Of all the lessons I have learnt over the past ten years of running my own businesses and supporting others to do the same, perhaps the most important lesson I have learnt is the need to be focused
When you are juggling the demands of a business with being a busy mum, you don’t have much time on your hands to waste. When you are running your business as one man band, you can get lost in the busywork and forget that your work needs to be productive and profitable. Otherwise, it’s just a hobby!
There’s the nitty gritty of bringing in sales, closely linked of course to your marketing efforts (which, incidentally, you cannot afford to let slip when it’s just you at the helm). Then there are the fiddly, administrative tasks that need to be managed – sending and chasing invoices, bookkeeping, keeping a tab on your spending. All of this takes time.
Smarter working – in the Cloud
The traditional, or ‘old fashioned’ way of dealing with all this administration is to simply let it pile up until the end of the week or month, fill in an excel worksheet, and hope you haven’t forgotten anything when you need to compile your data for your HMRC accounting.
My biggest bugbear has always been my bookkeeping and accounting. For many years, I simply kept my data on an excel spreadsheet. My accountant would send me an email when he needed my VAT return/end of year accounts and I would dutifully send him my spreadsheet. If he had a query or if something wasn’t quite right, he would return it to me, I would have to amend it and then send it back again.
And running alongside all of this, of course, was completely different software for my invoicing requirements (a basic word template). So I manually typed the invoice, manually entered it onto my excel spreadsheet and manually sent it to my accountant, while in the meantime, manually tracking and chasing anyone who owes me money.
Not very smart, is it.
So let’s take a cloud app like Winweb Cloud Accounting. I can easily track which payments are due in from my clients and which bills I need to pay – which in itself gives me a better overall picture of my finances on an ongoing basis, not just at the end of the month. The ledger is interlinked with the invoicing, so I can quickly create invoices and all of this is linked with HMRC reporting, so I can easily create and submit my tax returns.
I can also collaborate online with my accountant – far smarter than sending attachments back and forth via email and either of us waiting for a response.
A quick online comparison of other online accounting software shows this is also an extremely competitively priced product. There’s one-time fee of £116 for WinWeb, compared to £10 + VAT per month for a basic package like Sage, or for a more comparable product to WinWeb, Crunch Accounting offers a similar service for £60 + VAT per month.
For a larger or growing/later business, you might want to consider WinWeb Business Cloud which allows you to cloudify your whole business in the one package. So for example, a project manager app, sales CRM – both of which automatically link with your invoicing; web accounting as mentioned previously; cloud back up; calendar and disk sharing; web email; a task manager so that you don’t those routine tasks.
It’s a very powerful, integrated package. However, each of these can be purchased as a standalone app, so you can simply buy whichever one you need to as you go along until your business requires the whole package.
I have to say that I’m impressed with WinWeb’s accounting software. It’s a far smarter way of working, which leaves me feeling more focused and productive.
What do you think? How have you adapted cloud computing into your business?