We’ve had a lot of users ask if they can use inFlow instead of small business accounting software. The quick answer is that inFlow Cloud is focused on inventory control and order tracking, but they do have features to help you keep on top of your finances.
The more nuanced answer is that we don’t think of inFlow and accounting as mutually exclusive, but rather as complementary types of applications. inFlow is laser-focused on tracking products and stock levels, while accounting apps are great at balancing the books.
In this article we’ll discuss the most common small business accounting needs. We’ll spell out which numbers you can track with inFlow, and what you’ll still need a dedicated accounting app for.
What kind of accounting stuff can inFlow do?
We can’t speak for everyone, but we have spoken to thousands of small business owners from around the world. Based on those rounds of feedback, we’ve made sure that inFlow can track what most small businesses care about.
Specifically, inFlow helps you track how much you’ve spent on buying products, from the individual unit prices to the shipping and customs fees. The default settings in inFlow bake all of those incurred costs into your product’s final cost, which makes profit calculations a lot easier.
inFlow also helps you track how much money your business has made by selling your products and services. Sales Orders can track non-customer costs (like service fees from e-commerce sites), and inFlow calculates profit on every sale you fulfill.
inFlow’s fixed markup feature can also ensure that you’ll always make a profit on selling your products, no matter how much your business paid for them.
[For more on what markup means, see our dedicated Margin vs. Markup article!]
When it’s time to review sales at the end of the day or week, you can run reports on individual products or entire orders to check your gross profit, which is the amount your business made by selling products and services.
How to handle other small business accounting stuff
Order and inventory management is our software’s forte, but there are a few things you’ll have to track outside of inFlow (likely in a dedicated accounting app).
- Business expenses like lunches and plane tickets
- Overhead like renting an office or paying utilities
- Payroll for tracking employee hours and wages paid
- Tracking cash flow each month
- Balancing the books for different expense accounts
- Connecting incoming payments directly to your bank statements
Depending on the size of your business, you may not need a dedicated service to help you track those things. If you’re just a handful of employees right now, then your payroll and expenses can probably still be handled by spreadsheets.
As your business expands, dedicated accounting apps and services like QuickBooks Online or Xero can help you handle balances, cash accounts, and payments. However, these services are not tailored to tracking stock levels and product movement. So the best solution we’ve found is to use each service in the area where it is strongest.
inFlow may not be able to track all of what a small business accounting app can, but both versions of inFlow feature CSV (spreadsheet) exports. This means you can use inFlow to track your products and orders, and then import it as spreadsheets into your preferred accounting service.
Using both inFlow and an accounting app like QuickBooks Online or Xero provides you with a complete overview of your business, while still providing experiences tailored to each kind of task.
Want to experience inFlow for yourself?
If you’re not already an inFlow user, you can easily start a free inFlow Cloud trial today!