Don't be shy, embrace the cloud
To run a smooth practice whilst putting your clients first, one of your priorities should be to ensure they (and you) are using your preferred cloud accounting solution.
As an adviser, you will always take into account the specific circumstances of the client in question and one size never fits all; however, a move to the cloud will eventually be on the cards. With Single Touch Payroll (STP) being rolled out and the likelihood of further regulatory changes over time, the benefits of cloud accounting solutions will speak for themselves. This technology train left the station a long time ago so if you aren’t across the cloud you need to catch-up.
What is cloud accounting exactly?
Quite often people simply assume you know what they mean when they specify ‘cloud accounting’, but it’s a rather easy concept. You will already be using cloud technologies if you have email, social media, Office 365, online file storage or a plethora of other applications.
It simply means you can access your data and software functionality from any device in any location with an internet connection. The data is stored in, and accessed from, remote server rooms, instead of locally on your device. Cloud accounting software essentially means you no longer have all of your important business data on a single device, where at times you may be unable to access online. You can free yourself from your single location and single point of storage, creating a vastly more useful and secure accounting solution, allowing greatly increased efficiency in everyday tasks.
There's a reason the world is moving to cloud accounting
This is not a passing phase. It will continue to grow and let there be no mistaking it; cloud is the future.
There may be a few teething pains as adoption increases and both manual paperwork and desktop software fade into obscurity, but the upside will be evident. Primary benefits of cloud-based accounting include:
- Secure, centralised access at any time or any place
- Real time cash flow data including payroll, invoicing, bank feed automation and sales figures
- Easy accountant/advisor access to reduce tax time friction
- Seamless and instant access to client data with secure collaboration
- Simple, online account reconciliation
- Dashboard of KPIs
- A single ledger
You will inevitably have some switched on clients who adopted the cloud early and need no encouragement. You will have some who have not had a reason to switch and are more complacent; yet, are ready to be convinced. Then you will have the staunch objectors, welded to their ways and as malleable as a granite boulder. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who will require the most convincing. The key to this is in education. Be sure you share e-books, webinars, quality articles and ATO advice with your clients which not only outline the massive savings in time, money and reduced errors, but also increased functionality and ‘anywhere, anytime’ ease of use.
The STP situation
A burning reason right now for small business owners to ensure they have modern accounting technology is the recently launched STP initiative. Surprisingly, despite the mandatory nature of STP and the general benefits to be found in cloud accounting software, up to 45 per cent of business owners do not use any accounting software at all.
This can be a fantastic way to start the conversation – STP also has a 2019 date attached, which can create the genuine urgency required to shift some of the more stubborn business owners to get with it and move to the cloud, for the benefit of all involved.
There will be over 600,000 small businesses with 19 or less employees looking to get compliant come 1 July 2019, presenting a massive opportunity for bookkeepers and accountants to get their clients onto an appropriate accounting solution and dually for small businesses who will reap the benefits of a modern, compliant and comprehensive accounting solution whilst alleviating any STP concerns.
Sam Allert, chief executive, Reckon