3 Reasons To Use Cloud Accounting

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At this time of year, all eyes are on end of year. It’s Tax Time. But how organised are you and your systems for year end?

Do you have the latest software patches loaded, is your system tax compliant, and is all of your data entry up to scratch?

How much is it going to cost you to have a Bookkeeper come and sit with you for a week to enter in all of your data, for the Consultant to bring your system up to scratch and for your Accountant to sort through it all?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easier way? A World where your systems talked to each other, where transactions took care of themselves and your Bookkeeper and Accountant became Advisors rather than Compliance Monitors?

Take a look at our 3 Reason To Use Cloud Accounting to find out how.

1. ACCESS

The primary reason for using a Cloud Accounting system would be access. No longer confined to the Desktop computer in your office, you are now free to manage your business from the car, home or away on holidays!

Best of all, you can share your access with most systems, providing your Advisors instant access to your business information allowing for up to the minute advice.

Larger business can also benefit from having remote workers or offices connecting with ease, without the burden of ageing infrastructure to get in the way.

2. PEACE OF MIND

When was the last time you backed up your system, or had to restore it, only to find out that your backups don’t work, or the system database didn’t backup?

The feeling is gut wrenching, particularly at this time of year.

With a Cloud Accounting system, your software, assets and business data are always backed up, and always accessible, 24 hours a day.

You should also look for a system that allows you to backup your own data and store it locally, just for extra piece of mind.

3. COST

Systems with 24/7, multilocation access were once just a figment of  small business owner’s imagination, often left to the larger ERP competitors.

Not anymore.

Systems with online Inventory, Payroll, Time Keeping and Financials, such as Reckon’s Quickbooks Hosted platform, can be had for as little as $25 per month.

We are able to advise on a wide range of Cloud Accounting and Hosted business packages to suit your needs.

We would love to also hear any feedback from businesses out there already operating in the Cloud.

Let us know your thoughts, feedback or questions in the Comments field below.

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2012: The Year Of The Cloud

2012. This is the year of The Cloud. This is the year that business is realising it needs The Cloud. But why?

Efficiencies is the answer.

If surviving the GFC taught us one thing, it’s how to be lean. If business, and especially small business is to survive and even thrive post-GFC, it must learn to operate on a strict diet.

To be lean and mean. This means not just micro-managing your Managers and Staff to greater productivity, but looking at your business systems and how they can serve you, not the other way around.

By choosing wisely with Public cloud services, business can selectively tailor a Cloud based system to their needs (and Budget) without the expensive implementation and overheads previously seen with proprietary systems.

For example, a small business (in a remote Country location) we are currently co-consulting with, was looking to decentralise their accounting work. They wanted access to big city Advisors but without the hefty fees of travelling or paying the Advisors to travel. Another hurdle was sending the accounting data in for adjustments, only to wait months for the data to return for adjusting. Then there were issues with quality Bookkeepers in their remote location, etc..

The solution was, as they were already using Reckon’s QuickBooks, was to move them on to a Public cloud solution, QuickBooks Hosted, by Reckon Online.

The business’ software costs were reduced, and the Advisors and Bookkeepers now had real time access to the data.

Momentum is another key factor.

Through our Consulting partners, Axis IT Consulting, we are seeing a massive push to Cloud based services recently.

Once a movement gains significant momentum in business, that movement becomes the key discussion topic amongst business owners and through Referrals and Word Of Mouth. The movement gains significant momentum that a switch in the way things are done occurs.

We are now seeing that switch taking place on a daily basis.

Whether the enquiries are for setting up free services like Dropbox, Google Drive or Mail Chimp, assisting with Social Media integration or Consulting for an Online Accounting System that integrates with Field Service Software, such as Connect2Field and QuickBooks Hosted, the enquiries are there.

Business wants and needs change, and it needs efficiency. Sitting down with a Cloud Consultant and discussing how your business can gain from The Cloud is the smartest thing you can do this year.

Use the feedback form below, we’d love to have a chat about your Cloud!

 

 

Cloud Accounting Saves Dollars and Makes Sense

One of the biggest winners from the current frenzied move to the Cloud, is the world of Accounting Software, and in particular Small Business users.

No longer bound by the typical ageing model of the sales staff getting out on the road, only to come back to the office with an armful of orders for the Data Entry clerk to spend days data entering into an antiquated old version of Quickbooks or MYOB. No Sir, welcome to the age of Cloud Accounting.

