Episode 36: 7 Best Business Tools to Boost Efficiency & Profitability
Transcript Episode 36
Welcome to the 100 degrees of entrepreneurship podcast, the show for purpose driven entrepreneurs who want to get inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, expand it to your purpose and grow your business in a big way. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski, a globe trotting CFO whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers to grow their impact and their income. Let’s dive in!
Hey, everybody! Welcome back to the 100 degrees of entrepreneurship podcast. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski. And you’ve got just me today, and I am talking about tools.
I’m really excited to share with you my go-to list of tools that I use in my business, and that we recommend to clients as well.
And I don’t know about you, but when I am searching for a new tool to solve a particular problem in my business, I kind of like it when I find somebody else has already done all the research for me. I can just go to their blog post or their podcast episode and find exactly what I’m looking for. Somebody else that’s done the work, done the research, and then I can just read that, or listen to that, and make my own decision. So, that’s what I am doing here for you today.
So, let’s dive right in!
Okay, so like I said, these are the tools that we use, not only in my business, but also for a number of our clients. And these are our go to tools that we recommend, depending on what type of solution you need. Here is a list of things that we use, so let’s do it.
Alright, you know I was gonna start with this, right? Bookkeeping and accounting software. That is the number one thing that we get asked, What is the best one out there? If I’m just getting started, what should I use? I recommend QuickBooks Online, no matter what.
I’m sure if you asked different accountants or different bookkeepers, or different CFOs, you may get different answers. I know some bookkeepers swear by Xero, X-E-R-O is how it’s spelled. But, it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t know, my brain, like, it doesn’t work well with me. I love QuickBooks Online. So that’s my number one recommendation for a bookkeeping software. It has lots of different levels of access, and different you know, sort of more premium levels and more basic levels.
QuickBooks Online to me is a gold standard. Why? I love it, because it is visually appealing. It’s nice to look at when you log in. And I think, especially when it comes to your money, and your finances and your numbers, which is an area that a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with or scared of. Or they just don’t really like dealing with it, let’s at least have something pretty to log into, to make it just a little bit better. So that’s a very superficial reason. But it’s very visually appealing, I find it personally very easy to use.
Even if you’re not an accountant or a bookkeeper or even a numbers person, you can pretty easily navigate QuickBooks Online, reconcile your accounts, run some reports and be on your way. QuickBooks Online also talks to a lot of different programs out there, it talks to lots of different software, all of your different bank accounts it talks to because it is so widely used.
Most softwares already have integrations built in with QuickBooks Online. It’s super easy to use, it looks nice. And it integrates with lots of different things. So QuickBooks Online is my go to accounting software.
And of course, I’m biased, I know it the best, and so I can help you. So for all of our clients, I really recommend that if they’re not in QuickBooks Online, they go there, that they move their stuff over there. We also, we help them a lot, move everything over there, so that we can really be the most helpful to their business to their organization. And most of the CFOs and bookkeepers on my team are all QuickBooks Online certified, which is just like a sort of bonus.
So QuickBooks Online is my go to accounting system.
Okay, the next question I get asked all the time is what about payroll? How do I pay my contractors? How do I pay my employees or how do I file 1099? And I use Gusto. For all things, paying people, all things people, I think that it’s like a people management software, they’ve really expanded. So it used to be just payroll, and then we’re able to do contractors. And I believe right now it’s just US and Canadian contractors.
So if you have contractors outside of the US, you’re not going to be able to use Gusto to it’s like maximum capacity, but US contractors, and depending on what level of access you have in Gusto, you can also use it for time tracking. So if you have hourly employees that need to track their time they can do that in Gusto, if you have people that have vacation, you know have paid time off, you can use Gusto for them too and turn requests their paid time off.
And you can also use it for reimbursements. So if you know anybody on your team has expenses that they need to be reimbursed for, they can put it all into Gusto.
You can use Gusto for Benefits. So they’ve got, you know, some great medical benefits and other benefits you can set up right within the Gusto platform, like super easy.
I know, as a business owner, you’re like, Oh my gosh, well, I can’t even imagine getting to the point where I can offer benefits. And they actually make it so much easier than you probably think it is. So benefits. The other thing I was going to say at your end, is they will file all of your W-2s. So you don’t have to worry about like, “Oh shoot, I have employees, how do I give them whatever they need at the end of the year for taxes?” Gusto does it all for you, as well as contractors.
So you probably know, if you pay a contractor $600 or more in the course of the year, you have to file a 1099, you have to give them a 1099 that basically shows them how much you paid them throughout the year. And then they use that to help file their own taxes. So as a business owner, that is your responsibility to give them that 1099 at year end.
