Cloud software - who offers it ?

TreadStone AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 280 ? ? ?
Our practice currently doesn't offer cloud based software/bookkeeping to clients even though we have a few who use it themselves and we access for year-end purposes only. Personally, it's something I think we should offer but that's another story.

So, those who do use and offer it, what % of your client base do use cloud ? Do you have clients who do the data entry themselves successfully ? Do you perform the bookkeeping & VAT returns for the client or have you stuck with the traditional desktop software like VT for this ?

If you don't use/offer cloud, why not ? Is it something you're looking to introduce ?

Interested to hear opinions on this.


  • burg
    burg Moderator, FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 1,441
    Yes we use it and offer two alternatives.

    Sage One cashbook is not a bad system and with 50 licences for £1 each it gives opportunity. It is only a basic product though. With this clients can do data entry but the accountant must do the VAT filing.

    Our main offering is Clearbooks. It offers good value for money as accountants get approx 50% off their advertised rates.

    We have about 250 business clients. Of those we have about 30 who use Cloud based software. We offer it as a free product to contractors as it saves us some time. We tell clients they can only import from online banking and enter transactions paid cash or personal card. You then have no issues with the bank not reconciling or they are easy to find.

    The advantage is Clearbooks gives a tax esitmate and dividend estimates as long as it is up to date. So those questions are reduced.

    We then file VAT Returns for clients from their own data entry.

    We do not use any cloud based solutions for internal data entry as we have found the cloud solutions slow unless you can import from the bank.

  • TreadStone
    TreadStone AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 280 ? ? ?
    I certainly think it's something all practices need to adopt at some point, if not already. The problem is (if you see it as a problem) is the number of cloud based providers out there. I don't think it's a case of "one glove fits all" and offer the same option to ALL clients. Some will be be better suited to some clients than others.
  • TreadStone
    TreadStone AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 280 ? ? ?
    Does anyone use a cloud based system to keep their OWN accounts ?
  • BayView
    BayView Registered Posts: 2
    We don't just offer it, we virtually insist on it. For new business clients, we don't suggest anything else. For clients moving to us, we will strongly advice a cloud solution as part of our quote/proposal. The vast majority of our clients use a cloud system, mostly freeagent or kashflow, but a few more complex ones who use quickbooks. We have no clients at all using Sage or desktop Quickbooks and only a handful using spreadsheets or paper based systems. We've built our practice around the cloud due to it's efficiencies, we spend time at the outset in training and setting up and then periodically log on to check things are going ok, so when it comes to the year end, time is massively reduced as we're not wasting time on bank recs or correcting errors. Because both ourselves and the client can be looking at the same data at the same time remotely, it really enables us to train/explain the client which means accuracy is far better.
  • TreadStone
    TreadStone AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 280 ? ? ?
    That's interesting to hear BayView, certainly one approach.
  • Lucy_M
    Lucy_M Registered Posts: 136 ? ? ?
    I use Xero for my own practice and for quite a few of my clients, I try to get as many of my clients to use it as possible. I had a client who wanted to trial the Sage cloud offering, but I wasn't very impressed and when I showed them Xero they jumped ship from Sage straight away. I like the fact that I can call the client and we can both look at the same data as well, it makes solving problems much quicker. The only annoyance is that it cannot add iXBRL tags so I have to export the data (I use VT+ for that) but it is something they will offer very soon...
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