Whether it’s the start of a new calendar year or financial year, the beginning of the year is always a good time to implement changes and reflect on what’s working and what’s not.

So, as we begin 2022, we challenge you to think about what changes you could make to your accounting function. You would be surprised at how implementing small changes can make a big difference to your working day and ultimately, your business success. So here are Fintech Friday’s recommendations that will have a substantial impact on how you work.

Reconcile regularly

It has never been more straightforward to keep your accounting systems up to date. With most SME’s now operating on cloud-based systems, it’s easy to log-in and keep everything updated. Xero, QBO and Freeagent all have mobile apps, making it even easier to check in, wherever you are. These apps have improved vastly over the last two years and have much more functionality than when they were first introduced. So, if you haven’t looked at the app for a while, it’s worth revisiting. By making it a policy to reconcile on a daily or weekly basis, your existing accounting system will become a more powerful information tool.

Connect your bank feeds

Most banks will feed automatically into the accounts software so make sure your bank is connected. Once that is done, you will have full visibility of your bank account from your accounting system.

Update your contact information

Ensure all your customer and supplier details are complete. That way other processes can be automated such as invoice chase or sending remittances, saving valuable time. With Xero, there are also ways that notes can be added to contacts, making the accounting system the ‘go to’ place for all information. Whether you are a project manager attaching your contract terms to the contact, or a credit controller wanting to log phone conversations, Xero can store all this information in a secure but easy to access place.

Consider a payment service

How easy is it for your customers to pay you? By adding a payment service such as Stripe to the invoice it makes it so much easier for your customers to pay. Most businesses find that the cost of the transaction fee is more than offset by the quicker collection of cash and the time saved not chasing debts. For those businesses wanting to collect a monthly direct debit from their customers, Gocardless can automate this process for you, saving a lot of administration time.

Enable easier payment of suppliers

While online payments are a big time-saver on writing a cheque, bacs payment runs have become even easier with the arrival of ‘new players’ on the market such as Comma. This works by pulling approved invoices from your accounting system as soon as they appear. You then simply select which ones you want to pay, and payments will be made from your existing bank account.

Automate, automate, automate.

If there is an accounting process that is taking up chunks of your time, chances are you can automate it. Supplier invoices should no longer be input manually as apps such as Dext will automatically read an invoice and publish it to your accounts. Expense apps or the expenses function within your accounting software should manage the expenses process for you. Xero can be set to automatically send out customer statements and even send polite (or not so polite) reminders to your customers asking them to pay. By automating the mundane tasks, you will have more time to review the output and manage your business.

Make the most of reports

It is worth investing some time in finding out what information can be extracted from your accounting system. Reporting is often the most under-utilised aspect of an accounting system, with many people not aware of how many standard reports are available. You will often find that these reports can be tweaked to suit your business needs. For example, in Xero, an aged receivables report can be sorted so that it only runs for a particular ‘Contact Group.’ So, if you sort out your contacts into groups according to sales reps, the aged receivables report can be run for each group.

In conclusion, by making small changes to the way you work, big results can be achieved. As Clive Woodward, former coach of England rugby once said, success is achieved not by changing a single thing 100% but by changing 100 things by 1%. If you are inspired to change the way that you work and are interested to explore more, you may benefit from a digital health check.

How can we help?

If you would like to discuss your options in further detail, we’d love to hear from you. Contact our Digital Advisory team at fintech@haroldsharp.co.uk or call us on 0161 905 1616.

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