Add Bills to Your Database
“I’ve already got all my suppliers in my database, so why do I have to have a separate accounting program just to handle the bills?” Well, the good news is that you don’t! You can manage the whole bills process from within your database. It really does make sense to keep it all in one place.
So, what are the key elements of a good bills management process for small to medium business?
Find a Supplier: You need to be able to find your suppliers easily by category. You might have several printers that you have used in the past, for instance, so let’s make it easy to bring up a list of all the printers who have done work for you previously. This is easy in a good database.
Place an Order: Some companies have a purchase order system that requires an approved purchase order to be issued before an order can be placed for some items. Your database can cater to this requirement. And when you place the order, it needs to be logged in the system against that supplier, i.e. you need to be able to create the bill itself.
Record the Bill Details: When the supplier’s invoice arrives, you need to be able to log the details of that (Invoice Number, Date Due, etc) in the bill you have already entered into the system.
Authorise Payment: Some people pay their bills weekly, others monthly, but in all cases someone needs to sit down and look at a list of all the outstanding bills, so they can see the whole picture. They can then make a valid financial decision on what bills to pay and when.
Pay the Bill: The process of actually paying the bill can happen in various ways, depending on the method of payment (EFT, Cheque, Credit Card, etc). In all cases, the actual payment details need to be captured. You will need those for future reference, in case someone queries the payment.
Analyse Your Business Expenses: When you look back over the last 12 months, or so, you can get a good idea of where the money went. Keeping track of your expenditure by time period, by supplier, by product or service purchased, can be extremely valuable in deciding how to manage your business.
If you are not using an accounting package to manage your bills, a good database can do an excellent job of this. And it’s really cool when the suppliers are already in the database. You just have to add the bills function. Think of the analysis you could do on your buying patterns and budgets when you add bills processing to your database.