Accounting, Bookkeeping, and QuickBooks Tips for Small Businesses

Posts tagged Small Business Bookkeeping

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.


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.


Month End Bookkeeping Tasks

Shoebox Accounting Month End BookkeepingClosing your books every month is an important bookkeeping task that should be part of your monthly bookkeeping routine. By closing your books on a monthly basis will help you have cleaner books, be more organized, and you will have an easier time preparing your books to give to your tax preparer at the end of the year. Here is a 12 Step process to follow when you close your monthly accounting records.

  1. Accounts Receivable
      Verify all clients have been invoiced for work completed during the month.
      Double check your deposits and monies received have been posted to QuickBooks.
      Reconcile your Aging Accounts Receivables report against your Balance Sheet and against your General Ledger. Make any changes or adjustments to ensure all records match.
  2. Accounts Payable
      Make sure all bills have been paid.
      Double check all automatic bill payments and any recurring payments have been posted to QuickBooks (example – loan payments, monthly car insurance payments, etc).
      Post any outstanding bills to Accounts Payable so you can track what needs to be paid next month.
      Reconcile your outstanding vendor bills and vendor statements against your Accounts Payable Reports and your Balance Sheet. Make sure your records match those of your vendors. Make any adjustments or changes.
  3. Monthly Reconciliations
      Reconcile Bank Accounts – Reconcile all bank accounts using your monthly bank statements and monthly credit card merchant statements. Print and file the reconciliation reports and bank statements when finished.
      Reconcile Loan Balances and Lines of Credit – Reconcile your loan balances and lines of credit against your monthly statements. Print and file the reconciliation reports.
  4. Track your Fixed Assets
      Record your monthly depreciation.
  5. Prepaid Income and Expenses Adjustments
      Record your monthly journal entries to allocate your prepaid income and expenses.
  6. Write Off Bad Debt
      Write off any uncollectable invoices to bad debt. In QuickBooks, this can be done using a Credit Memo.
  7. Verify all Checks and Invoice Numbers are Accounted For
    Checks and Invoices are generated in numerical order. If any check numbers or invoice numbers are missing, figure out why and record the missing transactions. If they were voided or deleted, make sure you keep a record as to why they were voided and/or deleted.
  8. Review Financial Statements
    Look for any unusual balances, missing items, or mistakes. If anything looks or feels “off” look into it and figure out why the balance seems odd to you. Make any corrections or necessary adjustments.
  9. Update Budget
    Update your budget and review your budget vs. actual numbers. Determine why some budget amounts are off for the month. Feel free to adjust your budget as needed.
  10. Print and File Financial Statements and Financial Reports
  11. Close Books
    If you’re using QuickBooks, use the “Closing Date” feature. This great feature allows you to lock previous months and protect with a password. This keeps yourself and your bookkeepers from accidentally changing previous months. The “Closing Date” feature can be found under the company drop down menu. If you find any errors later on, those errors need to be corrected in the current period.
  12. Back Up
    Back up your QuickBooks, Peachtree, or other accounting software.

There you have it – 12 steps to follow to close your books at the end of each month. Adding these tasks to your monthly bookkeeping routine will help you have cleaner books, be more organized, and you’ll have an easier time preparing your books to give to your tax preparer at the end of the year.

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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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