In the Trenches: Accounting in the Cloud
Since the day we opened for business, we've used good old-fashioned accounting software sitting right here on my desktop computer. But things are changing, and I want to get more people involved with accounting. That opens up a ton of new options, but I'm not quite sure which way to go.
Up until now, I've been the only one who touches the books. That makes it easy. I keep it on my desktop computer, and I make all the entries from here. If I'm away, then it can wait. There's never a hurry to make entries into the system, so it's never really been an issue.
There is a problem now, however. As I look to remove myself from some of these types of tasks, I realized that desktop software may not be the way to go. Sure, the desktop version has multi-user capability, but having sifted through the instructions, it looks like there's some real work that needs to be done on the back-end before it would work for us -- and before I'd be comfortable sharing this sensitive information over the network. While I could probably figure out how to make it happen, I really don't have the time or the will to do it right now.
That brings me to the cloud. More and more of these accounting programs can be accessed wholly online. No need to do any real setup -- it's just all there for you. What's the catch? Well, it's more expensive. For users of my particular application who want to import files over, monthly pricing plans start at around $25 a month. That compares with less than $200 total to just buy the desktop version and use it for a few years. It may not seem like much money in the scheme of things, but it's important to watch every penny when you're a small business.
So what do you think? Stick with the desktop? Go with the cloud? What's the best way to open this up to more people?
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.