Cashless living is super convenient. Especially for small businesses. No more finicky “petty cash” boxes, reimbursement checks to employees, or urgent bank runs to make a bill payment. Everything happens through credit cards, online bank accounts, PayPal, Square, and Shopify.
But not having one central business bank account makes financial planning a lot more squishy—we don’t really know where our money is going anymore. Bill payments are automatic. Money flows into our Shopify accounts while we sleep. It’s all just sort of happening in the background. If we’re not totally sure if we have enough money to cover an expense, we know it will still get paid through credit (debt is a problem for another day).
The net result: we’re no longer confidently aware of our business finances.
Can we make an investment in a new product line? Hard to say.
Do we really need a loan or could we just cut spending a bit? Don’t know.
Master your spending, master your finances
David Allen wrote arguably the definitive book on productivity, called “Getting Things Done.” In it, he argues for a “bottom-up” approach to your life.
That is, if you can figure out how to master the little things that come at you everyday (email, to-dos, appointments, bills) then you will have the mental space and clarity to think big picture about your work and your life (what’s my vision? What should my contribution to humanity be?).
At Bench, that’s the approach we take with small business finances. You can’t master your finances until you’ve mastered day to day spending.
To master day to day spending, you need to be able to answer the following questions confidently:
- Where am I overspending?
- How much cash do I have coming in (and going out) each week?
- What are my total expense obligations right now?
- Do I have enough cash to cover my spending?
The traditional solution to the problem
The only real answer to this problem has always been: get bookkeeping. If you’re keen, get QuickBooks and enter in your expenses everyday (which no one ever does) and review your reports regularly. If you’re not the accounting type, get Bench to do your bookkeeping for you (that’s us).
Bookkeeping is essential. You can’t file your taxes without it. You’re financially rudderless without good books, and you won’t be able to get a loan or sell your business.
The problem with this traditional approach is it doesn’t help you much with day to day decision making. You probably don’t sit down with your financial statements once a month and then make all your financial decisions for the upcoming month.
You make financial decisions every day, and you need new information every day to manage your business well.
So, we decided to build a tool to give small business the daily financial information they need in one financial dashboard.
Introducing Pulse: the real-time financial dashboard for your business
Pulse is your daily financial dashboard. Connect all your credit cards and bank accounts, and you’ll see everything summarized into one simple screen: cash, transaction history, and weekly cash flow. Your information gets updated every 3 to 24 hours (depending on your financial institution), so you always know exactly where you stand.
Pulse is a standard feature of Bench from now on. When you sign up to let Bench do your bookkeeping for you, you’ll also get access to your new Pulse dashboard.
Stay on top of cash flow and spending
With real-time reporting you can monitor every transaction, and identify spending trends as they happen.
One login, one dashboard
Pulse brings all of your accounts and transactions into one place. No one likes jumping from app to app or guessing passwords.
Easy-to-read, actionable reports
No need to wade through pages of complicated reports to get the data you need. Pulse combines all the data you need to manage your cash and spending into one simple report. Just the necessary, real-time information you need to make everyday financial decisions.
Manage cash flow from your iPhone
Every Pulse feature is also available in the Bench mobile app for iPhone, so you can monitor your cash flow even when you’re away from your computer. You can download the Bench app here.
Pulse plus bookkeeping
We’re pretty excited about Pulse. And so are our clients.
To quote one of our earliest Pulse users, “Until I started using Bench I didn’t know where my money was going. Pulse has everything in one place for you.”
But real-time financial information doesn’t tell you everything. You still need bookkeeping to give you accurate, IRS-proof books that account for every single transaction, properly categorized.
That’s why we offer Bench as a complete solution for daily, weekly, monthly, and annual financial mastery.
Real-time financial insights. Monthly bookkeeping. Monthly financial statements. Annual financial package.
If you want to feel in control of your business finances, you need to start from the bottom up.