Everything is online these days. Every kind of computer application can be found online. For example, here is simple accounting software called Less Accounting you might want to use to get started in your practice. They store all your data online and they back up everything. The charge is only $19.95 a month. It looks like they have all the basic accounting functions and reports (although I am not sure if they have payroll processing capabilities). Good price, backup of data automatically. What could go wrong? Well, for starters, what happens if you need to do some accounting and you can’t get online? Now what? And what if you decide to transfer to a bigger better system? How will you get the data back? I imagine you’d have to print out everything and input it by hand. What other problems could you see?
I had an online file folder from GoDaddy to store data, but I kept forgetting the password, which is another problem. When I decided to stop using it, I had to transfer hundreds of files back to my computer, just to be sure I had them.
The pluses of online applications:
- They are cheap. Most are under $20 a month.
- They don’t require you to sign up forever. You can sign up month to month and cancel at any time.
- They store your information online, so you don’t have to worry about backing up your computer.
- They are very user-friendly, giving you lots of helpful information and easy tutorials.
What’s not good about these online applications:
- You are storing personal and company information online, which might not be secure.
- You have to remember your password and be able to go online to get the information. If you have a bad day and forget your password, or if your Internet connection does, you’re SOL, if you know what I mean.
- Most are pretty limited in what they can do. Some of the online programs I’ve used are very sophisticated, for the high end version, but many don’t have much power. If your business grows you will need something more powerful. Which leads to the last problem:
- If you stop using them, you have to manually pull off the information and manually load it onto another application. This might not be so easy, if you’ve been using the app for a while.
In general, I would say if what you’re doing is very simple and doesn’t take much power (like a simple accounting system), consider the online version. But if you think your practice will outgrow the system within six months to a year, bite the bullet and buy real software that you can load on your computer.
I would welcome your comments on this subject.