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How cloud accounting is affecting insolvency professionals

How to access cloud data | How to review or export cloud data | Cloud providers | Share your experience

 

Cloud accounting is seeing significant growth, bringing new challenges to insolvency professionals.

 

The main reasons that companies use cloud accounting software are:

 

- There are no software updates.  The cloud is accessible via an internet browser.

- Authorised personnel have quick and easy access to data, from anywhere

- Data is always up-to-date with the latest changes

- Data security and off-site backups are outsourced

 

The cloud can be thought of as someone else's computer and, therefore, the shift towards cloud accounting is impacting business review and insolvency professionals in the following ways:

 

- An increasing amount of data is accessible from anywhere, and so off-site data backups are becoming more critical

- Accessing, reviewing and exporting data held in the cloud requires new skills

- The gatekeepers through which data can be accessed are expanding requiring new relationships with cloud providers

 

An article written by a solicitor outlines some of the contractual considerations in accessing financial data held in the cloud, and I don't disagree with the points raised, but I do think the solution to first gain access to online financial data and then to review or export the required data can be much simpler.

 

 

How to access financial data held in the cloud

First the basics, you'll need an internet connection and an up-to-date browser.

 

Next, you'll need to know which cloud provider the business uses.  Then, there are three key stakeholders to approach to gain access to the required data.

 

- The cloud provider

- An external accountant or bookkeeper 

- The business's finance director 

 

Pick one, two or all three, and follow these steps:

 

- Ask them to provide a complete export of the firm's latest financial data held in the cloud.  If you don't have access to the cloud for this data to be imported in their proprietary file format, you should request a more generic file format such as CSV or Excel.  

 

- Set up a master account with the cloud provider.  This will allow you to login as an accountant, and be able to see a dashboard of the other firms' financial data, to which you have been granted access.  Ask to gain the required permissions to access the data.

 

"The Insolvency Practitioner could speak to FreeAgent direct to ask them to transfer the clients account onto their Dashboard. There is no additional cost in doing this and it takes 10 minutes to speak to Free Agent, with them normally transferring the client within 2 days." Tom Bowen ACCA CTA - Hilton Sharp & Clarke

 

- Ask for login details to get direct access to the business's subscription.  This will mean that you avoid having to create a master account (and any related costs that may apply).

 

"To get access to the ClearBooks data for a client, you just need the business owner or (more usually) the accountant to set you up as a user. This will take them seconds. There is no additional per-user fee." Tom Trainer BSc FCA - Chartered Accountant Online

 

"There is no extra charge for adding users to each organisation, so make sure every user has their own separate and secure login." Xero website

 

Points to consider:

If the data is only going to be exported to CSV or Excel then you may only need access to the required data for a day, a week at most.

 

Cloud software is often paid for monthly in arrears.  This will limit the pre-appointment debt that may need to be settled in order to obtain access to the required data.

 

Even if a payment has lapsed, data in the cloud should be accessible once a new account is opened.

 

 

How to review or export financial data held in the cloud

Once you have access to the cloud where the data is stored, you can either review the data where it is, or proceed to export the data.  It is important that you export the data as soon as possible.  At the flick of a switch your access rights could be removed, or worse, the cloud provider could enter an insolvency process.

 

"Exporting financial data can be done very easily in FreeAgent, assuming the correct export report is available, it depends exactly what you want to export. It takes just a few minutes to do this, and can be done in FreeAgent by the insolvency practitioner or anyone else with access rights to the data." Jon Green - Approved Accounting

 

Details on importing and exporting data from Xero can be found here.

 

"If a client has cancelled their FreeAgent subscription they will be unable to access their data in the future, they will need to ensure everything has been downloaded in a CSV format." Tom Bowen ACCA CTA - Hilton Sharp & Clarke

 

"If the subscription with ClearBooks is closed then the data will be deleted after 60 days. This is in line with the policy set out here." Tom Trainer BSc FCA - Chartered Accountant Online

 

Instructions to review or export the financial data vary depending on the cloud provider.  Please see the separate sections below for helpful links.

 

 

Cloud providers

 
 
 

KashFlow

IRIS KashFlow Connect is free to use. It's the easy way to manage all of your clients' KashFlow accounts from a single dashboard
http://www.iris.co.uk/cloud-solutions/iris-kashflow-connect-dashboard

Knowledge base articles, live and pre-recorded webinars, and in person training and supplementary materials
http://www.kashflow.com/akademy

ClearBooks

Get a free account to manage your own books and your client accounts
http://www.clearbookspro.com/accountants

Frequently asked questions, community discussion and online help guides
http://www.clearbooks.co.uk/support

Xero

Software for accountants is free with accredited training for your team
http://www.xero.com/uk/partners

Online guides and community support
http://www.xero.com/uk/support

QuickBooks Online

Software to support all your QuickBooks clients
http://accountants.intuit.com/accounting/tnt/proadvisor/8236/index.jsp

QuickBooks Online support
https://support.qbo.intuit.com/us/quickbooks-online-support

Sage One

Sage One for accountants and bookkeepers
http://uk.sageone.com/accountant-edition

Online help centre
http://uk.sageone.com/support

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FreeAgent

Pay monthly for only the licences you need.
http://www.freeagent.com/accountants

Knowledge base, frequently asked questions and webinars
http://www.freeagent.com/support

Bright Pearl

How to invite an accountant
http://www.brightpearl.com/support/documentation/accountant-access


Documentation, training videos, webinars and a forum
http://www.brightpearl.com/support

Liquid Accounts

Free real time access to client's accounts
http://www.liquidaccounts.com/accountant-bookkeeper-accounting-software/

Help documentation
http://www.liquidaccounts.com/support

MYOB

Bookkeepers and accounting practice software
http://myob.com.au/accounting-practices-1258090781416

Knowledge base, hints and tips and downloadable releases
http://myob.com.au/accounting-practices/accounting-client-service-support-1258090827792

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