Cloud solutions for small business

Top Five Cloud Solutions for Small Business CPAs

September 13, 2017

Finding the right cloud solutions for small business is particularly important for CPAs. Your business hinges on finding the right tools, whether it’s accounting software, payroll, or time tracking. You don’t have a lot of money to waste on a tool that may be hard to implement and understand.

We’ve pulled reviews from a variety of sources, and looked closely at the software to help you determine the top five cloud solutions for even the smallest of CPA firms. How can these tools help your firm stand out in a competitive market?

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Accounting Cloud Solutions for Small Business

The beauty of cloud solutions for small business is chiefly that they are in the cloud. That means small accounting firms won’t have to purchase expensive software. This marks cloud models as having a distinct competitive advantage over the alternative.

Cloud software never needs an on-site upgrade; these updates and security patches are happening constantly in the cloud. Think of it this way: a new car depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot. Technology is no different; upgrades to security and to the software itself are happening, literally, all the time. Cloud models are designed to keep you up-to-date – which is a necessity from a security standpoint.

CIO looked at some of the cloud-based accounting models for small CPAs and recommended five platforms:

  • FreshBooks is a simple hosted accounting service that you can use to run your business. You can access data from any digital device and use it to make online payments, track expenses or client time, and also create accounting reports for your clients.
  • Of course QuickBooks Online made the list; it has been go-to for accountants for years. It has all the same robust functionality of an on-premise installation, handling everything from income and expenses to sales estimates, taxes, payment acceptance, and much more.
  • Kashoo has received high marks from small business owners over the years and is characterized by being simple enough to stretch across all business sectors, not just accounting.
  • A new competitor in the sector is GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping. GoDaddy recently purchased Outright. That software was similar to Kashoo; ease of service dominated the model along with user-friendly mobile options. How the software will change under GoDaddy remains to be seen.
  • Xero was another pick by CIO. It has a nice online dashboard that, like QuickBooks, integrates well with banks or other data-driven accounts. The biggest benefit to Xero is that you can collaborate online with your clients. Securely sharing data while working on financial reporting with a client puts a whole new spin on your relationship.

While these are some of the accounting-related software solutions on the market today, CPAs are also using other cloud solutions for small businesses. A study in the Journal of Accountancy noted some of the cloud-driven trends that are shaping the profession:

  • Mid-size to enterprise-level accounting firms have adopted partnerships with managed service providers to maintain all or part of their IT infrastructures.
  • Firms with revenue of less than $500,000 have adopted one or more cloud models in their business.
  • Firms that still have on-premise applications, but no on-site IT staff, typically wait until equipment fails or until an external IT staffer tells them to upgrade before making any changes or updates to their software.

PC Magazine suggests that these newer cloud-computing accounting models are characterized by:

  • Better user interfaces and easier navigation than traditional software.
  • Affordable subscription services that have leveled the playing field for small business.
  • Multiple options offering different levels of services and economy of scale.
  • Integration with other platforms along with free add-on services to help market a business.
  • Mobile integration across smartphones and tablets that make the software uniquely accessible.
  • Interactive dashboards and home pages that are easy to use.

But cloud software has created new opportunities for CPAs to expand their service offerings in ways that are still evolving. Today’s modern CPA must feel comfortable with cloud computing and the tools it offers such as automated billing, scheduling, document sharing, and more. Adopting new workflows in today’s digital environment is a necessity; with cell phone use increasing, CPAs must adopt cloud software to maximize their services or run the risk of falling behind the competition.

It’s not melodramatic to suggest that the small CPA firm must be well-versed in cloud computing models if they want their business to succeed. Cloud models allow these providers to market their services in new and appealing ways to a generation that has grown up with these technologies at their fingertips.

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