“The Cloud”. You have probably heard the term. What does it mean? How can it affect your accounting?

Basically, “The Cloud” is talking about performing tasks and storing information somewhere that is accessed through the internet. True cloud computing is utilizing Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. SaaS is software that is deployed over the internet. Usually SaaS is subscription based.

One example of a SaaS accounting system is Xero software. Xero is a true cloud accounting package. It allows you to login anytime, anywhere on any device. It can be setup with automatic daily bank feeds. Unlimited multiple users can access your accounting records at the same time.

Another example of a SaaS accounting system is QuickBooks Online. Do not be misled, QuickBooks Online is NOT the same as QuickBooks desktop software. It too is an accounting package. It also allows you to login anytime, anywhere. Multiple users can access your accounting records at the same time.

Hosting QuickBooks desktop software is an example of a hybrid of cloud computing. With hosted QuickBooks, you purchase or rent QuickBooks desktop software. You then have a hosting company install and manage the software on their servers. You also can login anytime anywhere. Multiple users can also access your accounting records at the same time. However, each user needs to have their own login setup with the hosting company. Also there is a limitation of 5 simultaneous users.

You may wonder “Which cloud accounting solution is right for my business?” There is no automatic answer. It really depends on how you do business and other factors.

All of the above mentioned accounting systems can be supplemented with SaaS add-ons.

One add-on is Bill.com. Bill.com is a SaaS application that is designed to assist you with your payables and receivables. It can save you much time in processing. It integrates with Xero, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks desktop.

Another add-on is Intuit Online Payroll (IOP). IOP is a SaaS application to process your payroll. It can process direct deposits, make your payroll tax deposits, and process all of your payroll forms.

Think about how technology has changed how you do many tasks in your everyday life. Most all of us have phones with internet access. We research things every day on the internet. Where should we eat? Where is the closest gas station? and the like. We can utilize the technological advancements in our accounting too.