Contractors: It’s time to enter the cloud

Accounting has changed a lot since the ’90s. While cloud computing may have become fairly commonplace, contractors are increasingly adopting cloud accounting as a smart way to streamline business efficiency. The benefits, after all, are hard to ignore.

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Cloud accounting services are particularly beneficial for contractors. After all, accessing your financial data from your corner Starbucks is a lot more appealing than your corner office. In this way, the cloud lets you stay connected to not just your data, but your accountants too.

Here, our accountants consider six integral cloud accounting features that could make a huge difference in operating a small freelancer-type business:

  1. Collaboration: The possibility of real-time data. What you look at will be the exact same data your accountant looks at, with no missing information sitting elsewhere in a spreadsheet.
  2. Live bank feeds: Linking up your business bank account means sending all transactions automatically into the cloud accounting platform, making it ready for your accountant to process and analyse. No more emails chasing you for missing bank statements.
  3. Capturing sales and expenses on the go: Cloud accounting apps let you create and send sales invoices to your clients, ensuring that you get paid faster and easier. This feature also lets you take pictures of receipts on the go with your smart phone, ensuring a more hassle-free way of claiming expenses when they happen.
  4. More time to spend on your business: The online nature of cloud accounting means you don’t need to install anything, while your data is backed up automatically and continually. Cloud accounting reduces your business expenses by ruling out the traditional areas which sap small business budgets: Upgrades, maintenance, system administration costs and server crashes.
  5. Automatic updates: These take care of ongoing maintenance requirements, freeing you from the hassle of calling in a member of the IT Crowd to do the job.
  6. Add-ons: Serious cloud accounting platforms now integrate with many third party add-on applications, such as Receipt Bank, which offers automatic processing of all your paperwork (feeding it directly into the accounting software), MinuteDock, which helps contractors track and invoice their time, and Float, a cloud-based cash flow forecasting and budgeting app.

Cloud accounting services offer huge benefits for many freelancer-type businesses, but they can’t do everything. Nothing beats human insight, and a good accountant cannot be replaced by any cloud accounting provider. Always look for a service that offers the human touch.

1st Contact Accounting has partnered with Xero, an award-winning cloud accounting provider whose slogan is, well, “Beautiful accounting software.” Xero is remarkably user-friendly and gives you the option to run your business remotely from virtually anywhere. What’s more, the service is completely free to 1st Contact Accounting clients.