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Over the past few years, the cloud has become a very popular thing. Giving people around the world the ability to store, access and share data anytime they want; with ease. It is fast, efficient and secure, so why isn’t every business utilising it?
What is the Cloud?
Before we get into the advantages of the cloud, let’s make sure we are clear on what cloud actually means in terms of accounting software. “Cloud computing accounting software is accounting software that is hosted on remote servers. Data is sent into ‘the cloud,’ where it is processed and returned to the user.” (Source: Webopedia).
The Cloud is a wonderful place, that can be accessed anytime, from anywhere and using any device. This allows businesses freedom and flexibility that is otherwise difficult to achieve. Simply logging in from a browser means you can access your accounts on your desktop, tablet or mobile phone.
Being limited to a central hard drive and machine is now a thing of the past. Armed with a device and internet connection, you and your business have the power to access all of your data. With lower monthly costs, unlimited accessibility and real-time data, cloud accounting clearly seems to be the way forward. But, is it as good as it sounds?
Out with the old, in with the new
An on-premise based accounting software isn’t all bad. In fact, there is a raft of reasons that an on-premise solution might be right for you. In the past, there have been questions around the safety of cloud data – though these days the cloud is potentially safer than an onsite server! However, there are a few key things that stand out as particularly difficult with on-premise systems in comparison to a cloud-based system. Such as:
- Longer implementation process – the involvement of on-premise solutions means, by nature, that your IT is much more likely to be involved in the process. The install onto a server, install on client machines are all factors that need to be considered when implementing the system.
- Not as accessible – as already discussed, the cloud is accessible from pretty much anywhere. On-premise often needs installation on the machine to be used on.
- Larger upfront cost – often on-premise solutions are much more costly generally. But add in the IT costs, server costs, running costs, implementation costs and suddenly you are looking at a hefty bill.
- Updates and maintenance essential – updates are not automatically applied to on-premise solutions, and often involve another cost! Cloud-based solutions are much easier to upgrade, most of the time you won’t even know you’ve been upgraded!
- Additional hardware and IT can be required – as we eluded too above, servers, desktops, and other hardware are usually things that are key in the implementation of the software.
Before cloud accounting, problems like these have been tolerated for lack of alternatives. Now, with the rise of the cloud, everything is changing.
Benefits of cloud accounting
Let’s start with the obvious benefits:
- Accessible anytime, from anywhere – as long as you have an internet connection you can connect to your cloud-based accounting system
- Available on multiple devices – the anytime, anywhere rule also feeds into the ability to use the software on multiple devices. Whether that’s desktop, mobile, tablet or laptop
- Real-time data – traditionally, you have to wait until Month End to be able to do any meaningful reporting. With cloud-based systems, as information is entered it can be pulled straight back out by means of dashboards & reports
- Effortless updates – there is no install of updates, and often no charge. At least once a quarter you can expect updates to be pushed to your system. Similar to iOS updating on your iPhone!
- No need to install software – the whole concept of a cloud-based solution eradicates the need for installs
In the terrible event of your hard drive/laptop/server being damaged, you may struggle to restore your data. By storing your data on the cloud, nothing is lost as all of your data is stored online safely.
Whatever your reasons for choosing the Cloud, its time to take the plunge! If you are interested in finding out about Sage Intacct or how your business could benefit from a move to the cloud, get in touch with a member of the team!