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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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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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

What to Look For in Accounting Software

Have you ever noticed how some people are great with numbers, yet others just can’t seem to get their heads around them? When you’re trying to do a few simple calculations in your head, not being too great with numbers is probably not going to be a problem.

If however, you’re looking to work out your accounts for the latest financial year, you can’t afford to make any mistakes. Even if you’re confident in your mathematical abilities, as a business owner/freelancer, you probably struggle to find the time to sit down and go through your books on a regular basis.

This is where accounting software such as SlickPie can really pay off, as the software can make life so much easier for you, or your accountant. The problem with accounting software is that no two pieces of software are exactly alike, and they certainly have not been created equally, so some are great, and some aren’t.

If you’re looking to increase your productivity and save time in the process, accounting software is ideal. To make life easier still, here we’ll be providing you with an overview of what to look for when deciding on accounting software to handle your finances.

Online Invoices

Whether you’re a business owner or a freelancer in general, you will almost certainly need to send invoices to your clients, and unless you’re stuck in the dark ages, your invoices will more than likely be done online. When searching for accounting software, look for software which provides you with the ability to send online invoices.

Good accounting software can be designed to automatically send over invoices to specific clients for you, on dates of your choosing. For example, if you have a client who wishes to pay you the same amount weekly, you can select software which will automatically send an invoice to said client once per week, for the predetermined amount.

It may not sound like much, but having the ability to automatically send over invoices without you having to lift a finger will save you a great deal of time, and will help reduce the likelihood of billing mistakes.

Expense tracking functions

Remember, one key reason why you’ve chosen to purchase accounting software in the first place is to help get your accounts and finances in order. An integral part of any accounting formula is having the ability to track and manage your expenses. Look for software which allows users to record all purchases and expenses.

Ideally the software should let users do this manually, or alternatively, to have receipts automatically logged and recorded with automated data entry tools such as MagicBot. Again, this is ideal because it helps save you a great deal of time, and money.

Multi-currency capabilities

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, many freelancers who work exclusively online can now offer their services and/or products to people located all over the globe. While this is incredibly beneficial, the only possible downside is the fact that different countries have different currencies.

When selecting software for your accounts, look for software with multi-currency capabilities. Basically, these tools allow you to send and receive funds in a variety of different currencies, all with a few clicks of a button. As an example, you could receive payment in Euros from a European client, and could easily have it converted to USD in a matter of seconds.

These functions let you send invoices to clients in the currencies of their choosing, allowing you to expand your reach and to offer your products/services to a global market. The software will then take care of the necessary exchange rates and conversions, and that is pretty much that.

Late payment reminders

One downside associated with working as a freelancer and/or being a business owner, is the fact that some of your clients will almost certainly fail to pay you on time, every time. For freelancers, chasing up late payments can be a part-time job in itself, and it is certainly not going to put you in the best of moods.

You’ve done the job and have done all that has been asked of you, yet not only have you not received what is owed to you, you will now have to waste even more of your precious time chasing up late payments and trying to get money owed to you. When purchasing accounting software, look for software which comes complete with late payment reminders.

Software such as SlickPie will automatically send reminders when payment is due and when it is overdue, so you needn’t worry about wasting yet more time trying to get back your own money. You can set up reminders to automatically go out at intervals of your liking.

For example, your 1st reminder could be sent out automatically 2 days before the payment due date. The 2nd late reminder could go out 7 days after the payment was due, and you could then set up further reminders to go out, say, every 7 days onward.

Top of the line security

Remember, we aren’t talking about a personal social media page here, we’re talking about software dealing with your personal finances, expenses, and banking details. Needless to say, you want software which offers you the best possible security capabilities that money can buy.

When choosing accounting software, look for software which offers bank-grade security. You want to ensure that all of your data is backed up regularly, along with state-of-the-art encryption services for your data.

A good accounting software should offer the best security tools and capabilities that money can buy, so do your research and make sure you find software that ticks the necessary boxes.

Great support

Using any new form of software can be difficult to begin with, and you will almost certainly need help here and there, to help get your head around things. When purchasing accounting software, look for software which offers you the best tech and customer support that money can buy.

