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updated: 11/10/2016 8:36 PM

Accountants migrate to advancing online technology

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By Margaret Borla

Porte Brown LLC

What is a company's most valuable asset? Dedicated employees, up-to-date technology, proper resources, or good management practices?

While these are all important strengths good companies have, they are not the most important. The answer is time. Time allows great employees to do more and achieve more with the resources and technology available. Time provides management perspective on past deals that didn't go through and how to turn those missed opportunities into successful ones. Unfortunately, time cannot be bought like new technology. It can't be trained or hired like employees. The only way to get more of this illusive asset is to create efficiencies and streamline processes to make the most of what is available.

In the past, great employees were one of the biggest deciding factors that could lead to greater efficiency in production. With technology advancing so quickly and so many processes becoming automated by machines, technology has vaulted to the top as one of the most important business differentiators that affects profit margins because of its ability to save time. Thankfully businesses are no longer reliant on ancient tools like abacuses, papyri, or stone tablets to keep track of inventory and purchases. Companies utilize accounting software, such as QuickBooks, to speed up how they manage finances.

Today technology is still rapidly evolving to become even more efficient by taking advantage of the cloud's versatility to enhance the way finance teams operate and perceive their business' data. This has led Intuit, the parent company of QuickBooks, to create a separate offshoot of its software that is hosted completely online in the cloud. QuickBooks Online was designed to be more in line with today's fast-paced business world. It offers greater flexibility than the basic desktop version because it grants easier access to multiple users at a time and doesn't require an additional purchase of a five-user license. This means a team of professionals has instant access to tackle a project without all the hassle of purchasing or managing an additional user license. QuickBooks Online even offers a free test drive to see how it compares with other accounting software, so users can decide which software works best for them pressure free.

Not only do more people have easier access to use QuickBooks Online, they can also use it anywhere there is an internet connection. This is great for businesses always on the go. Business owners can check their sales numbers while waiting at the airport. CFOs can now track sales and customer payments from the comfort of their living room couch. QuickBooks Online's flexibility even extends to its compatibility with nearly any device. iPhones, iPads, Androids, and more can all be used to complete pending tasks with the flick of a finger.

While QuickBooks Online can be used by larger enterprises, it is intended for smaller companies looking to take their business to the next level. It is easily scalable and can be changed according to the needs of the company without requiring additional investment. QuickBooks' scalability is definitely a great advantage for smaller, growing businesses, but its automated features are what make it truly shine. One of the biggest differentiators between QuickBooks' desktop and its online brother is Online's ability to perform a variety of recurring functions on a daily basis.

Rather than being required to manually send email reports out every week, automatic email reporting requires only one initial setup. Another example of Online's time saving features relates to the daily, and laborious, task of updating bank transactions. With QB Online in place, nightly updates occur automatically, which saves time for more important work. QuickBooks Online's automated features lets smaller companies seem like giants and is an invaluable tool for any small business looking to accomplish more in less time.

• Margaret Borla is a CPA -- supervisor at Porte Brown LLC in Elk Grove Village.