Let’s face it. We all want to find ways to improve our workflow. The amount of apps out there overwhelm us, and what we really want are tools that help us get things done as efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality. In other words, we want to get the work done quickly, but accuracy is more important, than speed. This is what accountants want.
If you want to know what accountants want, here is your answer.
We need certain things, and we need them in a certain order. If I want to be a “business of today” then I need maximum efficiency without sacrificing accuracy. You cannot accomplish this with desktop software. I am absolutely convinced of that. It all just works together better, in the cloud. I can easily create references between apps. Most cloud apps have direct integrations with Google Docs. They have to, but even if one doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. You can link any Google doc via it’s URL. That URL references a live document, that can be accessed by multiple people. Permissions can be granted based on view, comment, or full edit privileges. This give me maximum flexibility to share my documents in the exact manner I see fit. Accuracy with flexibility, and efficiency is what accountants want.
After everything else is done, I need to be able to analyze my information. What accountants want is a dashboard that makes it easy for their clients to analyze, and understand.
What does my dashboard on my car do for me?
It gives me important, but high level information at a glance. How fast am I going, and how much gas is in the tank. Then I can make a split second decision. Do I need to slow down? Do I need to stop for gas?
If you put too much information in my dashboard, it distracts me. Not enough, and it’s not useful.
There’s a balance here with what accountants want.
Financial Dashboards should work the same on the surface, with the ability to drill down deeper, when you have a chance to slow down and take a look.
Here’s the thing. When I am growing my business, my focus needs to be on revenue, and sales goals. When I am maximizing profits, then I need to turn my attention to my expenses. Most business owners, in my experience have a pretty good handle on what is going on, income-wise. It’s the expenses that seem to elude most of us, and it’s only when cash flow gets tight, that we suddenly realize we need to take a closer look at the expenses.
When it comes to processing accounting data efficiently, there are many apps that let us track receipts, and bills, and we can even configure them to auto-code the expenses to QuickBooks Online. This helps, but as long as these apps are tracking the receipts, what other intelligence do they provide? Seems to me that there is a huge opportunity being missed, in most cases, to give us really useful information about what is going on with our expenses.
When we want to know where all of the money is going, accountants and bookkeepers whip out the profit and loss statement, which only shows part of the picture.
Case in point, next your business owner asks, “where did all my money go?” The accountant or bookkeeper, confused, points to the net income, and then refers to the income and expenses detailed on that P&L.
The business owner presses on, and again asks, “But where did my money go? My P&L says I made $250,000, but I don’t have anywhere near that in the bank!” If the accountant or bookkeeper is savvy enough, they can pull out the statement of cash flows, and they may be able to explain it well, but more than likely the business owner only partly gets it. Some business owners simply won’t understand the statement of cash flows. Most business owners, other than accounting and financial professionals, are not numbers people. They don’t know how to read financial statements. In my own case, I teach my clients to read their financials, because I think it’s important, but not everyone can do that. Only the sexy people. Just kidding – seeing if you’re still paying attention.
How can we track expenses, and present them in a way that will be easy to explain to our business owner clients?
We also need a solution that makes it super fast to access copies of the bills and receipts, so that when we have cleanup work to do, we can get it done quickly.
Recently I showed you how Billbeez can provide tremendous peace of mind in an audit, but this can also work really well for organizing a list of transactions, and posting it for feedback (be sure and watch the video above. That’s the main video for this post):
What about when you are cleaning up the books? Billbeez makes it super easy to search out a vendor, select every bill, and then assign a label. These labels allow you to distinguish the expenses in some way other than how your accounting categories group them. Hint: The business owner can use this to create their own way of looking at things. So the accountant or bookkeeper can split interest and principle, while the business owner can look at a label called, “loan payments” so they can see very quickly, how much money is for debt service, regardless of interest vs principle. That’s just one example.
Whatever the reason, when you need to analyze research expenses, I don’t think anything else out there will help you do this faster, and more efficiently. You can quickly, and easily pull up a group of expenses, and get to the copies. You can also easily export this (like you saw in the audit video) and send it to your client, or better yet, convert it to Google Sheets (takes 30 seconds) and share that with the client.
It may be tempting to think that you can attached each document directly to the transaction in QuickBooks Online, but I can assure you that is much less efficient. It is MUCH easier to simply forward e-mails and snapshots of receipts to an e-mail address. Then you can relax, knowing that within hours it Billbeez will index these, so you can cross reference them. Then you have a direct link to an online copy of the receipt, any time you need it. That’s what accountants want.
And don’t forget about all of the analytics.