Cloud Accounting Basics

The basics of cloud accounting

What is cloud accounting? Discover how cloud-based technology can help your small business thrive
Post by
YAC Team
July 2020
The basics of cloud accounting

With the rapidly developing technologies available to accounting professionals today, accountants can offer their clients better and more tailored solutions at a more accessible price.

The technology of cloud computing is quickly transforming the field of accounting, giving small business owners access to an end-to-end accounting solution previously available to only large, elite companies.

This guide will help you learn about some of the tools that make up cloud accounting, how you can integrate cloud accounting into your business, and some of the benefits of cloud accounting, including one of the biggest game-changers in business accounting - unprecedented access to expert advice and support.

What is Cloud Accounting?

Simply put, cloud accounting is accounting work done using tools and data hosted over the internet.

Instead of storing information locally on your computer, the data is stored remotely on a secured server.

Storing this information remotely means it is available to you and anyone else you grant access from virtually any device with an internet connection.

For the world of business accounting, this means significantly increased accessibility to financial information and software for both accountants and their clients.

Collaborating on projects, retrieving your financial reports, or getting live support when you need it are just some of the benefits offered by this new way of doing business.

The tools of cloud accounting

At the core of every company's finances is its accounting system - how the books are kept, and how information is accessed. Cloud-based accounting software, such as QuickBooks, enables a business to move their accounting system online.

However, businesses often require more than this core to operate. For example, most businesses will have receipts and other transaction documents they need to record, and may use a tool such as Receipt Bank to do so efficiently.

There is no shortage of such accounting tools in today's market, helping both Fortune 500 companies and local entrepreneurs alike to automate and simplify their accounting.

However, with greater choice there is also greater responsibility. Finding the right tools  for your business can be a difficult and time consuming process. Moreover, each tool incurs additional expenses and requires a time investment to learn how to properly use it.

The multitude of specialized tools also poses the logistical challenge of how to integrate various systems together and allow for effective collaboration. The good news is that most of today's tools are set up to integrate with one another, allowing you to set up a custom solution that fits your business's workflow.

What can cloud-based accounting tools help with?

A typical small business will need software to manage bookkeeping, payroll, inventory, reporting, and much more.

Cloud accounting software can help with each of these tasks, but with so many options and alternatives, finding the right solution for your business can quickly become difficult and time consuming.

Ultimately, even a basic cloud accounting setup is better than a traditional, offline accounting system. But to fully reap the benefits offered by cloud accounting, it is essential to create a seamless and personalized setup. You can think of this setup as your cloud accounting stack:

What is a cloud accounting stack?

The term 'stack' refers to a list of all the software and tools used to accomplish a particular task. So, a cloud accounting stack is the setup of cloud-based accounting tools used by your business.

Finding and setting up a stack that fits your business is vital to achieving the time and cost-saving benefits of cloud accounting software.

Cloud accounting is more than a storage system

Cloud accounting can benefit your business in more ways than just handling your file management - it can automate tasks, help ensure consistent records, and much more. But its biggest benefit is not replacing the need to hire a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA.

Rather, new cloud accounting technologies are helping change the role accountants play in helping businesses operate.

We believe that as technologies develop, so too should the role of accountants. As accountants shift away from tasks that can be automated, they can bring much more of their value and expertise to their clients by investing more of their time into consulting and helping clients work with their new tools.

This is where a fusion of traditional accounting expertise and the latest cloud accounting technologies creates something better than the sum of its parts: Cloud technology gives small businesses unprecedented access to expert advice when they need it most.

Get help and advice when you need it

Modern accountants are not just numbers experts, they are cloud tech experts too. For example, our team helps new startups and sole proprietors set up their perfect cloud accounting stack, and we provide ongoing support to help their teams learn the software and make changes as they go along.

Doing so is easy using an online platform such as Your Accounting Cloud, which allows you to schedule a meeting in seconds; whether a phone call, teleconference, or anything else, the platform instantly generates an access link and provides an email reminder.

Cloud accounting gives small businesses unprecedented access to expert advice

Remember that your accountant is an expert in their field, and their advice can provide reliable guidance and make simplify challenging decisions.

Thanks to cloud technology, accountants have a much greater opportunity to work directly with each of their clients and provide personalized, tailored advice and consulting whenever it is needed.

The advantages of moving to the cloud

Aside from getting unprecedent access to consulting and support where and when you need it, there are many benefits to moving your accounting to the cloud.

View your real-time financial data anytime

Unlike the traditional accounting workflow, where data was compiled at set time intervals and only accessible retroactively, cloud accounting solutions enable you to access your updated financial information anytime. Accurate information means more informed decision-making, and less time worrying and trying to predict finances.

Easy access and multi-user collaboration

Online solutions allow you to control who gets to view your business data, allowing you to easily grant your whole team access to vital information. You can also more easily collaborate with your team and advisors through online tools, all while looking at the same (up-to-date!) financial documents.

The best security for your financial information

A common worry expressed about moving information to the cloud is whether information can be safely stored online. However, information stored on the cloud is typically safer than physical information.

