What does it mean to be on the “Cloud” or to be a “Cloud Accountant”?
Many firms across the US use remote desktop solutions or hosted solutions in order to access desktop accounting software so that they can get remote access. While these solutions are a step in the right direction, this is not what we mean we are talking about The Cloud.
A true cloud solution, such as Xero, is backed up by Amazon web servers, (which the government also uses by the way) whereas when you use a remote desktop solution, the software is at a physical location that may or may not be secure. There are also hosted solutions, in which the third party installs the desktop software on their servers and keeps them securely for you.
Oftentimes with remote desktop servers and hosted solutions, there are costs involved in managing this connection and user access is limited or clunky at times since there is a third party involved.
In contrast, when using Xero, user access is unlimited and can be granted from anywhere at anytime via any device with internet connection (mac, PC, android, your kid’s ipad) There are no issues with multiple users when you are using a true cloud solution, whereas desktop was not designed for multiple users to use it at once and may cause some frustrations with user set up and people not allowed access.
With a true cloud solution, updates are made seamlessly in the background without interruption, there is no need to download any sort of updates. Xero was founded on the cloud in 2006, our code was created specifically for the cloud which gives us a unique advantage via a robust infrastructure. Enhancements to deliver the newest technology are happening seamlessly in the background without interruption. If you are using a hosted solution, updates could require the service provider to manage updates to the desktop software for you, which could result in multiple versions of software if not managed quickly enough. Not to mention, this could become costly!
When you’re still using desktop software, but just accessing it online, are you truly connected?
We all know the benefits of being able to get accurate, timely data for both you and the client. Being connected to your client as much as possible shows your actual value and benefits you both. If you are able to get information in real-time, you are able to give more proactive tax advice or help your client know how profitable they are this month or week. We no longer want to report on information that happened in the past as it does not allow you or the business to make decisions that can have an actual impact.
Using a cloud solution such as Xero allows you to connect to 700+ approved apps from our marketplace that will help the business run efficiently as well as eliminate data entry for you. Xero has an open API which allows you to use the thousands of apps beyond the ones listed on our marketplace to address a specific need and integrate seamlessly into Xero.
Being connected to your client requires more accurate and timely data which requires less data entry by the accountant and client. A great example of this is Hubdoc, which will automatically fetch bills or bank statements and bring in transactions into Xero with the document attached for an audit trail.
Speaking of data entry, you may be familiar with live bank feeds, which allow you to get your client’s bank information fed daily into the accounting
software for you to code into the right account. Xero has taken this to the next level by introducing direct feeds which cut out the middle-man involved for bank feeds currently (in all cloud accounting softwares). A direct feed will provide you more secure and accurate data so that you, the client and the bank are all looking at the same set of information in real-time.
There is no question that a digital transformation is happening. We are aware that we should be online but are we truly leveraging the technology available in order to be more efficient? Does your client value the time that you are spending entering a paper bank statement into desktop software? Do they appreciate a surprise come tax time? Could using cloud technology perhaps make your life and tax season easier?
Now that we know a little bit more about what it means to truly be on the cloud and the benefits of being connected to your client, there are some decisions and plans to be made. There are firms going through this transformation as we speak, will you be one of them?
Jackeline Velez is Senior Account Manager for Xero. For more information about the cloud, Xero or Hubdoc please contact Jackeline Velez at firstname.lastname@example.org 281.247.0302.