Cloud Accountancy Trends to Watch in 2016
2015 was a year of innovations and it is clear that technology development, especially regarding the Cloud, has not slowed for a second. Although the technology itself is not new, the flexibility and the speed of deployment of changes is crucial for businesses. The needs and approaches of enterprises also changed,with regards to accounting. The increasing complexity of new tax laws, the growing need of improved and quicker access to critical resources, and the importance of enhanced customer service and client engagement have provided companies such as Xero, Sage or QuickBooks with the opportunity to dominate the cloud-based accounting sector.
What can you expect in 2016?
A continuous development of Cloud Accounting with an increased focus on mobile computing and cloud-optimised apps.
According to Sageworks, 76% of accounting firms believe that technology will impact the ability to provide accounting services. Since, mobility is one of the fastest growing technology trends in today’s business environment, it is crucial to stay on top of the technology trends and beat the competition.
Here are the most popular cloud accounting software and accountancy apps that we believe will dominate the Accounting Industry sector in 2016:
FreshBooks lets you create or import databases of companies, contacts, and products/services. It provides customisable invoice and quote/estimate forms that you can either fill in manually or complete using lists. These forms can be dispatched by e-mail or U.S. Mail, and you can record payments and expenses. With FreshBooks clients and contractors can access pertinent subsets of the site. Besides a host of add-ons, it integrates data with sites like Outright and incorporates time-tracking and support tickets, and lets you upload documents to a shared area – something competitors don’t do.
QuickBooks is Intuit Inc’s set of software solutions designed to manage payroll, inventory, sales and other needs of SMEs. With QuickBooks you can monitor expenses, create invoices and reports, track/change orders and job status, and manage inventory, customers, vendors and employees. In addition Intuit offers add-ons to Quickbook versions as well as third-party tools that integrate with Quickbooks in order to enhance current functions. Quickbooks online also has a UK version which means that it is UK friendly with regards to terminology, VAT handling etc.
SageOne is an innovative invoicing system for SMEs created by Sage Accounting. Sage has been creating popular accounting products for over 30 years. Sage One is designed to be used by freelancers, entrepreneurs and fresh startups, and those who may know nothing about formal accounting. It is efficient, easy-to-use software, bundled with project tracking, task management, collaboration and payment processing.
Zoho Books is simple online accounting software that covers all the basics: create and send invoices, track expenses, sync bank accounts, create reports and do accounting on-the-go using a mobile device. But as well as this, it offers a full set of accounting tools that grows with your business. Zoho Invoicing is a stand-alone service, similar to Due Course, while Zoho Books is a more comprehensive accounts service including bank feeds.
Xero cloud accountancy software is ideal for small business owners managing their accounts independently, as well as in collaboration with their accountants from dispersed locations. The collaboration features of the software also make it suitable for business owners and their clients for financial activity. It includes features such as the ability to pull data feeds from UK business banks such as Natwest, for the all-important task of bank reconciliation, and to handle multiple currencies.
DueCourse is a digital invoicing system for small businesses and freelancers. It lets you create and send professional, personalised invoices that showcase your company’s logo, provides the ability to send invoices automatically and make secure online payments. DueCourse invoicing system is efficient and reliable in regards to delivering invoices to clients and sends polite, automated chasing emails to customers who are late with payments. DueCourse does it all – it is competent, fast and easy-to- use.
We reached out to leading UK Accountancy firms to share their take.
In terms of accountants moving to the cloud – yes we are seeing more and more activity in this area, but I wouldn’t suggest this is a move away from other more traditional practises, just an additional service now being offered to clients, which not only remove geographical boundaries but also enable us to utilise the technology out there is a cost effective manner for the benefit of our clients.Scott Sanderson
In my opinion the shift to cloud accounting solutions is the biggest single change affecting our industry that I have seen throughout my entire career… I’m still astounded when new clients tell us that their previous accountant had tried to convince them to stay away from a cloud-based accounting solution and, to be honest, the only logic I can see behind this is a mistaken attempt at the preservation of their own self-interests!
The shift to cloud accounting solutions such as Xero and FreeAgent allows our clients to have real-time access to the financial information that their business is built on. In addition, the ability to automate many of the tasks that used to rely on human data input mean that the accounting function has become more efficient than at any time previously. Rather than having to charge clients for time-intensive but low value tasks, we can now focus our time (and our client’s money) on activities that add real value and actively help our clients to grow their business and make smart financial decisions.
I think that cloud based accounting is only in its infancy as well. Combined with the multitude of other cloud based tools that help solve a multitude of other business problems, we really are moving into an era whereby the SME business owner can start to build their own ERP system at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise solution. The future of cloud accounting really is very bright indeed.
Cloud Accounting is undoubtedly one of the most promising sectors of the economy. It enables SMEs to make financial management process faster, smoother and more efficient. And in terms of SME management, it is vitally important to have operationally flexible and competent accounting system. For additional flexibility, have a look at our Mobility and Remote Working planner and ensure you are accessible whenever and wherever you are.
So the benefits of cloud accounting are clear and it is a question of when and not if SMEs should switch their accounting systems to the cloud.