3 Best Questions to ask before Choosing the Right Accounting Software

Now that cloud computing is available, there is a selection of accounting software to choose from.   Ah… but which one to choose?   Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1.  What is your end goal?   Are you just looking to get information to fill out a tax return (on time, and no drama),  or do you want reports that will help you to grow your business?

2.  What kind of business do you have?   Selling products or selling time?

3.  How good are your with technology?   Are you a mobile warrior, or spreadsheet junkie?

Depending on how you answer the above you can determine if you go with  Outright, or a FreshbooksWaveAccounting combination.   Perhaps a VendXero combo will do the trick.  Or if you need a more complicated system QuickBooks Online be the one.

These software essentially do the same thing, gather your business transactions, help to categorize those transactions, and produce needed reports.   They just do them from simple to more complicated degrees.  Some have more bells and whistle than others.

In our next post we will begin product reviews to help small business owners figure out which product or products are right for them.

In the meantime please ask a question or post a comment.

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3 Best Questions to ask before Choosing the Right Accounting Software

5 Steps to a tax return

It’s that time of year again but I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about tax season. 

I know, who wants to think about that. Besides taxes aren’t due until April. Here are my tips that I share with my accounting clients around La Canada, Glendale, and Pasadena.

You only have till December if you want to do any tax planning, and for those who don’t need tax planning, you’ll be surprised how fast April rolls around when you’re busy running a small business.

Here are some steps to get you started to file a tax return efficiently.

If your financial records are stuffed in a shoebox (the pile of denial), start going through it and identify the following:

Cash transactions – these are items purchased with cash. Cash receipts are the only proof you have of the expense your business incurred. Separate them out and put them in similar categories, such as parking, fuel, and office supplies. Total each category.

Credit Card Transaction – collect all of your statements for the year. You will need to categorize each transaction by expense, same idea as the cash receipts. Total each category.

Bank Account Transactions – Collect bank statements the way you did the credit card records. Review the bank statements then categorize checks and debit transactions and get a total for the categories. Also, go through and categorize deposits that are income vs loans.

Business transactions paid by personal accounts. Sometimes, we forget the business credit/debit card and use our personal cards. Go through your personal credit card and bank statements and categorize the business transactions, and then total those up by category.

At this point an excel spreadsheet can be helpful. You can get a list of the categories you’ve created and enter the figures to come up with the grand totals.

To make it even easier, I’ll send you for free the template I use when you sign up for the blog or contact me through email.

 

 

 

 

5 Steps to a tax return

Handle your finances like following a diet

If your business finances need organizing, be sure to handle them like someone going on a diet. Little decisions help us lose or manage our weight and the same principle applies to getting your bookkeeping in order.

Step 1 Create folders

Separate receipts in the current month according to your spending categories. Take an envelope and mark it “travel/meals” for any travel-related expenses. Make an envelope in the same category for the coming month and then place the envelopes in designated folders.

Step 2 Use a bookkeeping ledger – either paper or online

For the busy individual business owner, starting a company or running an established company means receipts can get in disarray. Buy a ledger from an office supply store. Dome makes an easy-to-use ledger or begin implementing a Web-based solution from Zoho.com or Freshbooks.

Start with the present date in entering expenses and income.

Step 3 Set aside 30 minutes each week for finances

Block out the time just like you would for an important meeting. A Friday may be a logical time—or else Saturday morning from 9 to 9:30. Whenever you do it, be committed to spending 30 minutes once a week to tidy up your books.

If you need to hire a bookkeeper, you can use this free test from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The test is for companies using an accrual system. http://www.aipb.org/testrequest.php

Handle your finances like following a diet

5 basic tips for organizing your office

An organized office is a profitable office. Filing and organizing reduces wasted time hunting for essential tools and wasted time equals wasted money.

Organizing an office requires self-discipline, a vision for categorizing information specific items, and the courage to throw away pieces of paper or magazines that aren’t going to be read anymore or haven’t been read in months.

Here are some tips:

#1 The files accessed most frequently should be the ones closest to the desktop and given priority on being kept up to date.

#2 Toss out excess information. Make it easier by reminding yourself that most magazine articles or newsletter articles you might want to keep are found online or in the library. A really good article that sits buried under piles of paper may be well written and contain useful information, but how much good is it doing you?

#3 Set aside one hour per week to read outside of normal work assignments. Skim through articles and either file them right away or toss them.

#4 Ask for help – this may be difficult to ask a colleague. For the home office, the cost of hiring some one to come in help may be an expense that pays off in the long run.

#5 Archive old files and projects. Put them in a box, label them and take them out of an active file drawer.

While there may be many other tips for a productive office, these five are basic and easy to follow on a regular basis.

To stay on top of clutter, consider having a professional organizer stop in the office on a once-a-month basis to help you run your business more smoothly and profitably.

Learn more at the National Association of Professional Organizers. http://www.napo.net

5 basic tips for organizing your office

Why managing cash flow for business is critical

Cash flow management is a test of how well a company operates.

Cash flow is the difference between cash coming into the business and cash going out of the business during a given period.

Here are ten ways to manage cash flow:

  1. Decrease the amount of money owed to you– get customers to pay their bills
  2. Cut out excess overhead expenditures
  3. Keep a close eye on inventory
  4. Don’t overpay taxes
  5. Review owner’s compensation – secondary income may be valuable to the success of many small business ventures in the early years
  6. Consciously structure the payment of bills – pay bills closer to the deadline but do not incur late fees
  7. Consider biweekly or monthly paychecks
  8. Update company procedures to make process more efficient and cost-effective
  9. Plan ahead – using cash saving activities such as renting instead of buying or purchasing used equipment versus new equipment, finding cash paying customers and quick paying customers versus giving credit and late payers.
  10. Develop a good record keeping system

Did you find this helpful? Leave a comment and let us know. We love to hear feedback.

Why managing cash flow for business is critical

Do I need to upgrade my Quickbooks Software?

I get asked that one a lot. If it’s been over 3 years, to me, that’s a yes. Mostly because Quickbooks won’t provide any support for versions that are over 3 years old. If you were to call for support, they won’t help you and will say that you need the latest version.

Additionally, loading older software onto newer machines may not provide past functionality. I recently did this and my ability to generate reports in pdf format didn’t work. Now I have to spend some time troubleshooting that one.

How often should I upgrade? That’s another popular one. My answer to that is every other year. Rarely does one years upgrade change that much in functionality that you would need to upgrade every year. Mostly what happens are bug fixes. If you keep up with the updates, you will get those anyway. So unless you have some critical process that needs to be fixed you can wait a year.

Do I need to upgrade my Quickbooks Software?