By Paul J. Gerry, Jr., CPA, PFS
It is hard to believe the Internet is barely 20 years old. Yet in just two decades the Internet has dramatically changed the way we communicate, travel, shop and conduct business. What used to take days or weeks to accomplish can now be done in real time.
Nowhere has the Internet had more impact than in business. Technology has allowed local companies to enjoy a global presence, and given international corporations a local footprint. Business processes have been streamlined and accelerated, resulting in significant improvement in efficiency.
Among the latest applications of digital technology to benefit the business world is “cloud computing.” Essentially, cloud computing solves three acute limitations slowing the computer revolution: storage capacity, access and security. This is especially beneficial for the basic business functions of accounting and bookkeeping – otherwise known as “cloud accounting”. Here’s why:
- Storage. If you’ve ever filled up a hard drive or been forced to invest thousands of dollars for a server, you know how quickly billions of pieces of data can accumulate. Financial files, tax documentation, sales records – all need to be saved and stored. Cloud computing moves all that data off your hard drive and places it into a virtually limitless space that is distributed across the Internet, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing or renting server space.
- Access. In the past, if you wanted to review the day’s receipts, pay a bill, or otherwise check into your company’s finances, you’d have to drive to the office and either shuffle through reams of paper files or log into your business accounting software. Cloud computing puts all that information at your fingertips, no matter where you are, so long as you have a laptop or smart phone and access to the Internet. This allows you instantaneous access to the information you need to make more informed business decisions.
- Security. Many people are cautious about putting their financial information “out there for people to steal.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, a cloud-based accounting file is probably more secure and safer than one stored on your own laptop. You can’t lose the cloud, drop it into a swimming pool, have it pilfered at the train station, or have it burned to a crisp in a fire. Robust security protocols and continual backup mean your data is safe.
From your accountant’s standpoint, moving your bookkeeping and financial records to the cloud means faster, more efficient service, a greatly reduced chance for mistakes in transmission of data, and the opportunity to turn what has traditionally been historical data into a truly valuable tool for use in business planning. Think of the benefits of knowing precisely where your business stands financially while negotiating a contract, seeking financing, or making your own, personal plans for the future.
If you’d like to know more about how cloud accounting can make your company’s financial systems operate more efficiently and effectively, please visit the G-CloudSM Accounting Services page of Gray, Gray & Gray’s website or contact us at (781) 407-0300.
Paul J. Gerry, Jr., CPA, PFS is a partner with Gray, Gray & Gray, LLP and specializes in cloud computing for business.