Sunday, 6 September 2015

Cloud Accounting Systems Xero, Quickbooks, Kashflow

The productivity gains Cloud Solutions has seen by adopting Xero Cloud Accounting even surprised us! The amount of time per week spent performing accounting duties has been effectively reduced by as much as 70%. If you do not believe in the Cloud then you are missing the biggest opportunity of your working life time.

Businesses in Asia could do much better with productivity but the inability to adopt change keeps businesses and their staff well behind those countries that embrace technology and change. 

To enjoy these productivity gains there are a few key changes every business needs to make. These are:
  1. Stop using Excel. It is a dead end. 
  2. Capture quotation or order data as early as possible in your business process and enter this into a CRM database system (we use and recommend Zoho CRM).
  3. Use the CRM to automate quotation and email delivery via templates.
  4. Ensure data is only ever entered ONCE into any system in your company. Ensure data flows from sales through to finance and back again. This ensures data is accurate with no double keying required.
  5. Adopt a modern Cloud Accounting system such as Xero, Quickbooks Online or KashFlow. In my opinion the current offering of MYOB is outdated and should not be considered.
  6. Integrate the CRM solution with your Cloud Accounting system to ensure data flows between these applications.

So Why Now?

Accounting has not changed much over the past 20 years however what has changed is the Internet. We now do banking online and can use PayPal to sell goods and services to customers all over the world and have the money in our bank account in seconds. This is the big change. However many businesses have not embraced this 24x7 connection or may be do not appreciate what is possible. The bookkeepers continue to manually enter data into their outdated systems and have not really embraced how technology can help their productivity.

With Cloud Accounting systems like Xero, your business bank accounts along with PayPal can be integrated in the Cloud. This allows all bank account transactions to be automatically uploaded to your accounting system pending your reconciliation and coding once a day. This ensures data is accurate and efficiently captured.
Improved productivity means increasing your capacity to grow with the current resources or continue at the same level with less resources, that is, less staff and smaller offices, e.g. increasing profits.

A Simple Example

Let me explain a simple sales process and how this will affect the accounting system and the resources required to manage this entry in our company.
  1. Prepare a quotation for say 10 hours of Consultancy Services for Zoho CRM. Prepare this in the CRM, it takes say 60 seconds. It is emailed to the customer via a template driven email. Another 15 seconds.
  2. Once the quotation is signed and returned to us, we would create a Sales Order (Sales Contract) and then send an Invoice. This takes no more than 30 seconds as the quotation is converted to a Sales Order and Invoice. No data is re-entered. The Invoice being created in the CRM system.
  3. Later that evening the Cloud based CRM communicates with the Cloud based Accounting system (e.g. Xero), and sends all Invoice data across automatically. Any Purchased Order initiated or created in the CRM will also be sent to the Cloud Accounting system.
  4. The customer pays our invoice on-line via PayPal.
  5. The same day the payment is received the Cloud Accounting system (Xero) will communicate with PayPal and import the receipt of the funds as a new transaction. 
  6. Up to this point the bookkeeper has not had to do a single thing. Has not keyed in a single entry. Even new customers are created automatically.
  7. Each morning the bookkeeper need only match the invoice with the receipt so they can be reconciled, the one-click OK confirms the suggested match is correct. 
  8. Once the invoice is settled in the Cloud Accounting system the Invoice status is changed to PAID and this is reflected back in the CRM system on the next data sync.

Count how many mouse clicks it takes your business to confirm a Sales Order, Create an Invoice, Record the Receipt of funds and then Reconcile the Bank account.

Every small and mid-size business Cloud Solutions helps sees productivity gains in a short period of time. However the business owner must be 100% behind the change and is key to drive this process throughout their organisation.

Asia Limitations

While Xero offers a long list of Bank import feeds, not all Asia banks are supported. If your bank is very local and has very poor on-line facilities then this is another cost to your business that you have to accept or consider working with a bank that is modern and can offer your business the productivity gains discussed above. When Asia businesses are so happy to continue to use Excel and use outdated processes and systems, local banks have limited need to change their systems either if the market is not demanding it.

In Hong Kong Xero and Quickbooks Online provides integration or bank feeds with HSBC Corporate and Personal Accounts. This covers 70% of the local market. Other banks would require a csv file upload. PayPal and a number of other payment gateways are supported. Credit card integration is also supported.

Your future is in your hands. For some of us, the future has already arrived.