Many people think about accounting as a necessary evil, but it’s a big part of running a company and vital in making sound financial decisions. Shelling out the bare minimum for your accounting and compliance requirements may end up costing you more in the long run. This is especially true for small and medium businesses (SMEs).
Unfortunately, we find that many are reluctant to spend the extra funds for proper accounting software, either because they don’t think it’s necessary or because they’re overwhelmed by the number of digital tools in the market.
We’ve been doing this for a while now and have experimented with many tools. These are the five digital tools that have changed the game for us.
Cloud-based accounting software: Xero
Our absolute favourite accounting softwares in the market would definitely be Xero.
Xero is a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution that can automate all the manual tasks of accounting, whether it’s bookkeeping, reporting, or sending online invoices.
All the information is stored securely in a cloud, which means there are no downtimes and no need to invest in physical storage. You can do your finances wherever and whenever you want to, as long as there’s an internet connection.
Xero can integrate with over 800 applications to enhance your business processes. Managing invoices on the go and receiving payments from your clients anytime are just a few of the benefits of using Xero.
All of the other digital tools that we use can be integrated with Xero, and since Xero has a wide range of applications, we can customise the toolset for each of our customers.
We’ve tried several other softwares, but we find that the modules and user experience that Xero provides is the most suitable for many small businesses. And because it’s so easy to use, even non-accountants can work with it.
If you’re worried about Xero’s compatibility with local companies, we’re happy to report that Xero is more customised to local requirements than any other cloud software.
Xero is directly connected to major Singapore banks, which means you can receive direct transaction updates from your bank to Xero. You can even manage your GST F5 with Xero, making your accounting tasks more efficient with just a few clicks.
We believe in Xero so much that it’s the only accounting platform we use at Harvest Accounting. In just two short years, we achieved Gold Champion partner status with Xero for the continuous onboarding of clients onto the platform and we also got nominated for Emerging Partner of the Year in 2019.
Trying to keep up with the daily requirements of making payments, collecting money, reconciling bank accounts, and preparing reports while staying focused on handling different company areas and growing your business can be kind of hectic. Cloud-based accounting can help take the load off your shoulders.
Pre-accounting platform: Receipt Bank
You might be thinking, “Wait, what’s pre-accounting?”
Pre-accounting is the process of getting your data ready for accounting. You know how you have to collect every single receipt and go through all of them at the end of the month? It’s precisely that.
Keeping track of all your physical receipts has been a pain point for both clients and accounting professionals alike.
For clients, having to prepare and submit receipts is tedious, time-consuming, and highly manual. Accounting professionals also spend way too much time reorganising and cross-checking receipts and encoding them into clients’ books or spreadsheets.
Receipt Bank automates this whole process so it’s easier for both parties. All you have to do is snap photos of your receipts, and Receipt Bank will extract the key data for you.
Submit your expenses when you’re out with clients, and it can be sent directly to your account with real-time visibility. You can even forward your digital invoices to email addresses, and the documents are stored securely in the cloud.
Receipt Bank digitises the age-old process of sending in physical records to your accountant, and it’s 100% paperless accounting, which means that you no longer have to worry about keeping and filing a stack of receipts every month.
We use Receipt Bank with all of our clients because we’ve seen how productive and efficient the tool is, and it makes it even easier for us to manage their accounting processes.
A pre-accounting tool like Receipt Bank is also perfect for remote teams that need the flexibility to submit claims from wherever they are, whenever they can. Especially with the Covid-19 pandemic, digital invoices are useful since many of us are still working from home.
One of our clients is a fully remote content marketing agency called With Content. When we first spoke with their business director, Jan Chiang, one of her main concerns was getting team members to submit their claims before the cut-off period each month.
“It was hectic for both ends. Our employees rarely remember to do it, and I had to chase for them at the end of every month,” Jan says.
“With Receipt Bank, we can now all track claims real-time, which is really useful for our employees to keep track of their allowance spending. [With their] automatically-generated expense report, I no longer have to manually enter all expenses in a spreadsheet, which is honestly super prone to human error.”
Did we also mention that we know Receipt Bank really well? We’re also gold partners with them, and we even got nominated for Receipt Bank’s Partner of the Year!
Reporting tool: Futrli
As your business continues to expand, sometimes you need a more in-depth analysis of your reports or more detailed measurements for your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Xero already has built-in reporting tools that can provide you with graphical analyses of your data—stuff that’s more advanced than your standard Profit and Loss (P&L) and Balance Sheet (BS) statements.
But if you need more in-depth forecasting tools, we would recommend Futrli.
Futrli gives you a view of your business’s performance and cash flow and predicts your sales and expenditure trends. When the pandemic hit, a lot of our clients were rattled by the uncertainty of the situation. But we made it a point to do monthly check-ins to discuss their business’ financial health and get a forecast of what the next few months would look like.
These discussions along with the data from the forecasting tools can be used for making sound financial decisions. That’s less uncertainty for your small business in these uncertain times.
Payroll software: HReasily
The list of employees and clients may grow as your company grows, which means payroll gets a little more complicated. This is where payroll software would come in handy.
Look for one that’s adapted to Singapore’s employment requirements, such as Central Provident Fund (CPF) contribution rates that change based on the employee’s age. Take note of the compulsory Skills Development Levies and employee contributions to Self-Help Groups by ethnicity as well.
Fortunately, there are localised cloud payroll platforms that can help simplify matters. We recommend HReasily.
HReasily’s payroll software can integrate and feed payroll data into Xero, which means that all your data can be stored in the cloud, and numbers can be processed on your behalf.
Employees can also apply for leave on HReasily. Managers can view and approve these leaves on the platform, and the transactions will automatically reflect in the employees monthly payroll.
HReasily also generates and uploads salary payments and CPF submission files into banks and the CPF portal, respectively. Submissions for IR8A to the tax authorities are also fully automated every year.
Our client, Nas Daily, also uses a cloud-based payroll software for his team. Nas Daily’s team has expanded from three to 40 in just under two years—that is definitely a huge increase in team size. But this also meant that payroll became more challenging, and it was vital that he had a cloud-based software to keep up and ensure each employee was paid the right amount at the right time. Nas Daily also uses it to keep track of employee birthdays!
We also provide payroll as a service to help ease the burden of having to handle the process of paying your clients and employees. If you want to reap the benefits of a payroll software without necessarily managing the system yourself, you can count on us to do it for you.
Inventory management systems: Stock and Buy
If you run an e-commerce company or any company with physical goods and high transaction volume, we recommend having an inventory management software that can integrate with Xero.
A tool like Stock and Buy can help you track, manage, and organise inventory levels, orders, and sales. If you wish to purchase inventory in multiple currencies or have difficulties handling product bundles, Stock and Buy has features that can streamline these processes. Best of all it can speak to your Shopify store and also integrate with Xero.
Often accounting for retail and businesses with physical inventory can be a real headache. stock-keeping units (SKU) get too much to handle when the items that you sell begin to increase. When combined with increased sales, tracking orders can become complex very quickly.
If you’re selling sportswear, like our client Trybe, imagine you have one style of sports bra. When you offer this style in three different colours with various sizes, you’re soon going to have a headache. And we’re just talking about sports bras here. Imagine having multiple styles, colours and sizes of about every other product you’re selling —sounds like a tricky situation.
Stock and Buy tackles that problem with product variants. You can simply add variants to a product that has multiple options (like size and colour, and more). It’s much easier to keep track of it when you can see a list of variants for a product and manage inventory for each variant from the product details page.
This way, you can spend your time managing your sales without having to constantly worry about the crazy number of combination options for your products.
What does Harvest Accounting have to do with all this?
We emphasise effortless accounting here at Harvest, because why make things harder for yourself when things could be easy?
We believe in digitalisation so we offer Xero and Receipt Bank in our client packages right from the get-go. Lots of our clients have found these technologies to be game changing for their own businesses as well. And because we take on all the accounting work for them, they have so much more time to focus on their core business.
If you’re interested in working with us, just get in touch with us here and we can help jump start your financial digitalisation journey.