More and more expanding businesses are taking advantage of new technology and joining the future with cloud technology. But what is the cloud, and why should you trust it?
Essentially, companies are moving their primary files and data storage from their physical computers and hard drives to internet-based servers run by other technology companies. An internet-based server means cybersecurity from a professional provider, and instant data access with real-time updates from any device connected to the internet.
A cloud-based storage solution can increase efficiency and dramatically reduce costs for growing companies trying to communicate and collaborate effectively. It can dramatically boost productivity for marketing and content production, but that’s not all it can do.
Cloud technology creates a massive opportunity for businesses trying to manage their budget and accounting needs. While many companies still rely on desktop-based software for their accounting, forward-thinking firms are starting to work with cloud accounting companies instead.
How Does It Work?
Instead of investing in a program to help with accounting on the computer, companies interested in partnering with a cloud accounting company subscribe by the month or year and gain reliable and consistent access to storage and accounting assistance from the cloud company’s server.
Once you find a company to partner with, all you have to do is transfer your records onto their platform, housed on their server. Because data is transferred electronically and you pay monthly or annually, it’s easy to get started, and there’s no long-term commitment or extra sunk costs.
“All of your data is stored in the cloud, and the online platform itself becomes your accountant and finance manager,” says Robert McCuller, president and CEO of CINC Systems. “It’ll categorize your expenses, generate reports, and help you plan for expansion ‒ without having to wait for an outside accountant to find the time to come into the office.”
Your Full-Time Internet Bookkeeper
Cloud accounting firms comply with all the standards and policies set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, so you can trust your company to keep your accounting in line, automatically produce regular financial reports you need for your planning, and keep your books clean and optimized.
Because you’re relying on an online program for your accounting services, you can access these tools or report concerns you have at any time, day or night. No more waiting for an accountant to visit in person or depending on storage at your own office.
Don’t worry about predicting growth or estimating the capacity you’ll need at different points in time. Instant access to your virtual accountant means an immediate response, so you can pay to expand or contract your storage as your needs change.
Easy Access And Efficiency
Possibly the most significant benefit of cloud-based accounting is the ease of access. Instead of being scattered across a dozen different computers each only accessible by one person at a time, all of your records are brought together in one place.
With internet access and secure login credentials, any of your staff can get up-to-date financial information on any internet-enabled device. You can tailor the system and the permission settings so that each employee has access to the records vital for their work.
Instant And Accurate Accounting
Each employee inputs their costs and expense reports, and you instantly have that accurately reported information at your fingertips. You save the time needed for consolidating information, and continuously passing data around or re-entering it manually each time. This way cuts down on the opportunities for human error and makes your accounting department work like a well-oiled machine. Data syncs automatically with no need for manual verifying or time-consuming reconciliation.
Not only do you cut costs by paying less than you would for an in-person accounting expert, but you can increase oversight and efficiency by streamlining the process for reporting transactions. Many cloud platforms also use integrated algorithms and an intelligent program to track possible errors and catch duplicate reports when someone on your team makes a mistake. Everyone slips up sometimes, but you know you’re going to catch it with the right technology on your side.
Keeping Your Data Secure
As cybersecurity and data protection become pressing concerns for every business, technological expertise is at a premium. Using cloud services lets you effectively outsource your security to a company with the equipment and know-how to do it for you. Instead of storing your essential records and business information on your computer in an office, you can lock your storage away on a secure cloud-based server with premium privacy safeguards.
Not even small businesses are safe from hackers and thieves using technology to steal or ransom private organizations’ stored information. By storing your data at the cloud company’s data center, you’re likely to get multiple levels of security with a dedicated team keeping up-to-date on the latest new hacks and vulnerabilities. The application is online and not on your computer, so it’s not up to you to keep it running either.
Most cloud companies will keep automatic backups of your whole system spread out across different areas so you’re adequately insured against any event or natural disaster that could knock the system out and put your data at risk.
The Risks of Joining The Cloud
Just like with any new trend or accounting program, there’s always something that could go wrong. With a cloud-based accounting firm, your most significant risk is still data security. Not even cutting edge tech giants are immune to malicious actors online. While the risk may be lower with a company that puts a premium on cybersecurity, no system is ever 100 percent secure.
Because so many firms are discovering the cloud and cutting costs by partnering with different online servers, many new cloud accounting firms have risen to get a piece of the action. While smaller or newer companies may be cheaper, there’s no guarantee that they’ll stick around.
Another critical vulnerability for business using cloud accounting, although less significant, is the fact that you depend entirely on internet access. If your connection goes out, you might suddenly find yourself unable to get to your financial data.
Upgrading And Uploading
Working with a cloud-based accounting firm means outsourcing your tech security and accounting needs to the professionals. You and your employees can share real-time access to essential data, streamlining bookkeeping and decision-making processes. The cloud company program will take responsibility for the technical side of things, keeping their data centers up-to-date and secure, and their online platform running smoothly so that you can focus on the core of your business.
Taking the leap and moving your business from in-house storage to the cloud is a big step. While there are risks and weaknesses to take into account, the benefits in cost-efficiency and increased productivity can give your small company the edge it needs to sustain growth and hold its own in crowded markets. Every growing business today has to find a way to adapt to a changing internet environment with new opportunities and dangers that arise every day. It’s up to you to lead your business in doing just that.
About The Author: Bill founded CINC Systems and Accounting Integrators (Ai) to use technology to bring new efficiency standards to the community association industry by providing software that integrates accounting and banking. During his more than 15 years of serving the industry, his passion for innovation and improved ways of doing business has become a way of life at CINC/Ai and drives the organization to continually strive to become the software standard for the community association industry.
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