If there’s one side of running a business that eats time and often puts owners under undue stress and pressure, it’s looking after a firm’s accounts. From issuing and chasing invoices to staying on top of wages and paying suppliers on time, business accounting is a frequent drain on company resources – and all without directly contributing to profits.
If you find dealing with your business accounts is stealing time and causing headaches, below are a few tips used by the experts that could help you automate processes and streamline the flow of money around your firm.
Invest in accounting software solutions
In recent years there have been huge advances made in accounting software and apps. Indeed, many modern accounts programs can now automate almost all sides of business accounting – everything from generating invoices to making automatic payments to staff and suppliers.
Also, if you integrate your main platform with third-party solutions, your software will be able to receive payments automatically from your clients. Check online for information on how to set up ach payments and start automating the financial responsibilities in your firm.
Back up your accounts to the cloud
While in-house software is all well and good for handling your firm’s more repetitive accounts duties, if something should go wrong or you suffer a service outage, you run the very real risk of losing everything.
Instead, look at backing up your accounts records to a cloud-based provider. While it’s true many of the newer systems come with cloud-based solutions as standard, you should check to make sure your supplier offers these services. If not, look at using an independent supplier to ensure you have regular, daily backups to fall back on should the worst happen.
Set up macros to handle repetitive, time-consuming tasks
Accounting software is only as good as the rules and tasks you program it to perform, so consider using macros to handle the more repetitive tasks and free up valuable time and resources.
Establish rules, preferred software, and protocols
It’s common for Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to have several different departments each working towards the same overall goal. However, suppose these departments are all running different accounts packages (or even operating them in slightly different ways). In that case, you’ll face a huge uphill struggle when it comes to compiling your year-end figures of having an accurate idea of how your firm is performing.
Rather, take time to sit down with your managers or different departments to agree on a strategy for your accounts systems covering everything from the software you use to the formatting of spreadsheets. Not only will you gain a better overview of how your company is performing, you’ll also be able to identify and isolate potential loss-makers or under-performers.
Integrate your accounts software with other programs
As mentioned above, if you’re to get the best effect from your accounts system, you should look at integrating specialist software to automate everything from receiving and making payments to taking regular backups, emailing payment reminders, and logging customer interaction.
For example, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can help you stay on top of every stage of customer care – from initial contact through to end payment and after-sales care.
Use reporting systems to get an accurate day-by-day impression of performance
Not so long ago, firms frequently operated largely in the dark with little idea of how they were performing. However, with the advent of accounting software and reporting systems, it’s now easier than ever to check your company’s productivity across all areas and departments.
If you’re already running accounts software, check its capability for producing reports to get a better in-depth view of your firm’s performance on both a macro and micro level.
Using business intelligence and data, you’ll be able to streamline operations, eliminate loss-leaders and invest in high performers – whether that be stock, employees, or company tools and equipment.
Go mobile and embrace remote working
With the huge advances in technology and improvements in connection speeds (both fixed-line and mobile networks), there’s now no reason for all your staff to work in the same location under the same roof.
Pretty much all new accounting packages can be used on mobile devices, meaning your team can take on a large chunk of business accounts that would have previously been handled manually. For example, if you have a sales team that are often out on the road, perhaps consider issuing them with a company mobile, already pre-loaded with your accounts software so they can take a photo of receipts and log them directly in your accounting software (e.g. for fuel, entertaining clients, etc). The software will automatically link the image of a receipt with a payment made from the company account, saving you or your accountant having to marry up payments further down the line.
All these different forms of software can be really helpful in managing your business accounts. Be sure to implement some of them to reap the benefits.