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How to choose the best cloud accounting software for your business

Cloud computing has become one of the most popular technologies in the business world. It has allowed small businesses to establish infrastructure with minimal investment in hardware and software. It’s also very scalable and can grow with your business with no need for physical expansion.

However, the most important advantages of cloud computing are accessibility and automation. Information stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere in the world and on any device. You can also automate certain business processes like accounting and payroll.

Choosing the right accounting software for your business can be stressful so the OneFlare team have put together a list of the best cloud accounting software solutions for small business. The most popular solutions in Australia are:

  • MYOB Essentials
  • QuickBooks Online Plus
  • Reckon One
  • Saasu
  • Sage
  • Xero

We interviewed a 5-star accounting agent, Tax Ideas, on how to choose and manage your cloud accounting platform, and they gave us some quick pointers for trade businesses.  The main factors to take into consideration are:

The size of your business

  • Based on the amount of revenue that you generate annually

Your trade

  • Construction businesses with few big projects will require different functionality to a plumbing business that operates on high volume of small contracts.

The specific range of budget that you have in mind

  • Specialised solutions offer better functionality but are naturally more expensive.

Talk to your current business partner or accountant, find a solution with a level of functionality that achieves everything you need for:

  • Bookkeeping & data entries
  • Tax Returns
  •  Financial Planning

Hiring an accountant is  as much a business choice as it is a lifestyle choice, as it will help you get your business on track and also stop you from having to worry about business over the weekend. Investing in accounting services isn’t something you should think of as a luxury, rather as a resource that will help you invest your money and time efficiently.

Cloud accounting vs hiring an accountant

Good accountants do more than just record keeping. They can help to identify the right amount of savings for potential business growth and prevent you from losing money on mistakes they see often. They also assist their clients in making informed decisions by providing accurate figures of their accounts & business.

Afterall, you want to use the most accurate data to make the most informed financial decisions. Cloud accounting tools are great at keeping your records straight, but even then it pays to have a professional keeping an eye on anything you might have missed.

The benefits of using cloud accounting programs

Cloud accounting programs help you store, organise and access all of your accounting data.  The benefits here are obvious:

  • A single source of truth - Storing all of your financial information securely on cloud platforms means you and your accountant can access it from anywhere and everyone with access will see the same data.
  • Make your business more efficient with automation - The software platform processes information quickly and automatically feeds it into reports that can help you make heads and tails of tonnes of data. This service can be as simple or complex as you need. Some cloud accounting companies only offer software and hosting servers while others also provide trained accountants for more complicated tasks.
  • Flexible subscription plans - Cloud accounting applications are usually subscription based and easy to scale. You can choose a small package when your business is young and expand on it as you grow.

Most cloud accounting companies have trained employees who understand accounting and can offer expert advice. You just need to choose the right company for the job.

Other considerations

There are several platforms and services available in the market today so it’s not easy to choose the right fit. Most people don’t understand how cloud accounting and computing works so they don’t know how to choose a good option for their business. Here are some tips that can help you:

  • Security and reputation are key – The first thing you should consider is the security and reputation of the company providing cloud accounting services. Browse through the content on their website and study their security arrangements carefully. It’s also worth looking into the company’s history and clients. Ask them to provide references and speak with the clients about your concerns. This will give you a better idea about the quality of their services.
  • Consider flexibility – Your company will grow and evolve over time and will need sophisticated accounting systems along with increased storage facilities. You need to make sure that the service provider offers flexible plans that allow you some room to grow.
  • Customer service – Check how qualified and responsive the service provider’s customer service staff is. Call their number and speak with the staff about your concerns. You should also check the website to see if the company has qualified accountants on their team. Companies with qualified accountants are much more reliable.

Using cloud accounting is a recurring expense so we would encourage you to consider the subscription fees carefully before you make the decision. If the process gets too overwhelming or maybe you’re just getting started on tax savings, another option is to hire a local accountant for more customised services.

Guest blog, written by Lucy Xu from OneFlare

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