The evolution of virtual or cloud accounting have been shifting rapidly. There has been a tremendous growth in flexibility and opportunity: the business owner could be in Madrid, while their tax accountant is in New York and their bookkeeper is in Sydney, or anywhere else. This flexibility generates far more opportunities for both parties to grow their customer base, because they can function in different markets and timezones without needing to be physically present in them.
The other switch is that the financial data is now more timely. With desktop accounting, it was a big hassle for clients to get data to their accountant, so that would usually only happen once a quarter. With cloud accounting software being connected to bank feeds and your other financial tools, all the data is synced at least once every 24 hours.
The future of virtual or cloud accounting will be all about going beyond accounting software and what could be achieved under the old desktop prototype. As an example of where this is heading, online accounting software is fully document-enabling its platform so that users can attach documents and images anywhere within the application.
This essentially means getting beyond the single ledger to storing and sharing the single source of truth behind the numbers. Already, the ability to integrate with document storage solutions such as Box, Google Drive and Dropbox is available for accountants and bookkeepers in practice manager software.
Banks are also finally starting to get excited about accounting software and are an increasingly important part of the ecosystem. Bank feeds are a standard expectation, although globally many banks are still catching up and the ability to electronically sign-up for feeds has been slow growing.
However, failure to keep pace with change could result in up and coming firms radically overtaking average firms. For this reason, we’re seeing an tremendous increase in full practice conversions and many companies, big or small, are embarking on major virtual/cloud activity.