Cloud programs help you keep up 18 May 2016

Keeping up with technology has always been an issue for small businesses.

As a rule, it’s worth having the latest and the best you can realistically afford. This ensures you are at least level, and possibly ahead, of your opposition and your clients who expect you to be keeping up.

Nowadays it’s a bit easier to keep up because many programs are cloud-based. This means you don’t buy a program on a disk or download from the internet, but you “lease” it online.

Instead of paying a one-off price, you pay a monthly fee to use it. Microsoft Office, which costs about NZ$10 a month for use on one computer, is an example.

While it seems like you’ll be paying forever (which you will as long as you need the program), the big advantage is that you’ll get regular updates to the program. Essentially, you’ll never get left behind.

Another advantage is that you’ll never lose your work because it’s stored in the cloud (online). If your computer or laptop gets stolen, no problem. Your work can be retrieved. You’ll also get a reasonable amount of cloud storage so you can regularly back up your work, store your photos or other personal stuff.

The downside is you’ll keep paying when once you might have kept a program running for years without having to upgrade it. The overall cost would have been lower than the lease arrangement.

But you also have to consider the tax implications. Generally, you’re not buying an asset for which you claim depreciation over time. Usually, the lease payments can be claimed as an operating expense.

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