We’d all like to spend more time doing what we love and less time with tasks that consume time. This is true of anyone and especially true for small business owners who have many demands competing for their limited time and attention. If you run a micro-business or are a freelancer, your time is valuable. Anything you can do to reclaim some of your time is a plus. When we created Flare Cloud Accounting, we wanted to streamline and automate tasks that typically take a lot of time. Today, we’ll focus on automated accounting software features that can really help free up your schedule.
- Automated bank feed download
- Bank reconciliation
- Recurring bills and invoices
- Financial reports
Bank Feed Auto-Download
With automated bank feeds, you connect to online banking once and Flare will download financial account transactions automatically. You only need to configure the connection once in Flare Settings. Once you’ve configured the bank feed, it will be updated at intervals. All you have to do is reconcile transactions. If you’d rather import a transactions CSV file, you can log in to online banking, download and import a financial account transactions file into Flare. The bank reconciliation process is the same whether you’ve set up a bank feed or imported a transactions file.
After a bank feed is downloaded, you can reconcile bank transactions with transactions you’ve recorded to your Flare account. It’s easiest to visualize the bank accounts you’ve created in Flare as bank books which are reconciled against a bank statement (the bank feed). Bank reconciliation then becomes straight forward. The question you are asking when you are reconciling “bank” with “book” accounts is “Does this transaction exist in my book account?” If it does, you match it. Flare will suggest a match if it finds the transaction in your book account, or you can search for the transaction to match. If it doesn’t exist in your book account and is a business transaction, you add it. If a transaction is not a business transaction (as sometimes happens), you ignore it. “Match”, “Add”, and “Ignore” are the three basic reconciliation actions you take on bank transactions. Flare goes a step further in time saving by allowing you to batch add or batch ignore transactions.
When reconciling transactions, you can choose the relevant chart of accounts category. Once you’ve chosen a category, Flare will look for other transactions in your feed that have the same amount and vendor and will pre-select the category. You can, of course, override what Flare suggests as the transaction category.
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Recurring Invoices and Bills
Another way to save time and repetition is by creating recurring invoices and bills. If you have invoices you send monthly and bills you record monthly, you can avoid needless repetition by using the recurring invoice and recurring bill feature. You choose the invoice or bill that you want to recur and you specify a schedule. Flare will create and optionally send the invoice or bill on the day you choose in recurring settings. You can also tell Flare how long you’d like the invoice or bill to recur.
If you have been using various spreadsheets to record invoices sent, income, expenses, cash flow, profit and loss, you know how much work is involved. Spreadsheets have their uses but because they are usually not “connected” to one another (unless you are spreadsheet power-use) they can be time consuming and frustrating to use. Printing, sending and sharing spreadsheets can also chew up a lot of valuable time. When you use Flare accounting, financial reports are automated. As you record invoices, invoice payments, bills, bill payments, and other transactions, because financial reports are connected to the Flare accounting system, they are generated automatically. All you have to do is run the report and print, PDF or export it. Because you can invite other people to see your Flare account, you can easily share reports with business partners or your accountant or bookkeeper.