Why I advocate cloud accounting

Murphy’s Law dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. I’ve learnt that it usually happens when you least want it to – at the most inconvenient time.

Late last year, a client came to me with an issue. The following are excerpts of real live conversations we had.

Client: “Pam, we need urgent help!  We have had a fire and lost our premises including all our computers.  We need to use MYOB software so that we can continue trading.  We face financial ruin if we can’t get it up and running again”

Me: “Sure, no problem.  I can restore your last backup onto the new server and you can get back to work in no time!”

An hour later, I arrived at their office.

Me: “Where do you store your backups?”

Client: “On the main computer”

Silence gripped the air…

Me: “Anywhere else that you have a backup?”

Client: “No”

Me: “What about your accountant?”

Client: “No, we haven’t given him a copy of our file for the last year”

In short, I had no backup file to restore.  To top it off, my client needed a complete new file created with all their financial information reconstructed for the entire financial year.

Think that was easy? You’re right, it’s not!  Luckily, it was still possible to save the situation by going through copies of bank, credit card statements and cash transactions.  It was also possible to get some information from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) too. It was, however, extremely painful to do.

But the kicker was the debtors list.  There was NO information on who owed the business what.  The only way to get that information was to ring the clients and ask them to tell us how much they owed us.  Now maybe some of the clients were truthful, but from sad experience, we found that many weren’t.  What a huge cost to the business.  And how easily avoided!

With flood and fire disasters happening across Australia, this same scenario has been played out numerous times.

There are ways to avoid such a horrific situation. One of the easiest solutions for MYOB clients is using MYOB Accountright Live or *MYOB Essentials.  Both of these small business accounting software enable the accounting file to be kept “on the cloud” – on secure servers that are fully disaster proof and with guaranteed daily backups.

There is no need for anything else to be done. While the file is in the cloud, you know that your files are backed up and safe.  It is also fully up to date with the most recent transactions entered.

For clients who haven’t moved their files to the cloud, some options are:

  • To pay for a backup service, where outsourced providers enable you to upload your backups to their offsite servers.
  • To put backups onto a USB or CD and take these devices off site
  • Using web solutions like Dropbox or Google Drive to keep a copy off site.

The trouble with these solutions is that unless you remember to do them every night, your backup might not contain the most recent transactions.

Whatever you do, make sure you have access to an accounting file or backup that isn’t dependent on your computer functioning perfectly at all times.  After all, you pay for insurance for your property, your vehicles, your health… having a backup of your accounting file is possibly the most important insurance of all.  Without it, you can possibly lose your business altogether.

With the financial year coming to a close, make sure you’re on the ball with all your tax and compliance obligations. Check out MYOB’s Tax Changes Information section, meant to help startups and small businesses stay on top of their game with tax changes.

*MYOB Essentials was previously known as LiveAccounts.

The information provided here is of a general nature for Australia and should not be your only source of information. Please consult an experienced tax agent as each small business’ circumstance will vary for end of financial year.

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  • Alex

    I currently use AccountRight Plus v19.7 – recently my external hard drive with years of personal photos died – arrrggghhhh. So yes I am looking into moving my personal photos, important documents etc to the cloud. How do I go about also placing my business files in the cloud – not only my MYOB but all other computerised documents? Once in the cloud is this like a network system so more than one employee or location can view and edit the information?

    • Lucy

      Hi Alex for MYOB I recommend upgrading to AccountRight Live a MYOB consultant like Pam Pitt the lady who wrote the blog above could help you install it and give you training on the cloud based solution. This cloud based version is really good I purchased it myself recently and it saves all the hassle with backing up and restoring and your accountant can gain access as well.

      For a cloud based solution for your business documents I recommend office 365. You have to purchase it through Telstra at $13 per month per user. It gives you assess to the most recent MS office software MS office 2013. You get a free sky drive where all users can access files and also a system called sharepoint that can give you the ability to have version control management of your files. You can video link to staff etc. I recommend getting an IT savvy person to help set it up as are dealing with Telstra.

      Not sure how many people you need to have access to files in your business but I think for $13 bucks a month it is a good deal. Here is the link http://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/business-products/cloud-services/microsoft-office-365/.

      Hope this helps.