By Stuart Anderson, Director, Sales & Marketing at Pegasus Software

Cloud based business and accounting software is hosted on remote computers known as servers on the internet rather than on your PC. Instead of buying physical software which is installed on your PC, you pay monthly for a service. You login via the internet and work online, rather than logging into your PC and working locally.

In today’s environment, traditional business and accounting software can cause businesses a few headaches. You access your data from an in-house server; it can be time consuming to perform backups and often hard keeping on top of software updates.

Cloud based software can reduce some of the problems businesses face and help them run more efficiently. It helps you stay in control of your business as information can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on a number of devices so you can keep your business moving wherever you are.

Plus, there’s peace of mind that if you lose your laptop or see the dreaded ‘blue screen’, it’s not the end of the world – you can simply login securely from another PC or device and continue working without too much disruption to your business.

As the software runs on computers owned by the service provider, your accounts software is not installed on your PC. This can be a big bonus for businesses with limited IT resource or budget who struggle to keep on top of updates and maintenance. Essentially all you need to run cloud based software is an internet connection so there’s no need to spend a fortune on hardware or in-house technicians either.

There are other IT benefits too. When using traditional business and accounting software, settings and permissions are set up locally on your PC and problems can occur if they accidently get changed. With cloud based software, this isn’t a problem as all settings and permissions are implemented at server level so you don’t need to worry if you click the wrong button by mistake.

Some worry about where their data is being stored and who has access to it, but in fact, cloud based software is actually safer than traditional software. Server providers invest huge amounts in security because quite simply, their business relies on keeping other businesses data safe.

Even backups are sent to a mirrored server for extra security and peace of mind.

Is Cloud right for your business?

There are plenty of arguments for using cloud based software over traditional business and accounting software, but ultimately it depends on your business.

One of the biggest benefits of cloud based software for small to medium sized businesses is the reduced need for in-house IT support. This is great if your IT team is stretched, but if your business has plenty of IT resource and budget, it would be worth questioning if you really need to move your business and accounts software into the cloud.

Is your business using any other applications in the cloud? Some businesses are using cloud computing for all their business needs whereas others are just using it for certain functions such as tracking sales calls and leads. If all your business functions are cloud based, it would certainly be worth moving your business and accounts software into the cloud too, for better integration and flexibility.

If you’re only using cloud based systems for some of your functions then a transition to cloud based business and accounts software would still be worth considering; especially if there’s a need for more flexibility, tighter control and cost savings within your business.