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Outright Review

Outright - Online Accounting and Small Business Bookkeeping Software

This week I’m reviewing Outright. Outright is a very basic online bookkeeping software that lets entrepreneurs organize their small business finances. It was designed for sole proprietors, single member LLC’s, and Schedule C filers who have basic bookkeeping needs. Outright is also a perfect online bookkeeping solution for Ebay and Etsy sellers who started a small business as a hobby. If you’re a mompreneur, small business owner, self-employed, or sell on Ebay or Etsy, Outright might be the perfect cloud based accounting solution for your small business.

Cost: Free – $9.95/month

What I Love:

  • Ability to set up Outright to link to and download transactions directly from Ebay, Etsy, Amazon, private websites, and PayPal.
  • You can also link your bank accounts and credit cards to Outright for automatic downloads, saving even more time from tedious data entry.
  • Outright will automatically categorize your downloaded transactions. Small business owners also have the ability to edit or add transactions manually.
  • I love how small business owners can track their accounts receivables though Outright with the “Money to Collect” section. Outright also has another section under the Income tab to record customer payments.
  • Under the expenses tab small business owners can track their expenses and checks written to vendors.
  • Another cool feature is that Outright can integrate with Shoeboxed.com, to help entrepreneurs organize and keep track of their receipts. Another bonus is that small business owners can automatically import their transactions stored in Shoeboxed.com directly to their Outright bookkeeping software.
  • Outright offers users a decent amount of financial reports to help entrepreneurs keep on top of their business finances. You can track your Profit & Loss daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. Some other financial reports include keeping track of your types of income, finding out who are your best customers, and reporting where you are spending your money. I love that it offers users the choice to view their financial reports as numbers or as graphs.
  • Outright offers a mileage tracking feature, making it easy to keep track of your business mileage throughout the year for tax purposes. The mileage tracker also has a link to Google Maps, making it easy to record your mileage if you forget to use your car’s odometer.
  • One of my favorite features is their tax section. You can track your business’ sales taxes, have Outright calculate your estimated quarterly tax payments, and assist in calculating your annual taxes. They also have an entire section to help small business owners with their 1099-K’s received from PayPal. It’s a great tool to assist small business owners with their basic tax questions.
  • Outright also has an iPhone app that provides home based business owners on the go with the ability to see their Profit & Loss reports, keep track of their bank balances, see details to their transactions, and receive income alerts so small business owners know when an order comes though.
  • Outright also has an incredible blog filled with tons of useful information that’s easy to understand and that’s written for the small business owner, mompreneur, homepreneur, entrepreneur, and self employed. Their blog includes tax due date reminders, tricks to using their online bookkeeping software, and other helpful information for business owners.

My Wish List:

  • Outright does not have invoicing tools. However, it does integrate with FreshBooks so you can use FreshBooks for your invoicing needs.
  • Small business owners can not enter bills to pay and the bookkeeping software does not track payables. Users can only enter after-the-fact expenses and payments already made to vendors.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with the tax section. I love that helps provide small business owners with an amount they will owe in their quarterly estimated tax payments and helps small business owners figure out their annual taxes. I don’t like that this part of the system is so simple that I worry it would be easy to make a mistake. Even though the software does figure out taxes, I still recommend working with a tax preparer to ensure your taxes are calculated correctly.
  • I wish the software included a balance sheet under the reporting section. I know small business owners are intimidated by the balance sheet, but it’s such an important part to watching a business’ finances.

