Xero, the cloud-based accounting software company continues to lead the world in innovation and growth.
Cloud-Based Accounting Takes the World By Storm
Enter “Xero Training” into Google and the options are mind-blowing! There are pages and pages of courses on offer. The company itself takes up half of the first page and if you delve further it describes its product as “beautiful accounting software”. Anyone even remotely associated with accounting software probably would stop short of using the term “beautiful” to describe their product. This is new ground.
What Makes Xero Different?
What makes Xero different? What makes it, ahem, beautiful? Is it the cloud that makes it appealing? Well, it leads the push into cloud-based accounting and it seemed for a long while that accountants and bookkeepers were abandoning MYOB in droves.
So why would a bookkeeper/ accountant decide to move towards Xero and cloud-based software? Here are some suggestions:
- The appeal of working “in the cloud” is that you don’t have to install software
- You can access your account with any computer and browser knowing that your data is encrypted
- Of course there’s an “app” as well which not only gives the bookkeeper easy access, but encourages the client to enter their data immediately
- A key advantage is automatic back-up, thus removing all concerns in regards to losing data
- Multiple tabs can be opened simultaneously to enable multi-tasking; so you can build reports whilst creating or deleting a transaction
What About the Competitors?
The list can go on but key to any accounting package is the ability to invoice and send said invoice immediately. When compared to MYOB’s ‘Account Right Live’ program, which will not allow this function unless you are in its desktop mail program, Xero lets you complete this task in any email program your choose: Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc.
All of the big names have cloud-based versions of their software now. In this rapidly expanding technical age, to fall behind in innovation is tantamount to going out of business. Updating “apps”, rolling out new versions, communicating with their constituents; it is an endless loop of conversation that can sometimes lead to overwhelm.
What About Disadvantages?
When discussing the positives of a program and the way it operates, it’s important to provide balance to the review. With this in mind there are inherent issues with “working in the cloud”. The prevailing reason for nervousness is around the ownership of the data. Previously when working in an installed software program, all data was stored in the program (software) and the machine (hardware). Where does the data go when “in the cloud”? Who can access it? Just how secure is it?
Making it Safe
It is clear that the benefits of working with a cloud-based accounting software package such as Xero far outweigh the negatives. The ability to “jump and dump” – to move to one quickly whilst discarding the other is attractive indeed. My final say on this is to bone up on the following:
- Read the fine print of any agreement or policy between you and the cloud provider
- Ask questions if you do not understand anything and if you feel something has been left out
- Ensure you increase the “upload” speed of your bandwidth (often disregarded)
- Investigate the level of privacy protection offered
By all reports, Xero is the leader because of what it provides in:
- Ease of use
- Speed and efficiency
From an accountancy/bookeeping perspective, being mindful of the:
- Training capabilities
- After-sales support
will place you in good stead as you grow your practice.