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using cloud services

Putting your business online is no longer about having a website or posting coupons on Facebook. Today it’s about automation and access. Great online tools are automating every aspect of business, from HR to operations. There is so much out there, in fact, that knowing where to start can be the biggest problem.

The obvious choice is to start with cloud accounting. Why? Not only is accounting an area where web apps can immediately improve business results like cash flow, but cloud accounting also makes a natural foundation onto which all other business tools can be built.

Here are the 7 Rules of Success for moving accounting – and more – into the cloud:

1. Commit Fully

Accounting systems are multifaceted and can handle more than just the paying bills, so be prepared to go all-in. You can quickly move your time-keeping, payroll, merchant services, and banking into one cohesive package. The more data you stuff into an online accounting package, the more useful it will be, and the less time you’ll spend doing duplicate data entry.

2. Dump the Desktop and Decentralize Data

Moving finance to the cloud also means you can get rid of the servers and desktop software, allowing access to your accounting from any PC, tablet, or smartphone.

Making data mobile empowers employees to enter time sheets, sales transactions, purchase orders, inventory adjustments, and other data – right from the field or storefront. This creates an organized, paperless system, and greatly reduces mistakes by pushing the data-entry tasks down to the people who actually generate the data.

3. Know the REAL Cost

Online software is generally sold as a subscription, but don’t let the price tag scare you. In the long run, online software is ALWAYS less expensive than desktop software.

QuickBooks is a great example: It’s no wonder that nearly 20 percent of all QuickBooks users are now using QuickBooks Online instead of the desktop. Larger companies are finding incredible value in hosted QuickBooks Premier from companies like Personable and even hosted QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions from Intuit itself.

Small companies save thousands by moving their software off local servers and into the cloud. Larger firms save even more by reducing IT support staff – even while increasing functionality and reliability.

4. Hire Different

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About David Worrell

David Worrell is a serial entrepreneur, consulting CFO and financial analyst. His new book, Entrepreneur's Guide to Financial Statements, has been called "Mandatory Reading for Small Business Owners". David's tips and tricks for running a more profitable small business can be found here and on his business blog, www.FuseFinancialPartners.com.

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