Make the most of cloud accounting technology and put time back in your day.
When it comes to accounting and productivity, IT professionals and web developers have a leg up on other small businesses. As a tech-savvy entrepreneur, you have skills that set you apart and you already know the advantages of cloud accounting.
You’re not daunted by complex software. You know your way around a database. You’ve got the latest productivity apps on your phone (or at least you know which ones to download). And you can whip up your own customized invoicing template without breaking a sweat.
But do all of your solutions talk to each other? You might track time on an app, invoice with dedicated software, file expenses on a spreadsheet, collaborate with team members using an online project management tool, and input data into tax software once a year.
Time-saving technology is obviously great. But toggling between a constant parade of software and apps can be as inefficient as not using any at all. (Blasphemy!)
If you’re interested in taking care of all your accounting, productivity and collaboration tasks in one place, you’ll want to look into cloud accounting. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Invoice Directly From Your Time Tracker
If you’re consulting in the IT space, you’re no doubt tracking your billable hours for every project. Forget the time tracking/productivity apps—most cloud accounting software has time tracking built right in.
Just start a timer and get down to business—when you’re done, you’ll have an accurate time log ready to pop onto an invoice. Plus, you’ll have access to an easy-to-read breakdown of your hours so you can learn more about how you spend your time. And when it’s time to get paid, you can automatically pull your tracked time onto your invoice so you’re always paid exactly what you’re worth.
2. Collaborate With Others in One Spot
Do you work with copywriters, designers, other contractors or client team members on your projects? Project management tools are great, but they don’t exactly make your life easier at billing time.
Most cloud accounting software allows you to invite employees or contractors to collaborate, manage and easily share information, files and updates so no one gets left behind. You can track team hours so you know exactly how much time subcontractors are spending on project work and, when it’s time to invoice, you’ve got everything you need.
3. Manage Your Expenses—No Rumpled Receipts or Rogue Spreadsheets Required
You of all people can appreciate a digital solution to filing expenses. Simply enter your expenses and your cloud accounting software will digitally store and automatically organize them for you. You’ll know at a glance what you’re spending and how profitable you are, without the headache of spreadsheets or shoeboxes.
4. Make It Easy for Clients to Pay You Quickly
Want to get paid faster? One way to make that happen is to make it dead easy for people to pay you. Cloud accounting platforms allow your clients to pay by PayPal, Stripe, credit or debit card, bank transfers and e-checks—often by a link provided right on your invoice. And since you’re being paid through your cloud accounting platform, it’s easy to keep track of who’s paid and when. No need to manually file earnings anywhere.
5. Streamline Your Professional Appearance
Whether you’re sending an email, estimate or invoice, you want the same look and feel without having to bend over backwards creating templates for every communication. With cloud accounting software, all you have to do is upload your logo and select a color scheme, and all of your communications with customers will look as professional as you are.
6. See the Bigger Picture With a Reporting System
Do you know what your profit and loss is right now? How many days it takes for each client to pay you? Or who your most profitable client is? When you have access to important information about your business at your fingertips, you can make smart, big-picture business decisions.
Cloud accounting makes it easy to know exactly how your business is performing with at-a-glance access to all the ins and outs so you know where to focus. Plus, all your numbers will be in one place—from the money you’ve collected to the taxes you’ve already paid, and everything in between—so tax time is a breeze.
7. Take Care of Accounting on the Go
Do you find yourself pushing your accounting tasks to the bottom of your to-do list? That’s because invoicing, estimating and preparing data for your accountant is a hassle when the information is spread out in different programs.
One of the most exciting features of cloud accounting is that you can take care of your accounting tasks on the go. From invoicing and estimating to recording expenses, you can do it from anywhere. All you need is your laptop, tablet or phone, and you have all your accounting information and functions at your fingertips. Cloud accounting makes invoicing and expense management a series of small tasks you can manage instead of one huge task.
8. Automate Payment Reminders
Every self-employed professional has at least one client that needs to be gently nudged to pay. It’s an awkward but necessary part of doing business. But what if you didn’t have to remember to do that anymore?
You can set up incremental payment reminders in cloud accounting software so an email is automatically sent to clients who miss your payment terms. It takes one task off your list, and is a professional way to send a clear message.
9. Bill Recurring Clients Automatically
Do you invoice some of the same clients every month? (Yay for you!) Want to be uber-efficient and put more time back in your day? Create a recurring profile in your cloud accounting software and it will automatically send out invoices for you. It’s like having a virtual personal assistant.
Cloud accounting integrates all of your accounting, productivity and collaboration tasks into one smart solution. This not only saves you time—it makes running a small business as smart and streamlined as the work you provide to your customers.