My business sure ain’t an episode of Mad Men. I don’t spend my day lounging on a couch sipping scotch, and I often wonder why I bother to keep an office at all. I’m constantly on the move, and that means my business has to move with me.
Take a typical day: I arrive in a new city at 2am, catch a cab to an unfamiliar hotel, check email and discover that a new project has come in during my flight. I fire up my laptop, and I’m in my office. I find that my bookkeeper has already entered the project and prepared the invoice for my approval. I see that my assistant has blocked out my calendar, and confirmed with the new client. I just to need approve the invoice, review a few notes, and get the sleep I need to wow the folks attending my presentation in a few short hours.
When it comes to the backbone of my business, any business, it is my accounting system. And as a Backpack CEO, I need something that is designed for ultra mobility. Intuit’s QuickBooks Online has been my go to system for years now. Even before I approached Intuit about a sponsorship (and ironically billed them for my services through their own accounting software), QuickBooks was critical for connecting the essential members of my team – anytime and anywhere.
No man (or woman) is an island, even if you’re a CEO, and whether I’m in Copenhagen or Chicago, Manhattan or Moscow, cloud based accounting makes it not just possible, but efficient for every member of my team to have real-time, simultaneous access to every moving part of my business. My accountant, by the way, is now a monster Intuit fan – I give him a password, he pulls the information he needs, and his work is done in half the time it used to take. Our quarterly meetings used to be a review of my print out reports, where I inevitably forgot critical stuff. Now I bring nothing, except a checkbook to write out my quarterly taxes.
Always up to date, accessible to every member of my team, as flexible as I need it to be – QuickBooks Online is a product that is perfectly suited to my company’s needs.
The obvious stuff about online software like accessibility from anywhere, and never needing to do updates and upgrades, of course, are all included. Here are a few more benefits of QuickBooks and some tips any backpack CEO can use:
1. From desktop to cloud – My bookkeeper was gritting her teeth when I told her at the end of 2011 that I was cutting over to QuickBooks Online. She feared I would lose all the functionality. She was convinced I would not be able to import my past records. Thankfully she was wrong on both accounts. Not a single hitch, and now she is Intuit’s biggest fan.
Tip: Backup your data first. I had no problems. But backups are always prudent.
2. Accessible anywhere, even from the public computers in a hotel business center.
Tip: Not all Internet browsers are created equal. I found that on Firefox, things blaze along. Same is true for Chrome. Other browsers. . . not so much.
3. Brand new mobile version – companion apps for mobile devices and your iPad.
Tip: Picture being able to present a winning proposal and get a signature. . . on your iPad! Plus my favorite feature is that you can save all your receipts right into QuickBooks for tax purposes.
4. Add-on services – Credit card features let you invoice and collect instantly. Certain features are an additional charge.
Tip: Being able to accept credit cards instantly lets you close a deal, update your files, and send a receipt on the spot.
5. Cloud-based storage – Your critical data is safe, even if you have technical difficulties.
Tip: For a recent real-life example of how cloud-based storage can save your business, see my article here on how Hurricane Sandy put me in a shelter, but my business hummed along: http://mikemichalowicz.com//running-my-business-from-a-shelter/
Every day small business is becoming leaner, and as the entrepreneurs we are wearing more hats. We don’t sit behind desks, we sit in hotels and Starbucks and airplanes. A great backpack with a powerful laptop is only a start. Great web based software that lets you run your business from any where at any time is a necessity.
This article is sponsored (that means they compensated me) by my corporate partner, Intuit.