It’s not hard to catch a small business owner saying, “there has to be a better way to do this.” We’ve made it our purpose to figure out those better ways to do what you need to do daily. Frankly, I feel like we have enough technology at our disposal to launch a rocket or two. It’s all that stuff you know you probably need, but don’t know how to get started using. We can help. Here’s a walkthrough of just a few technology solutions, and some suggested smartphone apps as well. We either personally use all of these or have implemented them for one or more of our clients. If you are interested in learning more about them, I have included our phone number at the bottom or you can fill out the form to send us an email.
Email programs have come a long way. They’ve managed to integrate with calendar programs and all sorts of good stuff. But anyone who is regularly juggling multiple projects at one time finds out pretty quickly that they still fall short of what you need in organization. We had a client ask us for help in this regard. I began the tedious task of building an elaborate rules system, within their email client, that would filter certain emails to certain folders based on what project they were for. No matter what you do, this setup will never work perfect, and it still leaves you searching through different emails to find what you’re looking for. Then I found the tool that helped life make sense again. The client was hesitant to introduce this tool because they felt like it would cause double entry of communications. It runs as a web app that allows team members to assign tasks for one another, house all communications in one spot for the same project, and has become an online filing system for pertinent paperwork. Instead of double entry, it has actually caused less communications overall. Every single team member now has more peace of mind, and I don’t mind saying it made us better accountants as well.
Some of you will read this and be surprised people still use paper time sheets. Those of you reading this using paper time sheets will be surprised there’s anything else, and yes, it will work for you. I’ll try not getting into a moral discussion about what’s wrong with humans, but if you pay them hourly, and you ask them how many hours they worked last week, they will at minimum tell you a number that got rounded up. Not all of them, but perhaps most of them. How bad can it be? It can go so far as to be called nothing less than embezzlement. I’ve heard those horror stories. I know you want to trust your employees, but as a business owner you have a responsibility to keep a tight watch on certain areas. We have a time entry system that would work in a retail store, or for a mobile workforce if need be. Employees can clock in and out of specific jobs or tasks using their cell phone, and it doesn’t even have to be a smartphone! As the business owner, you will now know where your employees are. Beyond all of this watchdog talk is the actual most important part. This technology will also help you understand where your labor hours are going and whether certain jobs or departments are profitable, which is crucial if you have any intent to grow. Lastly, it integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks.
Let’s switch gears to some handy smartphone tools. First of all, both of the above solutions include smartphone apps if needed, but I want to briefly mention just a few more:
- Scanner Pro | Printer Pro – These simply are what they sound like. Scanner Pro does a fantastic job of using your phone’s camera to take a picture of a document, and then turn it into a scanned .pdf or image file. It comes in handy all the time. Printer Pro just allows you to print on a wifi connected printer.
- Expensify – I turned to this app when I was tired of keeping a log of my miles traveled for work on paper. Using the phone’s GPS it keeps my mileage and destinations for me. Simple as that. That’s all I use it for, but it also lets you track expenses, or time, if you happen to bill anyone by the hour. Which we don’t, :-D
These aren’t what I wanted to discuss today as they are already fairly well known, but they deserve a mention. Google Drive has become a handy cloud tool for me to send large files with. Last but not least, is the remote desktop access program, LogMeIn. We would literally have to raise our rates if it weren’t for everything this tool allows us to do.
Most of what I’ve mentioned here has been completely free. Many of these programs have free versions which do plenty for a small business owner. There are a ton of free smartphone apps, and even the paid ones will randomly be given away for free at times, which is exactly how I found Scanner & Printer Pro. I hope this information helped. We’ve all seen technology grow at a ridiculous rate. People have found themselves left behind altogether, others have found levels of frustration they didn’t know possible, and plenty have been ripped off as they’re sold hollow promises from someone who sounds like they want to help. If you have a small business problem you can’t figure out how to fix, or simply a need you think technology could help, fill out the form below and let me hunt for a tool. I may already have it. Of course let us know if you would like to know more about anything we brought to the table today.
Nathan // 270-556-3687