If you’ve been told recently that you should move your bookkeeping to the cloud, chances are it was by a software vendor who’s selling online bookkeeping software. They want you to change because they can now charge you a monthly subscription, instead of waiting the 3 to 5 years for you to buy the latest version of their product (raise your hand if you still have QuickBooks 2008 installed on your computer!).
But placating a pushy salesman shouldn’t be the reason why you want to change your current system. So, what is? For me, it’s all about accessibility.
Consider these three scenarios:
Scenario One: You have a bookkeeper who records all of your transactions and sends you reports each month. If you have any questions, you have to ask the bookkeeper, and you don’t have any ability to drill deeper into the data. Plus, by the time you get the reports, they are already out of date.
Scenario Two: You host the desktop software on your own computer and the bookkeeper comes to your office to update the files. But what happens when you’re at home and need to access the books? Sure, there are tools to help you access your files remotely, but nothing is as easy as logging onto a website. And don’t get me started on switching between single-user and multi-user mode!
Scenario Three: It’s tax return time and your accountant asks for a copy of the books. From personal experience, it can take several hours of work to backup and restore the file, and confirm that the password and version hasn’t changed since last year. And that’s only after waiting 3 weeks to actually get the file from the bookkeeper. Compare that to the 5 seconds it takes to log into a cloud-based bookkeeping software. If you’re paying your accountant by the hour, that’s a big difference.
Let’s be honest, the people who are satisfied with their desktop accounting software are happy for one reason, and one reason only: they don’t look at their numbers anyway, so why should they care?
Getting the most out of cloud bookkeeping
Whether you’ve already opted for a cloud-based system, or you’re still on a desktop system, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your software.
1. Make sure that the other softwares you use can “talk” to your accounting software.
I don’t mean this in a creepy Black Mirror kind of way, but rather, that the data you enter into these other systems automatically carries over to the accounting software of your choice. I would recommend having a look at Bill.com, which helps you with invoices, and works well together with major accounting softwares like Quickbooks and Xero. Another software I like is Gusto, which can help you with things like payroll, benefits and HR.
2. Get some training on it.
I would recommend asking your accountant to sit down with you and show you how the software works, or attend a class dedicated to the software, either in person or online. Even if your accountant is the one who will be dealing with your books on an everyday basis, having at least a basic working knowledge of your software will be very important when you need to pull up some figures quickly in a meeting.
3. Don’t expect it to work just like your old system.
Nobody likes change. I get it. Sometimes you have to take a step backwards before you can move forwards, and changing your accounting system is no different. Screens will look different, reports will look different, buttons that you are used to seeing won’t be there. Some things will be worse, but (hopefully) more things will be better. Be patient, and you will be rewarded.
If you’re thinking about making the move to a cloud-based accounting software, but you’re not sure what you need or where to start, get in touch with us. We’re always happy to talk with you.