Over the past 30 years, accounting software has evolved from the static, text-based interfaces of the first DOS-based programs like Lotus 1-2-3 into today’s highly automated applications with their rich functionality and graphical interfaces. Now, the accounting software world is in the midst of a move as significant as the shift from DOS to Windows.
We’re starting to see small businesses around the world enthusiastically embrace cloud-based accounting solutions such as Sage Pastel’s My Business Online in an effort to become more efficient and flexible in the way they do business. My Business Online is a fully-featured online accounting software solution with dashboards, graphs and drill-downs to any transaction that you and your accountant can access, 24/7 via the internet.
Cloud-based services such as My Business Online turn software into a service that you access via the internet rather than an application you install on a computer’s hard drive. The principle is the same as DropBox, Google Mail, and a range of other applications you depend on every day.
This approach brings many advantages for SMEs. Firstly, you no longer need to dip into your cash reserves to buy a licence for a software package. Instead, you pay a small fee per user each month, turning your software purchase into a modest operational expense. What’s more, opting for a cloud service frees you of many of the technical headaches of owning software installed on a computer. That means you can focus on your job and growing your business rather than on wrestling with technology-especially helpful if you don’t have a dedicated IT guy.
Your data is securely stored in the cloud – in this case, a world-class data centre in South Africa – rather than on your own hard drive. That means you don’t need to constantly worry about whether you’ve backed your data up and whether you’ll be able to recover your financial information if your hard drive crashes or your office is robbed or burns down.
You’ll also know that you’re always running the latest version of the software, so you can be sure that you’re up to date with the latest laws and regulations issued by bodies like SARS. And you won’t need to keep patching and updating the software yourself every time there’s a bug fix, security patch or new piece of functionality added to the software.
The biggest benefit of the cloud, however, lies in the flexibility and efficiency it introduces into your working life. You can suddenly access your accounting system wherever you are and at any time of the day or night – you’re no longer restricted a single computer. If you’re an accountant and your clients use a cloud solution, they could provide you with a user name for the system. That means you could access the same live system on which clients work. They can capture transactions and you can log in to do checks and adjustments. This makes everyone’s lives much easier while ensuring that you’re all working off the same accurate and up-to-date financial data.
In addition to accessing your accounting package from any internet-connected desktop or notebook, you can also access it from your tablet or smartphone. Imagine the flexibility it will give you if you are able to log on to view a dashboard to see how your company is performing, view customer information, record notes and create quotes or invoices, wherever you are. You can view and edit customer notes from wherever you are and create quotes or invoices and email these directly to your customer.
You’re shopping and banking online. Is there any reason why using your accounting software online shouldn’t be as easy and convenient. Put your customer information in the palm of your hand, be a part of the online trend and watch your business grow from anywhere in the world, with My Business Online from Sage Pastel.