If your business isn't already using cloud technology, you run the risk of being left behind.
With younger startup companies starting out in the cloud and an increasing number of existing companies making the move, it's time to step away from that pen and paper and even your desktop software; the cloud is here and it's already showing just how much value it can add to your business.
Surveys of small and medium businesses have found that nearly 60 percent of companies that use the cloud are more likely to see productivity benefits. While 90 percent of business leaders polled said that cloud-based collaboration can improve business processes.
If you need anymore reason to make the switch, here are three ways moving to the cloud will help you work smarter, better and faster.
1. It moves manual, time-consuming tasks online
If you think about the amount of time you've spent doing manual tasks like data entry, filing or chasing clients the result would likely be quite scary.
The cloud gives the power back to you, enables you to better value your resources and your time. Matt Rissell, CEO of cloud-based tracking software application, TSheets, uses payroll as an example of an "old and outdated process" that is now automated thanks to the cloud.
"We always like to tell the tale of two payrolls. For one business owner, running payroll means manually collecting handwritten time cards, tracking down managers for approval, manually entering that data into the payroll software, manually verifying that the data is correct, and manually processing that information. It typically takes 10 to 15 minutes per employee minimum," Rissell said, adding that by transitioning to a cloud platform, "running payroll is as easy as two clicks. What once took hours, now takes minutes - and it's all thanks to the cloud. The tale of two business owners could be applied to virtually anything and cloud technology always comes out on top."
2. It helps you share the security responsibility
Online security is everyone's responsibility. By transitioning to cloud-based business applications, you share that security load.
Letting teams of experts handle your business' data helps to maintain its integrity and protect its security. Rissell agrees, adding that cloud-based security measures are regularly tested and strengthened as well as having legal obligations to comply with.
"Can you say the same about your company database? Can you say the same about a metal filing cabinet in your office? I think not," Rissell said. "What's more than that, cloud-based technology offers unparalleled protection against natural disaster and human error. If your office goes up in flames, your business isn't affected - it's all safely stored in the cloud."
3. Less paper, more choice
Bidding adieu to outdated desktop technology will mean your eyes will thank you. There's a cloud solution for almost every process or task in your business and, for the most part, it's all easy to use and designed with the user in mind.
Rissell offers some advice for those trying to determine whether a particular piece of software is the right solution:
"The easiest way to determine whether or not you've got a great app or a great software in your hands is to check the user reviews. If it's got hundreds of 5-star reviews, you can probably bet it's a good product. If it doesn't -- well, it's probably for good reason," Rissell said.
"There are more than 1 million mobile apps available for download on each major platform. Of those apps, only 0.01 percent will be considered a financial success by their creators by the end of 2018. That means that 99.9 percent of apps fail (financially speaking) -- so choose wisely.
"Look for apps that have longevity, that have unlimited customer support, and plethora of great reviews and recommendations. If you choose an app void of user reviews, you run the risk of onboarding your team with an app that isn't supported, doesn't seamlessly integrate with your cloud-based technology, and probably provides terrible customer service."
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Theresa Todman, Managing Partner/CEO of B&M Financial Management Services, LLC . Theresa specializes in bookkeeping, accounting, QuickBooks solutions, small business tax issues and consulting.