Unless you’ve chosen a career path like ours, book-keeping probably isn’t your idea of a fun Friday afternoon. In fact, for most business owners, updating accounts and submitting expenses stays at the bottom of the to-do list for as long as possible.
It has to be done though, so let’s see how you can make life a little easier. Here’s three ways to faster, simpler, better book-keeping that frees up your time for the fun stuff…
1 Assess, then simplify
How long does it take you to update your books each time you do it? An hour? Two? More? That’s always going to be the case until you take a step back and assess your processes.
Few business owners want to (or feel they can) dedicate the time to such assessments, but the hour or two you save by not doing it is false economy. Make the time to document, chart and analyse your book-keeping processes, and you’ll spot efficiency opportunities that could save you swathes of time going forward.
What are you looking for? In short, anything that doesn’t have to be done, and any processes that could be sped up through better communication, delegation or technology.
Again, improvements to your processes may take time to implement - but it’s well worth doing if it cuts your regular book-keeping time in two, and wins you back an afternoon every week.
2 Better book-keeping through automation
In the digital age, there aren’t many business processes that can’t be streamlined with a little help from the right technology. Cloud accounting platforms like Xero, and all their add-on applications, certainly help make life easier when it comes to doing your books.
Through your process assessment (step 1), you’ll know which manual steps are taking you the most time, so look for ways to automate these particular steps.
If it’s taking you an age to plough through all your expenses receipts, for example, let Receipt Bank handle them instead. You can simply scan receipts in to Receipt Bank via a mobile app, and the data will be extracted automatically for you.
You can automate in many other areas too, from invoice chasing to reporting to cash-flow forecasting.
Across the board, automation brings multiple benefits - it’s not just about saving you time. Letting technology take care of your expenses or invoicing procedures, for example, ensures they’re done consistently every time, with less room for human error.
3 If all else fails, outsource…
Technology might be making book-keeping easier and quicker than ever for businesses, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily keep all your processes in-house. Talk to your accountant about how they can help lighten the load.
If you’re a small business not currently using an accountant, it’s an option worth investigating for a number of reasons. As well as taking the book-keeping burden off your shoulders, a modern cloud accountant will also be able to provide pro-active business advice based on your real-time numbers, and provide considerable tax savings that helps to cover the cost of outsourcing in the first place.
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