4 Sensible Ways to Manage Your Business Finances

Ask any business owner, and chances are they’ll tell you that some of the main issues they face as they run and grow their business are directly related to managing time and money. Adopting technology tools that streamline common financial processes can provide your business with valuable solutions. Some of the most useful technology tools are on the Web or in the cloud, and others are right at your fingertips, such as apps on smartphones and tablets.

While many apps have a free version, most offer “freemium” pricing, meaning they will charge a monthly fee after you reach a certain level, usually based on the number of users accessing the app. Here are some helpful ways to better manage your company’s finances, including a few examples of popular, reputable and secure apps that help facilitate those activities.

1. Daily Time Tracking: Ex: Toggl
If you consider that your time—and your team’s time—is money, getting a clear account of your daily activities can be an eye-opener. Unless you’re in a business that literally clocks in every phone call or briefing, chances are, you and your team float from one task to the next and then estimate the time you’ve spent on any given project. Launch a time tracking app on your phone at the beginning of your day and start measuring the time it takes you to complete a task. When you’re done, assign the work to specific projects or clients. Generate reports to break down work completed by task, project, client or team member. An example of a time tracking app with these features is Toggl, which is free for up to 5 team members and $5 per month per additional user.

2. Incorporating Digital Accounting: Ex: Quickbooks, Freshbooks
Using a digital accounting program can help you manage and measure your company cash as well as generate invoices and even payroll checks. Pick a program that either has a built-in time tracker or integrates with a stand-alone time tracker to tie work rendered directly to invoices. With your financial data digitized within accounting apps, you’ll be able to generate extensive reports and projections for your business. Examples of powerful accounting software with smartphone and tablet apps include Quickbooks and Freshbooks. Both start at $9.95 per month.

3. Managing Expenses On the Go: Ex: Expensify
If you or your team travels for work, keeping track of expenses, receipts and mileage can be a challenge. But expense management apps eliminate this problem and make it easy to generate expense reports. Because the apps are on smartphones and tablets that have cameras, some let you take photos of your receipts to “scan” them into the system. Some might also let you pre-sync your credit card accounts to easily import transactions. If you’re working with a team, look for an app that lets you export reports as Excel spreadsheets or PDF forms. An example of an expense management app with these features is Expensify, which starts at $5 per user per month.

4. Taking Advantage of Mobile Payment Systems: Ex: Quickbook GoPayment, Square
Your smartphone can instantly become a credit card machine. Mobile payment systems offer business owners easy-to-use, secure ways of taking credit card payments by using apps and card swiping devices that plug straight into smartphone and tablet headphone jacks. Some mobile payment systems can integrate with your existing accounting software, like Square does with QuickBooks, or your accounting software may offer a mobile payment system like QuickBook’s GoPayment. Both GoPayment and Square charge per transaction fees, and other fees that vary.

Before you download any new apps:

• Assess your exact needs and pick the apps that offer the most relevant features for your business.
• Establish a clear plan for integrating the apps into your day-to-day workflow.
• Remember to train your team on how to use them.

While adopting new technology can seem daunting, apps for your smartphone tend to be much more intuitive than standard computer software. Having access to your financial data, not only on your computer or the Web, but also on your mobile device, gives you the freedom and flexibility to stay on top of your time and money, from anywhere.