Although accounting and bookkeeping are vital to a company’s operations, many entrepreneurs find manually handling the job to be a daunting, time-consuming task. Manual bookkeeping requires extreme organization, involving entering figures by hand, divvying expenses, calculating, and double-checking. Although participating in the accounting process first-hand can make the accounting system easier to understand, for a business owner it is most important to understand the meaning of the end numbers on financial reports and implement a mostly autonomous accounting system to free up more time to actually run the company, making the decisions and attending the meetings integral to operation.
While an in-house accounting and financial department would be ideal for any business, no matter the size or type of entity. Funding a full time accounting department is not always a reality or the best financial decision for a company to make. Often small to medium sized business owners are forced to handle most financial tasks without help from a team of accountants and financial advisors. Despite the intricacies and various processes associated with organizing a company’s finances, many tools have been created to assist business owners and entrepreneurs with establishing and implementing accounting systems within their offices without hiring outside help.
Cloud Accounting and Payroll
Designed for small to medium sized entities, accounting software and electronic payroll systems remove the bookkeeping burden from businesses which lack full-time accounting and payroll departments. Programmed to take on the roll of a basic accounting department, available software can classify, sort, and track expenses, helping business owners maintain balanced double-entry ledgers. Contemporary programs can also assist in creating and maintaining quarterly financial statements like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, pulling values in from the ledgers and making calculations based on those values and manual entries. Not only does accounting software take care of the nuts and bolts of bookkeeping, it can also assist with other accounting functions like payroll, invoicing, billing, and expense tracking.
Online Payroll Software
For any sized business looking for a payroll solution, programs exist explicitly to facilitate the payroll process, tax compliance, tax filing, and all other documentation and tracking associated with payroll. There are several payroll programs available for businesses to use. Selecting one will depend on the company’s individual payroll needs, process, size, and budget. To help business owners decide which program is right for their company, most payroll software companies offer free trials to display what their product includes and how it is operated. Though only a small sample of the numerous options, the following electronic payroll systems should provide an example of the different options available.
- Zenpayroll: As this software’s name suggests, it is easy to use and might reduce some of the stress associated with payroll operations. Not only does zenpayroll provide a helpful team of technicians, but also includes helpful guidance through the software. This software option does not require the user to have much knowledge of payroll or accounting; it walks the user through the steps of data entry and execution. Zenpayroll features:
- Automatic tax filing, payment, and reporting
- Government document filing: state new hire reporting and end of year forms like W-2’s and Form 1099
- Stores documents on database for easy access and simple record keeping
- Time Tracking for Hourly Employees
- Benefits Tracking: vacation time and sick leave
- Pre-Tax Benefits Execution and Tracking: medical insurance, IRA, 401K, HSA, and FSA
- Worker’s Compensation Insurance Management
- Contractor Payment and Tax Filing
- Payment Options: direct deposit or check
- Employee Access: paystubs, history, time changes, and time approvals
- Compatible with most accounting software
Zenpayroll also features the payroll reporting capabilities like cost reports, payroll journals, bank transaction reports, and statements. These reports can help businesses track and reduce costs.
- ADP: ADP offers payroll solutions modified for small businesses (1-49 employees), midsized businesses (50-999 employees), and large businesses (1000+ employees). The company’s payroll options feature:
- Multinational Companies: multinational compliance, payroll, and foreign currency
- Multiple Payment Solutions: check, direct deposit, and payment cards.
- Mobile Capabilities
- Real Time Reporting
- Payroll Tax Filing
- New Hire Reporting
- Unemployment Insurance Management
- Time and Attendance Tracking
- Benefits Administration: 401K, IRA, Simple IRA, Medical Insurance, and Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- Cloud Based Software: no maintenance or upgrade installations and no security problems
- Reduced Expense: fewer payroll errors, results in lower processing costs
- Compatible with most accounting software
ADP has the ability to modify its services to fit the budget and requirements of any size or type of company, ensuring compliance and efficiency.
- SpringAhead: SpringAhead features simple to use payroll software in a clean, easy to read format. The software incorporates web-based features for easy use and implementation. Other features include:
- Easy Integration with Accounting Software
- Paperless Reporting
- Credit Care Integration
- Reporting and Data Export
- Web-Based Time Tracking
- Web-Based Time Sheet Approval
- Web-Based Expense Tracking, Entry, and Approval
- Project Tracking and Billing Support
SpringAhead offers companies a simple solution to easing payroll operations. While it might not have as many options as other companies, it provides adequate features to facilitate the payroll process while remaining compliant.
