Are your feet on the ground or in the cloud
According to recent figures the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2.5 billion by the end of 2018. My whole life is in my smartphone – contact details, emails, friends (real or virtual), my diary, updates from various websites, twitter feeds, shopping, banking, a somewhat eclectic music collection – just everything. Heaven help the day it stops working!
But what about your business accounting records? Do you have everything on a spreadsheet on your PC or are you more of a ‘everything is filed safely in the van or in a carrier bag’ sort of person? Or have you embraced modern technology and ventured into ‘the cloud’.
There are numerous cloud accounting systems giving you 24/7 instant access to all your accounting data, as long as you have an internet connection of course. From an app on your phone or a website login on your tablet you can raise an invoice and email it to your customer before you leave them and even accept payment by card with an online payment system or a plug in card reader. When you fill up with petrol you can scan the receipt and it magically appears in your accounting records and you can connect to your various bank accounts and automatically download the transactions.
But does it work? Well, yes, by and large it does. There are systems varying from simple ‘in and out’ to multi user systems including stock controls and the ability to send live updates to your sales reps on the road. You have to keep up the entries of course but it becomes a habit to just enter something or scan it into the system. Then your up to date information is at your fingertips. Your accountant or bookkeeper can also have real time access to your information so they can monitor everything and keep an eye on your KPIs.
And is it safe? Everything has bank level security so it’s as safe as it gets. It’s not without the occasional problem, if the site is ‘down’ for instance but outages are relatively rare. And it’s not for everyone, if you don’t have a decent internet connection or you’re not happy with technology it probably isn’t for you.
The government announced that HMRC will at some point require most businesses, self-employed people and landlords to keep track of their tax affairs digitally and update HMRC at least quarterly via their digital tax account. ‘Making Tax Digital’ for VAT is being introduced in April 2019. This is to be achieved with the availability of free apps and software that link securely to HMRC systems.
So the cloud is the way forward – just don’t lose your phone!