If you’re running a business, like me, there are some applications that are crucial to help you with productivity, management, and operations. Here are some great examples.
If you’re selling products online – whether from your own website, Amazon, eBay or other channels, you’re probably well aware of the headache involved in capturing all the data necessary to file the appropriate sales tax returns in every state where shipments occur. Avalara makes all that easier. The application integrates with many e-commerce and back office software solutions (like QuickBooks) and offers a seamless and automatic way to collect, calculate, prepare and then file sales tax returns wherever you do business, with all documents electronically stored. To me, it’s a required application for anyone selling on the Internet.
Accounting is overhead and the less overhead you have in your business the more flexible you’ll be. Bill.com reduces the overhead of data entry and managing both your accounts payable and accounts receivable. For example, instead of mailing their invoices to you, vendors and suppliers send them as scanned files to an email address provided by Bill.com and the application – which uses Optical Character Recognition technology – automatically extracts that data and imports it into a format for you to review. That information is then automatically brought into your accounting system, complete with assigned accounts, and scheduled payment. The result is a faster process with less human interaction and reduced errors.
Managing receipts while on the road is a pain in the neck. Expensify fixes that problem. The cloud and mobile app can automatically scan any document from an email related to your travel – it recognizes airline receipts, hotel bills, even Uber payments. Or you can just take a photo with your smartphone and upload that information into an expense report for review and immediate synchronization with your accounting system. Once approved, expenses can be immediately reimbursed via electronic payment. This way information gets entered faster, more accurately, and quicker.
I’ve used QuoteWerks for years in my business and have found that it’s truly the go-to application for any business where quotes are frequent and sometimes complicated. QuoteWerks is a stand-alone product, but it integrates deeply with many customer relationship management and accounting applications. It handles all sorts of inventory, pricing, and customer configurations and outputs all documents into a wide choice of formats. I’ve yet to have a client that hasn’t been able to configure QuoteWerks to handle their quoting requirements.
If you’re like many businesses, your assets are primarily inventory and equipment, so it’s imperative that you are using the best software possible to track these important things of value. Unfortunately, too many of my clients choose to do this via spreadsheets which are generally incomplete, unreliable, inaccurate and certainly not up to date. Wasp Barcode addresses this problem by providing excellent, stand-alone software for managing both inventory and fixed assets. Using bar code readers, customers can track and control their inventory, stock and other assets to reduce search time and improve customer service. The company also offers time and attendance systems to help better track our biggest asset: our people.
One Other Thing…
Finally, your best bet for any financial application is to find something that’s tailored to your industry. This way you’re using an application that others in your line of work also use and are part of a community of like-minded customers. To that end, check out Aims360 if you’re in the fashion business, Appointmate if you provide home healthcare services, Coolfront if you sell and service heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems. Ekos Brewmaster is a great system for those making craft beers, FactsMGT is excellent for non-profit schools, LMN is designed for landscaping companies and FieldAware is used by any organization with service professionals in the field.
The most important thing to remember about all of these applications: you get out of them what you put into them. Commit to the application long term, get plenty of training, work with a good partner, and don’t bite off more than you can chew by doing too much at once. Follow those rules and you’ll find that any of these applications will be an application you also can’t live without.
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