Selecting and using payroll software will help your company operate smoothly and compliantly, reducing the cost of expenses incurred through payroll error or non-compliance. While payroll comprises a large portion of a company’s accounting and financial operations, there are still more facets of commercial accounting which require attention.
Cloud Accounting Services
In today’s market, a variety of accounting software options exist which are either designed to handle payroll in addition to daily accounting operations or to work in conjunction with a separate payroll software. Accounting software can be selected or adapted to accommodate any company’s accounting needs, whether large, small, simple, or complex. Software should be selected based on a company’s specific needs and complexities. Some programs offer basic accounting functions, while others provide all the features which might be necessary to a business (accounts receivable, accounts payable, invoicing, billing, financial statement calculation, and payroll). The following accounting programs are available online and can be downloaded.
- Outright: A basic online bookkeeping software, Outright is suitable for startups, small companies, and at home businesses. Able to upload data from other web-based companies, this software is especially useful for businesses operating on the internet. The software provides companies with these tools for carrying out simple accounting tasks:
- Upload data from any linked account: credit card, bank, Amazon, Paypal, Etsy, Ebay, FreshBooks, Shoeboxed, or Harvest.
- Automated Data Organization for Tax Purposes
- Deduction Tracking Capabilities (mileage)
- Sales Tax Tracking
- Estimates Taxes
- Automatic Schedule C Completion
- 1099-K for Web-Based Sellers
- Mobile App
- All Data Backed Up
- Export-Ready Data
- Financial Reports
As Outright’s bookkeeping and accounting capabilities center mostly around web-based operations, this software is the perfect option for any online start up or well established business.
- FreshBooks: Designed to assist small business owners with accounting functions, FreshBooks software offers simple accounting solutions. A great option for services businesses, FreshBooks makes invoicing clients painless. FreshBooks features:
- Cloud Based Software (accessible anytime, any place)
- Accessible From Any Device
- Automatic Software Updates
- Data Automatically Backed Up
- Payroll Solutions: expense tracking, time tracking, and taxes.
- Online Invoicing: payment reminders, recurring payments, and automatic payments
- Online Bill Payments
- Online Payments by Credit Card or 13 Other Methods
- Import Expenses From Other Electronic Accounts
- Accounts Receivable and Payable Tracking
- PDF Imaging of Receipts
- Sales Tax Tracking
- Financial Reports
In addition to its stellar service business-oriented features, FreshBooks also has a simple, easy to use platform.
- QuickBooks Online Simple Start: QuickBooks has become one of the most recognized brands in small business accounting software. The company offers many versions of its software, but its Online Simple Start package is a great value for small to mid-sized businesses. The software features:
- Sales and Expense Tracking
- Professional Invoices
- Import Transactions from Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Online
- Mobile Accessibility
- Customizable for Any Size Business
- Payroll Options
- Credit Card Payment Options
- Compatible with Numerous Small Business Mobile Apps
- Merchant Services Option
- Point of Sale Option
- Payroll Tax Option
QuickBooks offers one of the most customizable software programs for small and medium sized businesses, allowing companies to pay for the services being used.
- Kashoo: Another cloud based accounting product, Kashoo features simple, easy to use controls and dashboard. Kashoo features:
- Cloud Based Accounting
- Mobile Accessibility
- Expense Tracking and Receipt Imaging
- Customizable, Professional Invoices
- Invoice Tracking and Management
- Double-Entry Accounting
- Easy Data Entry
- Supports Foreign Currency Transactions
- Security and Encryption
- Automatic Backups
- Unlimited Data Storage
- Financial Reports
Kashoo’s accounting software provides a simple to use platform for small businesses to utilize in accounting. Kashoo’s place in the cloud allows business owners to access and share information anytime, anywhere and with bookkeepers or other financial staff.
- Xero: Xero is a good option for small business owners who want to track and improve the performance of their companies. Xero provides unique reporting capabilities, allowing companies to view data in a more evocative format. The software also features:
- Mobile Accessible
- Customizable Invoices
- Online Invoicing
- Real-Time Accounting and Cash Flow
- Import and Organize Bank Transactions
- Add-On Options
- Free Online Support
- Bulk Bill Payments
- Expense Tracking
- Payroll Options
- Fixed Asset Depreciation
- Foreign Currency
- Inventory Tracking
- Financial Reports
- Customizable Charting and Graphing Capabilities
Xero gives small businesses the ability to adapt reports to fit their financial needs. A company’s statistics can be displayed in a more meaningful format, providing information vital to the continuing operation of a business.
