Top 5 benefits of moving your accountancy firm to the cloud
Secure online data storage
Mention cloud computing ten years ago and most people wouldn’t have heard of it. But whilst still conjuring up images of fluffy white things in the sky, nowadays it’s an IT term we’re much more familiar with. A big reason why is, of course, the pandemic.
More and more businesses, including those in the accounting sector, are reaping the rewards of moving to cloud accounting. But if your practice is yet to be persuaded, the Tax Cloud team has put together what we see as the top 5 best reasons to make the jump.
What is cloud accounting?
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses have been forced to adjust to new ways of working, and those with cloud-based accounting software have seen significant advantages.” - Oldfield Advisory
Essentially, cloud accounting is where you pay a subscription (usually monthly or annually) in return for access to an online accounting software package where all your business and financial data is stored and managed in one place. But – and this is the big thing – instead of having it all on your computer hard drive in the office, everything that’s on the cloud is securely held on online. This means you don’t need to worry about lost paperwork or disks crashing. Plus, you can access everything from any internet connected device in real time.
Cloud accounting benefit #1: Flexibility
Yep, totally remote access for anyone who knows the log in details. As long as a tablet, mobile phone, laptop or any other device is internet connected, work can be done on the go from anywhere. Furthermore, with everything uploaded to the cloud in real time it’s up-to-the-minute accurate too, including invoices, account balances and everything else you and your clients need.
Cloud accounting benefit #2: Less paperwork is kinder on the environment
A paperless office sounds great in theory but without cloud computing it’ll be pretty much impossible. This is especially the case when more than one member of the team wants to work on something concurrently.
Hard copies, printing and saving data in multiple places is a big waste of business time. It’s not very sustainable either, and in this environmentally-aware age your clients will care.
With cloud accounting, all receipts, invoices and any other data is saved to the cloud automatically. It massively speeds up your everyday processes, not to mention saving on printing ink and postage. And what about emergencies - a fire or flood for example? All that paper would be lost. But with the cloud, simply log in remotely, retrieve all your data and it’s business as usual.
Cloud accounting benefit #3: Easier collaboration
When you’re based in the cloud, it’s so much easier to share data between colleagues and clients. It’s also a far more streamlined way of your clients being able to send things to you.
Using the traditional method, collaborating with others was much more like pulling teeth. Documents and figures would have to be sent backwards and forwards, or saved onto a USB stick ready to courier.
By choosing an online cloud-based accounting system, your clients, colleagues and management team can call easily and quickly access the same data. They don’t need any special hardware or programmes either, plus there’s no worries about updates etc.
Cloud accounting benefit #4: Facilitating business growth
Cloud space isn’t limited so you’re not stuck with whatever room you have for storage in your office. Fewer computers, printers and other IT equipment also mean more space to employ inhouse accounting professionals if required.
There’s also not much training involved in using the cloud - it’s really intuitive. Furthermore, as it becomes a more familiar way of working, firms can open up new revenue channels by expanding their services. This might be in offering data-driven advice or trend analysis, or R&D Tax Credit claims.
Incidentally, Simply Business has recently put together a helpful guide: Best accounting software for small business. In it, you can find out more about cloud accounting as well as the different cloud solutions to compare. It’s also worth noting that if R&D Tax Credits claims are of interest to you, the Tax Cloud portal integrates fully with Xero. So all your clients’ figures and data can be transferred over even more efficiently to get them the tax rebate they deserve.
Cloud accounting benefit #5: Improved disaster recovery
When all your business data, financials and various other important documents are stored locally, you’re only one corrupt hard drive, malware attack or server failure away from disaster. Not to mention the fire or flooding we’ve already considered.
Think about what that would mean for your practice. All that work, information, crucial data lost forever (check out Action Fraud UK’s cyber crime statistics for 2020-21. If you’re a business owner yourself you won't sleep for a week).
With cloud services, the fact that everything’s stored online means businesses can easily log on and recover their data, reducing the need for backups. If disaster should strike, it’s simply a case of getting everything back pretty much instantly with no interruption in client services.
Plus, with technological development ever gathering pace – and the ongoing commitment of Making Tax Digital - shifting to the cloud could just be the best move your accounting firm could make.
This article was brought to you by Tax Cloud
Tax Cloud is the UK’s leading self-service R&D Tax Credit portal developed and supported by the R&D tax specialists at Myriad Associates. Entirely cloud-based for easy, safe access at any time, it’s ideal for accountants who wish to file R&D tax claims on their clients’ behalf without the hassle.
Our expert team will guide you along the way from start to finish, making it a great opportunity for your practice to expand its services without the overheads. We will also thoroughly check (and maximise) claims before submission to HMRC so clients get every penny they deserve.