When it comes to managing a general ledger or other basic business accounting tasks, small business owners need a user-friendly, affordable and flexible tool. Any accounting software will provide the basic applications for accounting tasks, but online packages designed for small office owners and managers who want to work in the cloud will help simplify your overall accounting process, improve your efficiency, and make running your business easier.
Here’s a look at five key areas about accounting in a cloud environment that you need to know:
The migration process of moving from your desktop accounting software to a cloud-based option can be time-consuming and labour-intensive. Often, cloud software doesn’t easily migrate data such as US or EURO dollars, so you will need to get assistance from a third party to migrate, and may take a few extra days rather than the typical 12-24 hours. Also, some data may not be transferred at all, so your bookkeeper will have to help manually re-enter data for reconciling accounts. For this reason, it’s best to double-check and cross-reference everything once you’ve migrated. Before you even start the process, you should review the migration steps with your cloud accounting company representatives to avoid any surprises
If you’re just getting started, there will be nothing to migrate, so you can simply start from scratch.
2) Sharing Information with Accountants
The handy thing about cloud accounting is how easily your information can be shared with your accountant for quarterly updates, year-end preparation, file cleanups, etc., Your accountant should be able to easily access your data online, without having to download files and spend time waiting for documents to send.
3) Ease of Use
The 9-5 business world often doesn’t work with the 24/7 lifestyle of a business owner, and cloud base accounting allows you the flexibility to take care of business easily, anywhere and anytime. For a busy business owner, the freedom to work from home and still be able to take care of accounting business can make a world of difference. Look for applications designed to meet both the budget and the needs of a typical small office or small business.
Cloud accounting is an attractive option because the responsibility for behind-the-scenes administrative tasks, such as version upgrades and data backups, is in the hands of the application vendor. This leaves you free to focus on other things.
5) Integrating Other Applications
What is really cool about cloud accounting, is that other cloud-based applications – such as Google Apps (for email, calendars, document-sharing and storage) and Zoho (for contact management) – can be easily integrated using an Application Programming Interface (API) to extend your software’s core functionality. This ability to integrate other products can save you time from not having to re-enter data and information.
Ultra mega-rad bonus: Auto-reconciliation
One of the absolute best things about cloud accounting is the ability to tie in your bank, credit card, and line of credit statements directly into your system. It eliminates virtually all expense entry and will change your life (or at least make your bookkeeper very, very happy).
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