Back in April we published an article extolling the virtues of an on-line accounting system called Kashflow. We were very excited as it was a web-based accountancy system build by business users for business users. It was not built for accountants. Why is this important? Simply put, it has enabled business users to significantly cut the time it takes to complete end-of-month accounting. How significantly? We have seen evidence showing what used to take days, now takes hours.
Business performance management is our business. We are always looking for ways to improve the performance of our client’s organisations. We have been very pleased to see that KashFlow is going from strength-to-strength, the latest interface is even easier to navigate and use. It is interesting to note that in the area of book-keeping, many companies make very little effort to look for alternatives to traditional accounting processes. Why is this? Last time we wrote on this subject we identified three major areas, they have not changed:
1. It would be too difficult to move, we have invested far too much in the existing system and the data transfer would be far too difficult
Actually financial accounting systems tend to be based on better standards than most, the descriptive words may be different but the things they describe are the same. Data mapping between financial accounting systems has been perfected over the years as a matter of necessity. Merger and acquisition activity has forced the pace and brought with it highly sophisticated and accurate integration and transfer systems for finances. Any new system worth its salt has taken advantage of this and built in adaptors to integrate into existing legacy system or to extract, transfer and load data securely from your old system to the new one.
2. The latest systems are Cloud based, we cannot trust our data to a cloud provider
According to research by CompTIA’s 9th Annual Information Security Trends study (based on 500 US IT and business executives) published by CIO – How Secure is the Cloud? – “85% of IT professionals are confident in cloud provider’s ability to provide a secure environment”. This should not be surprising, cloud has been around for a long time now. More than this, cloud providers not only ensure data is secure, they also back up data on a regular basis and most providers run double fail-over systems at separate locations to keep customers up and running 24 hours a day.
3. Our accounts understand the systems, they are happy to do the accounting, we are happy they do it
First of all, have you ever met a company accountant who is not stressed out during end-of-month or especially end-of-year accounting? More often than not they take input from multiple spreadsheets and force-fit it into restrictive systems that do not provide adequate reporting facilities and therefore the reports have to be generated from the spreadsheets. Second, the reason business leaders are happy to let the accountants do the job is because they are the only people trained to use the antiquated accounting systems in the first place
The latest generation of web-based accounting systems have been built by business people for business people. They first thing they do is demystify the language used by accountants and use business language. That is not to say they disregard standard accounting language. Under the covers all of this has been retained. Indeed it has to be for Tax and VAT purposes, but the business of entering data and basic reporting is simplified so that it can be understood by business people and accountants alike. Web-based systems make it easy to integrate to other services including banking, suppliers, marketing, e-mail and of course customers. Are these products suitable for every business? In time yes, at the moment it would be difficult for a large corporation to justify a move. However if you run a small to medium sized business you would do well to look at a system like KashFlow and take advantage of the free trials they are offering.