One of the pleasures of my professional life is when clients start realising the benefits of cloud accounting. I’m a vocal advocate of cloud apps in general but, as an accountant, my passion lies in helping clients harness and utilise their financial data.
Hearing about the operational efficiencies clients have gained from a cloud accounting system we’ve helped them implement is very rewarding. They inevitably highlight the elements of the system they’re most pleased with and it is interesting how varied these responses are. They are also often a reflection of the accounting processes and procedures they found most frustrating before going digital.
Here I look at some of the benefits our clients have most welcomed. Whilst I focus on Xero as our preferred cloud accountancy product, software such as Quickbooks and Sage Business Cloud have similar capabilities.
No longer having to drop off books and records
Our clients love that their information is now safely stored in the cloud and there is no longer any need to bring books and records into our office. We still welcome our clients dropping into see us but now they can do so unencumbered.
We always recommended that our clients utilise an expense management tool such as Receiptbank or Auto Entry to take photographs of their purchase invoices and receipts and automatically upload them to Xero. As well as being more efficient, digitalising records in this way saves on printing, stationary, postage and storage.
With the introduction of Making Tax Digital, HMRC now prefer all receipts and sales invoices to be held digitally and may soon make it compulsory so our clients are ahead of the game.
Making business decisions based on real-time information
Business owners rely on financial data to make key decisions but often this is retrospective information based on accounts that can be 12 months old. Our Xero clients value real-time reporting allowing them to make confident decisions based on the current financial position of the company.
Within Xero there is the option to have automatic daily bank feeds and to utilise Receiptbank to autopublish purchase and expense information keeping spend up to date and accurate. Clients have relished having this information at their fingertips, with many customising dashboards in order to focus on the data most relevant to their business.
Real-time information can also be useful in securing funding. Cloud apps such as IWOCA, Market Invoice and Satago provide working capital to businesses without the long wait of dealing with your high street bank. They base their lending decisions on the real-time information in your accounts system and some clients have been able to access substantial working capital within a matter of hours.
Adjustments are no problem
With desktop based accountancy packages, making accounts adjustments is something of a palaver involving raising a number of invoices and/or credit notes to correct the mistake. The developers at Xero have accepted that humans make mistakes so adjustments and corrections in Xero are not a problem…just chose remove and redo. Clients really like remove and redo.
Getting paid quicker
It is no surprise that getting paid quicker is one of the benefits our clients most appreciate. Xero has excellent functionality to manage cash flow, not least the ability to generate automatic reminders to clients on overdue invoices. Our clients love that they can avoid the time-consuming awkwardness of chasing debtors. You can also integrate other cloud apps which make getting paid easier. Take a look at my blog How Utilising Cloud Apps Can Generate Cash in Your Bank Quicker.
Access from anywhere
One of my personal gripes historically was accessing books and records whilst on the move. In many cases, accounts information was sat on a standalone desktop computer in the corner of the office. Your team may have had to share the computer to perform their duties or, if you were super lucky, the business opted for multi licenses which cost an arm and leg so you could have the system on several desktop computers in the office. But then you had to worry about system contingency and if you had network issues……let’s not go there….brings back memories of dot matrix printers and shed loads of paper.
The beauty of cloud accounting is that all the information is stored safely in the cloud, as long as you have access to the internet you can connect to Xero. Our clients appreciate that the Xero monthly subscription is not based on the number of users, there is just a one-off very reasonable competitive fee. And they really love being able to access the system from the office, at home or on the move. Some even love being able to check in when on holiday but we’re not advocating that – take a break.
Better collaborative working with accountants
I remember back in the day when a client would call me to discuss an issue with their records and we would somehow have to figure out the answer without seeing what the client was referring to. This usually took a lot of time and I was often left wondering if the client had processed the correction in the way we had advised.
With Xero we can access the system and see exactly what our clients see, at the same time. We’re literally on the same page. Our clients appreciate how quickly and effectively problems can be resolved and how we are better able to provide proactive advice.
Like the sound of this?
Take a look at our cloud accounting brochure for more information or call us to see how Xero or other cloud accounting systems can transform your business.
Want to know more? Call us on 01432 273189 or email email@example.com