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How Deep Financial Data Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

How Deep Financial Data Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

As a business owner, you want to make the best possible decisions for your business.

The choices you make regarding strategy, spending, revenue generation and cashflow management can all have a major impact on the long-term future of the company.

So, how do you give yourself that competitive edge when it comes to decision-making?

The answer is to make the most of your financial data and to use the outputs from today’s cloud accounting tools and finance apps to inform and guide your choices as a leader.

Five major benefits of having financial real-time data

Cloud accounting has revolutionized the ways that small business owners manage their business accounts and broader financial management.

With the right tech stack and cloud accounting software, it’s possible to have genuine real-time information about your business finances. That instant access to your financial performance numbers is a game-changer, for a number of reasons.

Here are five ways that deep financial data can help to drive your business success…

Real-time data gives you:

  1. Informed decision-making – with access to the most up-to-date financial data, you’re no longer flying blind! Real-time data empowers you to make strategic decisions based on the most current business information. You can see how marketing budgets are performing, analyze your sales trends and identify areas for cost-cutting – with a dashboard that provides a real-time snapshot of your overall financial health. You’re informed, on the ball and can react like lightning to any pressing business opportunities, or unplanned threats to your funding and operating cashflow.
  2. Improved cashflow management – cash is king, so it’s crucial that you have the best possible insights into your cashflow position, planning and management. Real-time cash data helps you plan for upcoming expenses, predict potential shortfalls and make informed decisions about borrowing or investment strategies. This real-time visibility ensures you always have sufficient funds to cover your operational costs, dodging the cashflow pitfalls that could otherwise hinder your business growth.
  3. Enhanced budgeting and forecasting – you can ditch the static spreadsheets and embrace a more dynamic, real-time way to run your budgeting and forecasting. Track your progress towards financial goals, identify variances and deviations from key budgets, and adjust your plans and strategy accordingly. Accurate historic and real-time data also means more accurate forecasts, leading to better resource allocation and improved financial planning for the future.
  4. Increased potential to turn a profit – with access to real-time data, finding the prime areas for cost reduction and revenue optimization is made easy. You can quickly hone in on the products that are bringing in the biggest sales revenues, or the operational expenses that are costing you money but failing to deliver a healthy return on investment (ROI). If the majority of your sales income is coming from one product, by tracking key metrics like customer acquisition costs and conversion rates, you can identify and refine marketing strategies to maximize return on investment. Additionally, real-time sales data allows you to react quickly to customer trends and adjust pricing strategies to improve profitability.
  5. Greater confidence in your business potential – modern accounting tech puts all this real-time data right at your fingertips, so you always feel in control of your finances. That’s a major boost to your confidence as a business owner, giving you the overview and insights you need to keep a tight grip on your financial health. Having this transparency makes it possible to share key metrics with your key stakeholders, like investors or partners. It also demonstrates your commitment to keeping good records and focusing on your financial management – a trait that investors, lenders and banks will see as a good sign of the viability of your business.

Talk to us about accessing your finance data goldmine

If you’re currently only tracking the most basic of finance metrics, now’s the time to dive deeper into your pool of valuable financial data. The more detailed and refined your finance dashboard becomes, the more you’re in control of the next steps of your business.

We can help you set up a tailored business dashboard and management reporting tools to track all the most valuable finance metrics for your business.

Get in touch to start exploring your real-time data

 

The following content was originally published by BOMA. We have updated some of this article for our readers.

Getting More From Your Procurement Spending

Getting More From Your Procurement Spending

Keeping the wheels of your business turning can be expensive.

As part of your ongoing business cycle, you’ll need to buy the goods and services that keep you operational. This might be subscriptions to business software, raw materials for production or even accounting services.

But if you’re going to get the maximum value from this procurement process, it’s important to be fully in control of what you’re buying and how you manage these costs.

Managing your procurement in tough economic times

There’s no escaping the fact that cashflow is tight for many businesses at present. Globally, we’re experiencing a worldwide economic slowdown, alongside the pressures of a supply chain crisis that has pushed up prices and reduced margins.

Because of this, it’s important for you to keep a close eye on your procurement, so you can find the best prices, strike the best deals and keep your business in a positive cashflow position

If you’re using the most expensive logistics partner, or spending too much on raw materials, this can start to have a big impact on your profitability and your ability to grow.

5 key ways to enhance your procurement spending 

Keeping your business in a positive cashflow position is all about ensuring your cash inflows (your income) outweigh your cash outflows (your costs).

When your procurement costs are high, it makes it a real challenge to maintain this positive cash position. The answer is to examine your spending and to proactively reduce your costs, improve your supplier terms and generate a tighter and more effective procurement process. If your procurement process helps you cut down on your spending, you’ll also improve the overall financial health of the whole business.

