6 Things You Couldn’t Do Before Cloud Accounting

It’s difficult to comprehend just how much cloud accounting has revolutionised the finance sector and empowered businesses to take control of their profits and losses.

Accounting is no longer all data entry, spreadsheets, and chasing debtors. With smooth integrations, user permissions and process automation, cloud accounting allows you to manage your finances securely and with ease.

Here are six essential things enabled by cloud accounting that previously, or with outdated software and processes, would prove extremely challenging.

Automate invoices, reporting, and communication

Accountants and finance staff are skilled employees, but half of their time can be spent manually gathering data from disparate systems, putting together invoices, and sending friendly (and sadly, sometimes unfriendly) reminders to debtors.

Cloud accounting allows you to set up simple process flows and automations to ensure all the essential data is being gathered, documented, and reported on. That could be anything from an invoice being generated and sent, to a bill being paid. And once you’ve set it up, that process is in place permanently going forward. It can save hours out of a week, which is a huge resource boost.

What’s more, you can even integrate your software with different systems, such as payroll and HR, to ensure all your payslips and tax documents are generated automatically and with data from the source. The margin for error is lower, and it takes a fraction of the time.

Access essential data any time, any place

It’s now more important than ever to have remote access to essential systems and data. We’ve seen that storing files in on-premise software, or in your local computer drive, can really slow you down when you need to access that information on the go, or when working from home.

If the name didn’t make it clear, cloud accountancy works in the cloud, meaning all you need is a username and login (and perhaps a whitelisted IP address for security) to access all the tools and data you’d have in the office.

Have full visibility on security and data change

A common misconception is that cloud services carry greater security risks. This makes some sense, as in theory all you need to access extra-sensitive financial information in the cloud is a username and password. 

The reality is that cloud services give you better visibility on security and any changes to data, as everything is happening up there in the cloud.

With on-site systems, there’s usually a crossover between the system and locally stored files, meaning data can be manipulated, copied, or exported without the system even knowing. Cloud services see every login with a timestamp and location, what the user is doing, and any changes they make. You can even restrict access to specific times and locations, and exclude a user if they take certain actions.

Dictate user permissions

Just because you want someone to be able to access your finances doesn’t mean you want them to see everything. Cloud accounting sets you up with user permissions, so you can determine just how much autonomy you want a user to have. 

They could be a fully-fledged user, able to import, export, and make whatever changes they wish. They could be a technical user, looking to set up integrations and workflows but with no business seeing the financials. Or they could be a report-only user, who sees the information that’s been added to their dashboard but nothing else. These user permissions add an extra layer to your security and make sure people can only work with what’s relevant to their role.

Collaborate with third parties

If you’re working with a third-party such as an accountancy firm, you want them to have all the information they need but nothing more. The information needs to be read-only, and presented in a way that allows them to do their job efficiently and without margin for error.

Cloud accounting allows you to give access to nominated third parties, who can either log in to your system via a web portal, or be granted authorisation for your data to automatically integrate with their system. The benefit is that this process is happening automatically and gradually; there isn’t a scramble to get your accounts together on time, as they’re being built consistently, cleanly, and compliantly throughout the year.

Pay as a subscription

One of the challenges when approaching any software implementation is the cost, particularly with on-premise systems, which often require a large initial outlay to get the product up and running.

The benefit of cloud accounting is that these are often SaaS (software as a service) products, subscription services that allow you to ramp your functionality and costs up and down based on your needs. You could be a one-person business with a need for only one license, or a large outfit with a team of finance staff; you only pay for what you use, and that’s billed monthly. This lack of initial outlay makes it much easier to get a budget, as well as buy-in from your senior management team.

Cloud accounting streamlines and centralises all your accounting processes into one easy-to-use web service, making it easy to control access, reporting, and security of all your sensitive financial data. To learn more about cloud accounting and how it could transform your business, contact NM Group.

Cloud Accounting: The Way Forward In Covid Times

Change is inevitable. We need to embrace it.

If there’s one thing Covid has taught us, it’s that. And though all there is to say about Covid has been said, this particular lesson stands out more than anything.

So, what are we going to do about it? And, by we, I don’t just mean NM. 

Entrepreneurs, business people, employees, clients, accountants – how are we going to deal with this seemingly everlasting change?

