Accounting software has been around for many years but is now going through some major changes with more and more people choosing to go online with cloud accounting systems. In this article we will look at both offline software as well as cloud accounting systems and some of the differences, advantages and disadvantages.
Offline Accounting Software
Offline systems include those packages that are installed on your office computer and the file is kept on your office computer. These software packages often require large amounts of space and are generally only accessible to those people who have access to the computer or server on which the files are stored. Their biggest advantage really is their longevity and compared to the old manual bookkeeping systems they were definitely far easier.
Offline accounting software includes systems such as Sage/Pastel and Quickbooks as the two major players in the industry. Even these players however have also started going online as more people look for internet-based systems.
Cloud Accounting Software
Cloud accounting systems are online systems that are available from any computer or device with internet access. No files are stored on your office computer and the information is available to anyone you grant access to. This means that it is also far easier to exchange information with your accountant.
These systems have also made the capturing of information a lot easier by allowing users to upload bank statements.
With the advent of cloud accounting a number of new players have entered the accounting software business such as SA Office Management and Xero.
From Manual to the Cloud
It seems a long time ago now when bookkeeping was done by hand with books, pens and maybe a calculator. In those days keeping record of the finances of a large company was time-consuming and tedious and was certainly not environmentally-friendly with the large quantities of paper that had to be used for journals, cash books, etc.
Then as computers became more popular accounting software developed and made a huge difference to the lives of bookkeepers and accountants. Now you could capture information once and have it accessible across all your different journals, trial balances, ledgers, etc. This drastically improved the time required to capture books and improved the accuracy of the information presented.
Today online accounting systems are taking accounting to the next level and further improving the amount of time taken to capture information as well as improving accessibility to this information.
Accounting software has come a long way and no doubt will continue to develop as technology becomes more advanced. We believe however that the answer for today (and the immediate future) lies in the cloud accounting field. Each development has meant improvements and this development is no different. We believe that any further enhancements will move from the base of online systems. Is it time to change your software?