By Ryan Harrison
Running a business requires certain skills and expertise that customers need and are willing to pay for. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to succeed. There are always routine tasks related to business operations that can be frustrating for business owners. For this reason, many small business owners turn to outside help to handle everything from payroll to office services.
Use Tools That Support and Improve Your Overhead
If you’ve been outsourcing routine work for a few years, you should have picked up some basic skills by now that will enable to handle some of these tasks. Don’t underestimate what you’ve learned in all those meetings with your accountant. Before you spend your entire outsourcing budget for 2014, investigate the potential of using business automation tools.
Online Accounting Tools Integrate Your Current Project Data
You probably already handle some aspects of your company’s financial tasks, such as invoicing and tracking projects. And these are probably handled in entirely separate programs on your desktop, with no way to easily access and integrate both functions. Programs like Quickbook’s online accounting keep everything in one place that has to do with operating your business. A basic package gives you wizards and tools to help with these functions:
- Payroll, including tax withholding
- Project estimates
- Project time and expense tracking
- Bank transactions
Many online accounting programs also provide automatic data backups and integrate data you’ve stored in programs like Outlook, Gmail, and Excel. Quickbooks online accounting is one of the cloud-based services that also automate tasks like system updates, which can save a lot of your time. Cloud-based accounts can be accessed from virtually anywhere with a secure Internet connection to your desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
Stop Struggling with Paper!
If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you’re inquisitive and acquire a lot of paper that ends up in disorganized piles around your office. Put an end to this and start scanning everything you bring to the office. Scan your important documents and save the files digitally; encourage employees to do so as well. If you have a lot of paper you want to access electronically, there are services that will handle the document conversion for you. Or you can invest in a sheet-feed or portable scanner that scans more quickly than printer-scanners. Some scanners integrate with other documentation systems, including Quickbooks.
Take Advantage of Free Trial Offers
Many vendors offer free product trials, some for as long as 60 days with money-back guarantees. Try out a few to see how many functions you can take over yourself. If you decide to take the plunge, keep in mind that the costs are likely to be much lower than outsourcing. Best of all, these tools can help you gain a deeper understanding of your business’s operations and identify more opportunities to save time and money.