For a time starved small business owner, finding a spare minute to investigate new technology is a bridge too far for many, however the potential benefit, particularly in terms of time, shouldn’t be ignored.
Mobile phones, the internet and, in particular, cloud-based services, have much to offer when it comes to winning back time in your day. Whether it’s accounting, CRM, e-commerce or payroll, pretty much everything these days can be, in effect, outsourced to the cloud.
Now, if you’re a complete cloud newbie wondering what that means, ‘cloud’ in this case refers simply to storing data or running software on computers that don’t physically reside in your office. Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can tap into the power of these systems via a simple web browser. Not only does it mean you don’t have to worry about purchasing or maintaining expensive and, let’s face it, temperamental computer systems, but you always have access to the latest, greatest version of the software, from wherever you are.
Here are my favourite ways new tech can help save small business owners precious time.
1. Speed up accounts with cloud-based accounting
Accounting software doesn’t need to be a chore, and using out dated software running on a dusty old PC is something we can all do without. Cloud-based accounting services, such as Xero are accessed entirely through a web browser. This means your accounting system is completely portable, always up to date and able to be logged into from anywhere with an internet connection and a web browser. Win back time in your day by doing your accounts when and where it suits you, using the latest in automated systems.
2. Take your payroll online and save hours
Payroll is another time-consuming job that, even if you only have a couple of employees, can become complex if you don’t stay on top of it. An online system, such as EdgePayroll brings with it all the advantages of the cloud (always up to date, affordable, instantly accessible from anywhere) and adds in things like PAYE handling. It’ll actually generate all the necessary IRD forms and send them through along with the necessary payments, freeing up valuable time for you to get actual work done (and avoiding the prospect of late payment penalties!). What’s more, it can connect directly to online accounting software to speed things up further.
3. Mobile payments mean less time invoicing
Being able to accept credit card and EFTPOS payments on the spot using a device such as PayClip plugged into a mobile phone, means you spend less time invoicing later on.
4. Explore all the options
It’s not just technology directly related to financial needs that can help squeeze more time out of your day. Cast your net further and check out some of the other cloud and app-based offerings that abound these days.
For instance, cloud-based file storage is cheap (sometimes free) and makes sharing documents, sales brochures, images, etc. quick and easy. Two well-respected services are DropBox and OneDrive. Both have mobile apps that make working on, or sharing many different files a breeze from anywhere, even if the people working on them aren’t in the same place. Even a one-person operation can benefit here — having instant access to all your documents when you’re on the go can save you having to fish things out later (if you remember) when on the road or visiting a client.