Overall, I’m impressed with Outright as an online bookkeeping software for small businesses. It offers a lot of great features for entrepreneurs, home office businesses, mompreneurs, self-employed, micro businesses, Schedule C filers, and people selling on Ebay and Etsy. It’s definitely designed for small businesses in mind who have basic bookkeeping needs. However, for these small businesses Outright is a much better bookkeeping tool than using a spreadsheet, a bank statement, or doing shoebox accounting.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Wave Accounting Review

Wave Accounting

Continuing my quest to find reputable, online, cloud based bookkeeping solutions for small businesses, I came across Wave Accounting. Wave Accounting started about a year ago with a mission to help the small business owner be more successful. To accomplish this goal, they are creating bookkeeping tools that are easy to use, designed with the small business owner in mind, and offer support for their online bookkeeping software. Only being in business for a little over a year, I honestly have to say I’m impressed with their cloud based bookkeeping software. Wave Accounting is designed for the small business owner, typically under 9 employees. This is a great solution for mompreneurs, work at home mom’s (WHAMS), photographers, real estate agents, Mac users, independent contractors, the self employed, home offices, and freelancers.

Cost: Free!

What I Love:

  • When you set up your account for the first time, Wave has you choose your business type to help create a chart of accounts that makes sense for your specific business. This is a huge help to small business owners. Even more impressive is Wave’s extensive list of business types – from photographers, to creative types, to consultants, to hair/spa businesses, to medical and dental offices, to retailers, to web and tech companies, to just plain and simple general service businesses.
  • Offers the ability to set up and track sales taxes.
  • Connect your bank and credit card accounts to Wave, allowing Wave to automatically download and import your transactions. Huge time saver allowing small business owners to focus their time on important tasks, not data entry.
  • Wave offers an invoicing tool with four styles of professional looking invoices that allow you to customize the colors and add your company’s logo.
  • The expense feature allows small business owners the ability to enter bills, track account payable, easily add a payment, and write checks. When you enter expenses, Wave will attempt to automatically categorize expenses the software recognizes.
  • Reporting section that has a balance sheet, income statement (profit and/or loss statement), sales tax reports, aged receivables, aged payables, reports to calculate the gain/loss on foreign currency exchange, etc. Another cool feature is you can email, export to Excel, or save the financial reports as a PDF.
  • Dashboard with quick access to useful financial information and snapshots about your business.
  • As an accountant, I love this this tool. Wave Accounting has a guest collaborator tool, allowing small business owners to invite guests to view and/or edit your company’s financial information. Your guests could be your CPA, your accountant, a bookkeeper, board members, assistants, etc.
  • Cloud based, meaning you have access to your small business bookkeeping from any computer that has an internet connection.
  • Wave has a ProNetwork for accountants and bookkeepers. This is a great way for accountants and bookkeepers to learn the software to better assist their small business clients. This a also a great benefit to the small business owner who are looking for a CPA, accountant, and/or bookkeeper that is familiar with and that works with Wave Accounting.
  • Wave Accounting integrates with FreshBooks and Google Docs.
  • Separate tab for tracking the small business owner’s personal finances. As your CPA has told you time and time again, you should not mix business and personal funds. However, we are well aware that many small business owners comingle business and personal funds. This tool makes it easier to split and track debit card and credit card transactions between personal and business expenses.
  • What small business owner doesn’t love free bookkeeping software!

My Wish List:

  • The advertisements at the bottom of the screen are a bit annoying. But, it’s free software and they have to make their money from somewhere. I do have to give the folks at Wave Accounting credit, the ads I saw were for reputable companies that I would actually consider doing business with. They were well thought out and well planned ads, not random, junky ads you see on most free websites.
  • Wave is not set up with merchant processing companies yet. Meaning no online bill pay options for for your customers when you email them an invoice. Wave does play nice with FreshBooks, so if this is important feature for your business you can do your invoicing in FreshBooks, then import those transactions into Wave Accounting.
  • Currently, they do not offer time tracking or time sheets. However, rumor has it that Wave Payroll will be coming to the US later this year and I’m guessing that will take care of that issue.
  • I didn’t see an iPhone and/or Droid phone app. I love being able to check my account balances, send invoices, etc. from my mobile devices while on the go.

Overall, Wave Accounting is a basic online bookkeeping and accounting software. It beats keeping your books on a spreadsheet and is a great solution for the small business owner. I love that it offers the self employed an affordable bookkeeping option that handles most general bookkeeping functions. Keep in mind Wave has only been in business for a little over a year, and they are continually adding and creating more tools to save entrepreneurs time and money. I’m anxious and curious to see what the future holds for Wave Accounting..

