66. 5 Handy Bits Of Software That Can Improve Financial Control Of Your Business (Tectona Bulletin No. 66)

When it comes to running your business you need to ensure the financial side is efficient. Poorly managed finances can be disastrous to your financial safety and has often been the main cause of collapse of a business. Other than the main 2 specialist finance packages – Xero and Sage – there are a number of software tools that you might want to consider.

We used to do this sort of thing by hand with plenty of, often nested, files. This was hugely inefficient, taking significant amounts of time to complete the work and inaccuracies common. These were just as problematic as not completing the work and small businesses often struggled. Those that wanted to use a computer for their financial monitoring often had to use expensive and unwieldy software.

Now the tables have turned and there are numerous packages on the market that are fully capable of helping businesses manage their finances. This isn’t just about tracking the receipts and payments of a business but can include payroll/salary management, invoicing, job costing and tracking and many other areas.

Here are five or the most interesting pieces of software and why we think you should consider using them:

Express Invoice

This is one of the best pieces of invoicing software that is available on the market.  If you have less than five employees then the software is free, although you do have to confirm the number of employees every time you open the package.

From this package you can bill clients, see reports on salespersons, issue quotes and check payment status. It has an easy to use interface and is one of the best on the market.

Express Invoice is a particularly good for invoicing and credit control but the free software doesn’t have expenses capability nor does it properly manage your profit and loss account or balance sheet.

Freshbooks

In today’s modern world, being mobile is important and there are numerous businesses that are run from remotely.  Finding the time to sit down and run the accounting side of the business if you are mobile can be a real pain; taking your laptop with you everywhere might also be impractical.

This is why Freshbooks is a well worth a look.  Running off iOS or Android mobile devices this software allows you to manage many areas of your business and provides you with up to date reports on your income and outgoings.

Freshbooks is one of the few  mobile ready programs on the market that offer such a level of advanced complexity. There are a couple of downsides to be aware of – reports have to be viewed outside of the application and it is limited to only iOS or Android enabled devices.  There is also a desktop version – but that rather misses the point!

QuickBooks Online

Whether you are just starting out, looking to expand or an established organisation, QuickBooks is an effective financial management system.  It is so advanced that most of the functions can be performed automatically; including expense tracking, daily transactions and paying bills and employees.

If you have regular customers with set payments, then this software can issue recurring invoices and sync all your financial accounts – preventing major problems.

With its ease of use and excellent customer service, it is often considered to be one of the best on the market However, there are some limitations, especially on the mobile version.

Outright

Used by many to manage their tax information, Outright was once known as GoDaddy Bookkeeping. Now the program is stand alone and can help you prepare for that all important time of the year.  It automatically categorises sales and expenses and prepares all the information you need to complete your tax form.

Microsoft Excel

While not an accounting program, Excel is still one of the best pieces of software to help you manage your finances, especially if numerous members of staff need to enter information.  We often use Excel as a capture sheet where staff can enter in figures, expenses or sales.  This is highly useful if you only want one person to enter financial details on the main accounting records and prevents information being entered twice when you have limited access to a software package.

Excel is cheap, pretty well available to all and intuitive too; it is also easily sharable.  We often use it initially as a planning tool and then to produce often pretty complex financial forecasts with linked profit and loss account, balance sheet and cashflows.

Conclusion

There are numerous pieces of software available on the market to help you monitor your finances and keep them under control.  Each piece of software has its advantages and disadvantages, so the question is not whether there is a good piece of accounting software for you, but which one is best for your business.

We will be soon be writing on the following themes:

We would love you to hear your thoughts and experiences so we can share them with other members of the Tectona Industry Leaders cohort.

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