For a man who makes his living online, I’m probably overly fond of not being connected. Some businesses seem ambivalent about the internet, too, if the prevalence of desktop-based accounting software is any indicator. The rational part of me sees that it’s not a great setup, though. Having years of financial records living on the office PC sets you up for bad times.
Instead, cloud-based accounting can offer you everything you’ve got now and much more. As a shocking twist, it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg, either.
Keeping costs down
Clearly, this is what making decisions about your business come down to. Let’s look at a simple example to start – QuickBooks vs QuickBooks online.
An installed version of QuickBooks is going to set you back $200 from Amazon, while a year of QuickBooks Online is going to cost you $270 (six months at $18 and six months at $27). You’re going to pay $70 to take your accounting online, which is going to give you access to automatic backups, bank transaction downloads, and multiple users.
Maybe you don’t need all those whistles. If you’re already in the basic-level accounting camp, why not just jump on board the Wave Train, and pay nothing? You can have cloud accounting for no money, because Wave will show you ads while you work. That’s it.
However, if you’re paying for those extra features on top of your desktop installation, you’re going to be out another $250 over the course of a year. That means switching to the cloud could be saving you cash.
It’s a matter of access
When you switch over to a cloud-based accounting system, you’re no longer going to be tied to your desk – well, unless you’re being robbed. Financial chores won’t require your physical presence, though. Being able to access your data remotely gives you more options with how you manage it, how you update it, and who can use it.
When your data is in the cloud you can manage it on the road. Cloud-based data can also be tied into more software options. That means you can use your accounting app to enter receipts while you have them in your hand. And you can have your sales folks update their costs while they’re on the road, meaning you can always see your most up-to-date numbers.
You’ll also make it easier for your accountant – assuming you’re the kind of business that needs an accountant – to login and make sure everything is running smoothly. Keeping your accounting on a local PC is like running out of gas. It might never be a problem, but if it is, you’re going to on the side of the road for a while.
Never worry about management
Now that you can get to your account from anywhere, you’re going to have plenty of free time to download, install, and learn about the newest version of your accounting software. Or maybe you can use that free time to back your accounting data up. Or maybe you can just go grab a big, fat margarita and watch the sunset, because cloud-based accounting frees you form the need to upgrade software or back-up data.
When we talked about costs, we didn’t even touch on the value of your time. Syncing your bank accounts with your accounting software saves you time, backing up automatically saves you time, and never having to upgrade your software or hardware saves you time. That’s time you can be selling, marketing, or producing.
In short, you can be making money instead of just tracking it.
You can do the math for your business, but given the range of options available, it’s unlikely that cloud accounting will be a bad fit for your business. If you have security concerns, I suggest you read the opinion of some experts before making a choice. Short answer – the big players are generally safe.
The upside to cloud-based accounting is clear and the downside is hard to define.
Header by Rachel Wille
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