Essential online accounting advice for SMEs

12 Feb 2013

Cloud accounting can reduce data entry, produce deeper insights & drive business success

Online accounting is gaining momentum with Australian small to medium business managers and their advisors as they see others reaping the rewards in time savings and productivity gains.

Accounting software provider MYOB shares its top tips to help SMEs keep their financial data secure while working in the cloud, and to highlight the benefits.

CEO Tim Reed says, “Due to the ‘anywhere anytime’ nature of online accounting and features such as direct bank transaction feeds, which reduce data entry, business operators can achieve a better understanding of their financial situation at any point in time. Just as importantly, it enables them to be more confident in the figures and spend less time on admin and more time on growing their business.

“Cloud accounting solutions can significantly reduce manual data entry, and potentially save you many dollars in tax, repayments and expenses by ensuring you have the correct financial information at your fingertips. This is especially important as your business develops through hiring more staff, buying and selling more, producing more invoices, working with more suppliers and so on.

“The outcome is streamlined business processes that give you more efficient reporting and insights, and ensure you are compliant with the government’s regular legislative changes.”

MYOB’s online accounting advice:

Remember: one size does not fit all

Each business is different, so one online accounting solution does not fit or satisfy all. Consider:

  • Does the solution actually meet your unique needs in its simplicity, workflow and features?
  • Does it produce the results your accountant or bookkeeper needs?
  • Is it an all-in-one solution or are there hidden costs, add-ons or other facets that mean extra time and cost?
  • Will you require access to data with and without an internet connection?
  • Will it make you as productive as you need to be?
  • Are the provider’s client support channels available 24/7 via phone, email, virtual chat and/or social media?

Get the set up right

Unless you’re totally across what to do to get the solution installed and working correctly, get an accountant, book keeper or IT consultant involved early to run their professional eye over how you’ve set it up. Perhaps even bring them in to set it up for you. Making modifications afterwards is possible, but can create rework.

Prioritise security 

Credibility, technology expertise and reputation of the online accounting solution provider are crucial. Their cloud security policies and procedures should be robust (e.g. 24/7 video surveillance and strict personnel access control, firewalls, anti-virus protection, spam filters, disaster recovery and independent auditing and testing). Consider seeking advice from IT consultants, business advisors and other business owners who understand the market and are up on the latest offerings. Going with an established, profitable, trusted provider is always a good idea – you don’t want them going out of business and your financial data going out the door with them.

Secure bank transactions are essential

A reputable accounting software provider such as MYOB (via its LiveAccounts and AccountRight Live products) lets you securely link your business bank transactions to your online accounting solution. Other companies use a risky practice called ‘screen scraping’. Here, you provide your banking login and password to the accounting provider, who passes them on to a third party to ‘screen scrape’ your bank transactions. They then feed that data back through the accounting solution. It leaves business owners open to breaching bank terms and conditions, plus it increases the risk of mistakes made along the chain and the risk of potential fraud.

Collaborate anywhere, anytime

Ensure you provide the right level of online access to your company files to the right team member, including your accountant and bookkeeper. Provide them with the ability to access from anywhere via the internet, whether on the road, in the office or at home. This eliminates time consuming file transfers and travel, and allows your professional advisors to collaborate with you on building your business by monitoring in real-time key business indicators such as inventory levels and debtors. 

Know your numbers 

An online accounting solution can generate reports on various business activities. Director of specialist business advisor group The Numbers Game, Leanne Berry, shares her top five insightful reports:

  • Monthly - Profit and Loss Statement shows the income, costs of sales and expenditure for your business. This report lets you do some basic financial analysis such as gross profit margin, budgets and forecasts, to identify and adjust spending patterns or to find ways to increase sales.
  • Weekly - Accounts Receivable shows who owes your business money and allows you to plan an effective debt collection protocol. If you don’t keep on top of your debtors you won’t be able to meet your liability obligations.
  • Weekly - Accounts Payable shows who your business owes money to. This allows you to pay your bills on time and receive any discounts, plan your cash flow and ensure all your obligations are met.
  • Weekly - Payroll Summary shows you your payroll at a glance. It also gives you the opportunity to work out your liabilities for PAYGW and superannuation, and provision it into an account separate from your working account so this money is available when these liabilities are due for payment.
  • Weekly - GST helps you to identify all amounts that are subject to GST. It allows you to provision the GST collected into a separate account as above for payroll and at a glance gives you the ability to identify any transactions that may be coded incorrectly.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed adds, “When your financial data is organised electronically, you can see your financial position at a glance and pinpoint positive and negative trends. When were your peak periods? How well did each of your products/services perform? This vital information can help identify new opportunities to improve your business operations, leverage new revenue streams, tap into new markets, and increase cost-efficiency.”

When it comes to accounting in general, don't wait to get to know your business better. If cash flow, taxation and forecasting aren’t your areas of expertise, contact a business advisor with experience in your industry to help. Utilise professional training services, whether with the solution provider or with a business advisor to make the most of the solution you choose. You may even find that there’s free software training in your area.

For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, customer service and more visit,,,


For further statistics, comment or other information please contact:

Kristy Sheppard

MYOB Public Relations & Corporate Affairs Manager

02 9089 9068 / M: 0407 450 860 /

About MYOB

Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia's largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than AU$30 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit