By Inna Kaushan, Solna.
When time is precious you need to as much help as possible to run your business finances. That way you can put as much of your energy as possible into developing your products and services, talking to clients and customers etc. Rather than putting financial management on the back burner all you need are the right tools with some automation to help you keep on track.
Whether you are just at the start of your entrepreneurial life or want to refresh your processes, here are some easy to use cost effective apps to consider.
Organising your expenses with Expensify
Anyone working for themselves knows the pain of sorting through a pile of receipts: you promise yourself you’ll keep your receipts organised, but there are a million and one other things you’d rather be dealing with. It can be boring, time-consuming, and even difficult to manage. A sandwich here and a taxi there, and soon enough you’ve got six months’ worth of expenses to sift through.
This disorganised approach will make tracking billable expenses such an effort you might find yourself not bothering or maybe letting a few costs slip through the net. Keeping a safe record and sparing yourself the pain of sorting through months of receipts can easily be managed with the right app.
Expensify is great for people who just keep adding to their pile of receipts. It offers receipt scanning, next-day reimbursement, GPS mileage tracking, and tax tracking. You can allocate costs to specific jobs, set up unlimited categories, and import your credit or debit cards so that everything sits nicely under one account. It consolidates all your expenses and makes them much easier to manage.
It even comes with a virtual assistant just for you: Concierge. Driven by AI, Concierge reminds you to submit receipts, review reports, and automates things for you.
Your investment: An Individual plan is £3.99 a month and group plans start from £4 per user/month.
Managing budgets, cashflow, savings with Emma
What if you never went over your budget again? With many of us having multiple accounts, contracts, and several credit cards, the challenges that come with managing our money and having everything under control just keep growing.
If you want to be good with your money, Emma is a handy little tool that lets you effortlessly manage your cash flow and gives you the control you need over your finances. Thought to be the UK’s answer to Mint, Emma’s main goal is to improve the financial situation of its users. It works by aggregating your bank accounts and credit cards to give you a full picture of your finances.
Emma acts as your personal finance adviser by keeping track of all your spending, subscriptions, and even alerting you on any overdrafts. Emma can also help you keep track of debt repayments and it even prompts you to save money by suggesting what you can afford to save at the end of each month. Yes, it’ll spot if you’ve been buying too many flat whites!
Your investment: Emma is free to use but users also have the option to upgrade to Emma Pro for premium features including custom categories, unlimited budgeting, and data exports
Simplifying bankingwith Monese
Business banking has changed A LOT. ‘Next-gen’ banks using smartphone technology have gone above and beyond to improve our banking experience. Their apps allow you to manage everything remotely, online, and in the cloud. They are full of features you’ll recognise and quite a few you wish you could have used sooner.
Monese provides small businesses with a UK-based bank account that can be set up within hours. It is completely mobile, so you can manage all your banking needs using the smart mobile app that has been especially designed to provide flexibility and easy transfers.
If you pay for your Monese account, you can use your card anywhere in the world with no fees — yes, zero roaming charges! You can also manage your account in 10 different languages.
Your investment: You can use Monese’s free account that will give you access to all the features but will charge you for cash machine withdrawals and payments abroad. The two paid accounts cost £4.95 and £14.95, where you’ll get a free card and will be able to access some or all those features for free. There’s also a business account (£9.95 a month) where you get a two-in-one Monese Business and Monese Plus personal account. You’ll be able to separate your business and personal spend with free dedicated debit cards and manage both seamlessly from one place!
Invoicing easily with Solna
For some new businesses, getting paid means sending email attachments, mailing pieces of paper, sending chaser emails etc. While it might sound simple, it can often all end up being a massive admin job without the right help.
If you want to get paid on time, smart invoicing is the way to go — Solna is packed with smart features to protect small businesses and makes invoicing quick and easy.
With Solna, users can create, customise and send invoices in seconds. It also sends automatic payment reminders to those annoying late payers and lets you track every invoice until it’s in your account. Invoices also come with read receipts, so no more chasing random accounting people either, and it’ll help you get paid faster.
You can also get a better view of who you’re doing business with and make the best decisions when setting payment terms using Solna’s credit check facility. It’s an invoicing tool with brains.
Your investment: You can sign up to Solna’s free version that provides access to invoice templates and customers’ credit scores for a limited number of customers. The paid packages give you invoice tracking, recurring invoices, advanced reporting in addition to more customers and templates.
Getting the money in with Stripe
As a new business, maintaining your cash flow is crucial, so it’s in your best interest to avoid long delays between the time of sale and getting paid. Offering your customers multiple payment options is one way to avoid this — the more payment options you offer, the fewer excuses your clients have to delay payment.
These days, whether you provide a service or sell a product you need to be able to accept an array of payments: online, mobile or contactless.
Stripe is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to get paid. Used by millions of businesses, Stripe is secure and easy for your customers to use and allows you to accept online and in-person payments from anyone in any country.
Your investment: Stripe charges a standard 1.4% transaction charge plus a 20p per transaction fee for European cards and 2.9% plus a 20p fee for non-European cards. There are no setup, monthly or hidden fees and you only have to pay for what you use.
For a new and developing business finance is your lifeblood. Make use of these easy and low-cost apps to help you manage your business and personal finances well from the get-go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Inna Kaushan is co-founder of Solna, a smart invoicing platform powered by credit score data. Solna speeds up the invoicing and payment process for freelancers and small businesses. Through leveraged credit data that is overlaid on the platform’s invoicing and reporting functionality, users get a clear picture of their customer’s financial health and their overall exposure to risk. The system’s automated credit control functionality automatically chases overdue invoices – freeing up time and ensuring faster payment. www.solna.io