Many Australian small businesses dream of technology that allows them to operate as efficiently as a Fortune 500 corporation. Microsoft Office 365 is often touted as the way to achieve that; but solely because of familiar tools like Word, Outlook, and Skype for Business.
Microsoft Invoicing, Bookings, and MileIQ are the most recent additions to Office 365’s comprehensive software line-up, and they simplify expense tracking, event planning, and mileage logging. These apps are bundled with every Office 365 Business Premium subscription; and are ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 300 employees.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these products and how they can benefit your company.
Everyone knows that the sooner you send an invoice the faster you’ll get paid. The problem is that many businesses use multiple systems to track expenses, send invoices, and process payments. In a worst-case scenario; a business creates each of its invoices from scratch and mails them one by one. But these processes are inefficient, and they often lead to errors.
With Microsoft Invoicing, you can generate and send professional-looking estimates and invoices to the right customers in seconds. Invoicing allows you to store a list of your company’s products, services, and prices in a central database. After creating an invoice template with your company logo and information; the details of each document can be inserted from your list with the click of a button. From the invoicing dashboard; you can even keep track of invoice statuses and send automated reminders when customers have any overdue payments.
Invoicing also has powerful integrations with QuickBooks and PayPal. For example with QuickBooks; you can easily create workflows that automatically redirect invoices to the right accountant. And if you connect to PayPal; you can insert a click-to-pay button that takes customers to your account page, where they can use a credit or debit card.
If you’re a clinic, consulting agency, or an organisation that provides services on an appointment basis; you will love Microsoft Bookings. Bookings allows you to easily set up a webpage where your clients and partners can book appointments through a user-friendly interface that shows when staff members are available. No longer would you have to schedule meetings in person or over the phone.
Whenever an appointment is requested, Bookings automatically sends customers a confirmation email that includes details of the appointment, directions, and a link to change or cancel their request. And to minimise no-show rates; the app also lets you email automated reminders as the date of an appointment approaches.
On the business end, Bookings comes with a shared calendar displaying all pending and confirmed appointments; thereby helping you track down what each employee is doing at any given time. You can even set reminder emails for you and your staff so no one forgets about an appointment. And if you want to customise your booking page, you can add new staff calendars, update your services and pricing, and record customer preferences.
The best part is that you and your customers can access all this from your mobile phone; meaning more business for you and a better customer experience for the people you serve.
If you drive your personal car for business purposes; tracking your mileage has a substantial impact on tax deductions and reimbursements come year’s end.
However, the entire process is extremely tedious and error-prone. Assuming you actually remember to log your trips, you have to manually record the date, destination, and distance travelled in a spreadsheet. What’s more, the log needs to be properly formatted to qualify for ATO tax claims and/or company reimbursements.
Microsoft MileIQ eliminates these problem with automatic mileage tracking. The app uses your smartphone’s built-in GPS to detect when you go for a drive and record all the necessary information. Once your journey ends, the app produces a summary of your trip and allows you to classify it as either personal or business by swiping left or right. From there, you can add specific details about the purpose of the trip; such as driving for a sales meeting or an out-of-town convention.
On top of all that, MileIQ also keeps a running tally of how much your business-related drives are worth. At the end of the fiscal year; the app will generate an ATO-friendly report to ensure you receive all the credit you’re entitled to. This app reportedly saves users at least $6,900 per year in deductions and reimbursements; and two hours a week on manual data entry.
Combine Office 365 apps for greater efficiency
While each of these apps offers plenty of functionality by themselves, businesses can work even faster by using them together.
For instance, when a customer schedules a meeting with one of your consultants via Bookings; you can set up Invoicing to automatically generate and send a detailed estimate to the client. And when the consultant is driving to meet the client for a follow-up; MileIQ can track the mileage and send it to financing. Just by combining these three apps; the consultant can focus on his or her job without worrying about tedious data-entry tasks.
And don’t assume you have to switch between apps, either. Invoicing, Bookings, and MileIQ all have segments under the “Office 365 Business Center” dashboard; which means you don’t have to waste valuable time configuring apps or transferring data between each app manually.
Business Center shows key information from each app such as outstanding invoices, the earliest scheduled appointment, and reimbursement requests, and suggests actions you can make there and then.
In short, there’s never been a better time to be an Office 365 Business Premium member than today. And given the success of this platform, Microsoft will almost certainly roll out more useful features for Australian small businesses that want to grow and reach their productivity goals. If you want to know more about the latest Office 365 apps or if you need help migrating to the cloud; Empower IT is the solution. Give us a call to experience the benefits of our Office 365 services today!