Ideally you want phone support where you can chat with real-life advisers, rather than automated robots. Online support in the form of email and live chat, is also very, very beneficial. When choosing software for your accounts, make sure you go with the best support available to 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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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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The Benefits of Automation in Accounting

As a business owner/freelancer, it doesn’t matter how busy you are or how large or small your business is, if there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s the fact that your accounts and books must be in order at all times.

The last thing you want to do is fall foul to the taxman, but what can you do to help ensure things run without a hitch?

Well, if you manually do your accounts yourself, there’s a good chance that you will struggle, or at the very least, that you will waste a lot of time carrying out tasks that an accountant would have been able to do in seconds.

We have actually been using computers for accounting purposes for over three decades now, and when you consider the fact that accounting software is now more advanced than ever before, it’s easy to understand why that is.

Accounting is all about collecting data and carrying out various processes and procedures in order to ensure that your books and finances are balanced and up-to-date. This is where automation comes into the picture.

Thanks to automation via accounting software, keeping your finances and books in order is now easier than ever. Below we’ll take a look at a few key benefits associated with automation in accounting.

Reduced risk of error

Remember, as great as you or your employees may be, when it comes to dealing with your accounts, there will always be a risk of human error.

All it takes is one missed figure, or one incorrect formula and your entire finances for that day, week, month, or even year, could potentially be ruined, which may result in a fine.

Although with accounting software and thanks to automation, the software has been specially designed to automatically and systematically scan for any mathematical mistakes.

With manual accounting, no matter how careful you are, mistakes can, and often will, happen, and this could literally cost you money further down the road. With automation in the form of accounting software, nonetheless, the risk of human error is hugely reduced.

Save time

Another key benefit associated with automation in accounting is the fact that it has been specifically designed to help you save a great deal of time.

Whether you were to do your finances or hire a pro, you would still need to sit down and go through them in person if you or they planned on doing them manually.

With automation, however, the software itself will take care of all calculations for you, so mundane time-consuming tasks will no longer need to be carried out by you, as the computer will take care of everything.In particular, many freelancers have praised automation in regards to the billing and invoicing process.

If you were working with the same client on a regular basis, providing the same services for the same prices on the same date each week, manually you would have to create a new invoice every single time you wanted paying.

With one client this is perhaps not too bad, but if you’re working with multiple clients, the last thing you want to be doing is wasting time drawing up manual invoices each week.

With automation, the accounting software can be programmed to automatically send out invoices to your clients, on dates of your choosing, without you having to lift a finger. You can simply program the software to send an invoice to your chosen client for X amount of money, whenever you’d like.

Very customizable

When talking about the benefits of automation in accounting software, we cannot overlook the fact that it is very customizable.

Computer-based accounting software can be customized in a whole variety of different ways, so users can scan the data and view it in formats and layouts of their choosing.

Remember, we all have different preferences, so if you are viewing spreadsheets, tables, and charts, in a format you can’t seem to get your head around, more often than not, the accounting software can actually be altered so you can view it in a format that you do like the look of.

Whether you’re creating custom invoice templates, or financial reports and spreadsheets, you can format all of the above, and much more besides, into the layout that appeals to you the most.

Make and save more money

When it comes to automation in accounting, a lot of people often overlook the fact that automation can, and probably will, help save you a great deal of money. You may be wondering how that is, but don’t worry, all will soon become clear.

You see, if you were to invoice clients manually, there is always the risk that the invoice would fail to be sent, or that you simply invoiced for less than you were owed.

With automation, however, the software takes care of the invoice for you, so you needn’t worry about undercharging for your services, or of simply forgetting to send an invoice to a client because you were so busy.

Automated accounting software will alert you if payments have not been made as well as it will alert you about any incorrect payments, plus it will let you know of any potential duplicates of invoices.

Easy to use

One reason why a lot of business owners and freelancers are so hesitant to utilize automated accounting software is the fact that they think it will be very difficult and complicated to use.

In reality, however, the software has been designed with user-friendliness in mind.

This means that often you don’t need to perform regular software installations and updates that you don’t need an IT specialist to come take care of things when an update is needed. Often it will automatically update itself so you really needn’t worry about a thing.

Often it will automatically update itself so you really don’t have to worry about a thing.

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

 

 

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Accounting Tips for Start-Ups

As a start-up, you will be looking to give your new business venture the greatest chances possible of succeeding, and why wouldn’t you? Getting ahead in the business world is now tougher than ever so you will need all of the help you can get to ensure your start-up goes on to become a raging success.

Statistics show that as many as 80% of new business ventures fail within the first year. On the flip side, however, if you’re doing things right and can keep going for two years, statistically, you are far more likely to succeed.

When you start a new small business, it can be very easy to find yourself overwhelmed as there are so many aspects to consider. Not only do you have to figure out a business plan, provide products/services etc, but you also need to be good with numbers.

In business, the financial side of things are incredibly important, so if figures aren’t your strong point, you may wish to go ahead and invest in some good quality accounting software.

Whilst we’re on the subject of accounting software and accounting in general, here are some effective accounting tips for start-ups, so take a look below and see what you think.

Begin with the basics

As a start-up, you are, as the name implies, starting from the basics, so now is not the time to get lavish with the credit card and business loans. To help keep your finances and your accounts in check, start lean and build your way up.

Only you will know which equipment and office space your business needs, but just make sure that you cover all of the basics, without going over the top. You ideally want to consider each purchase you make as an investment, rather than a purchase, and in order to see a return on your investment, your expenses want to be fairly low.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should cut corners and go with, say, pre-owned computers that out-date ancient dinosaurs that once roamed the earth, but it also doesn’t mean you should buy the most expensive computers on the market either. Find out what you need, and look for devices that meet your specified criteria, without any fancy bells and whistles to bump up the price tag.

Hire an accountant

When a lot of small businesses are just starting out, they are wary of spending too much money because they aren’t making money as they are not yet trading. However sometimes in business, as the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money.

When it comes to making an important purchase, hiring an accountant is one of the best business decisions you will ever make. Remember, keeping your books in order is going to be a time consuming, stressful, highly frustrating experience for you; plus there is no guarantee that you will be doing things right.

However, f you hand things over to a professional, they will be able to take care of things for you. A pro accountant will make use of accounting software, they will know how to balance your books, they will ensure you file your taxes correctly, and they will be able to offer helpful advice in the process.

Although by hiring an accountant you are having to pay them for their services, you are also getting a great deal of stress lifted from your shoulders.

Try to build up your cash

This is,  of course, easier said than done; if you do have any spare cash left over, experts recommend saving at least 3 months’ worth of operating expenses to help keep you going through the next few months, as the business will most likely be slow to pick up in the early stages.

It is also important to have proper mediums of payment. Remember, statistically, the first twelve months are crucial and if you can make it to two years, you are far more likely to succeed.

Make use of accounting software

Accounting software is incredibly beneficial in terms of keeping your business finances and accounts in order. To manage your books, it’s no good logging into your mobile banking app on your phone each night and scrolling through a list of incomings and outgoings.

If you want to get a handle on your accounts and finances, accounting software is ideal. As mentioned, a professional accountant will almost certainly utilize accounting software, but for times when they aren’t on hand, this software will make life incredibly easier for you.

You can utilize it to track your incomings and outgoings, you can set up and manage your invoices, you can send over payment reminders, plus you can easily manage your client lists.

Yes, modern technology is a wondrous thing in the business world, and with accounting software, this is a prime example of why that is.

Create a budget and stick with it

If you wish to stand any chance of succeeding when it comes to managing your accounts and finances, you must ensure you create a budget and that you actually adhere to it whenever possible. No matter how tempting it is, do not even consider spending a single penny unless it is planned for and can be accounted for.

You need to ensure that you know where you intend for your money to go in advance, so basically this means that you should never make any spur of the moment decisions based on spending which you have failed to plan for. Of course, there will be times when you have to spend money which you didn’t budget for, that is the nature of the beast.

This is where it pays to have saved and built up your cash for the proverbial rainy day. By creating and sticking to a budget, you can keep your accounts and finances in order far easier, because you know where your money is going.

This is where it pays to have saved and built up your cash for the proverbial rainy day. By creating and sticking to a budget, you can keep your accounts and finances in order far easier because you know where your money is going.

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

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

How to Create an Invoice as a Freelancer

As a freelancer, it doesn’t matter which services and/or products you are offering, if you fail to invoice correctly, you run the risk of not getting paid, and that is obviously a huge disaster. As a freelancer, you are of course working for yourself, so you essentially, are your own brand.

This means that first impressions matter, and in the business world, perception is a reality. This basically means that, no matter how great your services and/or products are if you come across as amateurish to your clients and prospective clients, this is how they will perceive you.

On the flipside, if you come across as professional, that is exactly how they will view you, which will increase your chances of being hired. You may not realize it, but creating an invoice can make a real difference. Here’s a look at how to create an invoice as a freelancer.

Include a professional-looking header

When you do decide to create an invoice for the first time, this will be both an exciting, yet daunting time. The very first thing you need to include a professional-looking header.

This should include your business name, or your full name is that is how you are trading, in a font that is easy to read, large, and professional. Many freelancers actually decide to bold the font so that is certainly worth considering.

Once you have this included you should then include your email, a contact number, a website address, and perhaps even a mailing address as well. Many freelancers will write this info out similarly to how they would address a letter to be posted. If you have your own logo or your own brand colors, you may even wish to include these in the header.

Make sure you include invoice details

On your invoice, you should also be sure to include the invoice details. This is because it will make it much easier for you, and your client, to keep track of important info about the invoice.

For example, you will need to include the date the invoice was created, the invoice number, the payment due date, and of course, the amount owed. Try to keep things simple for future reference. How you date the invoice is down to you, though most companies will give 30 days for payment to be made.

If however, you wish to receive payment sooner, you can include a ‘due upon receipt’ section, which basically means that the invoice must be paid as soon as the recipient receives it.

Include payment preferences

When creating an invoice, you also need to make sure you include your payment preferences clearly, so your client knows how they should pay you. For example, if you wish to be paid via PayPal, or Stripe, you should include Payment preference: PayPal, etc.

If you prefer a direct bank wire transfer, your banking details should be included on your invoice, as the client will obviously need these in order to transfer you your payment.

Include your contact details 

This is often overlooked when freelancers create an invoice, yet it is very important and can make life a great deal easier for you later down the line. Here you need to be clear with who the invoice is being paid to, you need to include their contact info, the name of the recipient, and any other info which may be deemed as helpful.

Include a breakdown of the services you provided

Many pieces of accounting software actually simplify this process by allowing you to manually enter the services and/or products you offered, and to then store this info for future reference.

If you create invoices manually, however, you will need to include this info yourself, or perhaps create a template. If you always provide the same services, this is fairly easy because the services will always be the same. If you provide different services, however, I.E copywriting, editing, blog writing, etc, you will need to ensure that you are clear with what you are providing.

Include a column for the description of the services/work you provided, the date, the quantity, the price per item, total price, hours worked, and so on. You should make things as clear to understand as possible, as this will help you tally up total hours/total earnings, without getting confused or mixed up.

Let your client know in advance when you intend to invoice

As a freelancer, it is obviously in your interest to get your work done to a high standard as soon as possible, as that way you can get your invoice sent right over.

Though technically you can invoice whenever you like, there is no guarantee that a client will pay you upon receipt, so it is best to be clear in advance. Before you begin work for a client, agree, in writing, on payment/invoicing preferences.

If you intend on invoicing for payment upon receipt, make sure you let the client know this in advance, and make sure they are okay with this. If they aren’t, ask them what they would prefer. Whether you prefer weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, or anything else, it’s important you let the client know in advance, as this way you will avoid any discrepancies or nasty surprises.

If you utilize accounting software, again, let them know that they will automatically be invoiced on a certain date, and if said date is no good to them, figure out one that will be.

Now start invoicing for free and get paid faster!

