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?