Quick Tips for e-Commerce Accounting

As a freelancer/business owner, you will obviously want to ensure that your life is made as easy as it can possibly be. If you offer products/services online via e-commerce, you won’t need any explanations on just how complex and time-consuming it can be to get everything in order. Every day there are new skills you should master, and new tasks you must do, and many entrepreneurs, unfortunately, struggle to keep up.

In terms of importance, however, you simply cannot afford to underestimate the importance of good accounting. Good accounting in an e-commerce environment not only makes life easier, it can also save you money and potentially help you to avoid legal issues as well.

If you thought accounting was simply a case of saving a few receipts and printing out your bank statements every few months, you’re in for a very rude awakening indeed. Here’s a look at a few quick tips for e-commerce accounting.

Hire an accountant

Remember, your books and accounts are incredibly important and you simply cannot afford to make any mistakes. If you’re late to submit your books, you will face penalty fines, and if you submit data which is deemed incorrect, you could be audited and may be investigated. This means you could face potential criminal charges if there is a reason to believe you have deliberately submitted false information to commit fraud.

Nobody wants these worries in their life, which is why you should hire an accountant to do your finances for you. Accountants use the latest accounting software, they know exactly what they’re doing, they help organize everything so it is simple to understand, plus they do most of the work for you. This leaves you free to carry on running your online store, without having to worry about sorting your finances or organizing your books.

Purchase accounting software

We mentioned how accountants utilize the latest accounting software to hit the markets, and there is a good reason for this. Accounting software, just like SlickPie, is very useful because it organizes incomings and outgoings, it helps manage the invoicing process, it helps you store receipts and access them when needed, plus it allows you to send and receive money in the currency of your choosing.

Whether you hire an accountant or not, you should still consider looking into the possibility of purchasing SlickPie, or similar pieces of accounting software because it helps make your life so much easier. In business, time is money, so the more time you can save, the more money you can potentially be making.

Always factor in small costs

A lot of e-commerce site owners make the pricey mistake of failing to factor in small costs when tallying up their expenses. To them, a few bucks on stationary now and then is not worth worrying about, but they’re wrong. In reality, all costs should be factored in and tallied up, no matter how insignificant they may be.

Remember, every little bit of help and it all adds up over time. Failing to declare small costs could potentially end up costing you big, plus at the end of the year when you do your books, you could even claim these expenses back.

Keep an eye on your costs

Running your own business and website will eat away at a lot of your time, but you should always make sure you monitor your costs and keep an eye on them. Keep an eye on everything, work everything out, and make sure you monitor them closely.

Web hosting costs, for example, may increase year by year, and it can be easy to miss this as you will have so much else going on with your store. By keeping a close eye on your costs you know exactly how much you are spending, and you can potentially look into cheaper alternatives and ways of cutting back to help save money in the process.

Always save your invoices

The more clients you have, the more invoices you will be sending. Invoices, however, are very important from an accounting perspective because they serve as proof of financial transactions done via your business account. If you use paper invoices, make copies and file each one neatly and efficiently so you can refer back to them quickly at a later date if you have to.

Alternatively, again you may wish to consider SlickPie or similar pieces of accounting software. This software allows you to automatically send invoices, and file them digitally. This helps to get everything a lot more organized, plus you can access invoices which are years old, in a matter of seconds, rather than having to wade through pile after pile of paper.

Set a little money aside for taxes each month

As a business owner/freelancer, it is your responsibility to pay your own taxes. In life, as the saying goes ‘nothing is certain other than death and taxes’. Because of this, each month you should set aside some money ready for when you pay your taxes at the end of the financial year.

You will probably have a rough idea of how much tax you will need to pay, and if not, speak to a professional who will be able to advise you. From here, when you pay yourself, set aside a small amount of money each month, which can then be used to pay your taxes at the end of the year.

By setting a small amount aside each month, you won’t actually miss it all that much.

Work out your gross margins

As you run an e-commerce store, you will obviously be selling something online. This is where it pays to figure out the gross profit margins of your store. When you understand your gross margins, you have a better idea of how much profit you are making on each sale.

This is where you need to figure out the cost of your goods. The cost of goods represents how much you are spending on producing/purchasing these products, I.E labor, raw materials, packaging, advertising, transport, etc. Your gross margins represent how much you are making on each profit after all costs of producing the products have been taken into account.

Basically, you sell a product for $10, and it costs $6 to produce and ship that product, your gross margin on this product would be $4 after costs.

 

 

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How Blockchain Can Benefit Your Business

If you want to give your business the best possible chance of succeeding, you need to ensure you get your finances and accounts in order. For some people, this is not too much of an issue. For others, it’s a very big problem.

Some people are naturally not all that great with numbers, which is where accounting software factors into the picture. Accounting software such as SlickPie is designed to make it much easier to balance your books and get your accounts in order for each financial year.

Some business owners also choose to hire professional accountants to make the process easier still. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about cryptocurrency and Blockchain.

To some of you, Blockchain may mean nothing, but don’t worry, because that’s where we come into the picture. Blockchain can benefit your business in a variety of different ways. Here’s a look at what it is and how it can help.

What is Blockchain?

Before we fill you in on just how amazing Blockchain can be for your business, first we need to let you know exactly what it is. Basically, Blockchain is best described as being a secure electronic ledger that is evenly distributed.

It helps connect together numerous parties in a secure and honest network and facilitates the transfer of information and assets. Initially, the Blockchain was created to help make Bitcoins legitimate forms of electronic currency.

