The fact that adoption of new technology helps boost productivity and gives your business a competitive advantage is rarely disputed. With cloud accounting, it means getting year-end quality accounts every month and meaningful data to make decisions in real time.
For most businesses, getting the right accounting system in place is the first technology decision they need to make, followed closely by sales automation. The rise of subscription services has made getting the right software much easier for even the smallest companies, but it’s often hard to keep up to speed with changes in accounting technology, and this pace is often cited as one of the greatest challenges for accounting teams. Even once you’ve decided on a cloud accounting system, it’s not going to do everything out of the box. If you go to most marketplaces, you’ll see hundreds of apps that integrate with popular cloud accounting software but it’s often hard to cut through and find the ones that are best for your business.
Most companies start with an add-on for keeping track of receipts, a reporting/forecasting tool and a payroll tool. These areas tend to be the biggest pain points for small businesses and where most human hours are expended, which could be refocused on other functions that will help grow the business like sales or product development, are wasted. There’s nothing worse than seeing time wasted creating spreadsheets manually, which often come to the wrong result or are out of date by the time the data is used, to make a decision, when this could all be streamlined and integrated with real-time financial data straight from a cloud accounting system.
The benefits of cloud accounting have been frequently highlighted over the past few years. If your important information is stuck on a desktop file that needs to be burned to a CD and couriered to your accountant then you have an outdated process that will already put you on the back foot. With one company, we were able to simplify their functions by implementing technology and we turned what was usually five days of work into two days of work through automation. What we see technology doing is freeing up people to focus on their skill sets in the business. Moving to the cloud allows you and your accounting and finance staff to work remotely, automatically import bank feeds for quicker reconciliation, increase accuracy, get better audit trails – the list goes on.
Having accurate information every month, presented in a way they can be easily interpreted is vital. It’s one thing to have the data, it’s another thing to make it meaningful to someone who’s not a trained accountant. The financial team is often swamped in raw data, searching for a way to organise, distribute and gain actionable insights from the numbers. This is where you need to lean on your accountant – remember, they aren’t just number crunchers. Cloud accounting enables them to keep on top of the accounts, but the real value add should be the relationship developed that allows your savvy accountant to help make this data meaningful to you.
The key takeaway is that technology in itself does not solve problems. You need to find the right technology, but also the combination of technology and people – whether in-house, or bringing in expertise when needed – to really get the best information to make decisions and drive your business forward.
Download the “3 Accounting Trends to Grow Your Business” infographic to find out how smart organisations are re-evaluating the way they think about accounting: