Cloud accounting a means to an end.

Before the advent of cloud accounting, the cumbersome paper based approach was the norm, where paper invoices were prepared and were required to be actually delivered. A single desktop computer held all the important financial and organization records. To analyze the data and have conversations on issues about the owners business on a timely basis was next to impossible. By the time reports were ready the information was not relevant and meaningful decisions could not be taken.

Cloud accounting offers a lot of advantages for small business.  The most important advantage is that the accountant and business owner can work on the system from their own premises and they and several other people in the company can collaborate in real time. It solves many problems of paper based desktop solutions. This system allows several people of a company, to carry out key functions simultaneously and process data and prepare reports at the same time. The concept of cloud involves the use of the internet. Online Cloud software and data is stored and managed by off premise data centers which have systems and processes for better security and performance.

Quick Books Online (QBO) is the cloud accounting software we recommend to all our clients. This is online; browser based accounting software and is one of our primary tools. This software ensures that your business maintains a full double entry set of books and provides meaningful financial reporting at the click of a mouse.

To illustrate cloud software integration, first, the Bank and Credit card accounts are connected to QBO by means of a bank feed through the internet. This straightforward action eliminates a lot of data entry and ensures accuracy and easy bank reconciliations. With this simple integration, transactions are entered into the general ledger and cash book as soon as they happen. To build up your accounting workflow, order processing, invoicing, inventory, receivables, purchasing, expense management and account payables are all integrated on QBO. Companies that have employees will need a payroll system. Finally QBO is designed to manage your documentation and file storage.

There are other online tools called Apps (cloud software) and they seamlessly integrate with QBO. These Apps are all easy to use and are already being used by several of our clients. Each person can carry out their individual functions in the organization using Apps intended for their specific purpose. Examples of some of these Apps are, T Sheets for time tracking, Method for CRM, Expensify for expense reporting, Hubdoc for automatic access to bills and other financial documents and Plooto for sending and receiving business payments.

One must remember cloud software cannot work by itself. Success can only be achieved when people work and collaborate together with these tools and access them anywhere, anytime. Only then can we avoid the pitfalls and provide relevant business advice in real time. We have seen it work for our clients and we know that it will work for other business owners.

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