Making your business as profitable and secure as possible should be one of your financial goals. Some small business owners interpret this goal as being to save as much money as possible i.e. don’t spend. Whilst this can have advantages, there are times spending a little can achieve more information, control and efficiencies. It may also help by having the processes in place to grow your business and still control it (and not vice versa).
Great accounting software can be a key as can good staff to ensure it is setup and operating to its maximum potential. However there is often more that you can do. One rampaging area is loosely defined as Add-ons. These are programs written by usually smaller third party software suppliers that have specialised functions to add even more features that can help your business even further.
For example, a builder I heard about upgraded from a good but basic accounting program to a much more expensive industry specialised program. This required data conversion, setup and staff training. There are times when this may definitely be required. But by finding and using the right add-on you can often continue using the same accounting program, data and minimise staff training and still gain the extra functionality at a fraction of the price.
Most people these days are familiar with apps for their phone. Add-ons are similar, but have much greater capabilities as they are usually written to run on full size computers, not just phones or tablets. And when they connect with a full-fledged program in the cloud you can get some real strengths by keeping your data totally up to date (including stock, prices and customer balances and financial reports).
There are different add-ons for different products and sometimes they are called different things – Sage calls them “Additions”; Intuit “Apps”, etc.
|Accounting Application||Add-ons||More Information|
13 (QuickBooks Online)
The cost of the add-ons varies greatly. Some are small apps that are widely used and cost just a few dollars a month. Others can offer hundreds of features, great efficiencies and cost many thousands. But they are well worth investigating – or ask your bookkeeper to investigate for you. Just tell them what your goals are first. You can then look at the benefits gained and whether they are worth the cost. If it helps you grow your business, make it more secure and financially more rewarding, why wouldn’t you!
Let’s say you want an accounting program that you can access from anywhere; use it to run the Point of Sale and stock control on four stores; accept PayPal payments and chase up your debtors automatically. Xero may be your choice of accounting software which is online and multiuser; Vend for point of sale, use the PayPal app which also integrates and Debtor Daddy to automatically chase up your debtors for you. All this for well under $200 per month including bank feeds and no start-up fee. Bargain!
Or for an Electrical company with 5 vans on the road wanting scheduling, timesheets, and integrated invoicing, how about MYOB with SmartTrade? You can get a package that keeps those on the road fully integrated – even tells them their next appointment and that they left a screw driver at their last appointment. They can also email invoices, order stock from integrated supplier stock lists and it all integrates back into the MYOB file.
You don’t even need to know which software you need. Work out your needs first, and then see what combination of software will best suit. Once this is worked out, give it a trial and make sure it will do all the things you need. Trials are often free of charge. Then make sure you introduce it in a planned and coordinated way so that your staff are properly trained and can see the benefits to them too.
Note: These are not recommendations –other products may suit your business better – and prices may vary according to exact requirements, existing hardware, etc. Ask your bookkeeper to organise a quote and implementation plan for you.