Cloud-based software offerings are changing the business landscape. Could Cloud-Based Software Make Your Business Better? Absolutely! How? Read on.
The Problem: One of our clients has a growing service business offering an ever-changing variety of products along with their services. Their existing accounting system consisted of appointment books, receipt books, and postings of revenues and expenses mixed into their larger, core line of business software which was for one location and an entirely different industry. As is typical of startups, the accounting system was put together more out of necessity and convenience than in a thoughtful manner. They did the best they could. But these manual systems were taking a lot of time to keep up, and with limited information. There had to be a better way.
Being an excellent service provider, they expanded into multiple locations. Their products are subject to sales tax, and thus we needed to measure sales by tax jurisdiction. Further, in order to properly manage the business, we needed to know activities by service provider and volume of transactions. We also need to measure the cost and profit margin by product, and the quantity of products on hand to eliminate costly out of stock situations. Lastly, they needed some accounting controls over the business and the ability to swipe credit and debit cards on the spot.
10 or even 5 years ago, we could not assist clients with special accounting and management system needs without the use of a computer consultant or specialist. And even then, the cost of such systems were astronomical – beyond the reach of most small to medium sized businesses.
But not any longer. The advent of cloud-based software has changed the availability and economy of business accounting and management systems.
The Solution: We prepared an analysis of the flow of information through their system. It was obvious they needed a simple point of sale system. It needed to be portable, and quick to operate. After reviewing several cloud based software packages, Chuck Odom, CPA, one of my colleagues, settled on a favorite. Chuck set up a trial, posted sample data, tested, and it worked. He then determined the appropriate accounting software to pair with the point of sale, and voila: in a matter of a couple of days, we were able to meet with the client, demonstrate a system that runs from iPads or laptops with wireless connection to the web. It is a sweet, slick system that can scale and grow with the client. We can have it up and running in 2 weeks, even during tax season. And most importantly, the processes put in place will reduce the overall time keeping up the system by key personnel in limited supply.
Before cloud applications were available, we could not do this. The products were not widely available. The prices were prohibitively expensive. Getting the equipment ordered, software ordered, then installation, then conversion, required specialists, lots of money, and lots of time. Remember those big, clunky, cash register point of sale system?
Now, cloud based applications are abundant and affordable. User interfaces are much simpler. Conversion is through a Excel spreadsheet. Programs may be run from devices as inexpensive as an iPad. The information needed to run the business is available on a daily basis. This software is immediately available, and backed up for you. Lots and lots of users bring the cost down for everyone.
Could there be a better, less costly way for you to do business? Giving you the key information you need to run a better business?
Life in the cloud is good.