By Lee Reams II, TaxBuzz
For years, accounting was a reactive experience – you went about your day, engaging in important business, and at the end of the week (or month, or financial quarter), you took the time to finally reconcile everything and organize your books. This was just the way things worked, much to the chagrin of accounting professionals everywhere. But when you consider that poor cash management is the reason 82 percent of small businesses, in particular, fail – and the fact that these types of cash flow problems can definitely end a business that is on otherwise strong footing – it was clearly a situation that needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Thanks to the ubiquitous role that mobile devices like smartphones and tablets now play in our lives, accounting on the go has gone from a great idea in theory to mandatory practice over the last few years. Accounting is finally an active experience – one that happens continually, as opposed to something that you find the time to do on a rainy day. It may just be the silver bullet you've been looking for in terms of improving your cash flow.
The Power of Mobile Accounting Software
Because mobile devices make it easier than ever to do work and perform services while you're out of the office, it makes perfect sense that accounting should exist in this space, too. With the right mobile accounting app at your side, it's easy to do everything while on the go – from managing and sending invoices to connecting payments while you're still in the room with a client and more.
In years past, if you wanted to get paid for services rendered, you would essentially be subject to some variation of the following:
- You provide the service or product as discussed.
- You send the customer an invoice, probably in the mail.
- You wait patiently until they send that invoice back with the appropriate payment.
- If they don't, you continue to follow up with them until you receive payment.
- You organize your books.
All of this gets the job done, but with a significant amount of time. Sometimes the three-week wait to get paid is the difference between taking advantage of that great business opportunity that suddenly presented itself and being forced to let it pass you by.
With mobile accounting software and an accounting-on-the-go mentality, however, things have changed:
- You conduct your services or present your products to a client.
- You use your mobile accounting app to instantly generate an invoice.
- You enter all of the customer's details right from your device.
- You either send that invoice immediately (also guaranteeing that they receive it immediately), or you accept payment right there in the room.
- Everything is organized automatically with no further input required on your behalf.
Not only does this allow you to maintain superior visibility into the money that you're owed, but it also allows you to collect payments much faster to give you better control over your cash flow in the first place. Everything you need to do – from balancing your cash flow against your expenses to keeping on top of your finances in general – happens with just a few quick taps of your finger.
As recently as 2014, a Google study revealed that 88 percent of customers searching for local businesses are already doing so via their smartphones. Likewise, even smaller organizations are finding it much more affordable and efficient to conduct business in a mobile capacity. This means that the major requirement of accounting on the go – namely, the hardware – is already in place and is actively embraced by both sides.
All that is left is the software, and luckily this is covered, too. Options like Xero and QuickBooks already exist that help business owners get more organized on their own terms. People just need to be willing to embrace them.
The Future of Accounting Is Here
The best part of all is that most accounting-on-the-go solutions can be easily integrated into other areas of the business. These "always on" platforms can help with everything from stock and inventory control to payroll and distribution and more. This means that a large part of accounting can be totally automated, generating perhaps the most important benefit of all: significantly more hours in a day that an owner can use to invest right back into their business instead of into filling out forms and entering data. Small business accountants are now helping business owners analyze real-time data versus reacting to problems when it is too late.
About the Author
Lee Reams II is the founder and CEO of TaxBuzz.com, an online marketplace that matches the best tax and accounting professionals with consumers seeking help. Lee is a nationwide authority on helping small business owners succeed, and has been featured on Forbes and Huffington Post.