After the financial crisis less than a decade ago, people began being far more careful with their money and began looking for safer and more secure alternatives to storing it in a bank. The Blockchain was a fantastic solution for numerous reasons. It functions by recording each digital transaction using cryptographic technology to store the details in a chain sequence.

Once a transaction has been stored in the chain, that it is, it is impossible to be duplicated or removed. Each computer on the network will hold this data so they will know exactly what was spent and when. As the Blockchain grows and more and more people make online transactions with it, the more secure it becomes.

How can Blockchain benefit your business?

So, as you’ve now been brought up to speed in regards to what the Blockchain is, here are a few ways in which it will benefit your business:

It’s very traceable 

One reason why Blockchain is so useful is that it enhances traceability. Being able to track goods in supply chains is very useful for business owners as they can trace where individual components may currently be. From here, info regarding these components is then relayed from, or to, the new owner so they know exactly where it has come from and where it has gone.

It’s efficient

Another reason why you should consider hopping on the Blockchain bandwagon is due to the fact that it has been proven to be so efficient. With each transaction completed, there is no intermediary and all info is digital.

This helps speed up the process and makes it that much more efficient. Making and settling transactions can be done in seconds, with no time wasting and no messing around.

Blockchain also allows users to utilize what is known as ‘smart contracts’. From here, commercial actions are automatically triggered based on the chosen criteria laid out in the contracts in the first place. If you’re looking to streamline your business, this is incredibly useful. It also helps you to cut costs and to save time as well.

Blockchain is incredibly secure

With cyber criminals now becoming more advanced than ever, it’s important to ensure that we take the necessary steps to protect our businesses, and indeed, the personal details of our clients in the process. This is where Blockchain really shines. You see, within the Blockchain, every single transaction that takes place is verified using highly sophisticated cryptography.

This means that users can authenticate transactions and ensure that they are genuine. Just to help show you just how secure the Blockchain is, currently many military organizations across the globe are actually using versions of Blockchain tech in the defense industry, to help ensure all data is safe and secure. If it is good enough for the nation’s military, Blockchain is certainly good enough for your business.

Great for feedback

In business, feedback is very important, and again, this is where Blockchain proves so useful. As mentioned, Blockchain tech allows users the ability to trace transactions, assets, and much more besides, every step of the way.

This means that manufacturers and designers alike can get an insight into how smoothly various processes are going and can, therefore, make any improvements if they’re required.

It looks good on paper

Finally, the last benefit associated with Blockchain technology for your business which we’ll be looking at today is the fact that it looks good on paper. If you tell your customers and potential investors that you are utilizing Blockchain technology as part of your business plan, this will help improve your reputation and it will help make you appear professional in the process.

The safer people feel with you, and the more professional you look, the more likely people will be to spend their hard-earned money with you. By investing in Blockchain technology, you can rest assured that people will take far more notice of you than they did in the past, simply because of how great Blockchain looks on paper.

So, that brings proceedings to a close. As you can see from the above, Blockchain can offer you a whole variety of benefits and can really help take your business to the next level. In terms of accounting software, Blockchain is certainly well worth looking into.

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

Do I Need Accounting Software?

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably asking yourself the question of ‘Do I need accounting software’?

Well, to be perfectly blunt, yes you do. That was easy, wasn’t it?

What’s that, you want to learn more about accounting software? Okay, fine, don’t worry, we’ll bring you up to speed.

Whether you freelance, or if you’re a large or small business owner, one of the biggest drains on your time and your resources, will be trying to tackle your finances yourself. Each year you will need to ensure that you have submitted your annual accounts, and failing to do so on time will result in a fine, and possibly even legal action as well.

Rather than spending endless hours tackling your books yourself, you may instead wish to consider investing in accounting software such as SlickPie. To help emphasize just how beneficial this software can be, below you’ll find an outline listing some of the main advantages users of this particular type of software can commonly benefit from.

Very cost-effective

Firstly, we’ll begin by focussing on the financial side of things, particularly in regards of just how much money accounting software can potentially save for you and your business.

You see, in the business world, time is money, and for every second you spend on trying to organize your accounts, get your receipts and books in order, and send out individual invoices to your clients, you are potentially losing money.

With accounting software, the software itself is incredibly cost-effective because not only is it cheap to purchase, you will also save a great deal of money further down the line. This is due to the fact that the software will help you save money in tax rebates and expenses, plus it means that you don’t have to employ accountants and bookkeepers, as it does everything for you.

The software will pay for itself in a matter of weeks when you consider how much money you will save, so if you’re looking for a great ROI, accounting software is perfect.

Improves accuracy

As meticulous and skillful with numbers as you, or your bookkeeper may be, human error is always a factor and is always a concern when it comes to dealing with your accounts. All it takes is one wrong calculation, one mistake, one slip of the pen, and your accounts could potentially be ruined, meaning that you would need to start over.

With accounting software, however, accuracy is guaranteed as it will carry out pretty much all of the calculations for you, eliminating the risks associated with human error. As calculations are performed automatically, you needn’t worry about trying to do them yourself, meaning you needn’t worry about getting them wrong.

Saves so much time

Time is a commodity that very few freelancers and business experts can afford, so if you can save time and still do your job as normal, you should do exactly that. Another tick in the box for going with accounting software is the fact that purchasing it will help save you so much time in the workplace.

The software does the jobs of multiple workers, with you barely needing to lift a finger. It helps you to manage receipts, you can organize important documents, you can find exactly what you need in seconds, you can track your finances, and you can even automatically invoice and bill your clients, and send reminders for late payments.

Yes, one humble piece of software can do all of this, and much more besides, leaving you with more free time on your hands so you can focus your attention on other aspects of your business.

