Update: This article was last updated on 20th Feb 2020 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
Accounting on Cloud: Is it Really Comfortable and Easy-to-use?
In the earlier articles of the blog series, we discussed the methods of cost-cutting with accounting and some useful time-saving tips for startups and SMBs while keeping the productivity standards intact. A common thing that appeared in previous posts is the shift of accounting to the cloud.
So in this article, we analyze the feel of practically adopting cloud for accounting operations at a smaller business.
Cloud is still a new technology and might not be a familiar thing for everyone associated with accounting processes. Yet, it offers endless benefits that cannot be neglected. Since smaller businesses have limited funds, most of them do not pay much heed to dedicated cloud training sessions.
However, without any intense training, will you or your staff be able to work with the cloud-based accounting applications? Will the adoption offer some massive changes in usability?
To answer these questions, let’s analyze various factors that define the comfort of using cloud solutions for your accounting needs:
1. Technical Proficiency & Usability
Cloud accounting is basically using the accounting software over the Internet. Considering that business accounting operations shifted to computers several years back, almost all your accounting staff are expected to have proficient knowledge of working on the computer.
Furthermore, social media and emails are other commonly used cloud-based applications among businesses. This signifies that working on the cloud is nothing alienate from basic computer usage. So, technical proficiency and usability are not going to be real challenges while switching to accounting on the cloud for most of the users.
Traditional accounting on the local computer restricted the application and data accessibility to only one device. You require installing the licensed version of the application separately to be able to use it on another device. Needless to mention about additional efforts that data transfer requires.
Cloud simplifies that by availing the application as well as the data on any device, given that it is connected to the internet. If the internet connection is not an issue for you, cloud computing is a certain comfortable niche on the accessibility factor.
3. Compatibility with Different OS
To be honest, accounting on the cloud will have nothing to do with the user’s operating system. Mostly cloud-based accounting applications are accessed via internet browser, which is available for all the operating systems.
So, even various users with different OS devices can work together on the hosted application. This feature of the cloud also gets rid of an issue commonly faced when exchanging accounting files between different devices.
4. Server Setup and Maintenance
The concept of cloud computing is that it installs the application on a remote server (owned by the hosting service provider) that can be accessed by authorized users over the internet connection. This server is either shared with the other clients of hosting service provider or provided dedicatedly to you, as per the plan that you choose.
The performance of the application will depend on the setup and maintenance of the server, which can be a serious concern for you.
But the good news is that the cloud service provider takes care of all the maintenance and setup needs of the server. Hence, there are no worries for you on this parameter as well.
5. Support and Backup
When it comes to technical stuff, support is an essential demand of the users. Cloud computing being technical stuff requires support, and most of the hosting providers offer it for free. The prices and quality of support can vary, but almost all the users would require at one point.
Initially, when you move to the cloud, data migration is required. To stay on the safer shores, it is recommended to allow the support team to perform that operation.
Another point for considering cloud for accounting operations is that it creates a backup of the business data. This backup will ensure that your accounting remains safe in every condition, even if there is an accidental change or deletion of accounting files. The support team can come in handy when you need to access the backup again.
6. Managing Users
Cloud allows multiple users to collaborate on the same files to work together. It is a major advantage as it can pace up the accounting operations, but managing these users can be a little challenging at times. Since the unwanted actions by any user may harm your accounting data, its access permission has to be defined precisely.
Only admin can allow access to different users and manage their permissions, such as – editing, deleting, viewing, etc.
Usually, the owner handles the role of admin, so it can be an added task for you. However, the convenience and affordability benefits offered by accounting on cloud can streamline this process.
7. Security Factor
Accounting data carries all financial details of your business right from the salary and account number of your employees to the taxes that you filed. Getting an unwanted hand on such precious data can be troublesome.
When you are working on the cloud, any loophole in the network can cause intrusion from the unwanted elements. This is where the role of the hosting service provider comes into play.
Reliable cloud hosting providers practice strong encryption technology to ensure that only rightfully authorized persons can access the accounting data. Moreover, by activating multi-factor authentication and other such security measures, you can secure your application and data.
Apart from the necessity of the internet for usage, all other factors show that cloud computing is a lot more convenient option than working on the local machine. Some might talk about the security challenges with cloud computing.
However, studies find out that local machines are more prone to security risks because of irregularity with backups and older technology adoption. Given that the user is not following the right practices, security will not do much good.
Moreover, the above-mentioned factors prove that implementing cloud-technology for your accounting process is not rocket science and is a one-stop solution for the success of your business.
But, just in case you are still not ready to accept the comfort of the cloud, you can opt for the free trial version of the cloud, which is provided by most of the hosting service providers.
Coming Up Next
In this post, we looked for comfort and ease-of-use with cloud-based accounting operations from the user’s point of view. In the next post of the series “Cloud or Desktop? Decide which one is right for your accounting“, we will describe how the cloud will improve the existing features of your accounting software.
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