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natbooks Blog
07
Nov
2013

Using mobile devices and laptops, you can #invoice your clients anywhere, anytime. With cloud invoicing, you are more likely to be paid on time because of instant invoice delivery and shorter process cycle time.

Most invoicing apps offer a standard form or template for your ease, simply punch in the numbers, e.g. hours you have worked. However, creating an invoice may not be as simple as filling in the blanks. 

A detailed invoice should list out a breakdown of the charges, to avoid unnecessary confusion, be as specific as possible. The itemized list should clearly describe what you are charging for — name and description of the product or service, quantity, item number (if applicable) unit price, discount (usually given as a percentage), tax (if applicable) and total amount charged.

Make sure everything is clear as day, because if the client cannot identify the total they are being asked to pay, it is very likely your invoice to end-up in the ‘deal with later’ pile.

In addition, even though late fee may not be a preferred way to ask for on-time payment, keep in mind that here you can specify this in your invoice as well.

15
Jul
2013

It’s summer! Is your car ready for the summer? Wait, before getting the best shine your car, you may want to polish the payment policy printed on invoices you sent to your customers. 

When you send an invoice to your customer, it is normal to expect to payment before the due date. But, let’s face the reality - not everyone pay on time, and worst of all, not everyone pay about they received your service or product.

To minimize such occurrence, you may want to revise your invoice policy (@ natbooks, we called it Terms & Conditions) and make sure the following questions are well explained: 

  • What will your policy be for late payment of an invoice?
  • Will you charge a late payment fee or interest on outstanding balances?
  • How will you handle invoices that go unpaid for an extensive period of time?
  • What would be your preferred method of payment? 

Creating a standard policy before you send out any invoices would be beneficial to you and your customers, in case any problem arises. Customers do not like surprises. Making your policy crystal clear to your customers will not only bring you convenience, but also build up a stronger relationship between you and your customers.

14
May
2013

Seasoned entrepreneurs, especially those involved in tech start ups, often keep an eye on the company financials. They usually look at their monthly burn rate, or the net drain on the bank account.

Whenever start ups run low on cash, entrepreneurs usually extend the runway by cutting costs. In other words, they have to find alternatives to achieve the same goal at a lower cost, or in a shorter time. Sometimes the  founders may want to cut down bookkeeping/accounting costs by doing it on their own. 

Cloud based applications, especially SAAS, can give start ups access to quality enterprise level programs without the up front cost. As an entrepreneur, you cannot avoid applications for accounting, time tracking, productivity, etc., but if you purchase the enterprise edition most turns out to be overkill or unnecessary for a small business. Most cloud-based apps offer a free plan, so try it out before you spend money on the full-fledged version.

03
Mar
2013

In a post on Evernote’s offical blog, the team claimed they have “discovered and blocked suspicious activity on the Evernote network that appears to have been a coordinated attempt to access secure areas of the Evernote Service.” Now they are resetting all its 50 million users’ passwords as a precaution.

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The incident raised immediate fear for all small businesses owners and start-ups: What kind of data should I put on the cloud? Will cloud services put my data danger? 

It might be true, that these types of attacks will occur more frequently. Frauds and identity theft are everywhere, will you refrain from online banking and all financial and business activities over the internet?  Don’t panic, all cloud service providers are also learning their lessons from Evernote, Yahoo, etc., increasing web security measures. Furthermore, in the connected world, every single device may become a victim - even a credit card in your wallet could be read by RFID Identity Theft.

We are taking extra precautions to protect our users’ data. From our users’ side, it is high encouraged that you use a long and complex password, as well as change your password periodically. Never use the same password for more than one application.

Storing data on the cloud is still safer than on your home/office computer (see our previous post). Considering the likelihood of a car accident and a plane crash - car accidents seem to have to a much higher occurrence, but even very unlikely - plane crash is definitely a big disaster!

21
Jan
2013

I recently read some concerns about “how safe it is” to store financial data and supporting documents on the cloud. I would comment that it is now much safer than storing files on your local computer.

How often do you back up your desktop/laptop/tablet? What if your device gets stolen or breaks? Is your device the only place that you can access your accounting records from? Food for thought, when keeping your accounting spreadsheet on your local machine.

For people who claimed “I would NEVER store my files on some cloud server… they’re much safer on my hard drive,” I always ask them the same question:  Do you have gated perimeter access, 24x7 on-site security guards, and security cameras? Do you have a fire detection and suppression system, backup power generators, and a disaster recovery plan in the event of hurricane, flood or earthquake? You can bet your cloud storage provider has all that and more in place to safeguard your data.

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Cloud storage typically uses highest level security encryption, which is actually safer than how these potential customers are likely handling their data in the office. Online, only those authorized to see and use the information are allowed access. Security in a typical paper-based office is not so tight.

Cloud storage has been reported as one of the greatest innovations of the computer age and great excitement ensued, but not everyone is ready on board with the trend of cloud storage to keep data safe, accessible, and protected. All it takes is a bit of time, common caution, and some extra research on data encryption.