Business can’t survive without cash flow and the cash flows from an organised “back end”. But for small business owners the idea of facing invoices, expense reports and timesheets at the end of a long day satisfying customers can seem unbearable.
This is where apps, tablets and smartphones can revolutionise your small business and give you your life back. It’s now possible to automate painful functions like expense management, handle your “back end” while you’re on the road and synchronise devices and software platforms to simplify the entire administrative process.
We look at six apps that will help you to automate the “back end”, improve your cash flows, and give you some time to relax.
Xero is modern, small business accounting software that lives exclusively in the cloud. That means that you can access your “books” from any computer or mobile device.
What we like best about Xero is the dashboard that highlights your banks balances, outstanding invoices, upcoming bills and expense claims. It helps small business owners to keep cashflow top of mind!
Cost: Plans range from $25-$80/month, mobile app is free. 30 day free trial available
Note: If you are wedded to Quickbooks or MYOB don’t despair. Both offer mobile apps.
Shoeboxed is the small business owners dream come true because this service almost eliminates after hours paperwork. Most small business owners get caught in a tangle of paper receipts, invoices and time sheets that need to be untangled at the expense of family time.
Now you can just send all those bits of paper by post, mobile app, email, scanner or upload to Shoeboxed. They scan the documents, extract the data, categorise and upload everything directly into your Xero, MYOB or Quickbooks accounts. Wow!
Cost: Plans range from $16.95 to $249.95 per month, 30 day free trial available
With the Expensify app you and your staff can track time, scan receipts, manage travel plans and create expense reports from a smartphone. Expensify also makes it easy to administer expenses if you have a large team. You can process hundreds of expense reports with one click and the system integrates seamlessly with Xero, QuickBooks and MYOB.
Cost: Plans range from $5-9/user/month
This free app was developed by MoneySmart, which is operated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The app helps to keep track of spending, so it’s great for the solopreneur or anyone trying to better manage their personal finances. You can set spending limits, track spending against a budget, separate needs from wants and identify opportunities to save.
If you are charging clients on a time basis, chances are that you are wasting time keeping time sheets, and missing plenty of billable minutes by forgetting to record your time.
Chrometa actually keeps track of all time spent on your Mac, PC or smartphone. If you are working on a file it will capture the name of the file and the time spent, if you are composing an email it will capture the subject line, if you are making a call it captures the contact name and number. The end result is you have every minute of your day accounted for.
This time sheet can then easily be sorted into customer time logs which can be exported to QuickBooks.
Sounds a bit “Big Brother” but could increase your billings by up to 20% without changing the time worked.
Cost: Individual plans range from $12-$29 per month depending on the number of devices used. 30 day free trial available.
If your business has you on the road during the day, the last thing you want to do is come home and spend the night creating and emailing invoices. The Invoice2Go app lets you create and send invoices from your phone, tablet or computer and then syncs across all devices. The app can be seamlessly integrated with Xero.
We love this app because the sooner you send an invoice, the sooner you are going to be paid. You will love it because it gives you your evenings back.
Cost: Plans range from $49 – $149/ year. A free trial allows you to create up to 3 invoices.