Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Choosing a Bookkeeping Software

Many times when we start working with startups, they have a lot of questions on choosing the best bookkeeping software. There are obviously a lot on the market and there are pros and cons on all of them. It really boils down to your business. While we use a variety of industry specific software, QuickBooks is still our go to for most situations. But even QuickBooks has several options to choose from. There are the desktop versions which include Pro, Premiere and Enterprise. Most small business can get by with Pro which covers all of your basic bookkeeping needs. Premiere can be customized for your specific industry which can also be helpful. A good example of this is construction companies that deal with a lot of purchase orders and change orders. If you’re dealing with a lot of inventory to track, Enterprise might be a good option. But be aware that the more sophisticated versions come with a higher price tag. An option we really like is QuickBooks Online. It’s a great option when you want your books at your fingertips at home, the office or while traveling. It’s also great for a remote bookkeeper or a bookkeeper that only comes in a limited amount of time. This allows your bookkeeper to get you any information you need without a trip to the office or having to wait until your next appointment. This also helps several members of your team to be able to work together on your books without dealing with servers or logging in remotely which can be cumbersome. We’re also big fans of the automatic download from your bank and credit cards. But be aware we’re still seeing some kinks from time to time with this function. But the time savings makes it worth it. Check for discounts on the monthly fees that come with many warehouse memberships such as Costco and Sam’s. Another great bonus with QuickBooks is that many versions import from one to another so they can accommodate your business changes.

Of course your bookkeeper can be a great help in helping you choose the best option.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

They have an app for that!

Most business owners will tell you there just isn’t enough time in the day. And while we can’t create more time, we can work smarter. One way to do this is to utilize some great apps to help you organize your business’s books. Here are a few that are helping us make the most of the day:

Harvest-This is a great time tracking app for when you’re working on various clients or projects. With the simple click of a button you can track your time throughout the day. It allows you to bill from the program or sync with QuickBooks. A great tool to help your cash flow by billing as much as you can! (http://www.getharvest.com/)

Intuit GoPayment-With a small unobtrusive plugin to your smart phone, you can accept credit card payments on the go. Great for employees who are out of the office for sales. And this easily syncs with QuickBooks. (http://gopayment.com/)

Mileage Tracker-Whether you’re a contractor or business owner, there are huge tax savings in your mileage. But keeping a log can be a challenge. This handy app comes with a GPS and allows you to track based on itinerary or time. You can add multiple cars and track by client or job. At the end of the year or quarter, simply export to an excel spreadsheet. It’s also handy for expense reports. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.softmimo.android.mileagetracker&hl=en)

LogMeIn-Stay on top of your business with this app that lets you access your computer from your smart phone or Ipad. Allows you to access all the applications on your computer and save to both the computer and your device. Puts an end to that sinking realization that you left that file at the office. (https://secure.logmein.com/products/ios/)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Credit Card Statements Aren't Enough

So often when we begin working with a new client, they’re surprised to hear that the IRS does not accept credit card statements as proof of expenses. And to be honest, even some very educated and experienced financial professionals also assume statements are considered proof of expense. But statements alone do not provide the details needed in case of an audit. Receipts or invoices will prove the full business name, business address and details on what was purchased. The IRS must confirm that the purchase was necessary for your business. And honestly, you could have bought anything from Costco. The IRS will not take your word for it.

This can be a labor intensive task to keep up with especially when several employees have a credit card. The best method I’ve used is to have a designated folder for each employee’s credit card. Then decide whether you should sit down with the statement monthly or weekly. If you have a lot of charges, weekly might be best. Confirm that you have a receipt for each transaction and hunt down any missing receipts as soon as possible. In the case of restaurant receipts, it’s also a good idea to keep a record of who was present and the purpose of the meal (Ex. John Smith (CEO) and Jane Jones (CFO) lunch meeting to discuss Q3 financial goals). Once cardholders realize that you’re very serious about this, they become more cooperative. Once all receipts are gathered, securely attached them to the statements and file. The hard work is all well worth it in comparison to losing all your deductions. And as always, look to your bookkeeper for guidance on processes and best practices!