As a practise we see lots of different types of client records, ranging from envelopes stuffed with receipts, through spreadsheets, accounting software backups and remote access to bespoke accounting and stock control systems. All have their individual strengths and weaknesses, some with more weaknesses than strengths it has to be said.
An alternative to these systems is cloud accounting, that is to say internet based bookkeeping software, which has seen a steady growth in platforms over the last few years. Although they have been around for several years, it is only over the last couple where adoption rates seem to be taking off. As more and more people become accustomed to an online life with their bank account, household utilities and even government forms all being online, it is only natural that cloud accounting should become mainstream, rather than the reserve of techs and early adopters.
As with manual and software accounting records, not all systems are created equally, with systems ranging from straight forward cashbook systems to all singing and dancing stock control accounting systems and even some with automatic bank feeds.
With such a wide variety of options available, the commonest question we get asked about cloud accounting is “which is the best one to use?”
There is no easy answer to that question, as again they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
Every provider will claim that their system is the best system because it has a unique feature that the competition doesn’t have, but in reality the question to ask yourself is whether that feature is relevant to you and your business. One provider mentions that it has auto-feeds of your bank transactions into your accounts, but you have to dig a little deeper to find out that this is in beta and that it may take up to a couple of months to activate.
To sit and read through the features of the different systems would be bewildering for most people, with all the marketing hype, claims and counter-claims being made. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask your accountant, but with some accountancy firms only offering one system, it may be the case that you don’t actually end up with the best system for you. As with most things in life, one size very rarely fits all.
At Cannon Moorcroft we took on board these issues and discussed them with some of our clients, whose feedback was invaluable. After considering the pros and cons, we decided to offer a range of online systems so that we would always be able to recommend the system that best suits our clients’ needs and pockets with solutions from £5 to £25 per month (plus VAT).
We offer a range from SageOne Cashbook for small sole traders, SageOne Accounts for small businesses through to SageOne Accounts Extra, which is more similar to Sage Accounts, FreeAgent for contractors and freelancers, with KashFlow for businesses who need more functions and add on services like PayPal integrations and stock control, through to Xero, which is similar to KashFlow in most of its functions, although its user interface is significantly different.
One of the great benefits of cloud accounting is that we can give you more immediate support with your bookkeeping conundrums, and in most cases we fix any issues while we’re looking into it for you. It’s much quicker and easier than emailing backup files back and forth.
Additionally most online accounting software comes with an app so you can keep your records up-to-date from your smartphone while on the move.
So which is the best cloud accounting software? Well it depends on what your business type and needs, talk to us and find out how we can help you decide.