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Cloud Accounting

Xero’s New Dashboard

As you may know we are now offering our Cloud Based Accounting services with the Xero software accounting platform. This is an addition to the Sage platform and we are sure this will be very attractive.

In December Xero passed 400,000 paying customers – a fantastic growth predicated on offering outstanding cloud accounting software.  This coupled with our accounting expertise makes it very attractive to business owners of all sizes – but particularly small and start up businesses.

With that in mind we have seen some recent improvements to the dashboard it Xero and I have highlighted some of the changes which may interest you.

  • They have introduced a new graph which shows your incoming and outgoing cash over the last few months – handy for seeing your historical cash movements at a glance. You can drill into the detail as required.
  • Their invoice and bill graphs will be improved so you’ll be able to see the total amounts for all outstanding invoices rather than just those overdue – the same will apply to bills. The charts are simplified so you can quickly see if there are overdue items at a glance and drill down to see these.
  • They also now enable you to choose what to show on the Dashboard and where those items are positioned. So from now everything can be positioned as you like or optionally hidden if you don’t have a need for a particular item.

If you want to talk about Xero and our combined accountancy and software packages then please give us a call on 020 3199 9057.

Small Businesses Held Back By Poor Use Of Technology

In a recent survey detailed in Smallbusiness.co.uk, it shows that three quarter of employees working in small businesses are less productive away from their desks.

This is something that we are very aware of in discussions with clients and that is why find cloud based solutions which can increase time efficiency and reduce cost have be to be considered by small business owners.

An extract from the article is shown below:

Employees are embracing mobile working, with 61 per cent saying they sometimes work from home. But a further 22 per cent reveal they want to work from home but don’t have the right technology, and nearly half (44 per cent) of those who do work from home say not having the right technology hampers their productivity.
Working in transit is less popular, with only 40 per cent of respondents doing so, though a further 20 per cent would if they had the right equipment. Of those that do, 40 per cent say they would be more productive in transit if they had access to better technology.
Where implemented effectively, technology is seen as a vital enabler of productivity, especially for a mobile workforce. Respondents felt their productivity had been improved over recent years thanks to smartphones (67 per cent), cloud (59 per cent), tablets (52 per cent), video conferencing (52 per cent), and print management (49 per cent).

Small Companies Have Increased Costs – So Where Are The Options To Save?

According to an article in http://www.smallbusiness.co.uk small business costs have continued to rise during 2014 despite falling inflation. 

Energy costs are still the most commonly-seen increase, according to the latest Cost of Doing Business survey from the Forum of Private Business (FPB).  The study shows firms are still feeling the squeeze despite signs that the economic recovery continues to gather momentum.  Some 63 per cent of businesses have seen an overall increase in their business costs, with 70 per cent reporting an increase in energy costs, 65 per cent in transport costs, 76 per cent in marketing costs, and 65 per cent a rise in staff costs.  The report also identifies that 38 per cent of small business owners admit to being unable to pass any rising costs onto customers, forcing them to cut their own costs to keep prices static. Just 3 per cent are able to pass on costs in full.

One area small businesses can save money is of course to review their accounting costs.  With Cloud Based Accounting software and bundled accountancy services there has never been a better time to cut accountancy costs.  Find out more here.

3 Reasons Why Accounting In the Cloud is Better.

Reason #1 to do Accounting in the Cloud: The cloud is more secure

If you haven’t figured out the glaring advantage to cloud-based computing and storage yet, it’s pretty simple.

If you rely on a specific computer, with its physical drives and processor, you rely on those items not to fail. The thing is: they do fail. Fans overheat. Processors routinely burn out. Hard drives grind to a halt. And what happens to your accounting documents then? What happens to the legacy software (like old school QuickBooks – we know some of you are still using it!) that cannot run on modern operating systems? What happens to your business without those things?

And that’s not to mention that when you store your accounting resources on physical media, you run the risk of losing it to unintentional damage or theft. Even the most reliable hard drive will succumb if it takes a strong enough hit, or worse, a swim.

The cloud wins here because it removes those risks by keeping your financial information securely mobile behind trusted firewalls, among other trusted cloud-based security measures. This makes it much more logical to manage your accounting purely in the cloud.

Reason #2 do Accounting in the Cloud: Cloud-based accounting is scalable

No matter if your business is a bootstrapped one-person operation or a multinational corporation, you want it to grow and increase revenue. This also comes with new costs to keep track of.

Your accounting app needs to grow alongside your business. If you run a small business with a handful of employees, you don’t need a costly premium version of a legacy application with steep recurring fees and tons of bells and whistles. If it’s just you, you don’t need payroll services. Your accounting needs to the right size for your business and then grow with you.

