Understanding Online Accounting
What’s the Difference Between Desktop and Online Accounting?
When you’re considering what type of accounting software would be the best fit for your business, one of your first questions may be about the differences between desktop and online versions. In very general terms, desktop versions of software exist only on the computer where they’re installed, while online versions can be accessed from any internet-connected device.
Beyond this distinction, the differences between desktop and online accounting are in functionality. Whether you’re working with QuickBooks® or some other software, you’ll want to examine both online and desktop versions to ascertain which one offers the features you need. With QuickBooks®, for instance, the online version is considered easier to learn and use than the desktop, but the desktop often provides more advanced reporting. Another key difference is how many users the software can support. For businesses where only one person is using the software, a desktop installation may work, but if you need access for multiple people in different locations, the online version offers easy accessibility for several users.
At Accounting Meister, we can help you decide which type of accounting software is best for your small or medium-sized business. We provide tutoring and training, and we also offer a full slate of accounting services for small businesses interested in outsourcing accounting to an expert. We have QuickBooks® ProAdvisor certifications for all available versions of QuickBooks®, and we’re also familiar with a wide range of other products. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an initial consultation.
Advantages of Using the Cloud
Access to Data
One of the biggest benefits of working with online accounting software is using the Cloud, which provides storage and services through the Internet. Instead of files or software being saved and stored on an individual computer, the Cloud exists in cyberspace. Files or apps stored in the Cloud can be accessed from any computer with a web browser.
Collaboration & Document Control
The Cloud provides a central location for files so users aren’t housing information on one computer’s hard drive, which helps prevent duplication and document control issues. If you have a team working in different locations or want to share your files with an accountant or bookkeeper when you outsource accounting and bookkeeping functions, using the Cloud makes it much easier to share and collaborate.
Data Security & Business Continuity
The Cloud also provides a place for backups that isn’t reliant on an individual or a single computer. Data backups ensure you have a complete copy of crucial business information ready to restore, no matter why the data loss occurred. And well-managed backups help ensure your business can resume normal operations quickly in the event of an unexpected system failure.
Online Accounting Is Mobile Friendly
Smartphones have become an integral part of modern life, enabling us to connect to the Internet no matter where we are. Online accounting takes this into consideration and is set up to permit mobile-friendly uses, like checking account balances or accessing invoices.
Without online accounting, you’ll need to contact whoever has access to the computer with the accounting software to request the data you need, which might entail someone sending you spreadsheets or PDFs to wrangle. By contrast, online accounting gives you direct access to the data you need from your mobile device.
QuickBooks® Online supports mobile access, so your businesses’ latest financial details are always just a few clicks away. When you work with Accounting Meister, you can rely on the expertise of a QuickBooks® Online accountant who understands the importance of accurate, easily accessible data, and we’ll work with you to make sure your accounting system functions just the way you need it to.
Say Goodbye to Purchasing New Software to Access the Latest Features
When you install desktop software, the program doesn’t update itself when new versions are released. Instead, you must buy another package of software or pay for an update to obtain the latest version.
When you use online accounting software, you always have access to the latest version available. Online versions of software incorporate changes as they happen, seamlessly staying current without requiring additional purchases.
Online software exists in the Cloud, making it easy to roll out new versions and updates. Desktop software is a static tool that remains the same unless the user updates it.
Less Chance of Lost Data
Accounting and bookkeeping create a large volume of critical business data. What steps are you taking to safeguard it against loss?
If your accounting software is a desktop version installed on one person’s computer, data can be lost easily through benign actions: saved accidentally into a sub-folder, erroneously deleted, or erased by a newer version.
With online accounting, the work is saved in the Cloud as you do it, eliminating all the worries of saving files onto a hard drive. And data backups occur automatically, making it much easier to restore your data in the event of a problem. So the likelihood of lost data is substantially reduced when working with an online system, and scheduling backups becomes a thing of the past.
Accounting Meister can help you learn everything you need to know about online accounting and how your business can benefit from its Cloud-based structure. Contact us to learn more about our services.
Better Control of Access and Security
The sensitive data in accounting records requires stringent controls, and when you use online accounting software, you have tremendous control over who can access your information. Desktop software may be protected by a password, but clever and computer-savvy individuals can often find ways around commonplace protections.
Online accounting software gives you control over who can access data, as well as what kind of data each user can see. Additionally, your information is encrypted, giving you an added level of security.
Points to Consider Before Moving to Online Accounting
Although online accounting provides a number of benefits, it’s not without drawbacks:
- As with any online service, a reliable and strong Internet connection is needed. If you can’t connect to the Internet, you won’t be able to access your financial data.
- Online accounting services are provided on a monthly or annual subscription basis, so you’ll pay a monthly or annual fee. Whereas a stand-alone, single-use installation of desktop software is a one-time purchase. Stand-alone, single-use desktop software also needs to be upgraded to the latest version periodically, requiring additional one-time purchases of the latest software version.
- An updated computer with an updated operating system and strong firewalls is recommended for any online work. If your systems are older, you may need to upgrade.
- Your team may need training if they haven’t used an online accounting system before.
The friendly experts at Accounting Meister can assist you with your online or desktop accounting software. We provide training, tutorials, and consulting as well as comprehensive accounting services for small businesses and startups. Contact us to learn more.