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Cloud accounting software – is the price right?

Cloud accounting software is becoming more widely used each day, along with all sorts of other cloud-based software. And there is no doubt that the future of most software will be in the cloud and not based on the desktop.

In a previous post on cloud accounting software I commented on price and in particular the problems that desktop software providers had if they also launched a cloud version.

Looking again at the market, the price just does not feel right.

The target market for cloud accounting software is SMEs and a number of the main providers are using accountants as a route to the market. What are the consequences?

Annuity pricing

In the UK the main price point for the more common services is around £19 per month. This is £228 per year and over three years will cost £684.

Compare this with the deals available for desktop accounting software – such as the excellent QuickBooks Pro available at the time of writing from Amazon for £125.23.

I am sure there are arguments such as numbers of users, constant upgrades and being able to access your accounts from anywhere that support the higher price.

However, in reality most accounting done by most SMEs takes place on one computer and if you get stuck and want a bit of help from your accountant, they can log in via Logmein (or an equivalent service) and straighten you out.

Also, accounting software should be fit for purpose when you buy it. Mostly it has been that way for years!

It is very rare that a truly meaningful new piece of functionality comes available, so the need for constant upgrades seems overstated.

Cloud accounting software and your accountant

Accounting software providers have used accountants as a route to market for years, so in a sense nothing has changed.

However, in the cloud it certainly feels a little less flexible when you come to either change your accountant or change your software.

At the outset things might look very convenient – “my accountant set us up with XYZaccounts software and he just deals with it all, we pay a monthly fee and it’s simple.”

But businesses change, you hire new staff as you evolve and you might want to bring everything in-house, or you might find an accountant who can meet your needs more fully in a new phase of growth.

You do not want to find that you can’t make changes easily because of your cloud accounting software. So if you do opt for a cloud solution be sure to ask what happens should you want to change in the future.

 

Cloud accounting is the future, no doubt, and many businesses are working very happily in the cloud. But at the moment there is still a desktop alternative that might prove to be more flexible and cost-effective.

 

Michael
@michaeljcaustin

 

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