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


FreshBooks – Video Review

Here’s my first attempt to offer my readers a visual test drive of FreshBooks, via video. I was super excited about how it came out, expect the full screen view gets blurry. I’ll keep playing with my screen cast software and try to figure this out so my next video will be easier to see in the full screen version. Bear with me, I’m a video and screen sharing newbie.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reeGy1GmsKo&context=C330d1deADOEgsToPDskK_DOZyx2hw-kJ88GSngXFm


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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


FreshBooks Review

It’s tax time. Which means it’s time to turn your shoebox full of receipts and bank statements into meaningful information your accountant can use to prepare your tax return. Let’s face it, most small business owners do not go into business because they enjoy bookkeeping. I’ve done some research and played around with a handful of cloud based bookkeeping services. Some of these online bookkeeping software solutions are too good to keep secret! Keep an eye on my blog for the next few weeks while I explore and review these cloud based accounting services. Today’s topic is FreshBooks.

Cloud Based Small Business Bookkeeping

FreshBooks

Cost: Free – $39.95/month

FreshBooks is a great online bookkeeping solution for small business owners. They started as an invoicing/billing service so those features are top notch. Small business owners can send professional looking invoices, set up recurring invoices and payments, receive online payments, track employees & contractors time, and have FreshBooks automatically send reminders to your slow paying customers. They can even help small business owners manage sales taxes.

FreshBooks doesn’t stop at the invoicing and billing side. They also have an expense tracking feature to help you manage small business’ expenses. To save on data entry time, FreshBooks also offers the ability to import your expenses from your bank or credit card company via a .CSV or .QBO file.

Best of all, it’s an online service meaning you have access to your financial information at anytime and from anywhere. Read on to get specific details on what I loved about FreshBooks and my wishlist.

What I LOVE:

    Invoicing and Billing Features:

    • Easy to use layout.
    • Customize your account with your logo and business colors.
    • Professional looking invoices that can be emailed, snail mailed, printed, or downloaded as a PDF.
    • Set up recurring invoices. All you do is enter the invoice once and then FreshBooks will automatically send your recurring when you specify.
    • Customers can click on your emailed invoice and pay your bill online!
    • Set up recurring credit card payments to be charged automatically.
    • Save time with your collections and have FreshBooks automatically send out reminder emails to your slow paying customers. Your automated emails are customizable, so they sound like they’re coming from you rather than being a computer generated email.
    • Ability to invoice in any currency
    • Ability to calculate and track sales tax.
    • Send estimates to prospective customers. Your customer can approve it online and then you can easily convert the estimate into an invoice.

    Time Tracking:

    • Provide contractors & employees with access to log their hours (they won’t have access to your financial data).
    • Time tracking also includes a start/stop timer to accurately track time spent on projects and jobs.
    • Easily convert time sheets into invoices.

    Expenses:

    • Expense tracker to enter and record your expenses.
    • Save time on date entry by automating your recurring expenses.
    • Ability to attach copies of your receipts and bills. No more messy shoeboxes or filing cabinets filled with receipts. Just snap a picture with your phone & you’re done!
    • Import your expenses from your bank and/or credit card company via a .csv or .qbo file.
    • Comes setup with a handful of most commonly used expense categories. You can also add your own categories for your specific business.
    • Ability to record an expense and then link it to an invoice, if the expense should be passed along to your customer.

    Financial Reports:

    • Financial reports that let you take a look at your small business profit/loss, see who owes you money, where you are spending your money, track revenue by client, track revenue by employee, time sheet reports, etc.

    Bonus Features:

    • Online service, meaning your financial records are stored in the cloud. Providing small business owners with access to their accounting data from anytime and from anywhere!
    • Access your business financial information from desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets, and Macs.
    • Long list of add-on’s to customize your accounting needs. Some examples are Shoeboxed, PayPal, Google Apps, MailChimp, SalesForce, etc.
    • Plays nice with QuickBooks – you can imports your sales figures into QuickBooks.

