How to Add Documents in QuickBooks

January 19, 2016 · Posted in Cost-Saving Tips, QuickBooks Help, QuickBooks Software · Comment 
How to Add Documents in QuickBooks
Accounting is about more than just numbers. QuickBooks lets you make documents available from within the program itself.
 
You could call QuickBooks a “green” computer program. It can conserve reams of paper by storing customer and vendor records, for example, emailing transaction forms, and accepting online payments.
 
Most small businesses are a long way from being “paperless offices,” despite the predictions so many people made when PCs became commonplace. Even though you’re making an effort to be as digital as possible with your accounting files, not everyone else is yet. So you still have to deal with paper.
 
And you’re probably still consulting paper documents or stored computer files or scanned images that relate to your accounting data. QuickBooks makes it possible to keep this information close at hand, easily accessible from the software itself.
The Doc Center
QuickBooks provides a centralized area for managing the documents you want to keep close at hand. The Doc Center contains tools you’ll need to work with your documents. From here, you can:
  • Add them by locating them in your storage device or scanning them in directly,
  • See their details and add to them,
  • Search for them, and,
  • Either remove or detach them.
Figure 1: You’ll use the tools in the QuickBooks Doc Center to work with the documents you want to have available from within the program.
 
There are probably times when you have supporting documentation for invoices or customer and item records, for example. In these cases, you can attach those background documents to the related QuickBooks forms.
 
Easy Operation
 
It’s not difficult to work with documents in QuickBooks. But if you don’t have much experience working with file attachments or scanning paper forms, we can walk you through the process.
 
To get started, click on the Docs tab in the left vertical pane or open the Company menu and select Documents | Doc Center. You’ll see a screen that looks like the one pictured above.
 
Let’s say you have a special price list you often need to consult. Click the Add icon. A window then opens that contains a directory of all of the folders and files on your PC and any external storage areas. Browse to the pricing document you created earlier and double-click it. QuickBooks will return you to the main Doc Center screen, and you’ll see the name of your file and the time added in the first row of the data table there.
 
Deeper Descriptions
Figure 2: Once you’ve added files to the Doc Center, you can view and add details or open the original document.
 
Click in the box in front of the file name, and buttons in the lower right of the screen will light up. Click on View Details, and a small window opens. You can enter information in fields here to add a Title, Description, Keywords, and Comments. Click Save & Close when you’re done. Other buttons here let you Open the file or Remove it. 
Note: To bring in documents, you can also drag and drop them from Outlook, folders, or your desktop. We can help you learn how to do this.
Scan a Document
You can also scan documents directly from your scanner into QuickBooks. Click Scan. The QuickBooks Scan Manager should open and locate your printer or scanner. After you’ve selected it and your other Scan Options, click the Scan button. If you’ve opted to see a preview, that page will appear for your approval. 
 
Click Done, and you’ll have several options for working with the image. When you’ve finished, click Done Scanning and enter any desired descriptive details. Click OK, and the Doc Center will display again with your new scanned document in the list. 
Attach to Forms
Figure 3: Many QuickBooks forms display the Attach File icon.

If you have supporting documentation for an invoice, for example, you can easily make it available from the form itself. Click the Attach File icon and select your file using the Doc Center’s tools. Once you’ve added an attachment to a form, the icon will display the number of documents that are available there.

Your computer’s storage space may be well organized, but you can still waste time trying to hunt down the document you want right when you want it. QuickBooks’ Doc Center can minimize your search time and ensure that important documentation is at hand.

Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Intuit discontinued its own QuickBooks mobile app a while back, but there’s still plenty of processing power available for your smartphone or tablet.

In days gone by, running a company was a 40 hour per week proposition. You might have taken work home some evenings or gone into the office on weekends.

Those days are over, thanks to the internet and mobile technology. This fundamental change in the way we do business means that it’s now hard to get away from work. Your smartphone and tablet are usually within easy reach, and they’re always tempting you to check in.

