Small business owners understand that time equals money. So if you had the chance to save your company hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars by simply automating financial tasks, would you do it? You bet your ergonomic office chair you would.
Most business owners establish their initial financial plan using an Excel spreadsheet. While that may be adequate for your early days, you’ll soon need online accounting software to sharpen your financial focus. You’ll likely require business expense software to help track costs as well as inventory management software to keep a close eye on stock. After all, you wouldn’t want to run out of your best-selling item and miss a sale, right? Spending a few monthly bucks on online accounting software can save time (and money) in the long run — and give you the data needed to run your business efficiently.
Track expenses for easy invoicing
Assigning employee hours to the appropriate invoices and matching sales receipts to their corresponding projects is a bit of a headache. Plus, it takes a lot of time. Online accounting software and business expense software can make that task a whole lot easier.
- Employ automatic expense entry. Business expense software can cut entry time in half. Instead of manually inputting each piece of information, you or any member of your team can simply email or upload a receipt to the program. Your software will grab information, such as the date, payee, and amount from the receipt, and automatically enter it into the appropriate fields. All you have to do is ensure everything transfers correctly and, if need be, assign that expense to its corresponding client.
- Match expenses to customer invoices. When invoicing time rolls around, you won’t have to worry about sorting through receipts to confirm you’ve accounted for all project expenses. Instead, your program will automatically generate previously entered expenses when you create a client’s newest invoice. You simply select the items you’d like to add to their bill, and voilá, you’re done!
- Integrate time-tracker apps. Many online accounting software options come with integrated time-tracking tools or link with a variety of third-party apps so you and your employees can digitally record hours via a mobile phone or tablet. These apps allow workers to designate which job they’re working on, so you can easily plug hours into your client’s invoice at the end of the month.
- Accept digital payments. After you email invoices, you can give customers the option to pay with a credit card. This service eliminates hours of financial work and gets money into your account faster. Rather than waiting to receive checks in the mail, filling out deposit tickets, making a ledger entry, and delivering the deposit to the bank, you simply receive an email notification that your customer paid their bill. Your accounting software automatically sends that payment to your bank account and enters the deposit in the ledger, making for a seamless process.
Other cost-saving characteristics
The time you’ll save using online accounting software can help you and your team accomplish more in a workday. That way, you can drive your business forward instead of maintaining the same hamster wheel. For instance, financial staff can waste less time creating reports and more time analyzing them, discovering ways to optimize operations.
Integrating accounting software into your workflow will also help you and your employees determine which products or services are most profitable, so your company knows where to focus its efforts. Here are some other advantages:
- Track inventory. Your inventory team won’t have to worry about running out of an item because your inventory management software will automatically alert them when quantities are low.
- Easily generate reports. Storing all your financial data in your online accounting software allows you and your team to easily access vital reports like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
- Share information with the team. Would it be helpful for lead staff to view real-time project budgets? If so, you can give them access to budgets and reports, so they can stay focused on the financial health of their project.
- Pay your employees. Generate next- or same-day direct deposits for your team. Your online accounting software should also be able to automatically produce tax forms and provide tax penalty protection.
- Download the mobile app. You’re in the office-supply store to pick up a few necessities. After you check out, snap a picture of the receipt and upload it via the mobile app. Your software will do the rest, and you won’t have to remember to enter the expense when you return to work.
If you consider that the average on-staff accountant makes anywhere from $54,000 to $83,000 per year, harnessing the power of online accounting software may be the difference between barely paying the bills and planning for an expansion.
Software subscriptions start at approximately $10 per month and run up to nearly $1,000 per month, depending on your needs. Regardless, most small businesses can find an option to save them considerably more than having multiple accountants on staff. Of course, it’s always a good idea to keep a certified public accountant in the know should you have any questions or need help preparing for tax time.
If you think online accounting software is only for big businesses, think again. In fact, statistically, the majority of small businesses fail within the first two years because of financial issues due to cash flow and bill management. Having solid business expense software — and inventory management software — may be just what you need to beat the odds.