With numerous accounting software options available, there is no reason to spend extra time on manual bookkeeping. Considering the time saved, the expense of the software is well spent. Even if a business has the resources for an accounting department investing in good accounting software will save the department time and the company money. Accounting software provides bookkeeping solutions to businesses looking to establish accounting operations or to simplify the accounting process, but companies requiring more can look to cloud based collaborative accounting for consulting, assistance, and accounting services.
Accounting software is compatible with cloud based collaborative accounting, allowing business owners to distribute accounting responsibilities. The accounting needs of companies vary greatly from business to business. Depending on the company, certain tasks can be handled in house and some (or all, if necessary) through the cloud. For the small to medium sized entity, the start-up companies, and the non-profits looking to maximize income, collaborative accounting provides a financially-friendly alternative to the expense of hiring an in-house accountant or risking non-compliance and inaccurate accounting records without an accountant. With collaborative Accounting, business owners no longer have to navigate and establish accounting systems on their own. Technology allows businesses to remotely utilize the expertise of professionally trained and certified accountants, controllers, bookkeepers, and advisory corporate financial officers online to either facilitate accounting functions or to help establish sound accounting procedures for the company to continue operating on its own.
Introduction to Collaborative Cloud Based Accounting Services
While accounting software can keep track of the bookwork, it is still necessary to retain advice and guidance from an expert to ensure tax compliance and the stability of the company’s financial health. No matter the size or type of entity, businesses can obtain professional advice and services through cloud based collaborative accounting. At Reckenen, we optimize our dedicated accounting department to assist companies with collaborative bookkeeping needs, controller functions, and CFO advisory services.
A Controller provides a uniquely objective perspective on any company’s accounting needs and functions. Our controller will evaluate each individual company and then institute a customized accounting process. The insight of an outsourced controller helps to ensure that the proper controls and financial systems are in order. A controller’s insight goes beyond a bookkeeper’s and can assist companies with existing processes in place to improve those processes, ensuring that proper checks and balances are in place within the system to remain compliant and secure. Our controllers can assist with integral accounting processes, accounting software systems, and financial planning. Using a collaborative controller will help your company establish an effective accounting process which can then be followed by your in-house accounting staff.
Focused on extracting financial insights from your company’s finances, a CFO expert can help you optimize your company’s financials to meet short-term and long-term goals. We offer a full menu of CFO Advisory services, which look beyond compliance, to assist in your company’s growth, helping you learn how to read financial your financial statements and track your company’s performance.
- Financial Statement Analysis: accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash flow statement, fixed assets and depreciation.
- Collections Assistance
- Sales Tax Compliance Consulting
- Internal Controls and Procedures Customization
- Physical Inventory Services
- Payroll Advice
- Customized Reporting: business intelligence and benchmarking services.
Our CFO services can help your company to realize both its short term and long term financial goals, ultimately leading to your company’s profitability.
Collaborative bookkeeping is a more involved approach than solely using cloud-based accounting services as an advisory solution. In bookkeeping, an outside bookkeeper executes a company’s established accounting system. When a company utilizes collaborative bookkeeping, services can be optimized to ensure suitable billing and expense procedures are followed. We offer cloud based systems to facilitate efficient bookkeeping functions.
- Invoicing and Accounts Receivable: We offer accurate accounts receivables tracking and invoicing by mail or e-mail, producing timely payments from your customers.
- Bill Pay and Accounts Payable: Our paperless bill tracking and payment system will take the stress out of paying your vendors, suppliers, and creditors.
- Payroll Management: We offer flexible payroll services to ensure compliance and improve payroll management.
- Time and Expense Tracking: Our web-based time and expense tracking and approval system integrates with our payroll services. Streamlining the payroll process.
- Fraud Protection: We implement a stringent fraud protection procedure, reconciling bank accounts, reviewing cancelled checks, and watching for warning signs.
Collaborative bookkeeping provides a good, financially smart option for small businesses in need of a bookkeeper or accountant on staff without the resources to hire a full-time employee. A company, however, can use collaborative accounting services simply as an educational tool, learning how to structure an accounting system, implement it, and understand the numbers. Once an advisor has provided assistance, the company can then take over the accounting function on its own.