By Robert McNamara
Ever wonder what your accounting or bookkeeping business could use more of? More time, and more clients would probably be pretty high up the list. It would be great if mundane yet seemingly unavoidable errands such as traveling to collect or deliver important documents were non-existent.
How much time and money would you save if your staff weren’t wiling away hours filing paper documents and retrieving valuable client information?
‘Not possible’, you say. ‘We don't like it but we have to do it. That's business.’
Hold that thought.
Now, have you ever asked yourself what your business could do with less of? Overheads - the bane of every business owner’s life. We're all looking to cut costs but most of the time when we do so, we are putting extra strain on our time and resources. It's a vicious circle and a balancing act that is tiring and largely in vain.
Expenses at most companies are regarded as a necessary evil to help a company run smoothly but they drain profit margins.
What if there was a way to save time, increase your resources, improve your client list and dramatically cut your overheads and expenses in one fell swoop?
Online Data Storage
Online data storage – more commonly referred to as ‘cloud computing’ - has been available to the generic business owner and Internet user for quite a while now. There are numerous options available to explore for different users. Google Drive and Dropbox are excellent for personal and business use by having collaborative and multi-edit features. Box.com is a geared towards larger businesses and is widely used.
There is also an application that is specifically tailored to the needs of bookkeepers, accountants and their clients, LedgerDocs. This differs from the previously mentioned applications in that it is specifically designed for online, secure storage and sharing of accounting and bookkeeping documents - rather than editing of files in real time.
No more USBs on your keychain. No more bulky external hard-drives or trunks filled with thousands of documents that you are dreading taking into the office - they're heavy and take hours to file.
Here are some of the tasks that can be consigned to history and costs that can be shaved off with cloud computing.
The mileage clocked up traveling back and forth from meeting with clients, colleagues and your out-of-town offices is decreased dramatically. Your client also does not have to travel as much. You both save time and money.
Previously, if you were unable to travel and you needed to get that receipt across town pronto, then you had to hire someone to do it for you. Couriers are expensive and a third party cost all bookkeepers and accountants would like to avoid - unless absolutely necessary. Also, with couriers, you’re essentially trusting someone who is not connected to your business with your clients important documents. That is never a good thing for your credibility.
With cloud computing the document is electronically stored and sent, cutting out the middle-man and leaving you and your client with peace of mind.
We all like to think we are extremely efficient when filing paper documents. Unfortunately, we are only human and misplacing a document can happen from time to time - sometimes causing unnecessary delays and extra cost. Cloud computing does the filing for you and decreases the margin of error.
For example - in bookkeeping and accounting - cloud computing allows your client to be in control. When they make a purchase or a sale, they can take a picture of the receipt and upload it within seconds through their smartphone, a feature of LedgerDocs.
Google Drive and Dropbox are essential to work team collaboration and communication, they reduce project time and bring your staff together to produce better results in less time.
The property bubble may have burst but renting space in a central, convenient urban area still commands a mighty chunk of your turnover. Cloud computing allows you the option of having your staff work from remote locations rather than having to work from the office.
This works especially well for bookkeepers and accountants who are client orientated and need to collaborate on a day-to-day basis. The requirement to house thousands of aesthetically unattractive filing cabinets that dominate your office area is also reduced.
You can expand your business scope without literally expanding or moving to bigger premises. All your business applications are stored in the cloud and you have the freedom of having staff anywhere you need them.
Do you really know what those IT guys do? No, neither do I! We know they are an essential part of our business and we couldn’t be without them, but the realm they operate in goes way over our heads. IT is expensive and while we don’t understand it, we must know how to manage it as it’s costing us money.
Cloud computing can help your IT team work more efficiently by cutting the need for expensive hardware, maintenance of servers and software that needs constant updating for it to work.
Cloud computing is the technology of now
Whether you are a small, medium or large firm it is important to embrace online data storage and applications that can improve the efficiency and turnover of your business. Ideas like this always take time to get off the ground but before you know it, cloud computing will be the norm and your client will expect you to be able to access files and manage their accounts through smartphones, tablets and applications.
Cloud computing is not something that is way off in the future. It is the current state-of-play in the business world and you do not want to be left behind. Clients are always looking for the best value and the most flexible businesses to work with. They will be expecting you to be tech savvy and moving with the times. Looking into how your business can incorporate cloud computing now is essential if you are ambitious and want to grow.
- Dropbox.com and Google drive will help your staff work together more effectively and produce better results through their multi-edit features
- Box.com is more advanced and offers a little extra. Ideal for the bigger business sector firms
- Ledgerdocs (created by ledgersonline) has found a niche in the market for accountants and bookkeepers. Ideal for financial documents
Article by Robert McNamara