What your online accounting service should be doing for you
Business owners naturally put a lot of trust in their accounting service, whether it’s a person in an office or an online software. Day-to-day money management is a legal requirement and essential for the day-to-day running of your business, so it’s pretty important.
To make sure your accounting software pays for itself many times over, and calculates exactly what it should calculate, you need to look for these 10 essential things.
Easy (and smart) invoicing
Being able to create an invoice in a couple of minutes is essential, but invoices that continue to be insightful after they’ve been sent can actually help you get paid faster. Read receipts and automated reminders sent out to late-paying customers and clients massively cuts down time spent on admin.
Expenses tracking that works everywhere
Receipts can be a pain to record. A good accounting package makes it easy to record the details on a receipt when it’s fresh in your mind, sometimes by just taking a photo of it with your phone.
Automatic VAT and tax calculations
When you need to be as accurate as possible, automatic calculations are essential. Your service should do all the tax and VAT calculations on your behalf, so all you have to do is keep an eye on the top-level figures.
It submits your tax return for you too
It’s no good having all those nifty, automatic calculations if you still have to do all the work. Make tax season easier every year by choosing a software that submits your return to HMRC for you.
A clear dashboard
The dashboard is much like your mission control, so you need to be able to see the most important figures at a glance. You can dig into figures when you have a bit of time, but a clear dashboard makes checking the facts a lot quicker.
Transactions pulled from your bank accounts
When you make a transaction or receive money into your business bank account, you should be able to download the info to your software with a click. You’ll have a handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out without even trying.
See your future cash flow
The more you use your software, and the more of your business data it processes, the more accurate its projections. Cash flow problems are sometimes difficult to predict until they’re already affecting the business, but your software should give you a window into the future and what you need to do about it.
Graphs you actually understand
Numbers can be quite abstract, so you need to see them in a chart or graph for them to tell a story. Data is only valuable when it’s practical, so you need intelligent tools that display the useful info you actually need to know.
Most tools have to suit lots of different businesses and services, but extra features and customisation options turn them into your own, personal service. From uploading company logos, to adding a payroll function, you should be able to make it work for your business in specific ways.
It works on your smartphone too
Secure access to accounts and the majority of features will be available on a smartphone app - particularly the stuff you need on the go. Cloud access means you can check and update your accounts anywhere, ideal for business owners who are rarely tied down to an office.
Read our latest guide to learn more about accounting, accounting tools and finance for small businesses and startups.
Want to make sure you get the full package? Download our free e-book - The ultimate guide to choosing online accounting software (for people who hate doing their accounts).