It wasn't that long ago I started my business (Geode Software). But a lot has changed since.
I remember starting the business and opening a bank account. Then I knew I would need to keep records of all my invoices and expenses. And I would need to keep the receipts. I set up a software package on a PC and I ran everything from there. I made regular backups, and I burned them to a CD.
Everything used to run from the one machine, from entering data to running reports. All processing was done locally - there was no 'cloud' component!
Fast forward less than twenty years and what a lot has changed! Where we used one machine, we now have smartphones and other mobile devices, together with cloud computing. Using an application on just one machine feels like a tie when you have more than one.
Many applications are now cloud based, meaning the storage and processing of information is happening on computers on the Internet. Typically you use a browser to interact with the program and view its output. There are a number of cloud-only accounting applications, such as Xero, Freshbooks and Sage One.
There are some great benefits to using cloud based software, you're no longer responsible for updating the software or making your own backups. Plus your accountant can view your books without needing to ask you for an export of your database. But there are some downsides too; most notably you can't use the software unless you have a network connection. We see this as a big problem because it restricts how you use the app offline.
Imagine you've just been to a business meeting. Perhaps you caught a flight or travelled by train. Either way, you're likely to have paper receipts for expenses to put in the books. Putting the receipts into the books while travelling home saves time, and it means you can walk in the door without having to worry about them later. But going through train tunnels or flying up at 35,000 feet means you can't do the job with other accounting packages that rely on a connection to the Internet.
With Easy Books, we've taken a slightly different approach to cloud computing. Easy Books is a hybrid cloud application. All data is stored locally and in the cloud. Processing is performed on the device using its local copy, which gives a fast and fluid user interface, and one that can only be achieved in a native app. You can use the app offline just as you would online, and entering expenses while in a train tunnel is no problem. The app syncs with the cloud component when it next can.
All the same features are available, you can share access to your books with a business partner or with your accountant. But just because you're off the grid, it doesn't mean you can't get the job done!