Number-Crunching in the Cloud: Cloud-Based Accounting Software


Are you considering a switch to cloud-based software solutions, or is your company? Among U.S. executives surveyed for Robert Half’s report, Benchmarking the Accounting and Finance Function, 7 percent say their companies are already using software-as-a-service (SaaS),or a cloud-based option, as their primary financial system.

Many companies remain more cautious about moving to the cloud. But cloud-based accounting software technologies offer an array of valuable benefits — from major cost savings and more effective backup abilities, to immediate upgrades and easy access anywhere, anytime.

Here are five points to keep in mind about these accounting software alternatives.

1. There are a myriad of options.

According to the 2014 Benchmarking report, U.S. companies are most likely to use Intacct, if they’ve turned to SaaS or cloud solutions. It’s cited by 18 percent of survey respondents. Others use Microsoft (16 percent), NetSuite (15 percent) and ADP (15 percent). An additional 36 percent use some other brand, including Xero, Freshbooks and Quickbooks Online.

2. It can be affordable.  

Moving accounting functions to the cloud can be a way to cut costs. Instead of paying for a license fee and annual maintenance, you typically pay as you go with most cloud providers, usually on a monthly basis. Many cloud accounting software options cost less than $20 a month per user.

3. It can be a time saver.

Cloud-based software is often easier to use than in-house systems. Once everyone has been trained and the transition has taken place, these solutions can greatly reduce the amount of time spent crunching numbers and producing financial statements.

4. Many small companies have already taken the leap.

According to the 2014 Benchmarking report, smaller companies are often the early adopters of SaaS and other cloud-based options. Among surveyed companies with revenue less than $25 million, 11 percent are already using a SaaS financial system. Six percent of companies with revenue between $25 million and $99 million have made the switch.

5. Cloud solutions must meet safety standards.

Some executives still have concerns about safety in the cloud. But many industry experts think cloud computing is actually more secure than traditional in-house systems. That’s because cloud vendors must adhere to strict International Organization for Standardization (ISO) security standards, and they are subject to regular security audits.

Of course, no cloud provider can guarantee your information is 100 percent safe from hackers. But with today’s onslaught of data security threats, will your financial data be safer on your locally maintained server — or with a cloud provider whose reputation is based on top-notch security?

Despite many executives’ reluctance to move their financial functions, it’s clear that cloud-based accounting software offers important benefits when properly implemented.