In-depth analysis

As these are your finances you’re dealing with, obviously, you will want to know exactly what is going on with your accounts, and again, this is where this software is perfect. Accounting software is basically just like having your very own in-house accountant and financial advisor, with the added bonus of being able to pretty much guarantee that neither of them will ever make any mistakes or let you down.

You can benefit from fully customized reports which will give you an in-depth analysis of every aspect of your accounts and a general overview of your business in general. The data will be presented in a variety of different ways, particularly through things such as graphs, charts, tables, and percentages.

Having the ability to clearly see these numbers in black and white means that you can enjoy an in-depth analysis of your books so you can maintain complete control and you will constantly be kept in the loop.

Very secure

Let’s face it, these are your accounts we’re talking about here, so of course, you will want to ensure that everything is as safe and as secure as it can possibly be. Here we’re talking about your personal banking details, business banking details, possible employee info, customer info, and much more besides.

Obviously, you won’t want this information falling into the wrong hands, and with software such as SlickPie, you needn’t worry one tiny bit. Many leading brands of accounting software make security one of their main priorities, making it virtually impossible for cyber criminals to gain access to the info you don’t want them to have access to.

Never miss payments

Believe it or not, but there are freelancers and business owners out there who are not actually receiving the money that is owed to them, for various reasons, and this is not fair.

Whether it’s due to an unpaid invoice, a breakdown in communication, or a simple case of the freelancer/business owner being so busy that they forgot what was owed to them, people are losing money which they’re legally entitled to, and that is such a shame.

Accounting software helps to eliminate the risk of this happening because it keeps finances well organized so you can track who has paid you what, and when, plus it makes invoicing clients, and sending late payment reminders, a whole lot easier as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How You Can Benefit from A.I Today

Years ago, artificial intelligence was the stuff purely of Sci-Fi blockbusters and was something that many of us never thought we’d ever see in our lifetimes. Fast-forward to the present day,  and here we are, with A.I now all around us and an everyday part of modern life.

The advances in modern technology over the last decade or so have been nothing short of amazing, and we are continuing to progress further and further with each passing day. In the business world, in particular, modern technology has proven to be extremely beneficial, especially when you consider the fact that years ago, we’d never heard of such a thing as accounting software or smart phones.

A.I has been the topic of many a heated debate as of late, yet rather than fearing A.I we should instead embrace it and use it to our advantage. When people hear the words Artificial Intelligence, they instantly think of killer robots becoming consciously aware, and of computers taking over the world.

In the real world, however, A.I is a lot less dramatic than that, and actually, it could be considered pretty boring. Necessary, yes, but boring all the same. Want to know how your business can benefit from artificial intelligence? Then make sure you keep reading.

Stay relevant

The business world is incredibly complex and competitive, with more and more businesses becoming increasingly competitive and innovative every single day. As A.I is now becoming more advanced, and because business owners are now seeing the true potential in A.I, a lot of them are utilizing it to their advantage.

If you fail to take advantage of A.I, you run the risk of being left behind, with your business/services becoming obsolete, and extinct, just like the dinosaurs. If you embrace change and utilize technology to your advantage, your business can not only stay relevant, you can also stay competitive so people will be less likely to choose your competitors as they will gravitate towards you instead.

Detailed analysis of data

If you want a great example of how A.I can help provide a detailed analysis of your business, take a look at accounting software such as SlickPie. The A.I utilized in accounting software is incredibly intelligent and hugely beneficial because it helps provide the user with a detailed breakdown of their finances and accounts.

Through various algorithms and calculations performed automatically, the software can tell you exactly where your money is coming and going, plus it can utilize various formulas to provide accurate financial predictions for the year ahead.

This is very useful when it comes to, say, applying for a loan because, with A.I, you can forecast potential earnings for the year ahead so you can help convince the loan-maker that investing in you would provide a healthy return on their investment.

Get to understand your target demographic

No matter which services and/or products you offer, whether you own a business or provide freelance services, you will all have a certain target demographic in mind. A sportswear company, for example, will be targeting physically active individuals with an interest in sport and fitness.

The more you understand about your target audience, however, the easier you will find it to fine-tune your services/products so that you can cater to them directly and more accurately. A.I software is incredibly useful in this respect because it is able to get to know your target audience.

The technology analyzes behavioral patterns and habits of potential customers and looks at things like what they’re looking for online when they search, and what they’re engaging with the most.

To expand upon the sportswear theme earlier, a sportswear company utilizing A.I could get to understand what types of sportswear products their customers seem to be excited about the most, and could subsequently offer them exactly what they want.

The more you know about your customers, the easier it becomes to give them exactly what they want. Google search is a perfect example of how A.I can get to understand its users and pick up on common themes and trends.

Increase your chances of making conversions

If you owned a shop on a busy high street, every working day you would probably have people walking in and browsing what you have to offer. In a perfect world, every single person that walked in would buy something from you, but of course, we don’t live in a perfect world so not everybody in your store will be willing to part with their money.

The same principle applies to freelancers and online business owners, and that is where A.I proves so useful. A.I performs detailed predictive analysis online and can basically make a prediction, based upon each individual’s browsing habits etc, as to whether or not they are likely to make a sale.

A.I can help business owners to increase leads based upon just how likely they will be to convert and make a purchase. Not only does A.I tell you how likely an individual will be to make a sale, it can also help teach you how to identify a number of key strategies which again, could increase your chances of making a sale, and making more money.

Maintain regular customers

A happy customer, as they say, is a returning customer, and the more regular customers you can obtain, the better. A.I tech is very useful in this regard because it can also help show you what your customers have been happy with from you, and it can show you what may have put them off slightly.