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

5 Best Ways to Get Paid Online

The Internet is truly a wondrous invention. If three decades ago, you’d told people you could earn money virtually, via a computer, they would have looked at you as if you’d lost your mind. Yet here we are, with more and more of us now receiving online payments than ever before.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a freelancer or a business owner, there’s a good chance that you receive payment, at least in part, online. But exactly what are the best ways to get paid online? Well, in truth, there is no right or wrong way, as different people prefer different methods.

For example, nowadays, some people earn their money and are paid in digital currency, such as in BitCoin form. Others, however, prefer a good old fashioned, tried and tested bank transfer. Some of you out there reading this, may not actually care how you are paid, providing you receive your money, but you should.

Here’s a look at several of the most popular and most efficient ways to get paid online, so take a look and see what you think.

Credit cards and debit cards – First and foremost, we’ll begin by looking at credit and debit card payments. If you’re a larger business, as well as making use of the various forms of accounting software currently available, you may also wish to enable your clients to pay you via credit card or debit card.

Now, if you do decide that this feature is for your business, you will need to decide whether you wish to use an intermediary holding account, or your very own dedicated merchant account. Whichever one you choose, will be based on a variety of different things, so do your research.

Ideally, you want one which will accept all major credit cards, including Visa, American Express, and MasterCard. If you go with credit and debit card payments, there is the bonus of the fact that payments can often be made right away, plus, as virtually every single person you deal with will own one card or the other, there will be no excuses for not receiving a payment.

Click-to-pay email invoice – Accounting software is now becoming more advanced than ever, and when it comes to invoicing your clients, you will instantly understand why that is. Nowadays we have what is known as click-to-pay email invoicing, which is where your client will be sent and invoice, and will then be able to pay you with a few simple clicks.

This is ideal for you and them because they can pay in seconds, you can receive payment in seconds, and they can instantly receive a receipt in the process. This payment method helps streamline your entire operation, plus it helps with security, it saves time, and it is better for the environment as it is paperless.

PayPal – You’ve heard of PayPal, right? Of course you have, everybody in the world pretty much knows about PayPal, and of course, PayPal is certainly a very viable method for receiving payment. With PayPal, funds can be taken from your account to make payment.

This could be a PayPal account, or the account itself can be linked to your bank account so it will automatically remove the funds for you. You then send the money to the recipient of your choice, often via their email address, and they then simply accept the payment and hold it in their account.

PayPal is simple, it is quick, and it is dominant, as pretty much everybody in the business world will own a PayPal account. PayPal is simple but there are processing fees as PayPal obviously have to take their cut, so you do not receive the total amount you have invoiced for, as you obviously have to pay your PayPal fees. With that being said, their charges are very reasonable, and using it does make life that little bit easier.

Stripe – When it comes down to the battle of the online payment gateway giants, it is often Stripe VS PayPal that people tend to focus on. Just as we have Apple VS Samsung we also have Stripe VS PayPal.

The thing that tends to make stripe more appealing than PayPal for some people, is the fact that Stripe charge 2.9% + 30cents for every successful charge. This is the same rate as PayPal, except for the fact that PayPal sometimes decides to throw in additional fees.

For example, with PayPal, if you charge cards from your website, you pay $30 per month, whereas with Stripe it is free. For recurring billing, with Stripe it is free, whereas with PayPal you pay another $10 per month. There are also many other small charges with PayPal, which, although small, do quickly build up. For these reasons, if you are a fairly small business, Stripe could be the better option for you.

Bank wire transfer – You can talk about advanced accounting software all you like, but sometimes, a simple bank wire transfer is all that is needed. With this, you simply provide your clients with your account sort code and bank account code, and they then simply send money from their account, over to yours.

Whilst this is considered very simple and straightforward, the biggest concern with this is the fact that people are in possession of your account number and sort code. Whilst this alone is nowhere near enough to be deemed dangerous in terms of being hacked etc, if they were also able to gain access to your bank card or pin for whatever reasons, they would theoretically have access to your entire account. As you’re probably aware, however, the chances of this ever happening to you are incredible, incredibly slim so truthfully, there is very little to worry about at all.

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

 

 

Image: GraphicStock