Technology and accounting go way back – back as far as the ancient Sumerians, in fact. In 2700 BC the relationship between tech and mathematicians was first formed with the creation of the abacus. The abacus allowed early mathematicians to keep track of their arithmetic and provided a simple platform for teaching and showcasing financial calculations.
Reflecting on the ancient Sumerians allows us to look forward at how technology continues to enable us to streamline laborious processes and visualize data. Our abacuses, rather than beads and bamboo, are cloud accounting software and add-ons.
Using technology to monitor cash flow
Accountants are highly trained, incredibly busy people who are tasked with a number of repetitive duties. They rely on cloud accounting technology to increase efficiency in their workflows and gather real-time data to better advise their clients.
One of the most critical items that accountants help their small businesses comprehend is cash flow. The reality is that many business owners aren’t financially literate. Leveraging technology to show them their cash in simple terms (with less jargon and even fewer equations) is vital. There are hundreds of add-ons for QuickBooks Online and Xero designed specifically to make monitoring cash flow easier for business owners.
Giving clients access to the reality of their cash position enables them to avoid disaster (which saves you, the accountant, from a lot of headaches). With increased financial transparency, clients will be more engaged with their numbers, helping them to value your services more highly.
You’ll no longer have to spend hours firefighting last-minute cash flow issues and poring over error-riddled spreadsheets – which is an embarrassing 88% of them! Your workload will become streamlined and your desk, ideally, tidier.
So, which tools can help?
As mentioned, there are a lot of apps out there. We’ve broken down the cloud-based apps that help with debtor chasing, financing, and cash flow forecasting.
Financing apps provide fast access to funds to keep your clients in the black.
Fundbox allows immediate access to cash. With faster access to business funding than a traditional bank loan, Fundbox helps your clients by providing approved loans as early as the next business day. Repayment of the loan, plus a fee, can happen over 12 or 24 months. Early repayment means that Fundbox will waive all fees. It allows accountants to rest easy at night knowing that their clients have access and control over their available credit. Fundbox integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero.
iwoca is another app that provides business loans. One of Europe’s leading fintech providers, iwoca offers flexible and fast finance to small businesses across the UK, Germany, and Poland with a view to expanding globally. Whilst Fundbox promises funds by the next business day, iwoca promises to have funds in your bank within hours. By linking with iwoca you can relax, knowing that your clients have the capital to explore and grow in their field.
Debtor chasing software does the legwork for you by chasing up unpaid or late invoices with an automated system of emails and reminders.
Chaser is a credit control software that can be used to automate chasing customers for their unpaid invoices. It allows you to get your money, faster. It provides valuable metrics to find your best and worst customers. Best of all, it also thanks those that pay. Chaser is an add-on to both QuickBooks Online and Xero, allowing for quick integration with your clients’ financial systems. Taking the manual effort out of credit control, Chaser does all the work for you.
InvoiceSherpa also simplifies invoice collection. InvoiceSherpa promises to stay on top of receivables with automated software. It provides reminders for when invoices are created, a due date is approaching, or when an invoice is past due. With an integrated payment system, invoices can be paid directly via credit card or ACH. InvoiceSherpa, too, can reconcile your transactions to QuickBooks Online and Xero. Simply put, it helps you get paid faster. With support available whenever you need it, InvoiceSherpa provides the user-friendly service that your client needs.
Debtor Daddy, along with its incredible name, is an invaluable app that provides customizable, automated, and targeted invoice reminders. Coming soon, Debtor Daddy promises a ‘Collect’ service that aims to allow no invoice to “get left behind”. This service will enable users to send a demand letter or escalate to legal action in order to get their invoices paid. Debtor Daddy has additional features that both Chaser and InvoiceSherpa lack, including an activity dashboard and customizable alerts. Debtor Daddy integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero and adds a human touch to its automated invoice retrieval system, as “people pay humans – not robots”. Their mission is to help small businesses by eliminating late payments. It can be your mission too, if you choose to accept.
Cash Flow Forecasting
Cash flow forecasting allows you to show your clients the future of their business (Flux Capacitor not included) as well as their current cash position.
Float offers cash flow forecasting software that is intuitive and easy for your clients to understand. By pulling in individual bills and invoices from QuickBooks Online, Xero, and FreeAgent, and using them to “fill up” your budgets, Float helps you and your clients understand their current and future cash position. This isn’t a three-way forecasting tool, but rather an accounting add-on for business owners that will show you how much cash a business will actually have in the bank at any point in the next three years. With no need for manual data entry, Float allows you to provide an accurate and visual cash flow forecast. Let your clients be the captain of their own ship. Get on board with Float.
A new world
The world of business and accounting is moving faster than ever.
Your clients have to keep up with their cash flow current or risk being one of the 82% of small businesses that fail due to poor cash flow.
As an accountant, the ability to provide clients with an intuitive, visible, and efficient way to monitor their cash is essential. Moreover, understanding the tools that are available to help them do so is also key for becoming a proactive advisor – especially as the accounting tech ecosystem continues to expand.
Advanced knowledge of finance will always be important, but moving with the times is even more so. Don’t risk getting left behind!
Learn how Hubdoc and Float work together to help advisors demystify their clients' numbers! Watch our webinar.
About the AuthorMore Content by Catriona Bane