Manage your finances
Software solutions for even the smallest business
As a small business, managing finances can easily rank as one of your most daunting tasks. After all, you went into business to be your own boss and do what you do best, not to have to spend all your time getting your head around endless columns of figures. Now instead of devoting your time to growing your business, you find that you are bogged down with issues like cash flow management, invoicing and supplier payments, not to mention tedious day-to-day banking tasks.
But remember, number crunching is what computers were created for and there are many software packages on the market that will help you come to terms with this particular many-headed beast.
You will of course have different needs according to the size of your business. As a sole proprietor or small business employing a handful of staff you may find that managing your company's finances falls squarely on your shoulders.
In that case you'll want to look for a money management package that will help you to create a budget and monitor your cash flow. Perhaps something that can help estimate your income and expenses and assist you with your long-term projections. Even better if it keeps you on top of your invoices and helps demystify your tax situation.
If you are a small company looking for a way to quickly and easily track your income and expenses, receivable and payable accounts, reimbursable expenses, billable time and tax, then Microsoft Money may be the package for you.
Microsoft Money has been created to help you manage your finances and contains many easy-to-use functions in one package, like creating invoices and customer statements and helping to manage your inventory. Money gives you over 28 different reports and charts to help you control and monitor your current financial situation, placing all the information you need to approach your bank about issues like business loans at your fingertips.
While Microsoft Money has been created to see to the needs of the individual, sole proprietor or small business, dedicated accounting packages like Sage or M.Y.O.B. have been developed with larger businesses in mind that need to manage stock or automate payroll processing. As a larger business you may also want to consider hiring an accountant. With many accounting packages you can share files and keep track of your accounts even if they are no longer your sole responsibility.
The banks differ somewhat in what they offer, but you can expect to be able to view your account details and balances, transfer funds, make electronic bill payments and set up standing orders. Many banks also now allow you to apply for loans and mortgages online, as well as download your statements directly into programmes like Microsoft Money and Excel, taking much of the hassle out of bookkeeping.
If you don't already have internet banking, why not ask your bank if they offer it.
Analysing your Business
On a more strategic level you can use your software to help you effectively analyse your business.
You can also find tools to help you understand and report on your sales and general finances at the Office Template Gallery. There are templates here to assist with most aspects of your business, including pre-prepared presentations showing financial performance and plans, letters to the bank and other companies discussing issues like setting up credit and handy facilities like loan calculators.