Moving up? 5 Reasons why business in the cloud is the way to go

As a business owner in today’s technologically revolutionary environment, it’s becoming more and more evident that, in order to stay up-to-date and remain relevant, you need to have your latest data readily available to make those crucial business decisions. Because of this, Sage Intelligence Product Evangelist, Jay Nel explains 5 reasons why business in the cloud is the way to go.

Although certain concerns do arise when thinking about having your business’s data living somewhere “out there”, and losing some level of control over your information does provide some with a level of uncertainty over whether a move to the cloud is the best thing to do, the benefits far outweigh the concerns that you may have.

When I speak to people about the concept of cloud accounting solutions, many respond with, “I just don’t trust the internet,” or, “My data will just be floating around somewhere in the clouds, for anyone to take and use against me!” After hearing this, I usually ask if they are making use of internet banking. The predominant response is usually, “Yes, of course, who doesn’t?”

If you’re making use of internet banking, then your personal financial data is already in the cloud, and so moving your business information to the cloud follows the same principles, and should not be anything new or scary to you.

To help put your mind at ease, I’m going to provide some key benefits of moving to a cloud-based accounting software system, such as Accounting, Financials or Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management.

1 – Access your data from anywhere, at anytime

As long as you have internet access, you can gain access to all your business data from anywhere, at any time.

As a small business owner you are responsible for many things concerning your business. Whether it’s being out on the road trying to close those sales, or delivering products or services to customers. You might also be responsible for placing orders, or processing invoices. Because of this, time is valuable, and because there’s only so many hours in a day, it’s crucially important to have software that will help you save time and allow you to run your business from anywhere, at any time.

Implementing a cloud accounting solution means that you can do all of this from the comfort of your home, or even at your local coffee shop during that much needed break of yours.

You’re able to process invoices without having to fill out paper work, and even order new stock while you are still at your supplier’s premises. To me, this sounds like a very efficient way to do business

2 – Increase collaboration within your organization

Technology is meant to enhance the way you do business and it’s supposed to assist you in making a success of your business. Cloud accounting solutions will be a tool that will assist you in making this happen. One of the greatest benefits of it is the degree to which it improves collaboration within your business. By moving to the cloud, you’re able to share valuable information throughout the business in real time, or distribute the results of your latest sales to the relevant people in your business straight after clicking on the “Done” button.

By increasing collaboration in your business, you’re increasing efficiency and ensuring that there is a level of transparency in your business that will lead to better decisions and business success.

3 – Make the right business decisions with up-to-date information

With older accounting software, one would need to go through a very strenuous process to get the information needed to make the best business decisions. Most of the time you would also need to make decisions using reports and figures that you received at the end of the previous business month, which might lead to you making decisions that are not necessarily in the best interest of your business.

A move to the cloud would mean that you can simply log on to the application from your mobile device or tablet while still being at a supplier or customer. You’re able to see your data in real time, ensuring that you have the power and resources to make the best possible decision. You can make on-the-spot decisions and see the effects that it will have on your business immediately.

Let’s use a practical example to illustrate this: You have just walked into the premises of one of your suppliers and you see that they’re running a special on one of the items that you know is a top seller in your company. To ensure you make the right decision, you first log on to your Accounting application, and quickly run a report to look at your inventory levels, lead times and future sales. Based on this information, you immediately see that you need to purchase a few more of these items to cover your future sales. Within seconds you were able to make the right business decision with the latest stock information.

Now that’s power.

4 – Save money, a lot of money.

When you opt for accounting software that lives on your desktop, you firstly need to purchase the software, and then often spend more on implementation fees. You may also wait a while for an update to be released and installed, or for a certain bug to be fixed. Moving to the cloud means that you bypass many of these associated costs, ensures that you receive continuous updates and improvements to your software, and you can get started right away. The implementation process is also usually a lot faster and less complex.

A real winner to lower your business operating costs!

5 – It’s safe and reliable

Safety and reliability is usually the biggest concern that’s raised by customers when it involves possibly moving their data to the cloud. I think this is mostly caused by a lack of knowledge on the concept of the cloud, and that’s a result of us not being able to physically attach the concept to a device or tool. When you install software on your computer’s hard drive, you know where it is. You know that all the data is contained within the computer tower that’s situated beneath, beside, or on top of your desk. You know that your data is not leaving that tower and that no one has access to that tower with all your data, besides you. The cloud works a bit differently, but differently is not necessarily worse, in this case, I believe it’s better.

In my previous profession as a consultant I was responsible for implementing and supporting payroll solutions. On numerous occasions, I received panic-riddled emails and phone calls from customers saying that their computers have crashed, the server has crashed, or there has been a robbery in which all their computers and other equipment was stolen.

In most cases, the customer didn’t have a backup of their data, which causes a major problem during financial audits or even for day-to-day business running, such as needing to pay their employees. In other cases, they had backups, but these were on external hard-drives which were also missing from their offices.

Having your data in the cloud means that you’re not impacted by this, as you will almost always have a backup of your data, readily available for you at any time. Most cloud accounting solutions do automatic backups for you. It further provides you full control on which users are able to access the data, and ensures more secure ways of protecting the confidentiality of your data.

Still not sure if the cloud is the right move for your business? Check out Sage Intelligence Product Owner, Jessica Mack’s blog explaining how business reporting in the Cloud with Sage Intelligence for Accounting Reporting can change the way you do business.