If you’re looking for an easy way to do your accounts, then you’ve probably read about cloud accounting. Over a quarter of UK SMEs now use cloud accounting due to its benefits in security, flexibility and reduced overheads. But what is it, exactly?
What is the cloud?
The cloud is the name for web-based software. Think of Netflix or online banking: you don’t download anything, you just access it from your device. That’s the cloud.
Cloud accounting software is stored on a remote server in a secure location. This means you don’t ever have to download anything onto your computer, which is a great way to enhance the flexibility of your business. Rather than being tied to one desktop in your office, you can access and update your accounts from anywhere, on any desktop or device – even from a mobile app.
It also means that, if your computer crashes, you don’t lose your accounting data as it’s all stored remotely.
Why choose cloud accounting?
So we already know that, through the cloud, you can access and update your accounts from anywhere. It’s one of the major benefits, but what are the other advantages of cloud accounting software?
- You don’t have to install and maintain software on individual desktops. The maintenance is all done for you on our end – you just log in and get on.
- There’s one remote version of the data, so everyone with permission is looking at the same thing. This is perfect for avoiding confusion, even if you’re all working from different offices.
- The software is updated in one place, meaning everyone is updated at the same time – no more working on different and outdated versions.
- There’s real-time reporting, which means balances are more accurate up-to-the-minute.
- Courting international clients? Cloud accounting is better at handling multi-currency deals than standard software, with exchanges rates kept up to date.
Cloud accounting basically keeps everything streamlined. Need to double-check figures on your way home? Do it on your phone, and any amends will be on your desktop software in the morning – no double entry.
With cloud accounting, you’re always working from one place, no matter where you physically are.
One of the key strengths a small business has in today’s markets is its agility and ability to react to the market. It makes sense to adopt an accounting system that emphasises this.
Save money with cloud accounting
For many, accounting takes up time and effort and can be quite costly – especially when you’re paying out for software, hardware, IT support and other overheads.
The best cloud accounting software fits right in with your existing hardware – whether that’s your desktop, your tablet, or your phone.
There’s no need to fork out for expensive equipment or hardware. Neither do you have pay to install and maintain software on individual desktops. There’s just one subscription fee for the service. Updates, maintenance and other running costs like IT care are absorbed into your subscription so there aren’t any unexpected payments due.
Is the cloud secure?
Placing your trust in something intangible and “up in the sky” can be difficult to do. And it makes sense to question the security of a new technology before you invest in it.
At KashFlow, we offer the same level of security as internet banking. This includes full encryption for data in transit, a zero-downtime and firewalled server network and 24/7 security monitoring for our cloud services.
Storing your data on external servers offers plenty of security features. Foremost, it means your data will survive even if your personal device crashes. If your computer goes kaput, your data survives.
With backup servers, you can still access your data should anything happen to the primary server (like a fire or crash). Any reputable cloud accounting software absorbs this into the initial cost, so you’re not shelling out for extra copies of your data. They’re just there if you ever need them.
Sharing data between multiple users is also more secure using the cloud. Just use a secure password to access the data. There’s no need to rely on a flash drive that risks crashing or getting lost.
Furthermore, cloud accounting leaves no trace of financial data on company computers, so if your device gets misplaced or stolen – there’s nothing sensitive for anyone to find.
What to look for in your cloud accounting software
Want to join the throngs of modern businesses adopting cloud accounting? You should look for a cloud software that:
- Works across all your preferred devices,
- Uses a secure server,
- Offers real-time reporting,
- Doesn’t include any hidden costs.
Fancy giving it a go? KashFlow are offering a free trial of our cloud accounting software. It’s hassle-free accounting software that takes the confusion out of accounts and gives you the time to run your business.
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Keeping your accounts in the cloud is a great way to stay organised and file your tax returns on time. For more tips on how to keep HMRC happy, read our free guide on VAT reporting for small businesses.