At Plasterers News, it’s not all about plastering as we know that although plastering maybe your trade and that is how you make your money but actually running a business is what you spend more of your time doing and that is where a lot of plasterers come unstuck.
A lot of plasterers struggle with the everyday running of their businesses from sorting out insurance for their vans, public liability and managing all of their marketing and promotion. However, one thing that is not really discussed, and that is how they organise their accounts and invoicing system.
When I started plastering I didn’t bother with an accountant, I just did it myself. It seemed easy enough at first, and then I started to get busy, and the receipts started to stack up and when April the 6th came I would have a massive pile of receipts to trawl through and organise into categories and what not and to be honest I hated doing it and it would take a huge amount of time to do.
I subsequently decided to get an accountant, and suddenly my life became easy. All I had was 12 envelopes, and I stuck that month’s receipts in there and then at the end of the year I would hand them to my accountant.
That method worked up until I needed to give invoices out to customers and start organising the order and what not. I would be so far behind with invoicing that I swear I would forget if had invoiced someone and they had not paid.
The other thing was that I had no idea where I was financially and whether my company was even making any money, and that started to worry me. Oh and on the side of plastering I had a few online businesses that also created receipts and invoices so it was starting to get complicated.
So here where the main problems
- Invoicing took ages and a lot or messing around
- Organising reciepts was complicated and time consuming
- Keeping track of who has paid and who hasn’t
- Not knowing if you company was making money
So these were my problems, and I wanted a solution that was easy to use but also accessible from anywhere in the world as I like to travel a lot, furthermore, the risk of losing a laptop was quite high so it had to be cloud based.
I looked at Quickbooks and to be honest they really annoyed me, all they tried to do was get me to upgrade to the more expensive package and in the end I told then to do one as the software was tragic and very complicated. Bearing in mind I am very tech savvy, and I struggled to get my head around things with QuickBooks.
The next solution was not a very obvious one, but it was great and very affordable. In fact, it is only a small fee each month but had so many benefits it was rude not to go and have a play with it especially as they offered me a months free trial.
ClearBooks are a cloud based accounting and invoicing service, and it is brilliant I have been using them for a long time now and to be honest it does everything I need it too, and they only costs me about £6 a month.
I will go through some of the uses and how it can help you.
So ClearBooks means you can quickly create invoices for your customers and then email them directly to them with just a few clicks of a button. You can also set up recurring invoices, which mean if you do work that needs invoicing monthly you can set ClearBooks to create an email the invoice at set intervals. An example of this is when I charge advertisers on The Plasterers Forum every year it will create an invoice.
There is now no need to spend hours creating invoice designs in Microsoft word or crying your eyes out if you accidentally delete your invoice template. It’s all set up on the system and set up for you so every invoice looks the same and more to the point easily found if you need to.
With ClearBooks you copy your receipts onto the system, and it organises them so that it can work out your profit and loss out. At the end of the year or at any point, you can see how much you spent with any particular company. It is really handy.
I found that putting your receipts on the system at the end of the week only takes a few minutes and makes life a lot easier at the end of the tax year.
With ClearBooks you can see straight away who has paid you and who still owes you. When someone does pay you select the invoice is paid and how they paid and very quickly you can be sure that everything is in order and be certain that people have paid. You can pay extra and have ClearBooks go into your bank account and check for you, but I don’t use this option.
I didn’t realise how important knowing your financial status was until I started using it. I thought that because I had a slack week, the year’s profits were over but when you have all the data, you can see that its just a blip of that you need to pull your finger out.
Knowing your financial situation is always going to help you as it helps make very important decisions and also highlight any wasted money that you may otherwise have missed.
My Conclusion Of ClearBooks
I am still using it and for me its the perfect solution. As with anything, it doesn’t suit everybody, but I think it is something that should be considered, and your accountant will thank you once he gets your first-year accounts.
You can do a month’s trial, and the support is fantastic there are lots of videos on YouTube that can help you and show you ways of doing things but like anything, I like to keep things simple.
If you have any questions, then please either ask them below or go directly to ClearBooks and they will be more than happy to help.