Whether you’re an owner or an accounting professional helping business owners, it’s no surprise that running a company requires wearing a lot of hats—manager, sales associate, HR coordinator, operations analyst. It can quickly become exhausting and overwhelming!
But according to a small business report by Wasp Barcode Technologies, 60% of small business owners feel they aren’t knowledgeable about accounting or finance, yet only 30% of those surveyed outsource their bookkeeping and financial management to accounting professionals! With so many responsibilities constantly on an owner’s plate, it can be easy to let these financial obligations fall by the wayside.
Accounting professionals know it’s tedious, but keeping business finances in order is extremely important. Monitoring financial performance and projecting future revenue and expenses lead to better long-term business decisions, but without an accurate depiction of this information, planning ahead can prove challenging.
Luckily, today’s emerging technologies can make organizing your finances a much simpler and less stressful process. Here are four tech-driven methods for both business owners and accounting professionals who service them to keep business finances in check.
1. EMBRACE CLOUD-BASED BUSINESS APPLICATIONS
Cloud-based business tools have taken over today’s business environments—and for good reason. RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud report indicates that 94% of today’s businesses have already adopted some aspect of the cloud in their daily operations. The cloud is easily scalable, accessible, and flexible, making it a useful technology for businesses of all sizes.
Many popular business applications have migrated to the cloud for this reason; functionality for its users becomes super simple, allowing them to access, share, and update information from any location. For finances in particular, business owners should consider a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which many organizations—including accounting firms—use to manage day-to-day business activities like accounting, procurement, and cash management. ERP systems with financial management-specific tools offer real-time insight to the latest financial data, and they can even automate common finance processes. However, keep in mind that offerings like Infor ERP aren’t built to run in the cloud, which means that it might be difficult to reap all the capabilities of cloud-based applications.
2. FIND AN ON-THE-GO BUSINESS BANK
According to a BAI survey, 79% of business owners use the same provider for both their business banking and their personal finances. It’s a place where they know the tellers, can shake the hand of the person offering them financing, and it’s where they feel comfortable discussing the ins and outs of their business.
However, business owners are often on the go, which means their banking should be, too. With a business-minded mobile bank, company finances are always accessible, enabling fast and efficient digital payments and deposits. Some solutions even offer instantaneous cash flow reports, so there’s never any question when it comes to funds being transferred into and out of accounts. There are a number of mobile business banking options available today, so it’s helpful to consult with an accounting professional or CPA to make sure it’s accessible and easy to manage.
3. AUTOMATE YOUR BOOKKEEPING
While accountants may not get to have any say in what bank a business chooses to use, they can have an impact on business financials by utilizing automated bookkeeping services. This helps prevent a business owner from becoming their organization’s de facto bookkeeper, which can quickly spiral out of control. Bookkeeping is critical for businesses of all sizes; as Lita Epstein, author of Bookkeeping Kit for Dummies says, “No matter what business you’re in, the ability to understand your books is essential.”
The reality is that automated bookkeeping software makes running a business—or managing a business’ financials as an accounting professional—easy by combining various data sources while applying rules, processes, and calculations. Simply put, this provides the most insightful and updated custom reporting and dashboards while also eliminating costly and error-prone manual accounting.
Automated bookkeeping extracts data from receipts, processes payroll, pays bills, sends invoices, reconciles accounts, and generates beautiful reports—giving owners and accountants more time back to run their business or accounting firm however necessary.
4. CREATE DIGITAL COPIES OF IMPORTANT PAPERWORK
When figuring out how to manage small business finances, a reliable documentation system is one of the biggest factors. Startup owners are notorious for having unorganized drawers full of receipts, invoices, and other financial documents (yikes!), but digitizing them can simplify the entire financial organization process. This not only reduces the need for physical storage space, but it’s also easier to pull up old documents in digital form than it is to dig through file drawers or boxes of old documents.
Backups on digital document storage systems offer increased security, too. Paper copies can degrade over time, and since there’s only one original, the manual paper method creates a potential loss in the event of a fire or flood.
Keeping business finances organized is no simple task, but with the help of today’s technologies, it can become a much more manageable process. Business owners should use one (or many!) of the tools listed above for stress-free financial planning. And accounting professionals should share this information with their clients to make everyone’s lives easier!
Written by Aaron Sullivan