With the rapid growth of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model, more and more applications and derivations of the concept are developing to make them available for business owners. One of the most promising new technologies that is now inching towards the limelight is cloud accounting – a process that hosts the accounting software remotely through the Internet or other network via a cloud application service provider.
In cloud accounting, data is sent to the “cloud”, where the processing takes place. The output is then returned to the user. The software applications are accessed by the user through the internet or any similar network.
One of the main advantages of cloud accounting is that data can be accessed from anywhere on any device with an internet connection. This frees the business from the hassle of installing and maintaining the accounting software in individual desktops, or on the company server. The software allows employees of companies with multiple departments, branches, or sites, to securely access the same data
Cloud accounting also allows the users to have visibility and real-time reporting wherever they are. Collaborative features are also emphasised, and mobile access is greatly improved. Subscriptions to the service are mostly usage based, and updates to the accounting software are provided instantaneously, without any need for additional software purchase.
The following are three of the most powerful accounting services available in the cloud:
Xero cloud computing is an accounting software system that specialises in providing cloud-based features for small businesses. Aside from excellent remote access features, Xero also supports the automatic importation and categorization of bank transactions. A comprehensive dashboard features a unified view of balances, bills, and expenses.
Xero also features the ability to create real-time interactive reports. Invoicing and payment features are also supported.
Marketed by Silicon Valley software provider Intuit, Quickbooks focuses on services for small and medium enterprises. Aside from the standard on-premises accounting, it also launched a cloud-based version of its software. Like Xero, it also supports automatic synchronization of bank transactions. One-click reports and expense tracking are also available.
The software features a US-based support team that subscribers can contact for assistance. The data also stays in sync even with multiple simultaneous updates.
Based in Australia, MYOB (stands for Mind Your Own Business) offers multiple software solutions for businesses, from CRM to tax software (hence the name). Its online accounting software also features bank sync and on-the-go access through a mobile app. Support is available via phone and chat.
MYOB provides services for businesses of any size, and boasts of frequent updates that ensure compliance with government standards.
Is my data safe?
Accounting data is sensitive information. That is why online accounting solutions make it a point to ensure that their services are as secure as (or even more secure than) on-premises accounting. Because the information is sent off-site, people who use individual laptops or workstations wouldn’t be able to access the confidential data.
Any damage to office equipment would not endanger cloud-based operations. Users also have the ability to restrict the access of anyone they share the data with. While on the cloud, the information is also protected by multiple layers of world-class encryption and other security features. This makes cloud accounting the ideal way to go, no matter the type, size, or structure of your business.