You already know this, but guess what? Nobody uses paper to keep up with their monthly books anymore. There are too many options available to pretend it’s 1997 and you are bound to keep hard copies of everything squirreled away in a box for the next decade. The fact of the matter is there are a lot of ways that you can use technology to make keeping track of your monthly financial paperwork a lot easier than it is right now.
If you consider what your hourly rate is versus the cost of these upgrades to your existing financial systems, you’ll see they are a real bargain and, more importantly, they save you, your bookkeeper (and that might be you!), and your accountant loads of time chasing data that is easily searchable online.
So, let’s look at a few solutions you need to check out for your business, especially if you are using “legacy” service providers.
Credit Card Processing and Merchant Services: With the wide range of transactions that take place with plastic, you likely already have some way of processing these transactions. The vast majority of these are supported by open source software, so they should all integrate right into your accounting and/or bookkeeping software. If they don’t, you need to look into why – and resolve the issue either by finding a better merchant services provider or a better software suite. Harsh? Hey, those guys aren’t reconciling your statements at the end of the month!
Paper Receipts: Since you never go anywhere without your phone, an app that can take a picture of a receipt and then upload that into your accounting software seems like a pretty neat way to make it automatic, right? Right! The good news is that there are literally dozens of apps that do just that and, depending on what accounting software you use, most work in conjunction with them. Using these is simple – you download the app, set it up to work with your accounting software, and simply take a picture of the receipts! Check out several different apps, and determine how they interface with your software – of course, we’re here to help, so if you have a question, just let us know and we’ll help you out.
Monthly Bank and Loan Statements: One of the least utilized but biggest time savers is syncing monthly statements from any bank or credit institution into your bookkeeping software. You can easily do this is in QuickBooks, Xero, and most any other major platform and from there, simply retain the primary copy in your own computer or files. To put it simply, you can set this up to work and with the “click” of a mouse, not the sigh of a lengthy computer session, pull information about loan statements and banking financials from the statement right into the software.
Painless Deposits: Now, not every bank offers this service, but a lot of banks do – even the smallest of the small. If your bank does, you can set up a digital deposit slip which allows you to fill out and manage everything right from your accounting software. If this seems just a little too complicated for you, then you can simply take a picture of the slip, scan it at the end of the day, and input it into the software. While most banks may charge a fee for this service, it is probably still worth it to use it, depending on the volume of business you’re doing or the number of deposits you actually make in over the course of a month.
When it comes to accounting and bookkeeping, many people think that archaic systems are the only solution. Many times, this adherence to paper in lieu of software means that our clients are trying to run a modern business with accounting and bookkeeping processes that are hopelessly complicated and, realistically, haven’t been used by larger businesses in a generation or more.
Let’s be completely honest, if you want to have your business and financial paperwork organized, you have to take the time to do that, too.
Simple? Only in theory. In the “real world” things like actually running the business have a tendency to get in our way… And you know what that means – by the time they get back to focusing on the books and where they are in relation to taxes, they might be months behind.
So how can you become better organized, financially?
First of all, you need to have all your bank account records, legal paperwork, and other records inventoried.
The next step? Following up on the data that you don’t have. It’s inevitable that you’ll discover records that are missing during the process of categorizing what does exist. You’ll then need to be contacting banks, any institutions that hold loans, credit cards companies, and potentially months of emails – and then you’ll still miss something.
This is where diligence comes in and judicious note-taking and follow up is critical.
Can I point out, too, that this is where the vast majority of clients throw up their hands, toss all the information into a box, and either call us or hide the box for at least a month?
Personally, I encourage any small business owner to look at how they can use technology to stay organized and to make each month’s financials easier and faster to produce and reconcile – and if you don’t know where to begin, that’s not a problem. Why not schedule a time to review how we can help make things easier for you?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 801-571-4011 and let’s discuss how we can put real money into your pockets in the real world!