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The business world is continuously transforming as new digital technologies appear. Cash is no longer king. However, there are still many small businesses that haven’t yet gone digital - technology is understandably daunting, so implementing it can be a real challenge. In this article we aim to show how you’ll see productivity improvement in your business by leveraging technology, in the form of cloud accounting software.
If you’re still waiting to jump on the cloud computing train, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many small businesses still use time-consuming, ineffective methods to manage their finances. In fact, according to a recent FSN survey in Accounting Today, even large corporations with hundreds of employees still use spreadsheets. And 43% of the survey participants didn’t know how many Excel spreadsheets were in use in their company. Further, “More than half spend too much time manually checking numbers each time a change is made.” So yes, spreadsheets can still help you manage your books, but one of the biggest downsides to these methods is that your business essentially doesn’t have a proper insight into its overall performance.
So if you’re reading this article, it looks like you’re seeking to increase productivity.
Traditional vs modern accountancy methods
We’re no doubt well and truly in the midst of a digital revolution. And the small businesses who have been quick to adopt cloud-based accounting software like QuickBooks, are already seeing the benefits. The biggest downside of using traditional methods like spreadsheets is that you’re at risk of errors and data loss, as well as lower productivity.
Now we’re sure you know that productivity is one of the keys to success in any business niche. So this raises the question why are we still use time-consuming accounting methods? Even though the way you manage your books is entirely up to you – as long as it’s legitimate and legal – wouldn’t you prefer to have more time to focus on your business?
Cloud accounting software offers small businesses the chance to improve their overall productivity. It gives business owners a much clearer, and much fuller picture of their finances.
In fact, a lot of European and UK businesses are already operating in the cloud. For instance, RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Survey found that 79% of businesses operate using cloud-based software. And amongst SME participants this figure rises to 83%.
Even though your choice of accounting system is yours and yours alone, take a closer look. If you’re struggling to understand your finances, or your accountant asks you for information that can’t easily be traced, why not look into a more productive system?
Three top benefits of cloud accounting software for small businesses
We’d like to start by saying there are plenty of benefits to be gained for small businesses from cloud accounting software. In fact, many SMEs that have already leveraged cloud-based technologies are nearly surpassing their bigger competitors. Why? Well, the greatest thing about cloud-based technology is that it’s cost-effective.
Perhaps you’ve already begun to adopt cloud technology, and you want to expand it to better manage your finances. Or, you might be considering cloud accounting to prevent avoidable errors. Regardless of why it’s on your radar, we’ve listed our top three reasons for adopting it.
Time is money. Running a business means you’re depending on every minute of the business day. Now, one of the first benefits of cloud accounting is that you can gain time for you (and your employees if you have them). There are many great cloud-based accounting solutions available. However in our opinion, QuickBooks stands out as the best accounting software for small businesses.
For example, with QuickBooks you don’t have to keep a paper trail. You can simply take pictures with your phone and upload them directly on to the QuickBooks App.
Another great time-saver is built-in notification and invoicing systems. With cloud accountancy it’s all about easy integration and sharing, so you can share information with anyone you choose. You can generate your VAT return with a couple of clicks, and send it to your online accountant or directly to HMRC.
We’re sure that if you’d otherwise store your invoices and receipts in a shoebox, you’ll find that your taxes and general finance management are greatly improved. As we said, time is money, so by implementing cloud-based accountancy solutions you won’t have to waste time looking for missing documents and spreadsheets. Everything is stored in the cloud in one place.
Accuracy is key when it comes to your books and business finances. With paper records you run a greater chance of entering data incorrectly or even duplicating it. Which wastes time and reduces productivity. So, we’re certain you’ll begin to see the benefits once you’ve fully integrated and uploaded your data to the cloud.
It may come as a surprise, but the initial investment isn’t extortionate. So if you use an accountant, whether in person or online, don’t give them up. Most accountants can advise you which accountancy software is best for you and your business needs. But if you decide to take sole ownership of your books, many cloud solutions offer trials.
Essentially, cloud-based accounting solutions are more cost-effective because they only require a low initial investment. And some providers offer monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or annual payment options. Added to this, software upgrades and updates happen automatically, so you’ll save on IT costs.
Which means you’ll be able to save money which you can put into developing your business.
Benefit number three is accuracy. With traditional accounting methods you’re limited in terms of how far you can track your business growth. But with cloud accounting solutions like QuickBooks, which are designed specifically to enhance productivity, you gain a much more accurate picture of your business.
This is the reason we recommend QuickBooks. For instance, you can tailor the dashboard to schedule financial reports to be sent to you automatically every month. You can also monitor the business KPIs through the integrated reporting system.
Since you have a more accurate picture of your finances, you can improve your cash flow too. How? Well, QuickBooks allows you to set up automatic “rules.” These rules can be used to chase up outstanding invoices or any debt. You’ll also soon find that you spend less time finding information for your accountant or stakeholders. Essentially, all of your data is under one roof (or in this case, in the cloud).
So overall, you’ll have a much more accurate picture of your business’s financial health.
With the risk of sounding presumptuous, we’re sure many of you dislike the accounting side of your business. Now as you know, it’s unavoidable if you want your success to continue. If you’re using paper-based or spreadsheet methods it may be because it’s “what you know,” or it’s “how you’ve always operated.” This isn’t the only way - cloud accounting solutions simplify the entire process for you.
If you use traditional methods, you and your employees will often have to work from several systems or documents. When a system like this starts getting tedious, it’s going to have an impact on morale. Fortunately, cloud-based accounting software eradicates this problem, at the same time ensuring that your data is secure.
So if you want to become super efficient and overtake your competitors, then cloud technology like QuickBooks really can set you on the way. Here’s just one example – integration. QuickBooks helps you integrate seamlessly with your CRM systems. This means that if a sale comes to fruition, you can automatically generate and send the invoice to your customer. Setting up app integrations to our customers’ QuickBooks accounts is one of the many ways we and many other QuickBooks accountants help our customers run efficient and integrated businesses.
Overall, the best accounting software like QuickBooks allows you and your team to leverage your time and money more effectively. So you can get productive and focus on the most important tasks instead.
It really can be that simple.
The bottom line
Sadly, the true potential of cloud based accounting solutions is still misunderstood by many business owners. It certainly isn’t a “flash in the pan” – it’s here to stay.
Although we’ve seen many digital trends, cloud accounting solutions only seem to be improving. And in fact, a recent article by Inc.com claimed that "companies that don't take advantage of cloud computing will be a minority in less than 6 years."
As a business owner, you want to maximise your productivity to achieve continued growth. Well, the simple answer is cloud accounting software. The best online accounting software can genuinely open the door to becoming an efficient and productive business.
We hope you’ve found this article from Shaoib Aslam of Pearl Accountants useful. QuickBooks streamlines business management and improves productivity so you’ve got more time to concentrate on growing your business.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping start-ups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.