Cloud-based alternatives are highly scalable. As your business grows and you take on new employees, you can take care of paying them by adding cloud-based tools. If your business expands its sales to reach other countries, you can scale up by adding cloud-based currency conversion.

If you don’t need any of those features, you don’t have to pay for them, by sticking with a starter cloud-based accounting app subscription.

Reason #3 to do Accounting in the Cloud: Cloud-based apps are always current

The cloud is a very dynamic concept. As developers introduce new cloud-based tools and resources, other cloud-based apps are updated to keep current.  It’s that spirit of collaboration that is most striking about the promise of accounting in the cloud. New payment management systems, human resource applications and document management and storage tools emerge all the time. Cloud-based apps integrate with new tools as they emerge, giving you great flexibility when choosing tools to use in your business.

Compare this with downloaded legacy desktop applications (or worse, spreadsheets) and you start to realize that accounting in the cloud is freedom – freedom to use the tools you’d like, where you like, without the confinement of closed legacy applications.

In the cloud, you never have to run manual updates or troubleshoot pesky problems resulting from an update. Cloud-based apps or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are updated by the developers who make them, in real-time, without you lifting a finger. No maintenance. No breakdowns. No hassle. Link them together once and sleep at ease at night as the vendors work tirelessly to keep them up and running harmoniously.

Of course, the big advantage to keeping your accounting app up-to-date is you never have to fuss around with trying to get software to work, freeing you up to focus on the actual accounting and other important tasks.

21% of Startp Up Business Up and Running Within 6 Weeks

According to a survey in Smallbusiness.co.uk of some 3,400 new businesses by PeoplePerHour, 21 per cent of businesses surveyed managed to get up and running within six weeks, 28 per cent in 6-12 weeks and 19 per cent took 12-20 weeks. Just 7 per cent of those surveyed say it had taken them longer than a year. One of the factors contributing to the speed of the start-up process is the fact that 71 per cent of those surveyed raised money needed from their savings and the 'bank of friends and family'.  Some 22 per cent of those surveyed started up with less than £2,000 and 17 per cent managed to start with less than £1,000.

Whilst accounting may not be at the forefront of a startups thinking for many the flexible and highly affordable cloud based accounting option is an attractive one.

Before The Cloud: How Work Has Changed In The Last 20 Years

We at Cloud Based Accounting are more than aware that the world of work has changed in the last 20 years – and this is certainly true of accounting and the availability of "the cloud"

The article below which appeared on Entrepreneur provides a nostalgic look at how things have changed.  How has it changed for you?

"In 1994, I had more hair and weighed less. I was struggling with a new baby (and two more on the way) and all the other stress of being a young husband and father. So naturally, I quit my job and started a business. Seems logical, right? 

Fast forward 20 years, the kids have made it to college with no arrests (so far), and the business is still going. It’s been challenging, rewarding, stressful, fun, not fun and not at all romantic. I’ve made many mistakes as a business owner, but luckily I’ve managed to change with the times. How?

1. I now watch what I say. The world has changed a lot in just 20 years. I, like many of today’s managers, have adapted to our people’s different races, cultures, sexual orientations or even someone’s physical appearance (you got a tattoo where?). I don’t ask, I don’t tell, I don’t comment. Because I’ve learned that my comments are not only irrelevant but definitely not funny and are more than likely just plain ignorant. I’ve learned that getting the job done is the most important thing of all. So I keep my trap shut.

2. I have different communication skills. In 1994, there was the phone. Today’s business owner must be prepared to write long emails, tweet in less than 140 characters, post on Facebook, update on LinkedIn, speak to groups of hopeful employees or prospective customers and be comfortable appearing on a Skype call, his company’s YouTube channel or sitting down for an interview with the local TV station. It’s a multi-media world and we must able to communicate our messages to our communities, wherever they are and whatever platform they choose to hear it. Whether we’ve got something relevant to say is besides the point.

3. I am on call 24/7 and totally mobile. There is no such thing as “out of office” anymore. I am expected to respond to emails, texts, tweets and calls within minutes of receipt. I get them on my phone, tablet and laptop. A wireless connection is everywhere. In 1994, I would literally make calls from pay phones at gas stations (Remember? They had extra long cords). I had my weekends mostly free. Those days are long gone.

4. I travel more. Even with all the social media and online communications, customers still expect to see me. Talk about demanding! Now I’m frequently jumping on planes, staying at a Marriott Courtyard (breakfast included!), eating dinner at a Bennigan’s (the Irish Tower O’Rings is awesome — talk about progress!) and be home the next day. This is easier, cheaper and safer today than it was 20 years ago, so I find myself doing that more often.

