I know from experience how important it is to be in control of the business finances. By being 'in control', I mean to know, right now, exactly how much money you're owed, how much money you owe and much money you have. Without this information, running a business is a bit like riding a motorcycle without glasses (if you need glasses) - you might get to your destination unscathed but it's gonna be a bit tricky!
Problem is that doing the books is rather tiresome, a job that needs to be done properly but it's not exactly exciting. However, it needs to be done and it needs to be done quite regularly, if not daily. So we need all the help we can get. We need to be confident that we're using software that is robust, well thought out and designed for a bookkeeper/accountant.
I've used quite a few different accounting systems over the years and would say that as time goes on, progress is made, albeit slow. Now, of course, is the time for Cloud Accounting software to take the stage and, although sceptical and unsure at first, after 3 years of using, implementing in a variety of organisations and teaching others how to use it (best way of learning!), I would say that it's pretty good. Not perfect - no such thing but pretty good and it's certainly up to the job of keeping FDs up-to-date providing the data goes in quickly and accurately.
So, the Cloud has definately helped us with getting information quickly - paper bank statements by post are long gone, we can get the information as of now and just need to input it. Automate the input by importing or using a 'bank feed' and we've saved time and potential errors by not having to re-key - this is a reality now. Add on to that 'Bank Rec Rules' and most, not all, but most of the transactions are correctly and consistently allocated to customers, suppliers and GL codes. Now we're left with a few allocations to do and then it's mainly a process of checking. Altogether less labourious than making all the entries. So this is progress.
Of course, the other opportunity that the Cloud brings, assuming your Accounting Software is a true cloud based, software-as-a-service type of application, is that it allows you to give access to others anywhere in the world with a computer and an internet connection. Should you wish, it's now much easier to outsource certain functions to those who have a real passion for entering accounting data accurately!
Happy to discuss and share experience. Have a great day and stay in control!