Business continuity planning: 3 reasons why cloud tools are essential

Online cloud tools such as Xero can help keep day-to-day operations smooth-running in uncertain times

Online collaboration and cloud tools like cloud accounting platform Xero have become essential for telecommuting as part of many companies’ business continuity plans. PHOTO: XERO

With Singapore's Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level raised to orange since Feb 7, many companies islandwide have activated their business continuity plans. Common business continuity measures include getting employees to work from split sites, from home and on split shifts.

As the coronavirus continues its global spread, the outbreak is forcing the world's largest work-from-home experiment. Companies in Singapore and around the world have had to figure out how to stay operational in a virtual world, including leveraging technology to instil stability and minimise disruptions in their operations.

Video conferences are replacing face-to-face meetings to minimise risk of infection across teams and premises. Online collaboration and cloud tools, such as cloud accounting platform Xero, have also become essential for telecommuting, empowering individuals and companies to carry on - business as usual - from anywhere and on any device.

Xero is an online accounting software that offers multiple tools to manage cash flow, generate financial reports, assess business performance, send invoices and more, as well as to share these data with employees on a single platform that's accessible from the office, home or even on the go via a mobile app.

With real-time access to the cloud-based software, business owners can retain oversight of their businesses at any time and from any location. PHOTO: XERO

Seamless real-time connectivity

Similar to other cloud tools, Xero provides users with real-time access with an internet connection. For global small business owners who are always on the move, it means being able to immediately see an entry made by your accountant and staff from any device and location. A quick response is extremely crucial at a time when global supply chains and markets are being disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. A cloud-based software can also easily connect to other apps and tools. Xero's bank feed integration feature, which has over 100 banks globally on board, lets you view real-time financial data on the platform. By setting up direct bank feeds from your bank accounts, transactions are then imported securely to Xero each business day for convenient tracking of the money going in and out of your company's accounts.

In times of crisis, this real-time connectivity offered by cloud tools allows for undisrupted collaboration within and without businesses - wherever its employees, factories, suppliers and customers may be.

Scalability and flexibility

The last thing any business owner would want, is to spend more than what is necessary. Thankfully, cloud solutions like Xero are scalable. You can choose to subscribe to a software solution based on the features required, and increase or decrease these capabilities as business operations evolve.

During periods of extended leave due to unpredictable situations, management issues including lack of manpower may surface. The built-in app integrations on Xero's platform streamlines and integrates business functions including human resource management, payroll, expenses and inventory management with ease and efficiency.

With tech advancement, more built-in features are being introduced on cloud platforms, which empower users with the ability to create a tailored platform with a suite of apps that suit their business needs. Take the data extraction tool on Xero, Hubdoc, for example. What used to be a time consuming and manual job retrieving boxes of documents from offices and keying the details manually item by item, can now be automated and simplified by simply scanning receipts, invoices or documents using a mobile phone, and having the data extracted automatically into the Xero platform.

Data security

Instead of storing important data in USB drives or computers, and sharing it over e-mail, which can be easily stolen, damaged, tampered with or intercepted, keeping the data in the cloud is a more secure option.

With your business' financial data stored in the cloud, platforms like Xero then help to safeguard the data by encrypting it with the same level of security used by banks; information stored in Xero is converted into unrecognisable code to prevent data breaches.

In addition, the online accounting platform has regular security audits and its data centres and servers have round-the-clock monitoring to identify and manage potential threats. A two-step authentication provides an additional layer of security for users.

With Xero, business owners have control over who has access, what users can do on the platform and track when which piece of data was accessed, no matter where the employees are physically based.

Explore more benefits of Xero and find out how it can future-proof your business today.

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