On the flip side, that kind of 24/7/365 accessibility to apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file has numerous benefits. You can, for example:

  • Make sales wherever you are,
  • Document expenses as they’re incurred, and
  • Monitor employee time for payroll purposes.
Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Mobile Sales 

Figure 1: One of the oldest apps that integrates with QuickBooks is GoPayment. You can process transactions on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere.

Payment-processing on smartphones has become commonplace these days. You’ve probably seen merchants accepting credit cards on mobile phones in one of two ways: by swiping the card on a small card reader that attach to their device or by entering bank cards numbers directly.

 

Intuit’s GoPayment lets you do either. You can download the free app and process a customer’s payment on your smartphone. However, you still have download it into QuickBooks and either create a sales receipt or match it to an open invoice. This isn’t a difficult process once you understand it, but you must be sure to do it correctly from the start. We can do some practice runs with you.

 

Benefit: Improved sales that aren’t dependent on location 

Travel Expenses On the Go

One of the smartest, most useful apps that has ever been created is the expense reporter — particularly when used by your road warriors for on-the-go expenses. There are a handful of these. Travelers can record expenses in two ways: they can either enter the information directly or snap a picture of a receipt with a smartphone. When your employees get back to the office, they’re able to prepare complete expense reports, whose approved data can be transferred into QuickBooks.

 

Concur is one of these apps. When you set it up, it imports Account Codes, Customers, Jobs and Classes, Vendor and Employee Records from QuickBooks so that these can be assigned for each expense entry. Credit card transactions can be imported directly. When an expense report is completed, it can be sent to a manager for approval, and reimbursement is then deposited in the employee’s bank account.

 

Figure 2: Intuit’s App Center is home to hundreds of add-on applications for QuickBooks.

Tallie works similarly. It can automatically categorize expenses and alert approvers to expense policy violations. Used in conjunction with Bill.com and SmartVault, it can accommodate a sophisticated, seamless accounting workflow. We’ll see more multi-app integration as cloud-based financial solutions mature, but if you’re going to attempt such a setup, let us help you with the initial mechanics.

Benefit: More accurate, policy-compliant expense reports

Time-Tracking and Timesheets 

If all of your employees walk through the office door every morning and stay there, you don’t need a mobile app for time-tracking. But for businesses whose cash flow depends on recovering and recording every minute of billable time, a smartphone time-tracker is ideal.

TSheets Time Tracker can help improve your bottom line in numerous ways. This particular app:

  • Accommodates real-time mobile data entry,
  • Tracks employee locations using GPS, and
  • Creates timesheets that can be synchronized with QuickBooks, tracking billable time by customer, job, employee, etc.

Benefits: Employee accountability; recovery and correct classification of all billable hours; and less time required to create timesheets

 

Moving Toward Integration 

Given the size limitations of smartphones, some mobile apps contain only a subset of the features found in their desktop counterparts. But that subset is chosen based on the needs of mobile users.

Fewer features means that your learning time for the mobile apps that integrate with QuickBooks will be minimal. But the steps to sync with QuickBooks must be followed to the letter, and you may not be familiar with such a process. We want you to experience the benefits that these smartphone solutions can offer without compromising the integrity of your QuickBooks company file. Let us introduce you to these forward-looking, beneficial tools.

Customize QuickBooks Reports – Make Better Business Decisions

Customize QuickBooks’ Reports, Make Better Business Decisions
QuickBooks simplifies and speeds up your daily accounting work, but you’re missing out on valuable insight if you don’t tailor your report data.

Do you remember why you started using QuickBooks? You may have simply wanted to produce sales forms and record payments electronically. Gradually, you expanded your use of the software, perhaps paying and tracking bills through it and keeping an eagle eye on your inventory levels. Certainly, you’ve run at least some of the pre-built report templates offered by all versions of QuickBooks since their inception. 

 

QuickBooks’ automation of your daily bookkeeping tasks has undoubtedly served you well. But that’s merely limited use; now it’s time to take advantage of QuickBooks’ greatest strength: customizable reports.

