5 Quick Tricks That Will Save You 5 Hours Per Week


As part of our blog collaboration with Zenbooks.ca, we’re sharing, “5 Quick Tricks That Will Save You 5 Hours Per Week”.

Running a business, it’s not always easy. As business owners, we are known to wear multiple hats and it’s safe to say we’ve worked our fair share of evenings. But what sets aside those who are successful and those who suffer? How they spend their time working. What we’ve learned through our experience is the importance of not working fast but working smart. How you work can make the difference between completing the task in minutes and completing the task in hours. Read on as we share our top tricks that will save you 5 hours per week. Imagine what you could do with an extra five hours a week. Whether it is getting organized for the week ahead or playing in the snow with your kids for just 5 minutes longer, we are lucky to have these time-saving technologies at our fingertips.

Receipt Management Apps

Receipts, they’re high on the enemy list for many business owners. They’re small, easy to lose and there is a good chance your expense tracking involves keeping ahold of these pesky little papers. While the modern business sphere is moving fast towards a receiptless world we haven’t quite made it yet. In the meantime, there are plenty of receipt management apps that you can use to scan, organize and digitally store your receipts. Receipt management applications allow you to take a picture of your receipt with your smartphone, organize your expenses by category and then keep a digital copy on hand ready to be downloaded at any time. This leaves you free to recycle your paper receipts leaving your wallet and your mind happy. What app does Zenbooks love to use? ReceiptBank! This nifty little app has saved us a ton of headaches and has kept our desks receipt free.

Modern Small Business Accounting Software

Gone are the days of utilizing excel sheets or purchasing extravagant small business accounting programs. The world of small business accounting software is advancing fast and it’s headed to the clouds. Cloud accounting services offer software which is stored and accessed entirely online. All of your business’s financial information stored in one online application allowing you to access your business’s information at the click of a mouse. This will leave your desktop clutter-free. Not only are these programs visually appealing but they also offer user-friendly technology designed for use by those with a wide array of accounting and technological skills. Worried about security? Modern cloud-based technology offers advanced security, from multiple firewalls to highly advanced data encryption. Cloud-based software such as Xero, a Zenbooks favourite, offers the most basic requirements to fit a small business’s needs but also has the option to increase or decrease your programs offerings. This flexibility allows your software to adapt to your company’s ever-changing needs.

Stop Writing Cheques!

It’s clear that the modern business world requires you to provide your services or products efficiently and effectively, so why are you still writing cheques? Save your time by bringing your invoice payments to the digital side. Popular applications such as Plooto eliminate the payment delays which are commonly experienced when using traditional payment methods. Online payment options ensure your payment will be received faster, saving you valuable time to reinvest into your business. But what about keeping track of late payments? We get it they happen. When storing your invoices online you can search by company name, address and invoice number, saving you minutes if not hours of tracking down that unpaid invoice. Not only are you cutting down on time but you will also be saving office space. With all of our invoices and payments online there is no need for bulky filing cabinets stacked full of your past five years of invoices. Cut down on paperwork and its associated costs by going digital with an online payment software.

Don’t Ever Run Your Own Payroll

Many small business owners assume that payroll simply involves supplying employees or contractors with monthly or bi-weekly payments but this is not the case. This task includes additional actions such as keeping track of all employee tax information, tracking paid time off and attendance information and not to mention collecting and handing off annual reports with accuracy. To properly train an in-house payroll employee takes time, money and not to mention valuable office space. This is a big task which is best left for a professional, as accuracy is a must for this role. Managing your business’ payroll services online can offer a multitude of advantages when compared to managing payroll in-house. As we have learnt business is going digital, so why not operate your payroll digitally as well? Many companies have already made the switch to digital, along with a shift to other online HR management tools. Not only will you save time but you will also save money by reducing the need to pay an employee for this role.  If you are considering a shift from the manual system to an online payroll software Wagepoint is a great starting application.


Get Electronic Signatures

Many businesses are increasingly shifting from using the standard pen and paper to sign important documents and are instead jumping to online e-signature applications. With this in mind, it’s no surprise the e-signature market is expected to grow by 34.7% annually and is projected to be worth $9,073.1 million by 2023.  Your e-signature application allows you a quick and convenient solution to signing documents of all formats and sizes. From mortgage documents to vendor contracts these applications offer flexibility in the document type. Just the thought of buying ink, paper, and a printer is enough to make any business owner shutter, not to mention the stress of finding a reliable courier service. With one software you can upload, sign and send off your documents to their designated party, saving you valuable time and money. Once your document has been sent many e-signature applications such as SignRequest provided continued support by allowing you the option to track the status of your document. You’ll be able to see when the document has been opened and signed. Many platforms even offer the ability to send reminder emails to signers if they do not sign and send back the document within the specified time.