Wish List:

  • I would love to see the ability to track bills, when bills are due, and accounts payable.
  • I’m surprised they are not set up to automatically download transactions from your bank, credit card companies, and PayPal. It does have the import feature, but automatic downloads are a great benefit for small businesses.
  • I would also love the ability to automatically categorize your imported expenses.
  • The ability to import into QuickBooks is an added bonus. I really wish the data could be imported via an .iif file, providing me with more sales data usability in QuickBooks.

Overall, FreshBooks is a great bookkeeping program. As small business owners know, cash is king! FreshBooks shines in the invoicing/billing customer area, which is key to helping generate cash flow. Their expense tracking features are lacking, but the expense tracking features are adequate for a small business to be able to use FreshBooks as their stand alone bookkeeping software. I love the fact that FreshBooks sales data can be imported into QuickBooks via an Excel file, making it an incredible billing/invoicing tool for small and mid-sized businesses.

Disclaimer:
The links above are affliate links and I get paid if you click on them and sign up for FreshBooks. However, the statements above are my own opinion and I did not receive compensation for writing this review. All content is provided for informational purposes only.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Top 3 Benefits to Correctly Recording Credit Card Charges into QuickBooks

How to Posting Credit Card Charges into QuickBooks

The other day I wrote a guest blog about “Entering Credit Card Charges into QuickBooks, the Right Way!”. One of my main goals working with clients is to teach them the correct way to use QuickBooks. QuickBooks is a great tool for small business owners, but you must know how to use it. In my guest blog post, I taught you the best way to record your credit card payments in QuickBooks. Today I’d like to talk about the top 3 benefits to using this method to record your credit card receipts into QuickBooks.

  1. Always Know How Much You Owe!
    If you are good about keeping up with your bookkeeping tasks and recording your credit card charges as they occur, you will always know the balance on your credit card. This avoids surprises when your monthly credit card statement arrives and helps you plan for your upcoming cash outflows.
  2. Accurate Financial Statements!
    Let’s face it, quite a few small businesses do not have the luxury of paying their credit card bill in full every month. This method for posting credit card charges into QuickBooks, allows the small business owner to choose the credit card transactions to pay this month and which ones will have to wait until next month to pay. QuickBooks will keep track of the amount still owed and the transactions still owed to your credit card company. Thus providing you an accurate accounts payable figure on your balance sheet.
  3. Save Time!
    The third benefit for posting credit card charges correctly to QuickBooks allows the small business owner the opportunity to quickly look up transactions. Let’s say you’re trying to figure out how much you typically spend at the big box retailer for office supplies. By recording the credit card charge to the correct vendor, you can quickly pull up that big box retailer and figure out how much you spent. This saves a ton of time over scrolling through every single credit card payment looking for those office supply charges. Some bills have them, some do not, and now you’ve just wasted a ton of time searching for these charges. Let’s face it, which small business owner does not love to save time!

There you have it. The top 3 benefits to using the correct way to post credit card charges to QuickBooks. Not only does it allow you to plan for your upcoming cash outflows, it provides business owners with accurate financial statements, and best of all it saves time! Give it a try and let me know how you like using this QuickBooks tip!



Check out my QuickBooks Tutorial about “Entering Credit Card Charges into QuickBooks, the Right Way!”..



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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Inspirational Quotes From Steve Jobs That Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From

Steve Jobs
1955-2011


A sad day in history, it has been announced that Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple, has passed away. The memory of Steve Jobs’ intelligence and innovation will live on forever. My heart goes out to his family and friends who mourn their loss. What an amazing man who changed the world through technology.

