Setting up a business is a busy time, as well as a time when money seems to fly out of your pocket – insurances, equipment, overheads and travel (not to mention wages at the end of the month).
Forking out for the latest, expensive technology and software isn’t always necessary in your first few months; however, there are some must-haves out there that will save precious hours, as well as pennies.
We’ve got a list of software, applications and IT processes you should be investing in when you start a business.
Nowadays, almost every business is using cloud-based services.
You probably use cloud technology already – think Spotify or DropBox. Both use the cloud to store files that are readily available on any device with an internet connection.
Working in the cloud and using cloud-based tools like Office 365 and G-Suite allows your team to work from almost anywhere that has Wi-Fi.
These services use multiple layers of security, as well as managing updates, hardware maintenance and multiple redundancies on your behalf, reducing your chance of downtime and file loss if hardware breaks down or is damaged.
Meanwhile, most of these services offer fixed prices, enabling you to pay for what you need on a subscription basis.
While the cloud provides you with some security and steps to protect against file loss, investing in quality and regular backups is the best way to reduce the impact caused by file and application loss.
Consider how long it would take to get back up and running if you lost all the files and applications on your computer? How much money could your company potentially lose? Not to mention the reputational damage if you lose your customer’s personal data in the process.
Start your business as you mean to go on and invest in a quality backup and disaster recovery process.
As technology advances, a lot of the tedious admin tasks that come with running a business can be automated – hurray!
Automating your backups is a perfect way to make sure data is protected. It also means that you can recover from a loss of data, whether accidental or malicious. However, a common misconception is that if it’s in “the cloud” it’s already safe and backed up.
This is not true.
This is why we automatically back up all of our client’s data from one cloud provider to another to ensure you can recover.
What good is a backup if it’s empty?
Have you ever been told to make sure that you save all files in a specific location? This location is usually on the server instead of your desktop and this extra step ensures that it is backed up. But, sometimes we simply forget to move/save files into this area, right?
Our backups of the cloud are automated, and making sure all of our client’s data is automatically saved into the cloud business server. So, whether they save files on their desktop, documents or pictures, our clients don’t have to worry.
One way to do this is via OneDrive’s Known Folder Move (AKA Autosave).
In the meantime, applications like Zapier and Microsoft Flow allow you to connect services like Outlook, Slack, Trello, Asana, Gmail and social media platforms to work better for you.
With Zapier, your imagination is pretty much your limit. But, to give some examples, you can:
- Automatically create calendar events.
- Track your work hours.
- Send emails when a new Trello card is created.
- Add Slack channel messages to an Excel spreadsheet.
Digital accounting software.
One of the top things new business owners worry about is taxes; submitting tax returns, dealing with expenses and tracking finances.
By using digital accounting software from the very start, you can ensure everything you need is in one place when it comes to filing that pesky Self Assessment to HMRC.
“The government is currently undergoing a Making Tax Digital transformation that will eventually require all businesses to use approved digital software to submit records to HMRC,” Vicky Parkinson of VSP Accountancy says.
Popular systems like QuickBooks, Xero, FreeAgent and Sage are another example of cloud-based services. You can access them on-the-go and all the information HMRC and your accountant needs are in one place. It can also be exported to any connected device you own.
Of course, most of the above-mentioned programmes offer some form of expenses tracking.
One expense that a lot of us business owners struggle to record regularly is mileage. If this sounds like you, you can use a mileage tracker app on your phone, such as MileIQ.
“MileIQ automatically tracks and records the miles you travel by car for your business, allowing you to claim expenses on your fuel accurately. It turns something that was usually quite admin-heavy into a breeze,” Vicky adds.
MileIQ unlimited is included with Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions. So, if you’re thinking of transitioning to the cloud, this is just one extra reason to sign up to Microsoft’s cloud offering.
If you’d like a hand with any of the above, we offer monthly fixed-cost plans that include all of the above set up and more. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.