When thinking about making your business digital, the first thing that comes to mind for most entrepreneurs and business owners would usually be digital marketing. However, with hundreds of cloud-based app starting up around the world, small business will continue to benefit from the cost lower costs in cloud based services though competition and technology being more accessible such as big data, analytics, GPS, OCR (optical character recognition) and machine learning to name a few.
Gone are the days where the large organisations which $1m plus IT budgets who could afford these types of systems with the support of ERP systems such as Oracle and SAP. Actually, the reverse is occurring where large business see cloud based app as more cost effective, dynamic and more cost effective to implement.
So why cloud computing and in particular cloud based apps? Cloud computing allows you to access to your business data and applications from anywhere at any time and from any mobile device. In additional to this, many traditional desktop applications are disappearing with many accounting software vendors no longer having desktop software offerings – they have moved their products to the cloud and offer inexpensive, online subscription-based services that are ideal for small businesses.
Since cloud applications are browser-based they are accessible from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. For example, cloud-based accounting applications come with Android or Apple compatible mobile applications that allow you to access your accounting data from any mobile device and send invoices, track expenses, etc. on the run.
More specific scenarios where cloud based apps can range from CRM, to time tracking and Accounting systems. Examples are as follows:
A CRM system is vital for sales and customer relations, many CRM systems are available on cloud and integrate with many difference systems. Examples of CRM systems available include SalesForce, Pipedrive and Zoho to name a few.
Making sure you have a tool that helps you keep track of your business is essential. Using systems such as Xero Projects or WorkflowMax can make the task of tracking costs on projects very easy and efficient for service providers.
There applications allow you to assign work, invoices and obtain payment on the go. They are also powerful tools to gain insight that can help you tweak your profit margin. Some businesses may not be able increase prices but can keep an eye on costs to increase profit margins.
Having a tool that helps you track seasonal fluctuations, keep on top of your ordering and making sure that shrinkage is under control is vital. It’s also important that having a strong understanding of the cost of warehousing as getting this wrong will reduce profit margins.
The important thing here is to do the research and get advice on which system suits you in your current business phase. A basic inventory system will do for most start-ups but a more comprehensive inventory system will be essential for a more mature business which includes serial numbers, barcodes and GPS tracking.
Being Xero advisors and having used many different accounting software’s from large companies to small we recommend Xero every time.
One of the key benefits of Xero is that it allows you to automate processes. From repeating invoices to invoice reminders. Snap a picture of your petrol or parking receipt and email to Xero expenses then you’re done. Forward your supplier invoices to Xero bills and it populates a draft invoice with the bill attached and ready for approval, or better still set up a forwarding rule in your email.
Another benefit is that you can go paperless by saving all the paperwork to Xero storage – just snap a pic or scan and email directly to the storage facility, or drag and drop. This all results in more free time for staff and allows you to focus more on the business.
If you would like to know more about Xero or would like to take up our discounted implementation offer, submit your contact details here and one of our consultants will be in touch.
This article contains extracts from the Xero website and is written in general terms and therefore cannot be relied on to cover specific situations; application of the principles set out will depend upon the particular circumstances involved and we recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of its contents.