It has been a long-held belief that 50% of start-ups fail within their first year but that may no longer be the case. Recent studies have shown a much higher success rate for small businesses. The Small Business Association published statistics in 2016 that showed 78% of small businesses survive their first year which is a considerable difference and one worth noting if you are thinking of bringing your business idea to life.
The increase of small businesses success can be due to a number of factors but the biggest influence has been the increase of technology available to help simplify business operations. Technology designed to aid businesses success has never been more accessible. Hardware like credit card machines and software like inventory management programs are now much cheaper due to the availability of these tools and the amount of competition between suppliers. These tools take what used to be complicated processes and make them simple to understand. This means that you don’t need to be an accountant or to hire one, you just need to know how to interpret the information within your finance software.
Digital financial tools remove the need for complicated ledger books and allow everyone to become the financial director of their own business. These digital financial tools aren’t part of a new movement sweeping across the business world, they have been around for the better part of 30 years. Although, when computers and computer systems became more accessible and more user friendly, so did the digital financial tools.
These days the majority of finance tools are cloud based which has many advantages over desktop software. Cloud software allows you to access your financial information anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. It also allows you to collaborate with other members of your team no matter where they are. This works well for businesses that may not have a centralised office or if members of a team are often away on a business trips. As long as they have an internet connection, they can still gain access to the data.
Cloud software also has the advantage of being cost friendly. Desktop programmes require an upfront purchase before you start using it. This may be an issue as the programme may not be right for your business and you won’t know this until after you part form your money. Desktop programmes often contain many features to suit all sizes of business but yours may never need those added features. Smaller businesses also may not have the ability to afford an upfront cost during their first few months of trading. Cloud software costs are generally dealt with on a month to month basis. This means that there is no painful upfront cost and you can assess if the software is working for your business each month. If it’s not, there is nothing stopping you from finding something else that works better.
Cloud software also receives regular software updates and automatic backups. This not only keeps your information safe but allows for peace of mind. You will never have to worry about when the last time you made a full back up was. On top of all that, cloud software often comes with a great online support network. This means that in the unlikely instance that you have an issue with the software, you have immediate access to a team that can support you and help you get back in running order.
There are many different product options available when choosing a cloud based financial software. You need to make sure that your financial needs are met but you also need to be sure that you don’t end up overpaying for services that you will never use. It is worth analysing your financial reporting requirements so you have a clear understanding of what you want from a cloud based financial system and so that you can identify what you don’t need or would never use.
As a general guide, most businesses require software that can handle; accounting procedures, budgeting processes, payroll management, inventory management, expense tracking and billing. It may be more appropriate to choose a few platforms over one software that can incorporate all the functions.
Many of these types of programmes will be able to connect and share data with each other anyway. Choosing to spread the duties among smaller, tailored programmes can help keep costs down and gives you more flexibility to change the way you deal with your business finance as and when your business needs change. You can also find some great tools out there that can not only pull all your accounts together to give you an idea of how your business is performing, but these programmes can do this through visual representation like graphs and charts.
There are many programmes that give you the ability to view your information on mobile apps so if you are always on the move and would prefer to not have to carry your laptop, there will most certainly be some options out there that will transform the way you deal with your books.
Whether you are a big organisation like Nestle-Good Food or a small business like Reid Brothers – Stainless Steel Banding, cloud based software can make a positive impact to the way you deal with your day to day finances. After all, business is about passion and bring ideas to life, not accounting. The easier we can make the boring stuff, the more time we will have to make our business dreams come true.