FreshBooks® is an online invoicing system made for small businesses. I’ve been using FreshBooks for 8 months and I LOVE it. It really can make your business life easier.
I work with small business owners to help them get their accounts receivable under control. Very often, there is a stack of past due accounts receivable. I immediately question what’s happening. Generally, the answer is “I haven’t had time to follow up with them.” I immediately get to work on the follow up calls.
Most of the time (at least 80%), the customer responds “I never got that invoice”. There are a couple of ways FreshBooks will stop that response or at least give you ammunition. First, when you use FreshBooks to email your invoices, your customer has to click a link to view it. On your admin panel, you can see who logged in and what invoices they viewed (this shows up on your dashboard, so you see it immediately upon logging in). You will know if your customer is lying to you.
Here it is, are you ready? The number 1 way to get paid faster and increase your cash flow is VERY simple. INVOICE your clients! On time, accurately, and with all of the information they require. That’s it.
I cannot tell you how often I see businesses that are really struggling with cash flow, but they aren’t staying on top of the invoicing. Or, they are sending invoices that are not accurate or don’t contain the basics (like the customer purchase order number).
The book is less than 20 pages, but is jam packed with ideas for staying (or getting) off the cash flow roller coaster. Learn how to get paid faster, establish credit policies, build your business credit, handle a cash flow crisis, and more!
Ask any accountant and they’ll spout off the balance sheet equation (Assets = Liabilities + Owner’s Equity). Ask most everyone else, and they’ll either look at you blankly or have a hard time remembering what goes where in that equation. It’s simple, really, if you just picture it.
Unfortunately, I’ve worked with many business owners who were victims of embezzlement prior to my engagement with them. It’s really not all that uncommon. Why? Because we want to trust our employees.
I’m not saying your employees aren’t trustworthy; I don’t know them. What I can tell you is that’s always the story I hear. “I thought I could trust her”, “we’ve been friends forever, I can’t believe he did that to me”, “she worked for a bank! I thought I could trust her”. I’ve heard all of those from owners who were cheated by that “trusted employee”.
I don’t want to scare you and I don’t want you to lose faith in your employees. I want you to set up some simple internal controls, so you don’t ever have to question your employee’s trustworthiness.
I really don’t want to be a banker and I’m guessing you don’t either. The harsh reality is that any business with accounts receivable is acting as a banker.
With the current economy and banking situation, it’s important to realize that you are a banker…and you should act like one. In times when banks are failing and loan sources are drying up, your clients will be leaning on you more heavily to act as their banker. It’s critical to be careful when lending your money to your clients.
Fortunately, you can take steps to discourage the use of your cash by your clients. You need to put together a credit policy that is fair to your clients and consistent with your industry, but has enough teeth in it to protect your business. If you have employees administering the policy, you’ll want to make sure that the policy is clear and you have an escalation path for potential exceptions to the policy.
The 2009 versions of QuickBooks are due out soon and the mac version gets an upgrade this year too. Unfortunately, they didn’t include networking (multi-user) in this release. I’ve been working in both the pc and mac versions lately and it’s quite frustating that the mac version lacks a lot of the features of the pc version. Some of that is changing with this release.
Here is the list of changes noted by Intuit:
We made some big improvements in QuickBooks 2009 for Mac. The new version is much closer to functional parity with QuickBooks Pro 2009.
——————————————————————————– New look and feel with “SuperNavigator” Homepage Makes it easier to manage your business.
Makes full use of new Mac features like Spotlight and Coverview.
——————————————————————————– Key business information all in one place
More visibility into the performance of your business with a new dashboard.
On one screen, you can see an income and expense graph, customer balances, and reminders
——————————————————————————– IMPROVED! Online Banking
Save time on data entry and increase the accuracy of financial records by securely downloading bank and credit card transactions directly into QuickBooks.