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As a small business, you don’t want multiple systems to take care of your accounting, billing, and financial documents. Maybe you create your invoices in spreadsheets or word processing documents, eye expenses in online banking, and manage your employee records in an HR folder in the cloud. Some data may reside in a file hosting service, while other data is password protected locally on your computer.
It can be confusing for others who may need to work with these documents – and for you to lose track of what’s where. When you need this information at tax time or for a loan application, you may need to refer to these scattered documents. It can take forever to find, and there is a real risk of losing data or even using the wrong data.
If you haven’t yet encountered serious errors or problems in managing your own accounts, you may be tempted to maintain the status quo. However, the needs of your financial organization will continue to grow over time. Your business can grow enormously, multiplying the number of things to follow and complicating your routine. Or, if you haven’t paid much attention to bookkeeping, you’re probably tempting fate.
Related: Five Bookkeeping Tips for Business Owners
To meet your needs, you can hire an accountant to organize and track all your business finances. You can also hire an accountant to organize and keep track of your business records.
Or you can consolidate all your files, invoices, transactions, bank accounts, customer payments, and credit cards into one easy-to-use financial management system. Such a system saves time by automatically analyzing your documents or receipts. You can scan and upload everything to a central digital location, capturing essential information without ever having to think about it. No spreadsheet does this by itself. Such a system would be automatic and simple, instantly searchable on all content, and would make it easier to analyze information and make decisions based on that analysis.
Gartner, a technology research and consulting firm, looked at process automation in accounting and found that 89% of general accounting tasks were highly automatable.
Such a system would organize your data while reducing or eliminating the time you spend manually entering data. This would make it easier to identify discrepancies in your records without performing tedious and tedious searches through physical files and logs, spreadsheets, documents, and receipt boxes. Most importantly, you would have a clear picture of your business and financial control while spending as little time as possible on accounting.
Look for the ideal solution
Several vendors offer automated solutions for financial management, available for both desktop and mobile applications. They simplify the process of organizing and automating your small business accounting, including invoicing and document management.
Look to cloud storage for your financial documents, which reduces clutter while increasing efficiency. This is especially useful when files can be scanned or captured on a mobile device and uploaded to the cloud.
There, documents are processed and reconciled, and you can even generate reports instantly.
Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Manage Their Finances Successfully
Automated invoicing that creates and tracks your branded invoices and receives payments is another feature you should be interested in. Providing your customers with electronic payment options dramatically speeds up your collection time without having to go to the mailbox or the bank branch. And, if you link to your bank account and credit cards, your transactions populate seamlessly while providing you with reports on money coming in and going out.
Some platforms also offer bank-level security, with all data encrypted in transit and stored in secure databases. Another great feature you can find with financial management software is the ability to securely share files and comment on documents with the accountant handling your taxes without the need for bulky attachments.
When selecting a financial management platform, look for one with all-in-one solutions for small teams and sole proprietors that don’t require extensive accounting knowledge. Live customer support and setup assistance would also be a big plus. You and your employees will save time and energy while automating the production of critical financial documents that require analysis such as P&Ls, cash flow statements, balance sheets and expense reports. If the platform is searchable for your data, quick access to all your data and automated report generation means you’ll spend less time entering data or sifting through receipts, invoices and bank statements, and more time to grow your business.
Ultimately, one solution – no spreadsheets or accordion files – means you can spend less time managing your books. You’re not in business to do accounting, but you’re not in business without accounting.