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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    •  A real-time view of your finances – instead of your accounts being weeks, or even months out of date (as in previous decades), you now have an almost instantaneous view of your profit and loss (P&L), cashflow position and expenses.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.

Are You Hiring the Best Talent for Your Business Culture?

Are You Hiring the Best Talent for Your Business Culture?

Your people are a vital asset, so when you hire a new starter it’s critical that this new employee fits perfectly into your operations, your culture and your values as a company.

But how do you know if a potential hire is a ‘good fit’? Will they drive your business to bigger and better success, or could this new employee become a potential spanner in the works?

Be transparent about your company values

Your company values are central to your mission as a business. So making sure those values are clearly outlined and shared is essential for hiring the right talent. By clearly defining and sharing these fundamental values, you’ll attract candidates who share your ethics, values and core motivations – making them a great potential fit for your company culture.

To do this:

    • Identify your core values and what’s important to you as a business and an owner.
    • Communicate your core values to your employees and all new starters
    • Live your values. Reflect them in the way you do business and how you treat people
Communicate your values, mission and culture in your job advert

When you’re hiring, this process isn’t just about you choosing an employee – it’s also about a worker choosing your company and understanding what you stand for. Make sure your job advert gives the best possible indication of what the job entails, but also what you’re like as a workplace. This is a great way to appeal to like-minded people with the best skills.

When advertising and interviewing:

    • Describe your mission and ask candidates if they are on board with these goals
    • Talk about your culture and ask candidates why this might appeal to them
    • Paint the most honest and appealing picture of your workplace
Ask interview questions that reveal the real candidate

You obviously want to know that a prospective hire has the right mix of experience, knowledge and professional skills. That’s a given. But it’s also sensible to ask questions that reveal more about their underlying values, morality, work ethic and interpersonal skills. This will help you to assess whether the candidate is a good fit for your company culture.

Here are some examples of interview questions that did a little deeper:

    • What do you look for in an ideal employer? And how important are their core values?
    • Tell us about a time your faced conflict in the workplace, and how you resolved it
    • Our culture is front and centre. How do you see yourself fitting into our culture?
    • How do you see your career evolving as a valued team member in our business?
Ask your team for feedback on candidates

You may think a candidate is the bee’s knees, but what do the rest of your team think? Gauging the opinions of your management team and other team members is vitally important. These people will be working directly with this new hire, so they have to get a good vibe from them.

To encourage objective feedback, give your team members a chance to meet the candidate and take their feedback into account when making a hiring decision.

Monitor your new hire and have regular, ongoing performance reviews

Once you’ve made a hiring decision and have a new employee on the team, it’s vital to have regular and ongoing informal catch-ups and more formalised performance reviews. This helps you to measure how your new employee is settling in. It’s also an opportunity to gauge whether there are areas where they may need support from you and the wider team.

Don’t hold back. Be as open and transparent as possible:

    • Ask them how they’re feeling about their role, workload and their performance so far
    • Check their progress against set targets and objectives for their first three months.
    • Find out if they need help, support, further information or more onboarding support.
    • Check if they feel they are fitting into the team, and if they are feeling happy
    • Look out for potential issues that may be causing conflict in the team.

Having the very best talent in your team is central to achieving your goals for the business. So, making sure you hire the right people is actually a business-critical decision to make.

 

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

Using Data Analytics to Give Your Business a Competitive Advantage

Using Data Analytics to Give Your Business a Competitive Advantage

Data analytics is rapidly changing the way businesses are operated.

By making use of your financial and non-financial data, you can quickly start to gain a deeper insight into your operations, performance and financial management.

Data-driven decisions are quickly becoming the norm, for even the smallest business. Data analytics allows helps you spot the patterns. Understand the data trends. And preview the upcoming threats and opportunities for improvement.

Taking a deep dive into your data

Data analytics has become a crucial tool for small business owners that want to stay competitive and grow their operations in the most informed way possible.

By collecting, analyzing and making sense of data, you can gain valuable insights into your performance. This means you can quickly identify the areas that need improvement and the opportunities in the market – while making data-driven decisions about your future.

To deliver the best insights from your data:

    • Calculate which data and metrics are most important to the business – what are the key numbers and drivers of success for your particular business? By analyzing your data, you can determine which data and metrics are most important to your business and track these numbers in your cloud accounting platform or forecasting app.
    • Track KPIs in your software stack – your cloud-accounting platform can provide a dashboard that shows all your performance indicators (KPIs) key in one place. To add to this, you can also integrate with industry specific or tailored reporting apps to create detailed management information and reports. Tracking and reporting on these key numbers helps you analyze your data, create detailed breakdowns of your business information and monitor your sales, business and financial performance in real-time.
    • Look for the patterns and opportunities in the data – what you’re looking for in your data is the trends, patterns and insights that will help you become a better business. Pull out the trends in your customers’ behavior, spot opportunities for growth and optimize your operations, to help push the company towards success. Non-financial data about customer behavior and experiences can also be invaluable. When you know your customers expectations and spending habits, that gives you the foundations to tailor your products and services to their needs. It also helps drive sales, revenues and get a better return on investment (ROI) from your operations.
    • Use AI to analyze your data – with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning applications, you add the ability to sift, filter and compare your data in superhuman ways. AI can process and analyze data at a speed and volume that would be impossible for a human being. Software can measure progress towards goals or detect variances in budget numbers, flagging up these insights as notifications in your dashboards and management information.
    • Keep yourself ahead of the competition – With the right smart data-analysis tools at your fingertips, you’ll make informed decisions that help you stay ahead of your competitors and new entrants. These tools help you identify new market segments, spot opportunities for growth and optimize your operations to stay competitive in the market. In the fast-moving digital age, keeping on top of your data is the fastest way to give your business a much-needed edge.

Talk to us about employing data analytics

Data analytics is an essential tool if you want to stay competitive and grow your operations.

We’ll help you track the right data, produce the most insightful management information and deliver the insights you need. Whether your goal is improved business outcomes, cost savings, increased revenue or improved customer satisfaction, we’ll help you delve through the data and make informed decisions that will drive the future of your business.

 

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