Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter – BeCOS Bookkeeping Matters!
In our first edition we’ll be talking to website designer Suzi Brown and we’ll also be sharing our favourite Xero add-ons. We’ll be delving into our latest fundraising activities and we’ve also thrown a few fun sections into the mix.
Five Handy Xero Add-ons that could transform your business
As our client base ranges across a variety of industries, from retail to engineering, we’ve tried and tested a variety of different Xero Add-ons. We’re always looking for new ways to make the bookkeeping process easier and more efficient for our clients. Below we have compiled a list of add-ons that have stood out and made a difference to our clients. We hope they can make a difference to you too.
Say goodbye to chasing recurring payments. With Go Cardless your clients can set up direct debits that are automatically taken and deposited into your account. Still not convinced? Here’s more reasons to choose them:
- It’s simple to set up
- The fees are low (less than half of the cost of Paypal)
- Well-known companies like Virgin and Trip Advisor use it (and so do we!) so you know it’s a reputable company.
- They send you automated notifications if a direct debit is cancelled or if it’s failed
- You can have multiple users all with different permissions
We can tell you from experience that it provides you with a sense of relief as not only does it help with cashflow but it saves you time.
Satago is your automated solution to credit control. Not only does Satago help you to chase late payments but they will provide you with an advance to help you tick over until your client pays up. Satago is useful because:
- They can provide you with an advance of 85% of an invoice whilst you wait for your client to pay.
- It automatically sends reminders and statements to clients with individual time and date settings for each client.
- It identifies risk based on client behaviour and then recommends credit limits based on this.
If you prefer to avoid chasing clients and you find it time consuming, then this could be the perfect solution. We can provide Satago FREE OF CHARGE through our partner programme. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or click here.
Make payroll easier to manage with Deputy. Employees can log their hours, breaks and holidays through an app on their phone. Deputy is filled with useful features to gather information about your employees’ working day:
- Set your employees individual tasks
- Monitor their location
- Monitor weather conditions so you can predict peak times for your business and sc
- Employees can clock in and out using their app
- You can create rota’s
If monitoring hours is frustrating, then Deputy could be an invaluable solution.
4. Vend HQ
Do you work in retail? Want to create an efficient online store? Vend HQ could be your epicentre of orders and with its multi-currency facility you can begin to branch out globally if you so wish.
- It handles returns
- It accepts credit, debit and gift cards
- You can create a loyalty programme
- It will email receipts to your customers
- It will work offline
- You can create bespoke reports to track your sales and orders
- You can automate your re-ordering so you never run out of stock
- You can create sales targets
By using Vend HQ you could completely streamline your retail business and make the buying process easier for your customer.
Arthur is a bespoke software created by property management companies for property management companies. It brings together agents, tenants, contractors and owners all in one place. With Arthur you can:
- Share documents
- Raise issues using the app
- Pay no set up fee
- Have unlimited users
- Link it to unlimited devices
Landlords and estate agents can now monitor everything from one place. This can reduce time and money and also improve the efficiency of the buying process.
Not sure how to use Xero? Well you’re in luck, we have a range of courses available.
Can you guess who this is from the COS team? This photograph is either an employee or COS Member.
Tweet us your answers and we will tell you who the mystery person is in our next edition!
This year has been a really exciting year for our charity group COS & Friends. Between us we have took part in The Colour Run, volunteered at Pretty Muddy, held a Big B
reakfast and hosted a Masquerade Ball!
Our latest charity event was our 25th Anniversary Masquerade ball . We celebrated in style and managed to raise a dazzling amount for Cancer Research UK. Thank you to everyone who supported our event. You can read all about how much we raised and what we got up to here.
Our next event will be a pantomime “Oh yes it is, oh no it isn’t!”. Our show is set on a spaceship and has a whole array of sci-fi characters that make an appearance. We’ve already sold over half of the tickets for the Saturday night performance and it’s not on until February! Click Here for more information and to book.
Where to start with websites – An Interview with Suzi Brown from The Smart Bear Creative
What is the most important thing to consider when designing your own website?
When designing a website, there’s a lot to consider. Not only should it look clean and fresh, it should match your brand style and voice, be consistent, have the customer’s user experience in mind and also be optimised for both search engines and social media. It’s a lot to think about and can be very confusing.
If you can’t afford to hire a professional who should think about all of the above for you, it’s wise to do a bit of research and planning before you start. So think about:
- What is your brand voice?
- Who is your target audience?
- What measures can you introduce to make their experience easier?
- What information do you need on the website?
- What platform should it be on to make it easy for you to use and update?
