With COVID-19 forcing us to adapt to home working, cloud based technology has never been more popular and it’s likely that it’s made its way into your accounting software.

Whether you’re a new user or an old hand, it’s worth checking whether you’re getting the maximum benefit from your cloud accounting solution. Like many software products, upgrades and improvements are made on a regular basis, but you might not be using them.

Here are five ways you can get more out of your accounting software.

1. Multi-user access

Multi-user access makes it easy for multiple stakeholders in multiple locations to access the financial data of the organisation. This can particularly useful for not for profits who often have board members who may need to access financial data but are unable to go into the organisation’s office. It is likely that you’ll have board members or staff who  rely on reports that are generated from your finance systems, but don’t need to access the operational side of your cloud accounting. Multi-user access can restrict or limit certain functions to allow for differing levels of access, so that board members and employees can access certain reports, but can’t access your payroll, or make transactions. Have a look at the different access options on your accounting solution. You may be able to cut out some intermediary functions – like report generation and distribution – by giving report users permission to view reports on the system.

2. Paperless

Cloud based accounting software helps you create a paperless finance function. Well-known benefits of going paperless include improved security, better visibility over actions made by all users, less risk of human error and of course potential cost/environmental benefits. In the context of your finance function, going paperless can allow you to perform required tasks, such as month end reconciliations, from any location.

With that said, transitioning your finance function to a paperless finance function does not automatically occur when you use a cloud-based accounting software. Improvements in accounting software and software that integrates with it have come a long way. If you’re still using paper within your finance function it is worth exploring how your accounting software, and potentially other software  integrations, can be used to eliminate all paper, including receipts and invoices.

3. Integrations with other platforms

Cloud based technology has allowed multiple platforms and software to more easily talk to each other and share required data. This is no different for cloud based accounting software. Accounting software can integrate with Client Relationship Management (CRM) software, inventory systems and staff rostering systems. For example, CBB recently worked with a NDIS provider that is using a cloud based staff rostering platform that integrates with their cloud based accounting software to significantly streamline their payroll process.

4. Automatic Updates

Not for profits, like many other organisations, have much more important things to do than worry about whether or not they are using the latest version of their accounting software. Cloud based accounting software automatically updates which means that, just like when you use Google or Facebook, you never have to worry if you’re using the latest version.

The downside to automatic updates is that new, useful features may become available without you being aware of them. Where possible it is recommended that at least one person in your organisation is abreast of changes made to your accounting software, with a view to implement and use new features should they be of a benefit to the organisation. User groups, specialist media and online forums can be an easy and low cost way to keep up to date with new functions (and bugs!).

5. Adviser access

For many not for profit organisations, their location can limit their access to support. This is particularly true for rural organisations who do not have an array of advisers and consultants in close proximity to them. Cloud based accounting software allows organisations to work with advisers that are not in a geographical proximity as their financial data is far more accessible.

When you next look to engage an adviser, keep in mind that your cloud based accounting software will allow you to work with a wider range of advisers. Look for advisers who are familiar with the accounting software that you use. This will allow a smoother flow of information between your organisation and your adviser, which help maximise the value you obtain in a more time efficient manner.