One of the great advantages of cloud accounting is that your professional adviser is there with you in real time, writes Sally Wood, cloud accounting specialist at Booth Ainsworth LLP.

While it's true that the key driver for using cloud accounting systems has been the government's Making Tax Digital programme, we'd usually advise all our clients to work in this way even it they're not VAT registered.

From our point of view, there are a number of advantages, if we notice for example, that profitability is healthy, we can work proactively to manage tax liability. On the other hand, if a client's figures are not looking so rosy, there may be another conversation we can have, which gives us the chance to offer some specific advice or recommendation.

A key advantage is the ability to spot problems before they get out of hand. Keeping accounts in the cloud means that your professional adviser is able to log on at any time and see exactly what's going on. While some businesses joke about 'Big Brother', the reality is that they soon see the advantages.

As cloud accounting became more commonplace, we started checking in on client accounts on and an ad hoc basis, but we are now putting systems in place to ensure regular monitoring.

In terms of practical impact it can make, think about notification of your corporation tax bill. Would you rather have an idea of the figure eight months in advance of just a week before it became due?

More accountants will be happy to offer some traning to clients, depending on their level of confidence with softare wich as Xero, Sage of QuickBooks. Inevitably though, queries arise from time to time and we find that this serves as a useful communication channel. When a client calls up to ask for advice on the software, there's always an opportunity for a five-minute chat to get up to date on their business and accounting issues.

We work closely with the leading providers, Xero and Sage, and are cloud certified advisers. If you haven't yet taken advante of the new technology, make sure to have a chat with us to see how we can help with a stress free set-up.

Speak to Sally Wood or Anita Nayar for further information.