When I began my career in accounting I could not have imagined the utilities and resources available to small businesses today. Financial data of all kinds used to be stored on local computers, along with all the software that was used for budgeting, tax preparation, inventory tracking, and anything else that had to do with financial management or business operations.
“Old school” financial management support meant writing out paper checks, sending invoices by mail, reconciling checkbooks, and preparing taxes with pen and paper. Everything was done manually, but this is no longer the case! These processes, along with commerce and communication, have become more efficient thanks to web-based utilities.
It might be a cliché to say the internet revolutionized how small businesses operate, but in the case of financial management, it’s undeniable. Processes for payroll, accounts receivable, purchasing, timekeeping, and inventory management have all moved to web-based applications.
Cloud computing: The process of storing, managing, and processing data using a network of remote, online servers.
For small business management, cloud computing offers data security and easy access to your financial information. Cloud computing makes it possible for businesses to quickly share data online and prevents data loss due to computer failure.
Software integration: A process for unifying various software functions to create a single managed system.
With software integration, businesses can synchronize data from multiple sources to create a complete financial record in programs like QuickBooks. Point of sale software, inventory management software, payroll software, and most industry-specific programs can all “talk” to QuickBooks, increasing data accuracy and ease of data entry.
Cloud computing and software integration have given business operators instant access to their financials, allowing them to make informed decisions faster than ever before. When a bill is paid, or a purchase is made, the details of those transactions can be instantly categorized and recorded in QuickBooks.
These tools streamline business processes and synchronize data collection, significantly reducing the legwork needed to keep your records accurate and up to date. When businesses implement a cohesive, synchronized process for data collection, their financial records become more useful than ever before, and the work needed to maintain them is made so much easier.
Thanks to advancements in remote meetings and modern applications from brands like Intuit, Xero, and Sage, small businesses have a higher level of operational flexibility. This is certainly true of my business! Advantage Insights employs specialists across four states, and we can easily work together with quick access to shared information.
Advantage Insights clients have access to all of our services anywhere in the country, a miracle of modern technology that would not have been possible before the development and adoption of cloud computing and remote meeting technologies. We can provide consolidated reporting online, highlight trends, and pull in related non-financial data to give clients the metrics they need to make pricing and investment decisions. For example, a trucking client in Utah can pull data on mileage, stops, and routes, then cross-reference that data with financial reports to get a clear picture of profitability for each key performance indicator.
We have all the data we need to build smart budgets, measure performance, and make necessary adjustments on a regular basis. From a cash flow perspective, we can create 6-month performance projections to the day, and manage what bills will be paid virtually through QuickBooks.
A potential downside to powerful new technologies is the impact on businesses that remain stagnant. I’ve seen first-hand how hesitance to adopt new technologies and methods of financial management have held businesses back.
Change-averse business operators run the risk of losing their information when it’s not safely stored on the cloud, and they miss out on a wealth of valuable data that can help them make good decisions for their business. I strongly recommend that all businesses move their financial processes to online platforms by adopting an online financial accounting system such as Xero, QuickBooks, or Sage.
No matter your industry, there are software tools available with custom features that can help you track unique industry metrics. Most of these industry-specific utilities are designed to interface with financial management software like QuickBooks.
My clients who sell through various e-commerce platforms have access to virtual management tools that allow us to analyze profitability for each of their sales channels. If adjustments need to be made to increase profitability, they have the data they need to adjust in the right ways!
There was a time when advanced data analysis was really only available to large-scale businesses. Thanks to the technologies I’ve outlined, financial reports are categorized and more thorough than ever. But without knowledgeable guidance, all this data can become a number soup, hardly useful for business operators rightly focused on the day-to-day tasks required to keep a business running.
Collecting all this data is fantastic, but if your software integration isn’t set up properly, you run the risk of generating an incomplete, inaccurate picture of your performance. Proper setup and process implementation are crucial to the long-term success of your financial management efforts.
Advantage Insights can help with this and has implemented custom processes for businesses across dozens of different industries. Once your processes for comprehensive data collection are in place, there’s a lot an experienced financial manager can do to help you put that data to work. With granular profitability breakdowns, Advantage Insights can help you create a feasible road map to your business goals, based on sound data and proven budgeting practices.
If you want to find out how your business can benefit from cutting-edge financial management tools and easy-to-understand reporting, contact us. Advantage Insights helps with everything from clean up of your existing records, to process implementation, to budgeting, and a lot more.
Advantage Insights is an ideal partner for businesses trying to navigate a landscape of ever-evolving technologies and complex financial reports. Get started with a free consultation to learn more about our financial services and how they can give you back your time and set your business on a healthier path.
We can’t wait to show you how technological advancements in financial management can propel your business forward! Call 402-281-3785 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.