Public accountants wear many hats, ranging from tax professional for individuals and business or nonprofit entities, to bookkeeper, payroll service provider, strategic business consultant and financial advisor, virtual CFO, and even the sleuth role of an auditor. At the same time, you’re a small business owner and employer, too, which means you face many of the same challenges that your small business clients do.
Considering the important role that you play in the success of your small business clients, it makes sense that they turn to you for many other needs. So whether you’ve made technology consulting a part of your practice or not, it makes sense that if you discover a product or service that might help your clients be more productive in their day-to-day business, that you share the information with them. After all, your firm’s success depends on the success or your clients and on your reputation as a business expert. Not to mention that successful and growing small business clients will likely need additional and potentially more profitable services from you in the future.
With current economic realities, nearly every business is trying to find ways to do more with less, be more productive, to find new channels for revenue potential and to maximize the potential of their resources, whether financial, real property or their staff. Of course, every industry has unique needs, and every individual business has particular issues that aren’t necessarily common. So few technologies exist that can help every kind of organization, even though it sometimes seems that they all claim to be the perfect one-size-fits-all solution.
There are, however, many specialty products and services available designed to meet very particular niche situations. This special section identifies some of the technologies we’ve found that offer significant advantages to various types of small businesses that many small and mid-sized accounting practices have as clients.
The goal: Finding solutions that your clients can use to be more efficient and productive.
The result: A financially stronger client, and a strengthened client relationship for your firm.
Sage Billing Boss
Target Small Business Type: Service-based small businesses and freelancers/consultants, providing web-based creation and management of invoices.
Overview: BillingBoss is a free web-based system for creating, sending and tracking the status of invoices, providing an easy-to-use interface and features that include setting up recurring invoices, creating quotes, customer management options, and the ability to add custom design elements to invoices, such as a company logo. The web-based nature of the program means that the small business owner/manager can access the invoicing system from anywhere, and can even offer access to their public accountant. The system can be used in conjunction with merchant accounts or users can accept credit card payments using their smartphone. Mobile versions of the system are offered for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
BillingBoss offers customization options for default messages and the ability to set up tax rates for those in jurisdictions where services are subject to sales tax. Client data management includes multiple company contacts, email and other information, and data can be imported and exported from/to CSV files. The system is also offered in multiple languages and supports multiple currencies, and the management dashboard shows an easy-to-understand array of data, such as outstanding, past due and paid invoices. Basic invoicing reports are also available.
Potential Benefits: For small service-based businesses, BillingBoss offers a very easy-to-use system for managing invoices. It takes only a few minutes to set up, and it’s completely free, although some add-ons are available for merchant account services and mobile payment acceptance. For those small clients who just can’t handle a full bookkeeping system, BillingBoss makes it easy for them to at least manage the basics in an electronic/online format that’s easy for them to share with their accountant.