Cloud bookkeeping – it’s the sexy new kid on the accountancy block.
Put simply, it uses a secure website to store your records rather than your local server or PC. Of course there are pros and cons to this. First the good news:
- You can get at the information wherever you are provided you have internet.
- You can therefore review and input data any time, any place.
- It’s backed up for you so you needn’t worry about data loss should your systems crash.
- Having someone else do your bookkeeping remotely – such as your accountant – is a realistic and sensible option. You can still access the info at any time while the work is expertly and promptly done by people who know what they are doing, freeing you up to run your business.
- Unlike traditional methods of outsourcing bookkeeping, eg taking your books to your accountant, you retain close contact with the info.
And now the bad:
- You need decent broadband.
- You don’t know where your data is being stored, which may be a data protection issue for certain industries.
- You don’t have control over backup or security.
- It is slower to use, simply because of the data transfer issue. Every time you do anything it has to go to the cloud and back again. However good your broadband, that is always going to take longer than it going to your hard drive. At Altus we have found that dealing with large volumes of transactions is a slow process.
- Unless you are disciplined, you may find yourself taking your work home with you. It would be easy to sit in bed at night doing your bookkeeping, for instance. And that isn’t a good thing.
But truth to tell the whole cloud bookkeeping thing is a bit of a red herring, a distraction from the real issue. Which is, your records will only ever be as good as you are at keeping them up to date. Wherever they are.
Moving over to cloud bookkeeping will not help if everything is three months out of date. It might just as well be sitting in a plastic bag in the corner of the office.
So before you get your head in the clouds, put your feet firmly on the ground. Do you keep your records up to date? Then moving to a cloud-based system may work for you. If you don’t, then that is the first issue you need to sort. To manage your business, you have to know exactly where you are in real time, not where you were last time you did your books!
At Altus we provide full bookkeeping services, including a choice of cloud-based systems. We are always happy to advise.