How to work smarter using online accounting software

Online accounting software (also known as cloud accounting software), aimed at the SME market, has been around for a few years now. It is constantly being developed to help business owners work smarter and streamline their processes.  Are you aware of all that your software can do for you? Are you using the features to their full extent?  Our brief guide below highlights some of the key advantages of online accounting software and what apps you can use to maximise functionality:

Establish a bank feed

By simply connecting your bank account to your online accounting software, you can streamline the processing of recording your banking transactions.  Using Open Banking, bank feeds import your transactions into your accounting software.  Many online accounting tools allow you to set up rules to automate the coding of the transactions too.

Automate bank reconciliation process

Certain online software, like QuickBooks, will automate not only the coding of transactions but also the bank reconciliation.  It’s good practice to periodically check your accounting software bank balance to your online banking statement balance to make sure the two agree and all transactions have been fully recorded in your accounts.

Automate purchase invoice entry

Take advantage of in-built AI by emailing or uploading your supplier invoices to the online software. This will extract key information from the invoice such as : supplier name, invoice date, invoice number and amount.  The copy invoice will be stored electronically against the transaction to be viewed later.  You can use add-on apps like Dext or AutoEntry or Nanonets to provide similar, enhanced functionality, building in approval workflows, for example.

Streamline supplier payment runs

Want to make paying suppliers seamless?  Utilising the Open Banking platform, supplier payments can be created and approved directly from your accounting software with tools such as Xero Open Bills, Crezco and Modulr.

Send quotes instantly

Stop spending your evenings preparing and issuing quotes.  Make use of your accounting software’s mobile phone app to create and send quotes, right there and then. Furthermore, you can convert successful quotes to sales invoices once they have been accepted, saving you further work.

Look professional

Make use of the clear, concise default invoice, remittance and statement templates included within the software to give a professional look to your documents. You can add your logo, company details, colours and styles when you take advantage of the custom layouts within the software.

Automate credit control

Chasing payment from customers is time-consuming and frustrating.  Certain online accounting apps provide features designed to help save you time performing credit control by automating statements and reminders. When an invoice falls past its due date, you can automate the sending of staged invoice reminders.  If your software app doesn’t provide this functionality then consider an add-on app such as Chaser or Credit Hound.

Get paid faster with payment solutions

Payment providers such as Go Cardless, Stripe and PayPal connect to the mainstream online accounting solutions allowing you to add “Pay Now” buttons on invoices to allow customers to pay direct from the invoice by simply entering their card details.  You can also automate recording payment provider charges and reconciling transactions using bank feeds for payment providers.

Cash Flow management tools

Make use of the in-app features for cash flow management. Accurately predict your cash position with inbuilt cash flow predictions based on your invoice due dates and recurring transactions.  Need something more detailed?  Then consider Spotlight Reporting, Syft or Futrli to provide you with greater insights.

Dashboards

Use the visualisation tools on dashboards to get quick and clear information without the need to run several reports.  Many dashboards can be customised to show the data most useful to you and your business.

Regular touch point with your accountant

The inbuilt reports allow business owners to see at a glance how their business is performing.  With most apps you can import budgets and forecasts too.  But keeping in regular contact with your accountant will ensure the reports you are reviewing are accurate and include adjustments for things like work in progress.  Online accounting solutions make this much easier as your accountant can connect to your data, anywhere and at any time, making collaboration easy and seamless.

These technologies provide considerable scope to help business owners work smarter. If you would like to get more from your software, or see how a review of your processes and data flows can help save you time and money, please get in touch with our Online Accounts and App Stack Specialist Arran Anders at aanders@thomsoncooper.com.

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