Are you an early-stage startup trying to grow your business while on a limited budget? Identifying the processes you can digitise and automate can save cost, free up your team’s time, and most importantly, give you more control and visibility over your business.
No two days in the life of a fast-growing startup are the same. Founders often face the seemingly insurmountable task of overcoming challenges with limited resources and manpower, all whilst juggling fundraising, customer relationship management, product development, issue management and day-to-day operations. The list is never-ending and can often feel out-of-control. Adding to that is the challenge of scaling and growing your business while maintaining a lean team in the early founding days.
In fact, if there’s one thing all startups have in common, it’s the wish to have more than 24 hours in a day to complete all these tasks.
With so much to do, businesses are getting smarter about automating routine tasks. Cloud accounting platforms such as Xero are helping startups to streamline their financial processes and integrate these with different functions, such as HR, payroll and inventory, to save time on manual work.
By automating accounting functions, you and your team can re-invest the time and money in activities that directly contribute to the company’s growth.
Learn more about Xero’s easy-to-use online accounting software.
Effective cash flow management using technology
Cash is the lifeblood of all businesses. However, the process of bookkeeping can be highly administrative and mundane so digitising the process can not only save time, but also ensure you remain on top of your finances and establish a healthy cash flow. By using Xero, Moovaz, an international relocation and moving platform, saved half the time that it used to spend on these functions.
“All efforts to book-keep are being kept to a minimal level with the help of different modules in Xero—bills from vendors, sales invoices generation, expense claims and payroll,” says Lee Junxian, Co-founder and CEO of Moovaz.
You can create purchase orders, claim expenses, pay bills, send e-invoices, chase for payments, issue receipts, and even prepare Goods and Service Tax (GST) reports—all on one platform. This eliminates the need for multiple data entry and document creation, which can increase the chances of errors and slow down the payment cycle. In fact, research shows that routine administrative delays, such as correcting errors, are among the top reasons for late payment of invoices.
It is easy to underestimate the importance of timely invoicing and payment. Our data showed that Singapore small businesses were owed a total of S$4.1 billion in 2018, where almost one fifth (18.8%) of invoices remain unpaid in the new year. That is money that could have been invested in the businesses for growth or simply to pay employees’ salaries!
Be in control of your financial position
It can be easy to overlook gaps in cash flow management when you’re busy putting out fires, raising funds, researching new markets, meeting with potential partners, and marketing your company. Cloud-based accounting tools allow you to receive real-time updates on your finances—anywhere you go and from any device.
Moovaz uses Xero to maintain awareness of the business’ financial position and keep track of receivables and payables. “From profit and loss to balance sheets to cash flow statements, Xero has definitely helped to portray a better sense of where Moovaz is standing financially,” says Lee.
You can customise reports to track certain KPIs, such as interest income and month-on-month revenue growth. Toggle dashboards to display account summaries or specific transaction details and ledgers. Compare your financial performance with the budget you have planned for the year, and assess your progress so far.
For business founders who are always on the go, it’s an advantage to be able to access these reports on your mobile phone. These will be your single source of truth to help you make better business decisions or explain your performance to a potential investor.
Take advantage of bank feeds and complementary business applications
Moovaz, for example, is a fan of Xero’s bank reconciliation function. “It has saved so much time for us, especially with the ability to create rules, matching with invoices created in Xero, and transferring the entry to other bank accounts,” says Lee. In Singapore, Xero integrates with bank feeds from DBS, HSBC, OCBC, and UOB accounts, allowing banking data to flow seamlessly into your Xero platform.
Xero integrates with more than 700 third-party apps found in its app marketplace, including HRM such as HReasily, SimplePay and Talenox, CRM, point of sale, reporting, and more.
With the objective of helping startups lay a strong foundation that is cost effective and highly scalable, we have assembled a Xero for Startups [to hyperlink to the Xero for Startups page] bundle comprising special rates for Xero and some of our app partners.
You can also check out Xero’s app marketplace to find more apps that suit your business needs.
Establishing digital-first operations for business success
In the early founding days, it is good to tap on the power of technology to establish a digital-first operations process to lay the right foundation as your prepare to grow your business. Digitising and automating tasks to eliminate inefficiencies does not only benefit your business, but also improves your relationships with partners and customers. By leveraging technology to maintain control and oversight while reducing administrative tasks, you can re-invest your time in activities that have a direct impact on business growth.