Get into the cloud
Having been self employed for over 20 years one aspect of being in business that I really do not like is doing the accounts! At first I used manual paper accounts which worked well although it was very time consuming. About 15 years ago when my photography business was growing I moved my accounts onto computer. It really did help to speed up the accounts process and made my accountants life a little easier! I have tried various accounting software programs over the years including those designed specifically for photographers. All had advantages and disadvantages but all worked on the basis that you ran the software on your local computer so "doing the books" always had to be done in the office. And remembering to do back-ups in case of disk failure was always left on the long finger! A very dangerous game!
So along came "cloud computing" - something I fully embrace and helps with my long term aim of being a fully mobile business, able to work anywhere at anytime - as long as I can get an Internet connection. My email and word processing / spreadsheets have moved into the cloud using Google Apps services - a great service that allows me to connect to my emails and documents on any device or computer anywhere I can get online, including on my iPhone & iPad when out and about.
For a few years now I have been searching for a cloud based accounting software, again something I can access on the move to keep my business accounts up to date. There are a few on the market aimed at photographers, but I find they are very confusing and try and fit loads of features, many that I don't need, into a complicated and overpriced software.
After many hours of searching and researching on Google I found Kashflow - signed up for their free trial and was instantly impressed. The system can be as simple or as complex as you require and it is so user friendly I managed to get everything set up and working exactly as I wanted within a few hours. The service is completely browser based so I can access it on any computer or device connected to the internet. It can also integrate with other cloud software that I already use such as Mailchimp (for email marketing) and Dropbox (for online storage and sharing files) and you can email clients invoices directly form the software.
I have also signed up to Viapost that allows you to send invoices via the mail without going anywhere near a postbox or having to lick a stamp! It also automatically imports any transactions from your Paypal account - very handy for me as many of my photography workshop bookings from Going Digital are paid using Paypal.
The reporting features are very clear and easy to understand - in a glance you can see how your business is doing, which areas of your business are working well and profitable and the areas which maybe need a little attention!
Why not try it for yourself - they offer a 14 day FREE trial and you pay on a month to month basis - you can download all your data and cancel at anytime. If you do decide to sign up use voucher code PAULCRAWFORD to save £1 a month on your subscription.
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