Nobody is able to access your information unless your grant them permission - everything is gated behind your secure password. Cloud technology companies invest significant resources into maintaining the stringent security and privacy standards required of them. Just like your personal online banking data, your business finances are kept secure.

In addition, you have complete control of just what information people can access. For example, you can give limited access to various teams in your business depending on what information they need to see, without having to give them access to all the data.

Finally, cloud-stored data is secured against any possible data loss that traditional, physical storage methods are susceptible to. For example, if somebody steals your personal computer, or it is damaged in a natural disaster, your information would remain safe and inaccessible to any external parties.

Automation saves you time and prevents errors

No more time spent transcribing information and keeping physical records. By setting up automatic data flow channels, information from your sale, income, and purchase channels is automatically recorded and inputted to your online books.

Even if you need to capture a physical receipt, you can quickly take a screenshot with your phone that automatically gets recorded thanks to optical character recognition. Our mobile app makes this process even quicker by automatically sorting the receipt into the correct folder.

Easy scaling and integration

Almost all cloud accounting solutions have extensive integration support, and are developed with flexibility in mind, allowing you to quickly add new tools or change how the software operations as your business grows and develops.

Changing the way accounting works - the new role of CPA's

With cloud technology, accountants can spend more of their time directly helping and benefitting their clients. With many bookkeeping tasks automated, has more time to consult your business, answer your questions, and help your team learn to use your cloud accounting stack.

As new technology experts, accountants can also help you find the perfect cloud accounting setup for your business.

A custom cloud solution makes managing your finances effortless

A cloud accounting setup simplifies the accounting process by providing an all-encompassing and accessible solution, tailored specifically to the needs of your business.

A central hub seamlessly integrates with the financial tools you are already using and familiar with. From there, you get personalized help to fill in any missing gaps and optimizing your workflow.

At any stage, you can let your accountant take over and handle every aspect of your business’ finances including bookkeeping, expense tracking, payroll, and report and tax filing.

Or you can stay more hands-on and let us help you develop and operate a seamless accounting process that fits your business. Either way, cloud accounting frees you up to focus on your business.

How does Your Accounting Cloud work?

We know you are busy running your business, so we developed a simple 3-step process to get you started with Your Accounting Cloud:

1.   Let's get to know each other

Setup a meeting to meet with an accountant. We will get to know your business, goals, and needs. You will also learn about some of the solutions we can offer, and get answers to any questions you might have.

YAC offers a range of plans to best suit you and your business, developed with flexibility in mind - allowing you to easily change how things work depending on your needs.

Our online YAC platform is your one-stop financial management hub, at the core of which is an accounting software solution. This is the program you and your accounting professional use to manage your business’ finances. YAC seamlessly integrates this software into our accessible and easy to learn web-interface platform.

Every YAC plan tier comes with free access to QuickBooks, the industry-leading accounting software solution. If you prefer to use a different tool, no problem! Our platform supports all major accounting software solutions.

No matter which plan you select for your business, we are here to help you get started - your accountant will be available to answer any questions you have about the software, and we will work with your team to help them quickly learn and get started using all the different tools.

2.   Transform your accounting workflow

We help you throughout the process of setting up your new cloud accounting stack. From reviewing and importing your previous financial data to the new software, to connecting all the tools together, to helping your team learn how to use each tool - we help make the transition smooth and painless.

Since everything is done through the cloud, we can work with you no matter where in Canada you business is located - the entire process is completed remotely.

3.   Contact your accountant, anytime

Now that your new workflow is setup and working, you can go back to what matters most - taking care of your business. You will immediately notice the time and cost saving benefits of your new setup, as the tools take over many tasks and dramatically simplify others.

Your accountant will be available to help you and your team with any questions and consulting. Whether you need help figuring out how to use a feature, need consulting for a financial decision, or want help with tax optimization, the answer is just a click away.

Thanks to cloud technology, you can now review your business’s live financial data anytime. Act with confidence and make more informed financial decisions knowing your business’s current standing, or reach out to your accountant when you need them to receive expert consulting.

Is cloud accounting right for your business?

One of the greatest features of cloud accounting is its flexibility and scalability. Regardless of whether you're an ambitious sole proprietor or a seasoned entrepreneur leading a large team, there is a cloud solution that will fit you just right, giving you access to important information, automating mundane tasks, and freeing you up to focus on running your business.

See for yourself how our flexible plans can fit your business’ needs or reach out today to discuss a custom solution to meet your needs.

Continue reading the Cloud Accounting Basics miniseries

This guide is the first installment of Cloud Accounting and your small business, a blog miniseries about cloud accounting aimed at helping small business owners learn about the changing tools and approach of accounting services in Canada.

We make it our goal to stay current with the latest accounting technologies, integrating them with our people-first approach to create innovative accounting solutions. Join us in the next installment to discover the flexibility of cloud accounting as we discuss its benefits in relation to various industries.

Have any questions or a topic you would like to see us cover? We would be more than happy to hear from you - reach out! (or check out our FAQ database).

Next blog: Cloud Accounting for the Information Technology and Real Estate Industries

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