Here are 5 key ideas to help you get in control of your procurement:

  1. Reduce your base cost per item – if you buy goods into the business, it’s important to think about your basic cost per unit. Your unit cost is difficult to control, but there are ways to reduce it. Try getting multiple quotes from a variety of suppliers so you can source a provider that offers the best mix of value, quality and reliability, at an economical price. Negotiation can also be an effective way to bring prices down.
  2. Cut your logistics and delivery costs – physical goods have to be transported to your premises and to your end customers. These logistics costs are an integral operational expense, but they can still be reduced as part of the procurement process. Search for carriers and logistics providers that offer the services you need and then see if they open to negotiation on prices. Ask if discounts are offered if you offer shorter payment terms or if you join a preferred customer program to help reduce prices.
  3. Nurture the best supplier relationships – nurturing good relationships with your suppliers sets the best possible foundations for your procurement management. Building that stability into your supply chain deepens trust and makes it easier to negotiate favorable terms. Put some effort into nurturing good relationships with your supplier and make sure you always pay on time. This helps to build a good reputation with your supplier, making your procurement process simpler and more cost-effective.
  4. Reduce tax and duty costs – whether you’re selling nationally or across borders, there are likely to territory-specific taxes and duties to pay when buying and transporting your goods. Working with a tax adviser who knows your industry and/or territories helps a great deal. They can check you’re paying the right taxes on your goods/services and that they’re correctly categorized for taxes like VAT or GST. Working with a customs broker also ensures you pay the correct duty on all your imports and exports.
  5. Using tech to get in control of procurement – business software is transforming the effacing of procurement. There are plenty of cloud-based procurement solutions available, giving you the benefits of 24/7 accessibility in the cloud and one point of truth for all your procurement data and reporting. This helps to streamline your internal processes, manage risk more effectively and keep a close watch on spending against budgets, cashflow and expected expenditure. By keeping yourself informed, you can manage your expenses by putting caps on spending, or switching to new suppliers that can offer you a better deal or cheaper prices.

Talk to us about your procurement management

Taking the time to improve your procurement management is a no-brainer in the current climate. You’ll improve your cashflow, supplier relationships and your ability to ride out the slowdown.

 

The following content was originally published by BOMA. We have updated some of this article for our readers.

Digging Deeper Into Cloud Accounting

Digging Deeper Into Cloud Accounting

If you’re managing a small business, the chances are that you’re using one of the current crop of cloud accounting platforms.

Whether your chosen software is Xero, QuickBooks or MYOB, these online accounting tools are now the standard for business accounting.

But are you exploring the full benefits of your cloud system?

The basic benefits of running your finances in the cloud

Not so long ago, business owners were reliant on paper ledgers and manual accounts to understand their financial performance and cashflow position. Thankfully, accounting technology has moved on in leaps and bounds in the past two decades.

The average business owner will almost certainly be using some form of cloud accounting to manage their finances. And the advantages of the cloud don’t just lie in the convenience and easy access of being able to do your bookkeeping in the online space.

Whatever cloud platform you’re using, you get:

    • A simple, straightforward way to record all your transactions – every sale, purchase and expense is recorded in your cloud accounting software, with some of this record-keeping process even happening automatically, using tools like Dext Prepare.
    •  A real-time view of your finances – instead of your accounts being weeks, or even months out of date (as in previous decades), you now have an almost instantaneous view of your profit and loss (P&L), cashflow position and expenses.
    •  An easy way to collaborate with your advisers – it couldn’t be easier to invite your accountant, tax adviser or business coach into your accounts. In the cloud, you can all access the same numbers and have one point of truth for all your financial metrics.

Going beyond the basics of your cloud accounting platform

Managing your bookkeeping and accounts with cloud accounting software gets the job done. But the reality is that you could be doing so much more besides. If you’re just using your cloud accounting to do the accounts, you may just be scratching the surface of the potential value.

Here are just a few of the deeper benefits:

  • A growing ecosystem of add-on apps – Most of the big players in the accounting space have sizable app stores, where you can choose from hundreds of different ‘add-on apps’ and integrations. These apps add different functionality to your basic accounting system, allowing you to add automated bookkeeping like Auto Entry, debtor chasing with Chaser or an expenses management app like Expensify.
  • Extensive forecasting and scenario-planning – there are plenty of sophisticated forecasting tools that integrate with your cloud accounting. Tools like Spotlight Reporting, Float and Fathom all allow you to extrapolate your cash numbers forward in time. And because these forecasts and projections are based on your own historic and real-time data, you can be sure that they’re based on solid information that’s a sound basis for your future planning, cash management and business decision-making.
  • Job management and industry specific apps – a helping hand with your operations and project management is always going to be welcome. Most app stores will have a wide selection of industry specific apps, that help you manage the operations in your specific business sector. This might be Tradify for tradies and contractors, Re-Leased for property managers, or Dentally for dental practices.
  •  A fully integrated tech stack to manage your whole business – by picking and choosing the most helpful and relevant apps from your platform’s ecosystem, you can quickly build up an entire tech stack that becomes the operational heart of your business. Whatever your industry, you can create a bespoke business system that does far more than just keeping your bookkeeping in check. With an evolving tech stack, you’re ready to streamline and automate each process and operation, so you end up with a lithe and agile business that’s ready to scale as your business prospers.

