Converting to Cloud - is it right for your business?
Moving to a cloud system for your business can often seem like a scary process, it’s new, it’s change, we may not properly understand how it works or whether moving our business would be beneficial.
First of all, I would say for the vast majority of businesses moving to a cloud business system would likely be beneficial, some of the main benefits being:
- access from any location - an ever-increasing need for businesses;
- making manual processes automated – cloud systems can often communicate with each other through API integrations (fancy computer talk for automatically sending data to another system in the way it will understand)
- more secure – data is encrypted at a higher level than any business/home computer. If data is only on one computer/server if anything happens, it could be a disaster for the business,
- Become paperless – improve environmental impact along with paper, printing & storage cost savings
- Real-time information – having real-time data allows you to make real-world decisions which can massively impact the future of the business
- Speed – better processes and receiving real-time data and monitoring the correct things, allows you to move faster than your competitors
- usually cheaper – more automated systems and process can often lead to many different savings, including software costs and processing time
One of the downsides of cloud is if you have very high transactional volume i.e. thousands of sales and purchases every month then there may not be a suitable solution. I say may because often you can keep the transactional data in one cloud system and only send the necessary summary information to your accounts system and have a massively improved solution for the business.
When looking at a Cloud Solution it makes sense to start with the market leading cloud accounts software, Xero, due to it’s Open API and many integrations with other products including over 800 Apps in the marketplace. The business would then build what’s known as an ‘App Stack’, this is your accounts system, say Xero, plus all the Apps you want to use to build the new set-up for the business and have all the different parts connected. Apps cover many different areas:
- Invoice Automation
- Advanced Reporting
- Payments/Credit control
- Point of Sale
- + many others
Improvements and efficiencies can be created in many different areas and some parts can be automated from start to finish with no manual intervention, set the parameters and benefit from saved processing time and consistent treatment of transactions (although they can be changed at any time should the goal posts move).
Xero will also have the option to link up banks using bank feeds where a link can be set-up with your bank account(s) to automatically pull the transactions into the systems, many of which can be auto-reconciled. Another useful feature is to link the account to HMRC’ Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT portal so returns can be submitted and the business can be compliant. If the Payroll feature is used the account can also be linked to HMRC to make the Real-time Information (RTI) submission required for Payroll and will also provide the reports for pensions.
Many of the providers also have mobile apps, which can be great for many different purposes from reviewing the invoicing and finances, to staff recording their timesheets or taking photo’s of their expenses with their phones. There are so many options for businesses to modernise and improve the current way of working.
The one thing I would say is that to make the most of these accounting or business systems, they have to be set-up correctly, automate rubbish in and you will get rubbish out, seek advice to set-up properly and you will reap the rewards of more automated systems, which can be accessed anywhere, better real-time data to make decisions and you may even save some money on your ongoing costs.
Some businesses may think they are ‘too big’ for cloud solutions (turnover has no relevance), why not look at some of the jobs we have worked on to help businesses become more efficient and what was achieved.
If you like to assess your businesses suitability for Cloud Systems, Click here.