Once upon a time, the spreadsheet was king. Those infinite rows and columns could keep all your important data neatly organised for you to find with a few clicks of the mouse. Now, there is nothing wrong with spreadsheets, and most small businesses still swear by them. They are a great tool, versatile and relatively straight forward to use, useful for all sorts of businesses and projects. However, with the advent of the internet there are now a plethora of web based programs that could threaten the kingdom of the spreadsheet, and help you manage your data more effectively.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
Why have a CRM? Although it might not be the most crucial tool for every business, it certainly makes life easier if you have a lot of leads to follow up or your ordering and sales process is more involved. Not only does it help with customer service and marketing activities, but it could also increase sales and keep you ahead of the competition. CRMs can help you identify and profile groups of individuals to help with more effective marketing.
Although you might hate day to day financial admin, it is a necessary task for every business. We would also argue that having the most up to date financial information at your fingertips gives you more decision making power when dealing with day to day business management. Here are some great tools to take the pain out of the admin and keep your business sharp! By the way, these systems don’t have to replace a bookkeeper or an accountant – after all expert advice tailored to your business can save you money in the long run - however keeping clear records might lower the bill you get from them! It is also worth checking that whichever system you use will be compatible with HMRC systems and the Making Tax Digital changes happening next year for those of you who need to do VAT returns. Some systems will complete the tax return for you (yes, really) while others give you the information for you to fill in on the return.
Document Management Systems
Storing documents online is a safer, more environmentally friendly and a tidier alternative to cabinet files cluttering your home or office. From a straight forward Google Docs account to a bespoke Document Management System, there are plenty of options for you to use. Storing documents in a system such as this means they are easier to find than the paper counterpart and less likely to get damaged in case of flood, fire or carelessness with coffee. Also, with the new GDPR legislation coming in to force in May, data security should be at the forefront of every business and using a DMS can help to keep your customer’s details and your correspondence safe. Vienna Advantage and OpenKM both get good reviews