This means you can address issues which are letting you down, and you can focus on your strengths in the process. If your rivals are providing services similar to yours, but not identical, and your customers are perhaps showing an interest in these services, A.I can point this out for you, allowing you to tweak your business model somewhat to help ensure you keep your customers happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 of the Best Automation Tools for Small Businesses

Automation: By definition, the word means ‘automatically controlled operation of an apparatus, system, or process, by mechanical or electronic devices that take the place of human labor. Basically, automation is a process by which technology steps in and does the job of a human being, only quicker and more efficiently.

This may sound like the plot to a Sci-Fi Blockbuster, but don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as frightening as it may sound. If you’re a small business owner or a self-employed freelancer perhaps, you will only have so many pairs of hands and so many hours in the day to get everything done that needs doing.

Running any business, large or small, requires a lot of time and effort, and unfortunately, there are many business owners out there who sadly find themselves overwhelmed, and they literally cannot keep on top of everything that needs doing. Even with additional employees, there are some tasks that are very complex and very time-consuming, which is why automation is so useful.

There are many different types of automation tools and software out there for you to utilize, and you may even be utilizing some right now, without even realizing. If time is against you and you’re struggling to keep your head above water, here are 5 of the best automation tools for small businesses.

This may sound like the plot to a Sci-Fi Blockbuster, but don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as frightening as it may sound. If you’re a small business owner or a self-employed freelancer perhaps, you will only have so many pairs of hands and so many hours in the day to get everything done that needs doing.

Running any business, large or small, requires a lot of time and effort, and unfortunately, there are many business owners out there who sadly find themselves overwhelmed, and they literally cannot keep on top of everything that needs doing. Even with additional employees, there are some tasks that are very complex and very time-consuming, which is why automation is so useful.

There are many different types of automation tools and software out there for you to utilize, and you may even be utilizing some right now, without even realizing. If time is against you and you’re struggling to keep your head above water, here are 5 of the best automation tools for small businesses.

Running any business, large or small, requires a lot of time and effort, and unfortunately, there are many business owners out there who sadly find themselves overwhelmed, and they literally cannot keep on top of everything that needs doing. Even with additional employees, there are some tasks that are very complex and very time-consuming, which is why automation is so useful.

There are many different types of automation tools and software out there for you to utilize, and you may even be utilizing some right now, without even realizing. If time is against you and you’re struggling to keep your head above water, here are 5 of the best automation tools for small businesses.

There are many different types of automation tools and software out there for you to utilize, and you may even be utilizing some right now, without even realizing. If time is against you and you’re struggling to keep your head above water, here are 5 of the best automation tools for small businesses.

HubSpot

If you’re a small business owner and you aren’t yet using HubSpot, boy are you missing out! HubSpot is ideal in terms of sales and marketing, though it also provides users with numerous educational benefits as well. You see, the software makes use of marketing data provided in real time, to help you expand your reach and get a better idea of whom your target demographic may be.

This, in turn, helps to follow up on leads and to generate sales, so of course, from a business perspective, it’s perfect. HubSpot also allows users to track their growth via pre-determined goals and objectives. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, HubSpot is perfect.

You see, the software makes use of marketing data provided in real time, to help you expand your reach and get a better idea of whom your target demographic may be. This, in turn, helps to follow up on leads and to generate sales, so of course, from a business perspective, it’s perfect.

HubSpot also allows users to track their growth via pre-determined goals and objectives. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, HubSpot is perfect.

SlickPie

Accounting software is an absolute blessing for freelancers and small business owners, yet bizarrely, some people out there are just not using it to their full advantage, or worse still, at all. SlickPie is one of the most popular forms of accounting software currently on the market, and it is proving to be an incredibly valuable commodity for business owners.

SlickPie is ideal because it allows users to keep track of their finances as they can monitor incomings and outgoings, they know when money is coming in and going out, plus it allows users to send automatic invoices to various clients, with follow up reminders if necessary. For freelancers and small business owners dealing with overseas clients, SlickPie is great because it enables users to send and receive money in the currency of their choice.

Getting your accounts in order is a full-time job in itself, yet with SlickPie, it’s as easy as having your very own accountant on the team, with the added bonus being that they never make mistakes and never let you down. To ensure you stay on the taxman’s good side, make SlickPie a part of your business model and see just how much easier everything becomes.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another very popular automation tool that is perfect for small business owners looking to expand their social media reach and get a firm grasp on all things social. Hootsuite is a piece of software which is dedicated to automating a business’ engagement on various social media platforms in more than 35 countries across the world.

In particular, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all can be utilized very effectively when you use Hootsuite to your advantage. The software helps to identify some of the key influencers in your chosen market, it provides useful tips and strategies designed to increase engagement across multiple platforms, and best of all, if your budget is tight, there is a completely free plan for business owners to take advantage of, with the possibility of upgrading their plan if they feel so inclined to do so.

Spokal

Spokal is ideal for businesses utilizing WordPress, which is pretty much every business you can think of in this day and age. Spokal is one of the most popular inbound marketing platforms currently available, and it is one of the best automation tools for small businesses that you could ever wish for.

Spokal supplies users with powerful SEO marketing tools designed to help improve local and global search engine rankings to ensure that your blog is receiving the attention you will have been hoping it would receive.

Best of all is the fact that Spokal has been designed to integrate with numerous other tools and pieces of software, making it very user-friendly and very efficient.

MailChimp

And finally, before we bring this article to a close, we’ll finish off by looking at MailChimp. MailChimp is the only email marketing solution you will ever need, and it also happens to be extremely affordable.

