Making the Switch to Online Accounting Software

For the purposes of running my online business, I’m looking to make the switch from PC to Mac sometime this year. We upgraded to all-Mac systems at my office earlier this year, and I’m really impressed with the speed and interface of Macs, and equally disappointed with the new Windows 8 and even plans for Windows 9.

I don’t expect that it will be a very big change, but one big component of my financial system will be missing–Quicken. Intuit released Quicken for Mac a few years ago, but it’s outdated, limited in functionality (it’s called Quicken Essentials, after all), and most reviews have been generally or extremely negative. It doesn’t sound promising.

My options are either installing a copy of Windows to run alongside OS X, which kind of defeats the purpose of going to Mac in my opinion, or looking for a few way to track personal and business finances.

I use Quicken for both personal and business finances, but it’s the business side that’s really beneficial for me. However, Quicken is relatively new to my system…several years ago, I was using Mint almost exclusively, alongside an online accounting system for my business.

Consistent accounting is one of the many responsibilities of owning a business, however un-sexy it might sound. You need to keep records of company expenses, profits, payroll, taxes, and other financial factors. The shoebox overflowing with receipts might work for a while, but at some point, looking for an electronic solution just makes business sense.

We’re moving so many things to the cloud these days, and it’s been a very fast-developing space. That’s why I’m intrigued by online accounting software and why you should consider it. It’s a more organized, modern way to make your business life a little easier.

Accounting Anywhere

Gone are the days where you need to wait to get to the office or your personal computer to access financial spreadsheets and programs. Online accounting software allows you to access your accounts no matter where you are.

Many even offer an app on your smartphone or tablet to have full account control anywhere you can connect your device. The interface for many programs (and I’ve personally tried more than 5) is straightforward and simpler than spreadsheets, so you can quickly make changes and update your finances. It’s also less clunky than Quicken and specifically geared to business expenses, and many times to freelancers.

Instead of saving receipts in your overstuffed wallet to take home to the shoebox, some allow you to snap a picture of your receipt with your phone and record the purchase as you leave the register. Nothing beats the speed of doing accounting while you’re still in the store! An online accounting system will save you several hours hunched over in your office each month by letting you handle accounts wherever you may feel like doing so.

Feedback

Features of online accounting software can give you instant reports on the status of your accounts at the touch of a button. This immediate feedback can show you the health of your business as a whole, or drill down into certain accounts and clients.

If you are spending more than you are making, it will be abundantly clear, and you can even be alerted to the fact. Many people have missed important details because they were uncomfortable with financial computer programs, but online accounting software presents your information in a straightforward way, so you can truly understand your financials.

Security

Your spreadsheets and financial information on your office computer are only as safe as your whole computer is. One nasty virus or a bad hard drive could bring your whole system crumbling. Not only could your data get lost, it could be hacked and stolen.

Online accounting software typically comes with an efficient security system that vigorously protects your files. It also creates multiple backups for when your devices fail. Accounting online means your work is saved regardless of the computer you entered it on, and colleagues can access the data to work on it as well, wherever they may be. If you outsource some of your accounting or tax work to others, this is a great feature.

Worth the Cost?

You may be comfortable with your messy receipt box and figuring out complicated systems, but the headache truly is no longer necessary. Accounting has gone mobile, like so many other features of business, so you can update your accounts as they change in real time, instead of trying to remember everything once during the month.

Receipt images and simple coding will make your entries make far more sense and take much less time to complete. You can feel secure knowing your business financial information is being protected at all times. Accounting no longer needs to be something to dread.

With the cost of comparable desktop packages easily going into the hundreds of dollars for some, looking for an effective and complete online accounting system is not only cost-effective, but can easily pay for itself with increased business efficiency.

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