To Make the Most of the Cloud, You Need to Get Organised First.
A messy stack of papers. A jumbled box of receipts. A neglected, errorâstrewn spreadsheet.
If this sounds like your current financial recordkeeping system, then making the switch to a cloud accounting platform won’t suddenly transform your small business into an accountant’s dream, no matter what the adverts suggest!
Developing a focussed, and accurate, accounting practice is a crucial habit for any small business owner to adopt. And prior to setting up a new bookkeeping solution, you must first ensure you understand the flow of financial data into, and out of, your business.
Form that habit early, and you will sidestep a great deal of stress further down the line, especially when it comes time to file a tax return.
But if you aren’t totally confident in managing your accounts, balancing your books, and tracking your expenses then, when it matters most, you may be faced with a bit of a shambles to sift through. And no amount of fancy features from a cloud accounting system will help you make sense of it.
In this post, we’ll take a look at what you need to do to get organised before taking your recordkeeping to the cloud.
Step One: Tidy Up Your Files
The first thing you need to do before setting up a cloud accounting platform is to ensure your paperwork is in order. Getting, and staying, organised is the key to keeping accurate and upâtoâdate financial information, and will save you an almighty headache come tax season.
For even the smallest concerns, you need to know that the data you are recording is relevant, and this means going through your invoices, receipts, and any other records to make sure nothing is overlooked.
Start by writing down your daily or weekly accounting tasks, and note important dates and tax deadlines. Having this information in some sort of order will help you leverage the features of a cloudâbased accounting platform when the time comes to set it up.
And taking the time to organise your paperwork will lead to a more manageable filing system going forward. So if you insist on retaining manual elements of your recordkeeping, this becomes a very good habit to have, ensuring everything is labelled, dated, and in the correct order.
However, manually managing your accounts can put a strain on both your time and resources, with hours of data entry and storage required for files. It can also result in errors.
This is where setting up and using cloud accounting comes into its own, with an increased level of accuracy and efficiency.
Step Two: Embrace Automation & Smartphone Apps
Now that your records are in some semblance of order, it is time to think about identifying timeâconsuming tasks that could be managed via automation.
This may include repeat invoicing, payment processing, recording expenses, and tracking overdue bills. Not only will embracing automation make these administrative tasks easier, it will also ensure your records remain accurate, and will allow you more time to focus on growing and developing your business.
The next thing you should look at is doing away with your box of receipts. Leverage a dedicated smartphone app to scan and retain electronic copies of your receipts, and once you get into the habit of doing so, you can say goodbye to those little bits of paper cluttering up your desk, your car, or your wallet.
Just be sure that the app you are using integrates with your cloud accounting platform of choice.
Step Three: Work Smarter
Now that your office is a little tidier, your paperwork is in order, and you are comfortable automating certain tasks, it’s time to start working smarter.
To ensure you get your money’s worth from cloud accounting, you need to take a broad view of your business’ processes. You must then ask yourself, is there anything else you can do to streamline those processes?
Certain third party applications can be seamlessly integrated into cloud accounting platforms to help you further increase efficiency. This could include standard (and timeâconsuming) tasks such as bank reconciliation using feeds imported directly from your bank account.
Step Four: Meet With Your Accountant
Things should be a little less chaotic by this point, with accessible and understandable records at your fingertips, and arduous tasks and processes made that little bit more straightforward thanks to modern technology.
It is therefore time to set up your cloud accounting platform. And the best way to make sure you get up and running without any issues is to confer with your accountant.
Not only will they help you stay organised and plan the financial growth and success of your business, they will make sure you understand how to get the most out of cloud accounting.
Once you have taken your business’ financial data to the cloud, your relationship with your accountant will potentially become much deeper, as the quick access to upâtoâdate and accurate information will allow them to better advise you on short and longâterm planning.
So don’t wait until it’s time to file your tax returns before picking up the phone or sending your accountant an email. Arrange a meeting and ask them about cloud accounting today.
Take Your First Step Towards Better Recordkeeping
The fact of the matter is, if your present manual or desktop accounting system hasn’t been organised properly, then cloud accounting won’t be the saviour. There’s still plenty of work to be done.
And if you are feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, then we are ready to help.
Get in touch with Caplan today and we can discuss the best way to organise and map your recordkeeping systems, improve your processes, and help you transfer everything you need to the cloud.