Well, ok, it has been the digital age for quite a while - but the exponential growth of online retail and employment opportunities for small businesses and freelancers, and the fact that almost everyone in the developed world now seems to have a smartphone, means that the management of our finances really has to catch up.
I imagine we all know the traditional methods of tracking our income and expenses. Boxes of receipts, sales receipts, invoices and credit notes that either lead to some very long, late evenings and weekends for the business owner themselves - or a trek with said boxes loaded into the car to be dropped off into the not-so-welcoming arms of a chosen bookkeeper.
But come on! The millennium is almost two decades old. We all have tiny globally-connected computers in our pockets. We can buy unique, handmade gifts and coveted items from across the world using sites like Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Folksy. And sellers DONT have a big box of receipts and invoices - everything (mostly) is already digital. They probably don't have a whole bunch of time for bookkeeping either, what with the sourcing, making, networking, tweeting, instagramming, pinteresting, blogging and, you know, living that they also have to do to succeed now. I can wager that 99% of these entrepreneurs do not want to be going through their transactions and purchases into the early hours so that they can keep on top of bookkeeping.
Luckily, they (YOU) don't have to. I'm not just talking about buying some desktop software for accounts here because, for example, what good does that do anybody when a call or order comes in when you're out and about and you need to get things sorted there and then? Most of us would just send a confirmation email or make a note on our phones perhaps. Some of us might have a handy app or two to fire off an invoice or save an expense. But that still means late nights with computer entering all the data or pulling it in from the apps.
Which is why I'm such a huge fan of cloud software - and cloud accounting software in particular. There is just SO MUCH it can offer the small business. And to be 100% transparent - I use it for MY finances. Specifically, I use Quickbooks. When trialling all the options (and I'm a born researcher , so you can be sure I really went to town trying every option out) I found that Quickbooks provided the most intuitive interface and excellent customer service. It has a tonne of app-plugins and partnerships and was considerably cheaper than its main rivals. I'll be doing a more in-depth blog post on Quickbooks and Cloud Accounting software, showing you exactly what it can do for you and what a huge asset it really is.