One of the rewards for diligently entering all of your accounting information is a better grasp of your company’s financial performance to date. That insight ultimately leads to better business decisions that can contribute to your future growth and success.

 

Figure 1: QuickBooks’ Report Center can help you learn about what each report is designed to tell you. But smart customization requires deeper insight. 

 

Making Reports Meaningful 

Like many other tasks in QuickBooks, report customization tools aren’t that difficult to master. What’s challenging is:

  • Understanding what each report is designed to tell you
  • Determining which reports are most relevant to your business information needs, and
  • Designing each to produce the critical insight you need in order to move forward.

The first of these is fairly clear. You can understand what many reports do by their titles, their content, and the descriptions QuickBooks offers. We recommend that you spend some time looking at the Report Center in QuickBooks to familiarize yourself with your options.

The second two challenges are a bit more formidable. It’s our job to assist you in establishing a workflow in QuickBooks to keep accurate records and produce necessary transactions. But we want you to do more than just maintain the status quo. When you analyze and interpret what your reports are telling you, you can make smart business decisions.

So if we haven’t gone over this with you already, we encourage you to schedule some time with us so you can get the maximum benefit from your QuickBooks reports.

Figure 2: You can’t miss QuickBooks’ customization link when you open a report. But the trick is knowing how to best use its options for your business. 

A Simple Set of Steps

Let’s take a look at a report you may already be generate: Sales by Customer Detail
(Reports | Sales | Sales by Customer Detail). QuickBooks comes with a commonly-used set of default columns in its reports. This particular report contains column labels like Type (invoice, sales receipt, etc.), Item and Quantity, and Sales Price.

You can easily change the default date range up below the toolbar. But to get to QuickBooks’ powerful customization tools, click Customize Report. A window with four tabs opens. They are:

Display. Options in this window help you specify the columns you want to appear in your report. In the lower left corner, there’s a list titled Columns that contains every possible column label for that report. If you scroll down, you’ll see a check mark in front of the default columns. Click on any of those to uncheck them, and click in front of any that you’d like to add. 

Other options here include how your data should be totaled and sorted. Some reports let you choose between cash and accrual basis.

Filters. This is the difficult one — and the tool that will provide the most insight. Filters determine which subsets of related data you’ll see (accounts, items, customer types, zip codes, etc.) by including only those that meet certain conditions. Here’s where we can really help you answer critical business questions that will lead you to smart decisions.

 

Figure 3: In this example, you’ve created a filter that will find all commercial drywall jobs that have been invoiced in the current fiscal quarter. You could narrow this report further by, for example, class, state, and paid status.

Header/Footer and Fonts & Numbers. You can tailor the design and layout of your reports here.

Well-formulated reports can help you spot cash flow problems, maintain the right inventory levels, see which jobs are the most profitable, and compare your estimates to actual costs. You’ll also be able to identify your best customers, your most sought-after items, and your most successful sales reps. Careful customization of your reports — and thorough analysis of their data — will make the answers to your constant questions about your company’s future direction much clearer. We can help you take full advantage of these powerful tools.

8 QuickBook Reports You Should Be Running

8 QuickBooks Reports That You Should Be Running Regularly
QuickBooks provides dozens of customizable report templates. You know when you need some of them, but which are musts?

You send invoices because you sold products and/or services. Purchase orders go out when you’re running low on inventory, and there are always bills to pay, it seems like. All of this activity is, of course, important in itself, but all of your conscientious bookkeeping culminates in what’s probably the most critical element of QuickBooks: your reports.

Reports can tell you how many navy blue sweatshirts you sold in March, what you paid for health insurance premiums in the first quarter, and how much you bought from your favorite vendor last month. They’re very good at drilling down to get the precise set of numbers you need.

But reports – carefully customized and properly analyzed – can do more than tell you how many golf clubs to order and when it’s time to switch phone services. They can help you make the business decisions that will help you take your growing company to the next level. There are several that you should be looking at regularly, some of which you can interpret easily and use in your daily workflow. We’ll help you with the interpretation of the more complex financial reports.

