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Using smart cloud solutions for your record keeping needs

'Not only has it made our business more profitable from a time/cost point of view, it's given us a better view of where we stand as a business in an instantaneous way'
- James Richardson, Optimising

Top tips

  • Take advantage of the free trials that many cloud-based programs offer to find what’s best for you
  • Take note of the online support it offers (such as FAQs or PDF guides) so you can learn on the go
  • Consider what’s best for your business – cloud-based programs might not suit you.

With a burgeoning online marketing business and a growing team of staff, James Richardson, owner of Optimising, needed a way to streamline his accounting systems. He replaced his out-of-date manual system with cloud-based software – and immediately saw how this move took the hassle out of everyday processes.

Invoices and expenses could be tracked, logged and accessed by the whole team, whether on the road, overseas or in the office. This freed up essential time that could be used to help the business grow. Here, James explains how he made the change. It’s easier than you think.

Cloud benefits

Cloud-based software has helped James overcome difficulties in two main administrative areas: record keeping and organising receipts.

James chose Xero as his platform of choice for record keeping as he found it simple to use. He explains, ‘Offering great integration with banks, reconciliation through Xero suddenly became a lot easier. Our accountant can access any information he needs, and internally everything works like a dream.’

For receipts, James chose Evernote. ‘Our previous process was just folders and receipts. Our new system involves us scanning them once a month, and uploading everything to Evernote to be automatically indexed and read.’ The move to cloud storage has cut down on menial tasks like filing, as well as ensuring the integrity of the paperwork for many years to come.

Managing the process efficiently

At Optimser, the change from manual to cloud was almost seamless. James didn’t feel the need for intensive staff training. Rather, he moved forward by explaining the basics to his team and then learning as the process evolved. ‘There’s a lot of documentation online so any problems you come across is pretty easily solved,’ says James.

Which cloud is right for you?

With so many options, it’s difficult to know which system might work best for your business. James advises caution: ‘Don’t be swayed by popular opinion; find the best system that works for you. The most popular might not be the right one. Think of the implications and pick one that suits your business.’

It’s important to research on industry best practice and shop around. ‘We trialled a couple of different accounting systems to see what would suit us best,’ says James. ‘With most online systems, there’s a try-before-you-buy option which gives you a feel for whether it’s going to work for you.’

Do what works for your business

Of course cloud solutions aren’t for everyone. Some businesses work well with a more traditional approach, as James explains. ‘My parents are in retail and their circumstance doesn’t really lend itself to the systems we use. Their traditional manual accounting system is still serving its purpose. It’s important to choose the best system that works for you, even if it is offline. Cloud isn’t the solution for everyone, but for us working in the IT industry, it certainly worked for Optimising.’

The result

For James, cloud-based software has now made running his business a whole lot more efficient and streamlined. James was impressed with the results. More importantly, James' time is freed up to focus on growing his business.