Software as a Service (SaaS): putting accountants and bookkeepers in the driving seat

Cloud software
By Elizabeth Carter | 27th October 2022 | 4 min read

Software as a Service (SaaS) delivers a heap of benefits, and accountants/bookkeepers are uniquely placed to make the most of this technology.

Offering endless improvements to functionality, low-cost entry, true scalability and remote working functionality, SaaS is truly a game changer.

But the real difference is the control and influence SaaS technology can give practices.

What exactly is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

Driven by a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model, SaaS is software that, instead of being installed on your desktop, is hosted in the cloud and renowned for increased security and data governance.

Because SaaS is constantly being updated, accountants and bookkeepers can rest assured their practice remains compliant.

But, more than that, SaaS offers a flexible business model with low capital outlay, meaning great tech is accessible for all practices, whatever their size.

At your service

SaaS offers a service you’re in control of, not one that controls you.

The popularity of SaaS products coincides with the great democratisation of how we consume everything.

In the same way as we wouldn’t consider consuming our media from just four channels (remember?!) or being told the hours that you could purchase food and drink, businesses also want more choice.

Remote working isn’t just about sitting at the kitchen table

Accountants and bookkeepers are telling us every day about their challenge to recruit a steady workforce.

Today, for a lot of talent, hybrid working isn’t a desire – it’s an essential demand.

Many practices – especially bookkeeping practices – were set up to allow flexible working around family commitments.

But effective remote working requires a great deal more than a laptop and a robust internet connection!

SaaS enables truly collaborative remote working.

Centralised dashboards that provide full transparency of the status of work and client communications mean everyone has visibility and can keep track of areas such as Anti Money Laundering (AML) compliance.

SaaS will also support your internal comms. Can you remember a life before the chime of the Teams call? Instant messaging doesn’t replace leaning over to chat with a colleague, but it’s an essential part of working remotely. 

You’re not the boss of me

Software that was traditionally designed to meet the widest common denominator doesn’t truly suit many practices; why should they pay for endless modules and features that aren’t used?

The best SaaS offers flexibility in terms of packages and capabilities, meaning practices no longer need to accept software that doesn’t fulfil their needs – perfect for the new generation of agile practices who want to do things their way.

Want to add a new user? Click here.

What to pay monthly instead of yearly? Log on and make it happen yourself.

Want to be rewarded for a recommendation? Here’s how you make that referral.

The client is still king

Happy clients = happy life.

SaaS ultimately makes the lives of accountants easier, and it can also streamline things for end-users.

Client portals can make it easy for clients to find, store and sign off essential documents and integration with bookkeeping apps is an essential part of small business life as we approach MTD.

Top tip: secure data transfer demonstrates you prioritise your clients’ data security.

I want an open relationship

No software is an island.

As practices grow, they often use different apps to manage various elements of their day-to-day.

Tax filing, practice management, proposal management, AML, data collection, invoicing – all facets of accountants’ responsibilities that can be improved by software.

The best SaaS technology runs on an open Application Programming Interface (API) – allowing different software to securely talk to each other – removing limitations and putting the accountant in charge of what software they want to use.

Changing how you view support

A mindset shift for accountants is required to fully embrace the benefits of SaaS technology.

The low-cost model means that SaaS is more likely to rely on online help hubs, which can take the form of guides and videos, but is more often than not complemented by online live chats or screen shares with a help team.

Perhaps, most interesting of all is the rise and rise of communities around software.

Accountants are known for being a friendly bunch – anyone who took to the dance floor at the recent IRIS Big Accountancy Quiz after Accountex North would attest to that!

Many accountants and bookkeepers are collaboratively minded and enjoy helping others.

Take, for example, the Senta Facebook group or our Accountants’ Club – ask for help, and you shall receive.

Try SaaS for yourself

Want to see the benefits of SaaS for yourself? Try IRIS Elements with a no-obligation, free 30-day trial.

Alternatively, you can learn more about IRIS Elements in our recent blog - Cloud integration: the future of accountancy