Is your head in the cloud?
26th May 2015
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With more and more accounts software providers moving to cloud based products as opposed to desktop programmes, have you thought about moving over?


Many existing and new products are available to businesses to meet their accounting needs. Software as a Service is the jargon. It means you are provided with a solution and access to that solution where you want it and when you want it, and do not have to invest in software packages and hardware.

Some packages are familiar to many, as an upgrade from the desktop model, other providers have started out in the cloud from the beginning.

Sage One
An online version but it is also a dumbed down version so fine for new or small businesses but it won't make the existing Sage Line 50 or Sage 200 users happy. Sage desktop users should be aware that Sage have now increased their upgrade prices for their software in an attempt to entice people over to cloud based versions, so if your current version expires, you will need to consider cloud accounting sooner rather than later, or be prepared to write a bigger cheque.

Kashflow
An online system with added payroll and it links into our statutory accounts software. This has been developed into a full featured accounting system including quoting and estimate handling. It has good debt control features, is not swamped with accounting jargon, has invoice templates and automated invoicing feature, and produces a whole range of reports.

Quickbooks
They have decided that online is now their intended future.  If you have a version that you have loaded on to your server or your desktop you should consider moving to the cloud version. This is cheaper than the standalone software and Quickbooks will move your date to the new system free of charge at the moment.

XERO.com
This has only ever been a cloud based product and there system it so establish links to other providers to ensure you have a full range of additional features; EPOS, Costing, Time and fees and payroll and payment systems to name but a few. 

Most of these products are developing new features and the more the customers demand the more they get. The principle advantages of using an online system are as follows:-

  1. Cost - cheaper than the desktop or server version, this is particularly the case for multiple users of a system. Also costs of the system can be spread over the year rather than up front.
  2. The accounting system can be accessed and processing can take place from anywhere on a variety of equipment - mobiles, tablets, laptops, including MAC and PCS  and at the same time by registered users.
  3. There is no updating of software.
  4. There is no backing up each day to secure your data. The contract includes backup.
  5. The data can be accessed by us as your accountant (when given access) so help is available with no transfer of data or delivering disks.  This means that if corrections are entered they simply appear in the dataset - no end of year journals to work through.
  6. Some of the systems operate from a bank download basis. You set up your online banking to automatically import your statement lines each day so you have only one place to check the balance and who has paid you and one list of correct entries to tick off against your invoices in and out. Kashfow and Xero handle this well.
  7. Kashflow and Quickbook have payroll integrated if you need it and the cost is relatively low. 
  8. There are many linking products. The most popular with clients is Receipt Bank which processes purchase invoices using optical character recognition and involves posting by mail or scanning of a phone app taking a snap shot.
  9. We have transfer of data services to offer should someone want to move.
  10. All software providers now require customers to pay to keep up to date. Not having to upgrade the version is helpful and not having multiple versions is helpful too.
  11. Security is dealt with by encryption and customers maintaining good password security.   


If you would like to discuss cloud based software, or changing your current software package, please do not hesitate to contact us and one of our product champions will talk you through the options.

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About the Author

Karen Crowley

Member since: 11th December 2014

I have worked for Gibbons Mannington & Phipps LLP since 2000 and became a Partner in January 2018.


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