What do the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker have in common? As small business owners, they each have a passion for their trade. Serving customers while doing what they love is what gets them out of bed each morning — not wasting hours bookkeeping and preparing for taxes. A rather unfortunate consequence of owning a small business, taxes add stress to an already potentially volatile career path. Fortunately for today’s anxious business owners, cloud accounting can alleviate many of their fears.

Cloud-based accounting programs like QuickBooks and Sage streamline the way you collect, update, and organize your finances. In simplifying your bookkeeping, it reduces the time you spend crunching numbers, so you can spend more of it doing what you love. More importantly, these online tools make it possible to approach tax season with some semblance of calm. If you’re not convinced the cloud can help you tackle your taxes, here are three reasons that could change your mind.

One: it reduces human error

Old-fashioned bookkeeping methods rely on the manual input of numbers. It’s easy to copy and paste information into the wrong cell after you’ve stared at a blue-lit screen of Excel for too long. If you don’t catch your error quickly, it can affect reports that may jeopardize your taxes later. Virtual accounting automates many of your accounting tasks. These automatic updates reduce the chance of human error, so your books are more accurate when it comes time to file your corporate taxes. Accuracy is the only way you can guarantee your business avoids an audit.

Two: it facilitates collaboration

Unlike traditional accounting software, which is tied to a single computer or disc, cloud-based programs store all your financial data online. Since they’re hosted on the cloud, virtual accounting applications are accessible by any authorized user that has a connection to the Internet. You choose those members of your team who you want to view this information. That includes any out-sourced accountants that you hired to help with corporate tax planning.

When you authorize your CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) to view this software, you’re giving them real-time access to your finances. They can review your data from their offices at any time as long as they have an Internet-capable device.

Though cloud accounting is a growing trend in Canada, not all financial professionals have the appropriate experience needed to successfullyhelp you. When it comes to CPAs, financial advisors, or remote bookkeepers, it’s essential that these professionals are well-equipped to facilitate virtual accounting. Their credentials should look like the Principal at the Adian firm, an accountant that specializes in cloud technology. To see what those look like,visit the Adian Professional Corporation homepage and read more about a virtual accounting firm and its services. Once you have an accountant experienced with the cloud, he or she can assess your profile quickly and easily.

Three: it’s time-efficient

A successful business is an efficient one. Every hour spent updating your books or meeting with your CPA is an hour you’re away from your business. Cloud-based accounting streamlines your accounting tasks, so you can spend more time on the things that you really care about.

You can create cash flow summaries with the touch of a button, and you can share them with another. You won’t waste any time when a vendor brings up a payment dispute since these programs let you search through invoices to find the discrepancy. If you link your corporate bank account to the application, you can reconcile money in and out as your raise and correct invoices.

As you prepare for taxes, you won’t have to schedule tedious, in-person meetings with your CPA that could disrupt your day. Instead, these can happen on Skype or other online meeting software at a convenient time. You’ll have simultaneous access to your data from any smart device, so you can work together on any end-of-year process from your separate offices.

Tax season is rarely a small business owner’s favourite time of your year. If you find it stressful, automating your books with the help of the cloud could alleviate many of your fears. The applications vary. There are so many options you may feel overwhelmed at first, so you may not want to make the transition to cloud accounting right before the season’s deadline. Wait until you have the time to review your options, so you can find the right cloud-based solution for your small business. When you make the right choice, you’ll find it easier to manage your finances and file your taxes, so you can spend more time doing what you love.