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Small business accounting software not available over the internet (or cloud) almost seems pointless these days. After all, just about everything you do is online – and you constantly need to stay in touch with your business while on the move. Desktop-only accounting software is somewhat archaic and can actually take longer to use, while cloud is all about saving time and money.
What is the Cloud Anyway?
Cloud accounting software is like online banking. You access the data online and there’s no need to download. Everything is updated in real-time and accessible whether you’re on your mobile device, laptop or a friend’s computer. You don’t need your computer’s hard drive to work as the central hub of your business accounting.
Cloud Accounting is Cheaper – Most of the Time
In most cases, cloud accounting is cheaper. Sure there are those random products out there that cost a fortune, but for the most part, you can get away with a decent accounting program for under$20 per month. With cloud-based systems, you don’t have to worry about purchasing multiple licenses (each at a few hundred a pop) or creating your company network just so everyone can access the software available only on desktop.
There are some programs out there that can cost over $50 and even over $100 per month, but these are often more advanced accounting programs that integrate inventory controls, POS systems, payroll processing and more. Make sure you understand what you are paying for before assuming it is too much.
If you’re looking for something affordable, we recommend first looking at QuickBooks Plus, WorkingPoint or even Xero Accounting.
I See, You See, We All See in Real-Time
Everything is in real-time with cloud based programs. If you update an expense, it shows to everyone else in the company. When a transaction is automatically downloaded from your bank, that is available in real-time too. No more conflicted copies of the same accounting file and everything you see and do is immediately accessible to others that have access to your software as well.
Accessibility and Collaboration
Most cloud-based programs come with unlimited users as part of their account while others require you to upgrade for unlimited access. Even those that limit you will still give you anywhere from three to five access points – not including your accountants.
That being said, almost all of them come with mobile accessibility. That means while you are leaving a client’s jobsite you could literally create an invoice, send it, and then track associated expenses without firing up your computer. You could even snap a picture of the receipt and store it via the mobile app.
Security and Data Restoration
Imagine you have all of your company’s financials on a single computer. You back up occasionally to an external or maybe even a cloud storage company. But, disaster strikes and you haven’t updated your books in the cloud for more than a week. Even though you can restore up to a certain point, you are going to lose hours (if not days) restoring or re-inputting the other data lost.
If you weren’t diligent about backing up what-so-ever, well…you know how that will go.
Cloud-based accounting takes away the risk of losing your data, because everything is automatically backed up. Lose your computer? No worries. Desktop crashed? Who cares! It’s all stored on the cloud – and with excellent, bank-level encryption and security in place.
Bottom line, cloud-based accounting is the way to go. At Revuezzle, we personally use cloud-based accounting and we have also tried, tested and thoroughly examined some of the leading names in cloud-based accounting (see our reviews here).