In the old days, all your accounting was done on a disc. You would buy the software on a disc and install it onto your computer. It was self-contained, which meant that as long as your computer was working, everything would run smoothly.

Unfortunately, there were downsides. What if something went wrong? The system may well not have been supported, so if something did go wrong, you had to bring in outside experts to sort things out. Every two to three years, you’d have to make a decision about whether or not to buy an updated disc. And when it came to submitting figures to your accountant, you had to download the information and send it on a separate disc, risking it being damaged or lost in the post.  And if your accountant only ever saw your figures once a year and you’d been inputting them wrong, it wouldn’t be picked up until there was a year’s worth of corrections to make to the annual accounts. The downsides of disk-based applications have led to the introduction of cloud accounting.

These days, more people are switching to Cloud accounting, but mainly because there is no disc alternative any more! The switch happened fairly seamlessly and most people have adopted the new system quite happily. However, there are some people who are still wary of the Cloud; if you’re one of them, it might help to understand the advantages.

How the Cloud has simplified the accounting process

How you input your figures hasn’t changed at all, but the fact that the software is hosted remotely has revolutionised the process, making things a lot easier for all the parties involved for a number of reasons:

  • All information is updated in real-time, enabling a number of users to work on the same file without having to send each other different versions every time it’s updated. The people who need to see the figures, e.g. bookkeeper, MD, can access it whenever they need to. This can save a lot of confusion about what changes have been made as it’s always up-to-date in real-time.
  • It simplifies the year end processes. As your records are updated simultaneously, all your accountant needs to do to access your figures is to log in. They can work on your data, print reports, raise queries and make any adjustments they need to do there and then, speeding up the process considerably. Accountants can also log in at any time to check that everything’s all right, giving companies the reassurance that they’re on the right lines, and for any errors to be picked up early. With permission, we like to check our clients’ figures on a quarterly basis which gives us and you peace of mind.
  • The software is automatically upgraded meaning you’re always working on the latest version.
  • You no longer have to worry about the expensive and bother of security and maintenance as the host companies take care of backups, updates and cyber security. In fact,your data is probably safer on the Cloud as it is encrypted and password-protected, meaning that even if your computer is stolen, all your information remains secure.
  • Cloud accounting is very cost-effective. Although you will have to pay a monthly fee to use the software, in the long run you could still end up saving money on the old system where you simply bought a disc. Your office will spend less on hardware as all your data storage is taken over by the Cloud company, with the added bonus of that hardware not taking up valuable office space; and you will no longer need to employ or outsource IT experts to look after it.