With April tax deadlines approaching, many of us are thinking about money, and specifically our business bookkeeping, even more than usual. Unless you’re a professional bookkeeper or accountant, it’s hard to stay on top of all the new tools and resources, so David Spring is here as my guest today to bring us up to date.
There’s no denying that we now live in a digital age, and one which has a vast amount of potential for individuals and businesses alike. But even now in 2013 some small businesses are not yet taking advantage of the online world to manage their finances and get ahead. If you can recognise your own business in that, then take a look at our tips to rectify the situation.
#1 – Online banking
Gone are the days of having to go down to the bank, or wait for the monthly statement in the post. Today you can check your up-to-the-minute balance with the click of a few buttons. As it does with so many other things, the Internet makes banking instant and convenient. Most banks now offer safe and secure online banking facilities, enabling you to do everything from making payments and monitoring your balance to checking your historical transactions and transferring money from one account to the other. Mobile applications for online banking are also often available these days, so if you’ve got a compatible device you can put your finances in your pocket.
#2 – Email alerts
An extension of online banking, getting alerts sent to your email account (or SMS alerts to your phone) can enable you to solve crises and predicaments before they’ve even started. Many banks now offer them, and these can be used to warn you of exceeding your credit limits, going below a certain threshold on your account and in a variety of other situations that may need your attention. Again, if you’ve got a Blackberry or similar mobile device with email enabled, then you can put your financial notifications in your pocket too.
#3 – Online tax software
As well as the banks creating their own online financial management software, businesses with in-depth knowledge of the American tax system as well as the Canadian tax system have created tax software that can be used online to manage your business’ taxes. Such tax software can not only make it easier to work out and file your taxes, but it can also help you maximise your deductions, identify business-specific tax advantages and even to avoid being audited.
#4 – Comparison shop for banking and business credit cards
Just as the Internet has brought unprecedented choice to consumers, it has also provided businesses with a massive amount of scope when it comes to choosing financial services. The Internet can help you to find the best interest rates and the best terms and conditions available for your business. Today there’s no need to settle for a raw deal, as a better one can almost always be found online.
#5 – Online accounting and other tools
There are a variety of online tools and software applications that can help you to keep track of your money more efficiently. Some can be used to track cash flow and draw up budgets, while others can be used to manage investments or organise invoices. These online tools range from fully functional accounting programs that you must pay for, to simple spreadsheet templates that are available for free.
David Spring blogs about personal finance and taxes, covering everything from the latest updates on federal and provincial taxes, to Canada’s top accounting software, including TurboTax and ImpôtRapide. When he’s not blogging online, David enjoys watching movies and dining out with friends.