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Is Cloud better than desktop?

18th Feb 2014
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I've been fairly enthusiastic about cloud accounting, starting with Kashflow and now also trying out other packages e.g. QuickBooks. However, I tend to find

1. Reports can be more limited compared with desktop programs such as QuickBooks - especially Kashflow, which has very poor formatting and printing and very limited reports compared with QuickBooks desktop. However, QuickBooks online also seems light on reports,albeit still much better than Kashflow.

2. Online accounting packages are slower to use than desktop packages because they are depending oin internet speed and server speed - input is generally slower and report production is slower.

3. Page refresh rates can be slow. For example if there is a big date range on Kashflow bank it can take a minute to generate the page and then the scrolling is very slow.

I thought these disadvantages were outweighed by advantages such as easy access, knowing the information is backed up and always being on the same version as my client. However, today I found that:

- after accidentally ‘abandoning’ an early bank reconciliation on Kashflow I would have to go in and ‘abandon’ every single subsequent bank reconciliation and re-reconcile. This could take a long time and is something I’ve never come across on desktop software.

- the security of having an online backup isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. On a desktop system I could just restore yesterdays’ back up and this would correct my mistake and take about 5 minutes. Apparently according to Kashflow support there is no way to restore ‘yesterday’s’ backup, so I’m left with no choice but to abandon every single bank reconciliation since the one I originally opened and abandoned in error and then re-reconcile every reconciliation.

This means that if the accountant gives the client a nicely reconciled set of accounts on Kashflow and the client then does something which messes them up there is no quick and easy way to restore back to the point when they were ‘clean’. You just have to potentially spend hours unravelling what the client has done. With desktop software you could just give the client another clean backup copy and tell them how to enter the information.

So it seems that the security of having a server backup isn’t as comforting as I originally thought and there seems to be no way of taking your own 'full backup' (Kashflow just allows transaction backup, not bank reconciliation backup etc). I expect other online accounting packages are the same.

Maybe the advantages of online accounting packages aren’t as great as I thought they were! What do others think?


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Replies (4)

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By The 5-50 Coach
19th Feb 2014 09:24

I love being able to use our system when ever and where ever I want to (home, office, car, partner's office, clients when waiting for appointment(, and also like the fact that my machine has to store less.

But the restore could be a problem I grant you. Overall however thumbs up to cloud (and most non accountants seem to like it too?).

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By Hannahmc8
21st Feb 2014 07:17

Cloud is about collaboration and efficiencies

With bank feeds this should never happen? Using Xero or QBO you will have all of the benefits of a single ledger, and lightening fast bank recs. You've also got a brilliant opportunity to collaborate in a much easier way with your client. 

Tools like Xero touch are only making clients and you more efficient too and getting them paid faster. 

Using the Add-on ecosystems that Xero and QBO (to a lesser degree at the moment) have, also open you up to unbelievable efficiencies. There are new Add-ons opening up every day and if you want to work smart with clients try - they're just opened up Beta for their Financial Intelligence plug-in

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By BryanS1958
26th Feb 2014 12:29

Xero and QBO

The client didn't use bank feeds because he had multi-currency transactions.  I find Xero too inflexible, especially having to  'publish' etc - it is probably more suited to a bigger organisation, small clients don't need to get involved in 'publishing' and so on, they just want something quick and simple.  Also, Xero can't (or couldn't) easily cope with bankings which covered more than one sales invoice, they show as separate lines on the bank account in Xero and then the user has to try and work out which lines total to equal the credit on the actual bank statement.

In addition, Xero reporting is quite limited, I find QBO has far better reports and QB desktop trumps anything online, albeit sacrificing ease of sharing, etc. 

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By macAcc
01st Oct 2015 13:26

Kashflow backup

re: Kashflow.

Absolutely unacceptable to be unable to backup & restore data in an accounts application. It's a naive and bizarre approach.

I didn't even consider this as a possible (non-) feature when selecting kf - and regret it. There is no reason to choose an application with this glaring omission.

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