Revolutionising Small Business With Cloud Computing
Written on the 28 June 2013
There’s a very good reason why an increasing number of business-to-business operators on the Central Coast are turning their attention towards cloud-based software solutions – their clients.
I spoke to the owners and clients of two Central Coast based business service providers that have made the decision to partner a cloud-based platform provider relevant to their industry for the benefit of their clients – multidisciplinary accounting and financial services provider, Trilogy Professional Group and Human Resources consultants, Inspire Success.
Pay-as-you-go, just-in-time software to suit a variety of business applications
In simple terms, cloud-based software is pay-as-you-go software that uses the Internet to access hardware, software and other on-demand resources in real time to perform various functions. In business terms, cloud-based software delivers a way to tap into world-class, always up-to-date online business tools without the need to invest in infrastructure.
While efficiency is broadly cited as the main benefit of using cloud-based software, the explosive growth of data generated in the online world today delivers a ‘silver lining’ to the cloud – limitless storage capacity and efficient, anywhere, anytime accessibility.
Different clouds for different uses
There are many cloud-based systems to suit a variety of business applications, from bookkeeping, tax compliance and workflow management to human resource management, sales and customer relationship management (CRM). The key to maximise business efficiencies is to select cloud-based solutions that can ‘talk’ to one another (integrated solutions). Such is the case with the two case studies we examine in this story.
Managing business finances in the cloudTrilogy Professional Group has partnered Xero to offer a rapidly growing number of their clients the ability to control their finances anywhere, anytime via the cloud without the need for an upfront investment in software.
Principal Rod Evans said, “Xero gives business owners peace of mind knowing their accounts are up to date and all lodgements are completed on time with minimal effort on their part. Importantly, it also gives us secure access to a client’s up-to-the-minute business financial records allowing us to have our finger on the pulse of the business at all times. In this way, Xero not only streamlines and simplifies financial management for a business but can also help business owners make timely decisions to maximise opportunities and minimise risk.”Managing Director of print and framing studio at Erina, Created for Life, Glenn McKimmin was referred to Xero by another Trilogy Professional Group client a few months ago. He said, “Compared to using the archaic system we had before, Xero has made a dramatic difference to our business in just 3 months. It’s so easy to use and the PayNow facility means we are getting paid more quickly than ever before. It also allows for the establishment of individual logons meaning we can securely control the level of access we give to various staff members.”
With no up front investment in software required, cloud based accounting solutions like Xero also offer an affordable solution for limited capital start-ups and micro businesses. Trilogy Professional Group offers three tailored business options that combine their professional services with subscription to the Xero live accounting system.
Managing staff in the cloud
While a Human Resources (HR) department is usually restricted to large corporations, cloud-based HR solutions have opened up efficient and effective HR management practices to all business owners, whether they employ 5,000 or 5 staff.Delivering large organisation HR benefits to SMEs was one of the key driving forces behind Inspire Success Director Rae Phillips’ decision to partner Australia’s leading cloud-based HR management solution, enableHR.
enableHR is a comprehensive employee and contractor management system and a Work Health and Safety (WHS) toolkit rolled into one cloud-based system. In a nutshell, the system delivers affordable best practice HR and WHS processes, tools, advice and record keeping to achieve maximum protection and compliance with minimal effort for a monthly or annual subscription fee.“Our mission at Inspire Success is to make the people part of running a business easier. As a small business owner myself with staff operating remotely, I appreciate the need for my team to have easy access to centralised and up-to-date resources and tools anywhere, any time,” said Rae. “enableHR delivers strategic, just in time HR support to a growing number of our national clients.”
Inspire Success clients have the choice between managing the system in-house, bundling enableHR with additional HR services like implementation training, or have Inspire Success manage and implement all HR requirements on their behalf.enableHR’s simple to use, cost effective, and secure online tools and resources can be customised to suit the industry or business, are maintained by leading Australian workplace law specialists and can be integrated with many of the most popular accounting, payroll and HRIS systems (including Xero, MYOB and Micropay) to eliminate data duplication and avoid unnecessary data entry.
CEO of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council in Williamtown, Andrew Smith has been using enableHR for around 12 months to help manage the HR and WHS requirements of his organisation.
He said, “With close to 25 on our team, including casual staff, we have a number of HR obligations but don’t have the resources to have a dedicated HR unit. Inspire Success helped identify our gaps via a full HR audit and showed us how be more effective and efficient while staying compliant. Part of their solution was to use enableHR, which has since simplified the HR management side of our business enormously.”
Author: Phaedra Pym, A Way With Words