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Accounting 101: Cloud-based Vs Desktop Accounting Software

The world of technology is rapidly changing, and this includes accounting software. More and more businesses and accountants are moving away from desktop software to cloud-based systems.

What is the cloud?

The cloud is essentially a remote server that securely stores your data, enabling you to access this data and software online, anytime, anywhere, from any device. In a desktop application, your computer's hard drive is the central location of your data.

Banklink is an example of a desktop software. The program is installed on your computer, your bank connects to this software and after you have downloaded your data and coded it, the file is sent to your accountant to download and use.  


As a Xero Platinum Partner we receive a 25% discount on all subscriptions, which we fully pass on to our Xero clients.  Xero is used across the firm for all client reporting and for running our own business.

Xero is a cloud-based software, which is opened in an internet browser. As with the desktop systems, you allow Xero access to electronic copies of your bank statement information, and the transactions will appear daily in Xero.  You can then code the transactions from your computer or device, or from an app on your phone. There is no need to send a file back and forth to your accountant and the Xero file can be accessed from any browser at any time by multiple people.

Xero is easy to use, and is regularly updated. There are many reports available in Xero and different package options for different business needs. For more complex businesses, Xero can incorporate payroll, invoicing, debtor and creditor management, and inventory tracking.

There are also many add-on programs that sync to Xero if further functionality is required. You can check on the add-on marketplace here and search by function type or business type.

What about the cost?

The cost of Banklink varies depending on the transaction volume and how often your file is sent back and forth to your accountant, however we estimate the total cost to be around $20 - $45 per month.

This is made up of actual Banklink charges of $3.21 per month, plus 8.95 cents per transaction, as well as your accountants time downloading your data each period, and converting your data into the appropriate format at annuals time.

Banklink is increasing it's charges across the board by 20% on 1 April 2021.

As Accounted4 uses Xero firm-wide, having our clients on Xero streamlines the process of preparing annual accounts, as the data is already there and coded for us to access any time. It also helps us assist you with queries, as we can see the exact same thing you are seeing on your screen in real time, with no need to send files back and forth.

With Xero, the packages range from $13.80 to $56.25 per month. There are no extra charges per transaction, just a fixed monthly rate, and the plans can be upgraded or downgraded at any time.

Non- GST Cashbook - $13.80 including GST per month. For those not GST registered with basic business, this is a good option, allowing bank feed data and reporting access.

Starter - $20.62 + GST per month – This is similar to GST cashbook, however it includes an invoicing function of up to 20 invoices per month.

Standard - $45 + GST per month – This plan allows unlimited invoicing and bill paying, along with the features of the GST Cashbook plan.

Premium - $56.25 + GST per month – This is great for complex businesses, allowing all the features of standard plan plus multiple currencies.

GST Cashbook – $18 + GST per month. This is what most of our clients are on. This plan allows them access to their bank feed data, reporting, bulk transaction coding, and GST return filing.

We encourage our clients to use Xero as their accounting package, so if you are interested the move is easy! Just let your accountant know and we will get it sorted for you!


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