At the end of the day, business is going digital. The age of digital business has already provided us with a surplus of highly customizable and user-friendly applications aimed at making our day to day run smoother. From receipt management applications to online payroll software the options are endless and they are all designed with business owners in mind. So why are you NOT using these tools?!


Eric Saumure, CPA, CA

Partner | Zenbooks | Eric@Zenbooks.ca | c 613.899.8056

Want to schedule time with me? Book a time in my calendar


Eric is a Partner at Zenbooks. Leading accounting back-office automation experts. Eric helps businesses automate their back office while providing regular on-going Virtual CFO, Virtual Accounting department services to medium sized businesses.

Creativity in Business – Do We really Need It?

Creativity in business - it' makes for good business

I was asked the other day whether there was room for creativity in the business world.

My answer was a resounding, “Yes!”  Creativity is in strong demand in the business world.  There’s a continuous need for it on so many levels:

Think of products and concepts: Steve Jobs (Apple) and Elon Musk (Tesla) are two top-of-mind examples.

Think about creativity in the ability to make a deal (making an acquisition, hiring a star employee, negotiating good terms with a vendor,….).   Creative business people  make the best deals.  

Think finance: accountants who can get creative can save their clients money. Not everything is black and white – the value and savings are often in the grey.

Businesses are inherently full of problems just begging for solutions.

The key is being able to develop practical solutions.

If you’re a creative marketer, sales professional, coach of any kind, lawyer, accountant, doctor, shoemaker, plumber, name any other industry – you can go far.

From an employer’s perspective – ask yourself, “Who is more valuable?”:

Employee #1: Is steady, consistent, and does a good job or,

Employee #2: Is steady, consistent, does a good job, & can solve a problem when one arises?

If you can be a solution provider rather than a problem reporter – you will go far.

Remember, you can handle any given business extremely well.  Likewise, the same issue can be handled very poorly (we’ve all seen countless examples of this).

A business person who is creative (and strategic) will always consider multiple options and then carefully choose the best way of playing the cards they have been dealt.

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Be in the Know – Get My Latest Content First 


Graham Acreman
President, Stellacon Business Coaching

Everything is Negotiable in Business

Negotiating Terms

Read the Fine Print  and Negotiate.

In business, there is never a shortage of things to negotiate. The key thing to remember is that  EVERYTING is negotiable. This includes:

  • Pricing;
  • Contract terms;
  • Liability clauses;
  • Start dates;
  • Delivery dates;
  • Termination clauses;
  • Etc.

When a vendor asks you to sign their agreement they are starting with the upper hand. The person who supplies the agreement has initial control of the negotiation after all,  the terms and conditions of the agreement have been written with their best interests in mind.

As a business executive, you need to carefully read through any such agreement with your best interests in mind. Frequently, there will be differences in expectations. It is your responsibility as the person planning to sign the agreement to ensure you are comfortable with and fully understand all of the terms and conditions. If not, you need to take steps to understand the agreement and then negotiate the terms and conditions.

Let me ask you a question: If you were going to buy a new car would you consider walking into a dealer, finding the car you liked, and offer to buy it for the MSRP or initial asking price? No way. Well this is exactly what you are doing if you just sign an agreement without  reading through it, understanding it, and pushing back where necessary.

Don’t be swayed by a  sales rep’s response of, “It’s standard industry practice.”  Sometimes standard industry practices are just plain crazy and if you don’t challenge them then by default, you are accepting them.

If you don’t take the time to read and negotiate you may find that:

  • You’ve locked yourself into a 5 year agreement that can’t be changed even if your business needs change;
  • You’ve agreed to unlimited price increases as the vendor sees fit;
  • You’ve agreed to never hire a staffing agency employee directly without paying a substantial fee;
  • You can’t sell certain products/services that compete with a nearby tenant.
  • Your profitability is affected.

The above are just a few select examples of potential ramifications.  There are countless more.

Now whether a vendor wants to negotiate with you or not is up to them but whether you want to accept the deal or not is up to you.  As the saying goes, it takes two to tango.  When it comes to negotiation though, the question is, “Do you want to lead?”

Be in the Know – Get My Latest Content First 

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Graham Acreman
President, Stellacon Solutions