Credit management and collection is the important part of business that can easily become problematic. The awkward phone calls chasing up late payments, the back-and-forth emails and reminders that disrupt your workflow, and – of course – the ageing invoices filling up your accounts receivable as you wait to get paid.
Countless credit management and collection apps have stepped up to automate and streamline the process. If you take a look at Xero’s app store you can see just how many are on the market. Yet for achieving ultimately the same purpose, these apps each have their own features and pricing that will influence which one works best for different businesses.
“As a freelancer, my business is pretty straightforward: I write words for a living and charge people to use them. As a creativity merchant, I’m not paid by the hour; I’m paid for each word that survives the ‘delete’ button, which is fortunate since the left side of my brain is a bit lazy.
Getting new commissions (or business) is a process that involves a bit of back-and-forth with editors over email — outlining story ideas, deadlines and finally agreeing on a price. As such, I never have the need to create estimates and I don’t need to log the time I spend working on my stories.
I’ve been using Zoho Invoice ever since I started freelancing, mainly because I didn’t have a spare five hours to create an invoice template in Excel when I first set up shop. To me, Zoho looked like the easy way out — and to date, it has been.
But how does it compare to the latest bit of accounting software, Reach Accounting? I’ve spent a bit of time using Reach, and for its price point and target market, it’s a pretty handy piece of software for sole traders and small businesses — I can see that it would be particularly valuable for virtual assistants and teleworkers.
As soon as you sign up for your Reach account, you’re asked to enter in your basic, yet important, business information — like your ABN and bank account details — so, without doing anything else, you can send an invoice to one of your customers right away. With Zoho, there was some setting up of invoice templates, adding customers and setting up email gateways, which was a bit tedious.
Then there’s the matter of cost. While Zoho allows you to invoice your customers in Australian dollars, it’s still an American company so your $15 monthly fee is subject to change with the exchange rate; you’re also charged a currency conversion fee from your bank, which is something to be wary of.
Reach, on the other hand, is an Australian company so you don’t need to worry about exchange rates and conversion fees; something I find quite appealing. Plus, included in Reach’s $14.95 monthly fee is the actual accounting software, whereas a full suite of accounting software with Zoho costs a little more.
With Reach, you’re effectively getting more bang for buck and even if I don’t use the accounting side of Reach’s offering, it’s good to know it’s there. I feel the same way about the bread maker I have at home, even though I don’t actually eat bread. Which raises the question: how many businesses would end up using the full accounting side of Reach?
As an accounting novice, I still have an accountant who weaves their magic, presumably in MYOB. I just export and email my earnings for that year, along with my business expenses — which is basically my entire life since I’m a freelancer, so the lack of an ‘export’ function in Reach is a major drawback for me.
I imagine most sole traders and small businesses would do something similar with their accountants and I don’t know how many accountants would be eager to use Reach.
But Reach excels precisely because it isn’t MYOB — or even Xero, for that matter. And it doesn’t need to be. Reach caters to a section of the market that was previously alienated by the likes of MYOB; and now those business owners have a low-cost, easy-to-use solution to their Excel spreadsheet and shoebox-full of receipts. It’s also Australian; and supporting Australian businesses, as an Australian business, myself, just makes sense.
So, at the end of the day, for my money, it’s worth it.”
If you’re a sole trader or small business owner looking for a low-cost way to manage the accounting side of your business, Reach could be the solution. EzyLearn has partnered with Reach Accounting so that you can access a free student account when you enrol in our Reach training course.
The first thing you’ll probably use in Reach is the invoicing software, which is not entirely different to MYOB — or Zoho or Xero, either. (On that note, we’ve also introduced a new Xero course to our suite of online courses.) In Reach you can enter all of your company details, set up customers, enter your bank account details, create an invoice (or use the pre-defined template), and so on.
Where Reach differs from MYOB, however, is that it doesn’t offer a bank feeds service, which means that you still need to manually record each payment your customer makes. This can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you don’t stay on top of it — which can be embarrassing if you set up the automatic late-payment reminder service, and then forget to record your customers’ payments.
The other points of difference between Reach and MYOB is that Reach does not allow you to set-up payment gateways to connect your PayPal account, nor can you connect your Reach account directly to an online web store; functions that are handy for online businesses.
While those functions aren’t currently available, Reach does have plans to make them available in the future. But if you’re not going to miss those functions, or aren’t likely to use them, anyway, then the Reach Accounting software will work for your business.
What Reach Will Enable You to Do
Reach allows you to create invoices and estimates, manage your payroll, expenses and complete your BAS return, among many of the other traditional accounting functions you find in MYOB.
We recommend MYOB Account Right Live in all of our MYOB training courses — not because it’s the latest version of the hugely popular MYOB software — but because it gives business owners the kind of data they need to run their business efficiently and securely.
We have previously blogged about how cloud accounting software now makes it so much easier for you to start a bookkeeping business from home; but it can also help existing business owners operate and grow their businesses.
Perhaps the biggest bonus with cloud accounting software is that you have access to information about your profits and expenses in real-time. This is enormously useful for small businesses to constantly track how they’re going and make any necessary changes.
From a Break-Even Bakery — to Owning 2 Successful Stores
We decided to take a look at how one business owner grew a moderately successful business into a totally thriving one by using cloud accounting software to track their expenses.
Cheryl and her husband, Jim, operated a small neighbourhood bakery in a busy block of local shops. Jim was the baker and pastry chef in residence, while Cheryl, who had previously worked as an account executive at an advertising firm, managed the office side of the business.
“I was used to budgets and targets, so it made sense that I would handle the admin side of the business,” Cheryl tells us. “But, coming from a large-scale ad agency, I had been spoilt for choice in the way of CRM and other software that tracked my sales in real-time,” she says. “I didn’t have any of that with the bakery. Just an outdated version of MYOB!”
Cheryl and Jim estimated that it would take them about a year before they would start to see any real traction with the bakery, but a year had come and gone, and they were still just breaking even.
“Jim would come in and go ‘we had a great day today, heaps of customers’ but at the end of the month we were still struggling with all the expenses, paying our staff and trying to pay ourselves a wage too,” Cheryl says. “Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB,’” she says.
Cheryl says that having access to data they had previously only received once it was too late was a game-changer. “This sounds funny, but I could see we were spending all this money on flour, but our sales didn’t reflect a need for it,” Cheryl laughs.
“Finally I asked my accountant what was going on and he just said ‘update your MYOB,’” Cheryl says.
“I asked Jim if he was over-ordering because that seemed like the logical answer, but he said he only ordered what was needed,” she says. “This led me to do some investigating.”
What the Data Revealed
Jim would bake an average of 75 loaves of bread a day, but sales records in MYOB showed they old sold an average of 40 loaves a day; Jim was baking twice as much bread as he needed and all left-over stock was thrown out at the end of the day.
“We were literally throwing our money away,” Cheryl says. “But it was a learning curve.”
Before long Cheryl and Jim implemented various other systems to track their stock, so they could better manage their expenses. Within a year, Cheryl and Jim had completely turned their business around.
“Now we have two shops,” Cheryl says. “Where before we struggled keeping just the one going. Being able to see what we were spending as we were spending it — that changed everything.”
Don’t run your business blind; use cloud accounting software, like MYOB Account Right Live, which allows you to see your accounts in real-time, safely and securely. Our MYOB training courses will get you up-to-speed with everything MYOB. Enrol today.