Why Your Business Needs An Online Accountant!
If your accounting system is still on a desktop and if you have to commute to your meetings...You Need An Online Accountant!
The advent of the internet has brought with it major changes in a plethora of industries. That latest profession in Canada to have felt this impact is the Accounting space. In CPA Ontario's latest Discussion & Analysis magazine, they note that Cloud Computing is a "Top 10 Tech Trend in 2015".
In the past, your business' finances and records would be held in desktop accounting software. At year-end, you would drive over to your accountant (hopefully a short commute and free parking) and drop off the necessary reports that they would need to file your taxes. Six months later, your accountant would phone you to arrange a second meeting, at which point you'd have to drive down to see them again, pick up your corporate tax return and financial statements, pay them their bill and be happy that you wouldn't have to do this again for another 6 to 12 months. This is the typical process that the majority of businesses in Canada have to go through on an annual basis.
But it doesn't have to be this way...
Online and cloud-based accounting tools have opened the door to greater efficiency and engagement and have broken down geographical barriers.
Online accounting and cloud accounting software have changed the game. No longer are business owners tied to their desktop computer or server to house their financial records. If you want to see your financial information from anywhere and everywhere (yes, we actually mean anywhere and everywhere: the coffee shop, the beach and your home office) then it's time to move your books to the cloud.
An online accountant can help you move your accounting from the desktop to the cloud. This means that you don't have to worry about back-ups, users and renewing licenses. But more importantly, by having easy access to your numbers, you have the ability to make the right decisions at the right times. When your accountant delivers your financial statements 6 months after year-end, you are reading historical information.
With online accounting, you will have access to real-time information, you can invoice on the fly (even from your smartphone) and you can integrate additional software and "add-ons" to really get techie! Lots of cloud accounting products are available and for the most part, they try to achieve automation, efficiency and collaboration. Our favourites are: Quickbooks Online, Xero, Wave Apps, Kashoo and Freshbooks.
Our next blog post will review these products in more detail.
When your accounting records are not in real-time, accounting and taxes are merely compliance matters for you. Since accounting is the backbone of your business, without up-to-date financial information, you are not truly engaged with your finances and your business. Why do you need to be engaged? Because you want to grow your business!
How else will you know what your revenues are on a monthly or even weekly basis? How will you understand what your gross margins are? Did you invest in advertising? You need to know your expenses and your return on investment (i.e. did your advertising expenses produce the results you desired?). Businesses are dynamic and ever-changing and without being engaged you cannot make changes on the go. If done right, an online accountant coupled with an online accounting system can provide you with answers to these questions.
Most of our meetings are held on Skype, Google Hangouts and Join.me. It's always refreshing to see our clients' reaction when they find out that they don't need to get into their car and waste precious time out of their day to come see us (although, we are worth it). With online accounting software and screen-sharing tools, we are able to collaborate with them as though they are physically in front of us.
As online accountants, our clients add us as "users" to their accounting system and we have the ability to log in with them and review their numbers. We can answer questions, provide solutions and correct errors. We can use the financial information from their cloud accounting system to propose tax planning opportunities, suggest additional forms of automation and eventually file their taxes.
Lastly, because we are online accountants, our clients are from all over Canada. This means that you have the option of working with an accountant outside your local vicinity if they don't meet your needs.
If you're tech-savvy, passionate about your business and want to see greater efficiency and automation, then you can't afford NOT to find an online accountant to move your business and books to the cloud!