Helping Businesses Transition to Cloud Accounting

Emma Clifton, Business Advisory Associate Partner looks at some of the advantages of moving away from a traditional accountancy package (such as Sage) to cloud-based software (like Xero or QuickBooks online).

13 September 2023 - Emma Clifton

“CLOUD ACCOUNTING………” These two words will either fill you with joy because you have already made the transition (and it was almost certainly the best thing you ever did!) or fill you with dread because deep down you know you need to do it, but you’re burying your head in the sand because “my current system still works just fine.”

If it’s the latter, please read on because you’ll see that transitioning to a cloud-based accounting piece of software really is simple and you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it already!

About 2 years ago I started a conversation with one of my long-standing clients, a manufacturing company in Suffolk about transitioning their accounting records from Sage to Xero. Some of their questions and concerns that I needed to answer were:

  • I’m too busy to even think about a transition at the moment
  • It’ll take up too much of my time
  • My current system works perfectly, so why do I need to change?
  • I know my current accountancy procedure inside out, so how would I benefit from changing now?

Working in the Cloud

Over 2.3 billion people already use personal cloud products such as iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive and don’t even give it a second thought, so why should your accounting software be any different? Cloud services like online banking or Netflix make it incredibly easy to access your personal documents and information in the cloud at the touch of a button. So why would you not want the same easy-to-use system for your accounting documents?

At Scrutton Bland, we have over 500 clients using cloud accounting software packages, many of whom have transitioned from their existing traditional accounting software and have never looked back.

How does it work?

Migrating from your existing software to a cloud accounting platform takes three easy steps and is almost always completed within 24 hours: –

  • Firstly you take a backup of your existing data.
  • Then a minimum of two years’ data is transitioned across from your old system to your chosen cloud accounting platform, such as Xero. This process usually also moves across all your contacts so that you don’t have to re-input customer / supplier details, as well as the nominal structure so that you do not have to learn a new set of nominal codes.
  • Finally, we will help you run a data check to compare the old system with the new one, just in case there are any technical issues that need to be ironed out.

The cloud migration process is fast and efficient and typically you will only have 24 hours of downtime during the transition and then you’ll be back up and running.

At Scrutton Bland we have a Digital Team that specialises in these types of transitions and we have completed them for a number of our clients. They also provide training on all the main cloud accountancy platforms and have a dedicated support line for queries along the way. And they’re friendly and approachable! So don’t worry about having to do this alone, our team can help to make it a smooth process.

Why would my business benefit from it?

When I speak to my clients that have already made the leap, the main phrase that comes up time and time again is “I now have so much more time to concentrate on my business.” I’ve been working with businesses for many years, and in my experience, you don’t realise how much time those mundane bank reconciliations and invoice posting tasks take until you realise that the cloud platforms can automate so much of this for you. For example: how many hours have you spent trying to reconcile your bank account on your current system? Or chasing that 10p difference around for hours! How much easier would it be if your accounting system linked directly to your bank account to automatically pull through the transactions so that you didn’t have to manually enter these? And were they always 100% accurate?

Time saving

According to online platform QuickBooks, clients who have connected their bank to Quickbooks’ software have saved an average of 10 hours per week. Now whilst I appreciate that this is likely to be at the higher end of the scale, even if a business only makes 20% of this saving, that’s still 2 hours per week.

Improving cash flow

How many hours have you spent chasing debtors for payment only to be told they “never received the original invoice”? How much easier would it be if you could raise the sales invoice in your cloud accounting software, email directly from the system, include a ‘Pay Now’ option with the invoice and automatically create a full audit trail? Not only is this easily available from the same piece of software, but managing cash in and out like this this has been proven to improve cash flow for small businesses and reduce debtor days by up to 26 days!

How many hours do you spend entering invoice after invoice onto your current system? How accurate is it? How much easier would it be if you could take advantage of Cloud technology to scan those invoices and pre-populate the data entry for you? Not only would be this be more accurate but a Goldman Sachs report found that automating payment systems could help businesses reduce costs by up to 75%.

So – going back to my manufacturing client and their comments – these are my answers to his questions: –

  • I’m too busy to even think about a transition at the moment.
    • It typically takes just 24 hours downtime and a training programme that can be tailored to suit you and your business to get you up and running. Can you afford not to invest this time?
  • It’ll take up too much of my time.
    • The data suggests up to 10 hours saving per week on the bank reconciliation and about 75% reduction of time on manual data entry. Yes there is an initial time investment, but the longer term benefots of making the transition will save you time and resources!
  • My current system works perfectly, so why do I need to change?
    • If the time savings alone aren’t enough, how about the improvement in cash flow from getting paid faster, the ability to access your data anywhere around the world where there is a WIFI or cellular signal or the fact that your accountants will have visibility of your data on a real-time basis so that they can better advise you proactively, rather than months later?
  • I know my current system inside out, so how would I benefit from changing now?
    • Cloud accountancy software is easy to use, very intuitive and has been adopted by millions of businesses alreay. You’ll see that there are thousands of tutorial videos and support communities available for your to watch at any time.

So my final question to you is …. can you afford not to transition?

If you’d like to know more about using cloud-based accounting softeare to create business efficiencies and improve controls over managing your accounts, please get in touch with Emma or one of her team at or by calling 0330 058 6559.





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