Mobilizing the Cloud for Small Business Accounting

By Michael Callan, CPA, cofounder of Swizznet
 
It wasn't that long ago that small and medium-size business (SMB) accounting software resided on a PC  and only on a PC. Today, with more than 1.3 million Intuit QuickBooks users alone accessing the online version of QuickBooks, it's time for every accountant to take a look at what Cloud computing can offer for streamlining the process of everyday tasks. When coupled with mobile devices, the Cloud offers the freedom of anywhere/anytime availability that can be hugely beneficial to in-house financial teams as well as consultants.
 
In a recent American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) white paper, Accounting Services: Harness the Power of the Cloud, based on research by Dr. Geoffrey Moore, the AICPA strongly endorsed the move from paper to digital, recommending that members harness the power of pervasive computing: "The key investment to fund is a technology transition focused on aggressively displacing the use of paper and on-premise PC hosting in favor of digital workflows hosted in the Cloud. Paper is the anchor that keeps CAS [client accounting services] practice margins at unacceptably low levels, so driving it out of the system is fundamental to building a sustainable business." 
 
I'd go one step further. While it's called Cloud computing today, in the very near future, it will just be the way we do business. And mobile technologies will play a key role in amplifying the Cloud's usefulness by enabling accountants to exchange information with their teams and/or clients on demand, 24/7. 
 
It's already happening. Now that the full power and data of applications like QuickBooks are available to users on a mobile phone or tablet, businesses are taking the opportunity to rationalize their internal processes. For example, a construction firm or plumber can create and enter a quote or invoice while on-site using a tablet, rather than taking down data, going back to the office, and creating an invoice there. Not only does this save time, it minimizes the need for double entry and reduces mistakes, thereby improving overall data accuracy. 

You may like these other stories...

Accountants who specialize in forensic and valuation services point to electronic data analysis, or big data, as the most pressing issue they’ll face in the coming months, according to results of a new survey released...
As complex as federal tax can get, at least you're only dealing with one agency: the IRS. But when you get into state and local sales tax, you're coordinating hundreds of jurisdictions that are constantly changing....
All that was needed on Tuesday was a voice vote for the House of Representatives to pass a bill that would prevent state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.Now the ball is in the Senate’s court....

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.