By Guest Contributor Jonathan Amponsah
When you look back at an average week do you see that you’ve spent a significant amount of time processing tasks manually? Perhaps you’ve spent longer than you want arranging or rearranging meetings or chasing clients for payment of outstanding invoices. You might even find it hard to identify where all your time has gone! In this situation there is a good chance that you haven’t been able to invest time in thinking about the future and developing innovative ideas to take your business forward.
With so many apps on the market and app advisory services offered by professional advisers in your industry, it’s really worthwhile reviewing what you currently do and how it can be streamlined to save you time, money and stress.
Let’s review some of the apps available and see how they can help you run your business, give you time for creativity and some time off:
Calendly, Acuity Scheduling and Timetrade
Going back and forth with clients and stakeholders to schedule appointments, reschedule, and then reschedule again can be time consuming. Avoid email and telephone tag when arranging meetings. With any of the above tools, people can now access a version of your diary that shows them all of the slots that you have decided to make available for meetings.
Clockify, Toggle, Hubstaff and Time Doctor
Where did the time go? With so much going on, it’s not uncommon to ask yourself, what you’ve achieved during the day. Well now you can automatically monitor how you spend your time so you can identify where and how to be more productive. You will be amazed how much of your time gets diverted away from important tasks. And these tools also help you get organised. So, you can focus on a task for 45 minutes and really get things done.
Receipt Bank, Auto Entry and Expensify
It can be time consuming for you to collate and record all those invoices and receipts. And if you send them to your accountant in a shoebox, they will spend additional time reviewing and sorting them which means more costs. There are some good apps including Auto Entry, Expensify and Receipt Bank that allow you to capture these receipts on the go and send them directly to your accountant. You can even ask your suppliers to send their invoices to the app to free up your inbox a bit. Think about the headspace you will find with less in your inbox.
FreeAgent, Xero and Quickbooks
Do you ever get nervous about your accounts or how much tax you have to pay at the year end? Thankfully, gone are the days when bookkeeping software was written in complicated languages that only accountants could use or understand. The likes of FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero have truly transformed the way bookkeeping and accounting is done. And if you combine this with regular bookkeeping reconciliation services, you no longer have to spend time and energy at year end worrying about the books. You can see how your business is doing on a monthly rather than yearly basis.
Zoom, Goto Webinar and RingCentral
Cut out the travel time and meet your prospects or staff online via a video meeting app. You can share screens, take control of their computers and even use white boards just like you would do in a live meeting.
Spotlight Reporting, LivePlan, Profitsee and Others
Do you know the key numbers that matter in your business? Are these presented in a useful way that helps you make business decisions? And are you able to look forward and predict what your cashflow would look like in, say, three months? If you’re spending a lot of time and energy on your numbers or you simply don’t know where you’re at with the finances try the above tools either independently or through your accountant for free.
GoCardless, IntegraPay and Others
You’ve done the work, spent time and sweat to please the customer and you’ve probably incurred staff and materials costs. You now wait for 30 days and then wait more and still no sign of that promised cash. You’re now dashing for cash or frantically calling customers at the 11th hour to get assurance that you will be paid just so that you can, at least, meet those bills including payroll. Pretty stressful experience.
Why not avoid all of this and use an online direct debit app so that you and your customer can now agree when you will take payment? Easier and quicker for everyone – and certainly less stressful for you.
Business Operation and Management Apps
There is a whole list of other great apps that could be discussed here depending on your industry. For instance, if you’re retailer, restaurant or you hold stock, then an apps like Vend, Izettle and others are worth looking at. If you’re a Nursery, then review Blossom educational, EY log, Procare software and others. And for other businesses, tools like Zoho CRM, Infusionsoft, Trello, Monday and Asana can really save you time and help you find that creative space.
With all these apps, it’s important to ensure they integrate and talk to each other to avoid further waste and chaos. Apps like Zapier and Workato allow you to link two systems together without any coding or programming skills. A key selection criterion for your apps should be whether the App has what is called an API to enable it to link to other systems.
There are a huge number of apps on the market so the list above is a sample of what is available. To run your business efficiently, keep on top of your finances and make time for innovation it makes sense to use apps and automate as many tasks as you can. That way your working day will be less stressful, and you’ll get your life back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA is an award winning chartered tax adviser and accountant who has advises business owners on business streamlining apps and processes to make business less taxing. Jonathan is the founder and CEO of The Tax Guys.
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