Australian small businesses are heavy cloud users: survey

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Australian small businesses are heavy cloud users: survey

A greater proportion of Australian small businesses use the cloud and mobile apps than their US and UK counterparts, according to a global study.

More than four out of five Australian small business owners run their businesses in the cloud, according to a survey conducted for Intuit, the company behind the QuickBooks Online cloud accounting system. And almost three-quarters of owners use at least one mobile or cloud app to do so, a larger proportion than was found in the US, UK or Canada.

However, the survey found several barriers to increased app use, including perceptions that there are too many to choose from, it isn't clear which apps are best for a particular business, and integration and training costs are concerns. Each of those factors were identified by around two in five respondents to the survey.

Intuit is working to address these issues by making it possible for other software companies to provide seamless integration with QuickBooks, operating an app store where they can be sold, and paying for an annual security assessment for all apps that integrate with QuickBooks.

Sydney's Carrington Hotel is one example of a business that depends on apps.

"Using cloud-based tools has made my job easier so I can work on parts of the business that need my attention and do the things I enjoy the most," said general manager Matthew Jones.

"Having financial management tools that effortlessly integrate with QuickBooks has been huge for us. It saves me seven to ten hours of work each week by eliminating data entry and other administrative tasks. It also allows me to work seamlessly with our accountant and owner, providing all of us access to important financial information anytime, anywhere."

In addition to QuickBooks Online, the hotel uses invitbox to automate the processing of bills from suppliers, KeyPay (payroll) and Revel (POS) – all of which integrate with QuickBooks – as well as Naked Bookings for bookings, unsurprisingly.

"When you are running a pub and restaurant, every square metre is a seat for another customer, so office space is always at a premium," said owner Roger Gregg.

"Running all our business apps through QuickBooks Online in the cloud allows the office to be wherever we get a few minutes to ourselves. At home, on the commute, or sitting on the bench beside the bike-path on Bourke St.

"Invitbox removes all data-entry, price checking and filing of supplier bills. Revel allows us to manage stock, run the tills and links through to EFTPOS terminals, automatically updating daily. Naked Bookings is our booking management software and QuickBooks Online acts as financial management software and a hub to bring all our other apps together."

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