Today’s entrepreneur is rarely in one place for long. Running a successful business means hopping a plane or traveling by car to attend industry conferences or meet with potential clients. It also means keeping your business running whether you’re in your office or sitting in a hotel room across the country.
Thanks to the cloud, it’s easier than ever to pay bills, send invoices, and oversee your finances from anywhere. Using a mobile device, you can log in 24 hours a day and take care of everything related to your business. By doing this, you’ll keep your cash flow going even when you’re on the road most of the week.
Start at Home
The time to make sure you can manage your invoices from the road is not while you’re on the road. You’ll be dealing with limited resources and cramped schedules, leaving little time for working out issues with your systems. Instead, pull out your mobile device and handle your billing directly from there, even if you’re seated in front of your computer.
Don’t limit your testing to your own office, either. Try accessing your billing systems while you’re away from Wi-Fi and make sure your connection is fast enough to do what you need to do. Be aware that even with all this testing, you still may have issues once you’re away from home, especially if you’re in a location that has limited cell phone tower access.
Choose the Right Software
Even if you’ve chosen a great cloud-based accounting solution, you still may need software that handles other aspects of your business. In addition to software that takes care of your billing and finances, make sure you can pay your employees while you’re on the go. This may mean being able to log in and see the hours each person worked and integrating your timekeeping with your billing system to track each hour your employees dedicated to a specific project.
Most importantly, ensure you have a way to communicate effectively with your customers wherever you are. Set up an environment where they’ll feel comfortable approaching you with any questions they have with the invoices you send. When they call you, answer as quickly as you can, even if you’re on the road. If you’ll be completely unreachable for a period of time, be sure you let them know well in advance so they won’t be surprised by being unable to reach you.
Keep It Secure
Security is essential, especially if you’re logging into systems that have sensitive account information and employee social security numbers. When you’re on the road, you’re often relying on public Wi-Fi and open towers, which means anything you do could be infiltrated by criminals nearby. If you’ll be traveling frequently, a hotspot may be the best option, since it will allow you to connect to a secure hotspot rather than having to rely on unsecured public networks.
If you must rely on public options, VPN software is available that will give you the peace of mind you need to know your information is safe. This software usually charges either a monthly fee or a per-use rate and it blocks your activity from prying eyes. Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, VPN software can come in handy for those times you stop by a Starbucks to get an hour of work in between meetings or those times when you’re working in the waiting room of your doctor’s office.
One thing many business owners have difficulty doing is shutting off from time to time. If you’re having a lunch meeting with a colleague or you’re in a meeting, don’t leave your phone on vibrate and stare at the screen every time it goes off. Unless you work in a life-or-death field, your clients will usually understand if you take an hour or so to respond. You’ll put more people off by your obsession with your phone than you will by not answering every time someone calls or emails.
Shutting off is especially important during family vacations and relaxing getaways. To truly refresh your mind, you need to be able to truly shut work out for a few days and spend time doing things you love. Instead of remaining tethered to your devices throughout your vacation, leave them in your hotel room or put them on silent for a few hours at a time. Make sure your finances are in order before you leave and if an emergency occurs, let everyone know you’ll get back to them as soon as possible. Most emergencies can wait at least a few hours for a resolution.
If you have to travel for business, you need a plan in place to make sure your bills are paid and your finances are in order. Through the use of cloud-based accounting solutions, you can leave your office knowing that everything will continue to operate no matter where you are.