We’ve all experienced the innumerable ways the pandemic has upended the way we work and conduct business. In accounting, that change is especially evident in the rapid adoption of online-only platforms and virtual services such as auditing. We’ve experienced several years of change in just about 18 months — but it is for the better.
Online accounting can save time, effort, and reduce costs over the long term. Companies, such as QuickBooks are making it more and more attractive to finally leave outmoded ways of doing business behind. Could making the switch be right for you, too?
What Is Online Accounting?
Traditionally, accounting software lived on a computer desktop or a hard drive. Online accounting allows immediate access to information by storing it in the cloud. Authorized users can tap into that information anytime, anywhere.
The Benefits Are Better
We generally steer our clients toward online accounting because there are so many upsides.
24/7 access: In the past, running a report required more labor. For example, if you were using QuickBooks Desktop, you would have needed to request a data backup — an especially cumbersome process if you wanted your financials over the weekend when the office was empty. With a program like QuickBooks Online, your accounting team can access your financials from anywhere and immediately create and share reports.
Faster decision-making: Online accounting programs make it much easier to keep up with volatile business environments, such as the restaurant industry. Business owners can immediately see their income and expenses and make staffing and buying decisions in real-time rather than month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter.
Flexibility for employees: According to a recent poll by CNBC, nearly 76 percent of Americans want the option to work remotely. If your business changed to more flexible hours, or if you’re planning on offering that alternative to future employees, online accounting will be a huge bonus.
Constantly improving API: Application Programming Interface, or API, refers to programs that talk to each other. For example, your business might use QuickBooks Online for everyday accounting tasks, Bill.com for invoicing, and Qvinci to consolidate financial reporting. The applications that are compatible with online accounting programs are getting better every day; if you have a business management need, chances are there’s an API to help.
Auditing is easier: In the past, auditing was a huge hassle: A team of accountants would move into the office for several days, taking up space and potentially disrupting business. Thanks to online accounting, accountants can audit remotely. They can even report inventory utilizing a phone and taking a real-time video or picture. The benefits to businesses include less mess, hassle, and time lost.
A Few Considerations
Feeling ready to make the jump? There are a few concerns you should consider before making the leap.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach: Typical online accounting platforms might not be a good fit for certain types of businesses that need specialized tracking or management. We work with businesses on a case-by-case business to create a solution that fits their needs. Talk to your accountant about your best option before purchasing anything.
Transition time: We can train most people on programs like QuickBooks Online in less than an hour, but we allow up to three days to fully integrate systems and work out any kinks. This is a time commitment, but the cost and time savings should be worth it.
Your office needs an advocate: We have found that transitions flow more easily when a dedicated point person, such as an in-house accountant or CFO, serves as a cheerleader for the change. It’s not easy to move out of the comfort zone of a familiar program. If you don’t have someone who can advocate, your office might slip back into older, less efficient ways of working.
You can’t hang on forever: It’s now more expensive to purchase QuickBooks Desktop than it is to buy QuickBooks Online. Companies are, in effect, making the decision for businesses by raising prices and phasing out products. So, it’s not a question of if you’ll move to online accounting, but when.
Security issues: Not everyone is on board with storing their data in the cloud. However, these programs come with bank-level encryption. With proper security hygiene (using strong passwords, changing them every 90 days, storing them out of prying eyes), you can expect safety for your most critical financial information.
If you’re interested in learning more about online accounting and auditing, please reach out. You can count on Grimbleby Coleman CPAs to work with you to develop a solution that will save time, energy, and money while allowing you greater flexibility and decision-making ability. Contact your accountant or send us an email at email@example.com to find out how we can help.