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Digital Accounting – A guide to taking your back office online.

It seems that each day we become more digital.  First we started using email, then we kept our calendar online, then eventually we found that we can store our photos online and pay bill online.  Now we don’t bother to keep hard copies of bank statements and tax returns, we know where they are when we need them.

If you haven’t taken your back office digital yet, I am sure you have thought about it.  There are some wonderful efficiencies that come along with it, you just have to overcome a few obstacles first.  Well, really just one obstacle and that is the reluctance to change.  The accounting & bookkeeping profession is very slow to change, so you have to push past that.

The first thing you should evaluate is Quickbooks Desktop vs Quickbooks Online (most small businesses are using one of these).  Many accountants will swear by Desktop, stating that Online cannot handle the complexities of the business.  This is typically not the case and is more just a preference after years of using Desktop.  The next item is price.  Yes, with Desktop you pay a few hundred dollars up front while QBO charge you $35/mo.  However, if you have software to remotely access your Quickbooks PC or are having it hosted in the cloud, you have some subscription costs there that you would no longer need.

At KP Insights, we have found that the clients we have moved to Quickbooks Online have been very pleased with the ease of access as well as the functionality it offers.  For example, QBO will allow you to attach a digital file to a transaction.  So if you see an expense that doesn’t look familiar, you can click on a link on the screen and pop up the pdf invoice from the vendor, it’s very cool (in a nerdy accountant way).  Our favorite functionality is the ability to sync your banking and credit card activity into QBO.  This allows us to always be on top of daily activity and makes bank reconciliations a snap.

The next real advantage of Quickooks Online (and other online accounting platforms like Xero), is the applications that other developers offer to work seamlessly with your accounting software.  Accounts payable and bill payment can really be time consuming in the old, paper world.  Some of you may use your online banking platform to send out bill payments and that is convenient.  I would recommend that you look into Bill.com, as it does the same thing, while integrating and syncing with Quickbooks (Desktop and Online), Xero and other accounting software.  Bill.com also stores digital copies of your AP files and even supplies you with a custom email(a personal accounts payable email address)that vendors can email bills to you.

Once you begin exploring these 3rd party tools you will find that there are others that would work well for your business.  Concur, Expensify, Square, Etsy, Paypal are just a few of the many applications out there that have integration capabilities with QBO or Xero.  Just like with your iPhone, just find the apps that work for your company.

For your document storage, Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, or many others will work.  All have the ability to customize access to the users that need it.  Just organize those folders just like your physical filing cabinet and you will be fine.  You will be able to find files for your CPA when they need them, even if you aren’t in the office at the time.

The advantages of going digital are far too numerous to list in this blog.  Jump in and you will find many things that work great for you and your company!

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