Now, it’s not really the most fun process to do, especially if you’re doing it manually. But if you have paid everyone through Gusto, or entered all of your payments that you’ve made to your contractors into Gusto.
Gusto does your 1099 for you literally, they send you an email on like late December, like, “Hey, we’re going to file 1099 in a couple weeks, make sure all your records are accurate.”, then they send you another email like January 6, or something like “hey, we’re going to file 1099 soon make sure everything in Gusto is updated.” and then you get an email a couple weeks later, that’s like “okay, your 1099 are filed, you’re all set.” It’s like, Oh my goodness, amazing.
So gusto is your people management, and it ties to QuickBooks as well. So you can make sure that everything is going from Gusto into the right buckets in QuickBooks. And it just makes the whole process super easy.
Gusto Customer service is very good and responsive. And they also have a pretty platform. I know I’m very surface level tonight talking about how pretty these platforms are. But I really think that’s important again, because not very many people consider this the fun stuff in their business, right? Like, who likes doing their bookkeeping, who likes running payroll, I mean, besides for me and my team, but other than us, people don’t really like it. And so let’s at least make sure we have a pretty platform to look at.
So those are the two big ones. Now I’ve got a couple others as well.
COMMERCIAL BREAK: One of the most frequent questions I hear is, “What’s the difference between a CFO, a bookkeeper and accountant? And which one do I actually need in my business?” So I have created a quiz to help you figure out just that, pop on over to 100degreesconsulting.com/quiz, answer just a couple questions about your money management style and your business. And we will tell you exactly the right person that you need to help you manage your business money. Again, 100degreesconsulting.com/quiz
So number three, my third tool is related to paying your bills. So we work with some clients that have a lot of money going out the door. I mean, we all have a lot of money going out the door, right? But they’ve got lots of different vendors that they’re paying. Some vendors want a paper check. Some vendors want direct deposit, and then, some vendors are international and they need a wire transfer.
And oh my goodness, I as sure as anything, do not want to be writing and putting a paper check in the mail, putting a stamp on it, walking it out to the mailbox, nobody has time for that. And if you’re doing that, listen up, bill.com is what we use for our clients that have a lot of stuff going out the door to lots of different vendors.
So if you have mostly, just a bunch of contractors that can do direct deposit that are independent contractors, bill.com is probably not the right solution for you. You don’t need it right, you can do that all through Gusto. But if you’ve got lots of different vendors all over the place, different payment methods, different amounts, you definitely want to look into bill.com. It’s my favorite, you can set up different approval levels.
So if your business, if your organization is kind of big, and you need certain people to approve certain bills before they go out the door, which pro-tip you probably should, right? You don’t want some random assistant being able to submit a bill for $50,000 and having that go out the door, right? Without somebody else approving it.
Bill.com lets you automate all of that, which is really great. So I love bill.com if you’ve got lots of crazy stuff going on with vendors and paying people etc.
Now, kind of in the same vein is Expensify. And if you have lots of people in your business or your organization, multiple people that have corporate credit cards Expensify is a great option for you to be able to track their spending and have a place for them to submit their receipts and tell you exactly what each expense is for, so that then that information feeds right over into QuickBooks.
So let’s think about this. If you are the one person running your business, you have one credit card and you’re the only one that manages it, you probably don’t need this, it’s not really for you. Same thing, if you’ve got like a couple people that have different expenses that they need to be reimbursed for throughout the month, you probably also don’t need expensify, you can probably use the tools within Gusto to submit expenses for reimbursement.
But Expensify is for you, if you have several people that have company credit cards that you want to keep track of. Like, what they’re spending on. And you don’t want them to have to submit like an Excel sheet where they list out each expense and what it was for and then you also don’t want them to have to be responsible for keeping a shoebox of receipts in their office especially, I think about all of us working remotely.
And my team, we are all over the US frankly, and I can’t imagine having my team like “Okay, make sure you have your shoebox of receipts and just mail it to me at the end of the year.” Nope, that’s crazy. Let’s just get it into expensify then it’s all digital, it’s all good to go. So Expensify and bill.com are kind of like your expense bill related options for software.
Okay, so we’ve talked about QuickBooks Online for accounting, Gusto for all things paying people, bill.com if you got lots of vendors all over the place, Expensify if you have lots of different people with corporate credit cards, okay, now we’re gonna move on to a couple of things that aren’t like less finance and just some tools that we swear by in our business.
So the next one, now we’re on to number five, tool number five is Asana. I really like Asana, we implemented Asana about a year and a half ago. And I really liked the way we’ve got it set up, the way I can toggle views and look at my to-do list and look at my calendar and kind of see what other people are doing. I really like it. But I just kind of think I’m like getting to be in the minority.
