Considering How “Cloud Accounting” Fits for Your Business
According to Gartner Research, spending on “cloud” or browser-based applications will dominate the software budgets of North American organizations in the years to come (Gartner Research). This finding includes planned spending for cloud accounting systems. Why? Because businesses are realizing the combination of power (functionality specific to their market vertical) and the outsourcing of software maintenance is transforming their operations, and creating real returns. We’ve lent our top ten reasons why “cloud accounting” is better, and how it fits for small and medium-sized businesses.
- You Don’t Host It – Because cloud accounting is “browser-only required” it refocuses your efforts. That is, cloud accounting shifts the paradigm away from IT infrastructure and hosting to using systems focused on executing and tracking your business strategy. This pivot allows for greater specialization, fewer management resources dedicated to compliance, and less concern about data loss and business continuity.
- Automates Your Processes – By automating basic functions like invoicing, collections, bill payment, data input, reporting, and more advanced processes like consolidation, scheduling, metrics calculations, and forecasting, cloud apps reduce staff time, errors, and admin focus. Custom workflows, advanced features, configuration, and some tinkering go a long way to automating your business processes and reaping returns.
- Solves Complex Processing & Reporting – Cloud accounting apps offer advanced features for transaction processing and reporting. Key, because despite other favorable aspects of cloud accounting, businesses likely won’t migrate from starter systems unless they need features like multi-entity management, multi-currency, e-commerce integration, revenue recognition, industry specific reporting, or other advanced options.
- Offers Real-Time Results – Cloud accounting offers stakeholders two important means of gaining immediate feedback: reporting and notifications. In best practice environments, financial and metrics reporting is summarized onto dashboards offering a unified view of financial and operational results. In the second instance, notices related to use events, approvals, and scheduling are available. Both in real-time.
- Distributes Workflows Effectively – With cloud accounting, the distribution of work (processing and reporting) can take place across multiple groups, locations, business types, and trade requirements. This distribution also extends the specialization of your workforce, allowing your business to have third parties play a role in the servicing of your accounting function, reporting, and analysis.
- A Unified Solution – Big business has long realized the value of centralized systems to manage their operations (Viz. common technology infrastructure with a single database). Cloud apps apply the same “stack” and “suite” approach and, because of browser-only access, allow sharing of data, workflow, reporting, and the “plugin” of staff where needed. This approach also relieves the need for certain custom integrations.
- Highly Configurable – Implementing a new system pays off when it conforms to your internal (sometimes manual) processes. Matching system configuration to your business practices is especially important for accounting transactions, approvals management, report distribution, and the gatekeeping related to access. Custom workflows, advanced configuration, and know-how allow us to match many internal processes.
- It’s Evolving – Our featured offerings push updates on a quarterly or semi-annual basis straight to your browser session. Updates address significant requests of a large cross section of the user base and their ongoing needs. The nature of these enhancements seeks to address ease of use and extend functionality. Over time, the release of features specific to specialized verticals will extend their share of niche markets.
- Portable – With the advent of smart devices, it’s a “take it along world.” No different with cloud accounting. Employee and management maintenance of basic data input and reporting can be executed using portable devices, with the development of extended functions in the works. The point being that moving from browser access on your desktop/laptop to a PDA is a straight-forward transition in the Cloud.
- Gaining Market Share – Recent announcements from respected research and technology services show that our featured vendors are gaining market share and experiencing rapid growth. As with any major trend, increased market share and acceptance allows for further internal development, and external partnerships with key third parties. Both result in better functionality, specialization, and return on investment.
We’ve highlighted reasons why cloud accounting is gaining momentum and creating value. Let us help you consider your options with one of these free studies from our solution specialists.
- Discovery survey to determine your business’s system needs
- ROI study for payback of a system implementation
- Migration plan from your “as is” to “to be” system
- Segmentation modeling for reporting of your business results