Remember the days when you used to back-up your accounts onto a 3.5” floppy disk, ready to send to your accountant so they could prepare your accounts for the year? And how often the backup was too large so spanned 2-3 discs and more often than not data was corrupted and required you to send in another copy? Technology has advanced a lot in the last few years, and there are specific advancements that could benefit you (and save you time and money) when keeping your accounting books and records.
People of all ages are now comfortable with using the internet for all manner of uses, and the concept of the cloud – being able to locate and log in to programmes and websites from anywhere in the world, is not only understood by most people, but practiced daily. You might be reading this on your iPhone, or on your desktop PC for example. The same principles apply with your accounts software package.
The traditional problems with CD ROM (disk) based accounts software packages is ensuring that we have the same version as you are using, and in addition, the same updates to that version. If not, then it makes changing data/reviewing your records more difficult. Whilst this is not a major issue, it can cause delay, which is not ideal if you require a quick answer to a question.
Using the cloud and the new wave of accounts and bookkeeping software such as Clearbooks, Xero, QuickBooks online and others, means that with login details and user rights, we can log onto your data, whilst you are on the phone, and see exactly what entries you are referring to. This gives you immediate piece of mind, saves time when we prepare your accounts, and ensures your other returns are more accurate (i.e. VAT returns you are submitting from the programme).
Furthermore, when it comes to your year end, you need only to send in the physical documents that we require, such as bank statements, and we do not need to worry about you sending in a backup on a USB stick and making sure we can load it onto a computer in our office. We can also see data that you have entered in the current period, which often answers some of the questions we otherwise may have when preparing your accounts.
Another time saving feature is the option to import your bank transactions straight from your online banking to the software being used. You can even have a direct bank feed set up to automatically import the data. All you then need to do is match the bank entries to the appropriate invoice.
You never need to worry about a backup again, as all data is saved “in the cloud”. Security is very tight also, and is comparable to the levels used by the banks for their online banking.
Prices vary depending on which programme you use, but are comparable with the cost of updating your software annually for the latest version on CD Rom, as many are used to. The cost is invoiced monthly, which is also easier for cashflow. Furthermore, as a certified training partner for Clearbooks, we are able to offer discounts to the stated prices – again please contact us for details.
It is worth noting that the online cloud programmes offer free trials, so should you wish to give it a try, let us know and we can input some opening balances and run through the programme with you. Or alternatively, you can have a go yourself on the demo data that all of the online programmes have.
We have two certified training partners of Clearbooks in the Sidmouth office, being Duncan Akers and Adrian Coombe, and they can assist you in Sage One, Xero and QuickBooks online also.
For more information contact us directly, or peruse the cloud accounting software mentioned on the following sites: