No one understands how much time recurring tasks can eat up better than a business owner. When it comes down to things like paying the bills or sorting out payroll, you spend a lot of valuable time finishing the task only to have to do it again the next week. Automating portions of your company’s finances will help you save time and make your finances run smoothly and efficiently.
Automate Bill Pay
Paying bills takes a lot of time. You have to keep track of which bills are due when and make sure you pay them on time. With a bill for your office space lease, each of your utilities, your internet, your phone bill, and more, that’s a lot to keep track of. Setting up your bills on an automatic bill pay system will automatically withdraw the money from the account you set up on the day the bill is due. Each of your bills will be paid on time with ease. In addition to making paying your bills easier on you, many businesses offer perks for customers who set up automatic bill pay. These often include one-time or even monthly discounts.
If you do decide to set all bills on an automated payment system, just be sure to keep an eye on your cashflow. The automatic bill pay will typically still be withdrawn even if you don’t have enough funds in the account it withdraws from. You could end up with overdraft fees, or, if you set up your automatic bill pay with a credit card, declined transactions and late penalties.
Automate Your Accounts
To simplify cashflow, you can automate your accounts to complement your bill pay and other costs. Set up an account for each expense category and a separate account for all your inflowing cash. If your bank or your financial setup allows, set a portion of your incoming cash to transfer to each of the accounts automatically. If not, your accountant can move the funding to each account.
A good rule of thumb is to pay yourself and your people first. An account for payroll costs is a great first step in automating your accounts. Next, set up an account for your utilities, rent and other recurring operating costs. You can also include production costs and supplier costs in this category, or open a separate account for those costs. This way, you can automate your budget by automating your accounts. Accounts set up on automatic bill pay can tie directly into these accounts. This ensures that the right bills draw from the account for their category each month.
Automate Tax Prep
Taxes are one of the top stressors business owners face when running their business. The task of keeping records for the year, making sure they are organized, tracking deductions, maintaining a record of last year’s taxes and returns is a daunting one. Automating your tax preparation process can save you valuable time and peace of mind.
There are several business tax services and software that allow you to completely automate your tax preparation process. Many of them even allow you to import last year’s tax return information directly into this year’s paperwork. Many iterations of the software also allow direct download of records and documentation that you will need to complete this year’s forms.
Bookkeeping is another one of those time-consuming recurring tasks that can easily be automated. There are many software options that will make your weekly or monthly bookkeeping and the consequent reconciliation a breeze.
Many of the software options available can be connected directly to your bank accounts and business credit cards. That way, each transaction into and from that account or credit card will automatically log into the software. The software will create a financial report from that data on demand. Automatic bookkeeping also simplifies the collections process. It can alert you to overdue client payments so you can follow up in a timely manner.
Your accounting and finance staff will still need to use the reporting from the software to reconcile your accounts against invoices, bills, etc. to ensure accuracy prior to closing your books. However, the data will already be compiled, making that process simpler than ever.
In addition to your newly automated bookkeeping software, you can also choose from a wide selection of payroll software options and automate your biweekly payroll process. A good software will track things like PTO and employee data. A great software will allow you to integrate with other software your business runs, like your bookkeeping software and your tax software. That way, you save even more time on payroll.
Most payroll software also comes equipped with an employee self-service portal. Using the portal, employees can edit their personal information, view their pay stubs, adjust their direct deposit, print their tax forms and more. This takes even more stress of you and your payroll manager. The software will even help you with your tax filing each year. Your software will automatically calculate things like employees withholdings and payment deadlines. In conjunction with your new tax software, tax season this year will be a breeze.
Automating your business can seem daunting at first. There are so many software options to choose from, so many accounts that need to be set up, so many things to consider. However, once you lay the groundwork for automated finances? You will never look back. Make tracking your money easy by automating your company’s finances. Use the time you are saving to focus on what really matters to you: your business.