If you are considering using or have already signed up for online small business accounting software, getting to know the application and its features will ensure you aren’t missing its real benefits. While you may have purchased an accounting application so you can easily do you own bookkeeping and invoicing, the real power is the insight accounting apps provide.
If you are like many micro-business owners, freelancers and self-employed professionals, you probably don’t spend much time analyzing how you can increase profit and cash flow. Profit and cash flow are, of course, indicators of your business’s performance and health. Even with profits, without a healthy cash flow, your business may have trouble staying afloat. If you can’t pay bills, purchase inventory or other assets required to provide your services, your business could be in peril. Read “Are a Firm’s Cash Flow and Profit Different?” from thebalance.com for an excellent overview of this very issue.
You may consider that monitoring financial performance indicators is only for “big companies”. Not true. Any business, whether a one-person operation, small company, or Fortune 500 company, benefits from analyzing company financial data. That’s where Flare small business accounting and finance software can help your business. You don’t need to know accounting or have a degree in finance to use it and your business will benefit from its performance monitoring and time-saving automation.
Here are 5 ways you can get the most of out of Flare online accounting software:
- Connect to online banking
You can certainly use Flare without connecting to online banking, or, you can log in to online banking, export a transactions CSV file and import. However, setting up a bank feed is more efficient. When you set up a bank feed, you enter your online banking credentials once. After doing so, Flare downloads bank transactions automatically. All that’s left for you to do is reconcile (add or match) those bank transactions to you Flare book accounts (the financial accounts you’ve created in Flare.
- Get to know the financial dashboard
The financial dashboard provides an at-a-glance overview of your business’s finances. It’s important to remember that the dashboard will not display information until you’ve performed transactions in Flare, such as: creating invoices, recording bills, and recording deposits and checks. The dashboard is updated in real time as you work. Once you’ve recorded some transactions, the dashboard will display:
- bank and book balances
- unreconciled accounts
- past due from customers and top 10 customers
- past due to vendors and top 10 vendors
- latest transactions
- revenue, expenses and profit
- budget vs actual (if you’ve set up a budget)
- Aging invoices and bills
Most of the values displayed are actionable – meaning you can click a total or item to drill down further. Having all your business’s vital financial information in one place means you don’t have to hunt around to find relevant data – it’s always a click away, no matter where you are in Flare. Think of the dashboard as an early warning system. You’ll know exactly how your business is doing and can then act to improve your business’s financial health.
- Automate recurring invoices
If you have clients that purchase services monthly, you can save a lot of time by setting up recurring invoices. When you create a recurring invoice, you tell Flare when to send it and for how many months.
- Understand the value of customers
Being able to see how much revenue your customers bring your business is a good way to assess customer value. Flare allows you track monthly income by client over time. You’ll also see the year to date revenue of each customer, and, can compare the current year customer revenue with last year. With this knowledge, you’ll know what customers brought in the most money, what services or products they purchased, and which customers you might give preferential treatment (such as increasing credit terms or offering discounts). Read “Finding New Customers is Great. Keeping Current Customers is Better” for more information on customer value and customer retention.
Forecasting income, expenses and profit gives you financial goals to strive toward. While you might be successful in business if you don’t budget, you’re more likely to achieve success if you set a budget, check progress, and adjust business practices to achieve budget goals. This simple, yet powerful tool is frequently overlooked, especially by freelancers and self-employed people. By making projections and comparing those projections to actual income, expense and profit, you force yourself to look at “How Much?”, “When?” and “Why?” so you consider “How (to increase profit)?”. If you don’t use a budget, the financial direction of your business is ad-libbed. Sometimes the path you take will get you to your destination, sometimes it will get you hopelessly lost. Worst of all, you may never know why.
See How Flare Can Help Your Business Flourish. Try Flare for Free for 30 Days
We’re very excited about Flare and how it can help your business grow and prosper. Flare cloud accounting software is for micro-businesses, consultants and freelancers. You don’t need accounting or finance knowledge. Flare does the hard work for you. Save time and earn more money by using Flare! Sign up for a 30-day free trial today!