9 Qualities to Look for In a Cloud-Based Accounting Software

What qualities should you look for in a cloud-based accounting software? Learn more in the narrative below....
9 Qualities to Look for In a Cloud-Based Accounting Software
Written by Staff
  • As a busy individual who is running a small business, you need a reliable partner to manage your financial matters. That is where cloud-based accounting comes in handy. These powerful tools, stored on remote servers, can streamline your financial tasks and offer flexibility to access data anytime, anywhere. 

    Yet, how do you choose the right one? Below will walk you through the top qualities cloud-based accounting software should possess. From ease of use to automation capabilities, you will understand what truly matters and make an informed choice that takes your business to new levels.

    1. Ease of Use

    Ease of use is paramount when selecting cloud-based accounting software. A user-friendly interface can make the transition smoother for your team, reducing the learning curve.

    Look for an intuitive system with clearly labeled features and simple navigation. Additionally, the software should offer quick setup and seamless integration with your existing systems. 

    Access to customer support is also crucial. If you encounter issues or need guidance, prompt and helpful support can save you time and effort. Remember, software should simplify your tasks so you can maintain high productivity.

    Consider QuickBooks, for instance. Its intuitive interface, with a clearly marked table and easy navigation, makes it a favorite among users. Sage Business Cloud also smoothly integrates with numerous third-party apps, and FreshBooks offers comprehensive support through multiple channels, ensuring help is at your fingertips when needed.

    2. Scalability

    Scalability in cloud-based accounting software is essential, ensuring it grows with your business. This flexibility is vital across various sectors. This year, plans to invest in such software are on the rise, with about 52% of nonprofits, 58% of education organizations and 57% of government bodies intending to do so.

    One example that offers scalable solutions is NetSuite, providing small businesses with the resources they need while also accommodating large corporations with more complex requirements.

    Meanwhile, software like Zoho Books provides flexible pricing plans, allowing businesses to upgrade as they expand. Therefore, always choose software with the capacity to adapt to your business’s evolving needs.

    3. Security

    Security is another key aspect when choosing cloud-based accounting software. You are entrusting the software with sensitive financial data, so robust protection is non-negotiable.

    Look for features such as data encryption, which scrambles your information to make it unreadable to unauthorized users. Another feature it should have is two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step.

    Additionally, data backup and recovery are essential. Sage Business Cloud, for instance, regularly backs up your data and allows for easy recovery in case of loss. In a world where cyberattacks are a significant threat to businesses, prioritizing security is crucial.

    4. Mobility

    With the world being highly interconnected and fast-paced, mobility in cloud-based accounting software is game-changing because it provides the flexibility to manage your finances. For instance, FreshBooks offers a mobile app with a range of functionalities, from tracking expenses to creating invoices.

    Similarly, QuickBooks’ mobile app provides real-time updates, ensuring you are always informed about your business’s financial health. This kind of on-the-go access can enhance efficiency, allowing you to make quick, informed decisions.

    When choosing your cloud-based accounting software, consider the mobile features it offers. Your business does not stop when you are away from your desk, nor should your software.

    5. Comprehensive Reporting

    Comprehensive reporting is another important quality to consider in cloud-based accounting software. Detailed and customizable financial reports give you a clear picture of your business’s financial health. 

    Real-time reporting should also aid your decision, as it is beneficial in delivering up-to-the-minute financial data. Look for a variety of report types, such as profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow forecasts. Sage Business Cloud offers these and more.

    With comprehensive reporting, you can make informed business decisions, so ensure your chosen software delivers in this aspect.

    6. Integration Capabilities

    The ability to integrate with other business tools is a critical quality of a good cloud-based accounting software. This feature enhances productivity by enabling seamless data flow between systems. 

    For example, software like QuickBooks integrates with apps like PayPal and Shopify, simplifying the tracking of sales and payments. Xero, too, boasts integration capabilities, connecting with over 800 third-party apps, including those for inventory management, CRM and time tracking.

    Such integration reduces manual data entry and potential errors, making your business operations more efficient. When choosing your software, consider how well it plays with other tools you depend on to make the most of its integration abilities.

    7. Cost-Effectiveness

    Cost-effectiveness is a key consideration when selecting your cloud-based accounting software. Understanding the pricing structure becomes even more important in light of recent industry trends. Once lauded for its rapid growth during the pandemic, the cloud computing industry now shows signs of deceleration. Rising costs have raised concerns for many businesses, with some high-profile companies even scaling back their commercial cloud investments.

    This context underscores the importance of assessing not just the upfront cost of the software but also its long-term financial implications. Consider the value for money, with some solutions offering time-saving features, like automatic billable time tracking, boosting their cost-effectiveness.

    For instance, while software like QuickBooks might seem pricey at first glance, its comprehensive capabilities could lead to significant savings over time. Ultimately, the goal is not to find the cheapest software but the one that provides the greatest value for your investment.

    8. Customer Support

    Customer support is a vital feature to consider in cloud-based accounting software, as efficient, readily available support can enhance your user experience — especially when issues arise.

    For example, Xero offers round-the-clock email support, ensuring assistance is always within reach. Sage Business Cloud provides multiple support channels for support, including live chat, email and phone. Additionally, access to online resources and self-help options, like a comprehensive knowledge base and community forums, can offer invaluable troubleshooting assistance.

    When choosing your software, remember the importance of robust customer support. It can significantly improve your user experience. 

    9. Automation Capabilities

    Automation capabilities are a major advantage of cloud-based accounting software, as these features can significantly improve efficiency and accuracy. For instance, FreshBooks is great for automating tasks like invoicing and expense tracking — freeing up your time for other business activities.

    Moreover, other types of software leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to automate processes like bank reconciliation. This is vital in saving time while also minimizing manual errors.

    Automation can transform the way you manage your finances, making it more streamlined and less labor-intensive. So when selecting your software, consider how its automation capabilities can benefit your business.

    Choosing the Right Cloud-Based Accounting Software for Your Business

    Choosing the right cloud-based accounting software is a critical step that can significantly impact your business’s success. From the ease of use and scalability to robust security and automation capabilities, the qualities mentioned here are essential to consider.

    Keep in mind that your software should be a partner in your business, not just a tool. It should simplify tasks, provide valuable insights and ultimately drive your business growth.

    Now that you are armed with this knowledge, you are ready to find the perfect software solution for your business. Make an informed choice, take the plunge, and watch your business soar to new heights.

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