Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

What is Cloud Accounting?

Intuit’s eBook “The Appification of Small Business” projects that 78% of small businesses will depend on cloud technology in 2020. Furthermore, Technavio’s report on the global business accounting software market 2017-2021 estimates that the market size will grow to $4.1 billion by 2021 at a CAGR of more than 6% over the period. Hence, the cloud is growing at a rapid speed, and the accounting industry is not an exception.

So what is cloud accounting? Cloud accounting simply refers to accounting software that sends, processes and stores data off-premises (in the cloud), rather than the traditional accounting software approach with on-premise hosting. Thus, the cloud is essentially a metaphor for the Internet. There are many benefits with this approach, but one of the main ones is that it allows an employee to access data from anywhere, anytime and any device, granted that you have access to the Internet.

Cloud accounting software can be used in-house by employees, purchased from a third-party or outsourced in a hybrid model. Additionally, the most common model that cloud providers offer is “pay-as-you-go”, subscription based, where businesses only pay for the services they use and can upgrade to meet their needs as they grow.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

What are the Main Functions of Cloud Accounting Software?

Cloud accounting software can perform many different functions, depending on the needs of your business and what type of software provider you choose. Most commonly though, accounting software can perform the following functions:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • General ledger
  • Billing
  • Stock/inventory
  • Purchase order
  • Sales order
  • Bookkeeping

Moreover, cloud accounting software providers can also offer a mix of the following functions:

  • Expense reporting
  • Time-sheet tracking
  • Sales tax
  • Payroll
  • Reconciliation
  • Reports

Types of Cloud Accounting Software

Cloud accounting software is a solution that works for many different types of businesses; startups, early-stage companies, small and mid-size businesses (SMBs), and high end market corporations. One of the main advantages of cloud software is that businesses can choose what services they need and easily scale if they have growing needs. On the low end, businesses may simply need the software for basic accounting tasks, while on the high-end, corporations invest in accounting software that is ultimately an integrated part of an extensive suite of software called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

What are the Benefits of Cloud Accounting Software?

1. Remote Access

As Internet access continues to grow worldwide, remote access is becoming an especially important benefit of cloud accounting software. Visual Networking Forecast (VNI) has been tracking Internet growth for over a decade, and estimates that by 2020 over 4 billion people will be using the Internet. While forecasting is difficult, VNI has historically predicted within 10% of actual growth rates. The cloud allows employees to access data, via the Internet, from basically anywhere. This is a huge advantage for businesses who have employees that work in multiple locations or are often travelling.

2. Automated Processes

Automation is a huge benefit and opportunity for accountants because it allows them to focus on more important business tasks than manual and time-consuming processes such as data entering. Technology has disrupted manual processes and made the profession more efficient and strategic. As a result of automation, data is collected faster, which ultimately allows employees to have more insights and make quicker decisions. Accountants that are willing to embrace technology will, consequently, be able to take on more strategic roles in the future and benefit from automation.

3. Cost Saving

The cloud is disrupting the software industry. Since you only pay for the services you use, most providers offer clients a subscription model with monthly payment installments. As a result, customers are able to get the latest software for a minimal cost and the ability to scale if they have a growing demand of services. With cloud software, customers don’t have to worry about maintenance and update costs because those are managed by the provider. The cloud has essentially empowered customers by giving them a more affordable way to access the latest software.


In conclusion, cloud accounting software is an incredibly powerful tool that can give any business, regardless of size, a huge advantage in decision-making, efficiency and cost reduction. If you are interested in learning more about technology in the accounting industry, check out the related blog posts below.

Related Posts:
Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Predicted to Takeover

Forrester reported last summer that they estimate that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of US jobs by 2025. Additionally, Gartner has predicted that one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines within ten years. Moreover, McKinsey & Co found in an analysis that “as many as 45% of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies.”

AI Takeover – What Does it Mean?

AI takeover is not a new concept; it has served as the main theme in many movies over the last decades; such as the Terminator and Matrix film series. However, science fiction films have mainly focused on true AI takeover (taking control over the planet over the human race).

There are mixed opinions on to what extend of AI takeover will happen and whether it is good for the labor force or not. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most known scientists, said in 2014 that he believes that “computers will overtake with AI at some within the next 100 years. When that happens we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours”. Whether it will happen in that time frame or not, one cannot argue with how technology has disrupted the labor force in the past decade.

