What to consider when choosing between desktop, hosted or cloud

Accountants | Bookkeepers

In a recent blog post I covered off the common differences between three accounting software platforms – desktop, hosted and cloud. But how do you decide which one is right for your needs or your client’s needs?

One way of going about this is to first look at what your business and technology requirements are. By considering these before choosing a platform, it may help your business get the best setup.

So in this blog post I want to share with you two lists – The first list covers business considerations and the second list covers technology considerations.

These lists aren’t exhaustive and certainly aren’t intended to be prescriptive – if you can add to the lists let me know. I’d also be interested to hear what drove you to choose the accounting software platform you currently use and what would change your preference in the future.

What are some of the key business considerations to make when choosing an accounting software platform?

  • Business objective/s – Ok, sounds obvious, but what do you hope to gain from using the program? Are you looking to be more productive? Or improve business reporting? There are lots of ways accounting software can help a business. Defining what you want out of a program up front will go a long way to helping you making a better choice.
  • Specialised industry needs – what specific needs does your business have that your accounting software needs to support?
  • Functionality – will your business need tools to manage inventory or payroll, and how complex are those requirements? Consider all the practical functional requirements your business has and what features are most important.
  • User experience and preference – which accounting software platform would you prefer and why? There are plenty of examples of small businesses that prefer cloud accounting because they need access to the program in the office, at home, and while travelling.
  • Geographic location – could your location have an impact on the choice you make? It’s important to look at internet speed and support options.
  • Price – just about every product and every platform has a different type of pricing model, so consider what you’re willing to pay achieve the objective/s you’ve defined up front.
  • Number of users – how many people in your business need access to the program?
  • Training and support – have you used accounting software before? Consider your level of knowledge now and what type of help you might need to get started.

What are some of the key technology considerations to make when choosing an accounting software platform?

  • Internet connectivity – how reliable is your internet connection? This can impact how your software operates whether it is on the desktop, hosted or cloud platform.
  • Security – what security features will your business need? Will you have multiple staff access data and need to have user role permissions set up.
  • 3rd party integration – does your business require “add-ons” or other programs to perform?
  • Mobile tools – will you need to access your business data on a mobile device?
  • Data storage and recovery – what sort of back-up system does your business have? Your business set-up, as well as the accounting software program you choose will have an impact on how you save and retrieve data back-ups. If you choose accounting software on the hosted or cloud platform, your data is often safely stored offsite.

Can you add to these lists? Do you have a platform preference?

We’re looking to learn more about what drives different businesses to choose a particular accounting software platform so we can better provide for their needs. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Comments