Accountants are often ahead of other types of business when it comes to making the best use of new methods and technology. There are already many apps and software packages that can streamline cash flow management.
Various apps allow you to upload and process receipts just by taking photos of them, or sign customers up to 'pull' payment systems at the click of a button, or incorporate POS transactions directly into accounts ledgers, and much more.
“I use a mixture of tools to ensure prompt payment,” says Heather Smith, Chartered Accountant. “I use the time tracking tool MinuteDock, to record comprehensive notes associated with client activities. These compile and push into my online accounting solution. From there I can invoice instantly, and the bonus is the invoices are online, so I know when my clients have viewed them. My clients are signed up to GoCardless so payment is collected on the due date, paid into my bank account and automatically reconciled in my accounts. I also use bills and expense scanning solution Receipt Bank which automatically populates my accounts payable dashboard.”
Accounting software and related apps are making cash flow management simpler and more convenient. As this trend continues, we'll see greater use of online accounting and payment systems, and less use of paper for sending invoices and other accounts documents. Where accounting is concerned, the paperless office is almost here.
To get the most out of the latest tools and apps, you need your customers to switch to online or automated payment methods too – you can then integrate your payments into your existing software and benefit from automatic reconciliation and real time updates on the status of each payment. That's now easier than ever. GoCardless, for example, integrates major accounting software (like Xero and QuickBooks) and allows you to take payments by Direct Debit whenever they are due – with payments then automatically reconciled against your invoices.
“What do you want out of this? What about family? What will change your life? [...] £2K per month? £5K per month? Start with that. Decide what you need to happen and then build the business around that. You can't have clients dictating to you when they will pay. Either move away from those clients to better-paying ones or make sure they play by your rules.” - James Ashford, Founder, MyAccountancyPlace
What does all of this mean for your business?
It means a smoother and quicker inbound flow of money. If your accounts payable status remains unchanged, you'll have improved your cash flow position considerably. Simply, that means your business will be healthier and more likely to succeed.
Looking further into the future, the use of blockchain (distributed recording of payment transactions without a bank) is likely to increase. However, such payment methods are still in their infancy and not something you're likely to have to worry about until their use becomes more widespread.
The tools you need to fix and manage your cash flow are available right now. They're easy to use, inexpensive and they'll fit right in with your workflow. Get started today.‹ View table of contents