By Phil Ellerby

If your business has always used a traditional accounting package, now is the time to stop and move to the cloud.

For many SMEs, placing highly-sensitive financial information in the cloud can be a bit daunting. This is understandable because making the shift to digital isn’t as simple as flicking a switch.

However, when the Making Tax Digital initiative is implemented from April 2019, it will be a necessity for all companies over the £85,000 VAT threshold to ‘go digital’ to keep and submit records electronically to HMRC.

If you do your homework and choose the right accountant to help you ditch your paper accounts (we’d recommend using us), making the migration to cloud accounting can be fairly stress free.

Select compatible software

Sometimes the digital switchover simply requires a copy of everything you have before starting in the cloud the very next day. In most cases, it’s much more complicated than that.

If your business runs payroll software or enterprise resource planning (ERP) from an existing on-site accounting package, it’s important to ensure the cloud option you choose is fully compatible.

We will advise you whether this is the case and recommend what we believe is the best available alternative – outlining all the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.

Accurately transfer data

Every business we deal with is unique and the transition to cloud accounting varies depending on the systems they use – as well as any current and future requirements.

Getting your actual accountancy data into the cloud can be the first stumbling block. At Northern Accountants, we usually automate this process, but we can manually transfer your data if necessary – especially if we believe it will reduce the risk of errors.

Gradually make the transition

In our experience, it’s always a good idea to make the transition into the cloud a gradual one. If necessary, we can set up your new cloud software on your behalf and help you to get used to the system – including any workflows or terminology you may not be familiar with.

We’re certain that switching to the cloud will let you do everything you could in your old software – and more – but we find that providing this assistance allows our clients to ‘go digital’ with complete confidence.

Timing is everything

Choosing the right time to implement the change is another way we help to simplify your cloud migration.

For some of our clients, the best time to migrate is at the end of a month or quarter following a major data clean-up or reconciliation process, as this is the most accurate way to move from the old system into the cloud.

If it’s possible, you can start afresh in a new financial year, starting the set-up and preparation process a month or two in advance. Using this approach can allow you to keep entering data into the existing system while the cloud system updates itself automatically in the background – making the cloud transition seamless without adding to your workload.

Whichever one is best suited to you, we will provide full training and ongoing assistance so your business can hit the ground running and get the most out of the cloud right from the start.

Why cloud accounting can create a positive culture change

Moving your accounts to the cloud isn’t always easy, but it’s a process we have identified that will help almost every SME to streamline their business (if it’s done correctly).

Tech-savvy, creative companies are ideal candidates to make the digital switch because they already understand cloud computing and the benefits it provides. Businesses who use mobile technology are also already well positioned for the change. But every company owner should think about the benefits of digital accounting and make the switch for the right reasons – not just because the Making Tax Digital initiative will soon mean it’s a necessity.

At Northern Accountants, we believe our experience can make the migration more straightforward. With our help, you could use the process to implement a positive change in your company culture – because we firmly believe it will reduce workloads and encourage more efficient ways of working.

If you’d like to seize this opportunity to review your business’ systems, please get in touch – we’ll happily guide you through the process.