Cloud-based Accounting Apps can save you time and money. This is especially true when using low-level employees for manual work and using a one-dimensional tool such as word and excel to run processes such as inventory and invoicing. These Apps remove the need for version control, create workflows for employees and customers, and provide a dashboard so you can see the business state of affairs instantly. These applications which were only reserved for big businesses are now being written by smart developers all over the world to allow small businesses to access this space.
Apps that get clients paid faster
Good payment systems can double the speed at which bills are paid. Two types, in particular, are as follows:
- Businesses in retail - point-of-sale apps turn a smartphone or tablet into a portable cash register, which can be an inexpensive way to start selling. These systems also allow staff to go and serve customers where they are, rather than creating a bottleneck at the counter.
- Businesses who send invoices - invoices are just about always paid late. But when they go out with instant payment options like Paypal, credit card, or online payment, accounts are settled faster. In some cases, money comes in twice as quickly.
Make annoying receipts and data entry go away
Keeping records of transactions is one of the great pains of small business ownership. Holding onto physical receipts and invoices only adds to the trouble. It’s such a chore that most clients procrastinate and you end up harassing them for data at the end of each financial year. Smart accounting technology allows clients to record paper receipts simply by photographing them on their phones. The software reads the picture, transcribes the purchase data, and sends it into their accounting software using machine learning and OCR (optical character recognition). It’ll do the same for electronic invoices – clients just need to forward the emailed invoice to the app.
Create easy, accurate time records
Businesses with poor time-keeping can run into compliance issues, and many hemorrhage money. Some overpay hourly workers, others over-service clients. Yet most small businesses think a formal timekeeping system will be an expensive hassle. Online timesheets allow staff to clock on from their phones, using the phone’s GPS to confirm they’re actually at work. There’s no infrastructure to buy or install. And the time records can be coded to various tasks, allowing you to figure out how much time is going into specific jobs.
Put clients in charge of their inventory
Inventory is a massive cost, yet very few small businesses manage it well. They don’t have the processes or dedicated employees to stay on top of it, so they end up relying on periodic stocktakes. That limits what you can do from an accounting perspective. For example, it’s hard to track products and figure out the true cost of goods sold (COGS). The software can do a lot of the grunt work for you. The right accounting technology will add new items to inventory as stock comes into the business, and subtract them as they’re sold. The real-time view of inventory will help clients get their ordering just right and will allow you to drill down into COGS.
More and more small businesses want an online shop, and it doesn’t make sense for them to stop at having just one. Besides a store on their website, smart businesses also sell goods through Facebook, Google, Amazon, or eBay. Those big platforms can expand their reach. Getting started with e-commerce is daunting, and keeping tabs on multiple shops can be downright scary. But there are now some great off-the-shelf apps for all of this. And they’ll integrate with your accounting software, so you can keep sight of the whole business.
Sort out the sales cycle – and predict cash flow – with CRM
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can bring discipline and efficiency to the sales process. It's easy to set up the system to reflect the steps in their sales cycle, then identify where each prospect sits in the funnel. As time goes on, you will figure out what sales or marketing activities are required at each stage, and you may even be able to automate some of them. A CRM will also help you work out when prospects might become sales, which will help with cash flow management. And the systems can be synced with accounting software, so sales staff can issue invoices from the CRM as soon as they get a yes.
De-stress payroll without using an expensive service
Hiring employees should be one of the great highs of small business ownership, but it becomes stressful for most people. It takes a lot of coordination to pay people the right amount, on the right day, while complying with tax and reporting obligations. You can strip away a lot of that admin pain by setting up a system that automatically calculates tax, creates detailed reports, pays directly into staff bank accounts, makes it easy to reimburse expenses, and keeps track of employee leave (and leave requests).
Xero App Marketplace
There’s a lot of accounting technology that can improve profitability. The types mentioned here are among the most popular, but there are more. Xero integrates with over 700+ third-party applications. That’s the power of online accounting. If you would like to know more about Xero or would like to take up our discounted implementation offer, submit your contact details here and one of our consultants will be in touch.
This article is an extract from the Xero website and is written in general terms and therefore cannot be relied on to cover specific situations; application of the principles set out will depend upon the particular circumstances involved and we recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of its contents.