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What is cloud accounting? 9 reasons to move your accounting practice to the cloud

what is cloud accounting?

The Australian accounting landscape is thriving. In 2023, the industry saw a revenue of $12.3 billion. But with success comes growing pains. Traditional desktop accounting can become a roadblock as your practice flourishes.

Enter cloud accounting: a revolutionary technology to propel your firm to new heights. This article deep dives into why you should move your accounting business to the cloud. Get ready to reach your full potential!

What is cloud accounting?

Have you ever needed to access a client’s file, but your colleague is using the only computer with that software installed? Ever spent hours looking at multiple documents to build a financial report?

Cloud-based software eliminates this hassle. Cloud accounting is the digital transformation of your accounting practice. It offers a secure and web-based way to handle all your financial data.

Evolving out of traditional, on-premise accounting

Think of cloud accounting as moving your entire accounting software suite online. That includes bookkeeping, tax prep, and even financial reporting. Instead of clunky software installed on individual computers, everything is stored on remote servers, which you can access from anywhere with an internet connection. 

As accounting practice grows, so do the needs of your clients. Traditional software usually requires additional licenses for new team members, creating a hassle. Sharing files and working on the same client account simultaneously become challenging. A single hardware failure could threaten the safety of entire firms and their clients. Add to that the emergence of remote work, and this lack of flexibility can be a real headache for accountants and business owners alike.

In essence, cloud accounting addresses the limitations of traditional desktop software. It’s a more secure and scalable solution that helps improve operations and collaboration. Ultimately, it lets you better serve your clients.

How does accounting on the cloud work?

The beauty of cloud accounting is its accessibility. You and your team can access client data from any device with an internet connection—laptops, tablets, even smartphones. This works great for businesses with remote workforces and for managing client accounts on the go.

The cloud is a vast network of connected highways, and your devices are the cars travelling it. The cloud storage servers are located in secure data centres around the globe. With the proper credentials (like a username and password), you and your team can access a secure, encrypted tunnel that allows you to do your work on the cloud accounting software.

Cloud accounting offers a robust and secure way to manage your growing practice. It’s like having a dedicated and secure financial control centre accessible to your team from anywhere, anytime.

Benefits of cloud accounting

Cloud-based accounting offers endless benefits for practically every stakeholder. For accounting practices, it’s a strategic shift worth considering since your competitors are likely doing the same. But how does it affect your accounting professionals and your clients?

Here’s a breakdown of the different benefits:

Cloud accounting for accountants and bookkeepers

Cloud accounting automates tedious, error-prone tasks like data entry, reconciliations, and reports. This frees up time for activities like financial analysis, tax planning, and consultations. Working on the cloud also improves real-time collaboration and shorter workflows since they can do more on a single platform.

Bookkeepers can easily access client data, giving them the flexibility to focus on client satisfaction while maintaining a work-life balance. Cloud computing also ensures that the data is secure, regardless of where it’s accessed.

Cloud accounting for tax agents

Tax agents get the same benefits as bookkeepers but for their specific processes. With streamlined data management, they can prepare tax returns faster and more accurately. Cloud-based software provides robust security measures essential for handling sensitive financial information. Clients also enjoy this benefit through secure documents and data sharing. 

Cloud accounting systems tailored for Australian businesses are constantly updated to reflect the latest tax laws and regulations. This way, tax agents can make sure they are always compliant, and fewer resources can go towards keeping tabs on the ATO’s announcements. For example, Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting can become seamless with the right STP software.

Cloud accounting for small businesses

Small businesses can get more cost-effective value by abandoning traditional accounting software. They can pay monthly or annual subscriptions for cloud software instead of upfront software licenses and maintenance costs. For scaling businesses, this means they can invest more in other growth projects.

Cloud-based accounting is also user-friendly, perfect for businesses wanting to make better financial decisions without the experience. Regardless of business size and requirements, businesses can customise their software according to their needs.

Small businesses gain greater control over their finances, making it a win-win solution for everyone.

9 reasons to move your accounting practice to the cloud

So you’re considering cloud-based accounting for your business, but you’re unsure it’s worth the investment. Sure, the initial cost, change in infrastructure, and training staff to use the software may present challenges. But what if cloud accounting is the only thing between you and growing your firm?

Here are the biggest reasons to move your accounting practice to the cloud.

1. You’re tired of the extra expenses of using traditional software

Traditional software comes with upfront licensing fees, maintenance costs, and – surprise – upgrade expenses. Cloud accounting offers a subscription model, letting you pay only for what you use. It’s budget-friendly and eliminates unexpected software costs.

Cloud accounting companies also often offer discounts and promos to help growing practices get on board. Following them on social media can help you know when it’s the right time to strike!

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2. Your clients are looking for proof that you handle their data securely

Your clients trust you with their financial information. Cloud software providers prioritise robust security measures like encryption and access controls. You get automatic data backups in case of any unforeseen circumstances. You can ensure clients that their financial information, employee timesheet data, and more aren’t going anywhere.

Your cloud software provider should be able to assist you in demonstrating your commitment to data security.

3. Your teams are too big to keep using an on-premise solution

On-premise software limits the number of users who can use the tool. Adding new team members is easy with cloud accounting. You can usually do this on the platform itself or through your account manager with a minimal fee.

