Does anyone remember what a day in the life of an accountant was like five years ago? Here’s a brief recap:
- You were based permanently in the office or at your client’s premises. Any travel time was dead time. Every file you worked on would have to be printed out and kept in a filing cabinet.
- It was hard to be proactive with clients. You had to wait until their records were completed at quarter-end or year-end. Only then could you flag up any bookkeeping issues. That meant you were dealing with problems weeks, or sometimes months after they actually occurred.
- If you ran your own accountancy practice, you also had to cope with the additional headaches (and costs) of IT maintenance - installing updates, dealing with viruses, running servers and so on.
- Fast forward to today, and the accounting landscape looks completely different. And that’s because of the cloud.
The cloud? What exactly does that mean?
Put simply, accounting in the cloud means working with software and services that run on the Internet rather than on your computer. Cloud, or online accounting software, such as QuickBooks, allows shared data, information and resources to be accessed by computers or mobile devices, no matter where or when. And it’s revolutionized the way we work.
Clients love it
It’s the way forward for your clients as well. According to Intuit’s report, ‘The changing role of accountancy’, 88% of British SMBs expect their accountants to embrace cloud-based solutions, with 58% willing to pay more for the privilege. The report also found only 37% of accountants are currently offering cloud accounting solutions – thus missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with clients as a trusted business partner, rather than just a number cruncher.
Here are some ways that cloud accounting can help you, and your clients.
- You can access your clients’ records in real time, wherever you are. It’s so much more efficient as you’re all accessing the same information, even if in different places. If you come across any problems, you can log on and resolve them there and then. What this adds up to is a quicker, more responsive service to your clients.
- It’s a lot safer. Contrary to what you might think, the reality is that modern data centres have more robust security and back-up processes than you could ever have on your own PC. That’s not to say you should trust all providers though. It’s important the service is provided by a financially sound company and a well-known brand that you know will be in business for the long term.
- It’s easier. Using a cloud-based solution such as QuickBooks Online eliminates the need to install periodic software patches and updates. In the cloud, new features are added automatically. All you need is a computer or mobile phone, an Internet connection and a subscription to log in and do your job.
- You’ll save space, and save the environment at the same time. You don’t need to print out and post documents as everything is filed electronically. Some larger accountancy practices have actually downsized their premises since moving to the cloud - online bookkeeping means you can do away with those clunky filing cabinets.
- You can manage everything in one place. For example, payroll figures flow into your accounting software automatically, removing the hassle of multiple software programmes or Excel spreadsheets.
- You’ll increase your revenue opportunities. With so many small business owners willing to pay more for cloud-based solutions, this is a great opportunity to increase profits for your practice. With more time on your hands, you can concentrate on offering higher value services. Especially so as 65% of SMBs are prepared to pay for additional consulting advice, and 72% for project financing and reporting.
It’s a no-brainer
With cloud accounting, you’ll no longer be that person who just helps out at tax time. You can now be a true business partner to your client, keeping pace with them on a constant basis, wherever they are. It’s how the modern accountant works in this globalised, fast-paced technological world.
Welcome to the future of the industry. With your head in the cloud. Find out how QuickBooks can change the face of your business.
Feel better informed about the benefits of cloud accounting? Why not take a closer look at how QuickBooks can support you with your clients in the cloud?Discover QuickBooks for accountants