We ask Steph Hinds, founder of superhero accountants Growthwise from Newcastle, how she runs a paperless office.
BIT: Can you list the cloud services that you use?
Steph: Xero, Shoeboxed, Workpapers, Workflow Max, Docusign, Box, Yammer, Mailchimp, Google Apps, Office Vibe, Evernote, Zapier, IFTTT, Spotlight, Skype, GoTo Meeting - to name a few!
How expensive is all that? Can you give us an idea of how much are you paying in total (approximately) for all your cloud services?
What speed broadband connection do you have? Has a connection problem ever seriously limited your ability to get your job done?
Is there any software you still use that you haven’t found a cloud alternative for, and you wish there was one?
Tax. And we wished so much Xero is building one!
In your experience, what's the best cloud service you know of, that people might not have heard about? (many people have heard of Google Drive, Evernote, Shoeboxed, Xero, of course).
Zapier. It really automates to many tasks that most people don't think of
You use Box - can you give us a list of what you upload to Box? What type and level of Box account do you have?
We have an enterprise version of Box and we upload everything there! We don't have anything on our computers or server so absolutely everything we do is uploaded to box. We then invite our clients to their folder so they can see everything as well.
What about data backup - are you relying on cloud for backing up your company's data? Why or why not?
We don't have anything other than tax on a server (we still use manual backup tapes for that). The cloud services we use all have inbuilt backups so we rely on those. They have way better infrastructure than I would have as a small business.
Do you think there's a risk with cloud that you can be lured into a false sense of security when it comes to the cost? IE> when specific advanced features cost more?
With all the SME products we use we certainly don't pay more for advanced features. If we wanted everything that we use now in non cloud based services we would be paying a hundred times more and would have to have specifically built integrated systems. Most people don't look at the timesaving therefore cost savings with cloud based technology. Take Shoeboxed as an example. I never have to enter any invoices or receipts into our accounting system nor do I ever have to pay anyone to file as its all done automatically. That means I can either reduce my staff costs or alternatively have them doing something income generating.
Who setup your IT systems?
Me (I'm a little bit techie) . All the cloud systems we use are plug and play. We are trained partners in a few of the above systems which helps but we also find the support from the cloud providers to be great.
What would you recommend a small business try moving to the cloud first?
Accounting - every small business has to do accounting & the cloud options are just so easy to use. They are also noncommittal with pay by the month services.
Steph will share her tips on saving money using many of the tools above at tomorrow's free BIT Roadshow event in Sydney, and in Melbourne on October 22. Click here and select the blue button to reserve your seat to see Steph in person!.
Steph Hinds is the founder of Growthwise, the superhero accountants from Newcastle who help clients Think, Learn, Grow & Kick-Arse. Working predominately with small businesses, Steph's role has progressed from that of traditional accountant to more of a solution provider working with cloud based systems.