Everything seems to be going up into the cloud. Is accounting in the cloud for you? Should your books be accessible from anywhere? Here are a few things you should know before answering those questions.
So Who Owns What?
Unlike desktop versions of software, cloud based products tend to be subscriptions based. People still run their old versions of Quickbook and Word that ran on Windows 95. This won’t be the case with cloud based software. The advantage of this is that with cloud based software like Office 365, you can pick and chose what features you want. Desktop software tend to come out in one format or a tiered system. Now you can pick and chose what you pay for.
Where Is Your Data?
If you’re using a cloud based software, then your data is stored offsite. It’s not on your local hard drive. It’s some where out there, in the cloud. So is it secure? Well, you paying another company to store your data and give you access to it all the time. This is the biggest crux that the cloud community has to deal with. But think about your ATM. You could have all your money stored locally, like in a shoe box under your bed. Or you give it to your bank and they give you access to your money via tellers, ATMs, etc.
Who Is It for?
In my opinion, cloud based software is really for the medium guy. If you’re a tiny business and you can count your daily sales on one hand, then this isn’t for you. A simple double ledger spreadsheet in Excel would do you better. If you’re a mega-corporation then you would build or higher your own accounting department and have an in-house system. However, the medium business that is always on the go and in flux will have use for a cloud based accounting system. As your business grows and changes the cloud is more apt to scale. It’s going to be easier than making that tough choice to spend a whole lot of money on a software upgrade.