There are many prominent systems available to the savvy Small Business operator, from simple browser based systems such as Reckon’s Cashbook Online or Xero, through to your fully fledged Hosted solutions, such as Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted.

A business should do its own due diligence in deciding what is right for its purpose and budget, however thorough investigation will reveal that all online systems are not alike. View our guide to some factors to consider in this decision making process here and further information comparing cloud products here.

Special consideration should be made to looking at where the data is hosted, and if you can access or actually even own your own data.

From only $15 per month for Cashbook Online to around $25 per month for QuickBooks Hosted to $49 or $64 a month for Xero, Small Businesses really should be looking at these systems and making the move for The Cloud.

For example, from all products tested, Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted was our favourite for Pricing, Features and Security. Aimed at SMB’s rather than micro businesses like the previous two products mentioned, QuickBooks Hosted is the great all-rounder.

Deploy a team of Sales Reps around the Country, toting nothing more than an iPad or Android tablet, to access their customer accounts, perform inventory and order lookups, view the status of back orders and deliveries and enter orders directly with their customers on site.

Prior to the availability of these systems in The Cloud, most SMB’s simply wouldn’t have been able to compete with their larger Netsuite or SAP doting competitors, with their expensive VPN’s and custom written PDA software.

We can only expect to see further growth in this area, with Reckon looking to bring Point of Sale to The Cloud in the near future as well as open up the SDK to allow for third party products such as Fishbowl Inventory and Ostendo to co-exist on the Hosted platform.

Also let’s not forget Reckon’s recent investment in Cloud Field Services startup Connect2Field as a sign of the sheer commitment typical software vendors are making to the Cloud Accounting field.

Seek out a Cloud Accounting Specialist today to see how you could not only save your business dollars, but make sense of your business goals at the same time.

Top 10 Reasons To Use Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted

There are many things to consider when choosing a computer system for your business, especially your Accounting Package.

With the Cloud becoming more and more relevant to all small businesses, Australia included, we thought we’d list our Top 10 features of Reckon’s QuickBooks Hosted product.

Our Top 10 Features are:

1. Availability. QuickBooks Hosted is available on Android, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows PC’s and Mac

2. Replication of the desktop product. This minimises re-training and allows for backups from the cloud to be opened on the desktop to alleviate downtime.

3. Full inventory module with Purchase Orders and Sales Orders entry. This allows for mobile staff on the road, or remote warehouses to easily access live data and interact with it.

4. Updates are done for you. You can save money on paying a Consultant to come and load up your software upgrades, as Reckon will load them for you.

5. Bookkeeper and Accountant shared access. You can allow access from other people not within your business. This is something you allow and control through Provisioning. It saves you and your aiders time and money.

6. Classes. Through the use of classes and given the ease of access to the system, you no longer require different ledgers. Have your whole business in one ledger and split your Profit and Cost Centres out with Classes. Simple reporting means you will easily have your finger on any branch P&L or Sales report you need to view.

7. Company Snapshot. In a hurry and need to quickly check a few KPI’s? No worries, simply configure your QuickBooks to open the Company Snapshot first. Then grab your iPad or Android tablet out, quickly fire up QuickBooks Hosted and in under a couple of minutes you can view all your top KPI’s on one screen, in one hand.

8. Save money on PC’s. With QuickBooks Hosted, all the processing is done at the data centre. All you need is a simple terminal or tablet to access the system from.

9. Multi-User. Have your whole business connected and working at once, no matter where they are.

10. Data is hosted in Australia. Feel safe in the knowledge that your data is stored in a Tier 1 Data Centre in Australia and is compliant with all current Privacy and Data Laws. Always check where your data is stored!

QuickBooks Hosted by Reckon Online 2012/13 will soon  be released with many upgrades and new features.

You can read our review of the current product here or find our more about the product on at Reckon Online.

View a quick demonstration of how simple it is to install QuickBooks Hosted on your Android device.

Reckon Enters The Mobile Workforce With Investment In Connect2Field

Reckon Ltd, an Australian ASX listed software provider, today announced a strategic 30%, or $660,000 investment in Connect2Field, a cloud based Job Management software provider for small to medium business.

Connect2Field is a secure web-based application built on the latest technologies, that allows a job to be entered into the system back at base, then sent out the the field workers’ mobile phones or tablet devices. Fieldworkers receive their jobs via Internet-enabled mobile devices including iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, Nokia, Android and BlackBerry.

