One of the most exciting changes in the accounting industry is cloud accounting. The concept is easy to grasp: cloud accounting simply puts your accounting system in a private space online so that it is fully accessible to you via a browser or a secure remote connection.
Ways to be “in the clouds”
There are primarily two ways to have your accounting system in the cloud. First, it can be “hosted.” This means that the current software you are using on your desktop, such as QuickBooks, does not change. Neither does your company file.
The only thing you do differently once it’s set up is click a different icon to start the software. Once you log in, almost everything else is the same. There are a couple of differences in printer access, Microsoft Excel® access, and some of the other interfaces, but it’s essentially a similar experience.
So if it’s the same, why would you want to move to the cloud? Because it completely eliminates the passing back and forth of the file among you, your CPA, your bookkeeper, and anyone else that needs to update or access your accounting file. No more restores. No more DropBox or YouSendIt downloads. Hosting saves a ton of time because the people you grant access to can login to your file from anywhere; however, it’s not inexpensive.
The second way to have your accounting system in the clouds is to switch to an online accounting system. In industry jargon, this is called SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service. An example of an online accounting system includes QuickBooks Online. However, this software currently has fewer features and will only be right for a client needing a simpler accounting system. As the Online QuickBooks (and Mac) software become more robust each year, ultimately the convenience will win out over the desktop versions—we’re not quite there yet.
Since neither of these choices is perfect for some companies, a wonderful choice is to use Remote Access tools to access desktop versions of QB’s. We use both www.Logmein.com and www.GotomyPC.com with our clients and find that they continue to improve these services every year as well. Remote Access allows us to have access to your entire system or to just your QB’s file—depending on the selection that you make when setting it up. It appears as if we are sitting with you at your desk; and we can demonstrate transactions and/or have mini-classes. We can also access your files; pull them into our system—complete our commitment to you; then drag the file back to your desktop. The capabilities are pretty amazing!
Please consider the following as you make your decision:
There are many benefits to moving to the cloud, online software and/or remote access services; here are just a few of the more common ones:
- Anywhere, anytime access to your accounting system. Companies with multiple locations will benefit significantly from a hosted solution.
- No more worrying about who has what version and whether the changes the accountant made were updated or applied. There is one central file, and multiple people can be accessing it at the same time as long as you have the right number of user licenses.
- No more software updates that you have to apply yourself or wait for. This is done by the hosting provider.
- Tighter security for your data. The data centers typically have multiple state-of-the-art data security controls and must pass a rigid audit, which is far more protection than any small business can afford to provide for their own data.
- Automatic offsite backup for disaster recovery purposes.
Clients’ two major concerns include security, which is covered above, and costs. When it comes to costs, the most important thing to look at is return on investment. Will the time you save be of greater value to you than the costs of hosting or moving to a SaaS? It depends—the answer varies for each client.
Curious about our remote access services?
If we’ve piqued your curiosity about remote access, please feel free to reach out so we can continue the conversation.