I’ve heard so much about ClickUp that I’m a little bit tempted to move in that direction. I’m very curious about it. But I’m also very averse to change if I’m being totally honest. So I don’t know, we may move in that direction. We may not. But right now, we are using Asana for project management.
We have a separate Asana board for every single client. So at any point in time, we can really see where the client is at their sort of stage of our monthly process, or any ad hoc tasks that come up, they should all be in Asana so we can really get like a 30,000 foot view of not only every client but also of the business.
So I’m a big Asana fan, I think there’s probably things that it does that we’re not even using. In fact, I had to fill out a form today for somebody else. And I noticed it was an Asana form. And so what I’m thinking is that that form created an Asana, once I hit submit, it probably like, automatically created some sort of task in that person’s Asana board, whatever you call it, which is pretty cool. So I’m sure there’s lots of things that it does that we are not using, but I really like Asana!
Okay, tool number six, I swear by this tool. And again, nothing to do with finance, but I love Boomerang for Gmail.
Now, I started using Boomerang for Gmail A long time ago. I think Gmail has its own like native tool to be able to delay sending messages or schedule messages or file things away into different folders. But then bump it up to the top of your inbox at a scheduled date. Or send you a reminder, if somebody did not respond to a particular email, I love it.
You know, what I use it for mainly is I use it to schedule emails, let’s be real. I’m definitely working outside of Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. And I think a lot of us are, right? We’re trying to balance a lot of things. And I’m trying to be really present with my girls during parts of the day. And that means in order to do that, I need to be working outside of business hours, right?
So often, my girls go to bed at 7pm. So sometimes I’m back on the computer at 7:15pm. And the last thing I want to do is be sending emails to my clients or my team at 7:15pm. Because then what happens is that for your team, they’re starting to feel pressure to respond to you. I 100% do not want my team working in the evenings. Unless they’re doing something like me, right?
I don’t want them working in the evenings, I don’t want them to wake up to 50 emails from me and already feel behind, so then feel like they probably should be answering emails the night before. Nor do I want to be sending emails to a client at 7:15pm or 8 or 9 or 10 and then be getting into like a back and forth with a client at 10pm.
And I’m saying all of this with lived experience. I have done all of this and none of it’s productive. It sucks and I’m just not a fan. So I think we can set some really good boundaries for ourselves. But there are tools to help us do that. And Boomerang is one of those tools for me so I use Boomerang if I’m ever writing an email after 5pm, I schedule it to be sent the next morning so that I’m not getting into a back and forth with anybody when I should be in bed.
And so again, I think Gmail actually has a native function within the platform that does this now. But I’m still using boomerang!
You guys sometimes I’m like pretty old school with my software choices. I’m not the type of person that’s like jumping on the bandwagon of the latest newest and greatest thing. But you know what, that’s okay, I’m happy with my choices.
So Boomerang was number six. Slack is number seven. You probably know this is not going to be new information for a lot of you. But slack is a chat software where you can sort of collaborate and interact, getting conversations out of your inbox, especially when they’re just like quick messages.
I tell my team that if you’ve got just like a quick question, anything that you would preface like “hey, quick question.”, do not send me an email about that, please put it in slack. So, we’ll just kind of do a quick chat here and there throughout the day to stay in touch with my team and we do Slack with a couple clients. It’s not our preferred method of communication but we do that with some clients.
Okay, so now I will go back and recap. Okay, my seven favorite tools, I said six but we actually have seven. QuickBooks Online for accounting, Gusto for all things people-management, including payroll, 1099 contractors, benefits, time tracking, expense reimbursements, etc. all things people. #3 is bill.com, Number four is Expensify. Number five is Asana. Number six is Boomerang. And number seven is Slack.
So there you have it. Those are my top seven tools that we use in my business every day with our clients every single day. I hope that’s a good roundup. If you are like me and don’t feel like doing all of the research yourself, and you’re looking for any of the particular tools that I shared today, whether it’s project management or accounting or something to deal with all of your crazy bill paying, I got you covered. These are my favorites. These are my tried-and-trues and I love them.
So I hope this was helpful to you. I would love to hear from you though send me a DM over on Instagram. If you have a question about any of these tools, or if you have a favorite that you would like, live and die by. Let me know I like to hear about the latest because you know five years from now maybe I’ll jump forward and get up to date with the latest tool.
So send me a DM, I would love to hear your favorite tool. And I will see you next time on the 100 degrees of entrepreneurship podcast. Thanks, everybody!
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Transcript Episode 36