Your team can instantly access the system with verified credentials and use different support tools to improve their work. With improved access, your teams will also have a better sense of accountability.

4. You have a growing remote workforce

Cloud accounting allows secure access to client data anywhere, anytime, empowering remote work models. This means your practice can hire from a larger pool of top-tier talent by offering them more flexibility in their work.

Cloud computing’s flexibility also makes your practice future-proof. Imagine being able to serve clients seamlessly, even if something disrupts the office!

5. Your staff collaborates on client accounts

It’s time for people to stop waiting for colleagues to finish using the “accounting computer” to do their work. Cloud accounting fosters real-time collaboration, allowing several people to work on their accounts. This means that things are done faster and more effectively, which frees up time for your firm’s growth projects.

6. You use multiple platforms that use the same data

Do you use different solutions for accounts, taxes, and payroll as an accountant? Several cloud accounting software can handle different facets of your practice’s services. This means you can unify and improve workflows while paying for fewer solutions.

And if you still need multiple tools, being on the cloud lets them integrate. Imagine your invoicing platform talking to your payroll solution. Integrations mean that different platforms communicate and securely share information so your data is the same across the board, protecting the integrity of your firm’s work.

7. You waste too much time correcting errors in the data

Cloud accounting automates many tasks, reducing manual data entry – the biggest culprit for errors. Gone are the days of pouring over endless financial documents to see where the computations went wrong. Plus, features like bank feeds and automatic updates help keep things accurate to the current state of your client’s finances.

Remember, you are an accounting practice, not a private investigation firm. Instead of data detective work, you can focus on keeping clients happy with better insights into their cash flow management.

8. Your financial reports and documents take forever to create

Tired of spending hours generating payroll reports and other documents? With accurate data mapping, cloud accounting lets you create reports with a few clicks. These reports are accessible to anyone also using the platform, and they’re easy to share with clients. Not only does it impress clients, but it reduces the need to pull all-nighters just to put documents together.

9. Your paperwork is bursting out of the file cabinets

Drowning in paperwork? Running out of space to store payslips and receipts from years ago? Since everything is online, there’s little to no need to have physical copies of everything, including old documents. You can free up file cabinet space for a greener initiative, which benefits your practice and the world.

reasons to move accounting firmt to the cloud

Must-have features for cloud accounting software

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, you need to be informed of what features you want or can’t live without. The perfect cloud solution should be able to completely replace your current system and provide more value.

Below are some of the most essential features to look for in a cloud accounting provider.

Multiple user access with real-time collaboration

Ensure your team can access and work on client accounts simultaneously. Look for features that allow you to assign user roles and permissions for optimal control. Your solution should let you collaborate with document sharing and simultaneous work.

Options for client collaboration

Consider options with client portals where they can access their data, upload documents, and work alongside you. A good solution will provide your clients with more transparency about the value you offer as you handle these things on the client’s behalf.

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Robust data security and automatic backups

Robust security measures like data encryption, access controls, and two-factor authentication are crucial. Ensure your chosen software complies with Australian data privacy regulations. Automatic backups also keep your information and files safely in the cloud.

24/7 customer support

If your accounting practice is new to cloud computing, you may need assistance. Navigating all the functions and adding them to your workflows can take some technical experience. From setup and onboarding to managing your accounts, responsive customer support should help. You can also easily solve technical issues for a seamless transition.

Look for a provider offering various support channels, such as phone support, email support, and live chat options. This flexibility ensures you can reach help when you need it most.

Integrations with other software

In today’s tech-driven world, integrations with other software are a game-changer for cloud accounting. Look for software that integrates with other business tools you use, such as CRM systems, payroll processing, or tax software. You’ll save time by making sure they all work with the same clean data.

For example, payroll data from your accountant payroll software can automatically populate your other systems. Say goodbye to manual entry! Another advantage of integrating your accounting and CRM software is that you can gain insights into how you acquire clients.

Reporting and analytics

Reporting and analytics help your business give meaningful data to clients and get practice performance metrics. Things like profitability and billable hours can be tracked and compared to historical data about your operations.

With cloud accounting, you can easily general reports using real-time data, which is especially useful for tax-related services. This reduces stress and benefits both accountants and their clients. 

Transform how your practice works with cloud accounting

Cloud accounting isn’t just software – it’s a secure, scalable, and collaborative solution designed for growing practices like yours. It empowers you to:

  • Deliver exceptional service to your clients.
  • Foster a happy and productive team environment.
  • Operate with greater efficiency and peace of mind.
  • Focus on strategic growth for your successful practice.

Ready to explore the possibilities? By leveraging the right cloud features, you can transform your practice into a data-driven powerhouse. Gain valuable insights, optimise your operations, and make strategic decisions that propel your practice towards even greater success!

Payroller is an ATO-approved cloud payroll software for Australian businesses. Join the 16,000 agents using Payroller for their clients. Our agent portal Payroller Pro, is free to join to manage the payroll of unlimited clients.

Through an easy-to-use platform, we make it insanely simple to run payroll, report STP, and stay compliant with payroll regulations. Payroller is a scalable solution that integrates with other accounting software popular among Australian businesses, making it a great addition to growing practices.

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