By: Barry Macquarrie
Post 4 of 4—This concludes our blog series from Barry!
Hosted Accounting Software
The vendors included above offer their products using the “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model. The vendor maintains its software on its servers; and allows customers to access it using a web browser. Facebook, Gmail, and LinkedIn are examples of popular applications that also use the SaaS model.
There is another option for delivering accounting software via the Internet. Some vendors are offering accounting products in a hosted environment. In this model, your accounting software and your data, run on a remote server and you are allowed access to it via a remote desktop connection.
This model offers some of the benefits of SaaS products (e.g. anytime, anywhere access), without requiring that you change accounting products.
There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of both the SaaS and hosted models. The decision to move to a hosted or SaaS model requires careful consideration and a review of the costs, risks and benefits.
Invoicing & Bill Payment
Any review of cloud accounting software is not complete without the mention of a new category of vendors. The SaaS, or cloud model, has allowed vendors to build accounting related products that serve very specific needs of a business. One example of this is products that allow businesses to create invoices, process accounts payable transactions, and manage cash flow using ACH transfers and credit card payments. Here’s a look at two vendors that offer this type of a solution:
Bill.com offers cloud-based accounts payable, accounts receivable, and cash flow management. Its accounts payable module includes approval tracking, document management, and automated bill payment. Bill.com has built integration features with accounting software such as Intacct, NetSuite, QuickBooks, Sage, and Xero. The company has teamed up with CPA2BIZ to offer its accountants program.
FreshBooks is a cloud accounting solution that includes time tracking, invoicing, estimating, expense capture, and cash collections. There are third-party vendors offering integrated solutions, which include project management, CRM, accounting, expense reporting, marketing, and time tracking. Accountants can join the FreshBooks Accountant Network to receive training, certification, and marketing collateral.
The Story Continues
The world of cloud accounting can seem overwhelming. It is constantly changing with the introduction of new features, the arrival of new vendors, and the addition of new mobile apps. It’s a world that includes new terminology, risks, and rewards.
It can also be a very exciting place! The cloud accounting vendors are bringing fresh ideas and a lot of excitement to the accounting profession. They are constantly innovating and providing accountants with solutions that help make them more valuable to their clients.
The cloud is putting some of the fun back into accounting!
Barry MacQuarrie, CPA is a Consultant and the Director of Technology at KAF Financial Group. Barry combines his knowledge of accounting and technology to provide consulting services focused on cloud accounting solutions. His areas of expertise include accounting software, process improvement and technology management.