Founded in 2006 in New Zealand, cloud accounting specialist Xero is one of the fastest growing software as a service companies globally. Forbes identified Xero as the World’s Most Innovative Growth Company in 2014 and 2015. Here, Xero explains why online accounting software can be a wise investment if you want your business to work smarter and faster.
Cloud-based accounting software helps small businesses to thrive through better tools, information and connections. It connects people with the right numbers anytime, anywhere, on any device. Working online will give you a better overview of your finances, and improve collaboration with your team.
Cloud accounting software is similar to traditional, on-premises or self-install accounting software, except that the accounting software is hosted on remote servers. Data is sent into ‘the cloud’, where it is processed and returned to the user.
Small business accounting software that is not available via ‘the cloud’ can be tedious and can suck up far too much of your business’ time and effort. This doesn’t add value and can take the fun out of being in business. Cloud software can save your company time and money.
So what is this thing called the ‘cloud’?
Think about when you use Internet banking. Every time you access this data, you’re using the cloud. The cloud is a platform to make data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere and from any device. Your hard drive is no longer the central hub.
This avoids many of the problems associated with traditional accounting software, such as:
- The data in the system isn’t up to date and neither is the software;
- It only works on one computer and data bounces from place to place – on a USB drive, for example. This is neither secure nor reliable;
- Only one person has user access, so key people in the business are unable to access financial and customer details;
- It’s costly and complicated to keep backups (if done at all);
- It’s expensive, difficult and time consuming to upgrade the software;
- Customer support can be expensive and slow.
Why ‘the cloud’ and accounting software are a perfect match
You can use cloud-based software from any device with an Internet connection, which enables small business owners to stay connected to their data and their accountants. Online accounting software can integrate with a whole ecosystem of add-ons. This means that it’s scalable, cost effective and easy to use.
In ‘the cloud’, there’s no need to install and run applications over a desktop computer. Instead, you pay for the software by monthly subscription.
‘Cloud’ security is world class
As a small business owner, you might be concerned about a cloud service provider storing your data, but the cloud is one of the most secure ways to store information. If, for example, you are using cloud software and your laptop is stolen, no one can access your data unless they have a login to the online account. This is where the data lives rather than on your hard drive.
In the event of a natural disaster or fire, business productivity doesn’t have to be affected because there’s no downtime. Being in ‘the cloud’ means that all your information is safely and securely stored off-site. Provided that you have access to any computer or mobile device that is connected to the Internet, you’re back up and running.
In addition to this, if you invite users to view your data, you can control their level of access. This is much more secure than the old-fashioned way of emailing files or sending out a USB stick with your data on it.
Cloud-based software companies ensure that the security and privacy of data about you and your organisation is always airtight. If you use online banking, then you’re already primed to use ‘cloud’ accounting.
Cloud software will therefore benefit your business in five ways:
- You have a clear overview of your current financial position, in real-time;
- Multi-user access makes it easy to collaborate online with your team and advisors;
- Automatic updates mean you can spend more time doing what you love;
- Everything is run online, so there’s nothing to install and everything is backed up automatically. Updates are free and instantly available;
- Up-front business costs are reduced – version upgrades, maintenance, system administration costs and server failures are no longer issues. Instead, these are managed by your cloud service provider.
Work smarter with accessible data in ‘the cloud’
The beauty of cloud accounting software is the flexibility it gives you to run your business from work, home or while you’re on the go. You can be confident that you have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are.
Software updates can be developed and delivered faster and more easily in the cloud. This means you don’t have to worry about installing the latest version and you’ll get access to new features instantly. With cloud accounting software, you have the option to run your business remotely, from anywhere in the world. When data is fluid and accessible, the possibilities are endless.
Sovereign is a Xero Gold partner and we can offer these services through our Hong Kong and Singapore offices. To learn more about Xero’s time saving cloud accounting software, visit xero.com or try Xero for free at https://www.xero.com/signup/