Who Owes Money? 

That’s probably a question you ask yourself every day. You don’t necessarily have to run the A/R Aging Detail report every day, but you’ll want to run it frequently. It tells you who owes you money and whether they’ve missed the due date (and by how many days).

 photo QBC0614image1_zpsbaaf5086.jpg

Figure 1: By running the A/R Aging Detail report, you can see whether you need to follow up with customers who have past due invoices.

 

As with any report, you can modify it to include the columns, data set and date range you want by clicking the Customize button. When you create a report in a format that you think you might want to run again, click the Memorize button. Enter a name that you’ll remember, and assign it to a Memorized Report Group.

Getting There

 There are two ways to find the reports you want to see. You can open the Reports menu and move your cursor down to the category you want, like Customers & Receivables, which will open a slide-out menu of options there.

Or you can open the Report Center, which lets you explore reports in more depth. Each is represented by a small graphic with four icons under it. You can:

  • Run the report with your own data in it
  • Open a small informational window
  • Designate it as a Favorite, and
  • View QuickBooks help.
 photo QBC0614image3_zps53680fa0.jpg

Figure 2: If you access QuickBooks reports through the
Report Center, you’ll have several related options.

 Other accounts receivable reports that you should consult periodically include Open Invoices and Average Days to Pay.

Tracking What You Owe

Reports can also keep you up-to-date on money that you owe to other people and companies. An important one is Unpaid Bills Detail, accessible through the Vendors & Payables menu item. Though you can modify its columns, this report basically tells you who is expecting money from you, the date the bill was issued and its due date, any number assigned to it, the balance due, and relevant aging information.

Vendor Balance Detail is critical, too. This report displays every transaction (invoices, payments, etc.) that contribute to the balance you have with each vendor.

Standard Financial Reports

 photo QBC0614image2_zps8a5db7fc.jpg

Figure 3: We hope you’ll let us help you by running and interpreting these standard financial reports.

 

QuickBooks report categories include one labeled Company & Financial. These are reports that you can run yourself, but they’re critical for understanding your company’s financial status. We can customize and analyze these for you on a regular basis so you’ll know where you stand. They include:

  • Balance Sheet. What is the value of your company? The balance sheet breaks out this information by account (under the umbrella of assets, liabilities and equity).
  • Income Statement. Often referred to as Profit & Loss, this shows you how much money your business made or lost over a specific time period.
  • Statement of Cash Flows. How much money came in and went out during a specified time range?

Reports can only generate information about what you’ve entered in QuickBooks and exactly where it’s been entered. So it’s crucial that you follow standard accounting practice as you proceed through your daily workflow. We’re always available to answer questions you have about QuickBooks’ structure and your activity there. Your reports – and your critical business decisions – depend on it.

Five Ways to Go Green with Your Accounting

March 6, 2014 · Posted in Accounting, Business Tips, Cost-Saving Tips · Comment 

With St. Patrick’s Day and spring arriving, March is a great month to have “green” on the mind.  There are green shamrocks, green beer, the green of new vegetation, and there’s even green accounting too.  Here are five ways to make your accounting a little more green.

Business Receipts     

When you spend money on your business, ask for an emailed receipt rather than a paper one if you have an option. More and more vendors are providing this option.   Then when the receipt comes in your email, you can forward it to your bookkeeper and/or upload it to your accounting system.

Smile for the Camera

If the vendor does not offer an emailed receipt, do the next best thing:  take a picture of the receipt with your cell phone.   Some accounting systems allow you to upload the receipt right from your phone, and if you don’t have that feature, you can always email it or upload it to your PC.

PDF Invoices

If you invoice customers, send a PDF invoice via email.  More and more businesses are abandoning the snail mail and getting it to customers faster via email.  They’re getting paid faster, and speeding up your green is usually a good thing.

Online Banking

Many people adopted online banking about a decade ago.   If you’re still getting paper statements, you can get those stopped and download your statements once a month from your online account.  It’s better not to get your statement in the mail anymore; it reduces your risk of identity theft from stolen mail.

