Cloud-based accounting packages with no up-front fees and easy cancellable monthly subscription are becoming increasingly popular. Cloud computing provides on demand IT resources. Without having to worry about the infrastructure, when you use the cloud you don’t need to care which particular server holds your data, all you need is PCs, smart phone or tablet and internet connection. You connect to your cloud service provider, and use applications and files in the normal way the only difference, is that they are not actually on your hardware or your network, but on the service provider’s. You pay the monthly subscription for the privilege of using the software, there are no downloads on your computer; you don’t need to back-up data; you don’t pay for an annual subscription or for updates.
What are the benefits of cloud accounting software?
- Making Tax Digital – the software is up to date and complaint with the latest HMRC requirements.
- Price – there is no need to pay upfront fee as you would with a desktop accounting package, because you pay monthly. It requires no updates as they are automatically included in the price as is the cost of maintenance, system administration costs and server failures.
- Backup and data security are included – The level of availability and security, backup and disaster recovery offered greatly exceeds the level which the club can provide if the application is housed on-site.
- Remote working is one of the main advantages of cloud accounting. The Secretary and selected officers can access the club’s financial data from anywhere, at any time without having to download and install software on their desktop. All you need is a smart phone, tablet or laptop connected to the internet!
- Real time financial information – cloud accounting will give the club up-to-date and current financial information.
- Availability of ad-onswhich can be used to tailor the cloud package to the requirements of the club.
The disadvantages of cloud accounting?
- You might pay more for an online accounting package than for a desktop accounting package, over a number of years.
- As the software is designed for a large number of users there will always be restrictions in the applications, operating systems, and infrastructure – there will be things the cloud accounting package won’t do.
- Having your information in the cloud means that you don’t have control over where in the world it is stored.
challenge for clubs is how to tailor the cloud package to suit their needs, the packages are designed for companies and contain many features not required by most clubs and thus can often be too complicated for the typical club.
The leading providers of cloud accounting are QuickBooks Online, Xero and Sage One. There are many other packages including KashFlow and FreeAgent, Quickfile.
R H Jeffs & Rowe is a platinum certified QuickBooks advisor