Mobilizing the Cloud for Small Business Accounting
by Terri Eyden on
Arguably, small businesses have the most to gain from the transition to Cloud computing and mobile devices. Sole proprietors and employees of small firms often wear many hats. Being able to access critical data from anywhere and record transactions directly onto a mobile device and have the transactions sync to a Cloud-based accounting system is a huge time-saver.
Small businesses also have limited time and/or personnel to deal with IT issues, such as data storage, software updates, and server maintenance. Cloud computing shifts these tasks to the service provider and can result in enormous time savings by enabling small businesses to concentrate on their business and customers instead of on IT needs.
How to Find the Perfect Provider
When evaluating a technology and hosting provider, here are a few tips and discussion points for finding the perfect partner to accommodate not only your move to the Cloud, but its access via mobile devices:
- How frequently does the hosting provider offer automatic backup of data?
- What is the provider's uptime track record?
- Does the provider support mobile users with a formal mobile device management (MDM) program? Are there any device restrictions?
- How many people can access Cloud documents and applications simultaneously?
- How easily can document migration be facilitated?
- Does the provider offer live customer support? If so, is it available around the clock?
But engaging with one of the dizzying array of potential solution providers can be a daunting task. So, if you're just now exploring how to migrate to the Cloud and provide access to employees and clients via mobile devices, here are two ideas to consider:
1. Establish BYOD policies. Today, at least 30 percent of accounting firms have generic bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies for employees. BYOD policies are regulations set in place that align and support the corporate environment. Traditional office boundaries are vanishing, and BYOD is one way to enable employees to easily check e-mails and to work off-site or at home on their smartphones or mobile devices.
2. Select a Cloud technology that allows for mobile device flexibility. Your customers and staff already own mobile devices. Make it easy for them to use the device they're most comfortable with to access and share critical documents via the Cloud.
Moving to the Cloud and enabling mobile devices to access needed information anywhere, anytime will not only erase some business headaches, it will prepare your operations for future technological improvements while adding to the bottom line through more efficient accounting practices.
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About the author:
Michael Callan, CPA, is the cofounder of Seattle-based Swizznet, the premier QuickBooks hosting and online accounting solution provider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.