Accounting in the Cloud: Hidden Saas Costs

by Sean Ross

2 min read

Switching to cloud-based accounting reduces the amount of hardware and servers you need on site. Instead, you can simply access the software-as-a-service (Saas) platform through a browser on a device connected to the internet. This helps reduce your IT budget and minimize downtime. However, before switching to a cloud-based accounting system, you may want to consider some of the hidden costs.

Migrating Data

To use your new system, you need to migrate a great deal of information from your old system. This can take hours of your time, eat into your payroll budget, or require you to pay a specialist. Additionally, some SaaS providers charge upload fees for moving files to the system. Make sure you understand these costs before signing up for any SaaS, whether for accounting or any purpose.

Storage

With a cloud-based accounting system, your financial information and accounting records are stored in the cloud. This just means that the information is stored on a third-party’s server. Typically, you incur a monthly subscription fee for this service. If you want to avoid surprises on your bill, it’s important to check on storage thresholds and costs. Depending on the company you select, you may incur greater costs as your storage needs expand.

However, it’s also critical to consider the expenses you may be avoiding by paying for offsite storage. In particular, you don’t have to purchase your own servers, rent space for them, pay for maintenance, or incur related costs. In many cases, these savings outweigh the costs associated with cloud-based storage.

Internet Expenses

To access cloud-based accounting software, you need a reliable internet connection. If you have an internet service to run credit card transactions or for office use, you likely don’t have to worry about this cost, as you already pay it. However, if you anticipate that more people will be online due to moving your accounting to the cloud, you may want to increase your available bandwidth or pay for faster service.

Equipment

One of the key advantages of moving to cloud-based accounting software is that you can reduce your hardware. For example, you can access a product like QuickBooks Online using a tablet, laptop, or smartphone, which can help you save money compared to buying full-sized computers.

However, if you want to give your employees convenient access to your accounting software, you may want to invest in new tablets or pay for mobile phone plans so they can access the platform from anywhere.

Integration

As a small business owner, you likely use lots of different programs such as invoicing software, client relationship management programs, ecommerce platforms, expense tracking apps, and a range of others. Ideally, you want these programs to communicate with your accounting software. However, integrating programs can be challenging and sometimes costly. In some cases, syncing two programs is as simple as tapping a button. However, in other cases, you may have to pay an IT professional to sync the programs or buy an app that facilitates communication between your programs.

References & Resources

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