Customers also have the ability to view the status of jobs, create jobs, view invoice history and even view the upcoming worker’s schedule!

Job management, job notification, invoicing and quoting are key features of the software. Transactions will be sent back to the finance package so no double entry is required.

Reckon will be implementing Connect2Field into their Cashbook Online and Quickbooks Hosted products, giving true flexibility and functionality to their SMB customer base. Reckon’s customers will soon be able to compete on a level playing field, with competitors many times their size.

Outsource Your Ageing Hardware With BYOD

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The Bring Your Own Device movement is not new, however with small business now having equal access to the Cloud as its larger competitors, BYOD should now be considered alongside that cloud takeup.

What Is BYOD?

Quite simply the notion behind Bring Your Own Device is simple. Rather than our Gen Y and now Millenials being expected to perform on something that belongs in a museum, they may choose to bring to work their own iPad, Macbook Pro or other device of choice to work on.

Said Gen Y and Millenials argue they will be more content and more productive working on their pride and joy gadget, and also have the flexibility of working out of hours – bonus. Or is it?

Why, and Why Not To BYOD

The advantages of BYOD far outweigh the disadvantges.

Some things to consider are this: Security, Support and Insurance claims. Should said multi-thousand dollar device be damaged whilst at the workplace or being used for work purposes, who’s policy will cover the replacement? Your insurance broker should be able to tailer a BYOD package to suit.

Your IT department will need to broaden their knowledge outside of the simple PC / Server architecture, however for Gen Y and now Millenial Network Admins, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. You could always lock the choices down to a few devices to keep things manageable.

Access at its most crudest could be kept to a secure Remote Desktop Connection, only allowing connection to the device and user account in the allowed hours of operation. Best Practice Active Directory management would ensure User Access is also restricted.

As Public and Private cloud environments gain increasing traction, the argument of access and reliable provision of services becomes almost nul and void.

Cloud Vendors do need to be Brand Agnostic in their rollouts though for maximum market penetration.

Cashflow Positive Initiative

Another benefit to the small business owner is cashflow. Whether or not you choose to provide employees with an allowance, per Kraft in the USA (who gives their employees a Device Stipend), or not depends on your requirements and BYOD Policy.

There is a real advantage to work with your employee here and show you really are an avant-garde employer.

Why not come to a Salary Sacrifice arrangement with your employee (seek Tax Advice first!), then offer to rent the device back from your Employee?

Or simply pay your Employees a Technology Allowance so they can buy the latest tech of choice safe in the knowledge the Allowance will cover the costs. The Employee simply claims the cost of the gadget in their personal income tax return (again seek Tax Advice first!).

However, the Australian Taxation Office have declared that iPads have substantially the same functionality as laptops hence would be treated the same as laptops in tax claims.

So what are you waiting for, you’ve implemented some cloud technologies, you’re considering moving to Private Cloud, now take the final step and outsource your hardware to your Employees. They will love you for it.

Or if you love Infographics, we have a great one below.

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How Secure Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Disasters, we never exactly plan for them to occur, but we should!

By the very nature of most disasters, recovery can take some time. Even with the best laid plans, without a complete and tested Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP), most small businesses would struggle to ever get back to where they were before disaster struck.

What should you be backing up?

At the very least, all vital and operational documents, registers, and databases, including your Accounting package, should be backed up on a nightly basis.

A solid DRP for a small business would include a combination of onsite and offsite (cloud) backup solutions.

A Network Attached Storage Unit (NAS) of 1 or 2TB in size would suffice most businesses, which if the backup is set to Incremental, these units will usually hold up to 3 to 6 months worth of data.

The onsite incremental backup should be set to run every night, and should also backup the company email store.

A combination of the onsite as well as an offsite solution should be adopted for an all round DRP.

Your insurance company will love you for it.

Getting back to business following a disaster

Depending on the severity of the disaster, you could still find yourself requiring cash flow to purchase new computers and servers on which to operate, well ahead of the insurance company coming to inspect your site.

Add to this, sourcing replacement copies of your software and if necessary, serial numbers, etc.. You then need to factor in the time and costs to have all of the software reinstalled and configured.

Getting up and going again can be a real challenge, and most small businesses would simply not be able to cope, with limited cash flow available at such a time.

How can I best shield my business from disasters and make recovery easy?

The simplest solution to an all round protection policy available to all businesses large and small, is to operate as much of your business via a Cloud Provider.

