(Article Written By: Nicolette Maury, Managing Director, Intuit Australia)
If you want to save time, reduce paperwork and boost efficiency, now’s the time to embrace cloud technology, writes Nicolette Maury.
You’ve probably been hearing for some time that technology is the answer to all your problems. That is certainly true, at least for the administrative side of your business.
Cloud technology has delivered on its promise of affordable, efficient IT
infrastructure – for all. You no longer have to be a huge enterprise to access sophisticated technologies that help streamline operations so you can get on with growing your business.
Thanks to the cloud, small businesses in the hospitality industry now have access to specialised business software where you can turn functionality on and off, add storage as required and only pay for what you use on a monthly or annual subscription.
Fear of software or hardware failures has been overcome because data can now reside in the cloud, meaning you can access it anytime on any internet-connected device, no matter where you are, and benefit from automatic software updates.
More than this, it is the addition of mobility – smartphones and tablets – to this picture that is really helping smaller hospitality enterprises thrive.
Mobile business owners are differentiating themselves in the marketplace by having sales and customer information at their fingertips, preparing quotes and proposals in the field, tracking and logging expenses, and managing projects on the move, whether they’re at a venue, home or between appointments.
Cloud accounting – a linchpin for success
The cloud and its ability to connect people and platforms is critical to small business success.
Time savings are generated through cloud accounting solutions where you only have to enter information once and it flows through an integrated structure, reducing your administrative burden significantly.
Direct inputs from bank statements make expense reconciliations a breeze, while payroll, super and other rate updates automatically adjust via the cloud technology.
All of this means you as a business owner have an accurate financial state of play at your fingertips. You can track who owes money, where stock is and so on with secure access to your accounting data on any device, at any time.
Cloud accounting software is also allowing hospitality businesses to work effectively on-the-go. For example, if you operate a catering company and you frequently work out of the office, job details, estimates and invoices can be quickly and accurately captured and sent to customers via a mobile device. The fast, personal response makes a real impact on customers and it means core business tasks don’t have to be replicated or done back in the office, saving time and improving cash flow.
Admin becomes a thing of the past
In the next five years, ‘administration’ as we know it will be gone.
There will be no more laborious, repetitive, error prone data entry or risk-laden hindsight. Owners of even the smallest businesses will be able to use the automated, real time information from their software for powerful financial management insights.
If you’re not bogged down by administrative work, you can remain focused on your business and on making sure you’ve got happy staff and customers.
Helping businesses thrive in the cloud
Intuit’s QuickBooks Online was designed to be simple and intuitive to use. And because it’s a cloud solution, the company can continuously innovate and make changes to support customer success.
For years large enterprises have been able to analyse their company data to make better business decisions, but these tools have been out of the price range of small businesses. With cloud based bookkeeping and accounting software, hospitality entrepreneurs can get that sort of foresight at the press of a button, spotting trends in growth numbers, predicting cash flow, identifying top customers and more.
Once your accounts are in cloud, you can also work with an accountant and/or bookkeeper on a ‘same data, same time’ basis. This means the bottlenecks and risks of sending the ‘shoe box’ to your accountant once a year are removed.
Working as a team with your accountant, you’ll able to make smarter, faster decisions, identify and leverage new business opportunities – and even discover answers to questions that haven’t been posed yet.
As cloud technology develops and the connections between different small business software offerings strengthen, the power of the small business/accountant partnership will deliver better outcomes.
Linkages, integration, partnerships – the new business ecosystem
The future is in the creation of products and services that work together perfectly to address the entire workflow for small businesses. With the average small business owner using up to 18 apps to run their business every day, it is essential to have seamless links between this array of software to streamline business operations.
Software developers are focusing on their area of expertise and extending the power of their offerings with integration to other mobile, web-based apps, such as time and expense tracking, customer relations and billing.
These allow you to draw data from your accounting solution, such as a customer list for an email campaign, or accept updates like time entries or payments.
Cloud delivers success
Are you reducing your chances of success by not getting on board with the latest technology developments? It’s worth taking 30 minutes or so to trial one or two of the latest online accounting solutions. I’m confident you’ll find it life changing as you’ll end up having more time to spend on the things you love.