If you’re running a small business, then a central part of keeping your business healthy is making sure that your finances are in order. This means that you need to keep close control of your cashflow and bank balance, understand who owes you what and in turn what you owe to other people.
Fortunately, there are some excellent online accounting applications and cloud software that can make your small business accounting much easier, saving you time, money and anxiety. This article and infographic discuss some of these financial and accounting applications.
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How online accounting and financial apps can help your small business
These financial applications allow you to control all of the different financial aspects of your small business, from invoicing through to reconciliation and payroll to debt management.
This means that at any moment in time you will know what you are owed, what you owe, your tax and payroll situation, expenses, reporting and overall financial health of your small business. This means that you can make smart, informed decisions regarding investment, dividend payouts, chasing clients, negotiating terms and the like.
You’ll be able to look at your reporting and see how changes to your pricing affects the bottom line and understand where your main profit margins are. You can budget more effectively for your marketing, hosting and other fixed costs; these applications put all of that critical information at your fingertips.
They will also help out your accountant and make their job quicker and easier, hopefully meaning you’ll have a smaller bill for their services. Most crucially, they will save you time and money, by making the necessary job of tracking your finances quicker and easier. Having to use spreadsheets and Word documents to track invoices, bills and multiple clients becomes overwhelming as you gain more credibility and customers.
These applications take all of that frustration and anxiety away and let you focus on your main role – running your business.
The areas that accounting and finance apps can help with
Although different applications vary in their functionality, they can help your small business out in several different fields, including:
► Providing an at a glance overview of your small business
- Your current bank balance
- Outstanding, paid and overdue invoices
- Bills and payments that you owe to other people
- Costs to be billed to clients
- Tax liability and key dates
- Profit and loss
► Managing your small business payroll
- Tracking your employees
- Managing timesheets
- Recompensing expenses
- Calculating tax, insurance and other payments
► Making billing and invoicing easier
- Raising invoices for work completed or products sold
- Tracking bills that you owe to others for products, services or other variable and fixed costs
- Accounts payable and accounts receivable
► Chasing debtors and late payers
- Monitoring who is overdue on payments
- Issuing chase up demands and reminders
► Budgeting and reporting
- Understanding your cashflow and what you are spending where
- Tracking and managing your fixed and variable costs
- Seeing what you’re expecting to come in and go out of your account
- Creation of budgets
- Profit & loss, income statements and balance sheet reports
- Reconciliation of your bank account against your accounting software
► Simple contact and project management
- Tracking your customer and client contact details and statements of account
- Manage billable work for clients using projects, tasks and timeslips
Finding the difference between the applications
Not every application is going to excel in every area. Some are better than others at handling different aspects of your business needs. Personally, I use FreeAgent to manage my small business. It has just the right level of functionality and is a joy to use; I would estimate that it saves me around three days a month compared to doing all of my accounting and invoicing manually.
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Links to try out these applications
It’s important to try out the different applications available so that you can choose the one that’s right for you. Most of these applications have a free trial period, so I would recommend that you try them out and see what’s best for your small business.
|Links to try out these applications|
► FreshBooks – 30 day free trial; ongoing free software with limitations
► Fusebill – Accounting for subscription businesses
►Xero – Accounting software
►KashFlow – Accounting Software for UK businesses
You can also access many of the other applications listed plus more cloud applications for your small business via the very thorough and comprehensive GetApps marketplace.
The infographic below brings all of this together into one place.
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