What Is Cloud Accounting?
One of the most exciting changes in the accounting industry is cloud accounting. Cloud accounting is a general term for several types of accounting solutions, all of which have in common one thing: The accounting system is accessible via a remote server that is connected to the internet, but in a private, secure space that only authorized users can access.
In the past, accounting systems software programs such as Intuit QuickBooks® have been located on a small business owner’s own private PC or a private server within the small business. This allowed one or more employees within the same physical location access to the accounting software. Access to a “desktop accounting system” was limited, especially if the small business added additional business locations and/or needed outside consultants such as bookkeepers, tax preparers, or auditors to be able to access the system.
Cloud accounting solves the limited access problem because you can access a cloud accounting system via an Internet browser or a remote desktop connection that accesses the system through a private connection.
Here are the reasons many small businesses are moving to the cloud.
- Anywhere, anytime access to your accounting system.
- Access via all different kinds of computers and devices
- No more software updates or version upgrades
- Tighter security
- Built-in offsite backup
- No more file version errors
As our workforce becomes more mobile, cloud accounting provides a tremendous convenience by allowing users to access the accounting system from any computer connected to the internet.
Yes, that’s right. Your data is more secure in cloud accounting than it is on your PC. That’s because the data centers that provide cloud accounting follow strict security procedures. Some of the security features include:
• Physical security including limiting building access and computer room access with James Bond-like features such as retina and fingerprint scans
• Data security including firewalls, multiple layers of password management, employee training, and much more
• Redundancy of computers and data for disaster recovery
• 24/7 network monitoring
The costs of a cloud accounting solution will vary depending on the following factors:
- The accounting software you choose
- Whether you choose to host a desktop software or choose a SaaS
- How many users need access to your software
- What features you need, and whether you can get them in the core software or an add-on
Some accountants will include your software, hosting, and other technology requirements in a comprehensive price that includes bookkeeping, payroll, controller review, and tax compliance. In these cases, the accountant will likely deal with the cloud accounting vendor and you will not have to manage that relationship. In other cases, the accountant may simply pass on some references to you and leave you to work with the vendor directly.
How to Get Started
Frankly, we’re pretty excited about the possibilities and results we’ve seen with the implementations we’ve done. If we’ve piqued your curiosity about cloud accounting, please feel free to reach out so we can continue the conversation. We can share any specific current success stories of clients we have successful moved to the cloud, and we can discuss our recommendations and costs for a proposed move for your business.