As a business owner trying to manage your own accounts, chances are you’ve already done battle with fidgety and troublesome accounting software and are now ready to try working with a cloud-based accounting solution.

If only it was as easy as going to the ‘Cloud Shop’, trying out a few different accounting services and clicking ‘GO’, right?
Unfortunately, just like anything else in your business that involves investing a sum of money to improve a business process, you will have to do your homework.

It’s vital to learn as much as you can about cloud based accounting software systems before you create a service agreement.

You need to make sure the service provides all the relevant functions you need to manage your accounts and bookkeeping, whether it offers ongoing support, and most importantly, whether the service fits comfortably within your budget.

First Things First: What You Need To Do Before You Move To Cloud Accounting Software

Before you decide which SaaS (Software as a Service) accounting platform will work for your business, make sure you are ready to move from your existing accounts management system.

Consider what you were doing before. Were you using a proprietary software programme installed on your office computer? Did you rely on Word based spreadsheets and documents? Did you use notebooks and ledgers to manage your business incomings and outgoings? Maybe you used a combination of all three.

It’s time to examine the accounts systems you currently have. Take stock of what you have been working with and consider the pros and cons of the systems you have been using.

What Did You Like About Your Old Way Of Managing Accounts?

Although you may feel ready to move on, there may have been some positive aspects to your previous way of working you might want to add to your ‘must have’ list when trialing cloud software. For instance, if you used a hand-written ledger to jot down invoices and receipts, maybe what you liked about that system was its flexibility. You could carry your ledger with you wherever you traveled, and, of course, it was incredibly cost-effective.

What Didn’t You Like About Your Old Way Of Managing Accounts?

Let’s take the example of the hand-written ledger again. An obvious downside to this system is that there is no automation. You have to calculate all your own expenses, deductions and VAT. A notebook won’t automatically populate an invoice, save this information for your end-of-year or translate all this data into a neat and easy-to-use financial report.

Make sure to keep this pros and cons list firmly in mind when searching for a cloud accounting system. Need that flexibility? Make sure your new accounts system can be accessed from any location on both desktop PCs and portable devices. Hate complicated systems that require you to set up and enter lots of data? Make sure you choose a service that is simple and uncomplicated.

When you are ready to start trying out a few cloud-based accounting solutions, keep the following questions in mind:

Q. Does The Service Provider Offer A Free Trial Service?

This is a must have. You need to trial the cloud based accounting service for at least one month to get a feel for the software and its capabilities.

Q. What Functionality Is Included In The Service And Does It Meet My Requirements?

Remember your check list of must-haves. Use the trial period to test every functionality until you discover which one best suits your needs.

Q. What Level Of Support Does Your Service Provider Offer In Terms Of Set-Up And Ongoing Customer Support?

Make sure you have access to expert guidance and support – not just in the setting up of your new software – but throughout your ongoing service agreement.

Trial Big Red Cloud’s accounting solutions and test for yourself if cloud computing is right for your business, contact us on 1890 33 45 55 or email sales@bigredcloud.com/.

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Cian McGrath, Base2Race

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