Software and Supplies

When possible, purchase your software online and download it rather than making a gas-guzzling trip to the store and purchasing a box.  You can also order your office supplies online and have them delivered.   As long as you buy local, it should be a green purchase, and it will save you tons of time too.

These five ideas will help your accounting become a little more green.

Five Tips to Get Ready for a Pain-Free Tax Time

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to get your financial records in order. Tax moves you make now can mean finding more “green” to spend on family gifts and festivities. Here are five quick tips for you to feel more prepared about your financial status as you go into year-end.

Avoid Penalties

This time of year is ideal to double-check your tax payments to make sure enough has been paid in, and even more important, to avoid overpaying so your money is not tied up unnecessarily. If you’re not sure of your 2013 tax liability, check with your tax preparer.

Balanced Books

Rather than wait until the busiest time of year for accountants and bookkeepers, you can get a head start now on catching up your books You’ll have more of their attention and you may even avoid a rate increase if you get your books done early. Completed bank reconciliations are a very important part of catching up.

Forms

It’s not too early to get your orders in for the forms you need at year-end like your W-2s, W-3s, 1099s, and 1096s. That way, your forms will be onsite when you’re ready.

Records

Information that’s missing at the last minute can take up extra time and be costly. It’s a great idea to do an audit now of W-9s to grab missing addresses and tax ID numbers of your contractors. Also do a scrub of your employee payroll records so that your W-2s will be complete and accurate.

New Tax Changes

Be sure to check with your advisors on new laws affecting individuals and businesses next year. One of the biggest ones making news is avoiding the fine involved regarding the new health care requirements for individuals. And there are many more you’ll want to get up to speed on so that you’ll know how they affect your situation.

We know it’s early to be talking about taxes, but we’re also all about saving you money and time. Try these five tips so you’ll have better peace of mind and be more prepared for year-end.

Five Best-Practice Accounts Payable Tips for a Smoother Cash Flow

Watching the cash balance is one of the most frequent activities of a small business owner. Besides making sure you have enough cash for payroll and bills, there is another huge opportunity you can benefit from: lowering the cost of processing your bills. It can be expensive and time-consuming to process bills and handle the paperwork involved. We’ll take a look at a couple of the many ways you can streamline your accounts payable processing costs in this article.

Opportunity #1: Go Digital

The Intuit Payment Network (IPN) is a best-kept secret when it comes to sending and receiving money. It’s free to set up your account, and it’s also free for your receiver to set up an account. All you do is add your bank account, and you can easily transfer funds between the two accounts just by knowing the receiver’s email address.

The receiver of money only pays 50 cents per transaction, so when you have a large transfer of funds, it’s totally worth it. It saves you postage, check stock, envelopes and the related mailing labor. You could even increase your payment by 50 cents so that your receiver receives exactly what you owe them.

Another way to go digital is via PayPal. Fees vary, and are usually paid by the receiver.

Opportunity #2: Get Control

When it comes to finances, it’s never a good idea to mix business and personal, especially when it’s coming out of the same bank account. Keep separate accounts for business and personal, and your bookkeeping costs will go way down. Do the same thing for credit cards as well.

If you’re comfortable with credit cards and you can maintain control of your spending, it saves accounts-payable time when you can charge everything you spend on business to your credit card as long as you pay it off every month. Using your card is faster at checkout than writing a check these days, so you’ll save time on errands as well.

Opportunity #3: Automate

Put recurring expenses such as utilities, rent, accounting, and other monthly bills on bank draft or autopay if the vendor has that option. This will save you a huge amount of time, supplies, and postage. You can also be more accurate with the timing of the payment which will allow you to keep your money for as long as possible until the due date arrives.

