Last week we had a look at why we believe small businesses in South Africa should use Cloud Accounting software. When chatting to new clients about moving to the Cloud, we are asked about the specific benefits and options that are available to them.

Which Cloud accounting software is available in South Africa?

Currently in South Africa there are three main competitors in the Cloud accounting area, excluding any basic accounting software offered by banking institutions and other basic online packages. They are Xero, Quickbooks and Sage 100.

In this post I will be going into what these three main competitors have to offer in general as Cloud accounting software providers. In my next post I will go into detail about the pros and cons of each software provider.

It must be pointed out that all the software programs are online (ie accessed via web browsers) and therefore an internet connection is imperative in order to use them.

Does cloud accounting software save me time?

In short – YES! Below are three examples:

Example 1 – Artificial Intelligence

The software programs offer some form of artificial intelligence (AI) so processing becomes faster and easier with every time that the same transaction repeats. 

Example 2 – Automatic bank feeds

Bankfeeds are also available which means the software program automatically pulls in your bank transactions thereby removing the need to recapture every transaction.

Example 3 – Repeating transactions

Repetitive customer and supplier invoices can be copied to a new invoice, so all that is needed is updating of the transaction and due dates. Invoice reminders can be set up to go out automatically, thereby taking care of a lot of the debt chasing for you.

But what can they do… And when do I need an add-on app?

Xero, Quickbooks and Sage are in principle accounting packages, and cover bank reconciliations, journals, sales and purchase invoices, reporting and VAT workings, quoting and ordering of goods (different packages may include different options, with the most advanced packages offering multiple currency options and various other items).  

Whilst they may have basic inventory, budgeting or CRM features, it may be necessary to use add-on apps for more specific requirements. 

Apps are also cloud based software that link directly to the accounting programs thereby negating the need to recreate data or continuously transfer data between the software programs. These apps do attract additional charges by the app developers, but then so would an add-on module, like a manufacturing module for desktop based software. 

Examples of what apps may be needed for –

EXPENSE REPORTING
MANAGEMENT REPORTING
BUDGETS AND FORECASTS
PROPOSAL GENERATION
E-COMMERCE
INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
MANUFACTURING
PAYROLL
STAFF TIME TRACKING
POINT OF SALE
FINANCIAL STATEMENT PREPARATION

The above examples are not exhaustive, and again user preference can be taken into account when selecting apps. Different apps do different things, so before adding an app, extensive research may need to be done to ensure that the correct app is selected and your business requirements are met. South Africa has app specialist who will be able to assist you with the implementation.

What if I make a mistake?

One of the biggest benefits when using Cloud accounting software is the ability to correct mistakes. The days for using journals to correct incorrect postings or crediting out an invoice because you left off the customer’s purchase order number are long gone! This speeds up processing, and removes frustration. 

What if I need support?

All the software providers offer direct support, although some may not be 24/7. The added benefit is that your accountant can login and assist you at any time if you do the bookkeeping/accounting work yourself. No more waiting for onsite assistance!

Do I need to still do backups?

No more remembering to do manual back-ups, or having to safely store the backups is required! The software providers perform automated backups of your information so nothing is ever lost, and all programmes can keep as many years as you have history. You are not limited to the current and previous year, which assists business owners to identify trends and monitor year on year growth. 

How safe is my data?

All the programs use state-of-the-art security (bank level 128-bit SSL encryption) when it comes to protecting your data and information. Users can also enable two-step authentication, and suspicious access notifications can be sent out to users.

All users need to be cognisant of the fact that password security or management thereof is of extreme importance. If a basic password is selected or used this is a shortcoming on the user’s side and could open the user app to hacking or other problems. 

How easy is it to access my accounts on the go?

Xero, Quickbooks and Sage offer iOS and Android apps so that the user can access their accounting records and information via their smartphones or tablets. These apps allow the user to quote, invoice or claim expenses on-the-go.

Sending invoices out whilst on the job, means earlier payment so this is a game changer for small businesses as the sooner a small business gets paid, the better. Some of the software providers have multiple apps, which cover specific areas or transactions.

Conclusion

Go check out the three software providers and sign up for their trial versions. There’s no better time to move to Cloud accounting software than now!

If you need assistance with the above – 

You won’t regret it!