If you haven’t yet made the switch to a cloud-based accounting solution, what’s holding you back? A lack of understanding? Scepticism? Concern over costs? Whatever your feeling is, digital cloud-based accounting software now has a history, having been around for a number of years, and even for the small business owner there are many benefits that outweigh the burden of the mountain of paper that hides on your desk.

We’ve come up with a list of questions you should ask if you are considering the move to a digital accounting solution.

1. Is it really secure? Yes. Online systems are encrypted and password protected. With two-factor authentication users have to input two pieces of information to access files making it difficult for hackers to find a way in. And, with data encryption as standard, the data is unreadable to everybody apart from approved users. With secure data centres and automated backup systems in place you can be confident that your data is safe and will never go missing, or end up in the hands of someone who shouldn’t have access. Ensure you understand the level of security of the software provider you choose.

2. Is it compliant? Your regulatory compliance is taken care of, with online-solutions having to adhere to the latest financial regulations and standards. This takes the headache away from you, especially if you work in a complex regulatory area, such as filing MTD compliant VAT returns to HMRC.

3. It is cost effective? That all important money question, many software vendors follow a subscription-based model, so that supports regular monthly outgoings and with cloud-based solutions there is no need for expensive hardware/server costs, maintenance or administration charges – that’s all taken care of for you.

4. Can I get up-to-date information when I need it? Yes. Cloud-based accounting provides you with ‘real-time’ information, so you can get access to reports instantly and make informed financial decisions at the time when they are needed.

5. Will it fit in with my current business processes? Yes. You’ll actually find it can improve your processes – streamlining approvals, managing sales, purchases, receipts and payments and ultimately eliminating the need for paper. With efficiencies in business processes you’ll find your finance and administration teams will be freed up to focus on more critical tasks.

6. Is it easier to manage? Yes. Whilst the old-fashioned filling cabinet may have been accessible to all those in the office, once the cabinet is unlocked it is far too easy for filing to go astray or for that all-important piece of paper not to be put back correctly. With instant access to data in a software solution there’s no need to hunt around for all the paperwork you need, it’s there in front of you on the screen.

7. What about my historical data? Our team of experts will convert your current systems and upload your data during the transition to the new software. So, everything you had before will be there, but in a much more manageable format. And, if you make the move to a paperless payroll system, for example, your employees will have their historical payslips and P60’s at the touch of a button.

8. What about the future? Cloud-based solutions are scalable, if you are a growing business then you’ll find software can be adjusted to support your needs. It’s not a one-size fits all, it’s more of a ‘sizeable solution’ that can be adapted and flexed as and when you need it.

9. What about sensitive data? We’ve already talked about the security of the system, but you’ll find that with a digital online solution you can manage access across your team – so only those with the right credentials will access the information they are approved to see. There’s no worry about people seeing the wrong information that may have been left laying in the printer tray.

10. Finally, with a corporate social responsibility hat on, what about the environment? Well, first there’s the reduction in paper and with a cloud-based solution you harbour the benefits of the lower carbon footprint in large shared data centres – there’s no need for you to be managing a complex IT infrastructure on your own premises.

That’s CKLG’s starter-for-ten. You can read more in our Spotlight guide ‘Accounting tech for businesses’ and if you’ve got more questions you’d like to ask about transitioning to cloud-based accounting software in 2024 do give us a call on 01223 810100. We’ve got a friendly team who’ll be happy to put your mind at ease, share their expertise and help you to make a sensible accounting decision.