15-20% of Australian businesses now use cloud based software, and the benefits are helping them to run more efficiently and move ahead. ATB Director Paul Rattray discusses how moving to the cloud could help your business too.
A lot of business owners know they need to make the transition to the cloud, but what are the signs that a business could really benefit?
“It can be a hard decision because most businesses keep doing what they’ve always done… they might be used to getting old figures, or emailing files to their accountant, but opportunities come up and then you realise how cumbersome the old process is… As soon as you need to get a bank loan or look at something more long term, you need the information right away, but you can’t access it or your figures aren’t up to date. But with cloud based technology such as Xero, you can run reports at any time”.
So practically speaking, day to day for, say, a husband and wife in construction, how might their day change?
“I think time is main thing; using Xero can allow you to do things faster, in minutes rather than hours. There are no journals to do because the figures go straight through. It streamlines the process and makes day to day transactions much easier”.
What about payroll?
“Again it saves you time, your figures are up to date, and all the invoicing and templates are already set up so that they can be emailed out. Whether you’re onsite or on the road, you can email an invoice straight to the client. It’s just more streamlined.”
So we’ve saved time and have accurate figures. What about having access to live files?
“Yes, as an accountant I love it. When a client rings up, you’re chatting about their day and their business, and by the time they ask their question, you have their file up – it’s much more efficient. It means less time number crunching for the accountant and for the clients doing the thing they don’t like, and more time working with the client on improving their business so they can move ahead.”
So business becomes more fun…
“Exactly, you can spend more time doing what you want to do not what you have to do.”
What about a client worried about security with using cloud technology?
“It’s as safe as you can expect, with the same standards of safety as internet banking and other online credit card transactions. It’s exactly the same from a security perspective.”
And if people have data stored on their home computer, the hard drive there is more at risk?
“That’s right. If your back up fails, that’s a problem, but with cloud based technology the information is stored everywhere – you can go to a different computer and access it, even out on the road.”
For a business owner who is not tech savvy or their staff are not tech savvy, what’s the learning curve like?
“It’s not bad at all: we do training with our clients to make them comfortable using the applications. For a tradie doing their books at night, we can take that stress and worry off them using technology. The basics, such as invoicing and payroll, are easy to pick up”.
In business cloud technology seems almost essential, otherwise you’ll get left behind…
“Well we’ve been using it for 4 or 5 years now. And 15-20 % of Australian businesses are in the cloud; often the more progressive, forward thinking businesses. It’s better for your data, your access to it, and overall better business practice.
We are proof at ATB – we’re 100% in the cloud ourselves for our business processes and would not preach about it if we didn’t see the benefits.
We are also Xero Gold Partners and are across a lot of other products, such as Quickbooks and MYOB Live.
And on top of that you are providing mentoring…
“Definitely. And that’s the fun part, helping a business grow, that’s what we enjoy.”