When I had the idea to set up my own business several months ago, little did I realise that the 3am brain wave would lead me to hours sat at my laptop researching Ofsted regulations, tax laws and business start-up plans. I’d been self-employed in the past but on a much, much smaller scale in comparison to the one that consumes my waking and sleeping hours right now.
You see, as well as a blogger, I own an out of school club, while it’s not a huge corporate empire, for a mum of three, fresh from maternity leave and absolutely no experience of managing staff, it’s quite an adventure. And with anything involving the care of children, there are strict safety rules to which I must adhere. The whole set up process had to be water tight in its policy, registration and staffing process’ if it was to even make it past the first hurdle, so while I concentrated on legalities the whole accountancy side bubbled away waiting for my attention.
I’ll be honest here, cards on the table time, I was scared of tackling the financial corner. So I did what any naive business person would do and pretended it wasn’t there. but as opening day loomed and my start-up spending increased it became clear I needed support. I had questions that needed answering and a system in place to keep records but with only a basic knowledge of Excel, it was time to call in the professionals.
I’m fiercely independent at times, preferring to struggle and learn instead of asking for help, probably not my best quality, but with a trial of the accountancy software, Xero, on the offering, this seemed almost too good an opportunity to miss.
An online accountancy software, Xero is great for small business’ like mine. I’m a complete beginner so the free trial is perfect to learn your way around without committing to anything. I started off by watching a few ‘How to’ videos, it really y useful to see how to get started in video rather than trying to read and remember.
And then I had a play around putting in some fake details for the purpose of a review. At this stage I wasn’t sure how useful this was going to be for my business so didn’t want to spend too long adding my out of school club details. This was all relatively easy and there are lots of help sections and tips guiding you through.
I also received a call from a very helpful lady called Pam, who was checking up on how I was finding my free trial and if there was anything I needed support with. This is really nice touch and it’s quite reassuring knowing there is easily accessible support alongside the software. It was quite daunting seeing all the options and as much as I was feeling overwhelmed at how much I needed to get going, I can see that once this is done and everything is in place, it will save an awful lot of time.
I was particularly impressed with how professional the invoices looked and even more impressed that all the maths is done at the click of a button. With different sessions, sibling discounts and regular attendees, this feature will be invaluable.The invoices can also be sent electronically which is handy as so much is done via email and appeals to my environmentally friendly side.
To be able to keep track of all invoices, you add payment by dates and it keeps track of what’s coming in. You can also set up online payments and connect with your business account. For the first time in months, I was starting to feel excited at the thought of having a professional yet idiot proof accounts system.
As a small business, my budget for luxuries such as this isn’t huge so I’d be looking at the standard £20 a month package as I need to be able to pay employees and issue invoices. As a freelance blogger, working on their own, there is a starter package at £9 a month. I just need to weigh up the time saved doing my accounts against the cost in terms on an hourly rate before I decide if Xero is the right accountancy software for my business. Although it’s looking more and more like it’s going to make life so much more simpler.
If you own a small business and are looking for an online accountancy software package you can get your free standard package trial here.
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