Online accounting software with its head in the clouds
Cloud based computing is coming on leaps
and bounds, and is set to be a billion dollar business by 2011. The possibilities are staggering: computers
can become smaller and lighter, and all the data cant be kept online. This has only become possible with
increasingly fast broadband/net speeds and vast amounts of RAM compared to just
a few years ago. It also opens up a
whole world to iPods, iPads and netbooks, and you can be assured that we are
only just seeing the start of it. And the possible future includes online accounting software.
Advantages of cloud based accountancy
In short, your computer will no longer need to store the programs on it’s own internal memory, or if it does so, only sufficient architecture which will enable it to run the programs, perhaps downloading what features are needed for specific tasks when needed, and doing that at speeds which will mean on a good connection you would never know it was doing it.
One of the potential areas of exploitation is in the world of online simple accounting software.
There are many accounting options available for your home computer – Quicken, Peachtree, for example – and they run on the traditional methods of installation on your hard drive. But programs such as Outright.com and Bill.com could be the online solution. Outright was free online accounting software but it looks like it now charges around the $10 a month mark, bar a few cents. However, there is a new contender for the free online accounting market, and the best part is there is a free app that goes with it. Mint.com looks like just the ticket and since I am currently in the market for a decent app accessible accounts package for the new charity I have set up, I should be able to give an indepth users opinion very soon!
"Online accounting software must keep things efficient"
For free small business accounting software it does the job it needs to, and helps you to keep the most boring parts, but most necessary parts of a business, short and efficient.
The advantage of using cloud based easy accounting software as opposed to something which is simply described as ‘free software’ which resides on your computer for me is one of security. If you have open source software handling bank accounts then I can’t help but think that there are going to be people who eagerly are building code to grab my account details.
I am not so naïve to assume that this WILL happen. After all one of the most secure operating systems on the planet is Linux, and that is because it is open source. As soon as one person builds a hack, someone else builds the solution. Still, I can’t help worrying, and I don’t think I am the only one.
Obviously the servers of cloud computing systems can be hacked, but then, so can your own bank account, as we have seen in recent years. Ouright.com’s statement of security is, in my opinion, satisfactory. Better than open source accounting software at any rate. It goes beyond free trial, or just including free optional extras. The software is free for 30 days, then you are charged at $9.95 a month.
On a downside, it is built mainly for the US tax market, but that shouldn’t put you off trying it in the UK as there is some basic functionality built in.
Which Flavour of Cloud Accounting Software best fulfills your needs?
Outright.com didn't get in touch, but a representative from Kashoo.com, business online accounting software, did. They asked if I would consider adding them to the list and, after checking out their website and having had a couple of email exchanges with them, I am happy to do. The company is committed to introducing an iPad mobile version to access online accounts which will be released shortly (Time of writing jan 2011) , and you can link your bank account securely to their main systems. They are also developing a system for the Blackberry, Android and iPhone/iPod platforms which is a bonus. Again, 30 days you get to use the software for free, then you re charged at $9.95 a month.
I was waiting for Outright.com, my previously preffered choice for free online accounting software, to develop an iPod app, but they didn't. And as I have already mentioned they now charge. it's a good system though, and kashoo also deserves a look. But mint.com does look rather interesting and well worth thinking about.
So the flavours really come down to two: paid or free. Obviously the paid for systems will give you more options and a better standard of service, but if you have only a small business or want the software to just look after your home accounts, you could be more than happy with the free options.
Clear books online accounting software
Saving money? Using software to balance the books is no more important that when you need to budget for a wedding. Face it, if you are going classic with vintage wedding invitations or just being pretty standard and plain and simple, but beautiful, affair, the average wedding will set you back a packet! Online accounting software will help you get everything in balance to cover all the bases and make sure everything is safely accounted for. ‘Scuse the pun!
Easy online accounting software, or not?
So is it easy accounting software? Outright sure is! Seconds to set up (and no really annoying confirmation email to click). Once inside you have income heading where you can insert very basic information. But just click on the “import more payments” button and suddenly you can automate paypal, ebay, other programs and a csv file. I selected paypal, and I authorized paypal. Again seconds.
It takes about another minute to authorize your paypal account to give the information needed, and Outright grabs it and puts it under the appropriate headings.
That’s when I discovered I had made a loss when I thought that there was a small profit! I think that this is because it hadn’t fully taken into account that I had paid money into my paypal account from my own bank account!
So this is something to watch out for. But, as I run this as a small business fund, it picked up the automatic transacted bills, and it will calculate tax for me. Great stuff! Just a shame you now have to pay for it. It was better when it was free, for obvious reasons.
For accounting software which is freeware, still have a look at "mint", which is ideal for me.
And of course the fact that there is an 'app for that' (and by that not just the i-'s, but also the android platform) makes it sweet for me to be able to complete my accounts as i go.
I guess that at some point I might want something a little more robust so will then approach one of the pay as you go options.
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