Technology isn't just for snapping photographs of your meal at a fancy restaurant or scheduling a ride uptown with an Uber driver. It also plays a critical role in your company — or, at least, it should.
Technology can help organize your business processes and eliminate administrative mayhem. When you run into cash flow problems, the last thing you want to do is bury your frustrations under a mound of inscrutable paperwork. Technology offers a far more efficient solution.
Invest in Cloud Accounting Software
Sure, the cloud is handy for backing up photos of your kids and storing your 50 gigs of music downloads, but it's also useful for managing accounting and expense reporting. Instead of paying a triple- or quadruple-digit up-front price for a single software license, you can pay a monthly subscription fee and have access to your data from any device, ideal for employees who are in the field and/or frequent travelers. Even QuickBooks offers an online version of their software. Xero is another great option.
A cloud-based subscription model can help prevent cash flow problems, which is especially beneficial to start-ups and small businesses. You can manage expense needs instantly from your cloud-based portal, make adjustments along the way, and limit spending, all in real time, from anywhere. Instead of shelling out a large up-front payment, you have instant access to your account balances, expense reports, invoices, and other financial data, for a modest monthly fee.
Automate Your Invoicing
The business community is quickly adopting automated invoicing as the ROI proves itself. Just as repetitive manual typing at the keyboard can give you carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive administrative tasks like invoicing build up unnecessary staff hours and can cost thousands of dollars in time and human error.
Several high-quality automated invoicing solutions exist, each of which eliminates the potential for human error and lost paperwork. Many programs, such as Concur, offer other convenient features as well, such as time-tracking and quote issuance.
Keep Better Track of Expenses
The phrase “expense fraud” might conjure up images of greedy employees who loot the company coffers at every opportunity, but it's often not that insidious. A simple record-keeping error can cost your company hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Embracing technology is a proactive solution to better track your employees' expenses, preventing costly mistakes.
Additionally, managers should not have to make wild guesses about future expenses. It’s almost a guarantee for lost profits and missed opportunities, especially when multiple employees are authorized to spend company funds.
An expense management system coupled with prepaid expense cards can offer an attractive solution. Employers issue cards to their employees, control how much money gets transferred to each card, and decide how they want to replenish funds. Reports generated from each card track how and where your employees spent money. Plus, you don't have to worry about reimbursement or expense fraud.
Track (and Predict) Inventory
While not exactly a crystal ball, inventory forecasting and tracking software comes pretty close. It monitors inventory and sales patterns, helping employers make future decisions based on the business's growth. Tracking customer purchase activity, margin management, and loss leaders can save time and money in the life of a business. SOS Inventory integrates with QuickBooks Online – a bonus.
Technology doesn't have to complicate your business processes or take a chunk out of your corporate bank account. When used wisely, technology can help eradicate cash flow problems and prevent costly errors.