Do you want to save HOURS every month, reduce stress, and have reliable data you can use to make decisions with confidence? If so, this article is for you.
My basic bookkeeping routine - including recording sales - takes about 5 minutes a day with QuickBooks Online.
Yep, you read that right, FIVE-MINUTES-A-DAY.
Yeah, I'm an accountant and QuickBooks Online Advance Certified ProAdvisor but it's not my bookkeeping skills that cut the time, it is because I have a routine, keep up with it, and automate as much as I can to ditch redundant paperwork - that means it can work for you too.
I started using QuickBooks desktop for our businesses almost 30 years ago - when it first came out. Over the years, I used both PC and Mac versions.
I moved to QuickBooks Online (QBO) in 2015 to help my bookkeeping clients quicker & easier, because the bank connection on QB Desktop was awkward for our businesses, and as a solution for a local co-op where several people needed to easily access the books.
I never looked back. Honestly, I can't stand working in QB Desktop anymore and just say "no" to a new client if they won't use QBO.
Saving Time & Confidence in Data
*** Repetitious processes where accuracy matters are prime candidates for automation.
Let's get this straight ... bookkeeping is sorting of data into the correct category - doing the same thing over and over, like filing papers in folders. Meaningful reports can be created if you consistently collect and intentionally sort the data.
Key point ... you do NOT need to understand "debits" & "credits" to do basic bookkeeping - you simply need a plan for how to collect, sort & verify your data and do it consistently. QBO automates the collection and sorting of data to save small businesses precious time.
My journey in automation for my farm started with connecting my bank and credit card accounts in QBO. It gave me the confidence to know that if I missed anything, I would find it in my 5-minute match-sort-to-clear-the-bank-feed routine every morning. (An overdraft caused by paying from the wrong account and fraudulent debit card charges were caught before the bank even contacted me because of this routine!)
When you sort & clear the transactions that show up in your QBO bank feed every morning, you save time because you don't have to run around hunting in your pile of receipts to see what something was for - it is still fresh in your mind, I know you know what I mean ...
You can create bank "rules" to automate the sorting in QBO too. For payments that repeat, like phone bills, QBO will get smart and ask you if you want it to remember how you sorted it before. You can then create a "rule" so QBO will remember the category and all you must do is verify, make 1-click and the sort is done.
Reconciling your bank accounts every month just takes just a few minutes if you match and accept your bank feed transactions as they come in. Because your books are already matched to the bank in your daily routine, you just need to check for duplications and errors and click, you are done.
I used to waste HOURS every week manually entering my Square sales and recording deposits before I beta-tested the FREE new Connect to Square app. Like magic, my Square sales would appear in a tab in the bank feed section of QBO for me to verify and accept so my Square deposits and credit card fees were accurately and automatically be recorded for me.
The time saved was pivoted to nurturing my best customers and my sales increased.
Inventory Control Automation
I sell packaged beef, chicken & turkey so I have inventory.
Inventory management can make or break your business.
How do I know? I managed hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory with multiple product lines and inventory types when we owned a tractor dealership and was good at it. For decades I experienced how inventory management affects profitability.
Tracking inventory by weight and package by hand is incredibly complex and inefficient - especially for a small producer who needs to focus on nurturing customers to increase sales more than pushing papers around.
I wasted time testing systems and stressed over how to efficiently sell by weight and track inventory by the package because I "thought" my customers had a burning desire to be charged for the exact weight of their package ... and, most online software will not allow you to sell by weight.
So, I messed around for years using 3 separate platforms to track sales while searching for an automated solution. My online sales were through Shopify, my market sales were on Square, and my inventory and some sales were tracked in QBO.
To get around Shopify's selling by weight limitation, I created a messy & time-consuming process where I told customers to select COD at checkout on Shopify, then I manually created an invoice in Square for each sale with corrected weight and then manually sent my customer an email with the invoice to pay. I was doubling my work AND wasting my customer's time.
Embarrassing shortages on orders and profit-sucking overstocks happened because I had no simple system to track how many packages I had of each size on hand because my inventory was primarily sold and tracked by weight - not a good customer experience.
My inventory management was out of control. I was wasting too much precious time on manual redundant data entry and my stress levels were off the charts because I knew my farm would fail if this was not corrected ASAP.
I simply couldn't take it anymore. So, this year, I took a risk and decided to sell everything by the package and moved all sales to Shopify, both online and at markets, and changed all inventory tracking from weight to packages. I figured I had little to lose because the farm would fail if this problem was not solved.
A free app, OneSaas (now Shopify Connector), connected my Shopify store with QBO so each sale and bank deposit from Shopify would, like magic, automatically be entered in QBO for me.
BOOM! I saved 4-6 hours a week!
Guess what, my sales INCREASED because I made it easier and less time-consuming for customers to buy and I could spend more time nurturing the customers who truly supported our mission.
Today, all bank and credit card accounts as well as my Shopify online store, PayPal, and Square account automatically send data to my books so I save countless hours every week and have confidence in my data. My inventory is only counted periodically when items are low in stock, and I know without moving boxes around what is overstocked.
Shopify houses my sales and website data and, as a bonus, Shopify collects email signups and sends detailed sales data to my email service provider, Klaviyo, so I could finally start the journey to automating my marketing.
How much is your time and peace of mind worth?
Shopify is only $29 a month for your website, inventory tracking, and more (or less if you pay for a whole year), and its fees for in-person credit card sales are less than Square. (I am a Shopify Partner and can help you get started.)
Most farms can get by with QBO Simple Start or Essentials.
You can get 30% off for 12 months with this link so your investment would be $17.50 or $30 a month - how much are hours of your time worth?
This monthly investment is well within the budget of a startup or existing small business looking to run "lean".
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If you are serious about ditching redundant paperwork and taking your time back right now, I have some openings for new clients. Schedule a call so we can see if we are a good fit to work together.