The first step, while obvious, is perhaps the hardest. Acceptance.

Things are changing in the working world and we need to embrace that. How? Let’s start with remote working.

This has been a massive pain point with many local businesses. How can you track progress if you can’t keep an eye on your team? How will you maintain a positive relationship with your clients if you can’t chat over an espresso before a meeting?

Before we tackle those questions, let’s look back at the challenges we faced a few short years ago.

How did you cope with dial-up internet, or having to order a taxi by telephone? You painstakingly went through the motions, until a better solution came along.

Well, that solution is here, and it’s called cloud accounting.

Why is cloud accounting important?

You may be wondering how cloud accounting and remote working are related. Especially if you’re not an accountant. Well, every business needs accounting, and as we all start to move toward working remotely, having the ability to manage your finances remotely is crucial.

Remote working is not just about working away from the office – it’s about being able to work effectively in a team from anywhere. Thanks to software like Google Drive, Zoom, and Xero, remote work is more accessible than ever.

Every business owner worth their salt knows that there is power in numbers, and the more information you have about those numbers, the more you can achieve.

What happens when you don’t embrace change

The worst has already happened – a global pandemic has completely disrupted our lives, the economy and our work. So let’s take a look at our new normal.

Scenario A:

In spite of everything, John is still going into the office every day – an empty office nonetheless as employees are working from home. John is reviewing a now defunct business strategy and needs an analysis of the company’s profit and loss for the past six months.

John reaches out to his accounts clerk, hoping to get a reply within the hour. Except that the accounts clerk is currently in a 2 hour long queue waiting for a swab test after finding out that a child at his daughter’s school has been diagnosed with covid. John then reaches out to his accountant for some rough figures. His accountant has 4 clients requesting the same information – John will have to wait 3 days to get the information he needs.

John is officially stuck. Sucks to be John.

This next scenario will be much shorter. 

Scenario B:

Francesca is in her home studio running a stocktake. While orders are doing well, she’s aware that cash flow could be under threat in a flash and wants to ensure she spends wisely over the next few months. 

With a swipe and a quick tap, Francesca opens the Xero app on her device and reviews her upcoming orders, the profit and loss of the past year, and checks her pending invoices and billing to predict her cashflow for the next couple of weeks.

Having a clear idea of her financial standing, Francesca works out a calculation, shoots an email to her accountant to ensure it’s correct, and goes onto the next task on her to-do list.

Francesca may be at home, but her business is on the move.

Cloud accounting is perfect for small businesses

Effective financial planning and accounting underpins the growth and profitability of all small businesses. In fact, cloud accounting is based on the principle that small businesses are highly sensitive to shifts in their balance sheet and cash flow. Having the ability to monitor financial performance in real-time and plan ahead is crucial. 

So not only do your accounts become instantly accessible, but Xero also automates certain steps of the accounting process, eliminating human error while giving you a fantastic insight into your business.

This insight is invaluable, and it could be at your fingertips in no time.

NM Group is a Xero Champion partner. For more information drop us a line.

How Cloud Accounting Can Save You Time and Money 

When our clients join us here at NM Group, they become part of our growing family – and we make it a point to take care of our people. We’re always on the lookout for ways to stay at the forefront of developments in accounting, and love to save our awesome clients time and money.

Cloud accounting software is just one of the tools that helps us to do that; we’ve talked about cloud accounting more generally in one of our earlier blog posts, but today we’re going to zero in on the software we use to get the job done – Xero. Right off the bat, we can tell you that Xero is simple to use and very visual – but here’s a closer look at why we think this one’s a real winner for us and for our clients.

1. Your finances on the go

You can use Xero on any device, whether you stick to your desktop or download the app to your phone.

That means that you can be productive on the go and stay on top of the financial side of your business wherever you are in the world (as long as you’ve got access to the internet, of course). Xero allows you to get an accurate, real-time view of your company’s cashflow, so you’ll always know exactly what’s going on and be fully informed when it comes to making  your next business decision.

2. Save time and get paid faster

Thanks to Xero’s mobile invoicing, online payment facilities and automated reminders, you can take the hassle out of creating and sending invoices to your clients, and cut down on costs by doing it yourself instead of passing it on to your trusted accountant.

