While you might be familiar with the cloud, you may not have yet put it to bookkeeping purposes. On the face of it, this can be surprising; after all, many of us routinely use cloud services like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive to store documents or photos.
So, why shouldn't your business transfer its bookkeeping processes to the cloud? Research suggests that many businesses are just unaware of cloud bookkeeping's merits, examples of which are below.
Research highlighted by smallbusiness.co.uk has revealed that 37% of sole traders and micro business owners don't use cloud accounting despite knowing about it. Meanwhile, 27% of the survey's respondents weren't even familiar with cloud accounting. This was despite 75% reporting their use of the Internet, software, apps or the cloud for business banking.
The picture painted overall is that, while there remain a minority of businesses utilising cloud accounting, those companies that do use it can vouch for its usefulness. For them, it spares both time and fuss - and could do for you, too.
Right now, you - or an accountant you have hired - might be accustomed to recording financial transactions through using accounting software that is installed on a single computer's hard drive. This arrangement can be inconvenient for several reasons...
One is that the software left on only one computer is not readily available to other key people - and, thus, neither are the records that this software contains. You could install the software on other computers, but that would be time-consuming - as would updating the software that is already installed. Backing up the data can also be an expensive and complicated endeavour.
However, all of these problems would be solved if you made the leap to cloud bookkeeping. This is because both the software and data would be stored in the cloud, which could be accessed online at any time and from any device. Therefore, multiple people within your business could easily access the software as necessary - even when they have not a PC, but instead just a smartphone, at hand.
Once you have established that your company will leave the drawbacks of more standard bookkeeping behind by switching to the cloud alternative, you will have the task of deciding exactly which cloud bookkeeping software product to start using.
Your attention might be initially drawn to Intuit's QuickBooks Online, which a spectrum of businesses - from startup to established outfits - can effectively utilise. However, there is also Xero cloud accounting software, which you can use to speed up payments by setting up direct bank feeds and accepting online payment services such as Stripe, PayPal and even Apple Pay.
Xero accountants can be hired from the Leeds-based cloud accounting practice Accounts Lab, which offers the Xero software in a comprehensive package available for a fixed monthly price. The software's inclusion in this deal lets the practice's clients save £27.50 monthly.