Taking Care of Business: The Cloud-Based Software We Use to Get the Job Done
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Every business has unique back office needs, and at Series Next Solutions our knowledge of cloud-based software helps us recommend and implement a bespoke set of integrated solutions that best serves each client. When we kickoff new engagements, our Efficient Back Office Assessment frequently uncovers aspects of business processes that are fundamentally (and unnecessarily) manual and repetitive. Methodology that was sufficient in the start-up phase will mutate in the growth phase to be a drain on efficiency and increasingly susceptible to errors. Our experience in building scalable back offices has taught us that cloud-based tools liberate leaders to focus on finding new clients, expanding to new revenue streams, and spending more time with their employees.
We are often asked what solutions we use for our own business. Our specific combination of software solutions is not necessarily the best fit for every business and industry. However, our choices underscore how an integrated suite of cloud-based solutions specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can help your business ameliorate process pain points, improve efficiency and accuracy, and provide more options for working remotely.
Accounting: QuickBooks Online
We chose QuickBooks Online (QBO) because it is widely recognized as the gold standard in SMB accounting software, we needed remote working capabilities, and because as a service company our accounting does not require a complex or custom-built accounting solution. We particularly appreciate the variety of resources available to help users learn and troubleshoot the software, including a strong network of individual customer support advisors, extensive user help guides, and a variety of training options. Because of QBO’s popularity, there is a high likelihood that other complementary cloud-based software solutions offer options for integration.
When we were just starting out, we chose to perform payroll manually. However, we would not recommend that to clients (or ourselves—lesson learned!) As our company grew, we ultimately chose Gusto, a cloud-based payroll provider. Multiple reviews deemed Gusto “best all around” and lauded its excellent user interface and navigation, good automation, expert support, and strong reports. Gusto company specialists offer free assistance if you need to switch from another payroll provider. Gusto integrates with many other platforms, including QBO.
Many SMBs have their employees track time manually in hard copy notes or on a spreadsheet. Although we are borderline fanatical about Excel, there are several excellent cloud-based solutions that ensure accuracy and are exceptionally user-friendly. We selected TSheets, although we have also recommended Deputy and When I Work to clients. As a project-based service provider, we appreciate the ability to capture the time we spend on each project with the Time Clock feature and the ease of switching between projects. TSheets has an open application programming interface (API) and offers direct integrations with multiple applications including QBO and Gusto.
Collaboration: Microsoft Teams
Where would our team be in 2020 without Microsoft Teams? We quickly pivoted to working remotely thanks to Teams. We schedule our internal and external meetings through Teams’ video conferencing tool and use Messaging to correspond one-on-one or among a specific group. We create Teams and Channels as repositories for each project, storing related files and posts for everyone granted access to review and edit as needed. We even record training videos to leave behind for teammates through the Microsoft Stream integration. And if your business is already invested in Microsoft Office, Teams is free.
The leitmotif throughout has been that the software supporting our business is all cloud-based, and there is a web of integrations ensuring seamless data flow. For us, these cloud-based applications play integral role in our effectiveness working remotely, allowing members of our team to access the software and collaborate from afar. Although we have been physically siloed, these tools have kept us connected as a team, and helped us maintain our service quality.
Although the combination of solutions that works for us will not necessary be the best fit for every business, reach out to us. Once we learn more about your goals and process requirements, we would be happy to recommend a suite of software that can accomplish similar results for your company.