Apps to Help You Automate Tasks, Keep Track of Your Business Finances, and Free-Up Time

Created: Monday, September 23, 2019, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am



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By Jonathan Amponsah, CTA FCCA, The Tax Guys

If you were to review the past month would you see that you spent a significant amount of time processing tasks manually? Perhaps you spent longer than you would have liked rearranging meetings, chasing customers for payment of outstanding invoices or managing other aspects of your business finances.  It might even find it hard to identify where all your time went!  In circumstances like these, you probably won’t have found time for thinking about the future and developing innovative products or services 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 your current approach and how it can be streamlined to save you time, money and stress.

Automate 1679890
Image: StockUnlimited

Here are some apps to consider using, that will help your business – and free-up valuable time:

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 cash flow would look like in, say, three months? If you are spending a lot of time and energy on your numbers or you simply don’t know where you’re at with the finances, try these tools either independently or through your accountant for free.

Spotlight Reporting
LivePlan
Profitsee

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.

FreeAgent
QuickBooks
Xero

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.

GoCardless
IntegraPay

Toggl, Clockify, Hubstaff and Time Doctor

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 organized. So you can focus on a task for 45 minutes and really get things done.

Toggl
Clockify
Hubstaff
Time Doctor

People HR, Breath HR and Others

Do you still spend time on paper forms or excels or legacy desktop systems to keep your HR records? Do your staff have to submit forms or send you other manual requests to book their holidays? How long does it take you to check whether the business will have sufficient staff during a holiday period and then to approve the holiday? Try any of the above tools and see the time, money and effort they can save your business.

People HR
Breath HR

Acuity Scheduling, Calendly 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.

Acuity Scheduling
Calendly
Timetrade

Goto Webinar, Zoom 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 whiteboards just like you would do in a live meeting.

Goto Webinar
Zoom
RingCentral

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 are a retailer, restaurant or you hold stock, then 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.

Vend
iZettle
Blossom Educational
EY Log
Procare Software
Zoho CRM
Infusionsoft
Trello
Monday
Asana

Docusign, Adobe Sign, and Others

So, your meeting with the new customer went well. You promised to send them the contract to sign. They wait for a day or two. Only to receive PDF contracts with instructions to print, sign, scan and email back. Or worse to put the signed copy in the post to head office. The phone rings. Your customer picks up and his/her attention is diverted away. Why not cut the waste and time by using online document creation and signing apps? Or simply send your customer a secured link to approve and enter their payment details.

Docusign
Adobe Sign

And Importantly…

With all these apps, it’s important to ensure they integrate and talk to each other to avoid additional time-wasting 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 an API to enable it to link to other systems.

Zapier
Workato

This list of apps is a sample and there are other great apps I couldn’t include in a short article. However, I hope the message is clear: businesses should use the apps and other tools available to automate where possible.  By reducing manual processes you’ll lighten the load. This means your business life will be less stressful and you’ll have time to engage in more productive activities.


Jonathan Amponsah
Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA is an award-winning chartered accountant and tax adviser who advises entrepreneurs on business and profit improvement.

Jonathan is the founder and CEO of The Tax Guys.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.


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