It’s easy to take for granted the innovative technology we have at our disposal today. For small businesses, something as simple as email has completely revolutionized the way you communicate with customers.

In order to run a modern business, you need to utilize modern technology. Doing so means that you can run your business as efficiently as possible, hire staff that are best-suited to the job and retain them.

Xero U.S. President, Russ Fujioka, recently penned a column for Inc, where he shared just whatmakes a business modern.

1. You’re filing cabinet-free

Filing cabinets are a liability for any small business owner. By storing physical documents, you’re just increasing your workload. Time spent searching for documents in filing cabinets is better spent elsewhere. The security and livelihood of your business is on the line when you have sensitive information onsite. A lock and key isn’t enough. The consequences of a natural disaster or otherwise could be devastating.

Cloud alternatives like Google Drive not only ensure your important documents are secure, they make the whole world your office; giving you the ability to access your documents anywhere, anytime. Russ applauded small business owners that do not leverage the ‘shoebox’ system of storing financial records like receipts. Xero partner, Receipt Bank, completely automates the data entry and storage process of creating expense records. Snap a picture of a receipt, and Receipt Bank takes care of the work for you. The company’s CEO, Alexis Prenn, tells what their seamless integration with Xero means for small businesses.

“The real power of cloud software like Receipt Bank and Xero is that they communicate to each other in real time. When you scan a receipt, invoice or bill using the Receipt Bank app, that data is automatically extracted and sent to Xero,” says Alexis.

“This means you can make smart choices about how to grow your business, and be confident that the information you’re basing that decision on is accurate and up to date.”

2. You’ve ditched the landline phone

Alexander Graham Bell’s crowning glory is probably best housed in a history museum. Russ mentioned that more companies are now handling their customer service enquiries virtually, ensuring that customers can contact a business 24/7 on the device of their choosing and get a response in a timely fashion. Russ pointed to recent Xero research that revealed more than 83 percent of small business owners use modern messaging platforms to communicate with customers, so it’s important to make sure you’re available to customers on social media, online chat and text.

Russ said it’s equally important to stay connected with your employees through modern means also.

“The need for modern businesses to communicate digitally also encompasses internal communication,” Russ noted.

“The bulletin board of yesteryear only serves as an eyesore. Yammer is today’s digital equivalent.Slack is a great chat tool that offers private, direct messaging and open conversations.”

3. You give your employees flexibility

As a small business owner, if you are taking advantage of the benefits of cloud technology and working anywhere, anytime, you should extend this opportunity to your employees where possible. Russ said doing so will widen the talent pool when hiring and encourage employee retention.

“A business that offers modern benefits to its employees sets itself apart as an innovator,” Russ said. “Cloud technology gives the modern small business owner and their employees the opportunity to work from anywhere, anytime.”

“Those who work in an office setting should be given the autonomy to take advantage of this flexibility and work from home where possible. Doing so will encourage great employees to stick around.”

It’s never too late to start taking advantage of the benefits of cloud technology. By doing so you’re staying ahead of the curve.