March 21, 2012
QuickBooks to Cloud: Envision a New Way of Working
Posted by Lindy Antonelli
Let’s go back to the boardroom. This time, imagine that instead of pulling data manually from QuickBooks and dumping it into Excel, you are using a cloud accounting application.
The General Ledger view is open in front of you. All divisions and offices in your company access the application over the Internet, as you do, and all transactions are written to the same database. So you – the CFO of your company – are looking at your company’s finances in real time. With a single mouse-click, you select Sales Budget vs. Actual by Location, and print it. A job that used to take hours is done in under a minute.
The Expense Management view is open in front of you. As the controller of a professional services firm, you can improve your company’s cash position by timely billing and charge-backs. You want to see whether the staff at remote client sites are entering their time and expenses at the end of the day, as required by company policy. You are pleased to see that compliance is way up because the staff can now just key in the data and scan in their receipts before leaving the job site. They are more motivated to do it because they get reimbursed faster, thanks to an automated approval workflow. You are happy because approved expenses are immediately available for invoicing.
All the executives and senior managers have a customized dashboard open in front of them, showing the key performance indicators they need to do their jobs. Operations staff have secure access to the exact, real time financial information they need to do their job. They can see more clearly how their decisions and activities impact upon the company as a whole, so a virtuous cycle is established that enables them to improve performance. The executive team can monitor the function they are responsible for, drilling down to the most granular level or pulling back for a global view, comparative analyses, and what-if scenarios.
Underneath the various dashboards, reports, and analytics is the same thing: dimensionality. You tag transactions with codes for various dimensions of your business – customer, vendor, employee, project, spend, profit or payroll, for example. The codes index entries for analysis and reporting purposes. Some dimensions are common to all companies, but you can define others that are especially relevant to your business (coupons, say, if they drive business for you).
As I’ve said before, problems with reporting and audit-ability are the two most common trouble spots for small to mid-size businesses that have outgrown QuickBooks. The point is, you don’t need spreadsheets to provide flexible reporting and analysis when you have a cloud accounting solution. It is much easier to make sound business decisions when you have real-time visibility into your company, and you can’t get real-time reporting from spreadsheets.
Last but not least, when you move from QuickBooks to the cloud, you get out of the IT business and into your own business. Imagine writing a check to the cloud vendor for turnkey service instead of to Dell for servers, Microsoft for licenses, and your IT support for managing it all. Imagine never having to install another version of the software. Never having to restore a computer that has crashed. Never worrying about losing your data. Forget all the other pains of IT ownership. All you need is access to the Internet, at any time, from any location, 24/7/365. The cloud vendor does the rest.
Make it easy on yourself. Stop visualizing a better way of working. Start realizing it.
Lindy leads Armanino’s Cloud Accounting Solutions Practice. She is the Founder & Chair of the Cloud Accounting Institute and has over 25 years of experience in public accounting.
As the Founder and Chair of the Cloud Accounting Institute, a clearinghouse of information on software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing, Lindy is at the forefront of the dynamic Cloud Technology landscape. She has published numerous blogs, whitepapers, and articles in this space.