There are plenty of reasons to start your own business – being your own boss and master of your own destiny, following a passion and fulfilling a dream and vision are just a few of them. Whatever the dream, the reality of running a business is that it requires a lot of hard-work, sacrifice and constant energy and motivation.
As a business owner, chances are you’re also spending too much time working in the business and not on it. We all know the 80 – 20 rule where you should spend 80 per cent of your time doing the actual work and 20 per cent on the big picture (marketing, recruitment and business planning to name just a few). But in reality, how much of your time is eaten up by admin tasks?
When we look at one of the most crucial admin tasks of any business, balancing the books, many business owners might be interested to know that processes such as invoicing, tracking bills, expenses, assets, payroll and even tax returns can be handled within one program. Yet remarkably, according to recent research from Intuit, more than six in 10 startups still use spreadsheets, manual methods or pen and paper to manage their finances and half of established small businesses also rely on time-consuming and error-prone ledgers and spreadsheets.
Your time is valuable and while managing paperwork and doing the books is necessary, it isn’t something you want to be spending too much time on – time you could be spending bringing in more business. It’s surprising so many businesses are failing to take advantage of affordable, easy to use online financial management tools. It’s a missed opportunity, especially given the ABS recently found 46 per cent of Australian businesses operating in the cloud or using cloud based software identified increased productivity as one of the key benefits.
Now we’re not saying the cloud is the answer to all business challenges, but it does help increase efficiencies. Cloud enhances and simplifies processes that are crucial to effective business management through four key areas:
- Reconciling and preparing paperwork: using cloud accounting software, you can scan or take a photo from a mobile device and attach your receipts directly to the relevant transaction and it will be stored forever. This drastically decreases the time it takes to reconcile not just your bank and credit accounts but also wage and balance sheets.
- Order your assets: cloud capabilities take the hassle out of ordering assets as it brings all your financials together in one place and makes them available to you.
- Providing statements: not only are your financials in the one place but they are secure and automatically backed up so you don’t have to worry about leaving sensitive material unprotected.
- Organising your super and payroll: cloud capabilities also help businesses keep track of finicky but important details like staff information. This means it’s easier to control payroll and prepare annual payment summaries.
Currently more than 60 per cent of Australian businesses use some kind of cloud computing and over 80 per cent said it has saved them both considerable time and money. Nancy Georges, a Sydney-based retail strategist who made the switch to cloud accounting earlier this year said bookkeeping is one area of her small business that seemed to be inefficient and was keeping her from doing more of what she loved.
About the author:
Nicolette Maury is the Managing Director of Intuit Australia, specialists in book keeping and accounting software.