Your Business and Life in the Cloud
I love cloud-based software and apps. I have fully embraced them personally and professionally. As part of our blog I will highlight a cloud solution that I either use in my business or personal life or one I’m considering. These posts will vary from accounting specific apps to apps that just make me smile. I’m always playing with new apps so if you have a favourite please comment below and I’ll take a look.
This Post’s Focus: Cloud Accounting Software
The cloud has transformed how small businesses do their accounting. The cloud has:
• streamlined and automated much of the process of getting the receipts and information into your accounting package
• allowed full integration across the suite of software you use to run your business day-to-day
• provided anytime, anywhere access to your data.
An excellent example of cloud-based software is Xero. We use Xero as our accounting system and Xero is “beautiful accounting software”. I know what you are thinking, accounting and beautiful aren’t usually two words you see in the same sentence but in this case it really is true. Xero was built from the ground up as a cloud-based accounting solution for small/medium sized businesses. The brilliant part is that it was built by a business owner and their accountant together so they have really thought things through. Here’s a screen shot of the demo company so you can see what I mean:
Xero gives the business owner the ease of use (ie. no accounting lingo) while at the same time providing the accountants with the functionality they need. We now have many clients using Xero to ensure they capture the required information for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as well as have up-to-date financial information to run their business.
When H Ward Communications was looking for an accounting system we recommended Xero. It’s been a great fit. Here’s how Holly Ward, H Ward Communications Founder, feels about Xero:
“When starting your own business, you have a lot of dreams but not always a lot of answers. There are countless decisions to make and processes to set up. That’s why it was so refreshing to learn that with Xero, I wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time learning how to use it because it is very intuitive. With Allison’s help, I was able track and reconcile everything I needed very quickly, giving me more time to concentrate on my core business.”
The most revolutionary piece of accounting in the cloud is the ability to pull information from your bank and credit card accounts automatically. Each night Xero imports the transactions from your bank account and pulls them in so they are waiting for you the next morning. Then you just have to decide which “bucket” (aka expense or income category in accounting speak) to drop them into and voila your bookkeeping is done for the day. Plus if you layer on an app like ReceiptBank or Hubdoc, that use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to pull information from receipts and links to Xero, you never need to key an expense in again (more about that in a future post).
Small business used to run on multiple spreadsheets that were cobbled together to capture this information as best they could. But now small businesses can buy apps that give them the ability to do things like track time, manage projects and create training for staff. The ability to have a bespoke system for doing these things had previously been limited to large companies with large budgets that could build in house solutions or engage companies like IBM to build solutions for them. But the cloud has revolutionized the way small businesses function in many ways. It’s made the life of a small business owner easier.