John Knight: New ways of working

There’s no doubt the advent of the global pandemic forced businesses to adopt new ways of working. Here, John Knight examines five ways moving to the cloud saves you both money and time.

Many real estate businesses have been operating in cloud-based software applications for years, but when Covid came along, those who were not already using cloud computing were forced to embrace it to continue trading.

Moving to the cloud can mean different things to different people, from moving your server offsite to having all your software needs met through cloud-based software applications.

Either way, there can be significant cost savings, but some of the real benefits of the cloud are much broader and can help your overall business strategy.

I think Xero, businessDEPOT’s preferred cloud-based accounting application is an excellent example of how going to the cloud can add value in a business.

Below I will use the example of Xero to help explain the broader strategic benefits of going to the cloud

1. Outsourcing and offshoring

There is no reason why support cannot easily be provided from offshore or outsourced resources with a cloud-based business.

With everyone working in the same system on a live basis, it does not matter where your team is based.

It also makes it easier to access expert advisors worldwide and share the same information with them, just like they were in the office. 

Xero, for example, makes it possible to hire someone in the Philippines to do some bookkeeping or engage with someone like businessDEPOT to advise your real estate business irrespective of where your office is located.

2. Integration

Most cloud-based systems are part of a wider ecosystem of seamlessly integrating solutions.

This not only eliminates the need for entering data into more than one application, but it also improves the accuracy of your data by eliminating the chance of human error with data entry.

The entire Xero ecosystem of apps has been built on the premise of freely sharing data between applications, making it easy for most property management and sales CRM systems (among others) to seamlessly talk to Xero.

3. Speed 

Moving to the cloud generally improves the timeliness of your data.

This not only increases the accuracy and relevance of reports you are reviewing, but it also means you can do more with your data.

Getting quick feedback and responses from your clients becomes a reality, which tends to improve the overall customer experience, and we all know that can lead to more referrals and more sales.

Data feeds directly from the bank to Xero, which mean that your accounting data has never been more up-to-date.  

4. Work anywhere

With flexibility in hours and work from home pretty much an essential offering for all employers in 2022, the plus-side of a cloud-based system is attracting and retaining staff irrespective of where they are based.

As an avid Xero user, I can easily sit on the beach while approving payments, reviewing accounts, and answering questions. 

With cloud-based technology, an employee’s situation no longer limits them from working for you. 

5. Security

Having your data in the cloud can improve the security of your data.

The software providers already back up your information, and I daresay the security (from a fire, flood, etc perspective) is better than what you had in the office.

Xero, for example, insists on two-factor authentication when logging into the system. Data security probably does not get much better than that.

We are seeing new business models, new business strategies and new implementation plans being revealed in the real estate industry all the time, and there’s no doubt this is partly due to businesses moving to the cloud and the possibilities this brings.  

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John Knight

John Knight is the Managing Director of businessDEPOT, a team of energetic accountants and advisors.