If you ever watched The Jetsons on TV then you’ll know that, in 2017, we should all be flying around in hover cars and living in cities in the sky. While this vision of the future has clearly not arrived (yet) there’s one area of innovation that truly has revolutionised our lives – and that’s the cloud.
The concept of on-tap software tools – delivered from online servers and accessed via the apps on our mobile devices and laptops – would have sounded like pure science fiction to the animators of George Jetson. But when we look around us, cloud is everywhere in our modern lives – imagine an existence without Facebook, Gmail and internet banking and you soon see how the cloud has changed the world.
And the reality is that the cloud hasn’t just changed our everyday and social lives –it’s also radically changed how we do business in the second decade of the 21st century.
So how does a cloud ecosystem integrate into our business lives? And what are the intrinsic benefits for you and your small business?
How cloud adoption has soared
It’s estimated that 78% of US small businesses will be using cloud computing to run their business by 2020. And the average US business now has 4.9 services in the cloud with 74.5% of organizations planning on adding new or additional cloud services in the next three years.
Integration is a key part of the success of the cloud, with many software solutions including ‘open APIs’ that allow developers to link their app with an ever-growing ecosystem of other complimentary cloud apps and business tools. It’s this ‘plug and play’ ability that makes the cloud ecosystem so attractive for small business owners.
Cloud ecosystems have matured greatly over the past five years and are now at the point of a becoming an effective, efficient and reliable service delivery option for the average small business. And one area where cloud really has changed the game is in the delivery of accounting and finance services.
Cloud accounting as a financial platform
Small business owners and start-ups used to have three main options for managing their books.
- You went the traditional, old-school route and used paper ledgers to manually do your double-entry bookkeeping.
- You keyed all your transactions into an Excel spreadsheet, crossed your fingers and hoped the IRS didn’t ask too many tricky questions.
- You used expensive (and rather limited) desktop-based accounting software, usually the system your accountant advised you to use.
What cloud accounting software has done is simple – it’s made all of those three options above entirely redundant and inefficient.
With cloud accounting:
- You have all your double-entry bookkeeping, but with a hugely increased ability to view, analyze and decode your numbers.
- All your transactions and documents are in the one system, saved in the cloud and accessible whenever you (or your accountant) needs them.
- You have a cheap, monthly subscription to pay (and no costly updates and additional modules to pay for) that delivers reporting, performance analysis and forecasting that just couldn’t be delivered by a desktop system.
A system such as Xero online accounting gives you the ability to carry out your bookkeeping, record your receipts and work effectively with your accountant, all in one simple cloud app – take a look at our last blog post to see how something as simple as cloud accounting and a smart-scanning app can speed up your bookkeeping processes.
Make your financials work harder
Key to the added efficiency of a system like Xero is that you’re working with your financial information in the cloud.
So wherever you are, whatever time it is, whatever internet-ready device you have to hand, you can access your numbers, see your bank transactions, send out a customer invoice or know your current cash situation.
And the real sucker punch is that this gives you real-time financial data. So when you pick up the phone to your advisor, there’s no disconnect and you can both access the same accounts and see your transactions in real time – no more historic accounts that are weeks or months out of date.
Your financials become useable instruments rather than just a compliance necessity. With the quality, detail and speed of your data so high, you and your advisor can make business and financial decisions based on solid, empirical evidence – and that’s incredibly powerful when you’re a small business that needs to take action fast in a competitive marketplace.
How a cloud ecosystem expert adds value
At Polay+Clark, we’ve serious advocates for a cloud approach to business.
As a Xero Partner since 2015, we had the vision to see how the cloud was going to change the accounting and business advice we could bring to your business. So we’ve embraced cloud accounting and the wider cloud ecosystem with both hands.
We’re obsessed with efficiency and integration, and the more we delve into the ever-expanding choice of business tools in the cloud ecosystem, the more benefits and business-critical advantages we can see for small businesses.
Whether it’s a cardless payment system for your retail business, a project management tool for your construction business, or a stock and inventory app for your motel, there’s a cloud tool that will do the job. And the true beauty is that all these apps integrate seamlessly with your Xero accounts.
Your payments, your stock purchases and your invoices all get zapped through straight into Xero. There’s no data-entry to do, no duplication of effort and you, as a business owner, can get on with talking to customers and growing your sales.
Before the cloud came along, your financials were outside the loop of your wider business systems. Now, your financial data is completely integrated into all your other business areas; and that gives you real power and control.
If you’re already imagining how the cloud could update and improve your business, then come and talk to us.
Get in touch and let’s see how putting the cloud ecosystem at the centre of your business process will transform your future success.