If you are considering changing to Cloud Computing for your Bookkeeping, ask us! Our aim is to know the programs “inside out” (we still have lots to learn but we’re working on it) and to be able to give you an appraisal based on your requirements and the packages’ suitability, not just on access. We say this because there is a major push by some progressive accountants to convert as many of their clients across to Cloud Accounting as possible, quickly. The primary benefit for the accountant is their easy access to your live data; what they forget is that you have to use the software every day, and what is good for them might not be best for you.
Cloud Computing is the biggest “new” trend in Bookkeeping, however it has actually been around for over ten years! Cloud Computing is where you access the software and data through an internet browser, instead of having the software and data loaded onto your own computers. There are advantages and disadvantages to Cloud Computing.
You can access the software and data anywhere, any time provided that you have a good internet connection;
You can obtain “live bank feeds” such that the bank transactions that passed through your bank and credit card accounts yesterday are in your data file this morning, waiting to be coded or matched and reconciled;
You don’t need to back up the data files as the major software providers have excellent security and multiple backup sites;
You no longer need expensive servers or networks to run your accounting software;
The software is usually upgraded automatically (MYOB Accountright Live is different – more later);
Some of the new software has excellent features that were not previously available;
The new software is most likely “multi user”;
A whole new industry of software developers has been creating “add ons” that integrate with the “cloud” data files to extend their capability (more about this later);
Your accounting software may now be available from a smart phone or a tablet, enabling you to do business “on the run”;
With your permission, your tax accountant or advisor can log on to your live data file to see how you are going, tweak your file, provide advice, process your year-end accounts.
Monthly subscription can be cheap – starting from $29/month (MYOB Essentials) for files that you can access and work on, or less for files that your Bookkeeper or Accountant maintain for you (Xero has a $25/month version for you to use however it is too limiting to be of practical use).
If your internet access is unreliable, then you might have dropouts or intermittent access to your software and data:
Most Cloud Computing accounting software programs run slower than their desktop counterparts. If you process a large volume of transactions, you may be kept waiting until the software is ready to accept your next keystrokes;
You have to learn a new program, or adapt to the “cloud” adaptation of your current program;
There may be “bugs” in the new programs that haven’t been resolved yet;
Subscription is “by the month”, per data file. If you have a lot of data files that you don’t access much, then “desktop” may be the better option;
There may be significant time costs in converting to the new program (Xero now offers a free MYOB to Xero conversion service);
The new software “makes it look easy” however it is also easy to make mistakes such that the accounts may be quite wrong even though your software is congratulating you on a job well done! – for example, Bank Reconciliations that appear to be complete but have duplicate or missing transactions.
The Payroll integration may not be completed yet (Xero) and it is easy to have the Payroll module different from the General Ledger module – this needs checking or fixing BEFORE you run your Payroll EOY.
Xero is the “cloud” product shaking the industry; the business started in New Zealand in 2007 and we began using it in 2009 (Queensland’s first Xero Certified Advisor was a Teamrace employee). We began using MYOB AccountRight Live for our own business in 2012 and MYOB Essentials (then called LiveAccounts) with clients in 2013. We have completed the Quickbooks Online Advisor’s Course earlier this year.
Xero, MYOB Essentials and Quickbooks Online are totally “cloud” based. MYOB AccountRight software resides on your desktop computer and the data file can be local (on your computer) or in the cloud or both. To get automatic bank feeds (the best reason for changing to cloud accounting software) your data file needs to be in the cloud.
My personal preference is MYOB AccountRight Plus as it is a mature, fully featured program. Having said that, we have recommended Xero where the features of MYOB have not been required, and where the benefit of online access and daily bank feeds have been significant. We have recently set up several clients on MYOB Essentials and we have been impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of this program; Quickbooks Online is a more featured program like Xero and we like the look of it too. As we begin to get experience using it we will review it for you.