If you’ve read any of our articles, you’ll understand that we are big on cloud based business for its efficiency and reliability, but it’s also a big business-saver when it comes to business continuity. This time of year reminds us of the importance of having a solid backup plan in place, as it comes with its own natural disasters. Worldwide pandemic aside, in the past month, we've had earthquakes, hurricanes, and tropical storms, as well as hard core thunderstorms with tornado activity. Both of our offices are in areas that see both hurricanes and tornadoes, so Accountfully is not immune in Charleston or Nashville, and neither are our clients, who have offices across the nation.
If you are still on the fence about whether or not cloud based systems are worth it, or if you are looking for some inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Now is a good time to rethink it, especially with the current pandemic and work climate (pun completely intended) as tumultuous as the weather this time of year. Let’s revisit why you need cloud based essentials, a business continuity plan and see which of our go-to’s may help your situation.
Cloud Based Is Here To Stay Whether You Like It Or Not
As COVID precautions closed businesses, and schools went online earlier this year, we were all plunged into the way of remote and cloud based operation. If businesses and their employees hadn’t dabbled in ways to function on the cloud before COVID, they certainly got a crash course in it when quarantine and social distancing started. Making lifestyle and workplace adjustments to stay healthy and socially distant are here to stay, which means so is the cloud based functioning and remote collaboration.
Employees may miss the camaraderie and social time with coworkers, but there are some benefits on both the business and employee side coming out of the new way of functioning.
Businesses are likely seeing more productivity from happier employees, employees are seeing the added benefit of less commute time wasted, and feel they have a better work-life balance. Companies may even realize that there can be serious benefits to being open to hiring remote workers, now that they have adjusted to accommodating it. That means hiring from a wider pool of talent and potential cost savings on office space, supplies and benefits (if they are hired as contractors).
Companies and employees know they can go remote when necessary now, so it’s a great time to step up and incorporate the efficiencies of cloud based systems permanently.
How Cloud Based Helps Your Business Continuity
Employee and employer efficiency aside, let’s steer back to the nuts and bolts of why staying cloud based is good for business continuity in general. We’ve written a few articles on this subject, where you can read in more detail why it makes sense to be able to function from anywhere, but we’ll lay out some bullet points here:
Records, files and important documents can’t be harmed or lost altogether by floods, fires and the unknown. Keeping copies of all important documents on a drive or cloud based system means the devastating blow (thing fire, water, theft, insert paper document destruction scenario here) to the old filing cabinet in the corner won’t devastate your operations.
Payroll and timekeeping stays on track. The heartbeat of your company is kept beating by your hard working employees. Take good care of them. They will be dealing with their own challenges associated with business disruption; pandemics, home schooling, evacuations, power outages, relocation, you name it. This is when they really need that steady paycheck, so make sure your time keeping and associated payments are automated or easily adjusted and carried out from afar. Bonus points if there are mobile friendly apps where employees can track time and access money from their phone too.
Vendors (and the associated products and services) that make you money stay happy and paid. Similar to the payroll side of things, having the ability to access bills and make payments online to vendors as well as billing (and electronically receiving payment from) clients will keep your cash flow moving in the right direction.
Access to your business numbers to make decisions. Having the ability to generate reports and access your business numbers from afar means you can make big decisions with the proper data, not letting guesswork dictate big changes. More bonus points if you outsource your accounting to a team that can help with this.
Centralized documentation is available to everyone from anywhere. Just like having access to your business numbers, having access to SOP’s/manuals, onboarding documents, contact info, logins to important accounts, and general instructions means that it doesn’t always require a gate person for the business to keep running smoothly. Do you really need a manager to approve and do everything? No. Does HR have to edit employee info - like new addresses, health insurance changes? No. We’re all adults here. Let’s take some of the hassle out of basic tasks. Online options for login storage and having cloud based access to common items used means increased productivity.
The benefits are vast, but don’t forget to make and communicate your business continuity plan itself, so that your team knows what to do, what to expect, and where to go to be most efficient while operations are outside of the office or outside of the norm.
A Few of Our Go-To’s
We are all a bit overwhelmed nowadays so some ideas and examples may help get the gears turning for what works best for your business. We dedicated any entire page to this on our resources page, so feel free to dive in and read more there. In the meantime, here is the bullet point version:
Google Drive: Google is all present when it comes to the internet, but it's also because it’s really efficient and helpful. From using a standard login over various apps, to easy video chats, virtual phone numbers, to centralized access to and storage of company documents. This is an easy to use way to keep things stored, organized and easily shared. The mobile apps allow for ease of use and access from your smartphone too! PS - this is also where your business continuity plan should live.
Quickbooks Online: This is the backbone system for our clients. This is where your bookkeeping, reporting and easy access to numbers lives.
1Password: For those multiple logins and passwords, this is the ticket. Store all of your logins that need to be shared within teams or company wide. It allows easy copy features, an area where you can leave notes and instructions, and it's safe and secure.
Harvest: This is a great app for time tracking that syncs with Quickbooks, so you can track project profitability and more. It is easily accessible by laptop, desktop, or phone.
Gusto: For easy and efficient payroll, Gusto lets employees manage their own information for taxes, payroll, and benefits.
Bill.com: This allows you to pay bills and get paid from afar, and set up and automate recurring payments with ease.
This is only an abbreviated version of some of the cool systems we use and recommend to our clients. Make sure to visit our Cloud Based Resources page to get the full rundown.
Are you sold yet? We hope that you can sleep a bit easier knowing that your business doesn’t have to suffer each time a storm hits or the internet goes down. By incorporating cloud based tools into your company, you can stay on track and keep your employees engaged efficiently, whether they are in the office or not.
If you need Accountfully to help get things set up and take over the numbers side of your business, let us know. Head over to our get started page and tell us a bit about your situation.