With 65% of UK accountancy practices already using or planning to use cloud accounting software, Paul Haydock, CEO and founder of DueCourse, examines five reasons why SME owners should consider a cloud-based service.

Is your head in the clouds? Good, it’s better off up there. You’ll have no doubt heard about ‘the cloud’ by now, as over four in five UK organisations have now adopted at least one cloud-based service – almost double the number since 2010.

There are so many cloud services now, many of which we use every day like social media, iCloud and Dropbox, but did you know you can move your accounts up there too? An encouraging 65% of UK accountancy practices are already using or are planning a switch to cloud accounting software, according to a survey commissioned by Xero, and it’s a growing trend.

Tradition has seen accounting done manually or through desktop software, but things are changing. Here are five reasons in favour of making the switch.

1 – You can do business on the go

The need for flexibility when starting and growing a new business is greater than ever, so the cloud is a godsend to any busy business owner when it comes to managing accounts. With cloud accounting software you can manage your business on the go, no matter where you are, so long as you have an internet connection and a mobile device.

Travelling to a meeting? You can spend the time catching up on your accounts. Not got fixed office space yet? You can manage everything from your local coffee shop if you need to.

2 – It’s great for team collaboration

Instead of being limited to a single person handling the business accounts, cloud accounting software allows multi-user access and communication between team members, so you can all monitor and keep up to date with activity.

If you have a dedicated accountant working on your books, you can also use cloud accountancy platforms to keep in touch with them, share files and documents and ask any questions in just a few clicks.

Stuart Watson, global product manager at Sage, also loves the way the cloud allows for multiple members of the team to work together in real-time. He said: “With the cloud there’s no more reliance on manual synchronization or time-consuming daily updates – you’re all working from one single source of truth. This way, everybody can co-ordinate their efforts from wherever they happen to be at the time, with the same level of efficiency as if they were all in the same room together.

3 – You’ll save a bundle

“Small businesses don’t have money to throw around. They have to carefully manage their cashflow and save where they can”, said Gary Turner, co-founder and MD of cloud accounting platform Xero.

“One benefit of migrating your daily business operations to the cloud is that it can help you save significantly on operating costs. Cloud computing requires less physical server hardware, which means less power usage, IT support, maintenance and upgrade needs.

“The Internet has given rise to a global marketplace which means you no longer have to be located in the same town, or even the same country, as your customers and prospects.“

With cloud accounting your business is set free from the heavy financial chains associated with the traditional hardware and office set-ups.

4 – It’s easily integrated

There are many great cloud-based business tools and platforms that can help you run your business more efficiently and they can be easily integrated with one another.

In the past, each element of your business whether it be payroll, invoice payments, HR or general accounting had to be dealt with separately, creating a lot of extra expense and using up valuable time. No longer – get everything into the cloud, connect it all up and you’ve got yourself one big, virtual control room.

5 – It’s great for risk and recovery

Every business needs to know that their data is safely stored and backed up at all times, and the cloud is a secure, cost-effective and space-efficient way of doing this. With the cloud, your data is protected against break-ins, cyber-attacks and physical damage to your premises.

When it comes to business accounting in particular, the risk and recovery benefits of the cloud become yet more important. Watson said: “Accountants in particular have challenges when it comes to data. Firstly, they generate a significant amount, especially when working across a lot of clients and, with it being financial data, this is particularly sensitive.

“Financial data management is also time-sensitive, putting a particular burden on accountants who need to make frequent back-ups. This is a time-consuming, administrative chore and a responsibility that accountants would prefer not to have. By moving their data storage onto the cloud with a reputable provider they can be assured that their customer information is in the hands of world-class expertise, infrastructure and security. This way, their data is regularly backed up and protected with fail-over processes that ensure no data is lost even in the unlikely event of a problem, and the admin chores are taken care of.”

Info via SME Insider, 2018