Throughout the world, small and medium sized businesses are embracing the multitude of advantages provided by online accounting software. Those left lagging behind in this area are doing themselves and their business a great disservice. Why? Online accounting software is allowing smaller businesses to compete and win in the global marketplace against multinational competition.
They are achieving this by offering enhanced end-to-end business processes, whilst enjoying more predictable and reliable cash flow combined with real-time financial data tracking and reporting. In addition to all this, they are able to attract and retain customers with easier, more reliable payment platforms and faster transaction times.
If there is one word which best describes the benefits of online accounting software, that word would be efficiency - both from the customers and accounting staffs perspective.
This is provided by a more transparent overall sales chain achieved through:
- More accurate, real-time stock and inventory reporting
- Immediate invoicing
- Detailed product tracking
- Increased payment options
- Integrated App functionality
- Faster communication and receipting.
Online financial software also offers the opportunity for businesses to integrate their accounting software with industry specific add-ons to create an all encompassing system which is customised to fit their business model.
To best understand the benefits gained by online accounting and financial software, we need to understand how it differs from conventional accounting software.
Whilst many people ask the question ‘what exactly is the Cloud’? chances are they are already using it in some form without even realising. Apps accessed through mobile devices such as a smartphone are often Cloud based.
There are a myriad of applications which utilise Cloud technology, including:
The Cloud is essentially a term which describes Software-as-a-Service (Saas) which can be accessed via the Internet. When used for accounting, the Cloud creates a wide range of advantages compared to older technologies. For example, in the past businesses purchased their accounting system on a subscription basis and were usually provided with a physical box containing discs, install manuals and license codes which were then used to set up their accounting packages onto individual computers.
Compare this to having your accounting data stored remotely, where business owners and their staff can access real-time information about company finances from the office, work-site or anywhere in the world. Instead of laboriously updating tax and wage data, these are automatically updated without the hassle of installing regular updates physically as was done in the past.
Unlike older, single use modalities, online accounting software encourages collaboration by allowing multiple users to be logged on simultaneously and keeping everyone in the loop. This means that a business owner or salesperson who is overseas will be able to access real-time financial data and be able to conference with colleagues, sharing information and keeping abreast of information.
Online financial software is enabling sales staff to move out of the office and away from their computers to do what they do best - sell. Sensitive data can be protected by enabling permission based access to each module in the accounting system.
Aside from the obvious advantages gained by faster, more streamlined and transparent accounting, businesses can also experience lower outlays by reduced need for physical hardware such as servers and high-spec PCs whilst requiring less floor space and insurance.
Online accounting also promotes increased productivity and better cash flow by enabling businesses to use online invoicing which can be sent immediately to customers once a job or sale is complete. Customers are then able to make payments using a number of payment platforms such as BPAY or Paypal and you are notified once a payment has been made - no more chasing invoices or waiting for months to be paid.
In a world bombarded with security threats, it is natural to question the online security of your financial software. Such is the value and importance of Cloud based business, the Australian government has developed guidelines for businesses to assess the value and risks to their business. If you are interested in reading more it can be accessed via this link. Something to consider is that financial institutions use the Cloud which means if you are utilising online banking then you are already using similar security.
The above is just a taste of what online accounting software can do for your business and bottom line. It is faster, cheaper and easier than ever before so if you are still using outdated, single-user accounting software, now may be the time to consider upgrading to a better, smarter, faster and cheaper way to run your business processes!