Personal Small Business Enterprise

Tax Season: Time to Bring Your Accounting Into the Cloud?

Everyone’s favourite time of year is here again: tax time.

With apologies to businesses offering accounting services (in which case this is probably your most lucrative time of year), I still dread that looming deadline. This year is particularly challenging for me because I made the leap back into self-employment, which means there are no more tidy T4 slips for me.

Instead, I’ll be sifting through hundreds of receipts and trying to decipher which expenses qualify for business write-offs in categories like office equipment (my new BlackBerry Z10 and MacBook Air are at the top of that category this year). However, after spending many years going through this process manually, I’ve decided to check out cloud-based accounting solutions this year. If you’re a business owner, doing the same might help you too.

Accounting software delivered via the cloud
So what are the main advantages of having accounting software delivered via the cloud? Well, there are quite a few, but here are five of the main benefits that convinced me to make the switch from desktop-based software:

Automatic updates – Unlike traditional accounting software, cloud-based programs are automatically updated so you never have to take time out of your busy schedule to download the latest version that comes out.

Flexibility to scale services – The cloud is scalable – so you can add or subtract capacity as required – and enjoy the cost efficiency of paying for only the services you use.

Anytime, anywhere access – Cloud-based accounting software resides on the Internet and can be accessed on any device and from any location.

An integrated experience – The software provider takes care of storage space, security, server capacity and backup so you don’t have to.

Low (or no) up-front costs – Because the software runs as a service in the cloud, you pay a subscription fee as opposed to buying it upfront. This amortizes the cost over time and removes the annual spike in expenses when it comes time to upgrade to the next version.

Additional perks may also be included
In addition to the standard inclusions – such as invoicing, payroll, expenses, deductions, balance sheets and tax calculations – some platforms also offer time tracking (great if you charge per billable hour) and accept online payments from your customers. And as an added bonus, most providers offer free trials so you can try the software for a few weeks before fully committing.  

The Bottom Line
Accounting in the cloud can provide significant advantages in terms of time savings, productivity and peace of mind, so it’s worth a look. If you’re interested in reviewing different options to see what cloud accounting software can do for you business, have a look at Yendo, an accounting app with a free trial and FreeAgent, a subscription-based solution.

Have you begun utilizing cloud-based services for your business? What advantages, efficiencies or learnings have you discovered as a result? We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

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