Think HBR

Cloud accounting means better business

Allan McKeown
Prosperity Advisers
Cloud accounting is changing the way businesses plan for the future.
This technology now allows you to view your financial information in real time.
Non traditional sources of data are also now being made available to help businesses drive innovation and make better decisions sooner.
You and your advisers are able to spend less time on historical recording and more time helping you grow your business.
If you are running a business and you have not brought "the cloud" and the technology surrounding it into your life you are limiting the performance of your business.
Right now, the cloud is still your strategic advantage. Very shortly, it will be your strategic necessity as the way the world works and collaborates fundamentally changes.
Cost equations in business will change forever. If you ever want to employ good young talent again, you better "get with it".
More importantly, if you want more time to think and do the "real stuff" of business and life and cut the "administrative noise", the biggest selling point of cloud technology is the way it can better leverage your time.
The scale and speed of the change is so broad it can be hard to grasp.
We all know cloud computing is "out there", most people have a "Dropbox" or similar tool these days, lots of people are promoting the benefits of cloud accounting systems like Xero and MYOB.
There is no turning back. We are in the very early days of a revolution that is not about big business.
It is about extraordinary acceleration and cost control for small to medium business. It will change the world. Ignore it at your peril.
As a business adviser, I am astonished at the poor quality of business information that many business owners sometimes have to use to make decisions and manage their businesses.
Often small and medium business does not have the money to spend on high capability finance and administration resources.
Resources they do have to assist with admin are probably stretched, performing multiple functions. There is a built in "time lag" to having good information.
A cloud accounting system offers you the opportunity to "automate" a lot of this back end processing.
Live bank feeds give your system daily live data, no need to wait for the paper bank statements or download them from the bank for a staff memberto manage.
Rules can be programmed to automatically and consistently process like transactions in the same way every time without human involvement (or human error!).
Banks have modified their electronic banking systems to allow you to attribute much better quality information tags to bank feed information which in turn allows the accounting system to do more with the bank data automatically than used to be the case.
Dashboard reporting gives you a more accurate "moment in time" picture of how the business is performing.
But accounting is just one system.
With services like Shoebox, you can direct your incoming invoices payable to a system that processes the invoices ready for approval for payment, scans and tags a PDF copy to be integrated with your accounting system oreven gets synced with your filing system in OneNote.
The days of the mailroom, and indeed the physical filing cabinet, are numbered.
As author William Gibson, the man who invented the word "cyberspace", once said "the future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed."
Now is the right time - not just to implement a cloud accounting system - but to define the future of your business and get your neck out ahead of the competition.
For further information contact Prosperity Advisers Group on (02) 4907 7222, email or visit
Allan McKeown Allan McKeown

is CEO of Prosperity Advisers Group. He has over 25 years experience providing corporate assurance and business advisory advice and services to a wide array of clients. Allan's career started with global accounting firm Ernst & Young. He also co-founded Sneddon McKeown Chartered Accountants in 1989 and was appointed to the role of Managing Partner in 1991.