Choosing the Best Cloud Accounting Apps for Your Business
Cloud accounting has become a popular method for managing accounting records for many businesses in recent years. As a result, a plethora of add-on applications (apps) have emerged. This number of cloud accounting apps available can make it difficult to select the right app for your business. So, what should you consider and where can you seek advice?
There are the essential cloud accounting apps that are used by many businesses, offering daily efficiency. These include apps for:
- Streamlining the manual processing of invoices;
- Assisting with employee expense claims input and processing;
- Running staff payrolls
These apps are considered the ‘core’ of many cloud solutions and are referred to as ‘horizontals’.
The ability for businesses and employees to submit photos and PDFs of documents through apps has revolutionized data capture, making business records more comprehensive. This eliminates the need to keep paper copies of documents.
Expense management has also been improved with the help of apps like Expensify and Pleo. These expense trackers resolve the issue of employees losing receipts and not having backup to support their expense claims, leading to delays and sometimes, VAT not being reclaimable. With these apps, employees can access real or virtual cards for spending and immediately submit a picture of the receipt, removing the need to keep physical copies.
Specialised accounting apps (this is what we could call Verticals)
Outside these core apps are the additional specialised apps. They can be sector-specific or help businesses to maximise the benefits of their cloud accounting solution.
Examples here include apps such as:
- Hammock for the management of property businesses
- Dear Systems for a client’s inventory control
- Tradify for project management needs.
These are all more advanced apps that a business may choose to add at the time they adopt a cloud solution or at a later date once they have the basics in place. These apps usually take longer to implement because planning, implementation and training in the app are required.
The term ‘app stack’ describes a collection of apps that a specific business sector could use to maximise the benefits from their cloud solution. No two businesses are identical. Therefore, their unique requirements means that the app stack they choose will meet their specific needs. The functionality, cost and training time should all be considered. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution available.
These could include the more common apps such as those for data processing, credit control and reporting along, with the more specialised apps for stock, point of sale solutions or CRM apps.
Expert advice may be needed for the implementation and training of the less common apps, as these require specialist knowledge. Therefore, it is usually necessary to ensure that more time is permitted to plan the implementation.
It is also not required to implement all the apps within the app stack on day one! They can be rolled out over a period of time. With ongoing app development, it may be that the solution is tweaked over time to accommodate new features and/or to address the changing business needs.
The integration of the apps with the accounting software is crucial. Some apps are approved by the software, so they have been tested and they meet the approval status.
However, not all apps that are integrated are approved. The accounting software has an open API, which allow apps to talk to the software and developers to work on the integrations. If you look at an app that is not on the approved list, it would be advisable to test it thoroughly before you implement it.
Don’t be a victim of app overload
There has been a big increase in the apps available to businesses and ‘app overload’ could arise as a result. The key thing to remember is to take your time when designing a cloud solution. Be sure to establish what you are trying to achieve, the key features and the process of implementation. Once you have decided on the core apps, focus on these initially and look to add any additional apps slowly.
As the apps continue to evolve, so will the app stack and integrations. Keep up with the developments and consider changes to the solution in time if needed. Do not forget what your key requirements are, and make sure these are continuing to be met. Any other features will be a bonus!
There are a wide range of apps available, and the numbers are growing quickly. Our cloud specialists can help you select the most suitable apps for your business and assist with the implementation and training of the selected apps.