Keeping up with your business finances can be an overwhelming task if you’re not organized or if you don’t know how to take advantage of HR and accounting software to assist you. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your business finances streamlined, so that you only need to review the numbers once or twice a month rather than every day or two. In this article, we’ll go over 9 helpful tips on how to streamline your business finances, including automating the invoicing process and using cloud-based bookkeeping services.
1) Make Payments Easier With Automatic Payments
One of our favorite services for managing business finances is PayPal. This service allows you to get paid electronically, saving you from having to handle paystubs and getting paid in paper money. This helps you avoid HR headaches and make it easier for your employees. You can even accept payments through electronic checks, which are more efficient than old-fashioned paper checks.
If you’re interested in accepting payments online or over mobile devices, consider SquareUp or Intuit’s GoPayment system. Both allow you to accept credit card payments directly from your smartphone or tablet—and don’t forget about digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet! There are plenty of ways to streamline your payment processing—just make sure that whatever method you choose works with your customers and gives them options they prefer.
2) Start Tracking Employee Hours Automatically
Depending on your industry, you may be required to submit employee timesheets and/or track hours in order to receive funding from a government agency or private institution. If you’re running a growing business, it can be difficult for you and your employees—especially if you don’t have resources dedicated to HR management. In addition, tracking hours can often be burdensome for hourly employees who have more pressing work-related tasks.
Fortunately, there are time-tracking solutions that will help alleviate some of these issues. Instead of asking your employees to manually enter their hours into an Excel spreadsheet (which they probably won’t do anyway), you can use software that automatically tracks their time when they log into their computers and lets them know how much they owe at any given moment. This will not only help ensure compliance with labor laws but also save you countless hours of administrative work each month.
3) Automate HR Tasks
When you’re bootstrapping a new business, it can be tempting to hire every member of your team yourself. But as you scale and start paying other people to work for you, remember that HR is an HR department’s job. Instead of trying to manage payroll, taxes, health insurance and other employee-related tasks on your own—consider letting a professional do it. Then focus your time and energy instead on what matters most: growing revenue.
4) Save Time By Taking Control Of Your Paystubs
If you haven’t already taken control of your paystubs, now is a good time to start. Not only will you save money in fees by using direct deposit, but you can also help your HR manager and bookkeeper stay on top of things. As always, it’s easier (and cheaper) to keep track of things as they happen than have to play catch-up later. Plus: You’ll have more time for your business! Once you get used to it, setting up direct deposit is actually quite easy. Just visit your bank or credit union’s website and search for direct deposit information. They should be able to walk you through everything step-by-step.
5) Use An Easy-To-Use Invoicing Service
Is there a specific way you do invoicing for your clients? You can easily use an online invoice generator that accepts payments and will help you create professional invoices (hello, real time progress reporting). Now is also a good time to switch over from physical paystubs and HR management tools, too. This can help you save both time and money—and manage cash flow better overall.
6) Keep Track Of Bills And Expenses
Recording your expenses and taking advantage of tax breaks (e.g., depreciation, business mileage) can help you reduce what you owe in taxes, which is another goal of streamlining. It’s a good idea to set up a separate bank account for these tax-related transactions, then report them all together at year’s end with your accountant. You can also use software such as Quicken or Microsoft Money for tracking finances. In fact, many financial experts recommend using an accounting program rather than keeping track by hand—it allows you to easily create reports that let you analyze spending patterns over time. This will be invaluable when it comes time to make adjustments based on trends.
7) Consider Outsourcing Payroll Services
Payroll is one of those things that’s not just easy to outsource, but it can also save you a ton of money in labor costs. If your business doesn’t have much capital, or if you’re still bootstrapping, it might make sense for you to hire a third-party payroll processor. With some research and inquiry into local businesses that offer these services, you can figure out which option makes more sense for your business. For example, with Gusto, an online payroll service provider, you pay nothing upfront; they charge by employee per month based on what features you use. This means no big up-front fees or long-term contracts. Plus they take care of all tax filing and payment obligations—saving even more time (and possibly money) down the road.
8) Use Accounting Software
Whether you run a startup or are simply looking for a way to keep track of business expenses, there are lots of accounting software programs out there. With so many options, it can be difficult deciding which is best for your business. There’s QuickBooks and Peachtree; Freshbooks and Wave Accounting. Ultimately, which option you choose depends upon what features you need, what price range works for your budget and how user-friendly each program is.
9) Set A Budget, Create Goals, Make Plans, Improve Cash Flow
Business owners tend to wear a lot of hats. As such, it’s easy for important tasks like creating a company budget or managing finances and accounting to fall by the wayside. A lot of people say they couldn’t find time or were too busy for HR management. But as companies grow, so too do their expenditures—and not all of them are necessary. If you want your business to succeed, it’s crucial that you stay organized from day one.