Technology and business go hand-in-hand, but getting a solid grasp on the ever-evolving tech landscape can be difficult – especially for small business owners. With hundreds of tech innovations popping up every day, it can be difficult to flesh out which options are the best fit for your business and your budget. We rounded up some of our favored tech tips to help you make the most of every dollar you spend.
- Invest Your Tech Budget Wisely
Research is key when deciding how to spend your technology budget. The newest pieces of tech, while flashy and exciting, might not be the best fit for your company. It’s important to research your options – keeping a few factors in mind:
- Would it be cheaper for me to outsource this work? While it might seem more convenient to invest your tech dollars in-house, in the long-run it could be more cost effective to outsource certain tech tasks, like website development or accounting management. Don’t be afraid to leverage the expertise of outside vendors when appropriate.
- What is the business goal I want to achieve with this tech? And will this app/device/website help me achieve that goal? A complex accounting software can have thousands of features, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Make a list of what you need your accounting software to do. If a timekeeping feature is a must-have for your business, make sure the software you choose has that capability.
- Is it worth spending more for a sure-thing or should I look into cheaper options? Like any other business expense, we often find ourselves asking, “Do I pay more up front or risk paying more down the road?” The answer often depends on the structure of your business and the type of expense. Certain tech purchases – like IT staff and corporate devices – might deserve a larger percentage of your tech budget than other purchases.
- Mind Your Data
By installing a plugin or two, your business has instant access to data that can tell you anything from the age and location of your customers to the most and least successful pages on your website. You have the who, what, when, where, and why of your customer base at your fingertips. Make the most of this information – use the data to steer your business goals, strategies, and development.
- Keep It Mobile and on the Cloud
If your business isn’t mobile, there’s a good chance that you’re missing out on lucrative opportunities. Leverage mobile technologies by looking into phone, tablet, and hybrid options, which are far outpacing desktops and laptops. Mobile interfaces can increase your customer outreach and strengthen your internal communication capabilities.
Utilizing cloud-based data storage is another way to save your business time and money. Cloud storage can take the place of tangible storage devices, which require space, equipment maintenance, and physical presence to access their data. Cloud storage offers more flexibility by allowing your team to access your business information almost anywhere and on various devices.
There are tax incentives to invest in your company’s technology and make it easier to justify spending the extra money. Below is a list of items you can deduct on Schedule C of your small business tax return, depending on the type of tech investment you make.
- Interest on Loans
- Repairs and Maintenance
- Rent on Equipment
Additionally, if your investment in technology is to develop or improve a product, process, software, invention, technique, or formula, you could qualify for the Research & Development Tax Credit.
When implemented correctly, a thought-out technology plan can add significant value to any business. For more information on how to utilize technology for your small business, contact our tax professionals.