Cloud Accounting Basics: Moving Your Small Business Into The Cloud

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In a past post, we introduced 10 terms that people commonly use when talking about cloud computing. Hopefully, that information provided some understanding of the advantages that cloud computing provides for small business. And maybe now you are even considering making a move. If you are at the crossroads, you may have a few questions about next steps. So here are some action items for getting into the cloud.

Starting in the Cloud: SaaS

When you started a business 20 years ago, you went to a local store and purchased software in cardboard boxes. Today, you download software from the Web, and these applications store your data online or in the cloud. Instead of getting software in a box, you get Software as a Service (SaaS). In fact, your business is probably using the cloud, even though you might not realize it.

Cloud Accounting: A Simple SaaS

If you subscribe to a service like QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks, or Xero, then you’re using SaaS for cloud accounting. Instead of storing your accounting information on a computer, you go online and log in to create invoices, record expenses, generate reports, and collect payments. You might even use your cloud accounting provider’s small business mobile apps to process payments away from your business. Overall, SaaS cloud accounting illustrates all the advantages that the cloud offers for small businesses:
  1. Predictability. Instead of shelling out major capital expenses to buy servers and other equipment, you pay a predictable monthly subscription fee to access the power of the cloud.
  2. Stability. When you’re using the cloud, your applications always have the latest updates and security patches. Your business isn’t taken offline by a cyber attacker because you forgot to download software updates and patches.
  3. Flexibility. When you process customer payments offsite using mobile apps, for example, your payment data updates in the cloud. These updates allow all devices connected to your business — and all locations — to get information in real time. The flexibility of cloud computing lets you run your business from anywhere using any device.
  4. Scalability. Your cloud accounting provider probably offers different subscription levels for different business sizes. When your company takes off, you simply scale up to the next subscription level.
  5. Elasticity. If you experience a sudden uptick in traffic, your cloud accounting provider gives you more resources. You worry about nothing on your end because the SaaS provider handles the traffic surge.

Adding More Cloud Services

If your company processes a lot of data and Web traffic and then collects and stores data, you might look for an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provider, like Amazon Cloud Services. Alternatively, if you develop a lot of applications for mobile apps, PaaS (Platform as a Service) might be right for you. Ultimately, the way that you use the cloud will depend on the needs of your small business. No matter how your company changes, the cloud will help you adapt.

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