Small Business – Don’t be afraid of admin!

27th May 2010 by Simon G

We’ve simply been blown away by the responses you’ve left on our previous blog posts; from “taking the plunge“, naming your business and building your business network, you’ve had truly some inspirational advice for other small businesses – thank you! We’ll be announcing the ‘winning’ comments on Tuesday 1st June – keep checking the MOO Blog for updates. Without further ado, today’s topic: Finding effective admin apps

Agh, admin!

For most people the thought of being locked in a prison of gridlines is an absolute nightmare. The brutal truth of the matter is that as a small business or freelancer you are not only the creative driving force of your business, you are also the office manager, chief coffee maker and bookkeeper.

Spreadsheets are a great way of manipulating numbers, creating charts and graphs. They can however eat in to time you could be spending on a project for a new client, or creating new marketing materials to drive your business forward.

The aim shouldn’t be to avoid admin (as this can cause even more hassle down the line). The aim should be to simplify your admin process, helping you to focus on running your business.

A long list of things to do

Nobody can deny that completing you taxes is an important (and essential) part of doing business. Tax forms are hardly fun however! Keeping track of invoices and payments keeps your business on track; ensuring clients are paying their bills helps you to pay your bills. Again, chasing people for overdue bills can be pretty time consuming and tedious (especially if you can’t remember who you are chasing and for what)!

Luckily there are a whole host of productivity tools available online for small businesses and freelancers, making admin much more manageable. We’ve spotted a few favourites across the web and wanted to share these with you. If you’d like to help other small businesses by sharing any other tools that save you time, save you money or simply save your sanity, feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.

First up is a complete small business toolbox from the team at FreeAgent. Their web-based software is secure, intuitive and cost effective and described as “Accounting without the sharp pain & lingering numbness”.

We spotted a review from John O’Nolan (who created his very own MOOd Boards with MOO MiniCards last year) on the FreeAgent site. John say “I was having real trouble with my accounts. FreeAgent was literally the biggest thing in 2009 that really transformed my business, and I couldn’t be happier with it.”

Sounds like it’s definitely worth a try, especially as the team at FreeAgent are offering MOO customers a 10% discount! For those that want to ‘try before you buy’, they also have a generous free 30 day trial.

Another organisational and admin tool that caught our eye is shoeboxed.com with their unique ‘leave it to us’ system for de-cluttering your recipts and documents. In three easy steps the shoeboxed.com team will have your accounts, taxes, expenses (and even your Business Cards) organised!
One of the easiest tools to use is from our friends at FreshBooks, offering a painless way to invoice clients. Add the details of the job, your hourly rate and before you know it you’ve created your invoice and automatically sent an attractive email invoice to your client.
The last tool on our list is the popular collaboration tool Huddle. A great way for sharing important documents with other team mates (sometimes half way around the world), huddle allows you to work as a global small business team.

Do you have any favourite tools for keeping on top of your admin?

We’d love to learn about some new tools, as would the other small businesses reading this blog. Feel free to share your tips in the comments below and the best introduction to a new admin tool will receive a one-year Solo Package (valued at $239.40 USD) from our friends at FreshBooks! Leave your comments below, and we’ll announce the ‘winner’ on Tuesday 1st June!h3>

Comments (8)

  1. Mike Richardson:

    I’m quite happy to pay a decent accountant to do all of the money stuff for me; it lets me get on with the fun bits and they know all the little tax twists and turns! It’s worth well shopping around and asking for recommendations though. Not all are as good as their competition. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little extra…

    Your local Business Link should be able to make some recommendations if you’re struggling…

  2. Chris Houston:

    I have been using FreeAgent Central for nearly a year now and think it’s an excellent service. I have also been impressed with their customer support and response to suggestions on their forum.

  3. Rachel Andrew:

    We love Xero.com for day to day bookkeeping. While we have an accountant who does our end of year and is available for questions I think it important that a business owner has a hands on approach to the accounts. I wrote some of my tips up in a blog post – http://www.rachelandrew.co.uk/archives/2009/08/16/accounts-and-bookkeeping-for-web-businesses/

  4. Ryan Minnick:

    After trying to muck through Quickbooks’ Online Offerings, I discovered LessAccounting – a simple web-based accounting app that let me do all of the dollar tracking for my small consulting/design business. LessAccounting varies in its packages, with a version of it that actually includes an accountant for $300 a month – a small sum compared to hiring a full-time person. You can also track expenses, run invoices and proposals, and log mileage.

    Entering and reconciling my accounts and charge cards has never been more simple – LessAccounting is truly enabling me to do more with Less.

  5. Mary:

    Although this is very industry specific, I highly recommend Tave (www.tave.com) for photography studio management. It not only streamlines the invoice process, but it can track all of your financial info which can be easily exported to the program of your choice (quickbooks, etc). I imagine there are other similar industry-specific programs for other small business owners out there. I would explore those options which may be more tailored to your specific business.

  6. Matt Langdon:

    I use outright.com and love it. My accountant for end of the year stuff loves it too. It plays nicely with FreshBooks too. And it’s FREE.

  7. Randine Graham:

    I moved my business onto Etsy in December to dip a toe in internet sales.The most useful tool I’ve found for managing information like what kind of traffic I’m getting or, which items are most liked by my audience is a website called Craft Cult. I have it book marked with my shop info and can see the numbers laid out in charts. It makes things a lot easier.

  8. Jennifer:

    I also use Outright.com for Accounting stuff and for daily organization I use Dropbox and 2Do (which is an app that sync with ToodleDo!

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