by Todd Spear
Published on 2 February 2016
If the term " accounting software" doesn't immediately excite you, it's perfectly understandable. Luckily, cloud-based accounting apps are breathing new life into doing business in the digital space.
Once upon a time, you had to make a trip to the local "big box" retailer to pick up an accounting application. Thankfully, that's no longer the case because it's all in the cloud.
Off-the-shelf accounting applications are quickly going the way of the dodo. They are readily being replaced by software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, which use the power of cloud computing to provide easily accessible accounting tools with on-demand consistency. What's more, financial reporting apps offer the benefit of automatically updating with click-free ease.
If you've been using a legacy accounting application, or worse, an Excel spreadsheet, to manage your finances, it's time to consider switching your financial reporting to a cloud-based app. Here are five accounting applications with free trials:
So what's stopping you from putting your financial reporting in the cloud? Is it concerns over migration? Security? Ease of use?
Whatever the case may be, here's a this list of five reasons to make the switch and help you make a seamless transition to a cloud accounting app:
As cloud apps become more intuitive, they also require less micromanagement. FreshBooks is an example of one of the many cloud accounting apps that do the heavy lifting.
FreshBooks is nowhere near as bogged-down as legacy applications and complicated (always broken) spreadsheets. It has simplified time-tracking and invoicing, as well as expense tracking and financial reporting, packaged together in a unified interface.
Even without reading the help guide, you can get started with it from day one; it's a testament to just how far cloud accounting apps have come compared with the steep learning curve of older applications (remember that feeling the first time you used Excel?).
Zoho Books is an example of a scalable accounting app. In it you'll find integrated (and easy) invoicing, online payment platform integration, time and expense tracking, and totally free support. If you're already using another Zoho product, you'll also find it easy to access contacts and share data interchangeably with Zoho Books.
While Zoho Books is the standout offering for SMBs and freelancers, larger enterprises with team members distributed around the world will find similar features in many of the accounting apps currently on the market. As always, some comparison shopping is advisable.
Accounting is the bedrock of any business, affecting each and every department in your company, making integration with your existing systems crucial. Xero - which scored an almost perfect 19 out of 20 for integrations in our independent accounting app ranking - does just that. Whether it be with Insightly for CRM, TradeGecko for inventory management, Deputy for scheduling, time and attendance, ProWorkflow for project management, Shopify for eCommerce, or Paypal for payment processing, Xero has you covered.
But don't take out word for it, check out what other Xero users have to say about the value of the accounting app's integrations.
The current generation of cloud-based accounting apps have the features of legacy, desktop applications.
Case in point: FinancialForce. FinancialForce sports an intuitive, feature-rich interface that provides a familiar desktop functionality. FinancialForce also has Salesforce support, real-time reporting, and multi-dimensional analysis presented in a single-screen interface.
Those old Excel spreadsheets, time-tested though they may be, just can't compare to the ease of use of FinancialForce.
Because accounting regulations vary from one locale to the next, accounting apps work with different currencies, languages, and rules. Some apps, like NetSuite OneWorld, can factor in international tax jurisdictions for more than 190 countries, making financial reporting a snap come tax season.
If your business is a large organization with a global reach, you really owe it to yourself to compare the accounting apps currently on the market side-by-side.
If you're still not sure which software to choose, check out our complete top 25 ranking of accounting apps in the cloud, or download the report _ Accounting in the Cloud: Key Trends for 2016._ This includes expert analysis of some of the most notable developments in the industry, as well as unique insight from data collected through GetApp's research program, GetData.
Or if you have a favorite accounting app, let us know in the comments below.
This post was originally published on May 20th, 2014 and has been updated.