For small business owners, the most important thing is cash management. They want to know what is going on with the inflows and outflows at any given time. Many of my bookkeeping clients are actually micro-businesses, and they don’t have either the time to enter in sales or banking transactions or the money to pay me or another person to do it. When I work with a new client, I ask them what bank they use so that we can see about getting banking information downloaded in Quickbooks. It amazes me that some banks offer small business checking don’t provide this essential application. Bank of America, Citibank, Commerce, HSBC all provide it. Then I work with my client to set this up in Quickbooks. Next I inquire about credit cards, so that those transaction can be imported into Quickbooks. American Express has the capability which is really good for tracking expenditures.
The bottom line is that importing data from banks and credit cards save time for actual business analysis. Then I can work with my client to see how they can make the business more profitable by looking at pricing, reducing expenses, and leveraging resources better.