So here’s the big claim “Receipt Bank is just a little bit magical.”
Here’s our story of how we found the App that saves you time and money on bookkeeping. It captures all your bits of paper on the go with the free mobile phone app. A few years ago when we investigated this data entry app and found it difficult to use – it was quicker to process expenses direct to Xero, which is what we did.
As Xero awarded Receipt Bank “Add-On Partner” awards, Receipt Bank got better and better.
In 2014 we re-visited Receipt Bank.
We saw improvements and changes on a weekly basis, tweeks and adjustments here and there, until we were smiling our way through data entry via the free phone app. It’s fair to say that once the interface with Xero became slicker, the days of frustration were a faded memory. Indeed, for newer team members they just think it’s great. Is it magical? Just a little bit.
What’s the magic? You get your account set up by us – you will be using Xero accounting software, because that’s what we’re experts in, and that’s the best there is. You download the free App to your phone. You sign in and then just take photos of your receipts, bills, parking tickets etc. We collect them and send them to your Xero accounts, ready to match up.
If you’re not on the journey you want to be on, how do you change course?
When you know your business is going to work, but the big break seems to be just out of reach, what action can you take to regain control?
As soon as your business has the basic operations of invoicing, quotes, paying bills and collecting cash under control the next step is to get information from the accounting system that will help you on your business journey. A quick look at the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet can leave you underwhelmed as you struggle to see the bigger picture. If you’ve got this far you need to see the bigger picture of your business now, and in the future.
This is where business intelligence tools come in – handy little applications that your accountant can bolt onto your accounts, interpret and look at the pictures with you. The advantages for you?
You see what’s going on now.
You understand your gross profit and it’s relationship to your operating profit.
You understand the highs and lows of your cash situation.
When you put a stake in the ground, you can then forecast forward for a range of scenarios. You can plan how to change your own business journey.
What, exactly, do I need to forecast, you may well ask. Here’s the low down on the popular 3-way forecast.
Cashflow Forecasts do just that – you plug in your sales expectations, and your costs and VAT and project forward. Many try this on Excel, which has it’s place, but also it’s limitations. For a speedy, simple solution which also allows you to add in various “what if” scenarios – try Float – our favourite Xero add on cashflow app. It’s useful to forecast cashflow variations like, fluctuatons in sales, a big events like trade shows, the aquisition of new staff or a capital expenditure item.
Profit Forecast are useful, especially if you’re interested in how much distributable profits you may have available to pay in dividends. Or you may be planning for the reduction in corporation tax in 2016 and 2017 by deciding to invest in your business now, so when you start turning a profit in later years, the corporation tax you pay will be at the lower 2016 or 2017 rates.
Balance Sheet Forecasts are usful to keep a handle on your assets, liabilities and equity. This is part of what’s called a 3 way forecast – another essential business tool to get a complete picture, and to see how the business looks depending on the path you take.
Forecasting tools are now accessible and affordable to even the smallest business owner. If you have your accounts on Xero, the eco system of over 300 add-on applications is at your fingertips. This means you can have the same super powers as a big corporation.
Many new businesses start at home – in a spare room or at the kitchen table. Let family and friends know you may be at home but your work time is for work, and plan time accordingly. Creating boundaries in the early days will help you hold together the pressures of earning a living with the pressures of being there for others. It may seem like you have to spend every waking hour on your business, but all work and no play will harm your business. Decide if you’re a night owl or an early bird and try to fit your schedule around that knowledge about yourself.
2. Plan, Organise and prioritise your day
Spend time planning and prioritising your days/weeks/months ahead. That way you know where you’re going but you can still be flexible when things crop up in the day. Having a list or a schedule will help you keep your business priorities as just that. There will be times that you have to put in extra hours, for example if you’re pitching to a client, but it’s a good idea to keep track of your working time – for both productivity analysis and to make sure you take some time back, when you can, without feeling guilty.
3. There’s an App for that
You can really work smarter and increase productivity with technology and apps. There are so many business apps for smart phones and i-pads that you can have your office and business tools with you wherever you are. With the right tech you can have your files, documents and financials synced to your phone, in the cloud and accessible when you need them. You can send Quotes, raise bills, see who pays you, divert the office phone and track your marketing campaigns – all from the phone or tablet.
4. Use dedicated business contact details – phone line, e-mail & social media
Not only does this make you look more professional, and probably bigger, it keeps work and personal life separate – saving you time on sorting it all out, getting distracted and keeping your boundaries clear. Virtual office assistance can answer your phone and take messages and provide a virtual address with mail delivery options as well. Social media, with tools like Hootesuite can help you queue up your interactions and blog post for the weeks ahead.
5. Face-to-face meetings and travel time
There are times that face to face is the best way to do business. But there are also times when a phone call or video call will do the job just as well, and more efficiently. Services like Skype or face time, can be a great way to see your supplier, or customer, talk business and still have time to fit in other priorities. Whenever possible switch travel and meeting time to a friendly talk by video call.
6. Healthy body, healthy mind
When you have a moment – or you stop – it’s tempting to stay on-line and catch up with social media – all sitting down. Taking short breaks to move around will really help you keep focussed, perk you up and help you keep going longer. If you have a good outdoor environment, take a quick walk outside to add some fresh air and sunshine as well. Keeping your body healthy will help your mind cope better with running your business.