Generally speaking, your email (unless you host your own Exchange server) and your internet banking, are two protocols you already operate via the cloud.

Why not consider your accounting package, via QuickBooks Hosted or Cashbook Online, Xero or Saasu, amonst others.

For your Office documents, you may consider Office365 (which offers virtual Exchange hosting), or a free solution such as Google Docs.

Quicker recovery via the cloud

Via any of the above cloud solution pr0viders, or you may choose a Private Cloud solution to host all of your business requirements, getting back online need be as easy as going to your local Internet Cafe or logging on via your iPad or home PC.

Reckon Place QuickBooks Enterprise In The Cloud

QUICKBOOKS HOSTED BY RECKON ONLINE

REVIEW – WEALTH CREATOR MAGAZINE


The Login Process

2011 marks the year that Reckon’s Online offering, QuickBooks, Hosted by Reckon Online “grows up”.

No longer bound by antiquated Browser security shackles, nor held ransom to Windows, Reckon now have you covered on almost any device you choose to travel with.

Simplifying the login process to a single icon click, identical to the Desktop edition of QuickBooks, Reckon have closed the gap that once existed in both the range of devices able to run QuickBooks Hosted, and also in the end user experience.

Once setup on either my iPad, Android mobile phone or Macbook, I found logging in via the Premium Service, to be as seamless as the desktop edition. This is a huge step forward for Reckon.

Speed

Another vast improvement that impressed me no end with the 2011 released Premium service, was the speed.

Dare I say it is now faster for me to have Reckon host my datafiles, than it is for me to host my own files on my own server!

Reporting speed was the same whether I was running a quick client look up on my Android mobile phone, or running a detailed Profit and Loss report from my iPad. The experience is very seamless.

Functionality

The first thing clients say to me when I set them up on QuickBooks Hosted, is “oh it’s exactly the same as my old version.”  A masterstroke by Reckon, is the fact that functionally, QuickBooks Hosted is exactly the same as the Desktop version! And in some cases, better.

This is due to the fact that Reckon have chosen to base the Hosted product on the Rolls Royce of QuickBooks, the Enterprise version. Hence every feature that is available in QuickBooks 2011, is also available online.

My favourite new feature is the Company Snapshot. Containing up to 27 finance widgets, the user is able to customise a “control panel” of their business, just for them!

With a single mouse click on my iPad, I can see at any time my Top Customers,  how much money I have in the bank and who owes me the most money. On one screen, on my iPad, from anywhere in the World!

Product Comparison

It’s no secret that the race is on amongst software makers to conquer the cloud. And the Accounting Software world is no different.

What I found really sets the QuickBooks Hosted product apart from the rest is its’ familiar look and feel. For added security, users also have access at any time to downloading a copy of their data (which can be opened on the desktop QuickBooks Enterprise), or export reports into Microsoft Excel and save it on their PC. This is a feature that competitive products are sadly missing.

I was also able to re-upload a more recent copy of my local data file, straight up to the Hosted service, from my Desktop.

Not to mention I am able to pay all of my staff, manage all of my inventory, lodge my BAS via Reckon Gov Connect ; and provide my Accountant a login to my data which saves me real money.

I truly believe Reckon have an outstanding product on their hands this year and thoroughly recommend the Premium service to all mobile business people, Bookkeepers and Accountants.

Quickbooks Hosted is accessed by the Citrix Receiver, available from Google Play

Cloud POS Coming To A Handheld Near You Thanks To Reckon Limited

Reckon Limited, an Australian ASX listed software provider, best known for its Quickbooks range of products, is after more than just the bookkeeping market in Australia.

Shown today, exclusively to Cloud For Profit, at Reckon’s National Accredited Partner Conference in Hobart, was Reckon’s mobile Point of Sale offering. Reckon have produced the desktop version of Point of Sale for some time, however a mobile solution was always the vision of Business Division CEO Gavin Dixon.

Until now, the technology required to run such a solution was not in the price point of the majority of Reckon’s customers and did not fit the vision, of being on any device, not just multi thousand dollar clunky PDA’s.

In speaking with Reckon, Senior Business Analyst Simon Hutchinson commented, “this is going to change retail, from your tradesmen looking for a simple solution to send an invoice from their van, to the coffee cart at kid’s soccer matches, to the more traditional bricks and mortar, we can now provide them all with a cost effective mobile solution”. Gavin Dixon then commented, “and best of all, our customer’s don’t need any new hardware, they can run POS on their iPhone, HTC, Samsung Galaxy or Blackberry device”.

