Cloud Based Accounting: Is it Right for Your Business?

You may have heard a buzzword that’s been floating around a lot lately: the cloud. We’re not talking about the big white things in the sky. No, the cloud refers to a big network of servers that work together virtually to store and compute data, run processes and house information that is easily accessible no matter where you are.

The cloud is becoming a buzzword because it’s changing up the tech world. For example, remember how you could buy the Adobe Suite in a box, than you would have to install it onto your computer using the disc provided? Well, if you’ve updated Adobe in recent years, you know you now have to purchase and download it online. This switching away from a physical product and moving to an online based system is all thanks to the cloud.

Adobe isn’t the only program adopting a new way of operating. In fact, your bookkeeping and accounting software is starting to become some of the most popular cloud based systems available. Don’t believe it? Intuit found that in 2016, 64% of small businesses in the US are adapted to the cloud. In fact, the cloud is becoming so popular that by 2020, it is anticipated that 78% of businesses will be fully operating on the cloud. This 64% has nearly doubled the 37% that were cloud adapted in 2015. Our point? Cloud based systems are becoming wildly popular for business use.

With cloud based accounting becoming so popular, have you thought about moving your business away from the OnPrem systems you’re currently using and moving to the cloud? Here are some considerations to keep in mind when making this decision.

Updates | With OnPrem systems, you have to wait until the new, updated version comes out, drive to the store and buy it and then install it on your computer (which is where it would stay). When it comes to cloud based systems, updates are ready to be downloaded as soon as they become available (and in many cases, you don’t need to download anything). While some cloud based updates you have to pay for, many software subscriptions include all updates (and support)! Not to mention the updates are typically pushed out to you without lifting a finger. The cloud makes it easier to stay up to date so you can ensure your business doesn’t fall behind on the latest technology has to offer.

Accessibility | OnPrem solutions can be great, but not if you have to travel for work, or aren’t near your computer at all times. If you need to use these programs out of the office, you will need to bring your computer, use your specific server or VPN, etc. In other words, it’s inconvenient. Cloud solutions, such as Quickbooks Online, are the opposite. Because they are stored in the cloud, they are accessible virtually anywhere. Whether you’re on a mobile device or your home desktop, all it takes is logging into your account via the internet and your information is all available for you. Gone are the days of dragging your computer with you everywhere you go.

Security | In the Share the Cloud Security Spotlight Report, 21% of respondents felt there was a higher risk of security breaches in the cloud than for OnPrem programs in 2016. This was down from 28% in 2015. Although there are still thoughts of the cloud being unsafe, this trend is quickly declining. Breaches, although a scary concern, aren’t the only security issue to keep in mind. With OnPrem solutions, all of the information is housed on your computer. If your computer is stolen or damaged, you lose all of that information. In the cloud, the information is available wherever you access the program. The cloud also uses encryption to keep data safe from attacks. As with all data storing methods, security issues are real. Taking steps and putting security measures in place can help prevent your data, no matter where you store it.

Cost | Cost is always a concern, especially if you’re trying to make and maintain a profit. It’s easy to look at the cloud and say “that’s too expensive.” However, there are hidden costs that come with OnPrem solutions that you may not be considering when doing a comparison of the two. When you purchase your OnPrem solution, it’s easy to look at it as a one and done cost. However, you should keep in mind all the updates you will have to buy (and the hassle of getting them installed manually). You also should keep in mind the infrastructure involved with OnPrem solutions. You will need a computer, a server, security systems and other various IT pieces to keep the program running smoothly. The cloud has this all built in, resulting in no extra costs.

When it comes to OnPrem solutions versus cloud based accounting systems, it’s good to know your options. Having a clear vision of what’s available and how it may impact your business can help you stay on top and ready to make changes to keep your business running smoothly.


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