MailChimp allows users to target potential customers based solely on their preferences, their online behavior, and of course, on past sales. MailChimp also integrates with many other useful automation tools and pieces of software, including Spokal, so if you’re thinking of getting either, you would be best off using them both so as to benefit from the best of both worlds.

MailChimp also integrates with many other useful automation tools and pieces of software, including Spokal, so if you’re thinking of getting either, you would be best off using them both so as to benefit from the best of both worlds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

5 Key Things to Know About Business Accounting

In business, accounting is, and forever will be, an essential component that must never, ever, be overlooked, no matter what. Despite this, there are a number of business owners, and freelancers for that matter, that, unfortunately, overlook the importance of having their accounts in order, and sadly, they end up paying the price.

If they’re lucky, it simply means that they perhaps receive a small fine and have to redo everything or hire an accountant to do their accounts for them. In some instances though, things are more serious and they may find themselves under investigation and be facing potential criminal charges for fraud.

Now, do you see how important it is to get your accounts in order? As daunting as it may seem, with the correct tools, systems, and assistance in place, keeping tabs on your business accounts is a fairly simple process.

To ensure that you get a handle on your accounts, have a read of the following and take a look at these 5 things to know about business accounting.

Receipts should always be kept and filed properly

When it comes to your finances and business accounts, no matter how small you consider your business to be, you are still a business and you should still adhere to the rules and laws just like everybody else. This may seem like a pointless and time-consuming job, but it is a necessity nevertheless, and it will make life so much easier for you in the future.

If for example, you run out of paper and need to buy a new notepad, even though it will only cost a few bucks, don’t throw the receipt in the trash, keep it and file it correctly. You should also make sure that you have an efficient filing system in place.

A lot of business owners hold onto their receipts, but fail to file them properly. They often simply cram them into a drawer or envelope and then shut them out of sight. Sure they’ve kept them, but if they’re then audited and they’re asked to produce a specific receipt, sorting through endless piles of receipts can take an age.

The system you use will depend on you, though you could consider making use of accounting software such as SlickPie, which will let you track, file, and organize your receipts in seconds.

Accounting software is virtually essential

As we previously touched upon, accounting software can make life much easier for freelancers and small business owners alike. Accounting software is a fantastic example of how automation in the workplace can be beneficial. Software such as SlickPie has been designed specifically to help businesses and workers organize their accounts and finances.

The software basically provides all of the benefits of having your very own accountant on your team, with the added bonus of guaranteeing that there are no mistakes made due to human error. The software saves time as it organizes your finances and accounts, it performs simple calculations and formulas for you, it helps you to send, receive, and manage receipts and invoices, and much more besides.

Whether you want a general overview of your accounts, or if you’re searching for one specific invoice or receipt, accounting software will help you find what you’re looking for in seconds.

You must ensure you keep accurate and reliable records

Another thing to remember in regards to your finances and accounts is that you must make sure you keep reliable and accurate records at all times. By this, we don’t simply mean you should keep bank statements whenever you remember, we mean pretty much everything should be kept and organized, which again, is another reason to invest in accounting software.

The records you keep should not only display direct debits and standing orders, they should tell you where your money is being spent, where your incomings are incoming from and when, which items you purchased with which cards, and much more besides.

You basically need to know where your money is coming from and where, where it is going, and how it has been used to help expand the business. You can try to do this on paper, though ideally you should get with the times and do things digitally.

Invoicing must be accurate

In the business world, invoicing is an incredibly important component that must never be overlooked. If you thought an invoice was just a technical way of reminding your clients to pay you, you are very much mistaken. Invoices serve as important records detailing the specific terms of each transaction you have made with each of your clients.

As these are important records you must make sure that all of the info you have entered is correct, as the last thing you want to do is get onto the wrong side of the taxman. An accurate invoice should state the services you have provided, the agreed upon amount you are due to receive, when the payment should be made by, and any other terms and conditions you would like to include.

Accurate invoices are also important because they help to clear up any discrepancies regarding payments between you and your client. If you previously agreed upon a specific sum, and your client is adamant that it is too much, you can simply refer back to a previous invoice and amicably clear everything up.

Profit and loss statements should also be scheduled

To help give you a general overview of your business finances and to see just how well you’re doing, profit and loss statements are ideal. These statements show you which areas of your business have yielded a profit and how much you have made, plus they show if you’ve made any losses, and again, where these losses were made.

Now, these statements could be quarterly, they could be annual, they could be bi-annually, or they could be monthly. The thing to remember is that they must always be kept because you can see where you’re doing well, and you can see where improvements may be required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

Small Business Tips for Beginners

Running a business is not easy, in fact, to say it isn’t easy would be like saying that strong theory is not easy.

In other words, it would be a vast understatement. Statistically, it takes roughly two years to build a business, with many new ventures sadly going under in their very first year.

Now, you’re probably reading this and are feeling pretty disheartened, but don’t worry, because it could get much better.

You see, nothing in life worth having comes easy, but if you are willing to put in the work, and to continue to acquire knowledge and various other life and business skills in the process, there is no reason why your new business venture, large or small, should fail.

The good news doesn’t stop there either; we’ll also be sharing a series of useful tips for small business owners in this very article.

Take a look at the tips listed on this page, and ideally try to implement as many of them as possible in your own business strategy.

Have passion for what you’re doing

 Remember, starting and running a business is not the same as simply getting a new job. A lot of people out there are stuck working in jobs they don’t particularly enjoy, and truthfully, they simply turn up for the money, go through the motions, and leave. Running a small

A lot of people out there are stuck working in jobs they don’t particularly enjoy, and truthfully, they simply turn up for the money, go through the motions, and leave. Running a small

Running a small business, however, is a whole other story entirely. If you wish to make your business a success, you must be passionate about what you are doing in the first place.