- How will you make sure there is a reason for people to not only stay and read your content but to also come back or become your customer (i.e. calls to action)?
- Where will you host it and will it handle sudden spikes in traffic?
- How will you get it to the people you want to see it?
2. There’s so much to learn, where do I start?
The internet is full of information on what you should be doing but it’s hard to sift through the noise and find out what is relevant to you and at what point should you be implementing it. However, once you’ve done a bit of research, you might be in a position to narrow the search field and find some online tutorials or YouTube videos.
Here at The Smart Bear, we offer bespoke ‘by the hour’ training in WordPress (a popular content management system for building business websites) which allows clients to learn what they need to know at their own speed in a 1-2-1 environment.
3. Are there any time saving hacks you can recommend?
Actually, my time saving advice seems to be to the contrary as I advise you spend hours researching and planning in the beginning, in a holistic sense.
Think about the tools you use to manage your business and clients. Keep in mind your customer’s journey, your overall marketing strategy and what your key message(s) or service(s) is. It’s much easier to put these things in place from the beginning than trying to ‘squeeze’ them in later.
For example, a client wanted to start using a CRM system instead of their existing paper system – had it been in place from the beginning, it would have saved them time and money in administration and it would have been easier/cheaper to integrate with their website from the start instead of having to merge new data with the old.
4. Is there anything I shouldn’t do without a professional?
Professionals are very useful – they have spent years getting the information together and have the experience that allows them to do something quickly and correctly whereas you may spend hours learning about how to do something and may end up learning from your mistakes along the way. However, some people prefer to do it themselves and I’ve seen some great examples of ‘self-built’ websites.
The problem is that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ until you learn what it is. You may not know that it’s best practice to add security precautions to your website, because no one has ever mentioned it to you – until you get hacked and have to (in some cases) rebuild your whole website.
I’m not sure there is anything specific that you shouldn’t do without a professional but there’s probably times along the way that you would benefit from a professional or professional advice. So don’t be afraid to get help when you need it.
5. Do I have to be able to do complicated coding?
There’s often times when you don’t need to do complicated coding – modern website platforms offer ‘drag and drop’ interfaces, visual editors, or plugins/add-ons that do the job for you but if you fancy doing some custom work, and you want to learn something new, then you might want to pick up a bit of coding along the way.
HTML/CSS is probably the easiest form of ‘coding’ to learn as it focuses on design aspects whereas PHP and JQuery are not for the faint hearted/technophobes.
For example, in PHP, one mistake can break the whole website which can be a scary experience if you don’t know how to fix it.
6. Should I have a blog on my website and if so how often should I update it?
I read something recently that said people should stop blogging on their website as it’s going out of favour but I disagree with that. I can understand their point of view – there are other platforms with a greater audience reach (like LinkedIn’s blogging facility) but I think it’s very relevant to have data on your website – on what could be the place your customer first finds out about you and your business. It’s a way to show the customer that you’re an expert in your field, and that you are still there trading. For example, when you see a twitter feed that hasn’t had a tweet on for a year you may question if they’re still trading.
It doesn’t matter how often you update your blog as long as it’s consistent. So, decide on a timeframe – every week, every month, every quarter – and stick to it. Try putting a note in your diary to remind you to both write the blog and post it on time.
7. Do you have any general advice about websites?
My general advice would be plan for the website you want to have in a couple of years. Perhaps you’re not in a position to build it now but why not prepare in advance and make sure you won’t need to completely rebuild it when you are in that position, as that can be costly.
Choose a platform that will let you develop your site as your business grows and ensure the ‘look and feel’ will stand the test of time, fads and trends can date really quickly although they may seem to be the “bees knees” at the time.
And, lastly, do seek advice when you feel you need it – we offer free consultations and ‘five minute fixes’ where if we can fix it for you in under 5 minutes, we only charge £5 and it could save you hours of trying to work it out for yourself!
We have some exciting events coming up which we are either organising or attending and supporting.
October COS Members’ Meeting – 15/10/16
Trafford Networking with the FSB – 17/10/16
November COS Members’ Meeting – 19/11/16
Go Train and Develop Expo – 4/11/16
Xero Introduction Course – 23/11/2016
COS Members’ Christmas Social – 15/12/16
Xero Advanced Course – 17/01/2017
We’d like to introduce Mr Toby Lavelle. This West Highland Terrier belongs to staff member Ann Lavelle.
Favourite Activities: He enjoys sitting on the decking surveying and guarding his home. He also enjoys a snuggle.
Favourite Toy: His Mini Space Hopper
Quirks: Ann can always rely on Toby to wake her up BEFORE her alarm in the morning so she knows she’ll never be late for work at least.