When setting up your new business, there will be a number of responsibilities and paperwork to take care of if you are to get off to the best possible start.
Tax can be complicated and just learning some of the basics can take up many hours of your precious time. Some start-ups try to do their own accounts, others pay a high street accountant to look after their books, returns and associated admin, but this can be expensive for a new business.
Another solution is to use an online fixed-fee accountant. There are no hidden costs and usually you have your own dedicated contact, so help is always at hand. Business owners can easily find out about their revenue, cash flow, payroll or invoices and manage their financial information from a secure online portal. Some online accounting services will even set up your business for you, just to make things even easier.
So, why else should you choose an online accountant?
Online accounting software is easy to learn and use, making it a time-effective way to keep your accounts up to date with just a few regular data entries. Business owners usually need to provide information from bank statements, expenses and invoices. There is no need to worry about or understand advanced accounting concepts, just enter the relevant data and let the software do the rest.
Creating invoices through an online accounting offering saves time and prevents losses caused by human error. You can send invoices direct to your clients, monitor your invoices and be alerted when invoices are overdue.
Online accounting software is a cost-effective option for any business. If you are a start-up on a tight budget, hiring an accountant can be more expensive. Online accounting software usually comes at a fixed monthly cost, so you know what you are expected to pay and only have to pay a small monthly fee, instead of one larger lump sum.
Online accounting software makes it easy to fill out employer forms and manage your cash flow, cutting down on paperwork and save your business money. Additionally, you can view forecasts for profit and loss and cash flow, which can help when you’re making important decisions or planning ahead.
Simple calculation mistakes can lead to big problems. Online accounting software can prevent such errors by helping you to track trends and financial information far better than if you try to go it alone. This could also help you to discover new opportunities to improve your revenue, because online accounting software builds up a detailed picture of your business’s financial wellbeing.
Paperwork can be boring and time-consuming, causing employees and business owners to get distracted and become less productive. Online accounting software is a more efficient option than filling out paperwork because the system is automated, so half the work is already done.
The beauty of online accounting software is the flexibility it gives to run your business from work, home or on the go. You have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are. Software updates can be developed and delivered so you will get access to new features instantly. You can run your business remotely, from anywhere in the world with online accounting software. And when information is fluid and accessible, the possibilities are endless.
Copyright © 2015 Rachel Smith, technical writer at Nixon Williams’s Vantage Online Accounting.
Many new businesses use Excel spreadsheets to keep financial records when they start up. And while the familiarity, ease of use and affordability of this is understandable, as small businesses grow, by launching new products, opening at other locations or otherwise expanding their geographical reach, their accounting function must become much more complex.
Using disparate solutions across different sites can make consolidating annual accounts a challenging process. Likewise, for businesses that export overseas or import, multi-currency invoicing and transactions adds another layer of complexity.
To help them grow, businesses need accounting functions that can deal with growth. Additionally, the ability to create additional reports that provide up-to-date financials and that integrate with other internal systems and software is vital.
Fortunately, cloud-based (ie online) accounting systems can help businesses to overcome the constraints of spreadsheets, to become proactive rather than reactive and ponderous. And such systems can be very easy to implement.
The cloud allows SMEs to become more efficient. The most effective cloud-based solutions automate processes, remove time-intensive and unnecessary data duplication and close the gap between input and output. Reports comparing “actuals” (ie actual earnings and expenses rather than projections), budgets and forecasts can be created in minutes and accessed anytime, anywhere by various staff members.
Security and regulation can be more easily managed using cloud-based systems and the chances of human error become less likely. Technology will undoubtedly continue to be one of the key growth drivers for SMEs in the next decade. Therefore perhaps it’s time for businesses to move on from spreadsheets to realise the potential offered by cloud-based accounting solutions.
Barbara is managing director of online accounting provider Twinfield, part of the Wolters Kluwer tax and accounting division.
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer (UK) Limited
For most start-ups, bookkeeping might seem like a daunting task. However, when carried out properly, up-to-date financial records can bring about huge benefits to a business.
Apart from ensuring that financial records are correct for the end of the financial year, it can also provide businesses with a realistic and forward-looking view of how the company is performing.
Fortunately, there is technology available to relieve the burden of bookkeeping. And with the right system in place, online accounting systems can enable small business owners to stay on top of their books.
Although some people may be put off by technology, online accounting systems are actually designed to be very simple to use. Financial information can be uploaded automatically through electronic files or even scanned directly into the system. This can dramatically reduce the time it takes to enter data.
The information is stored and analysed in the system and small-business owners can look at key reports (eg outstanding bills, outstanding invoices) anytime, anywhere, from all devices that can launch an internet browser.
Not only are these systems a cost-effective option for businesses, with a pay-as-you-go model, a growing range of customised solutions delivers vertical market specific bookkeeping to add further value.
Don’t throw the book at bookkeeping – business owners should embrace technology and stay on top of the books!
Blog provided by Barbara Kroll, managing director of online accounting services provider Twinfield UK.