Where to start when thinking of moving into the cloud.

Thinking of moving to Cloud accounting software?

If you’re thinking about taking a look at what’s available for you in Cloud accounting software today, the best place to start is with your own personal values.

We’ve recently delivered a series of workshops for Women in Horticulture, a group within Growcom Australia.  The events were held in Gatton, Bowen and Innisfail FNQ and were designed to show participants how they can harness time saving technology to free up time to work on their business rather than in and allow them to have more time to do more of the things they like to do in life with the people they like to do it with.

The workshops started out with the importance of valuing your time, and then followed on with what the “Cloud” actually is and discussed important factors for consideration when choosing different types of Cloud applications.  Security concerns and real time benefits of using Cloud technology were discussed and there were live demonstrations comparing different types of Cloud applications and Cloud accounting software.  The final part of the workshops were case studies on business structures similar to the attendees and demonstrated how different pricing and features are within Cloud accounting software making it extremely hard to compare products.  In addition, everyone has a very different set of personal values, and this is where the decision about Cloud accounting software should start.

Following are some points to consider.

Do you have a reliable internet connection?  If you are considering using a Cloud based accounting product, you must ensure you have a good reliable internet connection with sufficient speed.  As specifications differ from product to product the best place to start is with a speed test on your internet connection.  You can do this by navigating to SPEEDTEST in your browser.  Whilst you may not understand the outcome of the test, you can provide your technology provider with this information and they should be able to advise whether the connection is reliable enough to you to use your choice of Cloud technology.

Is it important to you to keep your data in Australia?  If so you will be limited to what product you can choose as some accounting solutions store their data in Australia whilst others store their data in locations around the world. It’s best to speak to your technology provider to find out where your data would be stored prior to implementing a new system.

Do you want to continue to upgrade your desktop software every year or would you prefer it happen automatically?  If you’d prefer not to have to go through upgrades each year you would definitely consider a Cloud based product as upgrades happen automatically.  Alternatively, desktop software will generally have to be manually upgraded. Upgrades occur to allow for improvements and enhancements within the product, allow for operation in new operating systems and need to be done so that you remain compliant for taxation and payroll purposes. 

Are you prepared to invest in implementing a new system and to invest in being re-skilled?  If you’re considering moving to a different product ensure you take into account the cost of setting up new files and the cost of training yourself and your staff in using a new solution. Whilst some companies offer data conversion for free, others don’t.  In addition the costs of training for new systems can be costly so ensure you do your homework on what’s involved.

Will your accountant work with a different product if you decide to change?    Cloud technology solutions are a great way to collaborate with your accountant as they can have direct access to your files.  Before changing your technology solutions it’s a good idea to check with your accountant to ensure they will work with the product of your choice.

Is the cost of software your driving factor?  If cost is your driving factor on choosing Cloud technology, make sure you do your homework.  It’s not an easy feat as there is no “Compare the Market” of Cloud accounting solutions out there and it’s so complicated comparing products that features and pricing can change from day to day.  Some technology pricing is based on the number of users whilst others are priced on the number of data files.  To further complicate things some products are then based on the number of employees you have and others on the amounts of reports you have access to.  Make sure you speak with your technology provider to ensure you are aware of exactly how much your solution will cost you.

What do you wish to store in the cloud – just accounting data or ALL data?  Some businesses may like to keep ALL of their data and applications in the cloud whilst others may be happy to just keep their accounting data in the cloud.  If it’s ALL data you wish to keep in the cloud then a Virtual Private Server may be the way for you to go.  If it’s only accounting data then a Cloud accounting package may be a good choice.  The great thing about cloud accounting packages is that in some products you can actually attach source documents to transactions which basically gives you a cloud based filing system too.  This can be an awesome thing for year end when your accountant is requesting loan documents or invoices. 

If you’d like to discuss any of the points above, please feel free to call us for a chat.  We’d be happy to discuss your options based on your own personal values.

There is also one last Growcom workshop to be held in Nambour on the 17th of November 2015. Stay tuned for registration details.



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