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Wednesday
Apr202011

Ten Unexpected Benefits of the Cloud for Accountants

You know that cloud-based solutions let you work anywhere, anytime. But the most innovative cloud solutions for accounting, payroll, and document management also help you boost your revenue while working fewer hours.

 

 

By now you’ve probably heard that cloud computing offers numerous benefits to accountants. You can work from anywhere at any time, easily share documents with your clients, and find the information you need quickly and easily. These benefits are proven and well-documented.

But that’s not all. You can also realize some unexpected benefits when you start to take advantage of integration between cloud solutions and collaboration with your clients. Integration between various cloud solutions has far greater implications than integration between Windows applications. While the integration between Windows applications allows seamless data exchange, the synergy between cloud-based solutions goes a step further.  This new type of integration can streamline processes and create a much smoother work-flow than ever before possible.

The ability to work collaboratively with your clients has completely changed the dynamics of two core services: accounting and payroll. And this capability offers truly innovative ways for you to make more money while you work fewer hours.

Here are some unexpected benefits of cloud computing you may not have thought of.

  1. Enhance client satisfaction while reducing your cost and hassles
  2. Improve your cash flow and cash management capabilities
  3. Strengthen your business continuity and disaster recovery plans
  4. Tap into an untapped pool of professional talent and save money in recruiting
  5. Make money from "insourcing"
  6. Make reviews and audits pain-free by eliminating the headache of shuffling through boxes of source documents
  7. Streamline your payroll service by eliminating compliance headaches, data entry and check and report printing
  8. Become a virtual controller/CFO for your small business clients
  9. Eliminate client bookkeeping errors
  10. Eliminate unnecessary trips to client offices

Because of the space constraints in this white paper, it’s not possible to discuss the ways in which each of these benefits may apply to your specific situation. But we will illustrate how a new breed of cloud-based accounting, payroll and document sharing portals can offer some of these remarkable benefits by seamlessly working together.

Accounting

The new-breed of Accountant-Centric accounting solutions include everything you and your clients need - bookkeeping, trial balance, write-up and financial reporting - in one integrated system.  An important feature of these systems is that they let you customize the system for each client and limit their access only to the functions they can perform. For a client who doesn’t know anything about accounting, limit their access so they can only write checks and enter deposits. For a client who has a professional bookkeeper, you can provide access to accounts receivable, accounts payable and bank reconciliation. Because you maintain this level of control, you significantly minimize client errors - a major source of wasted time in accounting.

Document Management and Integration

The document sharing portals let you share your documents with your clients, and also have the ability to store scanned documents. Now let’s see what happens when document sharing portals are integrated with the type of cloud-based accounting system described above. This union changes the landscape for accounting services. Now accounting firms can offer complete end-to-end accounting services at high profit margins for service industries. Here’s how it works.

  • Your client scans her invoices and all source documents.
  • These documents automatically go into the appropriate folder in your document management system.
  • When your staff logs in, all the unpaid invoices are displayed. Your staff enters the amount and the invoice is attached to the data field.
  • Your client scans their credit card statements (or better yet, you electronically download those so the credit card transaction can be entered painlessly).
  • A clerical staff prints the self-adhesive checks and mails them.
  • To make cash receipt entries, you just need your client to scan the checks received from customers and bank deposit slips.
  • You download bank statements to quickly perform bank reconciliation.

This is how the cloud makes in-sourcing easy and profitable. It can be your firm’s next big growth area.

Payroll Processing

Now let’s see how the clouds have revolutionized another core small business service - payroll processing. Ever wonder how payroll service bureaus have made payroll processing so highly profitable? It's because they have achieved high levels of automation. Now cloud computing has leveled the playing field. A new breed of cloud-based payroll solutions eliminates all the headaches associated with payroll processing - tax payments, compliance forms, direct deposit and even printing and mailing of paycheck and reports. Innovative cloud-based payroll solutions do all of these functions for you.

  • Your client emails payroll data in an Excel spreadsheet. The data flows right into your payroll system.
  • The payroll system performs direct deposit, deposits all required taxes, and electronically files all compliance forms.
  • You create a PDF of the paychecks, if any, and place the files in the client portal. From the portal, your client can log in anytime to download the paychecks and print them.
  • Similarly, all reports are automatically stored in client portal for easy access 24x7. There is no hassle of printing and mailing paycheck and reports.

Summary

The common thread in all of these scenarios is that cloud computing solutions are working to let you do more in less time. By integrating previously disparate functions and solutions, you can see benefits that transform your practice.

To learn more about what cloud computing can do for you and your firm, please call 888-999-1366 to speak to a practice development consultant. Also, be sure to view Chandra Bhansali's recorded Webinar, "Ten Unexpected Ways Cloud Computing Can Revamp Your Practice" (.wmv file). This Webinar is available for free on demand, and is part of AccountantsWorld's Expert Webinar Series. To sign up for future free Webinars, click here.


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Reader Comments (2)

The biggest challenges that I face regarding cloud based services (are reliability concerns- both internet access and web server side) as well as convincing clients that their data is secure. The next biggest challenge is keeping up with all the new cloud products that keep popping up and determining which ones are the best.

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

All these extra benefits sound useful, but the very first thing you say is not true: "You know that cloud-based solutions let you work anywhere, anytime." This is only true if you have an Internet connection. Where I live I am lucky to have DSL at my house. Wireless Internet via cell phone is not available.

May 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Vardin

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