Get paid faster, save time, use your accountant’s time more efficiently, and cut down on paperwork with automated bank transaction imports, reconciliation, payments and more. With Xero on your side, chasing after pending invoices is a thing of the past. Oh, and when it comes to payroll, you’ll save even more time (and money) by minimising the need for manual data entry with maximum compliance through Xero’s combined payroll and accounting facilities. Simple!

3. Collaboration central

Working as a team is a big part of day-to-day life here at NM Group, whether that means collaborating with our colleagues or working hand in hand with our clients to help them thrive.

Xero allows you to collaborate with your accountant, bookkeeper and fellow team members with ease; all you have to do is invite the right users to work with you on your business. Each profile gets access specifically to those areas of your business that they need to do their job, and it’s all up to you. Plus, our staff is fully Xero-certified, which means we’re not only pros at using it, but we can help you become a pro too!

4. Serious data security

You have absolute control over who sees what. Xero allows you to decide who has access to your company’s data, and what kind of permissions each user profile enjoys.

Other users can only get access through an invite that you send, and the software employs high-level, third-party services in the US to host all its online and mobile services. That means that any personal info is safely transferred to servers in the States, with all the necessary legal agreements in place to ensure everything is in line with EU regulations.

5. Keep hackers at bay

One of our favourite things about this software is that all your business data is backed up and protected with layer upon layer of top-tier, industry-standard security and data encryption.

As an added security measure, Xero gives you the ability to use two-step authentication as an added barrier to your sensitive information. This method is trusted by many prominent internet banking/online services, and makes it a lot harder for hackers to do their dirty work. If anything suspicious is detected in your account activity, Xero takes action and raises the alarm right away.

With five benefits like these, you’re probably kicking yourself for not discovering cloud accounting sooner, right?

Do you want to know more about how NM Group can help you take things to the next level? Get in touch with us today and let’s have a chat about it!

The Basics of Cloud Accounting

What is Cloud Accounting?

These days it seems like you just can’t scroll through Facebook or read an article in The Economist without coming across references to something called ‘the cloud’. To those of us in the financial sector, ‘cloud accounting’ seems to be one of the hottest buzzwords around – so what is it exactly and how can it help you keep your business and your money matters in order?

The Basics: What Cloud? Where is it?

The ‘cloud’ is basically a broad term used to describe services and software stored online, hosted on servers located elsewhere in the world as opposed to locally on your computer, where ‘traditional’ software usually lives. You probably already use the cloud in your day to day life – Google Drive, iCloud, Netflix, OneDrive, and DropBox are all cloud services!

One of the best things about the cloud is that it allows users to access files or services anytime, anywhere, from any kind of device – as long as you’ve got a good WiFi connection to back you up. These days, you can forget about USBs (how many of those have we misplaced?) because access to cloud services means you can store your precious information safely online.

A Closer Look at the Perks

Cloud accounting has the same functional capabilities as your traditional on-site accounting software, but with far more flexibility, the ability to update and back up financial information easily, and the facility to create accurate financial reports in real-time. This means that your account balances are always spot-on, and you’ll experience far fewer errors overall; cloud accounting software also allows for better handling of multi-currency and multi-company transactions across the board.

Now we’ve already mentioned a few perks of cloud accounting, but here are a few more benefits that we just can’t help but get excited about:

  • Easy invoicing: Create professional recurring invoices and receive updates when they’re opened.
  • Go totally mobile: The Xero mobile app works with iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets.
  • Scalable: that means that the software grows or adapts to the size of your company or intensity of your requirements
  • Increased security: having everything backed up on a remote server means you’ll never be caught off guard, even if your device is compromised or crashes
  • Collaboration: it’s easier to work with colleagues across multiple user profiles; you can even tailor permissions according to each user’s job role
  • Improved clarity: get a clearer overview of your finances
  • Flexibility: work from anywhere in the world without worrying about updating spreadsheets or installing the latest programmes on one machine
  • Reduced business costs: We’ve worked out a fantastic price for the Xero cloud accounting software that is exclusively available to our clients

At NM Group, we use Xero, a cloud accounting software that enables us to securely manage invoicing, bank reconciliation, bookkeeping and more for our clients. Not only is our team fully Xero certified, but we are always thinking of new ways to help our clients achieve better results faster with the help of cloud accounting.

Want to know more about the wonderful world of cloud accounting and how it could make your financial life easier?
Get in touch with us today!