When you’re passionate about something, you will dig a little bit deeper and work a little bit harder.

When you’re passionate about something, it really shows, which means your customers are far more likely to be very impressed with what you’re offering.

A lot of your free time will be devoted to your new business, and truthfully if you aren’t dedicated to it, you probably shouldn’t even be bothering.

If you’re passionate about something, you can make a success out of pretty much anything, so don’t just chase the money, listen to your head and your heart when deciding on what your business will specialize in.

Make sure you have an income rolling in beforehand

Like most things in life, you need money to start a business, and if you don’t have a regular income coming in, you will struggle to get up and running.

Remember, it takes a lot of time to get a new business off the ground, and even if you are a small business with low overheads, it will still be a long time before you see a regular income rolling in, and before you begin turning over a profit.

Without money, how can you live in the meantime? A lot of people when starting a new business will continue to work a day job to earn money and will devote any spare time they have to their business. We told you it wouldn’t be easy, but if you do still have money coming in, you will relieve a tiny bit of pressure as you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your

A lot of people when starting a new business will continue to work a day job to earn money and will devote any spare time they have to their business. We told you it wouldn’t be easy, but if you do still have money coming in, you will relieve a tiny bit of pressure as you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your

We told you it wouldn’t be easy, but if you do still have money coming in, you will relieve a tiny bit of pressure as you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay your bills or buy your food.

Hire an accountant to look over your books

When people start new businesses, obviously, as they aren’t making all that much money to begin with, they look for ways of saving money and cutting back on expenses.

A lot of business owners will therefore try to do their books and their accounts themselves, but that is not ideal.

To begin with, you will have enough on your plate without having to worry about balancing your books, doing your taxes, claiming expenses, and so on.

To make things easier, hire an accountant to look over your books and do to your accounts for you each year.

Accountants make use of accounting software to make the process much easier and much more efficient, plus they have a lot of experience and know exactly what they’re doing.

If you are adamant that you don’t yet need an accountant, at least consider investing in accounting software such as the highly popular SlickPie, which will help make your life so much easier in the long run.

Make your clients your number one priority

This really should be classed as good business sense anyways, yet you’d be surprised by just how many businesses, large and small, actually fail to see the potential in treating their customers well.

It doesn’t matter which products or services you are offering, with each order you take, make sure you focus on doing everything in your power to make your customer as happy and satisfied as possible.

If dealing with them directly, smile, be polite, and treat them with respect. Even if you’re dealing with them online, or over the phone, always treat them well, and make sure you focus on giving them exactly what they want.

There are numerous benefits to this: not only will a happy customer be far more likely to return and become a regular customer, but on top of that, they will also recommend you to others, and perhaps even leave a positive review for you.

Always be as professional as possible

No matter how small you consider your business to be, the thing to remember here is that you are still a business, and as such, you need to be professional.

If you’re working solely online, make sure you have a professional website created, with relevant contact info and any other useful info which your clients may find useful.

If you deal with the general public, make sure your office is clean and tidy, and make sure you and any employees you may have, are dressed smartly in the process.

Business cards also help you to give off a professional vibe, and as you probably know, in the business world ‘perception is reality’.

Also, don’t forget the small things like answering the telephone.

Rather than simply answering with a basic ‘hello’ instead, try something along the lines of ‘good morning/afternoon, *name of business*, *your name* speaking, how may I help you’?

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Track and Reduce Expenses

In business, primarily, your number one goal is to make as much money as you can.

Secondly, however, you will also want to look into what can be done to reduce your business expenses, because obviously, unnecessary spending is the last thing any business needs.

To help strengthen the bottom line of your business, reducing your expenses can be just as important as bringing in as many sales as possible, but herein lies a problem.

You see, in business, some expenses are unavoidable, and some are extremely necessary.

After all, as the saying goes you have to spend money to make money. So how do you reduce unnecessary spending?

Well, first you need to track your expenses and get a detailed breakdown of exactly where your money is going.

Once you’ve identified this, you can then look into cutting back on expenses that are not required.

Initially, it may be a little time consuming, and it may only save you a little bit here and a little bit there, but small amounts do quickly add up to larger amounts.

If you’re looking to keep tabs on your expenses, here’s a look at a few ways of tracking and reducing your monthly expenses.

Tracking your expenses

To begin with, we’ll start off by looking at what you can do to track your expenses so you can get a better idea of exactly where your money is going, and at whether or not you could cut back and make some savings.

A few tips for tracking your expenses include:

Always read your account statements

Your monthly accounts are very important, and to help ensure you know where your money is going, try to take an inventory of all business accounts, and be sure to read them thoroughly on a regular basis.

You don’t need to do this every day, but try to go through everything at least once per week.

When you get into the habit of reading your statements, you will get a sense of where your money is going, and roughly when.

Eventually, you should be so familiar with your accounts that you’ll have pretty much memorized all of your regular expenses anyways.

If you are too busy, you can always have an accountant go through your accounts for you.

Make categories for all expenses

Again, this may sound like a lot of work, but once it’s done, life will be much easier, plus you can always have your accountant handle this for you.

Go through your accounts and categorize all expenses, I.E food and drinks, travel, utilities, loan repayments, etc.

By doing this you can look at each category individually, and can help pinpoint where your cash is going.

For example, if you’re paying X amount of money on stationary, you could look into different stationary stores and see if they have what you need, but for less money.

Even if it’s only a small saving, these small savings quickly add up.

Use accounting software

Account software such as SlickPie, is incredibly useful for tracking your business expenses, and best of all, it’s very user-friendly as well.

