The five best accounting hacks that'll help you save time

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SAGE ONE

Working in the business, not on the business is a common problem for small business owners. Time-strapped and constantly juggling a long list of demands makes keeping the books in order a challenging task.

Accounting is the number one outsourced service for micro and small businesses, a Flying Solo survey of more 1000 business owners has found. And with good reason - keeping track of incomings and outgoings can be headache-inducing.

And accounting is more than just a tax requirement. Mastering your business finances means better business practice. Here are five hacks to improve cashflow records, create and leverage analytics, and best of all, find more time away from the books to spend time on doing the things you love.

Put it in the cloud

Not having your business finances in the cloud is like still using a fax. Get out of the dark ages and get your hands on a cloud-based accounting program.

Secure and easy to set in motion, cloud-based accounting software integrates with your bank accounts. Sage One is one such platform and offers an affordable alternative to small business owners. Sage One automatically fetch your financial records, including credit card payments, and update them instantly. No more headache-inducing reconciliations or time-consuming data importing.

Today’s consumer expects to be able to pay for goods anywhere, at any time.

Get mobile

Today’s consumer expects to be able to pay for goods anywhere, at any time. Contactless transactions such as PayPal and smartphone payments are growing, while cash and cheque use is in decline, research by the Reserve Bank of Australia reveals.

Meet today’s technology demands by mobilising your quotation and invoicing systems so customers can pay by phone, iPad and online.

Getting mobile isn’t only convenient for your customers, but for small business owners too. It means less time spent on paperwork in the office and more time running your business from wherever you like.

Automate invoicing

Stop losing track of outstanding payments by streamlining your invoices. For a small monthly fee, Sage One can be used to accurately invoice customers and keep track of which invoices are due or overdue.

The good news? Setting up an automated system means less time spent on those repetitive tasks like chasing up unpaid invoices, sending invoices and paying bills, and more time to spend on delivering what you customers need and want.

Proactive accounting lets you see problems before they arise, so you spend more time putting lasting business structures in place rather than Band-Aid solutions.

Set deadlines

Every small business owner needs to comply with Australian Tax Office laws, including PAYG and monthly or quarterly BAS. Record the due dates for statements and treat them like business deadlines. Prepare your reports well in advance to avoid spending hours sifting through accounts in a last-minute panic.

Keeping accurate records is the only way to get on top of your tax obligations. This means separating personal and business expenses. Be strict about this or you’ll find yourself picking through credit card statements instead of working on the business.

Be proactive

Grabbing the reins of your business accounting puts you in the driver’s seat.

It lets you forecast seasonal trends, so you can predict and prepare for the busy and quiet times and ultimately save time by becoming more strategic in your approach to business growth.

Go one step further and use software that enables real-time data so you can make immediate decisions.

Proactive accounting lets you see problems before they arise, so you spend more time putting lasting business structures into place rather than Band-Aid solutions. Keeping one step ahead of your accounting lets you focus on the future of the business, rather than the past.

Kate Hague

Kate Hague is a Melbourne-based journalist who covers small business and finance.

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Want to spend less time on paperwork in the office, and more time running your business from wherever you like? Try Sage One for free.

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