The term cloud doesn’t really describe an actual thing, it is simply a metaphor to describe the process of you using your computer or device to access data and applications that are hosted remotely.
Cloud accounting is a version of the same process and most accounting software companies are scrambling to get versions of their software into the cloud. Existing accounting software means you have a version of the software on your computer and you have a data file which contains your current accounting data.
A purely cloud based system has the advantage of ultimate flexibility, if you have access to a device (computer, tablet or even a smart phone) and reliable internet access then you have access to your accounts anywhere in the world. You have a username and a password and that’s it. Another advantage is the daily bank feeds, once requested your bank will transmit your bank account transactions directly into your accounting system.
A possible downside of cloud accounting is data security as you no longer have physical control over your data and it can be accessed remotely, potentially by anyone. As an exercise, perhaps you should ask yourself how much physical control and security you have of your existing accounting system. How many portable storage devices are there lying around with backups of your data on them? Do you have passwords on your computers and your data file? Does your office have a security system? How important is your accounting data anyway? I am not sure hackers are all that interested in your dollar turnover last quarter, but they may want to access your employees’ dates of birth and tax file numbers.
There are advantages and disadvantages to any accounting system but to my mind the advantages of cloud accounting far outweigh the possible disadvantages.
The flexibility, mobility, usability and simple speed of a fully cloud based system are way ahead of existing programs.
Cloud accounting will not suit every business or application and there is still the perennial issue of reliable internet for some areas.
The future is here and I would suggest that business owners strongly consider embracing the cloud if they wish to update their current accounting system.
Want to know more about cloud accounting?
Contact your local RSM office for more information on transitioning over to a cloud accounting package. Every business is different and your advisor will discuss your situation with you to ensure you receive the best package to fit your business’ needs.
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