By James Harrison

As a business owner, have you ever held a meeting in your office, where you’ve had to apologies for the knee-high stack of documents on your table from your accountant?

Have you ever thought…

“Is all this paperwork necessary for my accounts? Isn’t there an easier way to manage the endless stream of receipts and invoices to comply with accounting standards?”

Continue reading to find out how Cloud Accounting can transform the way your company operates. I’ll also dive into your most frequently asked questions, and the best software currently available for making tax digital (MTD).

  1. Cloud Accounting Benefits?
  2. Cloud Accounting Downsides?
  3. How does Cloud Accounting Work?
  4. What’s the Best Cloud Accounting Software?
  5. What Next?

Cloud Accounting Benefits?

a computer screen showing a green tick with a cloud, highlighting the benefits of cloud based accounting software
Benefits to Cloud-Bases Accounting Software

Cloud accounting software allows you to digitalise your business by making all of your accounting activity available at the touch of a button.

It also allows you to project your current financial position, make payments, and future proof your success – by giving you the ability to scenario plan if anything were to change.

Furthermore, and potentially the main benefit to cloud accounting, is the way it allows you to operate from almost anywhere in the world.

This is, however, as long as you have a working computer and a stable internet connection.

All of this, in turn, allows for any business owner to access their current information day or night – which has transformed the way thousands of businesses operate.

Features and benefits when using Cloud Accounting:

  • Access anywhere in the world with an internet connection
  • Get real-time information
  • Make bulk payments
  • Schedule supplier payments, invoices and wages
  • Forcast your future finances
  • Scenario plan for possible changes in your market or business

Cloud Accounting Downsides?

a computer screen showing a green tick with a cloud, highlighting the downsides of cloud based accounting software
Downsides to Cloud-Bases Accounting Software

Although your accounts can be managed from the anywhere in the world. Cloud Accounting software may not be fully utilised to its full potential.

This may be due to a lack of understanding of how the software operates. Or of an incorrect initial set-up of your cloud-based software, or even in the way that not all accounting software is created equal.

Therefore, here at Northern Accountants, we’ve specialised in software that’s tried and tested to work time-and-time again, giving you full control from start to finish – such as Xero (more on this below).

By doing this, it has allowed the people we work with to concentrate on what they do best, which is to manage how their business operates, instead of chasing paperwork.

Long story short, the digital revolution is greatly impacting the tools at disposal for modern accountants. This includes giving the availability to access the overall financial health for your business – not just money-in vs money-out.

This means the traditional stereotype of an accountant sat in a dark corner of a room buried in receipts and invoices has almost become extinct.

How Does Cloud-Based Accounting Work?

cloud based accounting software logoCloud accounting software is managed and stored through external servers or “The Cloud”. The software is used in a very similar way as you would use your emails. It can be easily accessed through a secure login on the web or an application.

The data held on the cloud is kept at real-time, allowing for the information to be constantly up-to-date.

As the software can be securely accessibly from anywhere in the world, this allows for the flexibility for multiple users. Such as you, the business owner, and the accountant to both access the same data at the same time.

All data is securely stored through an external server, This means that business owners aren’t required to replace their mountain of paperwork for a room full of computer equipment.

As a result of this software, costs usually run on a subscription basis. Allowing business owners to keep the money where it belongs.

So, What’s the Best Cloud Accounting Software?

As we are constantly moving towards a more digitalised world, it can become overwhelming the amount of choice we have as consumers of products and services.

Clouding Accounting software is no different.

The software that is currently offered aims to give you, the user, full control over your accounts from anywhere in the world.

a computer screen with Xero on the front
Xero – A Highly Comprehensive Cloud Accounting Software for MTD

Xero

Xero currently prides itself in being easy to use, and accessible for SME businesses.

Here at Northern Accountants, we are Xero platinum partnered. This means we’re registered to offer Xero Training and full software support. From on-boarding, to the full management of your accounts using this ingenious software.

So why is Xero so good?

Building a business and projecting growth can be nearly an impossible task to predict. Such as, if your business goes from a local hairdressing salon to an international franchise overnight. This is where Xero shines.

Xero allows you to project growth or any variables for that matter which might affect your accounts. In summary, it allows you to future proof your success, big or small, among other benefits.

Multiple Factions and Add-Ons

Furthermore, to assist with the day-to-day running of your business, Xero is currently partnered with hundreds of other software providers that complement your business.

Receipt Bank, for example, is one of these partners. This software allows documents to be scanned from a smart device straight into Xero.

This allows you to easily transfer physical paperwork onto the cloud, making tax digital. Read more on our Cloud Accounting Services here.

Another example is Chaser – which integrates the receivables into Xero. This ensures that your, or other companies you trade with are paid on time.

Xero has also launched a “Xero Advisor” Certification. This allows for business owners to identify financial professionals who have been certified to use the software and skills offered by Xero in a compliant and sufficient manner.

You can see that here at Northern Accountants, we are Platinum Xero Partnered – Xero.com Platinum Partner Northern Accountants

QuickBooks

Quickbooks is an easy to use interface, which allows for small businesses to handle their basic accounting needs. And while it’s not as robust as Xero, we still believe it’s worth a mention as some people may prefer its interface.

Financial reports can easily be generated, giving informative and timely data to you as the business owner.

Furthermore, applications on the App allow you to upload invoices and receipts through a click of a button.

Quickbooks Merchant account services also allow of businesses to sync credit cards (which are integrated into your QuickBooks software) which makes payments that much quicker.

Making Tax Digital – MTD, and Accounting Software

From 2018/19, both Xero and Quickbooks became government compliant, to allow for making tax digital (MTD).

This means you can now submit your VAT returns through the accounting software digitally, while still complying with government accounting standards.

So, what’s all the hype about MTD?

Apart from being compliant with Gov guidelines, it allows you to keep on top of your tax figures and plan for future payments through your business.

For more information on Xero, our preferred software of choice for business owners, please don’t hesitate to contact our team to discuss your options.

What Next?

Here at Northern Accountants, we believe in positively adapting to the inevitable changes that are now being enforced by our government for MTD.

To keep up with these changes, we strongly recommend using Xero. It’s by far the most comprehensive software available for managing your business accounts, payments, and forecasting.

So where does this leave us?

The digital revolution is greatly impacting the tools at disposal for modern accountants, and the availability to easily access the overall financial health for any business owner.

As a result, the traditional stereotype of an accountant sat in a dark corner of a room buried in receipts and invoices has almost become extinct.

Have you joined the digital revolution?