Every now and then, an old acquaintance reaches out to me with their QuickBooks questions. The most popular question lately has been whether they should make the switch from QuickBooks on their desktop or laptop to Quickbooks Online in the cloud. Have you been thinking about making the switch, too? Ever wondered what the benefits of cloud accounting are? Here are my top five reasons for moving your books to the cloud:
- Without a doubt, the top reason for making the switch to cloud accounting is the convenience factor. Want to share your year-to-date figures with your tax preparer? Simply invite them to your QBO account. Want to hire a virtual bookkeeper to help you out with those mundane bookkeeping tasks? Share your QBO account with them. Want to remind your client about those outstanding invoices they still need to pay while you’re sitting at Starbucks? Use your phone to email them a statement you’re waiting for your Pumpkin Spice Latte! Whether it’s sharing your data with your finance team or simply looking up some balances while you’re away from your desk, there’s no question that keeping your financial information in the cloud is WAY more convenient than keeping it on your laptop back at your office.
- Better, faster, easier data entry. By using Rules in QuickBooks Online, you can let the bank do your data entry for you! Seriously, the bank rules have cut down my data entry time by 80%. For example, I have set up a rule so that all credit card and debit card charges from Colonial Parking are automatically tracked as Travel:Parking expense, assigned to the Vendor called “Colonial Parking,” and entered into my QBO without me having to lift a finger. If you’re concerned about QBO getting a little crazy with your data entry, you can fine-tune your rules so that nothing is left to chance. For example, I set credit card charges from United to go to Travel:Airfare if they are over $125, Meals if they are under $25, and are left for my review if they are between $25 and $125. Letting QBO enter all of these routine transactions for you saves a TON of time.
- Automatic invoicing also saves me a ton of time. In QuickBooks on your desktop, you can set up memorized transactions that are created automatically each month or on your prescribed schedule. You still have to remember to sit down, boot up QuickBooks and send them out, though. The beauty of QBO is the ability to set up your retainer or recurring invoices once and have them automatically go out via email on schedule. Yes, I am invoicing my clients on the first of each month without ever lifting a finger. It’s a beautiful thing!
- If you have fallen in love with some third-party apps like I have, you’ll also love the fact that better integrations with QBO take much of the work off of your plate. I have clients using Expensify, ReceiptBank, Bill.com, Plooto, Tick and Minute7, all of which integrate beautifully with QBO. Once again, data is being pushed to your bookkeeping file with no action or effort on your part. Expenses can be entered, complete with a copy of the original receipt. Time can be entered directly by your timekeeping system. Bills paid in Bill.com or Plooto show up as paid in your QBO. Any time that I can avoid entering the same information twice into two different systems, I call that a win!
- Those who have lived through hurricane evacuations, flooding or fire will tell you that preparation is the key to rapid recovery. By keeping your bookkeeping in the cloud, your data is being backed up by professionals and you will be able to access that data from anywhere. Anytime anywhere access to your secure data, especially in an emergency, can mean the ability to keep your business running even in the face of disaster.
After years of being a novelty, cloud accounting is becoming the norm for all of these reasons. I have made the switch to QuickBooks Online for all of my client work and haven’t looked back. The benefits far outweigh the downside of having to pay for that monthly subscription and the time savings alone will make you love crunching numbers in the cloud!
Do you have any questions I haven’t’ covered? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.