What is Cloud?
You’ve probably heard a lot about everything moving to the cloud lately. Whether it’s your music library, video on demand service or your virtual office, it’s all living in the cloud, baby! This really just means that data and services are stored and accessed from the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is a metaphor for a giant bank of servers sitting in a warehouse somewhere. ‘Cloud’ has become a bit of a buzzword, but it truly is a useful technology, and not just for storing your Instagram photos of last night’s dinner.
How Cloud Accounting Works
Cloud accounting provides users with the ability to access accounting and bookkeeping services from nearly any modern device with an Internet browser and connection. Now, business owners can upload receipts from the field via mobile phone, which can then be recorded at a later time by a bookkeeper working remotely or by the business owner when she is back at a home computer. Accounting in the cloud gives flexibility to a historically rigid set of services.
Benefits of Cloud Accounting
Ease of Use: Many developers have entered into the cloud accounting software realm of late. They have aimed to provide software that is simple yet powerful which allows users to accomplish accounting and bookkeeping goals while eliminating thick software manuals and steep learning curves. Some software solutions are better than others, but for the most part these systems allow users to get the job done easily and efficiently.
Accessibility: Accounting in the cloud makes it so that users can access their records on a wide variety of platforms. This means that there are no compatibility issues; it doesn’t matter whether you’re running a Windows PC, Mac or a Speak and Spell (ok maybe not that last one). Remote access to reports from anywhere also allows business owners to get real-time feedback (whether that invoice was paid or how much cash is in the account) all while on the go.
Access to Professionals: The nature of cloud accounting gives business owners greater access to their professional team than in the past. The owner can collaborate with the bookkeeper or accountant easily by providing each with separate secure login credentials. This means it will be easier to ensure compliance filings such as payroll or GST are completed on time. It will also allow for any queries to be addressed or corrections to be made by the accountant simply by accessing a set of books via the cloud.
Is it Safe?
It can be alarming to think of your confidential information floating around somewhere in a cumulonimbus, but cloud services providers have taken serious steps to make sure that your information is safe.
Backups: Most providers ensure there are multiple copies of your data stored on redundant servers. This means that if one server goes down, the next in line will take over so that you don’t lose data and you will always have access to your information.
Security: Again, most providers store data on firewall-protected servers, which reduces the risk of a security breach. Data transmission is kept safe by the use of the same technology used by online banks and brokerages. It is like having a professional encryption and security system protecting your data on your own home based computer.
Downtime: There is always the possibility of losing Internet connection, and therefore losing access to your information. Providers have mitigated this risk by allowing and encouraging users to download a local copy of their data to provide comfort and control of information while still maintaining the backup in the cloud.
Get in the Cloud
All it takes is a quick Google search to find the many options available for cloud accounting; however, it is a good idea to do some research and consult a forward-thinking accountant about the best fit for you. Cloud accounting is here to stay and it can cut down on the paperwork drudgery to give you more time to run the other important aspects of your business.