When it comes to balancing the books, sole traders and small businesses face an uphill struggle. There are enough obstacles to overcome in your daily job already, let alone then having to deal with all the extra admin that comes with being a contractor.
As well as providing quotes, issuing invoices to customers and keeping track of payments, you’ll need to record expenses and prepare your tax statements. It can all get a bit overwhelming if you don’t take action and let the paperwork pile up.
Thankfully with a little bit of motivation and the right tools, you can get organised, get paid on time and get your professional life on track. So whether you’re a van driver, an electrician or a contractor of any other kind, here are a few useful pieces of advice to follow.
Paperwork is a problem for most businesses. And if your work involves travelling to visit clients, you might find that issuing physical invoices and other documents is a real hassle.
Because of this, it makes sense to switch to an all-digital solution; one which can handle all of your bookkeeping needs even if you spend most of your time out on the road, not stuck in an office.
Modern accounting software will fit the bill. The best platforms are cloud-powered, meaning that your records will be accessible from almost anywhere. And whether your needs are very basic or increasingly complicated, you will be able to manage them more effectively with the right software package.
Another perk of embracing modern accounting software is that you can make sure important processes happen automatically. This includes things like issuing invoices to clients for repeat work, chasing them for payments if they are late and even sending out messages to thank them for their custom when you get paid.
As your business grows, you can add in automated email marketing campaigns to keep clients up to date with the latest offers or services you provide. Scheduling appointments and activating time-sensitive alerts can be included. The best software will be flexible, powerful and incredibly convenient for you and your customers.
Unless you can get a broad overview of your business finances, you might be missing out on some important information that could change the way you work.
With modern accounting software, keeping track of sales over the course of each year is a breeze. You can pinpoint when your busiest periods occur, when leaner stretches arrive, and work out how to balance these out.
The same goes for your business expenses. Collecting all of your bills in one place will show you the things that are costing you the most, and could provide you with an idea of where you can make savings.
All of these insights will make a real difference for contractors, because you don’t need to be a financial whiz to understand high quality accounting software. And if you are striking out alone, you need all the help you can get.
Take Heed Of The GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on the 25th of May 2018. It gives people new privacy rights and makes businesses more accountable for how they store and share customer information.
Even contractors need to take the GDPR into account in their bookkeeping. Because of this, you should only use accounting software provided by a company that is completely compliant with these updated regulations.
If you aren’t GDPR compliant by the time the deadline rolls around, you could face steep fines. And even after Brexit, the government in the UK is likely to keep a very similar set of rules relating to data use. So being prepared with the right software is essential.
Another good reason to take the GDPR into account is that it will help you attract new clients, and keep existing ones happy. If they know that their data will be stored safely and securely, they will appreciate that you are on top of things. Building trust is vital to winning long term customers, who can be the lifeblood of small businesses.
Harness The Benefits Of Smarty Accounting Software
Smarty Accounting can help you tackle all of the challenges involved in running a small business as a contractor. Its platform is entirely compliant with the GDPR and comes with a host of other features that will make life easier.
You can make quarterly VAT submissions through the software, work with an existing accountant to optimise your bookkeeping, keep track of transactions across more than one bank account and automate almost every aspect of your finances.
Even if your turnover is not high enough to require VAT registration, you can still use the software to send reports straight to HMRC. So when the deadline for submissions is looming, you don’t need to panic. Everything will be in order if you’ve got Smarty at your side and you’ve used it throughout the year to manage the incomings and outgoings of your small business.
Because Smarty is hosted in the cloud, it can be accessed on almost any device, as long as you have an internet connection available. It also acts as a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system that lets you set up recurring invoices with your regular customers. You can even follow up with them if payments are overdue. No more worrying about whether you will be able to get access to the cash you need to keep your head above the water.
The Smarty Accounting app is available on most smartphones, so you can enjoy mobile access to all of the perks that the software offers on desktop and laptop computers. This is ideal for contractors who are constantly on the move and rely on their phone more than any other device.
Don’t let the pressures of accounting get you down. Take advantage of Smarty’s sublime accounting software and see what a difference it can make.