If you are like most small business owners, you use your accounting software to pay bills, invoice your customers and keep track of your cash balances. But what if your software could actually help you make money?
A few years ago, my business coach Arnold Goldman and I battled this idea around for almost two years. Neither of us could understand why small business owners would not want to meet with their CPA to understand what their numbers mean. The problems seemed to be that the information needed to be more timely and that it needed to be much easier to understand.
With the recent improvements in Xero and QuickBooks Online integration with bank and credit card companies, financial records are now almost real-time. Much more recently, companies such as Spotlight Reporting have simplified the process of making numbers easy to understand.
In just a few minutes, business owners can look at their key performance indicators and use this information to make better decisions that will make them more money. Who would want to look at pages of financial reports from their “old-school” CPA when they can look at something like the above from tech-savvy CPA’s who want to bring more value to their clients?
A smarter way is to work closely with your CPA to develop key performance indicators and have them develop a dashboard for you every month. This can be reviewed with a simple telephone call and followed up with a more in-depth face-to-face meeting to determine how to respond to changing business situations.
Accounting software is starting to include some of these features within their programs as well but cannot be customized to the extent that the third-party applications like Spotlight Reporting can.
Xero seems to be slightly ahead of QuickBooks Online in terms of product development and ease of use, but they have been running neck and neck in the past two years on features. Talk to your CPA before you make any changes!