This first episode of the season on free and low-cost tools looks at finance and accounting applications. I assume that these will not be the most fun and exciting applications we cover. However, they will be some of the most critical to any business.
Accounting Applications For You
As we go over the applications in this episode, it is essential for you to remember that the best tools will be the one that works the closest to your current processes. When you find yourself fighting against your application, then it is time for a change.
These tools have a range of features and types of business that they focus on. The good news is that there are free trial periods available for each of them. Take advantage of the trial to check out how hard or easy they are to use in your regular accounting tasks. Also, your accountant will most likely need to use these, so get their input as well. There is no need for you to love a tool and have your accountant either hate it or not have systems that can integrate with your choice.
In The Cloud?
One of the concerns you may have with some of these solutions is the viability of a financial application in the cloud. I have to agree that any time you open your systems up to the Internet, there is a chance of getting hacked. That means security is a valid concern. However, you will want to ensure the availability of backups and a solid uptime over security. There is no value in having your data safe and secure while you are not able to access it.
In particular, consider the nightmare of having to get entries in before an audit deadline and the systems are down. A cloud provider can have this problem, but you can too. What if your laptop gets left on the roof of your car or is dropped, or your desktop in plugged in during a lightning strike. All of these situations have happened to people I know (including myself). The cloud can be scary, but avoid making it seem more dangerous than it is. When in doubt, use safety mechanisms like multi-factor authentication or the highest encryption levels available.
Here are the sites we discuss in this episode.