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Is A Cloud Accounting System for You?

This is not a simple issue. We can offer a cloud accounting system and can show people at least 2 or 3 others. Like all things in life, the value of these offerings is very much determined by what one wants out of them.

The system we provide comes with INTEGRATED payroll and P11d plus electronic bank reconciliation and the ability to send reports to excel. It has some very good features for consultants whose costs are mainly expense claims as well as all the normal accounting stuff .

The main benefits of cloud accounting are as follows:

  1. Collaboration with your staff and the accountant.  This is the number 1 benefit from working in the Cloud.
  2. Always on the latest version
  3. No need to backup
  4. Use anywhere you can get on the internet with a browser, probably even a tablet. (I can access mine with an ipad mini).
  5. Good help systems
  6. No need to maintain systems in one’s own office or home.


The downsides are as follows:

  1. The market is becoming heavily supplied with little to really differentiate the providers and there will be failures.
  2. Many are little more than glorified bookkeeping systems and one does not know if the provider will be around to develop it.
  3. There will be a learning curve and early errors to get over when you want to work on your business.
  4. How does one migrate to a grown up system when you need to?
  5. Does one know where one’s data is stored – UK, Texas, Greenland ???
  6. What happens if a satellite link or undersea cable goes? There are plenty of blue sky promises here, none tested yet though Blackberry had a big problem recently.
  7. What if you live in an area or move to an area with poor bandwith?
  8. What happens to ones data when you stop paying a subscription?  The provider has no contractual obligation to store your data in the face of non-payment.
  9. Functionality can often be less than a system on your own pc due to the limitation of html.  For instance, drillability is a big issue in accounting – You see a number on a screen and click on it to see the underlying transactions, edit the transaction and save. On the pc based systems such as Quickbooks and Tas, this a big plus.
  10. Reporting.  Often the reports can be fairly basic and you may have to import data into excel and then set about formatting and analysing it.
  11. The supply of bookkeepers who are familiar with the package you choose is very limited.

Costs

Costs are apparently less with cloud systems eg £15 or £20 or £25 per month and nothing else to pay.  Sounds good until you do the comparisons. £20 per month for 3 years is £720. 4 year cost is £960. You can get good version of Quickbooks for one off cost of £323 including vat or £623 for the top of the range. You can pay over 12 months for quickbooks.  Sage 50 can be had for £714 including vat and you will always be able to find a bookkeeper who knows this system. Tas which I use and is owned by Sage costs £612 to purchase including Vat. Sure you have to take backups and look after them but you should not abdicate responsibility for you own data. These are all retail prices.

Again, it is a case of horses for courses.  For some people, the cloud is undoubtedly the way forward though I know of businesses who have put their entire businesses into a hosted service and are not too happy.  The most common problems are speed where contention is the big issue firstly on the broadband service in your locality and secondly contention at the server if the provider has been too successful for your good.

Give me a call if you would like to find out more about cloud accounting systems.  I can show a range of cloud and pc based products to anyone and help them to match their needs.

Robert Harris

T: 01438 811771

Email roberth@robertaharris.co.uk

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