cloud v desktop software

What is the Difference between Desktop and Cloud Accounting Software?

It seems that the term ‘cloud’ is everywhere these days with many people expounding the benefits of the cloud. So what is it and should you be considering it?

The ‘cloud’ simply refers to software and services that you access using the internet with the data being stored on someone else’s computer rather than your own.

This can offer a number of advantages such as:

• the convenience of being able to access files from anywhere you have internet access,
• not having to install software (and updates) on your own computer,
• easy data sharing (and collaboration), and
• not needing to do backups. However, there are also some down sides such as: 

• potential security issues,
• lack of access if there is no internet connection. Various cloud services are free but with most business applications, you pay a regular fee to access the software and store your data. In effect, you are renting it and you need to keep paying the rental fee to continue the access. As time goes on the small monthly payment accumulates into a sum that often outweighs the cost of a desktop program.

Desktop accounting software is installed and runs on your computer where the data is also usually stored.

The advantages of desktop software are:

• no ongoing fees to use the program,
• data is stored on your own PC,
• doesn’t require internet access. The disadvantages of desktop software are:

• you need your own desktop or laptop computer,
• you need to install the software (and any updates)
• you need to backup your data,
• data sharing is not as easy.There are also hybrid models that can be effective.

For example, with a desktop bookkeeping program you can either save your data or backup to a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Cloud Storage. You can give someone else, such as your accountant for your accounting records, the link to the data so they can also access it as well.

Another example is Cashflow Manager’s Mobile Invoicing App that allows up to 5 team members to create invoices on the job and sync them back into the Cashflow Manager GOLD v9 Desktop program over the cloud.

Cashflow Manager has been supplying to desktop software to UK small business owners since 1998 and is due to release the cloud version in the coming months.

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