The cloud represents an ideal combination of increased productivity, streamlined human resources, automated accounting, hassle-free security, and customizable scalability for small businesses.
An estimated 80 percent of all businesses will use the cloud by 2020, according to Forbes. Here are a few reasons your small business should, too:
It increases productivity
Through the cloud, you and your team have access to your business software tools from any place at any time. Popular business cloud platforms like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps for Work offer collaboration tools and are tailored for mobile employees. Since many small businesses have been using Microsoft and Google programs for years, their cloud interfaces are familiar and make for an easy transition.
Though you need an internet connection to work on the cloud, many platforms have offline modes. This means you can do the work offline and any changes you make will sync up once you connect to the internet.
It streamlines human resources
Cloud-based human resources (HR) software minimizes paperwork by streamlining processes, such as on-boarding new employees, tracking timesheets, scheduling sick leave and PTO, and calculating payroll taxes. Traditionally, HR departments have had to rely on manual data entry and review, which drains resources from a small business.
Established businesses like SAP and Oracle have developed comprehensive systems, while startups like SilkRoad and Cornerstone offer niche solutions for functions like talent management.
It automates accounting
Some of the best small businesses stumble when it comes to bookkeeping and cash flow management. Fortunately, there are some excellent cloud-based solutions that keep accounting manageable.
QuickBooks Online (QBO) automates accounting functions like payroll, invoicing, and accounts payable and receivable. Data from sales transactions, business expenses, and inventory are automatically uploaded to the cloud. Automated accounting saves time and means no more manual data entry, which minimizes costly clerical errors.
The ability to accept mobile payments and manage your company’s finances from anywhere enhances your own remote work capability.
It provides hassle-free security
At one time, many small businesses were hesitant to migrate to the cloud because they were worried about security. Today, cloud providers are outfitted with security far more sophisticated than any offered by an on-site IT department.
Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce all offer security solutions that include firewalls, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and virus detection designed to combat any online security issues and keep your data safe.
Ask questions, do your homework, and educate your team about cloud security. Once you understand the extent of physical security, backup and recovery, and risk mitigation, you’ll feel confident about your decision to migrate to the cloud.
The cloud gives you the flexibility to quickly scale and pay only for what you use. If you’re anticipating large sales or a sudden spike in users, your cloud provider can offer more servers and a bigger bandwidth for however long you need the increased capacity. During quieter times, you can revert to using less capacity. This model lets you customize what you need when you need it.
If you’re ready to embrace the wave of cloud computing, assess your small business, find areas where your workflow is cluttered and inefficient, and choose a cloud partner that can give you a boost.