5. I’m virtual. Twenty years ago we had an office with computers on desks and a phone system. Today we don’t. We closed that down years ago and everyone works from their homes. All of our applications are managed by someone else. Our phone system is hosted. I pay every month for all my services. My people are Skyping, chatting and using online collaboration tools to share files and data, track projects and invoices, submit expenses and just to get work done. None of this was possible back then. I’m not saying it’s the greatest setup in the world or that Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer would agree, but it’s definitely kept my overhead low.

6. My work is coming from different places. In 1994, we had a telemarketer. Our leads came through calls and maybe a referral from a partner. Today we’re getting our leads online. Retailers and restaurants are using services such as Groupon and Foursquare to attract new customers. There was no mobile back then, let alone mobile ad spending. I’m attracting new clients from all over the world, and thanks to remote technologies we’re actually able to do work for them too.

7. There is less paper. We’re still cutting checks, but not as many we did in 1994.  We take credit cards from many customers and eat the fee. We don’t send paper invoices anymore. I have a fax machine, but it’s more of a copier. We archive everything on DropBox, keep our customer files on our hosted customer relationship management system and will be moving to a mobile e-signature system sometime soon.

8. Yet, there are more people. That’s because things are more specialized than they were in 1994. I use people to help me with social media, marketing, taxes, bookkeeping, payroll, collections (now there’s one thing that hasn't changed, unfortunately) C++ development, C-Sharp development, SQL integrations, website coding, reputation management, etc. Today I need people who know Microsoft networks, Google searches and Apple devices. I need people to help me evaluate new products, respond to customer requests and do training in various specialties.

9. I rely on people from far-flung places. Thanks to the Internet, I can now get that help from qualified people no matter where they are. My social media assistant lives in Manhattan, my marketing support lives in Maryland, my phone system is hosted in California, my developers are in Ukraine (at least I hope they still are) and my entire company’s database is hosted on a server God-knows-where.

10. I have more data.  I’ve got years of customer interactions, gigabytes of scanned documents, analytics from Google, metrics from my marketing service, blogs about the economy, tweets about technology, alerts about the Phillies (lost again), photos from a client, updates from my high school friends (still drunk and stupid) and an email from LinkedIn every day telling me that a guy I once met at a conference in 2007 has recently changed jobs. I'm not sure what to do with all this data, but I’m sure someone will figure it out for me someday.

What about you? Are you running your business the same way you did 20 years ago? I hope not. Because if you are, you won’t be for very long."

To find out how to bring your bookkeeping and accounts up to the 21st Century take a look here..

To see the original article go here.

Sage Reveal Why Sage One Accounts is better than spread sheets

Sage have just announced why they believe that Sage One accounts is better than using spreadsheets.  If after you have read this you want to trial the software then contact us to arrange a free trial.

The Article Is As Follows:

"Technically, you could just use a spread sheet like Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of your finances in the early days of your business. However, unless you’re a whizz with formulas then you’re only ever going to have the most basic of information at your fingertips.

You also run the risk of accidentally deleting information from some cells, deleting the entire spread sheet or more drastically losing or having your laptop stolen! You’re also limited by when and where you can access this information if it’s stored on a single machine unless you make multiple copies or share the file in the cloud using Microsoft OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) or Google Drive.

However, with an online accounting solution like Sage One Accounts, you can access the information with a single login from any Internet-enabled device. All the clever work has been done for you by our roomful of top notch developers so the data you enter is presented in a meaningful way and pulled through into useful reports like a Profit and Loss Report and Balance Sheet Report.

Time saving features:

When you first log in to Sage One, the ’Summary’ screen also shows your Sales, Expenses and Profit figures for the month and year to date, plus your ‘Top 5 Unpaid Sales Invoices’ and the outstanding totals beside them.
Invoices you raise can be printed off to post or emailed direct to your clients from within Sage One, and for extra convenience you can automatically back these up to Google Drive for quick access on your smartphone.
Another very popular feature of Sage One that you can’t do in a spread sheet is ’Recurring Expenses‘ which allows you to enter an amount once and set it to come out at the same time each month, saving you the time and effort of entering it each time.

With Sage One, your data is always securely backed up and the software is always up-to-date with the latest legislation and new features added free of charge as part of your monthly subscription. It also includes free 24hr telephone and email support from our Customer Support Team in Newcastle.

There are so many clever and time saving features in Sage One that aren’t present in Excel or Google Sheets – too many to list here now in a single blog post. So, why not sign up for a free 30 day trial now and then work through the step-by-step guides on the Sage One Help Centre so you can see for yourself how much better it is?"

