As holiday season approaches, getting your business into shape before you go is vital.
Our Practice Management Director, Linda Carrington, has taken a look at 5 ways we’ve helped our customers to cut down the paperwork in their growing businesses.
As your business grows, so does the paperwork. Dealing with and retrieving accounting information is often a major bug bear to business owners who feel time strapped at the best of times. Here are five things we’ve introduced to our customers which have saved them time and hassle as their businesses grow:
1. Automate your data entry
Typing in details from your supplier invoices. Rifling around to find a receipt from a business trip a couple of months back. These used to be every day activities in business, but they absolutely do not have to be now.
Automated data entry means using a simple app or forwarding your invoices by email. Machine learning means that after the first item from a supplier has been correctly coded, the data can be pushed straight to your accounting system. A few years ago, the cost of doing this might have been prohibitive for smaller organisations. Now it’s realistic for businesses of all sizes.
Going paper free is a lovely side effect!
2. Move to Direct Debits
If you have a loyal customer base or members who pay monthly, setting up Direct Debit arrangements is simpler than it seems.
How do we know this? We’ve done it ourselves. We couldn’t have continued to grow without an easy to use Direct Debit system. You don’t even need to charge regular or fixed fees.
3. Use an electronic Point of Sale system which connects with your accounts
This is one for any business owner who deals with customers in person. Take payments through your ePOS system, and relax knowing that it is being recorded daily within your accounting package. While contactless and card payments are increasingly the choice of customers, you can still take cash through an ePOS system.
4. Track sales and costs by category to see how each part of your business is doing.
Tracking in Xero allows you to check your pricing and performance is as expected. Did you price on a 30% gross margin, but only make 10% on a product category? Why is one location doing better than the other? With information like this, you can focus on growing sales where margins are good, and cut back or troubleshoot elsewhere.
5. Use the capabilities of your systems. Holiday requests. Email integration. Credit control notes. Staff timesheets. Payslip apps. Webforms.
You’ll be surprised what you can do with a cloud accounting package. By using it as a hub for key business information, you’ll save time and money. Why have your staff spent time printing and completing a holiday form only for you or your administrator to have to record it again? Why not keep notes of credit control calls against the invoice they relate to? Better still, why not automate the first few gentle payment reminders?
Often we have access to very powerful technology, but only scratch the surface of its capability. Typically we find that features like webforms are under-used, yet when deployed they enable teams to do much of their own admin, avoiding the time-zapper that is double data-entry.
‘It’s great to be able to quickly check Xero on my mobile while I’m on holiday. One less thing to worry about!’
What’s the point of all this time-saving?
There is, of course, the very real risk that we simply squeeze in more into the limited time we have each day.
However there are two very positive things we can do.
- Take time to run your business rather than the business run you.
- Take time out of the business for you, your family, your friends.