How many businesses do you know that are strictly paper-based? No digital presence, no email, no social media? If you’re like me, the answer is zero. Conceptually, I know it’s possible. I mean, I’m pretty sure the Amish survive without it, but for the average tech-addicted Joe, we’ve become so used to digital processes and tools, that we can’t run our businesses without them. Not to mention that’s where our customers are—online.
But how many businesses do you know that still do their bookkeeping manually and in-house? The answer is too many. I talk to A LOT of business owners every week and about half of them do their bookkeeping manually and over 90% manage it themselves or have an in-house bookkeeper.
I have just one question—WHY? Why is the most important process for any business—its bookkeeping—the last system to get upgraded to cloud status? Why do business owners insist on spending 3X what they need to for monthly reports that are already too old to be useful by the time they get them (often 2 weeks into the next month!)?
What if your suppliers were always two weeks late and then you had to re-check the stock to make sure your order was correct? You’d fire them faster than you could say “viral video” about red pandas romping in the snow. But when it comes to bookkeeping, nobody bats an eyelash when they get their month-end close two weeks late. It’s the unchallenged status quo.
Well I’M challenging it and here’s why:
Your time is worth more
Most business owners spend over 10 hours a week on their bookkeeping or bookkeeping-related tasks. Minus holidays and vacations, that’s over 480 hours a year. 480 hours is a lot of Netflix time. Or family time. Or world-traveling time. Or however you like to spend your time when you’re not stressing over your bookkeeping.
Digital bookkeeping cuts down that time by at least 80%. And for our clients, it’s more like 99%. (Want to be cool like them? Sign up for a free month.)
Chasing paper is only fun in one of those tornado cash machines
Do you remember those? The one that sticks out to me most is from Matilda where the guy on TV is covered in a honey-like substance before going in the vacuum tube. Gross, but whatever you need to do to make that money, I guess.
For the rest of us, chasing paper involves sending multiple invoices and making uncomfortable phone calls to collect payments. It’s THE WORST.
And then there’s the awkward scenario of “Did I or didn’t I” where you have to email your client to ask if you’ve sent an invoice. Oops.
Did you know that 26% of invoices over 3 months old are uncollectible? That means 1 out of the four times you forget to send an invoice or follow up with a client, you end up working for free. As my favorite gif so delicately puts it—ain’t nobody got time for that.
A cloud-based system will help you get rid of the hand-wringing, cringe-worthy collections scenes you’d do anything to avoid. Imagine being the guy who has to shut off the power on Renee Zellweger in Cinderella Man. Horrible.
Most online bookkeeping software allows you to create an invoice and email it directly to clients. It also tracks how many times an invoice is opened and how long you’ve been awaiting payment. You can set up automated email reminders for late payments and warnings to any scallywag who is more than 30 days overdue. In short, digital systems help you get paid (and get paid faster).
The IRS secretly hates you
At least that’s what it feels like every time tax season rolls around. Itemizing and proving your deductions to the IRS is a bit like having to prove to your mom that you spent the $10 she gave you on EXACTLY what she asked for and not ten candy bars. Fine tooth comb is putting it lightly. And as a business owner, you are 10x more likely to be audited by the IRS than the average individual.
While digital bookkeeping can’t protect you from experiencing an audit, it makes the whole process a lot less painful. Whether the IRS (or your CPA) needs receipts, bills, or monthly statements, digital records are easy to organize, manage, and find. So, you save money with your accountant because they don’t have to spend hours matching receipts or chasing down financial statements AND you’re better protected if Uncle Sam comes knocking.
Flesh and blood bookkeepers are expensive
People cost more—there’s just no way around it. It’s why the fast food chains are trying to out-automate each other as fast as possible. The same burger served by robot arms? Where do I sign up?
If you have a bookkeeper coming into your office to help out, you probably pay them $20-$25/hr. At just 10 hours a week, they’re already more expensive than a monthly digital service. Plus, most in-house bookkeepers still prefer to use paper filing and record-keeping, which slows them down and costs you more money.
They also often fill dual-roles, taking on office manager responsibilities alongside the books. If you need an office manager, wouldn’t it be better for them to focus on doing one job well rather than splitting their time and attention? In any situation I’ve ever encountered like that, the books AND the office suffer.
Cash flow better than your last vinyasa
Bad or unreliable cash flow is the death knell for a lot of businesses. It doesn’t matter how popular your product or service is if you don’t have the cash to keep the lights on and your employees paid. Unless you’re on an episode of Bar Rescue, unpaid employees will hightail it to another company as soon as the first check bounces. And don’t force anyone else to become the guy who has to shut the electricity off on Renee Zellweger. Nobody wants that.
Digital bookkeeping can track the money coming in and out of your business to prevent budget gaps and pitfalls. You can see it all—spending patterns, sales trends and seasonality, product performance. In short, everything you really need to know to keep your business running at peak levels.
Without that insight, your cash flow could turn into a slow, sad drip. Keep it strong, steady, and powerful—like how you imagine your next yoga session or cup of coffee. Or both. Whatever floats your boat.
If you’ve finished reading this and are thinking, “Damn, this sounds like work I definitely don’t want to do” you’re in the right place. Click here to start your free month and then scout out a celebratory happy hour to attend after work. You deserve it.