Opportunity #4: Verify

We hope you never pay bills that aren’t yours, but it can happen. To avoid it as much as possible, implement a three-way matching process on all your payables, especially those related to inventory. The three-way part refers to the three documents involved in accounts payable:

  • The purchase order
  • The packing slip
  • The invoice

Before any invoice is paid, these three documents should be matched line by line – for quantity, price, and description — to ensure you ordered and received what you paid for. Only then should your bill be approved. This will ensure that you don’t pay a fraudulent bill, you don’t pay for out-of-stock that didn’t ship and that you paid the correct price you agreed to in the first place.

Please feel free to reach out and ask us about this if you’d like to know more.

Opportunity #5: Tell Yourself a Little White Lie

There’s an old saying: “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” If you’re always moving money around form one checking account to another to cover bills and payroll, you’re not the only small business owner who juggles funds. It takes up valuable time to make all these transactions, and then it costs to record them and track them.

Reduce all that by telling yourself a little white lie about your bank balance. If your bank balance is $10,000, tell yourself it’s only $5,000 (or whatever amount makes sense for you). That way, you’ll always have a cushion in your account that will help you reduce transfers. There are several ways to set this “little white lie” up in your books.

More A/P Ideas

These are only five of many ways you can reduce your processing costs and save time on accounts payable processing. Give these five accounts payable ideas a try, and if you’d like to know more, please reach out and let us know.

Budgeting Breakthrough

When you hear the word “budget,” what do you think about?  Most people would say something similar to “Ugghh!” If you would rather do just about anything besides create a budget, you’re not alone.  The word “budget” brings up connotations of endless numbers, constraints, the opposite of freedom and creativity, and hard work, none of which are very desirable.

Yet, the benefits of a budget are huge.  Budgets can help you with cash flow improvements, keep you on track for higher profits, and alert you to items that need further action.

From “Budget” to “Profit Plan”

To be successful with budgeting, we need to get rid of all of the connotations that go with the word.  Perhaps it might work if we rename “budgeting” to “profit planning.” And then, rather than focus on how little we should spend, let’s start with how much revenue we’re going to make.

Revenue Clarity

It’s simple to create a revenue plan if you go backwards.  What revenue goal would you like to hit this year?  Just like we would never get in a car without a final destination, a revenue plan gives us a number to aim for in our businesses.

Once you know your number, then we can use averages to come up how many sales or clients we need to generate in order to meet our revenue goal.  Here’s a quick example:  Let’s say you want to reach $5 million in revenue this year.  If you average order is $10,000, then you need 500 sales.  If you have multiple products and services, then you’ll need to sum the product of the average sale times the needed number of sales for each line.

From there, you can make marketing and production plans based on the number of sales or clients you need.

Protecting Your Profit

Think of the expense side of your “profit plan” as protecting your profit margins so that you can ensure financial gain from all the hard work you do.  Setting budget limits on spending will allow you to control overhead and other items so you can keep more of what you make.

Exceptional Reporting

A great “profit plan” report will provide several things.  You can compare budget to actual, or better yet, just be alerted to the accounts showing exceptions.  You can also get an income statement that compares the current period with the prior year period so you can see how far you’ve come.  One last option is a benchmark report which provides industry averages so you can measure how you fare compared to other companies in your industry.

A “profit plan” is a great tool for your business.  If we can help you with the process or provide you with custom reporting, please give us a call.

Five Cash Leaks to Avoid

Cash flow improvement is a hot issue for small businesses; in many businesses, it seems like there is never enough cash when you need it.  The last thing a business owner wants is to reduce their cash balance unnecessarily.  To help you preserve or increase your cash, here are five cash management leaks to avoid.

1. Bloated Bank Fees

Some banks are more business-friendly than others.  We recommend you assess the fees you are currently being charged to see if you can discontinue any unnecessary services.

  • Could you maintain a cash balance to avoid monthly fees?
  • Are you being charged online banking fees and bill pay fees, and are these still necessary?
  • Are you being charged for a high volume of transactions or cash drawer services, and are these competitive with other banks?

Banks, including national brands, that have not kept up with technology and have not automated a significant amount of their transactions are inefficient and must charge higher fees to cover their processing costs.  If your accounts are located at one of these costlier banks, you do have a choice.

