Determining how to manage your business’s finances is a crucial consideration but one which is sometimes overlooked by organisations who fail to adapt. While the credit crunch has forced SMEs to keep a stricter eye on their costs and focus more on increasing profits, this is difficult to achieve without having the right solutions and processes in place.

Faced with the conundrum of implementing a financial management solution on-premise or via a multitude of cloud computing applications, it’s hardly surprising that many SMEs struggle to make informed decisions about how best to manage their finances.

If you continue to rely on the same accounting system the likelihood is that your business will quickly outgrow it, users will find it increasingly restrictive, or worse, the current version you are using may no longer be supported.

The good news is that SMEs no longer have to feel burdened by outdated or inefficient accounting solutions that they have easily outgrown, or be locked in to purchasing an expensive new solution with functionality that they don’t need.

To achieve good, efficient financial management SMEs should consider moving to a flexible and reliable cloud-based accounting solution that is capable of meeting their business needs both now and in the future. As well as reducing costs and improving productivity, moving to a cloud application removes the headaches for SMEs to maintain and support IT solutions hosted on their own network, leaving them free to concentrate on innovation and other value added projects.

Cloud-based accounting solutions developed specifically for SMEs come with standard out-of-the-box financial management functionality and can be deployed rapidly (in five days or less) and be accessed via the cloud for a standard monthly fee. As all businesses are different, one size most certainly does not fit all so SMEs should consider the following factors to select the right cloud-based accounting solution for them.

  • Does the solution come with a clear upgrade path? What might be suitable now may not suffice in the future. Choose a flexible solution that is scalable to grow with you so you can move on up as your business evolves
  • Ensure the solution is reliable and easy to use. Is it built on established and trusted technology with templates that are user-friendly even for non-finance professionals?
  • Check your solution is managed and hosted in a UK-based data centre for reassurance that your data is both secure and compliant
  • Review your SLA agreement to find out what level of responsibility your provider will undertake. Check whether on-site training is provided by an experienced team of consultants and if further support is available to you when you need it with no hidden fees
  • Is your solution compatible with smartphones and tablet devices? With more businesses operating mobile workforces, there is a greater need for financial information to be instantly accessible securely and remotely from anywhere in the world.

While some SMEs will remain sceptical about the cloud, those that do can benefit from access to the latest technology with more time and resources available to concentrate on what is really important – increasing efficiency, driving business growth and staying ahead of their competition.