If you’re like many managers, gaining a better grasp on your small business’ finances is probably a part of your New Year’s resolution. It’s already February. Have you made any progress?
Your good intentions may be beginning to slide as you slip back into old habits. Luckily, advances in technology enable better ways to keep your business’ finances in order. And they sure beat a shoebox full of crumpled receipts.
Here are 5 great ways to digitize your small business finances:
1. Use Online Billing
Invoicing your customers can become a task in itself. Keeping track of the hours spent working on a project, or the per-unit cost of a product can be daunting, especially if you’re working with a client who pays only once the project is complete.
Sites like FreshBooks (have you seen our exlusive interview with FreshBooks CEO Mike McDerment?) or FreeAgent can help maximize your billing efficiency. Online billing allows you not only to organize your billing process, but also allows you to send invoices online, check on payment statuses, track hours, provide estimates, and even offer customers an easy way to pay, like PayPal.
2. Accept PayPal
PayPal is no longer just a payment option for eBay purchases—it has become the leading online payment platform across the globe. PayPal allows customers to quickly, easily, and securely purchase directly from a website, or pay invoices online. By streamlining the payment process, the addition of PayPal allows for greater sales conversions and more prompt payments of invoices.
However, be warned that PayPal takes a percentage of the total cost of the transaction, plus additional charges for currency conversions. Also make sure you read the PayPal terms and conditions closely—the company is known to suspend accounts without warning. If this is a concern for you, check out other online payment options.
3. Direct Deposit Payroll
If you’re still using paper checks, it’s time to step into the 21st century. Direct deposit payroll checks will expedite your billing process and save you money. In fact, one report suggests that a business with just 25 employees can save nearly $2,000 per year, while a company with 100 employees will save over $7,000 per year.
Thinking about the environment? Direct deposits can help reduce the carbon footprint of a company. They can even help businesses remain competitive in their recruitment efforts, as they free employees from having to visit the bank to deposit checks.
4. Online Tax Resources
Each year, thousands of business owners forgo tax credits and deductions simply because they don’t keep accurate and organized records. Now, there are programs available to aide in that very process. Services like Shoeboxed and Expensify help businesses manage the accumulation of paper receipts. The process is simple; after a quick scan of the receipt, it’s neatly placed into a virtual folder for access during tax preparation.
5. Online Inventory Management
Your inventory is your lifeline. By keeping track of what you have on hand, what you need to order, and the profit every item brings to your business, you’re better able to maximize your investments. A business never wants to be without a product simply because it’s out of stock.
Perhaps worse, you don’t want to be sitting on an item indefinitely, taking up valuable space without a healthy ROI. Managing your inventory digitally is more efficient and easier to scale-up as your business grows.
In most cases, digitizing business finances creates an efficient workflow and maximizes productivity. It helps to easily bring a small business up-to-date with technology. It eliminates time-consuming data entry tasks and organization debacles. It provides an added convenience factor for consumers and clients, providing a seamless transaction process. And, in most cases, digitizing finances will save the business money in the long run.
So, if you’re ready to give up on those New Year’s Resolutions, think about how digitization can help your goals become realities.