Get your finances organised with technology

Typing on keyboardManaging your finances, whether it's the household budget or your business' books, can feel like the last thing you want to do. Funny how those things are often the most important, isn't it?

Head of Barclays Business Innovation Optimisation, Dan Posner, gave us the lowdown on how you can help make sure your money management doesn't let your business down.
 

Content supplied by Barclays

Make time

Businesses that thrive and survive are those that have a really well thought out process for managing cash flow. They reconcile their accounts every day, and depending on the size of the business, they put time aside to look after finances. This usually means looking at all the money going in and out, a convenient way of doing this is using online banking and having a really clear idea of when money is owed, whether it is on time and being prepared for any money that needs to go out.
 

Use different tools for different jobs

People tend to use online banking as their main tool for knowing what's going on with accounts on a day-by-day basis; mobile banking is great for minute-by-minute updates, if you need to check on payments coming in and outgoing cheques clearing; and you can then match these against spreadsheets or accountancy packages for a broader picture.
 

Take your accountancy to the next level

Smaller businesses often use spreadsheets or go for very simple accountancy packages. However, a sensible step for any business is to invest in an accountancy package, as they can help with all sorts of things, such as your taxes at the end of the year. You can use Cloud-based software, which updates automatically all the time. Many banks offer packages that do this and there are lots of well-known names around that you can trust. But you have to have a good look at them and make sure they are fit for your purpose, as you will need to find one that works for your business.
 

Chase late payments

Ultimately, it's essential that you are organised about your finances. You can be the best in the world at what you do, but if you're not organised then you won't survive. You have to be constantly aware of your accounts, so for example, the minute a payment is late you can begin chasing them.
 

Check people out

There are other fantastic tools to help you, depending on the nature of your business. For example, if you are giving credit, say you are providing a service that someone will pay you for later or over time, you can get software that lets you check the credit rating of the people you are dealing with. Barclays offers CreditFocus and there are many others available. They will give you a simple picture of whether you want to do business with a particular individual or group.
 

Remove all barriers to payment

People's businesses tend to grow when they offer more ways for their customers to pay them, such as credit card payments. Whatever your business you need to make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you, which is where technology comes in. Try looking for low-cost solutions that integrate with your smartphone – there are lots of apps and software packages to choose from, for example, apps that turn your smartphone into a card reader. Do your customers want to pay you via PayPal? Or what about card payments? The Payment Council UK payment released statistics for 2012, showing that 71% of all spending in the UK retail sector (including automotive fuels) was made using plastic cards. Find out how our customers want to pay you and look into how your business can accommodate them.
 

Make sure new technology is safe

When you are choosing a new technology solution, establish whether it is attached to a big name or a big institution, like a bank. When we launched Barclays Pingit for example, it was very new and first-to-market, but users were able to trust it, as it is backed by the Barclays name. So, size does matter, in that sense!

Peer review is another great way to tell if something is useful and trustworthy. If you can find other users who are willing to endorse it, you are more likely to find something you can rely on for your business.

Also make sure you know to whom you turn if something does go wrong. Do you have a helpline or point of contact you know will be on hand?
 

Dan's roundup

Make use of digital channels as much as possible for banking. It's an extremely efficient way to keep on top of your finances and it's generally the cheapest way to do your business banking

Make it as easy as possible for customers to pay you. If customers want to pay you in a certain way, do what you can to make it possible!

Back everything up. Always back everything up, just in case the worst happens. It could be a Cloud backup, of which there are many to choose. Make a decision about what you want in the Cloud and what you want to keep closer to home, on something like an external hard drive. Either way, back up everything!

 

Head to Barclays on Mumsnet for lots more:

 

 

Barclays Bank plc takes no responsibility for the content of third party websites or the views and recommendations expressed by named third parties in this webpage. The material on this webpage is for information only. Barclays Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 1026167. Registered office: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP. Barclays Insurance Services Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the FSA. Registered No 973765. Registered Office for both: 1 Churchill Place, London, E14 5HP. Barclays Business is a trading name of Barclays Bank PLC. Barclays Bank PLC subscribes to the Lending Code which is monitored and enforced by the Lending Standards Board and is licensed and regulated by the Office of Fair Trading for the provision of credit products to consumers and related services. Further details can be found at www.lendingstandardsboard.org.uk

Last updated: 27-Jan-2014 at 4:44 PM