What Cloud Computing Tools Can Do for Your Business -- with Examples

The Cloud

Cloud computing is making your data, files and even your software accessible securely from any computer or internet connected device. Products such as Gmail and Dropbox are among the best known applications of cloud computing, but a growing number of business focused tools are changing the commercial landscape.

Imagine your business's data was:

  • Not tied to any one computer or hard drive
  • Securely accessible anywhere via an internet browser or device allowing easy collaboration with your trusted advisor
  • Cheaper to maintain, with no software installations required and free upgrades.

The Benefits

  • Accessibility – Your key business data is available in real time wherever you are connected to the Internet giving you a clear overview on your current financial performance. 
  • Connectivity – Nothing to install. We can connect your core business tools to your accounting system, eliminate double-handling and save time.
  • Productivity – Multi user access enables team collaboration. Release the hidden productivity in your back office team – free them from repetitive manual tasks.
  • Profitability - Leverage your connected business systems to allow you to focus more time on growing your business.

Cloud Accounting & Business Tools

There is a growing array of web based smart applications that can help bring the most out of your business. 

  • Accounting software with automated bank transaction feeds, integrated payroll and invoicing allowing you to run and monitor your business on the go. Knightstone are certified advisors for market leaders such as Xero, Quickbooks Online and ReckonOne.
  • Reporting tools that provide informative real-time metrics that help you make better business decisions: Spotlight Reporting, Fathom and CrunchBoards and Panalitix.
  • Automated invoice scanning that takes the hassle out of receipts and invoices, no more data entry: Receipt Bank and Shoeboxed.
  • Time and Attendance software that helps you process payroll quicker and closely monitor your staff’s performance: WorkflowMax and Tanda.
  • Point of sale and Inventory Management add-ons that closely integrate with your accounting software helping you to instantly visualize your performance and stock levels:Vend, Kounta and Unleashed.
  • Ecommerce add-ons that automatically import sales and customer information from your website into your back end accounting software: Vend and Shopify.

Make The Switch - Not sure what software will suit your business best?

Because there are so many cloud computing tools available online, choosing the best one for your business can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is ask the recommendation of your accountant which tool to use based on your particular needs. For sure, your accountant will help you manage the conversion of all your information and systems onto the new software -- coaching you on how to make it work for you.

 


Macartan Gaughan

Financial Controller at Glendale Care

You can follow my thoughts @ macartan.com.au about the HUGE impact cloud computing is having on small business environment in Australia and throughout the world.


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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

The cloud can be a great tool to leverage, however, I wouldn't put your blind trust in it. It is still wise to have backups that are accessible in other places. You should keep a hard copy and digital copy of most recent financials secured on premises and/or in a safe deposit box. Also your accounting firm or professional should keep a hard copy and digital copy on hand as well. Yes, we believe the cloud has a lot of advantages, but it can also lead to different types of problems. How will you access your information if their service goes down temporarily? What happens if their service goes out of business? What if their service is hacked and your records are exposed? This is not the side of the cloud many people talk about, but the topic should not be avoided. I'm not suggesting that using the cloud is a bad idea (I personally use it for many services). I'm just saying, don't throw caution to the wind. You still need to have back up strategies and plans in place for those "what if" scenarios.

Macartan Gaughan

Macartan Gaughan , Financial Controller at Glendale Care

Very valid points Jef, the accessibility and security of the data is very important and each providers terms and conditions need to be considered before you commit. As regards a doomsday situation where the service goes down or out of business, localised copies of the files either in soft or hard copy are recommended of course - these form back of your back up strategies. However, that does not deflect from the stated benefits. In our firm, for example, we use Xero, QBO and MYOB for accounting files for our clients to mitigate the risk of relying on only one and we hold offline copies of final accounts for each client. While, I am a very strong enthusiast for these services because of the systematic improvements they are bringing, there are always risks of course. However, they are very similar to those that exist in pretty much all computer software in general, cloud, desktop or otherwise - Rather than using them as an excuse not to explore these new exciting services I prefer the approach where clients mitigate the risk so that they can enjoy the benefits!

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