Should I use online accounting software?

There is no denying the increasing use and popularity of cloud-based technology.   In today’s connected and mobile environment, the ability to access real-time information from your web-based software using any device with an internet connection is a significant benefit.  In the accounting world, there are a number of online software options offered by companies such as QuickBooks, Sage, Freshbooks, Xero and Wave.  Whether you’re currently using desktop-based software or just starting to use accounting software, there are some notable advantages to the online options.

A few specific ways in which cloud-based accounting software differs from desktop versions:

  • Updates – provided and managed by the service which means you are always using the most recent version.
  • No Commitment – typically, cloud-based accounting software works on a subscription model whereby you pay month-by-month; this means less upfront cost than locally installed programs.
  • Automated backups – most providers of cloud-based accounting solutions utilize frequent or real-time backups which occur automatically. This means there’s no risk of losing your financial data because your hard drive crashed.
  • Collaboration – features like accountant access enable you to work efficiently and effectively with your accountant.
  • Scalable – some online accounting products offer the ability to enhance your software’s functionality by adding apps.

If you are a current user of desktop accounting software and are considering the switch, know that the online versions are different.  The features, menus and layout all differ.  So, before you make the move, check out the software and consider signing up for a free trial.  If you are just starting to use accounting software, figure out what you want it to do; take time to list the features your business can’t operate without. This might seem obvious but, with so many software options, it might be tempting to just grab one.  It’s important for any business system to make things easier for you so if your accounting software requires you to change, make sure it’s for the better.


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