Cloud-based enterprise resource planning pulls midsize companies into the big league by helping them discard their entry-level accounting packages and instead use sophisticated, all-in-one accounting systems.

Of course, they can also have a full-fledged, integrated system connecting crucial business functions such as sales and marketing, purchasing, inventory control and more, with financial systems. Blogger Robert Kugel, who writes for the Big Fat Finance Blog, for example, said in a Ventana Research paper that finance now lives in the cloud.

Think about it: once a company really starts growing, the incumbent desktop-based systems and networks are running at over capacity. The volume and complexity of the data that needs to be processed, and the number of transactions a business has to handle, go beyond the working capabilities of normal financial solutions that smaller businesses employ.

On-premise financial solutions, working on legacy IT systems, can’t cope with the increasing volume of transactions. Moving to more robust on-premise solutions such as Sage, Microsoft Dynamics and Epicor is an expensive proposition for most businesses.

As a result, many small and midsize businesses end up relegating the bulk of their financial operations to underpowered accounting and financial packages that will begin to eat into the quality of services and the speed at which transactions are processed. That’s not good for business.

Businesses are increasingly global in nature; this is the era of collaboration and seamless work. Business happens everywhere and customers are all over the world. Why should systems stay chained to one location? Organizations that provide professional services to clients, locally or all over the world, have just stepped beyond the firewall. Green IT cloud-based Software as a Service makes sense; you can cater to your executives, sales people and whoever else deals with customers, regardless of time zone or location. In such cases, where the businesses and human resources tend to be mobile and distributed geographically, it makes sense to move to a cloud-based model. This way, the entire organizational process stays fluid, thanks to global access.

If you are considering automation, or even semi-automation, you should know that moving to the cloud isn’t just about upgrading your accounting or finance software or simply using outsourced vendors for your core financial processing. In fact, when you move to the cloud, you’ll plug into a whole business ecosystem. Business processes such as billing, inventory management, sales management, customer relationship management, delivery, record keeping and collections will all move to the cloud.

At Sererra Consulting Group LLC., some of the software and systems we help our clients integrate into their businesses such as Intacct and NetSuite allow customization according to their individual business needs. Our job is to trim these software and systems, custom-design specific applications based on unique needs, integrate them with clients’ daily businesses and help them leverage the full power of IT systems.

Spreadsheets are great and we’ll admit we can’t have enough of them when it comes to crunching numbers and keeping records. Growing businesses, however, need more that just spreadsheets for better financial processing, data safe-keep, project management and payrolls.

Julie Bodine, MBA, is director of marketing for Sererra Consulting Group, a green IT management consulting firm focusing on delivering turnkey business solutions for midmarket firms worldwide. This article first ran on the Accounting Today web site.