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Moving a small business or personal accounting solution to a cloud-based platform doesn’t have to mean giving up the tried and true accounting tools that you know and love. And no, that doesn’t simply move using the online version of QuickBooks instead of using the old software version.
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs have made the move to cloud-based accounting, but are still choosing to use a more traditional accounting solution to supplement and support their web-based functionality. Freelancers are also combining a variety of cloud-based apps in order to fulfill all of their personal and business financial needs.
If you’re not quite ready to make the leap all the way into the Cloud, or if you’d like some recommendations for the best complementary cloud-based accounting products, consider a few of these matches made in organizational heaven:
Google Drive and Excel
Excel spreadsheets are one of the Seven Wonders of the accounting world and are, according to CEO Peter Minton of Minton Law Group, “still relevant” as an accounting solution.
If you’ve spent any time at all dabbling in Excel, you know that the formulas alone can make the person creating them feel like a rocket scientist, and the poor soul unfamiliar with the application feel like tearing their hair out. Excel is not necessarily intuitive or user-friendly, but it is incredibly powerful and accurate.
The spreadsheet available in Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) is able to perform most of the same functions as an Excel spreadsheet, with a few exceptions.
The Google Drive spreadsheet is great for:
• Real time collaborations with clients and co-workers
• Updating static data
• Analyzing small amounts of data
Excel is still best for:
• Utilizing the keyboard shortcuts that allow you to work quickly in the application
• Analyzing medium to large amounts of data
• Creating pivot tables
A marriage between Excel and Google Drive works best when spreadsheets with large amounts of data or complicated formulas are created in Excel, and then shared and edited with Google Drive.
Another great option for blending the best of both worlds is to use SkyDrive, a product from Microsoft that lets you easily share and edit the document. One drawback to SkyDrive is that live collaboration is not yet possible.
Where Shoeboxed fits in
The reason Shoeboxed plays so well with so many online accounting solutions is that it does all the annoying legwork for you. Shoeboxed accepts completely disorganized envelopes full of your most tangled, uncategorized receipts. Shoeboxed then takes that information, digitizes it, organizes it, and formats it for export to your favorite accounting solution program (for a full list, please see: www.shoeboxed.com/partners).
Cloud-based accounting solutions are the natural next step in the progression toward organization, since they allow you to analyze and make sense of the numbers that Shoeboxed extracts. Using Shoeboxed in tandem with an online account solution is like hiring your own personal accountant and therapist, and finding out that they’ve been meeting in secret to talk about your future.
Wave Accounting and Human Accounting
Wave Accounting is a particularly popular cloud-based platform that lets you send invoices, track spending, and keep tabs on your business and personal finances. This accounting solution is made for those of us who aren’t accountants, but at the same time is 100% “accountant approved.”
While Wave lets you enter and track multiple accounts, it is also engaging in double-entry accounting, which is what your real live accountant wants to see. The best part about all this is that you don’t even need to know what double-entry accounting is to get all the benefits.
Wave Accounting lets you do your part, and makes your professional accountant’s life much simpler in the process. This marriage combines the ease and convenience of a cloud-based application with the human expertise of your favorite number-cruncher. And while we all love a computer’s ability to get things done faster and more efficiently, sometimes there is no substitute for a real live person’s ability to read between the lines and catch that one (important) thing our MacBook missed.
To create your very own accounting solution made in heaven, try combining something old, something new, something borrowed…and something that doesn’t have an on/off button.
Which old-school software can you not live without?