How ‘the cloud’ is impacting on accountants
We are all getting used to how “the cloud” impacts on us in our personal lives, for example storing data such as photos and music on our smartphones that we can access and share from anywhere in the world. While…
Blog28th Jul 2015
We are all getting used to how “the cloud” impacts on us in our personal lives, for example storing data such as photos and music on our smartphones that we can access and share from anywhere in the world.
While accountants could have been accused of not embracing technology as quickly as other industries, times are changing and the introduction of new online cloud-based accountancy software is revolutionising not only the platforms on which accountants are doing business, but also the way in which they interact with their clients. Platforms such as Xero, Kashflow and Sage all provide subscription-based bookkeeping software providing online access to both the accountants and their clients.
One of the major benefits of online bookkeeping software is that many of the banks now provide daily direct bank feeds, allowing the software to receive the client’s bank statements automatically via a secure connection. Since the bank account is always kept up to date on the software, business owners are able to keep on top of their debtors, allowing them to see at a glance which customers’ invoices are outwith their standard credit terms. Some of the software providers claim that their users have reduced the time it takes to get their invoices paid by their customers dramatically.
In addition, some platforms provide applications where clients can access their accounts, check balances, upload receipts and invoice customers from a smart phone or tablet. Clients can send an invoice from their smartphone or tablet the minute a job is done and get notified when their customer opens the invoice. Some platforms even give their customers the ability to pay online right away at the click of a button. All these features allow business owners to improve their cashflow, as it not only makes it easier and quicker for them to send an invoice, but also makes it easier for their customer to pay them.
One of the other major benefits of these types of bookkeeping platforms is that businesses and their accountants are able to see the same data from any world wide location. This allows the business and the accountant to collaborate and, hence, manage the finances of the business more effectively. It also helps the accountant spot any bookkeeping errors in real time, rather than having to wait perhaps until they prepare the next management accounts or year-end accounts.
The emergence of this type of software has seen a huge number of other software developers developing “add-ons” that link in directly. Xero, for example, has over 300 add-ons that interact with its software, allowing, among other things, integrated stock control and project costing.
In addition, clients don’t need to worry about How “the cloud” is impacting on accountants backing up their data or upgrading the software, since, like that on your smartphone, the data is stored securely in the cloud and the client always has the latest version of the software.
The recent massive investment by software providers means that moving to an online world is no longer a leap of faith.