Technology today is advancing so fast, that if you don’t keep up to date, it’s likely you will fall far behind. This has never been truer than it currently is in the business world. The ways of marketing, trading and providing services have changed exponentially over the last 10 years as people make use of technology to enhance their businesses.
We are big fans of staying tech savvy, so here are some new trends that can help better your business.
When it comes to technology, people are becoming more welcoming to change than ever before. At the speed that technology is growing, businesses of all sizes need to stay on top of the latest developments if they want to prosper.
One topic that is soaring in the market at the moment is mobile, and you should be asking yourself: “How can mobile apps help me grow my small business?”.
More and more forward thinking businesses are taking advantage of mobile apps to improve their business and we can clearly see why.
Here are some interesting ways a mobile app can benefit your business:
- Increase your income. No doubt, two of the biggest and most important factors for most business owners, sales and cash. A mobile app for your company creates a whole new channel of income. Not only can you earn from people buying the application, there are so many in app opportunities, such as upselling, advertising and add-on functionalities.
- Bring in new customers. As people spend more and more time on the move and on their mobile devices, having an easy-to-use application at their fingertips is bound to increase interaction. Having a mobile app can help your customers save time and engage more with your business – sounds like a win-win to us.
- Improve your customer service. In a business world where things are becoming less about prices and more about customer experience, this one is a biggy. When people find it easier to engage with you, they appreciate your services more. A mobile app makes you as a company more accessible to your customers and gives you an opportunity to show them just how great your customer service can be. Even after hours, the app can assist a customer in many ways, such as a help section or access to their important personal information.
- Market your brand. A mobile app can boost your brand in multiple ways. Your app icon is clearly visible on your customers phone screen, which helps your logo become a recognisable image and makes it hard for them to forget you. It can be easily integrated into all of your social media platforms, which increases the amount of people that get sight of your business and can change the way people think about your company. This makes it so easy for people to share your app, review your customer service and create publicity for you.
Since we are in the financial industry, we definitely have a few favourites. The Xero and Receipt Bank apps demonstrate exactly how making your business mobile can be beneficial in so many ways. Everything you need to keep your finances up to date at the simple touch of a button. Simple, effective, secure and great for business – mobile apps are the future of growing your business.
Whether you are starting a new business or changing your service provider, running a business is incredibly tough. There are so many things that you need to consider, such as staff, company identity and marketing, strategic goals and of course, finances. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, or what you specialise in or where you are based, if you don’t have your finances properly managed, your business is far more likely to fall apart.
Since most business owners may not be accountants themselves, they need to hire someone to do this for them. But the accountant you choose is no longer the deciding factor on your company’s financial health – it all comes down to the accounting software you choose to use.
If your accounting system is not up to scratch, you are not going to understand your costs, your investments and how to make money from your time spent on work and services.
On the other hand, if you have a clear understanding of the financial foundation of your business and the way in which accounting and bookkeeping has changed over the past few years, you can use this to make the move to a smarter, technology focused solution.
Here are some important software characteristics to look out for:
This may seem obvious or even overdone at this point, but this is probably the most important thing to look for when searching for an accounting solution for your small business in 2017. There are countless benefits of moving over to the cloud, such as real-time accounting, easy accessibility and the software’s ability to have multiple add-ons. When it comes to small and medium businesses, cloud is the future.
Centralised or decentralised?
We are used to accounting software packages being an all-in-one solution, but more and more businesses are moving towards a decentralised solution for the different parts of their business. There are pros and cons to both solutions. Having all of your needs provided by one program can create a unified experience, but this is also generally unwieldly at the same time because you are forced to do it “their way”. In addition, all-in-one software rarely provides all the features you need on the one hand, and hundreds of features you don’t need on the other. This is why a decentralised solution can be beneficial because you can get a program that suits your core business needs first and in most cases, pay less for the software. Anything you may need to add on can be done at a later stage. Plus, if you find that the program you bought is not quite right, you merely cancel the monthly subscription, “unplug” it and buy another one.
Look for accounting software that has the ability to use workflow systems. Add-ons such as Receipt Bank, can add ease and convenience to your everyday bookkeeping work. In this case, Receipt Bank uses optical character recognition to scan slips and invoices, eliminating data capture which frees up time for your bookkeeper to add real value to the company in more creative ways.
Accountants are becoming more like advisors
Accounting is changing fast as software developments save more and more time. As 65% of business owners agree that the accountant is the most trusted advisor, the new software developments will free up time for your accountant to be able to provide better advice in more areas rather than spending their time “accounting”. By finding a product that provides this freedom, you will have better information, quicker and with a broader view.
Customisation and personalisation
Every business wants a solution tailored to their specific needs. Although SME-focused accounting programs provide very little customisation opportunities, the newer programs provide more flexibility, particularly in reporting. Look for software that has flexible capabilities in reporting and the ability for other programs to seamlessly integrate with it.
A growing trend in the tech world is the ability to analyse data in order to get real, valuable insights for your business. The standard reports such as income statements and balance sheets will always be important, but what businesses are really trying to achieve are ways to improve their business strategies. Find an accounting solution that can give you deeper insights into your data in order to better your overall company profitability.
In conclusion, the bottom line when looking for an accounting solution is to look to the future. The priorities of software designers and accountants have changed and in turn, so should your accounting software. Find something that works best for your business and keeps you up to date with the industry. Our favourite online software is Xero. Check it out here: https://www.xero.com/za/
We live in a time where things change at an incredibly fast pace. Gone are the days of backup’s onto tapes and photos being displayed in an album on the coffee table. Our lives live in the cloud.
Most businesses depend on cloud-based solutions for many of their operations. From banking, to storing important data, to sharing company documents and hosting software, the cloud is the way to go if you want to make your business more efficient. So why not your accounting software?
There are some really cool advantages of using cloud-based accounting software for small businesses. Here are a few:
- You can access your data from absolutely anywhere. All you need is an internet connection and a device with an internet browser.
- The software and infrastructure requires almost no maintenance on your end. The software is always up to date with the latest release.
- The system is enterprise grade secure.
- Cloud-based accounting software can integrate with other online add-ons in your business, such as CRM, inventory management, etc.
- Cloud accounting software is often the more cost effective option.
- It allows business owners/managers easy access to accounting data and can be used for collaborative accounting. No more “who has the current backup” frustrations. The auditors can audit live data from their offices.
Cloud-based accounting software has opened new doors for collaborative accounting. In a generation that thrives on instant gratification, businesses have had to keep up with the pace. This technology makes collaborating with clients and colleagues a real-time task. All users can access the software anytime, from anywhere – saving you time, stress and ultimately, money.
Now, let’s talk about outsourcing. Outsourcing and cloud go hand–in-hand. Outsourcing alone has many benefits – it allows you to focus on the core services in your business without having to think about managing an accounting department, it significantly reduces overhead costs and it significantly reduces the risk of fraud in your business.
When using cloud accounting software, it allows business owners to keep up with everything their outsourced partners are managing for them on the software. They have peace of mind knowing that professionals are taking care of their finances and they have the capacity to focus on the growth and expansion of their core business.
The growth in online accounting solutions has been phenomenal and this year is going to be no different. Companies such as Xero Accounting, our preferred accounting solution, are paving the way for small business accounting solutions. People (even our CEO’s 74 year old Dad) are moving more and more towards cloud-based solutions – and we can definitely see why.