2.   Overtaxed

Are you sure that you are paying the lowest amount of taxes you legally owe?  There are several places to look to make sure you have not overpaid taxes anywhere in your business or personally:

  • Payroll taxes
  • Sales and use tax
  • Franchise taxes
  • State and local income taxes
  • Property taxes
  • Federal income taxes
  • Taxes that are specific to your industry

In preparing income taxes, a few of the easiest items to overlook include carryovers from prior years and new deductions you become eligible for.  If you received a large refund this year, congratulations, but that means you gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan on your money.  You can do better next year by estimating your tax payments and paying only what’s due.

3. The Check Is in the Mail

Customers who take too long to pay you are big cash drains in your business.  Consider changing your terms, asking for deposits, or becoming more aggressive with collections to bring your DSO (days sales outstanding) down.  When you do, you’ll get an instant, permanent cash flow improvement.

4.  Sweat the Small Stuff

You may have an eagle eye on your largest bank account, but what about your other cash stashes?  PayPal, petty cash, and business savings accounts are among the places that may not get daily scrutiny.  Make sure those accounts are properly reconciled and have the proper controls in place so funds don’t go missing.

5.  It’s in Your Interest

A nice problem to have is when your bank balances get too large and you don’t need the money immediately.  Make sure that money is still working hard for you by putting the excess in an interest-bearing account.  It’s not much these days, but every little bit helps.

Make a Dash to the Cash

If we can help you plug any of these cash leaks in your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.

 

What Is Cloud Accounting?

One of the most exciting changes in the accounting industry is cloud accounting.  The concept is easy to grasp:  cloud accounting simply puts your accounting system in a private space online so that it is fully accessible to you via a browser or a secure remote connection.

Two Ways to Be in the Clouds

There are primarily two ways to have your accounting system in the cloud.  First, it can be “hosted.”  This means that the current software you are using on your desktop, such as QuickBooks or Sage, does not change.  Neither does your company file.

The only thing you do differently once it’s set up is click a different icon to start the software.  Once you log in, most everything else is the same.  There are a couple of differences in printer access, Microsoft Excel® access, and some of the other interfaces, but it’s essentially the same experience.

So if it’s the same, why would you want to move to the cloud?  Because it completely eliminates the passing back and forth of the file among you, your CPA, your bookkeeper, and anyone else that needs to update or access your accounting file.  No more restores.  No more DropBox or YouSendIt downloads.

Hosting saves a ton of time because the people you grant access to can login to your file from anywhere.

The second way to have your accounting system in the clouds is to switch to an online accounting system.  In industry jargon, this is called SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service.  Examples of online accounting systems include QuickBooks Online, Xero, Wave, and Kashoo.  These systems have fewer features and will only be right for a client with a need for a simpler accounting system.

When you switch from desktop accounting software to SaaS, it will likely require conversion, setup, and training.  It’s a major change.

Benefits

There are many benefits to moving to the cloud; here are just a few of the more common ones:

  • Anywhere, anytime access to your accounting system.  Companies with multiple locations will benefit significantly from a hosted solution.
  • No more worrying about who has what version and whether the changes the accountant made were updated or applied.  There is one central file, and multiple people can be accessing it at the same time as long as you have the right number of user licenses.
  • No more software updates that you have to apply yourself or wait for.  This is done by the hosting provider or the SaaS.
  • Tighter security for your data.  The data centers typically have multiple state-of-the-art data security controls and must pass a rigid audit, which is far more protection than any small business can afford to provide for their own data.
  • Automatic offsite backup for disaster recovery purposes.

Concerns

Clients’ two major concerns include security, which is covered above, and costs.  When it comes to costs, the most important thing to look at is return on investment.  Will the time you save be of greater value to you than the costs of hosting or moving to a SaaS?  That answer varies for each client.

Curious About the Cloud?

If we’ve piqued your curiosity about cloud accounting, please feel free to reach out so we can continue the conversation.

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