10 Reasons Micro-Businesses and Self-Employed Pros Should Use Online Accounting Software

Online accounting software

More and more businesses and self-employed professionals are making the move to online accounting software. Why? Following are 10 reasons you should make the switch.

1) Everything is one place. Everything is connected

Before online accounting software, micro-businesses and self-employed professionals had few choices. Often, they used the “shoe-box method” of accounting: throwing invoices and receipts into a shoebox which they’d hand over to their accountant or bookkeeper once per year. The few that performed their own bookkeeping and financial management used several disconnected methods (desktop apps, spreadsheets, word processing templates) and frequently did not have at-a-glance insight into finances.

With online accounting software, everything is one place and interconnected. Instead of using several applications or a combination of spreadsheets and software, small business accounting software (such as Flare), combines bookkeeping, invoicing, income and expense tracking, budgeting, reporting and performance monitoring.

2) No additional charges for updates or new versions

When you install desktop accounting software, you get what you get. If you want the latest features, you must buy the latest version. With online accounting software, you pay nothing extra for updates to your plan. Online applications are in a constant state of improvement from feature enhancements, new features, security updates and user interface improvements.

3) Better security

A desktop accounting application is vulnerable on many fronts, including: fatal system crashes, hard disk death, physical theft, and viruses and malware.  Desktop accounting software is only as safe as the system on which it resides and the backup plan employed by the end-user.  With Flare Cloud Accounting, if you employ safe credentials management practices, your data is safe. Flare uses state-of-the-art security measures such as extended validation SSL certificates, Peer-1 Tier-4 enterprise-grade hosting facility with restricted biometric access, firewall and network security, 3rd party security audits, nightly off-site backups and transaction log backups every 10 minutes.

4) Work anywhere, any time you like

With desktop accounting applications, you are tied to your office. Using online accounting software means that if you have access to the Internet, you can use the online accounting application…anywhere, any time. Whether you are at the office, home, a coffee shop or on the road, you have instant access when and where you need it.

5) Spreadsheets and “manual” methods of managing business finances are inefficient black boxes

If you are using spreadsheets for bookkeeping and word processing templates for invoicing, your data is not interconnected. The inefficiency and duplication wastes time. Furthermore, spreadsheets are not connected to online banking and probably do not automatically display financial charts and graphs that provide helpful insight that can help you improve cash flow and profitability.

6) Increased financial visibility can help improve profit and cash flow

If, like some self-employed professionals, you don’t manage finances or monitor financial performance – and instead hand over that shoebox to your accounting once or twice per year – you are missing an opportunity to improve your business’s financial position. In this all too common scenario, you are looking backward, reacting rather than planning. By using an all-in-one online accounting system, you take control of business finances and have immediately available, valuable metrics that can guide you to make improvements that increase profit and cash flow.

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7) Increased accuracy

With “old school” manual accounting methods, the more data entry you are forced to perform, the greater the chance of omissions, errors and inaccuracy. Online accounting software helps your business remain compliant, and calculations and bookkeeping occur in the background as you create invoices and record payments or expenses.

8) Desktop accounting and finance doesn’t easily allow collaboration

If you use a desktop accounting application or spreadsheets, collaboration in cumbersome if it’s possible at all. With cloud accounting systems like Flare, you can invite your bookkeeper or accountant, financial advisor, business partners or employees to view or use the application.

9) Online accounting software (like Flare) does not require accounting expertise

Many desktop accounting applications have a steep learning curve. Frequently, small business owners don’t have the time or inclination to learn aspects of bookkeeping or business finance. With applications like Flare Cloud Accounting, you don’t need to be a finance or accounting expert. The application does the heavy lifting for you. You can use the online application how you want. If you feel comfortable with double-entry bookkeeping, great! You can do it in Flare. If you don’t want to do “bookkeeping” and only want to use Flare to create invoices, record expenses, create budgets and monitor financial performance, you can! With Flare, double-entry bookkeeping occurs in the background as you enter data in Flare. If you need a little help now and then or at tax time, you can easily invite your accountant or bookkeeper. Flare’s flexibility gives you the freedom to use the system as you choose!

10) Online accounting software saves money and can increase profit

The cloud is here to stay and for small businesses and self-employed freelancers that’s a good thing. Cloud computing surveys reveal that the cloud provides much more than convenience and large data storage, it makes economic sense for businesses. A survey by Rackspace as reported by Forbes, reveals some compelling statistics.

  • Companies reported an average of 22% increase in profits related to cloud use.
  • Businesses experienced an average cost reduction of 23% related to the cloud’s savings on infrastructure spending.
  • 62% of respondents said that the cloud is allowing them to invest more money back into their businesses.
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