Does AI Remove or Create Jobs?

Technology has, in the past 10 years, created jobs that never existed before; such as app developer, social media manager, and cloud computing services. Technology has also allowed humans to become more productive and created more opportunities for consumer empowerment. But is this going to be the case with AI?

Fully developed AI systems will essentially perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence. Thus, machines would be able to learn autonomously, make decisions and interact with the world via sensory capabilities.

Related: 3 Key Tech Benefits in Healthcare

Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Accenture predicts that 80% of accounting and finance tasks will be automated in the next five years. What does this mean for the future of accounting professionals?

AI is going to change the accounting profession. But rather than replacing accountants, it is simply going to alter the tasks of accountants. Bernard Marr, an author specializing in business, technology and big data, wrote in a recent article for Forbes that “it is high time for every accountant to reflect on their job, identify the opportunities machine learning could offer to them, and focus less on the tasks that can be automated and more on those inherently human aspects of their jobs”.

Ultimately, accountants need to stay ahead of the technology curve and figure out what tasks they can automate. This, as a result, will allow for more time on tasks that still require human intelligence. Robots will not replace accountants anytime soon; however, AI will definitely disrupt and change the profession.

Related: Cloud Software – The Competitive Advantage

What are you doing to stay ahead of the technology curve?

Re-branding: New Look for Lavoie

Re-branding: New Look for Lavoie

As you may have noticed, we recently launched a new website in addition to a new brand look in the form of an updated logo, colors and tagline. We embarked on this re-branding journey a few months ago because we wanted our brand to better represent our unique position in the market as a nontraditional accounting firm that also focuses on cloud-based software solutions. We believe that our new brand better displays our role as a strategic and innovative partner to our clients.

Updated Website

The website has been entirely re-designed to aid visitors in navigating through our offering. First of all, the design is simpler and thus easier to navigate. Additionally, we have focused on improving content to better educate visitors on our offering and company information. Our solutions are now listed in our main three categories: software, outsourced accounting and projects. Additionally, visitors can also navigate through the industries we work with (software companies, business services, private equity and venture capital, and healthcare).

Re-designed logo

Since 2009, our main focus has been to help our clients in accounting and technology solutions; however, our old logo did not tell this story. Therefore, we are very excited with our new logo that has specifically incorporated design elements from accounting and technology. The “o” in Lavoie is interestingly based on the design of an abacus; a counting frame that was used as a calculating tool before the Hindu-Arabic numeral system was adopted.

New Tagline – “Efficiency Reimagined”

“We are very excited to reveal our new and fresh look and tagline, which speaks toward our innovation and ability to help clients reimagine new ways to accomplish their goals,” said Sharai Lavoie, CEO and Managing Member.

Needless to say, we are excited for our new look and hope you enjoy browsing our new site!

How to Improve Your FP&A Process Right Now

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If you haven't already, it is time to consider switching over to the cloud. Gartner recently released a report on cloud computing where they predicted that by 2020, a corporate "no-cloud" policy will be as rare as a "no-internet" policy is today. In order to stay...
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7 Ways Technology Helps Your Nonprofit Grow

There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, including public charities, private foundations, and other types of nonprofit organizations such as chambers of commerce. According to a report by PNP Staffing Group, the nonprofit sector has grown 20% in the...
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Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

What is Cloud Accounting? Intuit's eBook "The Appification of Small Business" projects that 78% of small businesses will depend on cloud technology in 2020. Furthermore, Technavio's report on the global business accounting software market 2017-2021 estimates that the...
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3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

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Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Predicted to Takeover Forrester reported last summer that they estimate that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of US jobs by 2025. Additionally, Gartner...
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3 Things Millennials Want from Accounting Firms

3 Things Millennials Want from Accounting Firms

Bill.com recently presented results from a survey they conducted with more than 1,000 business owners on services, technology and billing. The 2017 Millennial Business Owner-Accounting Firm Survey primarily focused on accounting expectations from Millennials and other cohorts as it relates to their roles as business owners.

Why Is the Focus on Millennials?

Well, as of the beginning of 2015, they are the largest cohort in the US labor force. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to figure out how and why this cohort is fundamentally different from earlier generations. Based on insights from the survey we have summarized the 3 main things millennial business owners want from accounting firms.