Contact Cloud Based Accounting for a free trial.

What Are The Real Benefits of Cloud Based Accounting

The Benefits of Cloud-Based Accounting

Everything lives in the cloud these days: our Google documents; our holiday snaps; our powerpoint presentations and our music. In business, it's no different: everything from customer databases to photo editing software can be and infrequently is stored in the cloud.

The advantages of using cloud-based systems are well documented, ranging from convenience to security. Data – provided it is encrypted and backed up – can be accessed from anywhere and is safe from the threat of fire, theft or hardware failure. Cloud-based software is also cheaper thanks to licensing arrangements that enable multiple users to access the same program simultaneously.

The cloud isn't the future – it's the present and it's all around is, even if we can't quite see it. As the number of cloud-based solutions continues to grow, businesses are faced with tough decisions to make: to stick with what they know or to take the plunge and move their operations to a virtual environment. Just because it's possible do something in the cloud doesn't mean it's necessarily right for your company. Every solution needs to be assessed on its merits rather than its ubiquity or perceived trendiness.

Accountancy solutions

Accountancy is one of many fields to have benefited from the cloud computing revolution; it's now possible for businesses to maintain all of their financial records online. When audits and tax returns are due, there's no need to take a hard copy to your accountant's office: at the press of their button it can be instantly delivered to their desktop, saving you time, money and the need to ransack the office in search of a thumb drive.

'Time and money' is the mantra that's used to sell most business systems of course. Will it make your life easier? Will it reduce your overheads? And if so, will the savings justify the initial investment required to train staff and purchase the software?

Payroll and accounts may be two separate systems but they're closely linked. Cloud solutions provide the option to seamlessly merge these two divisions, ensuring that records are in synch and in the same place. That said, it's possible to have one without the other; SMEs may still prefer to process their payroll manually in-house for example. For larger limited companies however, it makes sense to use the two in tandem via an integrated cloud-based system.

Packages are typically priced via a monthly tariff which includes a provision for a maximum number of employees. The larger your company, the higher the fee you'll be expected to pay. Invoicing, payroll and bookkeeping are all included, ensuring that at the year-end, the blind panic induced by having to round up a year's financial records is largely eliminated.

Pricing

Major software vendors including Sage provide all-in-one cloud-based systems, complete with 24-hour support and free introductory trial. It's not just convenience that might compel a business to move all its operations to the cloud: fully-integrated invoice generation can also enhance the perception of your business. Whether visiting your premises in person, shopping online or ordering over the phone, customers will benefit from having their records all in one place.

For example, a company technician can issue invoices and create sales records on the job, with quotations emailed instantly to the customer. Spare parts, new stock and repeat business can all be processed with the minimum of fuss. Emailing records directly to customers doesn't just look professional – it substantially saves money on stationery and postage costs.

One of the biggest headaches that businesses face is VAT. If it's kept up to date, VAT can be dealt with fairly easily. It's all too easy to put it off until the last possible moment however, leading to the risk of late payment fines from HMRC when deadlines loom and then pass.

Cash is king

Accountancy software isn't just about calculating the monies that are due to Caesar; it's just as useful when it comes to managing cash flow. It's all well and good having stock, customers and sales enquiries, but cash flow is what makes a business tick. Healthy cash flow is at the heart of a healthy business. Good cash flow management software will enable you to keep track of all monies coming into and out of your business. Takings, credit, cash card and cheque receipts are all calculated, giving you an accurate figure of your finances – one that's updated in real time.

The range of administrative tasks that accountancy software can handle is exhaustive. If you're considering a cloud-based solution, however, it's possible to be overwhelmed by the options available to you. Having all of your data in one place is undoubtedly convenient, but avoid overcomplicating things by tacking on services you really don't need. Most cloud systems are modular, enabling you to tailor a bespoke solution to suit.

One option may be to start off with the essentials – payroll and accounts perhaps – before bolting on additional features as and when they're required. This also ensures that staff can be trained up gradually rather than having to dispense with years of acquired knowledge and master new systems overnight.

If you're in the market for cloud-based accountancy software, try the free trial at Cloudbasedaccounting.co.uk, focus on the features you really need and allow your staff time to adjust. After the initial teething period, you'll be well-placed to reap the benefits every single day. More time. More money. Less hassle. It's that simple.

Try Before You Buy

When it comes to any cloud based service our strong recommendation is that  you try before you buy.  Many services allow this and our own service is no exception.  The response to our service has been excellent and without exception they try before they buy – so why not go ahead and give it a go yourself.  Try Before You Buy.