Accounting software can allow you to create spreadsheets for tracking your expenses, plus it will allow you to do more complex processes such as importing transactions from your bank, and so on.

Many accountants use SlickPie and other similar forms of accounting software to help their clients manage their expenses, and the results speak for themselves.

Reducing your expenses

Now that we’ve looked at how you can track your expenses, let’s focus on the good stuff and look at how you can reduce your expenses and save yourself more money.

A few proven strategies for actively reducing business expenses include the following:

Look into cheaper alternatives

This may sound painfully obvious, but it’s so important that we just have to get it out of the way.

If you’re looking to reduce your expenses, then look at what you can do to purchase whatever it is that you need for your business, but for less.

Monthly internet providers and phone contracts, for example, can all be negotiated and there are always great deals to be had.

If you’re spending too much on your phone bill, look into other providers and see if they can give you what you need, but for less. The same goes for stationary, for food, for

The same goes for stationary, for food, for drink, and pretty much anything else as well. It does take time, but if you spending a few additional hours on a Saturday morning, renegotiating your phone and internet contracts, well then in most people’s minds that would be money well spent.

It does take time, but if you spending a few additional hours on a Saturday morning, renegotiating your phone and internet contracts, well then in most people’s minds that would be money well spent.

Purchase items instead of rent

This will obviously all depend on the nature of your business, but if you are renting equipment or anything else for that matter, look into purchasing these items rather than renting them. Company

Company cars, for example, could be purchased instead of being rented, because overall, you will end up spending less money in the long run.

This is important because eventually, thanks to depreciation, your accountant should be able to sort you out some pretty lucrative tax benefits.

Negotiate lower credit card rates

As a small business owner, your credit card is going to be a very valuable tool to have at your disposal.

Your credit card will be used for travel expenses, for any minor business purchases, and for working capital.

Now, if you’re paying, say, 17.5%, look for a credit card which offers 0% on transfers and purchases for a prolonged period of time.

By doing this you can gradually pay off your credit card debts, without paying the banks heavy interest in the process.

Paying interest is something we should all resent because we are literally paying for nothing, as we still have to pay off our debts, plus extra just for the banks.

If you can’t find a credit card offering 0%, try to get the debt paid off as quickly as you can.

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Improve Your Productivity as a Freelancer

Working as a freelancer can be incredibly rewarding, yet there are a series of common misconceptions associated with freelancers that perhaps conjure up negative connotations.

You see, those stuck in dead-end jobs often dream about working as a freelancer, and what dreams they have.

In their minds they are their own boss, they answer to nobody, they set the rules, and each and every single job they take on fills them with a sense of reward and feelings of happiness and contentment.

Now, in a sense, this can indeed be true to a point, but life as a freelancer is certainly not how you would imagine it.

If you want to make it as a successful freelancer, it doesn’t matter which services you offer, if you aren’t willing to put the work in, you may as well quit right now.

As freelancers, we will all have days where we seemingly can’t get motivated, no matter how hard we try and before we know it we’ve wasted the entire day with an impending deadline fast approaching like a speeding freight train.

If your get up and go has got up and gone, here are some tips proven to improve your productivity as a freelancer.

Stop working in your pajamas

We’ve all done it, and don’t try to say you haven’t because we don’t believe you. At some point whilst working as a freelancer, we’ve all worked in our

At some point whilst working as a freelancer, we’ve all worked in our pajamas, perhaps on more than one occasion. This

This is, of course, one of the main perks of working from home, and truthfully every now and then you can treat yourself if you’d like.

Generally speaking though, you should treat a day of work at home like you would a day of work in the office.

You wouldn’t go to the office in your pajamas or dressing gown, so don’t wear them at home while working. If you constantly work in

If you constantly work in your pajamas without getting dressed, there’s a small part of your mind that will hold you back and stop you getting into the frame of mind of a seasoned freelance professional.

Before you begin work for the day, have your breakfast, brush your teeth, have a shower, and get dressed.

You will now be in a much better frame of mind and subsequently, you will almost certainly get more done.

Set your working hours and stick to them

Working as a freelancer does give you freedom in a sense, but if you think you can just do a few hours here, and a few hours there, and still earn a full-time wage, well, you’re in for quite a shock.

As a freelancer, you decide which hours and days you work, but you sure as heck better make sure that you stick to them. Again, if you worked for somebody else, you wouldn’t just get up and leave the office whenever you

Again, if you worked for somebody else, you wouldn’t just get up and leave the office whenever you like, as this would quickly result in the boss firing you. If you work as a freelancer you need to create a working schedule and stick to it from week to week. Typically most freelancers will work a typical 9 -5 Mon – Fri, but again, this is all down to you. If you are supposed to be starting work at

If you work as a freelancer you need to create a working schedule and stick to it from week to week. Typically most freelancers will work a typical 9 -5 Mon – Fri, but again, this is all down to you. If you are supposed to be starting work at

If you are supposed to be starting work at 9 am, you must ensure you’re ready to go at 9 am, not 9:15, not 9:20, but 9 am on the dot.

Eventually, you will get into a routine and once in a routine, your productivity rates will sky-rocket.

Take breaks and don’t skip lunch

A lot of freelancers out there are actually guilty of working too much and not giving themselves regular breaks throughout the day.

In their minds, if they work harder and have fewer breaks, they’ll get their daily quota of work completed quicker, and can maybe clock off a little earlier as a result.

In reality, you need to give your mind and your body a little break in between tasks to avoid burnout and to keep yourself sharp and productive.

