We are going to zero in on six different challenges that affect almost all business owners at some point in time. This will be an ongoing series called Challenge Accepted. Over the next couple of months, we will discuss each challenge and give you some ideas and solutions for each challenge you encounter. Here is a preview of the challenges we will discuss:

  1. Bring order to my messy books – this is today’s topic
  2. How to set up my business properly
  3. Compliance issues – What are they and how can I avoid them?
  4. How to find and set priorities to focus on
  5. Am I profitable? How much can I pay myself?
  6. Where to find advice on my business

We hope that this series will be helpful to you! 

Challenge

It can be especially hard to keep your books orderly with a paper-based system. It feels like the paper just keeps growing and growing, and where will you store all this excess paper anyways. Even if you are already paperless, you may still struggle with a lack of organization and struggle with finding necessary paperwork. Oftentimes, records are stored on various platforms and systems so that can make it hard to find what you need when you need it. Another problem you may have, even if you are paperless, is that there may be a lack of order if your systems do not communicate or share information with each other.

Solutions

  • The first step is to examine your current workflow. By looking at your workflow you can see what needs to be adjusted. You will want to ask yourself these questions: How does data get through the pipeline? What is working for me? What is not working for me? Where are there disconnects? Does the disconnect come from people or technology? Can any of these steps be simplified? 
  • Get rid of paper! This will really help you. You will need to switch to an electronic-based storage system, two that we like are Hubdoc and Google Drive. Hubdoc is great because it can automatically fetch bills and statements and stores them. Google Drive is great because there is no end to what you can do with Google Drive. You can store, you can share, you can collaborate. 
  • Choose apps that talk to each other! Many apps communicate with each other and share information and/or sync up. We will share an example of how to do this below.

Examples

Let’s look at a couple of examples of workflow solutions that can help with the following applications:

  • Hubdoc – an app that can automatically fetch bank and credit cards statements and other bills and documents
  • Bill.com – a cloud-based bill payment system
  • Xero – a cloud-based accounting system
  • Gusto – a cloud-based payroll application

Example 1 – Set-up Hubdoc to automatically fetch your bills and upload any additional bills to Bill.com.  Configure Hubdoc to automatically push those bills to Bill.com for approval and payment. Once you have approved and scheduled your bills for payment, Bill.com can sync the bills and payments to Xero.

Example 2 – Set-up Hubdoc to automatically fetch your statements and bills, and configure Hubdoc to automatically push those statements and bills to Xero.

Example 3 – Use Gusto to process your payroll and integrate Gusto with Xero.  When you complete a payroll run in Gusto, the integration will send payroll data into Xero automatically.  Gusto will also process automatic withdrawals from your bank to cover direct deposits, taxes and other payments. Once these withdrawals come into your bank feed in Xero, you can post the payments to the Gusto bill that was automatically generated.  This means there is no messy reconciling of paper payroll checks!

The diagram above shows the examples we discussed above. We recommend this workflow for many of our small business clients. The benefits are that clients no longer need to chase down paper documents, and we don’t have to keep bugging our clients for these documents either! By setting up a simple workflow with all systems talking to each other,  you set yourself up to keep your records clean. It also can save you time and you will have fewer headaches!