Software 🤝 Accounting
Most business owners use accounting software to record their transactions. Unfortunately, they often aren’t using all they’re paying for - or aren’t using all the tools that would provide value. Many owners look at sales and the bank balance. Some look at their Profit & Loss statement (P&L) and a few print a balance sheet.
There is valuable information in your numbers, and depending on your business there can be multiple reports, apps, and tools that tie into your software that can help you understand the state of your business better. Here are a few to check out:
Statement of Cash Flows - At the top of this report is your net income, but there are a lot of other elements that affect your cash that aren’t reflected on your P&L. Scan through and see what these are so you can plan more effectively for the usage of your cash. The largest items we see are these:
Fixed Asset Purchases
Owner Contributions and Draws
Cash Flow Projections - Depending on your accounting software, this may be an option that’s built in. QB Online has this for many of its levels, and if you take the time to enter in the cash that you have coming in and out regularly, it can help with projections.
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine - We are big fans of Mike Michalowicz’s cash flow system. See the book here. This book/method focuses on setting aside money for things like taxes, profit sharing, and other large expenses. It helps to keep you from thinking every dollar in your account is available to spend today. It also keeps the panic out down the road for that unexpected (or expected) bill or tax payment.
Sales by Customer/Sales by Product - Most software and sales apps have ways to run reports like this. Do you look at what’s selling and who’s buying it? You should!
Accounts Receivable - Keeping up with A/R is one of the most difficult things for some small business owners. They struggle to balance their relationship with their customers, not wanting to offend by asking for payment, especially a late payment. Keep in mind that not getting paid on time can be a huge detriment to your cash flow, and the older a receivable gets, the less likely you are to receive full payment. The process starts with knowing what’s owed and how to get it paid sooner rather than later.
Direct Bill Expenses to Customer - Most software provides a way for you to mark an expense as billable to the customer (and sometimes labor costs as well). When you get ready to bill the client, the expense is right there, ready to pull into your invoice. You can usually mark up these expenses if needed.
Sales Apps - There are separate apps/websites for sales of various products. Etsy, Shopify, and many others can sync with your accounting software and provide accurate sales data in your system. Sometimes, it is better to NOT sync and manually enter data - but have the detail in your app.
Sync your bank and credit cards to your software - All accounting software we use has this option. While you still have to classify your expenses, it makes sure that you get them all in quickly. Knowing what’s left in your bank or what you will owe on the credit card is another management tool. Sometimes knowing where you are will keep you from spending quite so much!
Accounts Payable - Not every business needs to put their bills in and schedule payments in the future, but if you do, make sure you use this and run the A/P report regularly to make sure you haven’t missed something.
Bill.com - This is a service that allows you to schedule and pay your bills online instead of writing a check. You can schedule bills out in the future and then not have to worry about remembering to send the check. Bill.com interfaces with many accounting software systems.
Receipts Converted to Expense - Many software programs have an option for you to email or take a picture of your receipts and send it directly to your software. You can then quickly categorize the expense and a copy of your receipt is saved with the expense. There are also apps like Expensify that let you track this, and some of them integrate with the accounting software.
We never recommend our clients do payroll manually. The time and potential for error are high, and the fines for making a mistake can be huge. Incorrectly doing payroll can also have a significant impact on your employees, both financially and in trust.
We use Gusto or QB Online payroll. There are also some local providers who may be a good fit for your business. We also recommend you have the software file your tax reports, funds, and year-end reports automatically. Yes, this has a cost to it, but the cost is low compared to the fines, penalties, and interest you can accrue very quickly with the IRS and state agencies.
Payroll is challenging enough without added costs. We also suggest that you periodically check to make sure the funds you’ve asked the payroll service to pay on your behalf do get credited to your account.
Most accounting software offers a higher-level option to add project tracking. This can be extremely valuable if you do projects - whether short- or long-term. Most software will at least let you tag something, and you can run reports on these tags to get an idea of how profitable you are on a project basis. Don’t forget though - your profitability on projects has to cover all of your overhead expenses!
There are plenty more reports, apps, and programs out there. Not all will be a good fit for you and your business. Need help figuring out how to use what you already have, or need recommendations for accounting software to utilize in your business? Reach out to us today.