Running a business from Japan is so much easier now with all the amazing tools at our fingertips. Here are some that I personally use and love. Some of them I might get a reward for referring you, in which case I'll note that, but in most cases these are simply the best tools that I would love you to know about.
Moneytree is a web and smartphone app that simplifies money tracking. I have connected all of my accounts, credit cards and loyalty point cards to the app. It logs in for me to retrieve my account balance information.
I always have a snapshot of my current financial situation at my fingertips. It's a total timesaver since the passwords for the various accounts are securely kept in the vault all I need to do in order to log in is use my fingerprint ID on my phone.
It does not replace your accounting system (I use FreeAgent). But it saves stressing out over bills coming due and wondering if your accounts have enough of a balance in them! And I love checking my credit card statement as I go rather than waiting for the online or paper version to become available at the end of the month.
Being in control of your finances and especially your cashflow is mission-critical when you're an entrepreneur.
Free to sign up here: https://moneytree.jp/ (all in Japanese but it's very intuitive and the app works in English)
For bookkeeping I use FreeAgent. This is a simple accounting program made for the self-employed, freelancers and entrepreneurs. You need a bookkeeping system sooner rather than later in my opinion. If you're not keeping track of what's coming in and what's going out you might be stunned to learn that your business is NOT MAKING ANY MONEY.
FreeAgent is a beautifully designed and intuitive program which I find to be very forgiving even if you make a mistake. It's really easy to change things later - like if you billed an expense to your business but really it was a personal expenditure you can change it instantly.
Invoicing is a breeze too. The program generates very attractive invoices which you can email directly to your clients. The client can then pay online using PayPal if you have linked that to your account.
I have linked my bank accounts to the system so at any given time I know how much my various accounts have in them. I follow the Profit First system for accounting so I always have balances in my Profit, Operating Expenses, Tax and Owner's Pay accounts (find out more about Profit First here).
I mainly use the system online on my computer but I also have the app on my phone. I prefer the online pc version. Also I do not use these records to show the Japanese accountant currently. FreeAgent is all in English. If you need a Japanese system maybe try Freee. (my Japanese isn't up to the task for that one).
If you need a simple accounting system then use my referral link to check out FreeAgent. I'm a happy customer of more than three years now. http://fre.ag/43plk0ux
PayPal or Stripe
Collecting money online? Not a fan of PayPal? I've never had an issue with it but I do like options so I signed up for Stripe as soon as it became available. Now I use both.
Stripe is fully-functional for Japan now and works great for accepting payments via credit card. It's a little bit different from PayPal in that once a payment is received they hold onto the money for a few days before automatically transferring it to your bank account. With PayPal they hold onto your money until you request to have the money transferred to your bank account.
If you need your money straight away then bank transfers might be easier for you but I personally hate doing bank transfers for anything. PayPal or credit card are my preferred payment options so I offer that to my customers as well.
Do you meet with clients and have a lot of back and forth emails over the times? And are some of your clients overseas? If you've ever had to work out time differences and account for daylight savings then you need a system that solves that headache.
For the past two years I have been happily using Acuity Scheduling to keep my diary a sane and happy place. You'll love it.
The best thing about it is that you can set up all kinds of appointment types and then charge for them right within the system! And it auto sends emails, reminders, follow-up questionnaires. Such a robust system. Plus your client can reschedule herself if she needs to.
I'll get a referral bonus if you register for a paid account: https://acuityscheduling.com/?kw=YToxMTM3MDQyMw%3D%3D
I use the Emerging Entrepreneur plan and pay annually to save a little on the fee. It's worth every cent.
Some other tools and apps I use that I may write about later (and you are welcome to ask me about) are:
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