Cloud accounting is rapidly getting the attention of accountants across the world. At first, the Cloud was used for recreational activities, such as storing and accessing music and has since moved into the business world. While we live with the fear of hacking, internet providers and internet services have developed credible reputations in being able to provide secure systems with heavy penalties when things go wrong.
Cloud accounting operates in the same way as traditional accounting software, with some severe cost reduction benefits because there is no need for capital investment in hardware and upgrades, and improved the security of data. Cloud accounting is hosted on remote servers which allows flexibility of working for business employees, secure from tampering, secure from something preventing business operations at the site of the company e.g., fire, hurricanes, theft, power cuts and more.
To become part of this accounting revolution, accountants and finance directors, who have characteristics of being risk-averse, can, mitigate against hazards and have a system that is more effective than traditional accounting software.
Accountants and finance directors are generally good at planning, but it is still worth mentioning. Be clear about objectives and how those objectives fit in with the organization’s objectives.
Ensure that the selected cloud accounting package meets your needs and you do not have to make expensive adjustments. Consider integrating with an existing e-commerce platform that your organization may be using. Ensure that your organization is not in the position that underspecification leads to expensive additional costs. Vice-versa, ensure that you are not over specifying and buying facilities that turn out to be surplus to requirements. Factor in the expertise of the team.
Consider the capability of the internet providers your organization is using, and how team members might be able to access your cloud accounting systems remotely. Establish the bandwidth required to host the cloud and ask about the internet requirements before agreeing to the cloud accounting software contract.
This may seem obvious to expect any accounting expert to do, but just holding accountancy qualifications does not automatically make for a prudent buyer. It could be easy for a software provider to bamboozle finance team and advice from a competent IT expert could prove useful in ensuring that all aspects of the contract are discussed and negotiated before an agreement is formalized. Ask about subscription cost and discount triggers
A reputable cloud software provider should include training as part of their support package. A company can expect a long-term relationship with a cloud accounting customer, so it will be reasonable to agree on a training package that includes ad hoc support, especially during the early stages of using the software.
Ensure that the cloud accountancy package you select allows for the volume of access required by your accounts team. The system should allow you to provide secure access to your business partners, such as external accountant and bookkeeper. Financial decision-making can become swift during critical periods or when determining the returns on a potentially significant contract.
Cloud accounting storage capacity can be vast and often under-utilized. Understand the function that is available for your financial needs. There may be other advantages of using this facility, such as invoice generation, recording transactions, that could reduce paper usage, minimize postage costs and reduce time spent on carrying out and recording financial activities.
Cloud accounting is increasing credibility as a reliable means of carrying out financial activities online. Ask questions about the process for accessing your cloud package. Most services will require a two-stage login process, random code generation and ask about the provider’s back up systems.
While you may be using a cloud accounting package, consideration does need to be given to how this could impact the broader business needs. Most packages can support other functions of an organization such as procurement, inventory management, rota management and sales. Examine how a potential package will impact other departments, and it is reasonable to expect value added to your organizational performance.
Cloud accountancy offers businesses the ability to be creative in how they operate on a day to day business and make strategic business plans. Explore the limitations of a potential package and examine case studies to establish how far you can progress. Change management can often be held back because of fear of risks. However, this technology has provided improvements for businesses. An innovative approach to financial management could make your organization stand out from your competitors by creating financial transactions more comfortable for your customers, and can provide your company a competitive edge over your competitors.