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Recent years have been filled with economic difficulties and uncertainties. It’s more important than ever for both individuals and businesses to focus on effectively managing their finances. Financial literacy, however, is frequently lacking at every level. And individual literacy rates are worse in younger demographic groups.

Even in the business world, where you would expect substantial financial knowledge, literacy rates are alarmingly low. Among small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which account for 90% of businesses worldwide, 40% of owners self-identify as financially illiterate. Unlike their larger counterparts, who rely on highly trained professionals and large accounting departments, SMB owners often have minimal financial management training or exposure.

Fortunately, numerous excellent resources exist to help everyone manage both their personal and business finances.

Using Google to build business finances fundamentals

Google can be an end-to-end resource when looking to build financial literacy. Whether serving as an aggregator of learning resources or a source for practical management tools, Google can help you quickly become more proficient in managing your business finances.

Businesses face different challenges in managing their finances, although many underlying principles are the same (e.g., expense tracking and optimization). And just like personal finances, businesses have numerous options available at all levels of expertise.

Is Google as effective for business finances as for personal? It is undoubtedly an excellent resource for building basic business financial literacy, identifying free online finance courses, or pointing you to other self-help resources. However, while businesses can and do use Google Sheets to handle business finances, the larger the organization, the less useful this solution is. Even for smaller businesses, there are better options that scale as your business grows.

Many small businesses will elect to jump over a spreadsheet-based approach to financial management and right into a full-fledged accounting package—QuickBooks or Wave, for example. These packages offer many useful features for SMBs, from invoicing and online payments to profit and loss calculations. They also give SMBs helpful dashboards for easily understanding their current financial positions and future expectations.

Leveraging Microsoft to manage business finances

As businesses grow, they need a more in-depth understanding of their finances and more robust data analytics for developing projections and financial plans. This is where enterprise resource planning products like Microsoft Dynamics 365 come into play. Indeed, Dynamics 365 can help every aspect of a business, from accounting and financial planning to human resources and supply chain management.

Dynamics 365 is a modular application that allows businesses to start small and build functionality as needed and as it fits in with their budget (which they could also be managing through Dynamics). The finance module can help businesses with basic accounting tasks, but where it truly excels is in streamlining business operations with cost optimization and profit maximization in mind, turning your financial data into a powerful planning resource.

Using Dynamics 365, organizations can set up personalized dashboards that focus on issues and data most important to them. Businesses gain high visibility into their current cash position, anticipated future cash flows, invoice lifecycles and more. Potential problem areas are easily identifiable, allowing the company to take quick action.

Dynamics 365 also helps businesses improve internal efficiencies by automating common workflows. As a result, employees can spend more time on substantive work, increasing overall productivity and reducing costs. As businesses continue to grow, they can benefit from the more advanced analytical tools in Dynamics 365 such as high-end artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that turn raw business data into actionable intelligence. These tools assist in everything from sales projections to fraud detection, risk assessment and compliance.

Need a partner to help find tools to manage your business finances?

Whatever their level of financial literacy, SMB owners can easily find a software solution to fit their financial needs. However, they might also choose to enlist the help of a strategic partner or IT provider to find solutions for their business finances. Sherweb facilitates an extended network of value-added providers that support SMBs’ digital transformation. Click here to learn more.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb