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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

Best Ways to Work in the Cloud

The ever-changing business world is now more reliant on modern technology than ever before. While this may be slightly intimidating to some, for many of us, this is very welcome news and we should therefore embrace change rather than fear it.

Over the last couple of decades, the internet has changed vastly and back then, if you’d told people that in the near future they would be able to store data, files, and applications on devices outside of their offices and homes, they would have looked at you as if you’d lost your mind.

Years later however, here we are with cloud-computing now more prevalent in the workplace than ever before. Embracing the cloud is one of the smartest business decisions you will ever make, yet knowing how to use the cloud correctly is a whole other matter entirely.

Cloud computing is extremely beneficial if used correctly, the problem with digitization is the fact that it can be fairly complex to get your head around. If you’re looking to hop onto the cloud, here’s a look at some of the best ways to work within the cloud.

Make sure you know where your data is

The great thing about working in the cloud is the fact that your data is not actually stored in one physical location at all. It is instead stored ‘in the cloud’ which means it is stored virtually and that it can be accessed from anywhere, on multiple devices, at any time.

Now, this is all well and good, but you still need to know where all of your personal data is going. You see, if you don’t know where it is going, how can you be expected to secure it?

We all know that cloud-based servers and services are incredibly safe and secure, but what happens if you need to terminate your cloud contract, or if the provider goes out of business? Ideally you want dedicated hardware in place because, because this way, it allows you to be able to single out a piece of equipment and know that that is where your data is being stored.

Don’t utilize a centralized cloud model

When it comes to working in the cloud, it’s important that you hedge your bets and leave yourself with numerous possibilities.  You see, if you utilize a centralized cloud model, speed and performance will almost certainly be compromised, as well as security.

A centralized cloud model could put your personal data and assets at risk due to power outages, cyber attacks, natural disaster, or anything else. Rather than going with centralized models, instead look for global managed networks with cloud distribution centers located all over the globe.

Make sure your networks are optimized

When it comes to working in the cloud, ensuring your networks are optimized is absolutely essential. More and more businesses and freelancers alike are now embracing cloud computing and because of this, performance, reliability, and speed, are more important than ever.

You can utilize technology which optimizes performance and application performance, leaving your networks working much quicker and far more reliable than previously.

Ensure data is backed up

The great thing about working in the cloud is that the cloud often performs backups for you on a regular basis. When you select a cloud-based service however, make sure it offers regular backups, and make sure that these back ups are actually being carried out.

Accountants utilizing accounting software for example, obviously need their data backing up regularly, because they are dealing with sensitive financial information of their clients.

Accounting software such as SlickPie is designed to perform regular backups for you, though before you proceed any further, you must ensure that your data is indeed being backed up and stored safely and securely on the cloud.

Embrace mobile device management

Mobile device management, or MDM for short, is incredibly important when it comes to doing business in this day and age. Currently, more than 1 in 2 people now own a smart phone, with the vast majority of us now preferring to browse the web with smart devices like phones or tablets, rather than with computers and laptops.

Because of this, when it comes to working in the cloud, make sure you embrace mobile device management. Look for cloud-based services which help you to secure mobile devices, and manage them effectively, to ensure that over-usage, security breaches, and data roaming charges, aren’t factors. The cloud services you select should ideally support all operators and mobile platforms.

Perform regular security tests

No matter how safe and secure a cloud service may claim to be, when you’re storing such sensitive and important data on there, of course there will be a small voice in the back of your mind asking ‘what if’? You want to ensure that your info and data is safe and secure, so ideally you should take nothing for granted and should have regular safety and security tests carried out.

Many business owners and freelancers therefore, get in contact with computer security specialists and basically hire them to attempt to hack into the cloud and to test the security protocols put in place.

If these security experts can find a way to access data which should be kept safe and secure, unfortunately this means that hackers and cyber criminals out there can also do the same thing. Regular security tests will determine how secure your cloud server is, plus it will help show you where any weaknesses and vulnerabilities lie.

Look for a managed service

In the business world, time is money, and for every second that people can’t access your website, they can’t hire you or buy from you, so you’re losing money.

When using the cloud, look for a service that can deal with high levels of traffic, without having your site crash when its bandwidth has been exceeded. Ideally you should go with cloud-ready architecture which you can utilize exclusively as a managed service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Image: GraphicStock

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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5 Tips on How to Start a Business

Starting a business is not something you can easily do like reading a book or cooking an omelet; it takes time, effort, dedication, and planning. Much like raising a child, starting a business needs care and attention from the start to grow up into something successful. Here are 5 tips to help get you started on the right path.

Create a simple plan

With your business just starting off, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and plan every little detail such as the colors of your new chairs and your website aesthetic. Before you go in depth, make sure you have a basic outline which outlines your goals, objectives, and strategies to make them happen.

Don’t go too deep into it yet as you may not have the time and resources to follow through with everything you put down, which is why it’s important to highlight the key components of your business.

Set a realistic budget

When creating a budget, you need to take into consideration how much is your income, and how much are your expenses. With those two factors in mind, then it makes it easier to find a better, realistic way to keep your finances in check.

A good way to see what your budget would be is to plan it out; write down all your expenses and write down how much it would take away from your income. With that, then you have an idea of how much you generally would need to spend.