In honor of Steve Jobs, here is a list of my favorite inspirational quotes from Steve Jobs that every entrepreneur can learn from.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Job’s Stanford University Commencement Address, June 2005

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” ~Steve Jobs

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” ~BusinessWeek interview, May 1998

“We’ve gone through the operating system and looked at everything and asked how can we simplify this and make it more powerful at the same time.” ~ABC News , Steve Jobs on the Mac OS X Beta

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~Think Different, Apple

“A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”
~Steve Jobs

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” ~Steve Jobs

Keep on innovating, thinking outside of the box, and moving business and the world forward. RIP Steve Jobs, thanks for your amazing contributions to our universe.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


QuickBooks 2012 – Loaded with New Features!

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is headed to stores near you! Intuit just announced the release of QuickBooks 2012 and will be available for purchase at the end of the month. QuickBooks 2012 is loaded with new features! These tools will not only save you time, but will help keep your small business organized, and will provide your small business with better financial reporting options. Read on to see if QuickBooks 2012 is right for your small business.

  1. Organizational Tools

    • New Calendar Functions
      New and improved calendar features allow small business owners to view appointments, set payroll tax reminders, estimated quarterly estimated tax payment reminders, bill due dates, invoicing reminders, and to-do lists. An easy way to keep your calendar all in one place!
    • A Lead Center
      An entire center dedicated to tracking, following up, and keeping track of your potential customers! Great new tool incorporating CRM features into QuickBooks.
    • An Improved Document Center
      This new QuickBooks feature is my favorite! QuickBooks 2012 allows users to attach supporting documentation to your QuickBook transactions and save them directly to your local computer! No more Intuit external storage limits or data storage fees. The document center is an easy way to organize and create a paperless accounting system. Keep your bills, deposits, W-9’s, business cards, bank statements, contracts, agreements, etc. all in one place – in QuickBooks!
  2. Financial Reporting Made Easier

    • User Generated Reports
      Custom financial reports just got easier! QuickBooks 2012 includes a feature allowing small business owners to search a library or more than 1,000 custom, user-generated reports. This is a great way to see what numbers your competition is looking at and what reports accountants are preparing for their clients.
    • Improved Excel Integration
      Don’t you hate it when you spend your precious time formatting QuickBooks exported reports in Excel, only to have to reformat the report again next month? Intuit heard your calls for help and offered small business owners a solution in QuickBooks 2012. Now you can format your reports in Excel, save the report, and next month you can import new data to the report while keeping your personalized formatting options in place.
  3. Save Time

    • One-Click Transactions
      Save time by entering customer data once. Your customer’s information will now be available in various QuickBooks transaction forms.
    • Batch Invoicing for Time & Expenses
      Provides small business owners with the ability to invoice multiple customers for time and expenses all at once, using the improved QuickBooks batch invoicing feature. Please note, this is not available with QuickBooks Pro 2012.
    • Batch Timesheets
      Everyone can benefit from payroll time saving features! The Batch Timesheets feature will allow entreprenerus the ability to process multiple employee and vendor timesheets in a batch. A great time saving tool for those employees and vendors who work the same hours.
  4. Improved Inventory Center
    Intuit has added some much desired inventory improvements. QuickBooks 2012 includes an inventory center, centralizing all inventory functions to one center. If your small business is interested in accounting for your inventory on the FIFO (first-in first-out) method or you need the ability to track inventory based on serial numbers, check out QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. Keep in mind you will also need to subscribe to Intuit’s Advanced Inventory Feature for these inventory tools to work with QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

As you can see, QuickBooks 2012 is loaded with new features! Small business owners, entrepreneurs, homepreneurs, and mompreneurs can all benefit from the time saving, improved organizational tools, better financial reporting options, and updated inventory center options included with QuickBooks 2012. Please note, this blog post only relates to the US version of QuickBooks 2012 and may not include all the new features. Please contact Intuit for more information about QuickBooks 2012.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Top 8 Things You Need to Do When Starting A Business

Starting A Business

Entrepreneurship is reaching record highs these days. A combination of people wanting to create their own destiny, people desiring a flexible schedule, and the unemployed that need to start working again fuels this entrepreneurship growth. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here are the top 10 things you need to do when starting a business.

