Once upon a time SME business accounting software came on a disc or a CD, in a box with a big instruction book containing a licence key. The buyer had to pay up front to obtain all this, and then pay an annual fee for maintenance and support. It had to be installed on a Windows PC for a single user, or a Windows based network for multi users. And it had to be backed up regularly onto appropriate media (backup tape etc). It didn’t talk to other software very well (if at all) other than by CSV file export (complicated and messy). If, heaven forbid, the software became corrupted it would need to be reinstalled (hopefully the licence key hadn’t been lost) and the latest backup restored (you did remember to do a backup?). If the backup wouldn’t restore it had to be sent away to be recovered… Does this sound familiar?
About 7 or 8 eight years ago cloud based accounting really started to take off, as an antidote to the constraints of conventional software and also to take advantage of the functionality and capability offered by the internet.
One of the main reservations SME’s may have had when considering a move to cloud based accounting was internet speed. However currently 90% of the UK has access to superfast broadband and 50% have access to 4g, and these numbers are set to increase as a Government commitment. This makes the regular usage of any form of cloud based application perfectly viable.
Another concern was internet security. Again, we have seen big gains in this area over the past few years with the leading browsers Chrome and Firefox and possibly Safari offering very secure, stable platforms to access the internet (not forgetting some decent anti virus when appropriate).
Want more reasons to move?
I offer Xero as in my opinion it is the best SME cloud based accounting solution.
- Xero is offered on a SAAS (software as a service) basis. This means a small monthly payment (usually £22) replaces a one off licence fee – making it cheap and flexible as Xero doesn’t have any tie in commitment.
- Because Xero isn’t installed locally, the latest version of the application is always available (the developers naturally want you to have the latest and greatest version), and therefore there is no need to run updates locally.
- By their very DNA all cloud based applications including accounting software are platform agnostic. This means they will run happily on Windows, Macs and Linux, so long as a compatible browser is used (which means the latest version of Chrome or Firefox).
- Xero will run on desktops, laptops, tablets (iPad etc) and on smartphones (iPhone etc) with no need for special hardware or servers and is ultimately available anywhere that an internet connection is available, and is multi user.
- It offers easy integration with G Suite and Office 365, and links to all UK retail banks. Xero’s API has allowed an ecosystem of business applications that link directly to Xero to grow to over 500, covering everything from ecommerce to project management and much more.
- Xero has had no significant security breaches and all the data is encrypted. The data is regularly backed up and Xero currently have 99.97% uptime (availability). Access is controlled by the account holder and by invitation only from the account holder. Two step access controls can also be set up for mobile devices.
- In addition Xero is simple to use, full of features and makes it easy to generate useful reports and analytics.
If you would like to hear how Xero will benefit your business please email [email@example.com] or call [01629 352351]