Keep an eye on you savings account

Saving money in a business is just as important as spending it. Although spending your money on expenses and liabilities is essential to survive, you would also need to save it to thrive. In general, you would need some money left for miscellaneous things such as a spur of the moment computer or money for a new AC.

When starting your business, try not to spend as much for stuff like that because there is a high chance that you wouldn’t quite be making a profit yet, so it’s important to have as much backup as possible put in the savings account!

Make a neat website

Over 80% of the population in America has an internet connection. That means that more than two hundred million people may be able to see your website and business which means more potential customers.

It is important when starting a business that you have a website for future clients and consumers have access to your product, whatever it is. You will be able to reach out beyond your physical abilities and meet more people who may need whatever you’re selling. A website is an essential tool where you can showcase your product, goals, and yourself.

Reach your audience out

When starting off, it is highly unlikely you will have a huge army of consumers who are helping you make an immense profit right away. It is also highly unlikely you will have excess money for robust advertising and marketing as well, which brings us to our last point; reach your audience out.

There are many home marketing ways to which you can put yourself out there without spending too much such as putting up flyers around your local area, writing on business blog posts about your business and potentially asking other bloggers to write about you.

All these small things will build up and help you gain more profit and recognition, which you can, later on, ameliorate when you have enough money, time and resources.

Now start putting these tips into practice today and launch your own business! Good luck!

 

 

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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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Must Have Tools for Small Businesses

In the business world, only the strong survive and if you’re a small business owner you may find it tougher than ever to make your business stand out amongst the rest.

Of course, all businesses have to begin somewhere, but one thing we can all agree on is the fact that starting a new business is tough.

Starting a new business is tough, there’s no escaping that, but if you know what you’re doing and have access to the right tools and software, everything will run a heck of a lot smoother.

To help ensure you get your business off on the right foot, here’s a look at some of the most vital must have tools for small businesses.

SlickPie

Accounting software for small businesses is vital, yet finding a reliable piece can be troublesome. For small businesses with slightly more basic accounting needs, SlickPie Free Accounting Software is perfect.

It has many accounting tools one would need, all condensed into simple to use program.  With SlickPie, users have a variety of different features that will aid them in in the process as well as save a great deal of time.

There is also a bonus feature that is exclusive to SlickPie, MagicBot, in which a business owner can save hours of work by taking a simple photo that the program will decipher and digitalize itself.

Google Analytics

Up first we have perhaps the most important tool of all; Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a user-friendly statistics tool for businesses that helps break down the online side of things in regards to your business.

With Google Analytics, users can view percentage differences in traffic drivers, they can see which parts of the world their site has been viewed, they can view key numbers, and so much more, all broken down clearly in a series of graphs and charts so you can get a general overview of your website as a whole.

For example, you can see how many hits your site has received on a specific day, plus you can see where they came from. If you want a general overview of your website, Google Analytics is perfect for you.

Dropbox

For small business owners, DropBox is essential, especially if you are trying to juggle multiple things at once. With DropBox, users can link up virtually between any and all devices connected to the internet, making it perfect for small business owners that are constantly on the go.

Based in the cloud, DropBox allows users to save documents, images, video clips, and more, all onto their specially designed DropBox account, on whichever device they like.

What’s more, not only can they save their things from wherever they like, they can also access them from wherever they want. Also, it is possible to share files and documents with other users, in a matter of seconds.

You can easily organize your documents and folders, making your life that little bit easier and saving you a great deal of time in the process.

Skype

Skype is one of the most popular tools ever created for businesses both large and small, and it continues to improve with each passing year. Skype is perfect because it has literally changed the way we communicate with one another, especially via long distances.

Skype is essentially a video-chatting piece of software that can also be used simply as a phone service if users would prefer. With Skype, users merely call other users on their Skype accounts, and can then chat away for as long as they would like.

Skype allows you to communicate with people anywhere in the world, all the while eliminating extraordinarily high phone charges commonly associated with overseas calls.

However, is not just for chatting, it also allows you to share documents and files even while you’re in the middle of a call. Skype is a very welcome business tool for all businesses, and if you are not yet utilizing it, you are missing out big.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a platform that has revolutionized the way small businesses source talent for their companies. LinkedIn provides business owners with access to a wide range of networks which will allow them to scout for talent, post job vacancies, seek out services/recommendations, and much more besides.

The great thing about LinkedIn is the fact that not only can users access their own specific networks, but they can also access the networks of any existing contacts they may have as well.

This opens up a whole world of possibilities in terms of sourcing talent and posting job advertisements. If you wish to focus on manpower and employee efficiency, LinkedIn is ideal.

 

WordPress

As a business owner, no matter what size your business may be, there is a very strong chance that you will have seriously considered blogging to help expand your reach and grow your list of prospective customers. WordPress is arguably the most popular hosting platform in the entire world.

There is a free version, and there is also hosted WordPress, so consider which one is best for your needs and goals.

If for example, you plan on really boosting your SEO and using blogging as a means of marketing and advertising your website, the hosted WordPress version may be worth purchasing.

If however, you simply plan on putting up the odd blog post here and there to give your followers something to read now and then, the free WordPress variant may be more to your liking.

There are millions of templates to choose from, plus you can personalize plug-ins and add-ons until you find one that best suits your own specific site layout and requirement.

Put very simply, if you plan on hosting a blog of any sort, WordPress is a must-have.

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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