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Modern small business owners live on mobile devices to keep connected while traveling between appointments and job sites, or just to check in while on personal time. Because you’re always on the go, it can be difficult to find time to sit at a desk or in front of a computer to take care of the bookkeeping tasks essential to keeping your business functioning, whether it’s looking up information or getting invoices out on time.
Maybe there’s some nostalgia for the way it used to be when sending out an invoice required access to all the necessary information. Most of us have moved past the olden days, and put away the things of our business youth, from physical time sheets to paper checks, doing long-hand math and even hand-addressing envelopes. These were not only time-consuming but a distraction from activities that drove growth.
Today’s mobile financial management apps enable you to access and manage your small business finances from wherever you are, whenever you want. It’s a great way of saving time so you can focus on growth-oriented tasks.
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First and foremost is a mobile app’s ability to handle invoicing. The mobile app will automatically populate your business name, logo and contact information in an invoice template. After that, the app should allow you to add and access customer contact information, descriptions of store products and services, and set pricing. When you are ready to create a new invoice, the system will automatically populate a unique invoice number and allow you to use drop-down menus to select from the customers, products and services you’ve already set up.
Find a system that will let you add the correct, relevant sales tax and adjust pricing by applying a discount or adding a fee. You can ideally select your issuing date, payment terms and due date, as well as add any other notes or attachments the invoice requires — all from anywhere as long as you have your phone. The app should have a look and feel that matches the desktop version, too, so you can use either without missing a beat.
Document and data capture
At your desk or away from the office, you’re inundated with receipts from expenses such as materials delivered to you or those shipped directly to a project site. Whether they’re paper or electronic, all of these must be captured and accounted for.
Look for an app that will allow you to automatically capture a photo of paper receipts, then immediately save and organize them within the app. You should be able to do the same with emailed receipts or items imported from your device’s photo gallery. Once imported, such an app should match receipts to bank or credit card charges, quickly access them for mobile invoicing, or look up what you were last charged by a vendor.
Even better and easier, seek out an app that has the ability to extract the data from these financial documents and load it into a cloud-based, all-in-one financial management system. If the app offers vendor mapping, it will identify what you’ve captured, organized and securely saved, then correctly categorize it without requiring you to do that tedious work. Such automated reconciliation tremendously reduces the amount of time you’d need to spend categorizing all the email and paper you’ve accumulated.
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Real-time and background data handling
Seek out an app that will call up your transactions for review in several distinct ways: by time, by status, by vendor or by category. If you’re looking for a specific transaction from last month, you should be able to select the relevant date range. You should also be able to filter by whether the transaction has been reviewed (as part of your monthly review) yet, search for a particular vendor, or do a look-up by category: for example, scanning all transactions related to travel. Apps that are connected directly to your bank and credit card accounts should do this automatically, providing accurate, up-to-the-minute information and further easing the need for you to be tied to your desk.
Organizing your business finances safely and efficiently from anywhere
With a capable mobile app, you can accomplish a lot while away from your computer and you can do it quickly. The right app can match documents to a particular customer and assign them to an account or category based on the mapping you create during set-up. This should eliminate the tedious process that makes up nearly 75% of routine reconciliations. Small business owners understand what they’ve done; an app that knows what you know can check the accuracy of vendor, date, amount and categorization of a transaction faster than you, while updating the transaction seamlessly in the background.
The flexibility of mobile access to financial records is essential for a small business owner. Best-in-class data capture means that what you’ve imported matches your physical documents. Something that is reliable will let you do it all on the fly, anytime, anywhere.
With respect to security, look for a solution provider that monitors its infrastructure 24/7. The data you upload should be hosted with the world’s leading data center providers, and have key certifications like SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001. Look for a provider that encrypts data in transit and on its servers and will ensure mobile access will be available every time you need it.
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Time is critical to every small business owner and entrepreneur. To get more of it, not only must you find ways to do things more efficiently, but you must find ways to leverage every minute you have. With the ability to access an all-in-one financial management mobile app whenever you’re away from your desk, you can seize those opportunities to address critical bookkeeping tasks. And the best part is that this frees up more time to grow your business.