1. Go Paperless

Paperless is no longer an expectation, it’s the norm. Filing and storing paper is cumbersome. We live in a digital world. Electronic and cloud-based services offers access anytime, anywhere and from anywhere. 82% of respondents said they would be “very pleased” or “pleased” if their accounting firm offered paperless services.

2. Strategic Guidance

52% of millennials in the survey indicated that they need a firm that offers insight as it relates to strategy and guidance. Thus, they want services such as fractional CFO or controller services.

3. Respond in a Timely Manner

An overwhelming majority of millennials (72%) said that the most important trait of an accounting firm was to respond to their communications in a timely manner. We live in a world where businesses no longer have regular business hours. The Internet has extended the hours that businesses are operating and also changed consumers’ expectations. Consequently, millennial business owners expect prompt responses from their accounting firms.

So What?

The insights from Bill.com’s survey are not surprising. Cloud-computing is predicted to continue growing at a steady rate. Additionally, consumers continue to expect more as the digital climate continues to develop and empower consumers. Thus, the takeaway from this should be that accounting firms need to be experts on what their customers expects. The bottom line is – you want your customers to be happy – and to do so you need to make sure you are meeting their expectations. If your main customer base consists of millennials, then three things you should consider doing are going paperless, offering CFO services and oversee your processes on response time with customers.

To learn more about what millennial business owners want from their accounting firms, download the 2017 Millennial Business Owner-Accounting Firm Survey special report or infographic.

What It Takes to Fuel the Accounting Profession Pipeline

What It Takes to Fuel the Accounting Profession Pipeline

Amy Pitter, Massachusetts Society of CPAs President & CEO recently attended an AICPA conference; below is her take on fueling the accounting profession pipeline.

1) Early Exposure

Individuals who are introduced to the accounting profession at a young age are more likely to join the profession. Thus, if you have a close friend or family member who is a CPA, you are more likely to pursue a career in accounting. That may come as a surprise to some of you, but there you have it.

What can we do about it?

While some people grow up in families full of CPAs, many young people, especially those from diverse backgrounds, have likely never met a CPA in their lives. While we can’t control people’s friends and families, we can do things to increase their exposure to CPAs.  One easy way is to have members of the profession volunteer to provide hands on outreach and education about financial literacy. This could perhaps be done in partnership with a local school or a Boys and Girls Club. What better way to provide young people with important life skills, but also to spark their interest in a career.

2) Sitting for the CPA Exam

Sitting for the Exam takes time and money – lots of it. These are two commodities in short supply for students and aspiring CPAs. The research indicates roughly one-third of accounting students who intend to sit for the Exam fail to take it. Financial barriers work against expanding the profession to a more diverse “first generation” of accountants.

What can we do about it?
  • Reduce the financial barriers with scholarships. For example, some states have endowments while others raise money annually. This is an investment in the future of the profession and well worth it.
  • Support aspiring CPAs in your firm with time off to study for the Exam. The short-term “work,” like providing scholarships, is a critical investment in the future.
  • Work with NASBA and the state boards to build some flexibility into the process. Also, look at blackout periods and restrictions on what courses are creditable to minimum education requirements.

We don’t want anything to lower the bar for professional competence and integrity, but easing the logistics could go a long way.

3) Finding Value 

There are some young people who find that public accounting is not a good fit for them. This may cause them to leave the profession for financial and management roles elsewhere.

What can we do about it?

The Spring Council meeting featured a panel of bright, articulate students and young professionals who talked about what they value in a career. These folks are looking for work-life integration; they want opportunities to socialize and network with their peers and to “do good” in the world (hint: see financial literacy above). Firms should not be afraid to allow their young associates to mix and mingle.  It will strengthen their ties to the profession and ultimately, to you.

Another thing to think about – organizational culture. It matters.  An individual who does not find a good fit, for example, in a large firm might find one in a small or mid-size firm.  We should consider counseling programs to help bright young people transition to firms with a better cultural fit rather than lose them altogether.

In conclusion, it is almost impossible to be in a room of managing partners of an accounting firm without turning to questions of how to recruit and retain the best talent for the future of the profession.  It’s easy to think about short-term tactical solutions to the problem, career fairs, better on campus recruiting, better software to manage the process, etc., but I think the real answer lies in embracing some of these long-term,  high-value, strategic solutions which will ultimately make the real difference in fueling the pipeline.