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Source: 26 Feb 14 Craig Jackson Flying Solo

Cloud-based accounting packages have many benefits. In this article we’ll look at the benefits while also comparing Xero and MYOB Live.

As most solo and micro business owners are aware, the only way to get things done is (largely) to do it yourself, which often leads to excessive hours spent on non-income producing activities like bank reconciliation, invoicing and paying bills.
Whilst a cloud accounting product won’t do the work for you, it can streamline your bookkeeping and record keeping processes, enabling you to complete these tasks on your terms – which is the reason you started your own business, right?

The benefits of cloud-based accounting packages

Many cloud-based accounting packages promote benefits such as new time-saving techniques and better security. Here are some more:

Availability
Access your file anywhere, anytime. View and edit the latest information from your office, home or on the road; using devices such as laptops, smartphones or tablets.
No installation or IT maintenance required
“ I believe that for most solo and micro business owners…it’s invaluable to use any technology that improves efficiencies and reduces time spent on accounts. ”
Most cloud products don’t require software installation on your computer, eliminating the need for time-consuming updates and backups.
Sharing is easy
Eliminate the need to send USB keys or discs to your accountant. Sharing your information ensures that everyone is always up to date and using the latest set of figures.
Bank feeds
Data from your bank account or credit card is automatically downloaded into your accounts. In my opinion, this is the area with the most time-saving benefits, and this function should almost be mandatory across all businesses!
As you can see, cloud-based accounting packages have many benefits, but keep in mind that they don’t replace the need to regularly review your accounting processes and procedures.

Cloud accounting products

There are many products available on the market including QuickBooks Online, Reckon, Xero, Sassu and MYOB Live, but the most common request I receive is to compare Xero and MYOB Live.

Xero
Xero is the only product created specifically with the cloud in mind. It requires no software installation and can be used on any device, including smartphones and tablets.
Xero enables your business to become ‘paperless’ by allowing you to upload invoices and attach them directly to the transaction – providing an easy mechanism for the storage of additional information and greater transparency of each transaction from an auditing perspective.
I believe one of the most exciting aspects of Xero is its ability to integrate with various third party products and services, much like apps on your smartphone. This ensures the software can be customised to your specific requirements without needing to have expensive customised reports designed for you.
MYOB Live
MYOB Live is a product that most businesses will be familiar with. It requires software to be installed on the device, but a number of services, such as bank feeds, are now in the cloud.
MYOB Live enables you to toggle between online and offline mode, allowing you to continue to work if you lose internet access. However, this can create multiple versions of the file so don’t forget to perform a data sync regularly.
No need for the shoebox full of receipts
I believe that for most solo and micro business owners faced with compliance obligations, it’s invaluable to use any new technology that improves efficiencies and reduces time spent on accounts.
Select the right product. Get the right outcome.
If you decide to move towards a cloud-based accounting package, it’s crucial that you select the right product and get the software set up correctly. Cloud-based accounting packages have their advantages, but they need to be tailored to your individual business requirements to ensure you get the maximum benefit.
How are cloud-based accounting packages beneficial for your business?