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Give Your Small Business a Jolt of Efficiency with Cloud-Based Accounting


from Carr, Riggs & Ingram

Many people need a dose of caffeine – usually in the form of coffee – to be more energized and productive in the morning. Similarly, small businesses have tools at their disposal to help them be more productive.

When it comes to small business efficiency, cloud-based applications have fostered tremendous improvements in processes that are traditionally manual and time-consuming, such as invoicing. In a 2016 survey of U.S. small businesses, 71% of respondents said they run at least one-quarter of their business operations in the cloud. That share of cloud-savvy small businesses is up significantly from 23.5% of respondents in 2015.

Despite the growing adoption of cloud-based applications, monthly and year-end accounting remains a largely manual, inefficient process for many small businesses with potentially negative results. For example, incorrect or missed invoices can lead to declining revenue, and late or unpaid bills can damage vendor relationships or credit. Introducing automated tasks is an excellent way for business owners to create efficiencies with less time-consuming billing processes.

Creating a “Caffeinated” Business with Cloud-Based Software and Real-Time Data

Today’s cloud-based accounting platforms can stimulate a business’ cash flow by enabling a more efficient—and often automated—execution of tasks. Some platforms also have built-in dashboards that present real-time financial data, which can be used to develop key performance indicators. Business owners who are evaluating their accounting software or considering an upgrade should ask the following questions to make sure the platform will live up to its own buzz.

  • Does the software offer a cloud-based solution? Accounting data and functionality that is always available on any device could generate fewer interruptions in the sale-to-cash cycle. For example, invoice approval may no longer have to await a business owner’s return to the office. This accessibility and convenience can give a much-needed jolt to a sluggish revenue cycle.
  • Does the platform integrate with all of my financial institutions’ daily feeds? On-premise accounting software typically allows users to import a comma-separated values (.csv) file of bank transactions, but those transactions are usually at least one day behind. A cloud-based platform that allows bank and credit card transactions to flow automatically into the general ledger means businesses can capture real-time, accurate financial information in the most efficient way. Additionally, cloud-based platforms often eliminate the need for a human to touch the data – thereby improving both the integrity of the process and accuracy of the numbers.
  • Do I need to pay for separate licenses for each user? Perhaps the ultimate inefficiency is paying more money than is necessary. Most on-premise accounting software requires users to purchase multiple licenses – along with the hardware to maintain the data. This scenario is often true even when the user is paying an accounting firm that uses the same software. With cloud-based accounting platforms, users typically pay one fee for unlimited users, as well as data backup and maintenance. Be sure to ask about the levels of permissions the platform allows since segregating duties (such as approving invoices and accounts payable) can help reduce the risk of fraud and errors.
  • How do the vendor’s business advisors leverage real-time data to develop performance metrics and benchmarks? Making accounting processes more efficient can allow business owners and their accounting advisors to leverage real-time data to make better decisions. Find out if an advisor can help develop dashboards that along with the proper software add-ons can transform key performance indicators into key predictive indicators (KPIs) to allow financial decision makers to turn that accounting version of black coffee into a Starbucks grande mocha Frappuccino®.

CRI Can Keep Your Business Humming with Greater Accounting Efficiency

Are you looking to put some pep in your accounting processes? CRI’s combination of experience as a full-service CPA firm plus our client accounting services technology can help invigorate your small business’ growth trajectory by improving efficiencies. Contact us to learn how we can help you implement the right accounting software for your business — plus access real-time data to continually move your business forward.

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