Great productivity apps to save time and stay organised
Can you answer questions on your business finances right away? Are meetings filling up your days? Are you spending too much time on business activities including arranging appointments and chasing debt? Jonathan Amponsah of The Tax Guys shares some apps to take a look at that will help you save time, money and reduce stress by managing some of these time-consuming elements of your business. The upside? You'll have more time and space to think about developing new products, services and revenue streams to grow your business.
1. Receipt Bank, AutoEntry and Expensify
It can be time-consuming for you to collate and record all those invoices and receipts. And if you send them to your accountant in a shoebox, they will spend additional time reviewing and sorting them, which means more costs.
There are some good apps including AutoEntry, Expensify and Receipt Bank that allow you to capture these receipts on the go and send them directly to your accountant. You can even ask your suppliers to send their invoices to the app to free up your inbox a bit. Think about the headspace you will find with less in your inbox.
2. FreeAgent, Xero and Quickbooks
Do you ever get nervous about your accounts or how much tax you have to pay at the year-end? Thankfully, gone are the days when bookkeeping software was written in complicated languages that only accountants could use or understand.
The likes of FreeAgent, QuickBooks and Xero have truly transformed the way bookkeeping and accounting is done. And if you combine this with regular bookkeeping reconciliation services, you no longer have to spend time and energy at year-end worrying about the books. You can see how your business is doing on a monthly rather than yearly basis.
3. People HR, Breathe HR and others
Do you still spend time on paper forms or legacy desktop systems to keep your HR records? Do your staff have to submit forms or send you other manual requests to book their holidays? How long does it take you to check whether the business will have sufficient staff during a holiday period and then to approve the holiday? Try a HR management tool such as People HR, Breathe HR and other similar ones and see the time, money and effort they can save your business.
4. Calendly, Acuity Scheduling and Timetrade
Going back and forth with clients and stakeholders to schedule appointments, reschedule, and then reschedule again can be time-consuming. Avoid email and telephone tag when arranging meetings. With a tool such as Calendly, Acuity Scheduling and Timetrade, people can now access a version of your diary that shows them all of the slots that you have decided to make available for meetings.
5. Zoom, Goto Webinar and RingCentral
Cut out the travel time and meet your prospects or staff online via a video meeting app such as Zoom, Goto Webinar and RingCentral. You can share screens, take control of their computers and even use whiteboards just like you would do in a live meeting.
6. Spotlight Reporting, LivePlan and Profitsee
Do you know the key numbers that matter in your business? Are these presented in a useful way that helps you make business decisions? And are you able to look forward and predict what your cash flow would look like in, say, three months? If you’re spending a lot of time and energy on your numbers or you simply don’t know where you’re at with the finances try tools like Spotlight Reporting, LivePlan, Profitsee and others either independently or through your accountant for free.
7. Business Operation and Management Apps
There is a whole list of other great apps that could be discussed here depending on your industry. For instance if you’re a retailer, restaurant or you hold stock, then apps like Vend, iZettle and others are worth looking at. If you’re a nursery, then review Blossom educational, EY log and Procare software. And for other businesses, tools like Zoho CRM, Keap (formally Infusionsoft), Trello, Monday and Asana can really save you time and help you find that creative space.
8. GoCardless, IntegraPay and Others
You’ve done the work, spent time and sweat to please the customer and you’ve probably incurred staff and materials costs. You now wait for 30 days and then wait more and still no sign of that promised cash. You’re now dashing for cash or frantically calling customers at the eleventh hour to get assurance that you will be paid just so that you can, at least, meet those bills including payroll. Pretty stressful experience.
Why not avoid all of this and use an online direct debit app such as GoCardless or IntegraPay so that you and your customer can now agree when you will take payment? Easier and quicker for everyone – and certainly less stressful for you.
9. Adobe Sign, DocuSign and others
So, your meeting with the new customer went well. You promised to send them the contract to sign. They wait for a day or two. Only to receive pdf contracts with instructions to print, sign, scan and email back. Or worse to put the signed copy in the post to head office. The phone rings. Your customer picks up and his/her attention is diverted away.
Why not cut the waste and time by using online document creation and signing apps, for example, Adobe Sign or DocuSign? Or simply send your customer a secured link to approve and enter their payment details.
10. Zapier, Workato and Others
With all these apps, it’s important to ensure they integrate and talk to each other to avoid further waste and chaos. Apps such as Zapier and Workato allow you to link two systems together without any coding or programming skills. A key selection criterion for your apps should be whether the app has what is called an API to enable it to link to other systems.
The above list is certainly not exhaustive and there are other great apps that I’ve left out – to avoid this article becoming too long. The key message is: use the apps and tools available to automate where possible, reduce the number of manual processes and avoid the heavy lifting. There is no need to make your business any more taxing and stressful than it already is.
Jonathan Amponsah CTA FCCA is an award-winning chartered tax adviser and accountant who has advised business owners on business streamlining apps and processes to make business less taxing. Jonathan is the founder and CEO of The Tax Guys.