Dr Logic uses the Slack instant messaging platform to communicate across our team. Over and above Zendesk, our ticketing system it’s probably the app we rely on the most. The main benefit is being able to communicate across our team, wherever we are, without deluging each other with emails. We also use Slack with some of our clients, who have their own dedicated channel with us.
What’s really useful is being able to quickly upload photos, PDFs or files from G Suite. This is great if we want to share out images on social media or share screenshots when troubleshooting.
We can organise conversations into groups, so, for example, we have a channel to schedule tickets out to engineers and another so the team can ask each other for technical advice. We then have private channels, for example, “accounting’ for the management team to communicate with our accountant and bookkeeper. We’re also able to direct message each other or make video calls with screen sharing, or voice calls.
There is a free Slack package, but as you’d expect, the paid-for plans will give you more features, such as group calls, an archive of your messages and guest access. The standard plan costs c £6 per month for each user.
We’ve been using Xero for the past five years and we can’t sing its praises enough. For any small business, especially if you’ve got limited financial experience, it’s a doddle to get to grips with. Xero is cloud-based, which is ideal if you’re working from several locations and there’s also a great iPhone app if you need to approve bills or invoices on the move.
We like the way it integrates with Quotient, which we use to provide quotations for goods or services to clients. Once a quote is approved it creates the invoice automatically in Xero. What’s more, you can set up branded invoice templates and provide payment links for credit cards; we use Stripe to collect card payments. We’ve also linked Stripe to Slack so that we’re notified when a customer pays.
Another app that saves an inordinate amount of time, for very little costs is Receipt Bank. We use this to submit receipts and invoices to Xero, via email or the iPhone app. This extracts the relevant data and automatically completes all the relevant information that Xero needs to create the supplier bill or expense claim. It then stores a PDF of the invoice or receipt so you can ditch the paper!
Xero can take feeds from most UK banks and credit cards, which means it’s very quick and straightforward to reconcile payments and bills. With starter packages from £10 per month and a free 30-day trial, it’s worth taking a look. Sign up for the trial here
If you think of G Suite as a simplified cloud-based version of Office 365, it will give you an idea of what to expect. Gmail and Google calendar work equally well on a desktop or iPhone/iPad with dedicated apps. And by using your company’s domain name it ensures you’ll have professional email addresses for all your staff.
Google Docs, Sheets and Slides is essentially Word, Excel and PowerPoint and as a long-time Office user, I personally love the pared-back simplicity of the G Suite version. Google Drive is the central repository for all the G Suite services and means you can organise all the files your company uses and grant access to everyone or specific groups of users.
Because it’s all cloud-based anyone with access can work on documents simultaneously and you’ll see the edits others are making in real-time. What’s more, you can also grant access or share documents with external clients or suppliers, or download files as office versions of the file if you need to share with non-G Suite users.
We also think that G Suite pricing is very competitive and ideal for smaller businesses.
BambooHR is cloud-based HR software service designed for SMEs. If you’d like to banish all the cumbersome spreadsheets and emails for tracking employee holidays, manage and track performance reviews and keep all employee information safe and secure in one place, then Bamboo is really worth its weight in gold!
We’re not a huge business, but managing recruitment and onboarding and offboarding people can be very admin-heavy. BambooHR allows us to advertise vacancies free on websites such as Indeed. As well as tracking notes from shortlisting and interviews, keeping CV’s and sending emails out to successful and unsuccessful candidates.
We love how simple it is for employees to request and authorise holidays and it also tracks sickness absence as well. You can also use it to run reports and output structure charts and easily update reporting structures.
You can sign up for a free trial of Bamboo here
I’m still surprised by the number of companies that still demand ink-on-paper signatures. With a plethora of e-signature providers out there, it makes the whole process of getting contracts and terms and conditions signed much easier.
If we’re onboarding a new client, we don’t want to waste time posting or sending contracts via courier. Adobe Sign means we can send documents via email to the person who needs to sign it. Once you’ve set up your own signature that’s pretty much it. For any document, you then specify the order of who needs to sign the document and then hit send. If your document doesn’t have fields for signing, you can add these in before you send. Word documents will get converted to PDF as part of the process. And you can also set automatic reminders to chase up tardy signatories!
There are also iOS and Android apps which mean you can track a document’s progress via your phone or tablet.
Adobe offers a free 14-day trial, you can sign up here:
With so many apps out there, it can be hard to know where to start looking. We’re often asked by clients for recommendations or to explore options on their behalf. For advice about how your business can use technology to improve efficiency, why not give us a call?