We tested the mobile POS Solution on our own Samsung Galaxy Note, and it was as if the product was made for the 5.3″ screen size.

The above screen shot demonstrates us processing a sale on the POS Terminal. We could also make use of the S-Pen which made the perfect tool for selecting products from the POS item list.

“Custom templates are our next project” relayed Hutchison, “I want to design templates to suit various device screen sizes, from iPod Touch, to Galaxy S II,  to Note and the 7″ and 10″ tablets.”

And not only is the Terminal going to the mobile platform, but also the Administrator back end, which allows for Management to monitor various terminal sales, close and open terminals, and transfer data to and from their QuickBooks accounting software.

The shot above demonstrating the sales each terminal is making.

“Traditionally another highly requested feature of POS users, was multiple location. Logistically this was previously a challenge due to the nature of the relationship between POS and Quickbooks, well not anymore, as we have hosted and link POS to Quickbooks on our Cloud Platform”, added Dixon.

So in terms of monitoring your terminals, these terminals could be anywhere in the World, being monitored from your Android device.

All you have to do is relax!

Reckon will be releasing the mobile POS solution sometime in Q2 2012.

Be sure to follow as this product nears its release cycle.

Profiting From The Cloud For Small Business

We are in very exciting times for small business. SMB’s who embrace the cloud and all it offers them, will benefit greatly and be infinitely more profitable than their competitors in more ways than one.

INFRASTRUCTURE COSTS

For most small businesses, employing staff is a costly exercise. Often the employee’s only tools, their computer and desk, are an after thought. Provided with ageing equipment and expired software is not conducive to high productivity levels. Most employers miss the mark here and fail to see the advantages gained by implementing new computers with modern software. The software costs alone usually outweigh the hardware costs, so most SMB’s won’t upgrade if they don’t have to.

SCALABILITY

By adopting a suitable Cloud solution, scaling up or down staff numbers could be as simple as a small increase on a monthly rental fee. The employee is mobile and productive from day one without the need for an IT Administrator to have spent many hours configuring a workstation.

The employee is happier working on the latest software versions they have been trained on and are instantly on their game. In fact, cloud is the perfect environment for clever business owners to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Many studies show that BYOD produces happier staff. Why not show you are modern and flexible and implement a salary sacrifice or employee device rental scheme that enables staff to purchase and own their own devices? It keeps the staff happy and lowers your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). No software or data is loaded actually on the staff members device hence lowering security risks of the employee owning the gadget of their choice to work on.

UPDATE EFFICIENCIES

Another bug bear for small businesses perhaps already struggling with keeping margins competitive and still showing the Balance Sheet in the black, is software upgrades.

Keeping software up to date is expensive. Not only the physical cost of purchasing the upgrades or maintaining multiple software subscriptions, but the added cost of either an after hours IT visit, or facing the prospect of having your work force down for a couple of hours to a day whilst the upgrades are performed. Both of these situations drive costs through the roof and are less than desireable.

By operating in the cloud, small business can sigh the sweet sound of relief. Updates are pushed out by the cloud vendor while the SMB and its staff are at home fast asleep. Staff arrive in the morning, and just work.

PRODUCTIVITY

For many years, SMB’s just couldn’t compete with their larger, more agile, ERP equipped competitors.

Even a couple of years ago, the thought of an SMB mobilising its workforce on iPads, or introducing a real BYOD policy would have been simply a pipe dream.

Today, through SMB speciality cloud vendors such as Reckon Limited, with their QuickBooks and growing Hosted range of products, sales force mobilisation, online warehouses and working from literally anywhere in the world are a reality; and are allowing the more savvy SMB’s to operate on the same turf previously occupied only by the SAP and Netsuite boys.

CLOUD FOR PROFIT

Many small business owners are facing increasing pressures to their bottom lines, from fluctuating currencies, to squeezing margins and employee expectations and loyalty.

Now is the time for small business to adopt the cloud and embrace all it offers as a tool for Growth, Flexibility and ultimately – Profit.

About the author

Nathan Elcoate is a Small Business IT Specialist Consultant, based in Southport, Queensland, Australia.

With over 20 years in Operational Accounting and IT Support and Domain Admin, Nathan is now Director of Axis IT Consulting Pty Ltd, a boutique Accounting Software consultancy firm that is part of the RWG Accountants & Advisors Group.