Putting your accounting in the cloud offers huge advantages, including speed, accessibility from anywhere, and reduced on-site storage needs. But first, make very sure that your provider meets your standards and requirements.
What a Cloud Provider Provides
You’re probably familiar with cloud storage for files; it simply means that this data is stored on a server (your company’s or one you contract with) and is accessible from any computer or other device with an internet connection. A cloud provider goes one step further and lets you run applications as well as storing files. It eliminates the need for keeping software on your own machine.
Must-Have #1: Digital Robustness
It’s critical to keep your financial data safe and secure. The cloud provider you choose should be able to demonstrate:
• Its own data center – rather than outsourcing to some other company
• Data encryption – to make data useless to hackers
• Secured access
• Good uptime – ideally 99.95%, or less than 1 hour of downtime per year
• Backup systems
• Disaster recovery plan
Must-Have #2: Financial Robustness
You want your provider to be around for the long haul, giving you uninterrupted access and support for your data.
Must-Have #3: Universal Compatibility
Your cloud service provider should work with a variety of devices, operating systems, and applications that might be used by various members of your team to access the files and software.
• Apple iOS and Android mobile devices
• Windows PC and Apple Mac desktop and laptop computers
• 3rd-party applications (not just those the provider offers)
Must-Have #4: Data Exportability
Someday, you may want to change cloud providers. You should be able to export your data from their system whenever you want, in a file format that can be used by other software. (This is why you don’t want to get tied into one provider’s apps.)
Must-Have #5: Tech Support
You want to work with a provider that responds quickly and expertly to any problems that might arise. Read through the company’s online community forum to get an idea of how they value and interact with their customers.
Must-Have #6: Scalability
As your company grows, the accounting infrastructure must be able to handle your increased need for processing power and data storage. What’s more, your provider should schedule updates and upgrades with you in advance, so that you’re not hit with an unexpected downtime at the worst possible moment.
Must-Have #7: Clear Billing Plan
The pricing structure should be detailed enough that you won’t be stuck with any surprise charges. For example, will you be using your own internet provider which you’re already paying for, or will there be a dedicated data connection to the cloud that costs extra? Also, look beyond the lowball sign-up cost, which the provider may make up for down the road with steep increases after the initial period.
Enjoy Your Cloud-Based Accounting
Xendoo clients get access to Xero Accounting software, a best in class cloud accounting platform. Take advantage of the convenience and cost savings of accounting in the cloud!