Lately I’ve received many calls asking about cloud based accounting software solutions and in particular QuickBooks Online. My answer to these questions tends to be a lengthy discussion of the needs of the client. Here are my thoughts…
Find the software that meets your needs first. Many cloud applications require the use of various add-ons to achieve the total solution while in-house software may have all the functionality needed in one product. If the in-house product is a better match for the business, it can be hosted by various companies and you still have the option of a 24/7 solution.
If you have a cloud based or hosted solution, you can access your data and program 24/7 and multiple users have access from any location or device that connects to the internet. That sounds great but there are the issues to address:
- Connectivity – Vendor issues that may not allow you to access your data, what is their history?
- Security – What security is available and does it meet the legal requirements of you industry?
- Costs – Expect a monthly fee per user or company file. I am not a fan of free solutions.
- Backups – Do you have the ability to download your data in a usable format?
If you choose an in-house solution you have more control, however there are also issues to address:
- Connectivity – Do you have remote users that need to log into the system?
- Security – How will you provide the proper level of security for your business?
- Costs –What are the software costs, annual renewals/updates, and cost of maintaining server?
- Backups – What is your backup strategy?
These are just some of the issues you will need to consider.