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How cloud accounting is redefining small businesses

Cloud accounting has changed the game for us accountants. Gone are the days when accounting was all about entering data into Excel sheets and using complex command lines to generate numbers and reports. 

Modern accounting allows for data to be processed in the “cloud” and returned to the user—decreasing processing times and allowing multiple people in an organisation access to data, even when working remotely. This makes the process of bookkeeping cheaper and more efficient, for us and our clients. Here are some other reasons we love it: 

What’s so great about the cloud?

The real-time information cloud accounting leads to better decision-making and reduces the time needed to verify transactions. Forward thinking accounting firms like Harvest use such technology so we can focus on delivering effective advice and consultation services to our clients. 

Cloud accounting solutions are typically offered as Software-as-a-service (SaaS), and are accessible by users who have an active subscription. Unlike traditional accounting software which needs to be constantly manually updated, software updates for cloud accounting are rolled out to subscribed users as soon as they arrive—continuously increasing the efficiency of the organisation’s bookkeeping. 

Why we love it

There are a number of excellent cloud accounting services on the market, but Xero is our favourite. Boasting over two million subscribers worldwide, Xero has been identified by Forbes as one of the world’s most innovative businesses. The interface is easy to use, and the inbuilt features such as invoicing and payroll are designed to streamline processes for small businesses. 

We’re also very proud to call ourselves a Xero Gold Championship Partner, offering efficient and user-friendly accounting solutions to all our clients!

Real-time monitoring of finances

Harvest uses Xero to provide small local businesses with effective accounting solutions. Local eye care brand Two of a Kind used Harvest’s real-time financial data to help them raise funds for their business. Using Xero’s reporting tools, the business was able to take control of their books and present them to stakeholders in a transparent way.

Historical financial data stored on the cloud was also useful for our clients when circuit breaker stimulus packages were introduced. In order to be eligible for rental relief, businesses had to prove that they had experienced a drop in income during the circuit breaker period. Our monthly retainer clients had the proof at their fingertips thanks to the data stored on Xero and engaging us for monthly accounting services.

Faster decision-making

Real-time financial data can also drive decision making when it comes to choosing service providers. One of Harvest’s clients, the Refinery, found that outsourcing food delivery to popular platforms was actually more expensive than hiring a team of their own. 

In a similar vein, food storage vendors Front & Centre found that although using sea shipping for their products was cost-effective, air shipping sped up sales and made their business model more efficient. 

Cloud-based solutions were the only way for businesses to continue operating during circuit breakers and rapidly adopted. With remote work being touted as the future of the workplace, it’s the technology platform that ensures that everyone is looking at the same information, ensuring the team remains aligned even if working from different physical locations. 

Military-level data security

Some business owners are apprehensive about cloud solutions because of the risk that data could be stolen. Fortunately, Xero has multi-factor authentication (MFA). Just like logging in to an online banking account, Xero authenticates logins with their dedicated Xero Verify application on your mobile device. Users receive push notifications if someone is attempting to log into their account, and can prevent unauthorised activity with the tap of a button. Xero also performs data replication between a number of geographically diverse hosting facilities, so even if one hosting facility fails, your data remains secure and accessible. 

What’s more, Xero also providers unlimited round the clock support for all subscribers, so if a security breach occurs, the support team is just a click away. Their dedicated FAQ platform Xero Central provides helpful walkthroughs for business owners to add new users, setting up MFA on a new device, and disconnecting bank accounts. 

All data stored on Xero is encrypted to industry standard, and users who need access to the data need to be invited to collaborate by the owner of the account. The owner of the account can select members to have access to specific datasets—a useful tool for maintaining confidentiality within the company. 

For example, if a business owner wants to give  their sales staff access to be able to send out invoices , they can do so while restricting their access to other information such as the bank account and financial reporting. It’s much safer than a free-for-all Excel spreadsheet shared by the whole organisation.

Scalability and customisability

Businesses experiencing rapid growth can transfer their accounting data from Xero to other platforms and integrations. Xero integrates seamlessly with over 800 business applications, and allows data to be used by other departments on their own platforms. 

The flexibility of Xero means that businesses can easily use new applications to manage aspects of their businesses as they are easily integrated by the cloud accounting software. For example, if you are having trouble self-managing your stock, we can help you transition to Stock and Buy. 

Harvest helps our clients create customised operating systems and digital infrastructure based on their business needs. Thanks to the multitude of platforms available, we can make specific recommendations to address your unique pain points. 

Another aspect that makes cloud accounting so attractive to clients is its scalability. As a company grows in size, Unlimited team members can be added, and the account owner can issue invites and set granular control over privacy settings.

Our secret to stress-free accounting

Accounting doesn’t have to be stressful. Cloud accounting has made bookkeeping accessible to everyone, even sole traders. There is no longer a need to shell out hundreds for each software update or limit yourself to your work laptop. 

Harvest Accounting is a Singaporean business that aims to demystify accounting for local SMEs. Apart from traditional bookkeeping, Harvest Accounting helps to identify bottlenecks in a business model and provide advice on the best way to grow your business. With clients in almost every industry from real estate to eyewear, Harvest Accounting has the expertise to grow your business, no matter the industry. 

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