Have you ever considered cloud accounting? It could save you time and money while dramatically streamlining processes, as Moore Stephen’s Associate Michelle Watson explains
Access to real-time financial data when and where you need it is ever more crucial to running a successful business. Cloud accounting software packages connect to your smartphone or tablet so your financial records can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access key business information such as sales, receivables and cash from wherever you are. Michelle Watson, Associate and cloud accounting specialist at Moore Stephens accountants says: ‘We’re seeing more and more small businesses make the move to the cloud. With the introduction of HMRC’s Making Tax Digital programme, businesses will soon be required to use accounting and bookkeeping software that is compatible with HMRC’s online system, making cloud accounting packages an obvious solution.’
Essentially, cloud accounting software is an online application for bookkeeping and accounts. So, instead of maintaining business records on paper, Excel spreadsheets or other desktop software packages, the records are posted and accessed via the internet. Interaction with bank feeds and third party apps allows further automation of the bookkeeping process, saving you money and time on tedious data entry.
Says Michelle: ‘There are also significant efficiency savings to be achieved through greater functionality, such as the automatic feed of bank data into your accounting records, automated matching of transactions, along with more streamlined processes and controls, for example, over invoice and expense claim processing and approval.’ Fees are usually on a monthly subscription basis so you can budget effectively, and as the provider upgrades the programme you benefit from new functionality straight away at no extra cost. Using cloud-based services means you need less computing infrastructure (hardware, office space and people), removing potentially costly overheads as well as ongoing software maintenance: that’s all done by your cloud service provider.
Michelle continues: ‘Cloud accounting packages allow for better collaboration too. You can share accounting data with team members, stakeholders and external advisers (such as your accountant) more easily. At Moore Stephens we access clients’ data to give up-to-the-minute business and tax planning advice.’ Finding and implementing the right solution is critical. ‘We work with businesses to identify their immediate and longer term accounting and reporting needs and advise them on the most suitable solution for their particular circumstances, says Michelle.
‘Many accountancy firms have an affiliated software provider and automatically recommend that particular package to all their clients. At Moore Stephens we don’t believe in a one-size fits all approach. We are accredited users of a number of leading cloud accounting solutions suitable for both small and large businesses, including Sage, Xero and QuickBooks, so we can help clients get set up and make sure they maximise the full benefits of cloud services fast.’