I usually discuss aspects about running a business from a mental, emotional and lifestyle perspective, but in today’s blog post, I want to touch on a subject that many entrepreneurs find to be a “touchy” subject – MONEY!
I’m not going to tell you HOW to make money. You’re the expert in your business, so you will know how to make money in your industry. BUT, I want to share info on how to monitor your money and share the importance of managing and looking after your money correctly.
Whether you are new to running your business or you’ve been running your own business for quite some time, questions you need to know the answers to are:
- Am I profiting or making a loss this month / year?
- Do I know how much VAT I have to pay in the next VAT period (if you’re VAT registered, of course!)
- Is my staff payroll information accurate and up to date?
- Am I able to submit a tax return relatively easily when it’s due i.e. are my accounts up to date?
- Do I know how much stock I have at any given time (if you sell products)?
Not knowing the answers to the above questions is a clear indication that something needs to change in your business. You HAVE to be in control of your business otherwise your business WILL CONTROL YOU.
This is where you have to incorporate systems to ensure you know the answers to the above questions. The systems or tools I’m referring to are accounting software or tools available.
There are a variety of accounting tools on the market and I’m going to share with you how to choose the best one for you plus the advantages and disadvantages so you can make a more informed decision when selecting your accounting software or choice.
The advantages of the online accounting tools include:
- You can access them anywhere and anytime – you just need an internet connection!
- They are more affordable. Generally, with large accounting systems, you need to pay a large amount of money upfront. This works well for large corporations, but when you’re starting out – keeping costs down is important.
- They are easy to use. I am NOT an accountant and have worked with both software I install on my computer and online accounting tools. The online ones are FAR easier to work with and, most importantly, understand!
- You can the software it on any operating system! This is a big one for me! Software you have to install on your computer needs to be able to work ON your machine and, in many cases, software systems you have to install don’t always support the operating system you run on. For example, some of the software I work on (I work on the Windows Operating System) doesn’t work on Mac and isn’t available for Mac. And, vice versa – there are some amazing Mac applications that I can’t use because I’m a Windows user.
- You can allow your customers to pay online. Some payment gateway integration may be required, but sending an invoice that a client can pay immediately helps you get paid quicker and makes paying you a whole lot more convenient for your client(s).
- Invoices are quick to create and send! Most systems will email the client on your behalf, so you save time writing an email to the client – you can do it from the system itself. Create and invoice and send! Boom!
- Clients can log in and view their accounts. As someone who runs a directory, I have a number of different advertisers. My clients each have a profile that they can log into to get a statement. If you charge per hour, you can log your time in many accounting systems and when client logs in, they can get a sense or indication of how much their bill will be at month end.
- Recurring invoices are handled for you. If you have retainer clients, for example, setting up a recurring invoice saves you SO MUCH time. The system simply sends out an invoice each month for a specific client with a specific amount and you can focus on making money rather than the admin of creating invoice after invoice!
- You can run a variety of reports. These online systems generally have a range of reports so you can know where you stand financially at any given time.
- Many offer mobile applications, so you can even check your expenses while waiting in the car for your kids to come out of school.
In my opinion, there aren’t many disadvantages to using an online accounting tool.
The MAIN disadvantage I have personally found is that, as a South African, these systems are really expensive – mainly as a result of the Dollar-Rand exchange rate. Most online tools / systems are sold in US Dollars. When the US Dollar fluctuates, your monthly / annual fee for your accounting software adjusts too – this is where expenses can rise unexpectedly and the exchange rate is really do not have control over, therefore it can be dangerous.
So, based on the above, I strongly suggest you consider a South African company so you know exactly how much you’re going to be spending each month.
Which One to Use?
It’s best to do your homework on this. There are plenty of tools out there, but as I mentioned above, many charge in US Dollars, so it can be really costly.
The good news is that a South African online accounting tool DOES exist and falls under the reputable Sage brand – it is called Sage One! Sage One is one I’m even looking at for myself – it’s one of the most affordable ones I’ve found.
Sage One handles your transactions, imports your bank statements, handles all of the above mentioned featured I discussed under “Advantages” above. It handles your pay roll too which for me is an added bonus to keeping staff particular in check.
IMPORTANT: These systems DO cost money and aren’t free. Don’t see this as a disadvantage. There’s a saying that goes “You have to SPEND MONEY to MAKE MONEY” and that’s exactly what these accounting tools do. They can save you time by taking the guest work out of your accounting and by automating things (my favourite feature of all with these tools!), so you can focus on growing your business, making more sales and generating more income.
Want to see what I’m on about in the article, then TRY the SAGE-ONE FREE 30 DAY TRIAL. It’s free, so you really have nothing to lose. Give it a try by – click here!
For Payroll specific functionality, check out their FREE 30 day trial where you can play around with the system and see if it’ s for you. Click here for more info!
This article was brought to you by Sage One.
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