Here are some features to help you get a feel for how easy bookkeeping can be using Freeagent, QuickBooks and Xero, as well as what is required of you and your business.
Below are some of the features that we implement constantly for businesses so that they can just get on with their business rather than spending unnecessary time doing their books.
If you’re still typing out your transactions, dates and amounts you are simply missing out on saving so much time. Online accounting packages will connect directly to most banks, which means they’ll import all your data without you having to type a single digit. This also means your data is more accurate and processed in minutes or seconds rather than hours. Online accounting packages offer so much more than this and once you give them a go, you’ll never look back.
For more information on the how banks connect to your accounting software, check out the Open Banking platform: openbanking.org.uk
Why settle for bank transaction data being imported only for you to have to explain what each item is? The great news is you don’t have to, you can teach these packages to process most of the transactions for you. Chances are you use the same suppliers for certain things; mobile phone, light and heat, rent or magazine subscriptions for example. What we love doing is spending our time teaching these packages to spot these suppliers from your bank feed and then have them categorise the transactions for you to cut down on your admin.
Do you love being paperless, or just hate carrying a wallet full of receipts around? Why not take a photo of the receipt using your phone to make sure the expense isn’t forgotten. You can even have it read the image and fill out the details of the expense for you like date, supplier, amount and VAT.
We know this is bit Orwellian, but it saves so much time that it’s hard to turn down. Did you know that if you claim the “45p per mile” then HMRC require you to keep a log of your start point, end point and the date of any mileage allowance you wish to claim through your business? Imagine being able to show them a log that went down to the minute, with a map showing the extra mileage you did because of a diversion! We don’t think you’ll have much trouble sleeping soundly at night with this level of accuracy in your records.
For those that charge by the hour or minute, why not use stopwatch facilities and time sheets to ensure everything you did is billed, or at least captured to be monitored. Don’t worry, for those times you forget to stop the timer, it can always be corrected.
This one is huge. What if someone said you can be told what your VAT, Corporation Tax, PAYE and Self-Assessment was at any one point in time? You’d say, “yeah, why can’t we do this already?”. You might even go on to say, “why don’t we have separate bank accounts to keep these amounts in, then we’ll never get behind”. We’d say, now you’re thinking like us! This takes all the stress out of not knowing and we understand that completely. This is why we would strongly recommend a chat about moving to cloud software because they can facilitate this.
Why not show your potential customers how proactive you are by supplying them with a fully branded and professional quote as you price up their job. We can help set products and services up tailored to you and your business so you just select them in the app and build up your quote.
Then, when you are ready just fire it over to your potential customer via the software after a couple of button clicks. No more messing around on an old word document or spreadsheet to prepare your quotes.
You can take it a step further than the quote and raise an invoice for your customer as you’re walking off site, happy in the knowledge you’ve done a decent job and all you had to do was convert your quote to an invoice and press send. After all, the longer you leave sending the invoice, the longer it will take to be paid. Countless business articles refer to poor cashflow management as being the main reason a startup fails, so let’s make sure we are giving your customers every opportunity to pay within the agreements you set.
Many businesses know that if you can send a reminder to your customer to say the payment date is coming up soon, they are more likely to get paid on time. This took time in the past by writing an email and making sure you weren’t chasing debts that had been paid. All of this process can be automated to chase your invoices a set number of days before a debt becomes due, and only if it is still outstanding. You can even have differing levels of tones to your messages depending on how long the debt has been unpaid.
Why not have a nice friendly reminder when an invoice is overdue, and then have another reminder that is a little more assertive and to the point about a debt becoming 2 weeks overdue for example.
One thing better than your package chasing outstanding bills is to have it either take payment automatically using a Direct Debit facility or having a payment button right on your invoice making it as easy as possible for your customer to pay. Many of these packages go a step further and even mark the invoice as being paid, so that there are no embarrassing debt chasing emails simply because you didn’t update your books.
Many packages integrate with the main players, so why not consider Go Cardless or PayPal to give your customer every opportunity to pay on time.
Projects are a great way to ensure you’re sticking to a budget and not spending more than you are selling. They allow you to mark transactions as being connected to a project so it will appear in both your main Profit and Loss report as well as its own separate report. Having this level of detail may focus your attention on securing more of these types of projects in the future if they were profitable.
Ever wished you had a live feed of what was in stock. Not least because it’s always a hassle continually checking your stock when a customer just wants to know if you have something. Many software packages have this feature and once they are up and running, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the jump to online accounting sooner.
Who knows, it may even cut out the need to have an employee monitor all this for you as part of their job, which may free them up to do more profitable things in your business.
If you’re going to make the move to an online accounting package, why not utilise the built-in payroll software that they come with. After all, there’s no point having separate systems that don’t talk to each other. Having everything connected will mean all the relevant accounting entries are taken care of. You keep on top of your PAYE liabilities and colleagues even get access to digital payslips, saving you all hassle that comes with paper payslips. We would even go as far as saying that if you outsource your payroll now, why not consider bringing it into your package to help get all your data in real time.
Many of these packages offer automatic recurring invoices that can be sent to customers, automatic customer statements sent via email, cashflow planning, CIS, budgeting, the list goes on an on.
Software providers are continually adding new features to make their packages the best on the market.
Basically, anything you used to do in front of your old desktop can be done on the go which means things get done before they even become a thought for your to-do list.
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