10 Financial Tools Your Small Business Can’t Live Without
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Keeping up with the financial side of owning a small business can feel like a never-ending job. From invoices to expenses to day-to-day accounting and dealing with the IRS, it’s a wonder that entrepreneurs ever find the time to deal with actually producing goods or providing services.
Fortunately, technology has brought about a multitude of tools to save small business owners time and headaches on daily financial tasks. To streamline your financial management process so you can get back to your real job, check out these 10 financial tools for your small business.
10 must-have financial tools for your small business
1. Accounting software
QuickBooks has long been the gold standard for small business accounting, but online accounting solutions such as Xero are recently gaining traction. Whatever program you choose for your accounting, make it work for you by choosing a financial tool that’s both as robust and as flexible as possible.
Business News Daily recommends you look for these features: basic accounting tasks such as invoicing, expense tracking, and client/vendor contact management; automation of billing and recurring payments, quote and estimate creation, tax preparation, multiple-user access, payroll processing, mobile access, and integration with programs such as point-of-sale software, credit card processing, and Google Apps.
2. Budgeting tools
Creating a realistic budget—and sticking to it—is crucial to your small business’s financial success. Depending on your accounting software, you may be able to create budgets for your business right there without needing a separate tool. If you do need a separate, stand-alone budgeting tool, you should definitely check out PlanGuru.
3. Payroll management system
Payroll management is time-consuming and prone to mistakes. Single Grain CEO Eric Siu recommends payroll/HR systems Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) and Zenefits to help you streamline the payroll process and eliminate costly inefficiencies. These are just two of many payroll management tools; frequently these systems easily integrate with other accounting or storefront tools you’re already using. SurePayroll can even calculate and automatically pay local, state, and federal payroll taxes. How much easier can payroll get?
4. Agile billing
The smoother and more nimble your billing process, the quicker payments will be made and processed—and the faster the cash will flow into your business. With a quick, cloud-based billing system (try FreshBooks or Bill.com) you can shorten the billing process and even increase customer satisfaction.
By implementing agile billing tools and processes, you’ll both improve customer experiences and shorten accounts receivables delays.
5. Financial dashboard
Implement a dashboard such as LivePlan or InDinero to see a snapshot of your small business’s financial health. These programs will allow you to track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure whether your business is “thriving and not just surviving,” writes Sabrina Parsons.
And by keeping tabs on these important financial measurements all in one place with clear visuals, you’ll be able to see immediately if you’re going off financial course—and take steps to get back on track.
6. Cash flow analysis
Whether you use your accounting software’s cash flow statement capability, a cash flow-specific tracking tool such as Float, or a simple spreadsheet, accurately measuring your cash flow on a regular basis is crucial to keeping your business prepared for any financial eventuality. Cash flow analysis helps you to weather ups and downs in your cash balance by using past patterns in data to forecast your financial future.
7. Inventory management
Efficiently track your inventory all the way from your purchase of resale items to a customer’s order fulfillment with cloud-based solutions like SOS Inventory or Scout’s topShelf. In addition to tracking your goods, these tools can generate sales reports, set up automatic low inventory alerts, and manage order packing and shipping.
8. Expense tracking
Little business expenses such as gas, meals, and cabs add up quickly and are hard to track. With an expense report tool such as Expensify, employees can scan receipts or add cash expenses from their mobile devices and upload them; then you can easily import the information for approval, rebilling, expense accounting, and reimbursement.
9. Business credit card
Anita Campbell recommends opening a business credit card in order to improve your business credit history, gain access to higher credit limits for business borrowing, and receive business-specific rewards and discounts.
Campbell chose a business credit card account with the capacity to easily manage employee cards (with relatively small credit limits) and found an unexpected advantage. Not only did this system make it more convenient for her business to cover employees’ expenses such as travel, it also boosted morale.
10. E-commerce solutions
E-commerce is becoming essential for businesses of all kinds. More and more customers expect to be able to pay for products and services instantly (whether using credit cards or from their mobile device). Apple Pay, Square, and PayPal are just a few financial tools to help customers pay on the fly.
Customers also want to be able to find your business and make purchases online. Tools such as Stitch and Vend make it easy to make sales, whether in-store or from an online storefront, while also tracking inventory, streamlining order fulfillment, and tracking sales data. Of course, the Holy Grail is a robust, integrated system that can manage many of these factors in the same place.
For retail businesses, CashierLive is a tool for handling everything from inventory tracking to payroll to online sales. Other businesses may want to try Sage 50 or QuickBooks Online with Payroll. Both are complete systems for managing expenses, invoicing, profit and sales reporting, payroll, and more.
Wood, Meredith. “10 Financial Tools Your Small Business Can’t Live Without.” Accounting & Budgeting, all Business, https://www.allbusiness.com/10-financial-tools-your-small-business-cant-live-without-23321-1.html.