Financial Tools for Small-Business Owners


While cutting costs and streamlining performance are essential for any small business, most startup owners don’t consider financial tools as the way to facilitate that.

In actuality, it is worth it to invest in some financial tools to help transform your operations, improve productivity, reduce costs and increase profit margins. Here are 10 general resources you should be using to help you plan for success:

  1. Business plan software:Crucial to any business is a solid business plan. Ensure you’ve thought of everything by using online software resources such as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Business Plan Tool (https://www.sba.gov/tools/business-plan/1). It will walk you through every step you need to reach your goals, from gathering your thoughts to presenting to an investor and beyond.
  2. Inventory management system:No matter your industry, it is crucial to keep track of your products for financial security, insurance reasons and much more. Award-winning online publication Small Business Trends recommends OfficeBooks (http://officebooks.com/) to track distribution and manufacturing.

While cutting costs and streamlining performance are essential for any small business, most startup owners don’t consider financial tools as the way to facilitate that.“OfficeBooks is the tool you need when you’re managing the many parts of distribution and manufacturing,” says Tech Editor Matt Mansfield of Small Business Trends. “From inventory control to sales/quotes, purchase orders, contact management and reports, you’ll find a lot to like in this solution.”

  1. Financial analysis tool:Once your business plan is solid and you know what you have in stock, you can begin analyzing where your company stands financially. The SBA recommends Score’s vast array of financial statement templates (https://www.score.org/resources/business-planning-financial-statements-template-gallery), so you can keep up to date on your cash flow, profits and losses, and more — all in one place.
  2. Accounting software: Find a computerized accounting system that will streamline your data. Intuit QuickBooks is always a popular choice, as it can simplify, automate and track financial information, including tax data. Another option, acclaimed by Catherine Clifford of Entrepreneur.com, is inDinero.

“inDinero pulls your transaction history from banks, credit cards and financial accounts and organizes it for you. There is no tedious data entry; you just input your account numbers,” she writes, continuing, “It sorts transactions by category — such as payroll, advertising and dining — and tracks spending changes each month. It also creates accounting reports for you.”

  1. Invoicing software: Before you organize money with the accounting tools described above, you must obtain payments from clients. Get on that with products like Bitrix, a service Mansfield likes, which will save you time and leave little room for mistakes. Best of all, the basic level is free of charge.
  2. Credit card processing method:Obtaining payments and tracking them is easy when you can accommodate credit cards. The most widely accepted type of payment these days, a credit card can work at a point-of-sale, a mobile card reader, a terminal or online. According to Clifford, a company called Authorize.Net has fairly universal software available.
  3. Business credit card: The SBA advises obtaining a business credit card for your small business instead of using your personal card. Not only is it easier to track expenditures, but you also get access to a host of business-specific benefits such as employee cards, spending controls and more.
  4. Business debit card:For reasons similar to those listed above, you’ll want a business debit card as well. It gives you quick and convenient access to your business’s checking account at millions of locations around the globe.
  5. Credit monitoring: “It’s crucial for small-business owners to keep a close eye on changes to their reports that could affect their company’s ability to obtain credit,” reads the SBA website. “Consider enrolling in an affordable monitoring service so you can review your company’s credit file to ensure it’s accurate and up-to-date.”

Finance writer J. William Carpenter suggests the FDIC’s Money Smart for Small Business program for information on credit reporting and more. It is available as a free download from the FDIC website.

  1. Business credit checks:Performing credit checks will protect your company’s cash flow by identifying the creditworthiness of customers. It’s never a bad idea to make smart, well-informed credit decisions.

By taking advantage of these financial tools, you will be freeing up important time to manage your company and help it grow, while simultaneously improving your bottom line.

 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply