As you might have seen from some of our blog posts last week – we had a lot of fun with all the fresh snow that arrived – but how did your business cope with the disruption to the country’s transport network? Luckily for us, as a web based company, if our staff can’t make it in to the office, they have most of the tools they need to work from home.
One tool in particular is an accounting software service that we’ve been working on for the past 18 months – it’s called Clear Books.
Traditional Accounting Software
Traditional accounting software typically provides a fairly archaic solution. Here’s the scene: You have an old windows machine in the corner of your office that has the accounting software installed on it. Your accountant or book keeper comes in every now and then to keep the system up to date. If you want some management accounts to see how your business is doing, you or someone working for you has to log on to that machine and export them. If it snows – your book keeper can’t get to the office and your accounts start gathering dust. If you are at home one evening, and you want to know how much you owe the VAT man – you have to wait until the next day to visit the office. You’ve paid a large amount up front for the privilege of installing the software, and then each year you have to pay to keep it up to date.
Traditional accounting software….
- Comes in a box
- Needs to be installed on a computer
- It can only be accessed from one computer, by one person at a time
- Has a hefty up front cost.
No Accounts Software
Some people don’t like using these old accounting software products, so they opt for an even more labour intensive approach; they get their accountant to physically collect all their invoices, and bank statements (also know as the black bin liner method), so that he can prepare their payroll, VAT and end of year accounts, and then physically deliver them back to them when he’s finished with them. This method typically gives you no ongoing picture of your businesses performance, and you have to rely on bank statements, spreadsheets or just your gut feeling to see you from year to year. Also, if you need to refer to an old document – you normally can’t because they are with your accountant.
Then there is the new approach. We call this online accounting. In this scenario, the accounting software is accessed via a web browser. You don’t need to install anything on your PC. You can view your accounts from any computer (PC, Mac, Linux) with an Internet connection. So can your accountant or book keeper, so he/she no longer has to drive to your office. You and your business partners can be accessing the software at the same time, from any where in the world. There are no major up front costs, you just pay a small monthly subscription – and regular software updates are included as part of this. The software automatically generates your VAT returns each quarter, and lets you file them with HMRC with a few clicks of the mouse.
Online accounting software….
- Can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a web browser.
- Requires no software installation, updates or upgrades.
- Has a low monthly cost, with no up front fees.
If this sounds like something you want to know more about, you might want to read my 10 reasons to use Clear Books post.