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Four types of software to run a better business

By Trent Mclaren, for First Class Accounts

Most of us feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up with a mounting workload–especially if you own your own business.

There are calls to make, invoices to file, follow-ups on follow-ups. And that’s before we even get to the millions of apps, pings, and distractions there to break our focus. 

Because I’ve been there, I’ve put together a quick guide to the tools you need to keep things humming along. Here is a look at the four types of software you should be using to run your business, well, better.

1. Software to keep your books in check

If you’re not already cloud-based, it’s time to make the move. Why? Cloud storage ensures that all data is up-to-date—across different computing devices. So, if you’re working with a service provider like us, you and your bookkeeper will be looking at the same data.

Traditional bookkeeping software doesn’t get updated enough–which can cause misinformation between parties. Plus, moving to the cloud means your bookkeeper can work from anywhere.

With cloud-based accounting software, upgrades and backups are managed by the application vendor.

A few of programs that come to mind are Xero, QBO, Reckon or MYOB. All are good resources for users looking for simplified accounting on the go.

The beauty of these programs is–you no longer have to get someone in-house to do your books. Bookkeepers can reconcile on the go, capture and approve receipts, no need for an old-school office—paper and filing cabinets.

2. Software so you can get paid

Obviously, the big part of doing business is making sure you get paid. Otherwise, well, there is no business. If you handle clients, perhaps, you’ll want to consider using a tool like Practice Ignition.

It’s a proposal management software that allows you to collect payments from clients, and bill on a set it and forget it basis, Practice Ignition works best if your company provides ongoing services. We’re talking consultants, marketing experts, bookkeepers, graphic designers, and so on. This program allows users to create proposals, which clients will accept. Proposals act as an agreement, which includes enrolment in an autopay program. This way, clients are automatically charged upon completion of service. This way, you’re not chasing down payments.

If you’ve got a retail & e-commerce store, consider using Shopify for their online store and POS solutions. Shopify accepts payments from all major credit cards, without the need to sign up for any third-party processors.

3. Software for better communication

Communication is vital for all companies—no matter what industry you’re in. Whether you’re working in a traditional office space with internal employees or have a remote team you’d like to foster a connection with, we’re fortunate enough to live in an age where digital communication tools are available in abundance.

I’d recommend using Slack to communicate internally. It’s a great alternative to email, as it enables real-time communication through public and private channels. Private messages function like email, too, and you can snooze the instant messaging notifications if you’re going into deep focus mode.

Now, if you’re on the hunt for a program that provides that face-to-face feel, I’d go with Zoom. I like it better than Skype for video conferencing—it’s great for catching up with remote teams and is more versatile than Skype.

Why? Zoom has a more reliable connection, screen sharing is seamless, and you can record the whole thing–with or without visuals.

Perfect if you’d like to revisit a presentation later or are interviewing subject matter experts for your digital content strategy. Oh yeah, it also works with both Android and iOS—adding some much-needed mobility.

4. Software for employee scheduling;

You can’t just fly by the seat of your pants when you’re scheduling employees. Whether you’re dealing with remote worker deadlines or a rotating cast of restaurant workers, things like the number of people who work for you, and the complexities of scheduling are all the ingredients of a work-related headache.

If you’re organized from day one, it’s much easier, but unfortunately, that doesn’t come naturally for everyone.

Consider using a tool like Deputy to manage your workforce. It’s a user-friendly platform that works with your laptop, desktop, or phone, and makes scheduling and payroll tasks a breeze. 

Deputy’s primary functions include a list of locations, an employee database, a timeclock, and geolocation. This way you’ll know who is working, and where your employees when clocked in.

Final thoughts

In the end, my recommendation is, keep things simple with the apps. You might find that you only need a couple of these options, or a few extra programs.

The apps outlined above should cover all your bases, from payments and proposals, to reconciling your books. Practice Ignition streamlines your proposals, contracts, and payments, while Zoom and Slack make it easy to connect with clients and employees no matter what device you’re using.

With Deputy, you can manage your workforce with the click of a few buttons while Xero and MYOB ensure you keep your books up-to-date.

And, if you need a bookkeeper to help you take advantage of these tools, contact your nearest First Class Accounts bookkeeper.

 
By Trent Mclaren, for First Class Accounts

The views of the author and those who provided the responses to the comments  posted on the Knowledge Centre are not necessarily the views of the Sunsuper Board. While Sunsuper attempts to make a wide range of information available via the Knowledge Centre it may not cover all the options available to you. We’ve put this information together as general information only and as such it doesn’t take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs.  You should get professional advice before relying on this information. 

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