Category Archives: Small Business Finances

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How Cloud-Based Accounting Software Can Benefit Your Business

How Cloud-Based Accounting Software Can Benefit Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

As a business owner, you are all too aware of the many moving pieces it takes for a business to run smoothly. One area that business owners know is important is accounting and bookkeeping, although it’s often the last area they want to spend time on. While this area of the business can be very intimidating for many, there is something you can do to lessen the burden and release stress: Use cloud-based accounting software.

This is a perfect solution for business owners who don’t want to hire a professional due to high costs, but also don’t want the extra hassle. If you’re unsure about adopting this technology, take a look at the many benefits of it below. It could relieve a lot of your business-related stress in the long run.


This is a big one because odds are, you’re not super well-versed in the accounting world. For most cloud-based accounting software businesses, they recognize that their target audience is often made up of beginners to the accounting world, so they make it very intuitive and easy to set up and manage. It allows business owners to do a lot themselves, even with minimal accounting knowledge.

Since the software is built with non-accountants in mind, there are also often a plethora of help guides and videos available for you to consume at your leisure. Plus, customer service is often rather easy to get ahold of.

These platforms are aware that your time as a business owner is limited and that you don’t have time to sit and learn new software, which is why they aim to make it as short a learning curve as possible.


Security and dependability are big concerns for small business owners, and understandably so! Because of this, it’s no surprise that these elements are often top of mind when looking for an accounting solution.

If you’re choosing between cloud-based software and an Excel spreadsheet for these types of activities, go with the software. It is far more secure (note, I like Excel for other purposes and think it’s a great tool, just not for these tasks).

Why? Because instead of your information being saved to your desktop or somewhere else on your computer, it’s saved on a secure cloud server, meaning even if your computer crashes or gets hacked, this financial information is still secure because it’s not saved locally to your device.

With that being said, it is important for you to do your homework on the software that you choose. Take the same security precautions that you would for any other cloud-based service.

In regards to being dependable, using cloud-based accounting software helps you get rid of a lot of human error, making the information it holds more accurate than if you were sticking to old-school paper records and spreadsheets.


As I’ve already alluded to in this post, small business owners typically don’t have a lot of time, and saving the time they do have is often a top priority. Again, this is where cloud-based accounting software comes to the rescue as it can significantly help save you time and money.

How? For starters, automatic updates go on behind the scenes, so you can focus on other aspects of your business instead of implementing updates manually, which can be a huge time suck.

Additionally, it makes accounting processes and tasks so much easier. For example, this type of software can automatically generate invoices and reminders for you, so that they become mindless tasks on your end.

Simply put, cloud-based accounting software makes your business more efficient with less work on your part.


Business owners often have a hard time rationalizing hiring an outside person to help with their accounting due to costs, and if that’s the situation you’re in, you’ll find cloud-based accounting software to be a good solution to that problem.

While packaging varies from platform to platform, some have monthly fees starting as low as $10 for basic accounting needs. The other great thing is that if you need to scale your business and grow from that minimal fee, these companies make it effortless to switch your plans and adjust as needed.

What’s also great about these packages is that there often isn’t a huge upfront charge. Instead, you pay an all-inclusive flat monthly fee.

Now, there are more expensive packages depending on your company’s needs, but even if you choose those, your payments get spread out and you typically aren’t locked into a contract, so you can cancel whenever.

Access from anywhere

With the ever-growing remote workforce today, it’s super helpful to be able to access your accounting information from anywhere, and that’s exactly what these cloud-based solutions allow you to do. In fact, many of the providers even offer mobile apps for easy access on the go that allow you to:

  • Send and review invoices
  • Attach receipts to expenses
  • Track billable time
  • Add contact information to your accounting records

The list goes on. Now I’m not saying you should review your books while sitting on a beach with your family on vacation, I’m just saying the option is there if you wanted to!

Simplifies taxes

The dreaded “t” word: taxes. For many small business owners, taxes are complicated as is, so you may as well do what you can to make your life easier with this aspect of your business by using cloud-based accounting software.

There are a couple of reasons this technology can help:

  1. Cloud-based accounting software makes your transactions organized and allows you to easily to gather the data you need to complete your taxes.
  2. With multi-user access, your CPA or financial advisor (if you’re using them) can easily access your information with your permission so that you don’t have to transfer a bunch of paper documents to their office. It’s helpful for them to have access throughout the year so that you can have frequent touchpoints leading up to tax season to make it less daunting.
  3. If you are audited, you’ll have easy access to accurate accounting records (although having the software in the first place will help to prevent audits because there’s a lot less room for error).

Keeps you current

The great thing about this software is that you can get a pulse on the financial health of your company in real time (unlike manual accounting where a lot of people wait until the end of the year to prepare records which could bring on many surprises).

By keeping your financial information current, you are able to quickly identify cash flow gaps and other areas of concern immediately.