  1. Create a Business Plan
    Business plans are a great way to organize your ideas and put your dreams on paper. Business plans force you to evaluate every angle of your business, helping you decide whether or not your business ideas might work. Business plans help you research your competition, price your product, create a marketing strategy, generate a budget, and think about an exit strategy. They are also required if your business is going to need outside funding. Don’t get me wrong, a business plan will not guarantee success, but it will lead you in the right direction and will alert you to potential troubles once your business is up and running.

    Tip: a good business plan grows and changes with your business. Once your business is up and running, make a habit of reviewing your business plan on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. See if you are on track to reach your initial goals and update areas where you business took a different direction.

  2. Decide on a Business Structure
    You will need to decide the type of business entity you would like to create. Your business structure choices are: Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Partnership, Corporation, or an S Corporation. Choosing a business structure is not a task to be taken lightly. It is important that you understand the pros and cons to each structure. Some structures offer better tax benefits, while others are much more simpler to operate. Some structures are better for individuals while other structures offer better benefits for business partners. The IRS has lots of information on their website about the various business structures. Individual states also have their own requirements and conditions for business structures. I advise you to contact your CPA to assist in helping you decide on a business structure that best fits your specific and unique needs.
  3. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    Contact the IRS to obtain your EIN (Employer Identification Number). You will need to fill out Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, which can easily be done at IRS.gov. Even if you plan to operate as a sole proprietor, I recommend obtaining an EIN so you don’t have to use your Social Security Number on your business transactions.

    If you plan to hire employees, you will need to register with your state(s) to obtain an Employer Unemployment Insurance Tax ID and a state wage withholding ID. Check with your state’s Department of Labor and Department of Revenue for information about your state’s employer identification number requirements.

  4. Register Your Business with the State
    Corporations, s corps, limited liability companies (LLC), partnerships, sole proprietors, and non-profits need to be registered with the state(s) you plan to operate in. You can register your Trade Name and Doing Business As (DBA) with your State’s Secretary of State’s office as well.
  5. Sales and Use Tax License
    Businesses that sell products, goods, food, etc. need to apply for a sales tax license from the state(s) in which you plan to operate. Some states even tax services. You can check with the state’s Department of Revenue for specific information pertaining your individual business. Contrary to popular belief, internet businesses are required to collect and submit sales tax as well. With the state governments strapped for cash, many states are starting to enforce collection of sales tax on internet transactions. Sales tax can be a tricky subject and gets complicated quickly when nexus comes into place. I recommend you contact your CPA to help figuring out what state(s) your business is required to collect and submit sales tax.

    Use Tax – Depending on the state(s) and county(s) in which you live and/or operate a business, consumer use tax can be required to be paid by businesses and residents on purchases that were not taxed when purchased. Some examples include Internet, mail, and/or phone orders. Check with your CPA or your state to determine whether you owe use tax.

  6. Local Business License and Permits
    Many cities, towns, and counties require businesses to register and obtain general business licenses. In addition, building permits, liquor licenses, contractor licenses, professional licenses, home occupational licenses, special event permits, etc. may be required by your state, city, town, and/or county as well. Don’t forget to look into these additional licenses and permits to ensure your business is operating legally.
  7. Insurance
    Business insurance is a necessity to help protect you and your assets. In general, you will want to carry a general business liability insurance policy. If you have employees or hire subcontractors, you will also be required to carry a Workman’s Compensation Insurance policy. An insurance broker is a great resource and can help you get your business insurance set up.
  8. Set Up a Bookkeeping System
    As your business starts making and spending money, you will want to have a system in place to track your income, expenses, bills to be paid, receivables, loan payments, cash, etc. With today’s technology, there are several great and inexpensive bookkeeping software options available. Check out QuickBooks, Sage Peachtree, Outright, FreshBooks, and Wave Accounting.

Keep in mind this list of the top 8 things you need to do when starting a business is a general list. Every business is unique and has individual needs. Please consult with professional advisors regarding your individual business. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy your entrepreneurial adventure!

