by Todd Spear
Published on 17 December 2014
During peak sales periods and the usual holiday rush, your small business will replace the traditional jingle bell sound with the ring of your cash register. At least, that's what we're all hoping for, right? To make sure that every transaction gets accounted for, you need the right invoicing and accounting tools. And for spreadsheet users, this may mean its time to replace the tedious and manual with up-to-date cloud-based apps.
Bluntly put: when your business experiences exceptionally busy and stressful times (think the craziness of Black Friday), you need to feel confident that your software of choice is making it easy for you.
The right apps can help you automate your billing and invoicing processes to take some of the chaos out of doing business during peak times. And that's important for obvious reasons - like you needing some free time to get your own shopping done!
To help you, we've selected a handful of tools to automate billing and invoicing to the maximum extent possible.
As a small business owner, it's likely that you wear many hats. So it's understandable that you might want your accounting app to do the same. FreshBooks is as as versatile as you are.
It comes with comprehensive accounting and invoicing functions inside a very easy to use interface. In no time you will also be sending invoices and collecting payments on your phone thanks to it's mobile version, which automatically updates billing and invoicing information to the dashboard. The mobile app allows you and your team can also track expenses with ease, and even lets you photograph receipts, making it much easier to keep up with expenditures.
So, regardless of what kind of business you run, you can get paid easier than ever thanks to the app's integrations with Google Checkout, PayPal and credit cards.
Additionally, FreshBooks lets you automate late payment reminders, freeing you from having to deal with that relatively unpleasant task in-person, during holiday shopping rushes.
If your small business depends on recurring billing, you might want to give a closer look to ChargeBee.
As ChargeBee is a fully automated tool, when someone signs up, you'll know. You can also customize the types of email notifications you receive - so you'll be notified when payments clear, or when you (unfortunately) lose a subscriber. In that situation, it lets you act accordingly with a well-timed follow up to potentially recover the business.
With ChargeBee managing subscriptions for you, you don't have to worry about recapturing your business over and over again. And this offers you peace of mind when you're extremely busy and could otherwise allow a loyal customer to slip through the cracks if you aren't careful.
The app also integrates with Shopify, for your online shopping cart, and MailChimp, for your email marketing efforts. These features combine to automate the most time consuming aspects of your online business, so you can focus on everything else going on in your busy life.
Lastly, if your biggest need is better time tracking for you and your team, Timesheets.com is the name to know.
If you've ever spent your holidays rummaging through stacks of time sheets, you know just how much work managing time can be.
But Timesheets.com comes in handy even before it's time to pay employees. It helps you automate time-off requests, and allows you to project hours necessary for on-going projects, which can help with your budgeting and planning.
The app provides your employees with a convenient view of their time records, which can help reduce overtime expenditures. It also offers shift rules to help curb overtime, hours padding, and errors.
Beyond its employee-tracking capabilities, Timesheets.com can manage billable hours, if your business provides residential or other services by the hour. It also automates many of the most time consuming aspects of tracking time, while giving you deep insights into your payroll expenses, and how efficiently tasks are being done.
The holidays are always a rewarding time for business. Of course, they're also a stressful time. If you want some help selecting which app to use to automate these processes, check out GetRank - our quarterly ranking of the best cloud-based billing and invoicing apps.