You also need to ensure you’ve eaten, as food will help stimulate your mind and your body so your mind won’t wander due to hunger pains and a lack of energy.

Numerous studies have proven that people who take small breaks throughout the day will get more done and subsequently will become more productive as a result.

Give yourself a good hour for lunch each day, and perhaps stretch your legs and go for a short walk around the garden every three hours or so.

Once you return to your office, you should be more focussed, which means you should be more productive and should get more done.

Use tools and software designed to help organize your accounts

Ask any freelancer which task they dread doing the most each year, and virtually all of them will tell you that they dread doing their books and accounts for the financial year.

If this applies to you, why not make use of professional accounting software such as SlickPie, and see just how easy it will make things for you.

If you choose to submit your taxes yourself, accounting software like SlickPie is ideal, though many freelancers hire professional accounting services and have an accountant handle their books for them.

Accounting software will also allow you to automatically send invoices and reminders to clients, to organize payments and create spreadsheets, and much more besides.

If your productivity levels are wavering because you’re too busy trying to juggle your freelance responsibilities whilst trying to be your own accountant in the process, SlickPie accounting software is ideal.

Focus on one job at a time

Most freelancers will have multiple projects on the go at once, and if you’ve got multiple clients to serve, make sure you focus on one job at a time.

Rather than doing a little bit here and a little bit there, draw up a list of jobs in terms of priority and importance and complete them one at a time, ticking each one off as you go.

By focussing on one job at a time you can commit yourself 100% to one project at a time, which again, means your productivity levels will increase as a result.

You will also get a great sense of achievement when you can see each job being ticked off of your list.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Benefits of Accounting Software for Freelancers

If there is one aspect of business that most freelancers and small business owners tend to struggle with the most, is the accounting side of things. If you wish to ensure that your business is a success, you must make sure that your books, accounts, and finances, are in order.

By failing to keep a handle on your accounts and books, not only are you running the risk of losing money, you are also setting yourself up for more work, as well as running the risk of getting on the wrong side of the taxman, and nobody wants that.

By submitting late or incorrect accounts for your financial year, you may receive a penalty fine, or in extreme cases, criminal charges if there is any suspicion of fraud having been committed.

The good news, however, is that, no matter how much you may struggle with accounts and business finances, thanks to modern technology, you can now make use of online accounting software.

More and more people are embracing online accounting software, often ones based in the cloud, and are never looking back. To help you get a handle on your finances, here’s a look at the benefits associated with online accounting software.

Work whilst on the move

One of the most rewarding things about becoming a freelancer, is the fact that your office could be somewhere in your home, your garden, your shed, your local coffee house, or anywhere else for that matter, and you don’t have to be tied down to an office job.

Basically, providing you have power, a phone signal, and an internet connection, you could potentially be working away, and earning money in the process.

The problem with outdated pieces of accounting software, however, was that they could only typically be accessed from one device, meaning that you had to be in the office, in front of said computer, in order to utilize the software.

This could be very annoying, especially if you’d left the office, only to remember you needed to check some figures on your accounts, and subsequently had to rush back to the office because you could only access your books on the one computer.

With online cloud-based accounting software, however, this is not an issue.

With cloud-based accounting software, you can access your finances and books from virtually anywhere in the world, providing you had an internet connection.

This means that if you want to update your spreadsheets, you can do so from anywhere, on any device, including phones and tablets, rather than being tied down to just the one computer.

Save yourself time

In the business world, time is money, and as a freelancer, if you aren’t working, you aren’t getting paid. Remember, most freelance gigs work on a pay per job basis so there will be no salary or hourly rates.

The more time you can save, the more work you can do, and subsequently, the more money you will make.

Online accounting software is very beneficial in this instance because it allows you to save time as there will be no need for you to create and send invoices, payment reminders, and so on because automated cloud-based accounting software will take care of things for you.

The software will automatically create invoices for you and send them to your designated clients, on dates whenever you like.

For example, if you wish to invoice a client every 7 days, rather than creating a new invoice once per week, you can sit back and allow the software to automatically generate and send over this invoice to the client, for you.

Needless to say, the more clients you have, the more time this will save, so online accounting software is certainly well worth looking into if time is against you.

Keep track of your books in real time

Another great thing about online cloud-based accounting software is the fact that using it will allow you to keep track of your books and finances in real time.

The software will provide you with automated financial feeds allowing you to keep an eye on the balance sheet of your business, as well as your incomings and outgoings.

It should be up-to-date, so if a payment does come in, it will show up right away, rather than several hours, even days, later, as was the case previously with certain bank accounts.

This is very beneficial because it ensures you can keep a handle on your finances down to the second, so you know what is coming in, and what is going out.

Safe and secure

Obviously, when you’re dealing with online financial matters, it is very important to ensure that everything is safe and secure. Cyber criminals are becoming smarter by the day, but so is anti-theft software and technology.

When you utilize cloud-based online accounting software, you needn’t worry about safety and security because all of your data will be backed up on a secure and 100% safe server based in the cloud.

Everything is backed up, so if you were to lose something important, there would be no reason to panic as you could simply access the cloud, refer back to the latest backup, and access whatever you needed from there.

In the past, a computer crash could have been catastrophic for a freelancer in the middle of an important task, but now, thanks to regular backups performed via the cloud, they are nothing more than a mild inconvenience.

Provide access and permission to other people

Many freelancers and small business owners actually hire a professional accountant and let them handle all of their finances for them.

If you decide to do the same, you can grant your accountant access and permission the cloud so that they can access your books and finances from anywhere, leaving you to get on with your work, rather than having to confer back and forth between one another.

Now put these tips into practice and get paid faster today with SlickPie!

 

 

 

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