fast. For example, you can install a payroll management add-on, or integrate it with your HR systems. We could go on, but best to ask us for more examples.
7. More flexibility
As many of us have been forced to work away from the office during the 2021 pandemic, you’ve already figured out that you don’t need to be in the office to access cloud storage. Access your files while you’re travelling, from your bedroom, or anywhere that has internet access. Flexibility is a great reason to get everything online and in the cloud.
8. Automatic updates included
Most business applications come with auto-update features. They’re also included with the application or storage license. You don’t need to get access to technical support departments every time that there’s an update or pay for a new version. Additionally, SAAS-style cloud software operates on a different development style, i.e. rapid development. Rather than one to two large releases each year as is common with desktop-based applications, cloud software will launch smaller features regularly, allowing you to gain the benefits more quickly.
9. Better navigation
So much work has gone into creating user-friendly applications and interfaces, that navigation has become almost intuitive. There are prompts, ‘click-me’ buttons, dashboards, and appealing layouts. When use is as straightforward as this, your team becomes that much more productive, accurate and fast. Everyone can be freed up to spend time on solving more complex business issues.
10. Access anywhere
You can get to your cloud technology from any device that’s connected to the internet. So, if you’re using storage technology like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive for example, and you save a file on your desktop or laptop from the office, you seamlessly open the same document from your mobile device when you’re out and about.
This will be good news for anyone who has unpredictable growth patterns and needs tight control over budget expenditures. Cloud computing is very much ‘on demand’, and cloud systems are scalable, both quickly and easily. All you do is pay a fee to the cloud provider, and you can scale up (or scale down) the amount of storage you need at any time.
12. Community support
You’re never really alone in the cloud. Sure, all applications have ‘Help’ buttons which are a good place to go first. If you’re a new user and have a lot of questions, you’ll find the user community forums a great place to go. Other users are always keen to help and have almost definitely faced similar initial questions like yours.
What other applications integrate with cloud accounting software
If you’re new to cloud computing and business applications, or even if you’ve already started and have hit some roadblocks, Entreflow has got you covered. We can recommend the right accounting systems for you, based on your current and future needs, and we can provide implementation services to get you on track for massive returns on investment. Most of the time this involves selecting an ecosystem of integrated apps that feeds information into your accounting software.
Check out the quick descriptions of a few recommended third-party business applications below. There are a lot more, and we’ve worked with many clients to provide a streamlined implementation process required for these systems, as well as using them ourselves at Entreflow.
Hubdoc takes all of your physical documents, scans them, and accumulates them into data. This data can then be organized and distributed to your other integrated applications as needed. So, the era of files, paper contracts, and printed statements is in the past. You can go completely paperless.
This app is a relatively easy-to-use management reporting and financial analysis tool, which helps you to assess business performance, monitor trends and identify improvement opportunities. Fathom helps you provide creative and compelling business analysis and reports. For you, that means huge business insights, made easy.
Jirav is an all-in-one FP&A financial forecasting software with departmental budgeting, reporting, and dashboards.
We love veem for their smooth transfer of payments, and it avoids intermediary bank networks. Veem transports payments through cutting-edge blockchain technology. One-touch payments, therefore, allow a single charge-back per transaction. Fewer touches mean fewer fees and faster payments.
This is an online inventory management system that gives you instant visibility into stock levels and order status, for up-to-the-minute tracking of inventory. Having accurate information and robust automation processes saves you time and keeps you in the know.
We have a lot more to share on Saas, software implementation process and business and accounting systems, and are keen to bring you into the fold. Let us know how we can help you by reaching out to us through the live chat button at bottom right.
Get help with your cloud-accounting ecosystem
Entreflow has implemented cloud accounting systems hundreds upon hundreds of times. Check out our accounting software setup services or talk to one of our accountants in Vancouver or accountants in Toronto.