What's the difference between cloud and desktop accounting?

1 July 2019

Technology is always evolving and the technology available for bookkeeping and accountancy is no acceptation. Traditional desktop software packages are slowly dying out as software provider’s switch to the cloud to meet the demands of its customers and improve their experience. 

Why are small businesses switching to cloud accounting?

The packages can be tailored to meet  your individual needs

Small to medium sized company would typically look to an off the shelf desktop software provider for its book keeping as tailor made bespoke packages were too costly. Although you would still consider a lot of cloud accounting packages to be to still off the shelf packages their ability to integrate with hundreds of different applications means that customers can actively customise and tailor their software to meet, not only their book keeping needs, but also their commercial needs. 

Cloud accounting is cheaper than desktop software

Cost plays a role in every business decision, so it’s no surprise that cloud packages are becoming more popular because they are cheaper. Cloud packages are usually a non-contractual monthly subscription. Compared to traditional desktop providers who would charge you a one off fee for the software (licence), and then charge you an annual fee to upgrade the software and have the most up to date version. Cloud packages are approximately priced between £10-£40 per month depending which subscription you require and can be cancelled at any point. Most prefer the flexible pricing and enjoy not having the surprise of costly annual upgrade fees. The total costs of the an annual subscription tends to be lower than the annual update required with desktop software and no upfront fee can make it significantly cheaper to use cloud accounting packages. 

Regular and free updates

It is common practice for desktop providers to issue annual updates that need to be installed to ensure your software is up to date.  This especially applies to payroll ensuring you have the correct allowances and tax rates. As cloud packages are stored on the cloud they are constantly being updated behind the scenes as you work simultaneously, so your software is all ways up to date and compliant.  Cloud software are also constantly evolving and therefore new features are added to the package and are available for all users instead of having to wait for the update or purchasing a new licence.

You can access your data anytime, anywhere

Cloud accounting packages are stored in the cloud. This means they are accessible anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. The data is no longer tied to a single PC or licence meaning you could work from anywhere anytime. The fact cloud packages are not stored on one PC also helps maintain business continuity in case of a disaster. If a PC was destroyed or became corrupted your financial information remains unharmed in the cloud ready for you to access.

Online support

We appreciate that not all business owners are accounting tech wizards, you’re too busy running your business.

There is a large online community surrounding cloud packages offering tutorial videos and guidance. They also have dedicated support teams that can easily log in and examine your data live as it is stored on the cloud.

Cloud accounting is more than just bookkeeping and compliance for MTD. It is much more than just bookkeeping, it can also help to streamline your workflows, saving you time and money, and helping your business evolve. 

For more information on how cloud accounting can help you run your business, please contact Harry Hale on hhale@ellacotts.co.uk or 01295 250401 to discuss your options.