The Future of Accounting is Online – Part One
Last week I introduced the key elements I looked for in an online accounting system as a Chartered Accountant in practice. Today I’d like to look at:
Access to the clients’ accounting systems and the ability to collaborate in real-time, anytime, anywhere and on the mobile…
Old technology means accounting systems are installed on a PC in the office where the only people that can access important financial information is the person sitting in front of that PC. This tended to be the internal accounts person or the business owner. The inherent problem with this is that only one person can have access to the accounting system at any one time.
In the current environment, businesses are becoming more aware of the importance of their financial information, access to it and mobility. Businesses also understand the value of providing sensible access for their employees and their accountant. Instead of going it alone, they are becoming more aware of using their biggest resource: other people. They also see the value of having experts close and at hand to help when needed.
With installed software, providing access is difficult. Traditionally, all users would need to have the same and correct version on their computer and then files get sent around, which means as soon as data is exported, it is out of date. One of the main problems here is the risk of data being lost. It also evokes Key Person Dependency, whereby only one person can have access to the ‘master copy’ at any one time. It’s no longer acceptable to have to go back to your desk to make a phone call – that’s why we have mobile phones. So why is it still acceptable to keep installed software on our PC which in effect chains us to our desks?Xero is delivered as software on the web, which means you can access the accounting software and financial information from anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a computer or a mobile phone that has internet access. Furthermore, Xero allows unlimited users so you can invite as many people as you deem appropriate to access the accounting system. If the client has a question, I want them to email or call me. I also want to be able to answer the question fast, and if we can both see the accounting system at the same time, it makes it so much easier.
More and more accountants and small business owners are embracing this new, emerging technology. Soon it will be commonplace to have all your business processes operating online. US based salesforce.com has proved the online collaborative model works for customer relationship management (CRM), so why not for accounting?
17 September 2009 #
17 September 2009 #