Five Ways Online Accounting Programs Make Life Easier for Small Business Owners

by Greg DePersio

3 min read

The evolution of cloud computing has been transformational for the accounting software industry. Once limited to individual desktops requiring considerable manual work, the cloud has given businesses the ability to completely integrate their offices, while seamlessly handling functions, such as payroll, expense reimbursement, and invoicing, with as little as a click of a button.

Cloud computing has turned business environments into much more efficient and dynamic operations, and is quickly becoming a necessity if you want to keep up to speed. If you’re a small business owner considering upgrading to a cloud accounting solution, here are a few other benefits of making the move.

Automatic Data Backup

With traditional desktop-based accounting software, information is stored on individual computers. These systems didn’t have the ability to communicate directly with each other, so if a person’s computer suddenly failed, all data on that machine was potentially lost unless it was backed up manually.

This problem largely disappears with cloud accounting packages. All of your company data gets uploaded and securely stored on servers hosted by the provider, and typically gets backed up nightly. If your computer crashes, all information remains safe, and is accessible on any other computer within your office that has the cloud accounting software. Information stored in the cloud is encrypted so data security risk should be diminished.

Process Automation

Traditional accounting software packages often require a lot of manual data entry to complete bookkeeping entries, prepare expense reimbursements, and manage payroll. Online accounting software automates much of that work.

In many instances, your employees can scan receipts using a computer or mobile device. This facilitates simpler and quicker expense reimbursement since they no longer need to wait to get back to the office. Vendor invoices can also be scanned and paid, automatically saving your company the added expense of paper waste in the process. Most software packages allow you to link bank and credit card accounts so that account and transaction reconciliation is completed automatically. You can easily categorize your business expenses so that financial statements can be prepared with little additional work. Many small businesses spend many hours every month doing manual data entry. A cloud accounting software solution helps eliminate much of that work and makes your company more efficient.

Integrated Employee Access

It used to be that accountants would do their work on their computer, and if any data needed to be shared, it would need to be copied to a common location or burned on a disk. With cloud accounting software, your employees all have access to the same documents, reports, files, and data, making information sharing easy and seamless.

The cloud would allow your employees to have 24/7 access to all company files and be able to do work from almost any location. Folks could work on the same file simultaneously, if needed, and there’s no need to worry about working in the latest version of a file or being fouled up by multiple versions. Accounts and reports can be created and updated in real time. If you’ve got multiple employees working on client accounts simultaneously, online accounting software helps them work better together.

Mobile Accessibility

Cloud accounting software can be accessed from virtually anywhere, and works on a number of different devices. Your accounting system goes with you wherever you go, making this especially beneficial for companies where employees travel often or work in multiple locations.

Most solutions are available on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you have a business meeting with a client, you can expense and invoice onsite. A salesman travelling can submit their receipts via a smartphone and get any necessary paperwork started while they’re on the road. Cloud accounting users are essentially able to bring their entire back office with them wherever they go. It makes for an extremely flexible work environment that links together all employees and clients of your business together no matter where they are.

The Ability to Integrate Individual Solutions

Some online accounting software packages, such as QuickBooks, provide users with a comprehensive system that covers functions, such as payroll, expense processing, and records management. However, some businesses may prefer solutions from different companies for each of those functions. Luckily, this isn’t a problem because many of these systems integrate with each other.

For example, if your business uses QuickBooks but you prefer to use Hubdoc to manage all of your financial documents and Receipt Bank to handle your receipt information processing, you can link both apps together. You can choose the applications that best serve your business needs and link them to help your business run smoother.

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