Cloud bookkeeping – what is it?

Technology is constantly developing and with these advances come new words and terms. One of the latest phrases to start peppering conversations is "the cloud" which is now being applied to bookkeeping software.

The cloud, in computing terms, is another word for the internet and relates to services that are delivered through the web, such as storage. In the world of bookkeeping we have seen a rise in cloud-based software, such as Xero. 

This is similar to bookkeeping software used in offices across the country on desktop computers but the information is stored in the cloud, meaning it can be accessed by mobile devices linked to the internet – so multiple members of staff can get onto it from anywhere. 

Here, we explore the benefits of cloud-based systems and how you can get to grips with them.

Clever clouds

One of the main benefits of cloud-based software is that it can be accessed anywhere on a mobile device, providing flexibility for clients that want to keep on top of their finances 24/7. 

Traditionally such software was only accessible "on-site" at certain desktop computers that were fitted with it.

Some cloud systems are geared towards integration with other systems giving you the opportunity to directly import banking information for example and therefore reducing the need for manual entries – which through human error can lead to mistakes – as financial information is updated automatically. This means clients can get hold of their bottom line figures in real-time, outside normal office hours.

Internet-linked software can also benefit growing businesses. With a growth in turnover or client base more information needs to be stored meaning an upgrade to software and databases. Desktop computers need to be physically updated with such items, which can mean added expense and more maintenance.

A cloud system needs less maintenance as so much is done automatically, such as backups and updates. Most also work on subscriptions meaning you pay for the service when you need it, rather than having to fork out one lump sum for a physical piece of software that may require an expensive upgrade after a few months.

What's available?

One of the big names on the cloud-bookkeeping block is Xero. Founded in New Zealand in 2006 it is one of the fastest growing suppliers, with a team of more than 1,400 staff working in 20 offices across the globe. The bosses behind it say clients can improve cash flow by getting invoices paid faster and through its real-time account information.

Sage has been providing desktop software for many years but has now added cloud-based services to its portfolio. Billed as being easy to use and affordable, Sage provides varying online packages, depending on your business size and amount of services you require.

Quickbooks is another popular choice, with software that lets customers automatically download bank transactions, send customised invoices, track and calculate tax for HMRC and pay employees. 

These are just some of the providers offering cloud-based solutions meaning businesses have a wide range of suppliers to choose from.

How AMR can help

If you're interested in shifting to an online system for your bookkeeping but are not sure where to start or which service to go with, we can help. Similarly, if you have concerns about putting sensitive, financial information in the trust of a web-based service we are on hand to answer any questions and allay any fears you may have.

As experts in all aspects of bookkeeping we have been using online services for years and have mastered working in the cloud. Alongside our bookkeeping and payroll services, we are also on hand to provide training to clients and customers who need help getting to grips with cloud-based systems.

All of our team are highly qualified and certified in recognised programs allowing us to provide expert advice and guidance. For more information about our training services click here, or to speak to a member of the team about your cloud options, get in touch here.

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