This post was first published in August 2018, but the information may be useful to businesses affected by COVID-19. Please note that some information may not be up-to-date – you can find our latest COVID-19 guides here.
Please click here for Welsh Government’s latest COVID-19 advice for employers.
It can be easy to see online technology and software as an investment of your time and money. However, it’s important to understand the ways that online tools can actually help you to better manage and even boost your finances.
Here are 6 ways that SMEs can use online tools and software to improve finance management:
Accounting and bookkeeping
There are plenty of solutions available to help you with managing your invoices, cash flow, expenses and submitting tax returns. This can not only save you time and effort, but also helps reduce a lot of the stress associated with managing your finances!
Payroll software and services give you the functionality needed to meet your particular payroll processing and reporting needs. Most services comply with the basics of HMRC.
These can be tailored to meet needs such as specific payment intervals and integration with other business systems, such as compliance with different industry schemes.
Although a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is ultimately designed to help you better understand your customers, it is a great tool to help you understand the value they could bring to your business and to make informed decisions about how to communicate with them.
Think of your CRM system as a tool to help boost leads, sales and profitability as you will be able to better target your customers, at the right time and with the right message.
Electronic Point of Sales systems are essential for businesses working in retail or hospitality sectors. This software manages the checkout operation and is what the customer sees when they make a transaction. EPOS can also be used across your business as part of an IT system, connecting into back-office stock control, ordering and CRM applications.
EPOS systems are another great tool for automating and better understanding what you’re selling, what needs re-ordering and will make sure you’re reducing wasted products and money; meaning greater profit from more targeted selling.
If you’re looking to grow sales, it might be worth considering the payment options you provide to customers. By expanding the payment methods you offer and providing a selection of different card terminals, you will be better placed to take payments in person, online, over the phone or by smartphone.
This could help to boost sales by allowing your customers to pay by the method that best suits them, rather than having to turn away potential customers because you don’t have the capability.
A booking or reservation system is a great tool for businesses looking to streamline and automate how they store customer information and take payment. This is particularly useful for businesses related to travel, hotel, car rental, B&B accommodation, events and other activities.
You can improve customer accessibility by allowing them to make and manage their bookings or orders by PC, tablet or smartphone. This ensures the transactions are processed and confirmed online instantly and securely. Some customers prefer immediate bookings and would rather not have to ring up a busy business, so this saves you both time and effort – it’s a win-win situation.
Still wondering which tools your business would specifically benefit from using?
Register for the free Superfast Business Wales service to access a free one-to-one meeting with a Digital Business Adviser who will talk through your needs and provide a digital action plan.