Talk to us about maximizing your business tech stack

Getting your accounts and compliance done and dusted in the cloud is a great start. But we’d advise digging a little deeper into your cloud accounting platform to really get the best value.

We’ll help you find the most useful apps to add to your tech stack. We’ll also help you get integrated, automated and connected – putting you in complete control of your business.

 

The following content was originally published by BOMA. We have updated some of this article for our readers.

Digital Signatures and Cyber Security

Digital Signatures and Cyber Security

Authenticated digital signatures can be a valuable part of your cyber security approach.

They are more efficient than printing, signing and scanning documents and provide one-off encryption for the highest level of security. In fact, they are more secure than a handwritten signature.

If you have a lot of documents that require signing within your business, whether internally or externally, using a digital signature app will streamline your workflow and make managing the signing of documents more accessible. Documents are also secured against manipulation after they have been signed.

However, not all digital signatures have the same level of verification and cyber safety.

It’s important to understand the difference between electronic and secure digital signatures. For example, you can scan your signature, save it as an image file, and attach it to documents. This is an electronic signature but not an authenticated digital signature and is easily copied and hacked.

An authenticated signature includes unique digital verification that uses public key cryptography technology within the signature. So, the signature comes with encrypted authorization embedded in it, and it’s virtually impossible to hack.

Digital signatures also provide an audit trail of the signature process – from sending the document to when it’s read and signed, and sent back to the document owner. Once you’ve created a document and sent it for signing, you can see outstanding documents at a glance and send reminders from within the platform.

There are many options available for authenticated digital signatures. Look at DocuSign, Adobe or Secured Signing to start with and ask others in your industry if they use a solution they would recommend.

Check their level of encrypted security and audit trail functions. Most are very simple to use, requiring nothing more than you opening an account, uploading documents and sending. The recipient may need to create an account, but some apps use a code sent separately to sign the document without the recipient needing their own account.

We’re committed to helping your business stay secure in today’s world of cyber risks. Digital signatures are an easy tool to help your business’s cyber safety, and there are many other simple tips you can implement. Talk to us if you’d like to learn more about how your business can stay cyber-safe and secure.

 

The following content was originally published by BOMA. We have updated some of this article for our readers.

Keeping Your Data Safe As A Remote Worker

Keeping Your Data Safe As A Remote Worker

Using public WiFi in cafes, hotels and coffee shops is something we all do.

It’s convenient and gives you the benefits of working online wherever you happen to be. But are you aware of the data security issues of working from a public network?

In an age where remote and hybrid working are now the norm for so many employees and self-employed people, it’s important to know the key ways to keep your data safe

Secure ways to work from a public network

Remote working is a flexible approach to work that’s increased in popularity hugely over the past few years. A recent study from Buffer found that 97% of people would like to continue working remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career.

Working remotely is here to stay, it would seem. But what can you do to make sure you’re applying the best possible security protocols? And what are the key dangers to look out for?

We’ve highlighted the important elements of cyber safety to be aware of:

    • Unencrypted public networks and their flaws – a public network isn’t a safe environment when working. When you use your home network, only you and your family have access to the WiFi. If you log into a public network, literally anyone can join the network – and this can lead to all kinds of security issues and concerns.
    • Malware and other suspicious activity – hackers and those with malicious intent will see a public network as a potential backdoor to your data. Malware (malicious software), Trojan horses and other hostile programs can be easily uploaded to your device, allowing hackers to access your programs, hard drive and data.
    • Using a personal VPN to access the internet – if you’re using a public network to work, the chances are that you have access to confidential information and customer data via your device. To protect your device, it’s important to use a VPN (virtual private network). This creates a secure network for you, so you can safely share and access your important data, with fewer worries about hackers and malware etc.
    • Having proper security software on your device – it’s a good idea to also have cyber security software installed on your computer or smart device. Providers like Norton, McAfee and Kaspersky all offer complete internet security suites that include firewalls, regular scans of your drive and other tools to keep your data safe and sound.
    • Keeping up to date with the latest threats – no security system is 100% safe. But you can do a lot to improve your internet security by being aware of the current threats. Keep an eye out for news stories about cyber breaches and read the updates and social posts from your internet security provider. The more you’re in the loop about present dangers, the more you can do to update your security arrangements and keep your devices safe.

Start improving your internet security

We’ve all enjoyed the additional flexibility and time-saving benefits of working from somewhere other than the office. But as remote working becomes a standard working practice, it’s vital to improve your internet security and be more aware of the potential threats to your data.

 

The following content was originally published by BOMA. We have updated some of this article for our readers.