As a small business owner, you’re starved for time. Seventy percent of small business owners say they’re even too busy to eat during the day.

One significant time- (and lunch-) stealing activity? Bookkeeping. Forty percent of small business owners report spending 80 hours per year on accounting and tax prep. Manual tasks like categorizing transactions on your chart of accounts, adjusting journal entries, and compiling a number of complicated financial statements drain your valuable time.

But here’s the thing. Bookkeeping could take minutes. A cloud-based mobile bookkeeping app allows you to conduct regular bookkeeping, but from anywhere you carry your phone (see also: everywhere). And because the app is cloud-based and connected to a web application, you can always access your financial information (even from your laptop).

Here’s how.

Scan financial docs, such as receipts, with your phone’s camera

Time spent: 2 minutes or less

Manually managing financial documents like receipts and invoices is time-consuming.

With traditional bookkeeping, you have to save a physical copy of your financial document, store it in a filing cabinet (whether digital or physical), and then painstakingly match it with the right transaction on your bank statement. This process is necessary so you can prove what you spent, come tax season.

A mobile bookkeeping app allows you to take a quick screenshot of the document. Or you can import the document from a picture you already took. And if your app is cloud-based, it will automatically store the picture on your web application.

Neat’s bookkeeping app lets you upload documents with one click. Open the app, click the camera icon, and hold your document in front of the camera. Neat has auto-capture, so you don’t have to click the picture yourself. It detects the side of the documents and highlights them in a green box. Once the app has snapped the picture, it will automatically crop it, and then you can confirm or cancel the doc.

The app also has a drop-down menu so you can select the type of business doc you’re sending to the web application (although Neat already has default auto-detect). And if you have multiple pages, you can click “Add Page” to turn different documents into one. All documents are automatically uploaded to the “Needs Review” section in the Neat web app.

Not only does the process save significant time, but your financial documents are always on duty, ready for review and showing how your money is being spent in real-time, instead of gathering dust in a filing cabinet.

Match documents with bank transactions in the app

Time spent: 5 minutes or less

Matching financial documents with bank transactions is an activity that traditionally happens at the end of the month (or even the end of year if you dread it that much). You have to slowly sift through each financial document your business has collected and then look through your bank statements to match transactions. It’s a painstaking process, to say the least (and a lot like matching socks: it’s hard to find a match).

A bookkeeping app lets you immediately match transactions with financial documents within the app, either manually or automatically. The step happens immediately after you’ve snapped a picture or imported your financial doc. All transactions are then reconciled with bank statements and ready for April 15.

Neat allows you to connect to 10,000+ financial institutions to match your business’s receipts and invoices directly to your bank and credit card transactions.

Here’s how it works: Once you connect your bank account, transactions are automatically streamed into the mobile app. After you’ve uploaded a financial document, you can tap “Match” to check for transactions that match each other. If there are possible matches (Neat will tell you if you have one), click “Start Matching.” You’ll then see documents that are ready to be matched based on the date and amount recorded.

You can further categorize transactions, such as by “Office Supplies,” on your mobile app or web app. That’s it. Reconciling transactions is done with a few clicks rather than hours of playing the “matchmaking game.”

View your overall cashflow

Time spent: 5 minutes or less

With traditional bookkeeping, it’s almost impossible to see how company dollars are being spent, unless you’re spending significant time to track expenses on a daily basis.

Even then, you don’t have a clear overall picture of cash flow (aka money going in and money going out) which isn’t good for your business’s health. And if you only check cash flow once a month, a quarter, or even a year, the information is stale. There even might have been inaccurate transactions that you didn’t catch.

A cloud-based mobile bookkeeping app means that all financial documents and matched transactions are in one place, accurate, chock-full of insights, and immediately accessible in your web app. You can view transactions and check your cash flow as needed on your laptop. As such, you’re always on top of your business’s financials and can plan for the future.

Neat currently offers this view with the web application, based on the data from the mobile bookkeeping app. Simply upload financial documents and match transactions on the go within the Neat bookkeeping app. This information is saved in the cloud, so when you get back to your desk, you can look at your overall spending for the month in the Neat dashboard.

The platform offers real-time transaction insights as well as helpful reports, so you don’t have to waste time trying to piece together how much you spent or find out about inaccurate transactions months later. You can then strategically plan spending for the month and the year.

Hint: Neat’s mobile bookkeeping app will also offer business and cash flow insights just like the web app in the future. Stay tuned!

Choose a bookkeeping app that simplifies bookkeeping tasks.

Remove time-consuming bookkeeping activities with an intuitive, cloud-based bookkeeping app. When choosing an app, ensure that it matches with the capabilities list above. The app should also be:

  • Connected to your bank account. Your bookkeeping app should have features like bank account connections so your transactions are streamed automatically and can be matched with your financial documents.
  • Easy to use. Bookkeeping shouldn’t be complicated. Choose a bookkeeping app that doesn’t add unnecessary steps to the process, such as matching journal entries with transactions.
  • Cloud-based. Your mobile bookkeeping app should be cloud-based so that it connects information with a web application. That way, you can upload and access your information on the road or at home.

No matter where you are — in a different state at a trade show or running errands in your own town — bookkeeping is an activity that can be completed in just minutes rather than hours with just a few simple clicks on your phone. Use it to get back some time in your day (including time to eat!).

Check out Neat’s bookkeeping app here, and discover how you can quickly complete bookkeeping tasks on the go.