Cloud accounting apps – are they all useful?

I’ve long been annoyed by and critical of the cloud accounting app and software community for selling the sizzle and not the sausage. They promote whizzy tech and leave you with a feeling of missing out if you don’t adopt it.

But is it useful just because it’s techie?

Here’s what happened when we tested a very popular cloud accounting app.

Testing a timesheet app

We do timesheets, been doing them for years. We use our old desktop accounting software for timesheets. Everyone can access and use this software without fuss, but the important bit is the reporting it gives us about productivity and client service.

The information we get from the data entered is exactly what we need.

But in the pioneering spirit of our age I thought I’d give a time recording app a chance. It’s got all the bells and whistles, it integrates with our current accounting software (one of the cloud accounting services) and you can do your timesheet from your phone!

I arranged a free trial, had an hour of online tuition and got it going. During the online tuition I asked about reporting. I showed the tutor a report I rely on in our desktop software and she said it couldn’t be produced in her app. But, she thought, once I had exported the timesheet data to my accounting software I might be able to produce the same report.

No such luck.

I enter the same timesheet data in both the desktop software and the app but only the desktop solution produces the reports I need.

The free trial ended there.

A useful approach to considering new technology

Above all else – conquer your Fear of Missing Out (FoMO). Not all tech is useful, as the case study above demonstrates.

  1. Figure out what systems and processes your business needs
  2. Get them working, learn what goes wrong and how to fix problems
  3. Start to make your systems and processes more scalable and efficient

Step three may or may not involve a cloud accounting app or any other new technology for that matter.

And by way of a sanity check – across our entire client base of owner-managed businesses, run by some pretty switched-on people, I think there are fewer than five apps in regular use.

Visit our dedicated cloud accounting service page to learn more about how you can benefit from using cloud accounting apps.