Mobilizing the Cloud for Small Business Accounting

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.
 
Read more articles about Cloud computing.
 
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 mcallan@swizznet.com.
 

You may like these other stories...

How are you planning? What tools do you use (or fail to use) for forecasting? PlanGuru is a business budgeting, forecasting, and performance review software company based in White Plains, N.Y. AccountingWEB recently spoke...
Event Date: October 30, 2014, 2 pm ETMany Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links. For the uninitiated, workbook links allow you to connect one Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to other spreadsheets, Word...
Event Date: September 9, 2014, 2:00 pm ETIn this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office. Included will be:The networked office: connecting everything together for...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.
Aug 26
This webcast will include discussions of recently issued, commonly-applicable Accounting Standards Updates for non-public, non-governmental entities.
Aug 28
Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.
Sep 9
In this session we'll discuss the types of technologies and their uses in a small accounting firm office.