For most small business owners, accounting and bookkeeping is a time-consuming, frustrating task that takes a significant toll on your ability to do what you do best: run your business.
Whether you’ve been doing your own books or you’ve hired a part-time bookkeeper to work with your company, you know just how problematic accounting can be. Technology is the answer. In fact, it’s playing a larger and larger role in how small businesses keep their books and its impact has been nothing less than liberating.
Move Beyond Outmoded Equipment and Supplies
Whether you’re keeping physical books or using Microsoft Excel to track your financial information, there’s a better way. Modern technology has made those older accounting methods and tools obsolete. All you need today is a web-connected device and you can track, aggregate, search and create financial reports whenever necessary.
Entering your information is no more difficult than putting it into a spreadsheet, but it can be done anywhere, at any time. Businesses large and small are moving away from even recent hardware, as the need for in-house servers and massive onsite storage systems declines.
Look Into Subscription-Based Systems
Bookkeeping software is expensive, and it’s even more costly if you have to purchase multiple licenses for several workstations. There’s a way around that, tough. Cloud-based systems are available on a subscription basis, which means that not only do you not have to foot the bill for the full software suite, but you can generally purchase multiple licenses with the base subscription.
That means you spend less while ensuring that your entire team is able to utilize the same software and access information stored in the cloud. It’s seamless, fast and affordable. Web-based solutions can offer multiple general ledger systems, including QuickBooks, NetSuite and others, so your employees can use the system they’re familiar with.
Simplify Document Management
Document management is a nightmare for most small businesses. You’ve got reams of hardcopy files. You have row on row of filing cabinets. You have mountains of papers stacked on your desk. Modern technology allows you to take all that information and store it safely in the cloud, eliminating clutter and chaos in your office.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, cloud-based technology simplifies and ensures better document management. It goes beyond decluttering your office, though. With the right cloud-based system, you can easily search the archives by keyword, name and other metrics. You also gain user-specific access rights, which foster collaboration while preventing unauthorized access to sensitive business information.
Get Mobile Access
Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever, and it’s become especially apparent with small businesses. Business owners are doing more outside the office, and even staff members are working remotely these days.
While your company might not benefit from complete decentralization, mobile technology has a lot to offer — whether you’re on the road and need to access financial information or one of your staff needs to create financial reports from a remote location. Web-based bookkeeping solutions ensure that all this can be done easily, simply and safely.
Use Completely Integrated Software
Your company’s financial information is comprised of multiple separate elements, from banking to payroll to point-of-sale to bill paying and reporting. Modern technology gives you the ability to integrate those disparate systems into a single interface, providing a single point of entry for all your needs — whether you’re paying a creditor, checking bank statements, paying employees or accessing sales information from last week.
Technology has evolved far beyond what many small business owners realize. It offers significant enhancements in terms of integration, efficiency, affordability and ease of access.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Enrico Palmerino, a graduate of Babson College, is a serial entrepreneur recognized by Inc., Bloomberg Businessweek, CNN, and USA Today. Currently the Managing Director and Partner at SmartBooks, which provides small and midsize companies with outsourced bookkepeing and accounting services that are better, faster, and more affordable than hiring part-time or full-time employees. In the last two years he has grown SmartBooks from 7-40+ employees. Previously, he co-founder founded of ThinkLite, an international lighting company ranked #46 in Inc’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies.