Here we are at podcast #32 and we are excited to bring you this next installment in our series on business automation. Today we are looking at how you can automate your business finances and get rid of dusty old receipt boxes forever! Free up some time and make looking after the financial side of your business easier.
Often in business finances are seen as a drag or something that is confusing. Of all the many small businesses that flop, the chances are that having good insight into and managing finances from the start could have saved them. We are going to look at the tools used by ourselves and our clients to keep finances ticking over!
First up (as usual), what have Andrew and Heather learnt this week?
Heather – Check out Google Experiments! It allows you to set up goals and testing for your website analytics. For example, you might set up two different versions of your home page and Google will switch them in and out. You can then see which version gets you better results…
Andrew – Do you use a fulfillment house in your business? Andrew has been learning about Amazon’s fulfillment services on behalf of a client this week. As they are one of the largest e-commerce sites around, they are a great platform to use to boost your business. They open up the possibility of online sales to anybody – you don’t need a large amount of capital to get going. Some people have been buying up cheap stock locally and sending to Amazon for fulfillment. This way they can operate their own online store and have the fulfillment looked after fairly cheaply.
Here is what we look at for your financials in this podcast;
- Quotes and proposals
- Time tracking
- Receipts and expenses
Platforms for Automating Sales
The big thing here tends to be the need for automated reporting – here are some great tools;
- 1 Shopping Cart – fantastic reporting system available.
- PayPal – you can export reports.
- Office Autopilot – comprehensive system with great reporting!
We suggest that before you choose a platform, you make a list of all the aspects that you need to be covered by reporting. This way you can check that the platform you are looking at will give you exactly what you need.
- Freshbooks – cloud-based accounting system. Especially good for US and Canadian based businesses – there are some elements not available for other countries. Invoicing is very clean and professional-looking. It will even send reminders automatically for overdue invoices.
- Harvest – similar to Freshbooks including time-tracking and invoicing. Slightly cheaper so not as much functionality.
- Xero – we use this one and love it! Popular in Australia and other parts of the world.
- Shoeboxed – lets you put receipts into an envelope and send to a warehouse for scanning. All your receipts are digitized and filed. You can also forward email receipts straight to your Shoeboxed account. If you don’t want to send in the mail you can take a photo on your phone and send that. This is available in Australia and the US.
- Quote Roller – excellent if you do a lot of quotes or proposals for you work. Fill in client details in your account and it saves quote information so that you can re-use the same information in a new quote. It also tracks analytics so you know how long people spend on different pages of your quote. This way you can tailor your quotes to what information people prefer. This system will also track your success rate with your bids. Syncs with Xero, Fresh Books, Basecamp and Harvest – we love it when your different systems will ‘talk’ to each other!
- Minutedock – great for time-tracking on your projects. It can put your hours together and send out invoices also.
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