Sales Tax – Why do I have to keep track of it?

Every quarter I file sales tax returns for my clients and let them know what the payment should be.

Then my clients will comment on the amount and complain that they have to make a payment.    What they forget is that they, as the business owner don’t pay the sales tax.  Their customers pay the sales tax when the item is purchased.  The business owner acts as the collection agent.

This gets me thinking…Why should the business owner be a collection agent for the state?  There are costs involved in keeping track of the sales tax.   Certainly with all of the technology there can be a better way to handle this.

Since the majority of customer use credit/debit cards, the processor could record, collect, route funds and report.

Just a thought…Let me know what you think.


Your Back Office is your partner accounting firm for developing an established creative service firm, whether in graphic design, advertising or design for the web.


Sales Tax – Why do I have to keep track of it?

3 Reasons to love Outright and 1 not so much

Ever since I came upon Outright.  I have been trying to set up clients that are a good fit.    What makes a good candidate. Well, it was designed for e-commerce businesses, but If your accounting isn’t very complicated,  you really just need to categorize your expenses,  you don’t send out invoices or you just don’t have that many transactions, this may be a good solution.

Why I like it:

1) Import transactions from the bank.   You connect your bank, paypal and credit card accounts to the software and the transactions get imported in.   There is a generic chart of accounts (income and expense categories) already there, but you can create your own accounts.   The bank already has many of your transactions categorized already, so they come into the Outright system categorized that way.    All you have to do is check that the transactions are to the correct categories.

Heads Up-depending on your bank you may only be able to import 3 months of information.   If you are more than that into the year you will have to create a .csv import file.     I did this for one of my companies, it wasn’t to bad of a process.

2) Import from e-commerce site.   Connect your amazon, etsy, or ebay account and the sales information (amounts) are imported in.

3) Separates personal transactions from business.  This one is my favorite.  If your like most small business owners you either have one bank account where all expenses (personal and business) are paid out of, or you have a business account and personal account, but have the business account pay some personal expenses and vice versa.  You can categorize vendors as personal and those transactions won’t show up on the Profit/Loss statement.

Now for the 1 not so much

No balance sheet statement.  While the software produces a nice Profit and Loss statement, there is no balance sheet.  If you are wondering what a balance sheet is, then you probably don’t need one.  In any event if you have any inventory that you are carrying you will need to have a balance sheet.

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3 Reasons to love Outright and 1 not so much

How Expensify brought the fun back to expense reports

I am an accountant and am pretty good with receipts, but even I hate filling out expense reports.   Along comes Expensify onto my iPhone and I was able to hand in my expense report right after my plane landed (well, ok the next day).

I was on a recent business trip and my usual thing would be to save the receipts in an envelope and    after few weeks after I got back, fill out an expense report spreadsheet.   Of course when I did finally get to it I would have to remember the details of the trip to get the expenses in the correct categories, (i’m sure you can relate).

I downloaded Expensify and Genius Scan (makes your iPhone a scanner) and I was off.   At the end of each day of my trip:

  •  I would scan my receipts (using Genius Scan), it connects to Expensify and transfers the image into the application
  •  I would add the charges into the Expensify iPhone app and put them in the correct categories.
  •  I would attached the scanned receipt to the charge.

When I got back to the office I logged on to the Expensify website and there it was, a spreadsheet with the expenses and the receipts attached that I could print or email to whoever needed/wanted it.

What was the longest time it took you to fill out an expense report?  Leave a comment.

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Drawing to be held at the end of this month.

How Expensify brought the fun back to expense reports

Update on my Xero Accounting software transition from QuickBooks

I am a certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor and have been using QuickBooks Accounting Software for at least 7 years.    I have recently switched over to Xero Accounting System.  It is a cloud product based out of New Zealand.   I have been using this product for a few months and so far so good.   I am really liking it.

So what make this so great you ask, well, it works for my business because:

1)  I can access my information from my iPhone, (they have a nice app).

2)  Plays well with others, I use Workflowmax and the inegration between the two is nice and simple.   Plays well with Freshbooks as well, and the list gets longer.

3) Bank Feeds and import of bank transactions.   I have a Paypal feed which once I set up I don’t have to do a damn thing to it, information comes in.    You can import a .csv file easily from your bank.

4) Finally a decent cash flow report that I don’t have to manipulate.   The cashflow report in QuickBooks wasn’t my favorite, it took some work.  In Xero I ran the report and there it was.

5) Customer Service is great.   I asked a question, I got an answer the next day.   Usually when I go to QuickBooks tech support, they are trying to upsell me, or I know more about the software that the person reading from the script.

6) QuickBooks was trying to be all things to all businesses it got a little cluttered.   Xero sticks to the basics, clean and simple.

There is still some more work to do, like adding more US Bank Feeds to their roster and a small Paypal issue that they are working on.   Currently you cannot print checks out of the system, but I understand that it will soon.

It isn’t a solution for every business, but if you are a service provider/mobile warrior you should give it some consideration.

Update on my Xero Accounting software transition from QuickBooks