Small business owners often have to wear several hats, including that of an accountant. It’s a tedious chore but necessary for monitoring, managing, and growing their business. That’s why our article on ‘10 Quick Tips for Starting a Small Business’ emphasises the importance of financial and legal know-how, especially in relation to insurance, local legislation, procuring funds, and overall daily operations. It’s also vital for improving profitability and production as well as making timely decisions.
This goes for any line of business that you’re in, whether you work in agriculture or eCommerce. However, not all entrepreneurs have a knack for the tasks involved in the financial side of the business including tax management, payroll, and tracking inventory. Fortunately, technology has allowed small businesses to function without outsourcing accounting services.
You can make this daunting task easier through any of the tools mentioned below.
No business is sustainable without keeping track of records, statements, and a mountain of documents pertinent to your financial operations. Wave Financial is a web-based integrated accounting suite that records financial transactions, debit and credit, invoices, and balances accounts. A similar program is available on Freshbooks that’s also available on mobile. It provides access to customer and vendor portals and is a multi-currency platform. These features can also be found in Quickbooks Online but what sets it apart is the promise of live customer support, which many users seem to like. While paper takes up so much space and can easily be destroyed, the cloud is forever.
Tax Management Software
While Quickbooks Online is a great all-around accounting tool, the tax management features are a particular standout, according to a review on Capterra. You can file taxes through the software, manage sales tax, and automate tax deductions every three months. This will save you a lot of time doing your taxes and avoiding errors. The interface is not too complicated in terms of the set-up and it doesn’t require you to have a background in accounting. It is also cloud-based and can be accessed wherever you can get a Wi-Fi connection.
There are several platforms you can use for your business’s invoicing needs, a few of which were listed on FCA-run site Simply Business. Freshbooks was again mentioned where you can customise the template and add your logo for a personal touch. Zoho Invoice is another notable software, which offers basic invoicing features.
But small business owners might find InvoiceBerry’s simple interface and the promise of getting invoices within a minute particularly appealing for this task. There are 15 templates to choose from and it has the added feature of sending reminders to clients or customers who haven’t responded to the invoice. Once the transaction is concluded, you even have the option to acknowledge their payment with a simple ‘thank you’ note.
No one understands the startup economy better than Collage, being a start-up company itself. Their payroll automation software is perfect for small to medium-sized businesses, as the interface is neat and very intuitive. It has features such as syncing with Google Calendar to display who’s away on leave, deadlines, and other important dates. Although it can only accomplish basic functions like computing payroll, that’s not to say that it won’t get the job done.
For additional features, many are drawn to Wave Payroll which is a stand-alone software from Wave Financial. What’s great about it is that it deposits directly to the employees’ bank accounts. It also has an option for transferring data from your previous payroll provider, which is very efficient.
Online Market Analysis Tools
In order to project profits, losses, and spending, conducting market research is an essential step for businesses. It’s what will help your business grow, and using a calendar with this important information can help with financial projections.
To accomplish this, an economic calendar can help outline key economic events and how they impact market conditions. The economic calendar on FXCM includes additional trade volatility charts. These charts can more clearly define economic factors in these key events that may affect your business. Such factors include the prices of commodities that you might be using to produce your products and the fluctuation of exchange rates that might affect your dealings with international companies. These factors can affect all businesses, from big corporations down to small shops, which is why it’s vital to stay updated.
And since the majority of people are now on social media, why not use that to your full advantage, too? There’s a goldmine of data that you can tap into through Facebook and its Audience Insights tool. It can help small business owners learn about customers’ purchase behaviour, geography, demographics, and other relevant information. It will help you keep your current clientele happy, as well as reach out to potential consumers.
Tracking inventory is an important accounting duty because merchandise is considered an asset to the company no matter the scale. One way to make it more convenient is by using Unleashed.
In Stackupp’s unpacking of the software, some of the pros that came out are real-time inventory data, stock-tracking across multiple locations, multi-currency, and stock-tracking from pick-up to dispatch. It’s available on mobile as well so you can easily manage inventory on the go. The real-time insights that you can glean from the software can contribute to other aspects of the business such as predicting trends and understanding customer preferences.
You may have heard about how today’s digital tools can streamline everything from recruitment to communications and decision-making. If finances are giving you a hard time as a small business owner, these same tools are now available to help you out.