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


How to Convert a QuickBooks Mac file To QuickBooks Windows File

QuickBooks Mac vs. QuickBooks Windows
Mac’s are gaining in popularity. The only problem, what happens when your CPA continues to work on a Windows computer? Don’t let the difference in operating systems scare you away from your favorite QuickBooks bookkeeper. Intuit has made it easy to convert your QuickBooks Mac file to a QuickBooks for Windows file, and then back again.

The process of sharing your QuickBooks file with your accountant is called “round-tripping.” In a nutshell, round-tripping means your QuickBooks file will go from your Mac, to your CPA’s Windows PC, and then back to your Mac again. Let’s learn how round-tripping works in the Mac vs. PC world.

QuickBoks Mac

  • File –> Backup to a QuickBooks for Windows.
  • In the Save As field, enter a name for the QuickBooks file. Make sure the company file name does not include any special characters, such as !@#$%^&*().
  • Save the backup file. Saving it to your desktop makes it easy to find later.
  • When the password window appears, enter a password to password protect your QuickBooks file. You may leave the fields blank if you do not wish to have a password protected file.
  • A .qbb file will be created and saved to your Mac. An instructional PDF file will also be created to help with the Windows conversion.
  • Send the .QBB file and instructional PDF file to your Windows user via the CPA’s portal, USB stick, flash drive, CD-Rom, etc.

QuickBooks Windows

  • In QuickBooks for Windows, click File –> Restore.
  • A Restore Window will appear. Select the .QBB file and choose a location to save the restored file.
  • Click Restore.
  • To convert the file, you will need to type the word “yes” to continue with the conversion.
  • Once the file is converted, the file will open in the Windows Version of QuickBooks. QuickBooks is now ready to use on the Windows PC. Your accountant may review the file and make any necessary changes.
  • When the file is ready to be sent back to the QuickBooks Mac user, click File –> Utilities –> Copy Company file for QuickBooks for Mac.
  • The converted QuickBooks file will be saved as a .QBB file with the word “MAC” in the file name.
  • Save the backup file. Saving it to your desktop makes it easy to find later.
  • Once the backup process is complete, you are ready to send the .qbb file back to you the QuickBooks for Mac user via the CPA’s portal, USB drive, flash drive, CD-Rom, etc.

QuickBooks Mac

  • In QuickBooks for Mac, click File –> Open Company.
  • Choose the .QBB file you would like to restore.
  • Click Open.
  • When asked if you want to restore a QuickBooks for Windows file, click OK.
  • Name the restored file.
  • Click Save.
  • Now you are ready to work in your QuickBooks file again on your Mac.

Tips:

  • Keep in mind, most information is supported and can be converted between Mac and Windows. However, there are a handful of reports and data that is not supported. Please compare your restored converted file against your original file to ensure your new file is not missing any reports and/or data.
  • The Mac and Windows users must use the same version of QuickBooks. For example, QuickBooks for Mac 2011 can be converted and opened in QuickBooks for Windows 2011. Intuit also recommends both Mac and Windows be operating on the most current QuickBooks release.
  • As you can see, “round-tripping” a QuickBooks file is not complicated and makes for a simple solution when working between Mac and Windows users.

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    Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
    Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

    Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Colorado Sales Tax Updates, Effective July 1, 2011

Small Business Owner at Cash Register

Ca-Ching! Great news for Colorado businesses – the State of Colorado is restoring their State Sales Tax Service Fee (aka Vendor’s Fee), effective July 1st, 2011. The State Sales Tax Service Fee will be 2.22%. According to Colorado’s Department of Revenue’s website, “the service fee may be claimed on timely filings and paid sales tax returns submitted on or after July 1st, 2011. Beginning with sales tax returns for June 2011 and 2nd quarter 2011 returns due July 20th, 2011.” In a nutshell, if you if you file and pay your sales tax returns on time, you may take this 2.22% state sales tax vendor’s fee credit.

Here’s the link to Colorado’s Department of Revenue for additional information. Colorado Department of Revenue – July 1, 2011 Sales Tax Rate Changes

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


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