In-house Accounting Software vs. Online Solutions. Which to Choose

Whether you choose to run your business accounting via online accounting options or through an in-house accounting software package depends on various factors. We discuss the pros and cons of online accounting services to help you make an informed decision.

Ease of access

What’s good: Online accounting services are accessible at any time, from anywhere, through an internet connection. To access this accounting solution, there is no need for a VPN.

However: Anytime, anywhere access does carry potential risk such as the security of the Wi-Fi connections that are used. Another consideration is that your employees need to protect their screen views from onlookers if they are in a public place.

The security factor

What’s good: If you are the owner of a small company, an online bookkeeping service may provide you with better security options than you would be able to provide yourself with an in-house software solution.

However: The level of security you need for your company is dependent on the online service that you choose. To lock down access, however, larger financial institutions prefer to keep their accounting interactions within their own network.

The compatibility factor

What’s good: Many online accounting solutions are compatible across all platforms.

However: In order to be able to use the service, you need to have internet access, whereas if you have your bookkeeping software in-house, you will be able to sync any time that you are on your computer.

The usage of resources

What’s good: Online accounting service providers are responsible for keeping your services running and they have to provide IT backup support.

However: In order to be able to run online bookkeeping services, you need adequate bandwidth and if your business is located in remote areas without proper internet access, this could pose some challenges.

Employee productivity

What’s good: Businesses have reported increased employee productivity with the use of online services as any bookkeeping task can be undertaken remotely without having to be at the office.

However: A reliable internet connection is necessary. If this is not always possible it may greatly hinder employee productivity and affect deadlines.

Backup options

What’s good: Internet based accounting service providers are responsible for data backup which is convenient.

However: You need to depend on the provider to keep your sensitive information safe and secure which may not be the right solution for every business.

What about up-front costs?

What’s good: In most cases, the initial cost for online accounting solutions is lower than if you were to purchase in-house bookkeeping software.

However: Online services may cost a little more in the long run as they often require you to commit to a long-term contract.

While many businesses today are choosing online accounting solutions, it is important to consider accessibility, security, initial and maintenance costs. In order to choose the best solution for your business it is advisable to weigh up all the pros and cons carefully.

Sage Pastel is South Africa’s leading developer of accounting, payroll, ERP and business software for the small, medium and large enterprise markets. Sage Pastel has many years of experience and is the preferred choice of South African businesses.