If the events of the last 12 months have shown us anything, it’s how much we have come to rely on technology such as Netflix. Instant access to thousands of TV programmes and movies on demand, with no need to leave home to get them.
Imagine if we were still reliant on Blockbuster for our home movie fix. The extra time taken to travel to the store, browsing the shelves to choose a maximum of three movies to take home and watch on our clunky old VCR (or DVD player, I’m not that old!), and more time taken to return it to the store and start the process again. If they were even open at a convenient time, of course.
Just as technology is changing our home lives, it’s also driving our businesses forward, making everything easier, faster and, more often than not, cheaper. And that includes the systems we use to manage accounting.
Doing your books in the 21st Century
So – what is the Netflix equivalent of accounting? How can we reduce – or remove completely – the pile up of paperwork, the time spent inputting invoice and receipt data into ledgers and calculating payroll and VAT?
Have you been asked at the till for your email? The shop wants to send you a digital copy of your receipt, and it’s not just a way to get hold of your email for marketing purposes. As a business owner, this is also a fast and easy way to do your bookkeeping. The email arrives, you simply forward it on to a digital accounting system, and your records are updated.
There are two websites offering this service that I recommend – Receipt Bank and Hubdoc. Not only can you forward on email receipts, you can also take a photo of any paper receipts and forward that on too. They both collate the required information and store an image, everything you need for HMRC. So, you can get rid of the piles of paper storage too.
Keeping your accounts in the cloud
Using these services will remove the need for business owners to spend weekends inputting invoices and receipts into spreadsheets, or the cost of bookkeepers and finance clerks. Great news for anyone who generates a lot of receipts, such as tradesmen buying regular amounts of materials. But there are even more benefits.
Both systems link directly to your online accounting software such as Xero. Even better, if you’re a Xero subscriber you can use Hubdoc for free. The information from your receipts is automatically updated and matched against your bank accounts. If an invoice is received one day, and paid the next, Xero will be able to match the two entries together. All of which gives you an up-to-date idea of your business finances.
Technology that helps you to grow your business
It might sound like all this technology is wonderful for business owners – especially the small business owner who hates paperwork – but bad for accountants. It’s true that there will be less need for some roles eventually, such as ledger and payroll clerks.
Personally though, I think accounting technology opens the way for forward-thinking accountants to do what we love – and what many of us wanted to do in the first place. That is to help businesses grow.
By taking away the hours spent on data entry and matching pieces of paper to bank statements, I can focus on the financial position of your business. I can give you real time insight into how your business is performing, and help you develop a strategy that lets you grow your business further.
With your financial data stored in the cloud, you save costs, time and keep your business feet firmly on the ground. Why would you want to go back to Blockbusters, when you have everything online and instant information at your fingertips?
Are you ready to leap forward with your business finances? Contact Nic Cooper at The Balancer by emailing email@example.com or calling 07985 645087. Forward thinking and planning is what we do best.