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Spreadsheet vs Portal: the ultimate smackdown

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    Spreadsheet vs Portal: the ultimate smackdown

    I'm about to change accountants, probably to Nixon Williams. However, they offer a "cloud" based accountancy portal, whereas my current lot just use a bookkeeping spreadsheet which I keep up to date. Therein lies the concern. I have read some threads on here about one portal vs another, and I have chatted to NW by phone, but I am more worried about portals vs spreadsheet in general.

    Generally, I like, and am used to, "owning" the company books, and having a complete bookkeeping picture available on my PC at all times. I like, for example, being able to double check that bank payment from last year, or seeing how I entered something last quarter. I like having having years of correctly completed books available, should they ever be needed. For example, did I correctly obey the 2 year expense rule in 2012? Yes I did, there it is in the spreadsheet, complete with my cell notes explaining. Could I do that on cloud?

    so loss of visibility and ownership are a concern.

    Also, with cloud portals:
    - who owns the data ?
    - where is it stored and under what jurisdiction?
    - what is the security level ?
    - what if they just up and lose all my data one morning ? No skin off their nose? (NB "They will never lose it" is not an answer.)

    (I don't want to open up general cloud arguments, or have people advise that cloud is safer than my PC, or whatever. Let's just say my own PC is as safe as the accountants' corporate servers. It is, but I don't want to have an argument about that)

    #2
    You should be able to view all previous years transactions within the portal.

    As it is online as well you can access from any Internet enabled device as well.

    You should be able to take an export of the transactions entered into the portal as well if required, so would not lose any data and could change again in the future should the need arise.

    Please note I have not used nw system but this is how the cloud systems I have used work.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by unixman View Post

      Also, with cloud portals:
      - who owns the data ?
      - where is it stored and under what jurisdiction?
      - what is the security level ?
      - what if they just up and lose all my data one morning ? No skin off their nose? (NB "They will never lose it" is not an answer.)
      You Do. It's your data and your decision to entrust them with it. In technical terms they are the data custodian, not the data owner.

      Ask Them,

      Ask Them,

      Download copies from the portal on a regular basis and / or keep using the spreadsheet locally anyway as a backup.
      "Being nice costs nothing and sometimes gets you extra bacon" - Pondlife.

      Comment


        #4
        I have the same dilemma, and run my own copy of MS Money at home so I can run reports on expense categories, reconcile to bank accounts and keep an eye on unpaid invoices, and generally know "what's up" at any point in time.

        I can't help with your questions, but just to let you know that you're not alone :-)

        Comment


          #5
          If i can get a comprehensive export at any time that would help. One of the other threads said NW can't do this though.

          Anyone know what accounts offer the traditional spreadsheet, except for SJD?

          Maybe that's why the portal only accountants are cheaper.

          Comment


            #6
            Not many cloud providers give a lot of detail about their backup and infrastructure and apart from IT guys there probably aren't many that care.

            Freeagent has some blurb about their service but it doesn't mention anything about physical locations and just gives assurances about backups rather than any detail which seems to be the norm for most portals. I did have a look around the Vantage system and it does even seem to be lacking that assurance. I did love the icon that says IR35 Compliant though
            'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

            Comment


              #7
              And on the spreadsheet vs portal... I was quite happy with the SJD one at the time and now I'm on Freeagent it does give loads of extra information and graphs which is great. Putting lots of expenses in is a little more time consuming and a lot of stuff looks nice but doesn't add any real value to us.

              If it was a toss up between the spreadsheet and freeagent I'd go with the best accountant. The difference between the two isn't enough for me personally to make a decision on which accountant to use.
              'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by unixman View Post
                If i can get a comprehensive export at any time that would help. One of the other threads said NW can't do this though.

                Anyone know what accounts offer the traditional spreadsheet, except for SJD?

                Maybe that's why the portal only accountants are cheaper.
                Hi Unixman,

                We offer a package which covers a traditional spreadsheet. Also we offer packages which include a subscription to FreeAgent.

                Although I cannot offer any answers to the security questions (FreeAgent seem to suggest an old nuclear bunker?) I will say using both FreeAgent and Spreadsheet, FreeAgent comes out victorious. We all like to automate as many processes as possible, features such as; Accessibility from almost all devices, Dividend vouchers created as and when you take a dividend, Mileage being calculated at the approved rates automatically and the main feature bank feed which allows you to reconcile the bank effortlessly.

                ps I am not a FreeAgent sales rep!

                I would also suggest going with an independent online software provider as transferring of data can in some instances be a nightmare.

                Michael at BI Accountancy

                Comment


                  #9
                  Cheers guys. I wonder if keeping track of every payment for X years is part of statutory accounts. I guess not if portals don't offer it. I am sure they have the end of year summaries and finished accounts. But if you need to look at one payment your company made 3 years ago (say), I guess you can't do that with portals.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by unixman View Post
                    Cheers guys. I wonder if keeping track of every payment for X years is part of statutory accounts. I guess not if portals don't offer it. I am sure they have the end of year summaries and finished accounts. But if you need to look at one payment your company made 3 years ago (say), I guess you can't do that with portals.
                    I'd stop guessing and start asking
                    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

                    Comment

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