This type of software also provides helpful analytics and reporting that you can access whenever you want, which makes it helpful to analyze different areas of your business and make better financial decision throughout the year.

As you can see, there are many reasons you should consider cloud-based accounting software for your business. It can be a great solution if you don’t necessarily know where to start on your own but also don’t have the option to hire a professional.

Every business has different needs. Do your homework on the many solutions out there and pick one that works best for you.

Tips for Outsourcing Your Payroll

Tips for Outsourcing Your Payroll written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

For small business owners, managing payroll can be a costly endeavor. When payroll is handled in-house, you need the appropriate software to support the job, an employee who has hours to dedicate to the process each week, and a keen understanding of tax laws and employer obligations.

It’s likely that this was manageable enough when you were just starting out, but as your business grows and you add new employees, more benefits, and open up shop in other locations, managing payroll can become unwieldy.

If you’re beginning to feel out of your depth with internal payroll management, it may be time to consider outsourcing the process. And while the idea of handing over such an important task (not to mention all that sensitive information!) to a third party may be nerve-wracking, there are some tips to help ease the transition.

Is Outsourcing Right For You?

Before diving in, run a cost/benefit analysis. According to a 2017 survey from Paychex, payroll is the most time-consuming activity each week for HR professionals, taking up an average of 11 hours. Multiply that out over 52 weeks, and—assuming a 40 hour work week—that comes out to just over 14 weeks per year spent on payroll alone!

Aside from the pure amount of time and money put into payroll each week, there are less tangible costs as well. The employee handling payroll must stay up-to-date on the ever-changing tax codes, and any errors in remittance of tax payments can result in costly fines and fees.

You’ll want to consider this against the costs of an external provider. Typically, payroll companies will charge a monthly base fee, plus an additional fee per employee or per check run. If you’re looking for extra services like direct deposit, state and federal tax filings, and W2 and 1099 processing, these will incur additional costs.

I Want to Outsource! What Next?

If you’ve decided that outsourcing makes sense for you, it’s time to start looking for providers. After you’ve identified some prospects, set up calls or meetings to discuss what services they offer. Here are some questions to consider that can help guide your discussion with a payroll company:

Question: How many clients do you have?

Why to ask it: You want someone reliable and experienced handling your payroll. Most reputable companies will have several hundred clients. Not only that, but you want someone who’s going to be your partner in the long run. If this payroll company is brand new, how do you know they’ll be around in 5 years? And if they shutter, will you be left holding the bag?


Question: What services do you provide?

Why to ask it: Not all payroll is the same. Some companies are looking for just the basics: issuing checks and W2 forms, plus managing tax obligations. Other companies, however, have more complex needs, and require additional support for benefits they offer (401(k) contributions, healthcare costs, deductions for pre-tax transit programs, etc.). Does this payroll provider cover all the services you need? And if they provide a broader scope of service than you need, will you be able to negotiate pricing so you’re only paying for what you use?


Question: What is your error rate?

Why to ask it: Payroll errors can be costly. Not only do they cause major headaches when they happen on employee’s checks, but errors in calculating taxes can get you into hot water with the IRS (every business owner’s nightmare). Does this payroll provider have a strong track record of dotting all their Is and crossing all their Ts?


Question: How can I get in touch with you?

Why to ask it: You need to have a payroll company that you can easily reach when you need them. Changes in staffing, rolling out new employee benefits, opening offices in new locations with different tax codes—these are all things you’ll need to discuss with your payroll provider, and you want to be sure you’ll have a direct and easy line of communication to the person or team managing your account.


Question: What software do you use?

Why to ask it: As the business owner, you’ll need to be providing your payroll provider with a lot of sensitive information on a regular basis. Does their software platform make it safe and easy for you to pass that information along? Additionally, is there a way for your employees to access their pay stubs, tax documents, and benefits information online? A comprehensive software platform makes it easier for your employees to remain in control of their personal finances and benefits.

Signing on the Dotted Line

Once you’ve identified a company you like, it’s time for you to sign a contract and begin outsourcing payroll. When considering the contract, be sure to take into account the long-term cost of the services. Some payroll providers will offer an initial discount as a sort of signing bonus, but make sure that you’ll still be comfortable with what the costs will be once you’re responsible for the full rate. Plus, if you plan to add staff and expand benefits as time goes on, that will mean a greater monthly cost—are you prepared for that?

After you’ve switched to your external provider, you’ll want to keep an eye on things for the first few weeks to make sure any errors are caught and remedied quickly. It’s likely that there will be a bump or two in the road as you hand off all payroll responsibilities, and you want to ensure that your employees are receiving their proper pay and benefits, and that all of your tax obligations are being met.

Getting payroll right is a critical part of running your business. There’s no shame in turning this sizeable task over to the professionals. Just be sure to do your research and find a provider that best fits your needs and budget.