Since January of 2010, I’ve been running my own micro-business. I make my living as a writer, photographer, and teacher. I enjoy being able to help others through these mediums. I love my job and I’m grateful that my business is thriving. However, there is one job related task I don’t love and that’s bookkeeping.
For the last few years, I’ve been using a basic excel spreadsheet to track my business expenses and income. The spreadsheet method worked, but it was time intensive and I was missing important details. For example, I wasn’t tracking my PayPal fees or mileage.
I wanted to simplify and streamline my bookkeeping process. So I asked my friend — and business partner — Courtney Carver for help. She recommended a few services that would meet my bookkeeping needs, including Outright and Shoeboxed. Earlier this month, I signed up for both services and last week I spent one afternoon organizing my accounting. I can’t believe I waited so long to sign-up for these services! I still have a lot to learn, but so far Outright and Shoeboxed are intuitive and easy to understand. When it’s time to do my taxes this year, I will be organized and that makes me feel good!
If you need help simplifying your small business bookkeeping, give the following tips and tools a try:
1. Ask friends, family members, and business colleagues for help. For example, Courtney offered me valuable information about two bookkeeping programs that I love. If I hadn’t asked for help, I wouldn’t be using Outright or Shoeboxed.
2. Before you spend money on accounting software, or online bookkeeping, sign-up for a free trial version. This will give you the opportunity to explore the program and see if it works for you. Also, make time to learn about the new program in detail. Read articles online and take advantage of support services. If you don’t understand a tool, you won’t use it.
3. Open business specific accounts for checking, savings, PayPal, and for credit cards. Having a clear division between personal and business accounts will make your life easier during tax season.
4. Save and send your receipts to Shoeboxed. For me, Shoeboxed is the perfect receipt storage solution.
5. Find bookkeeping software that works for you. I’m thrilled with Outright because it’s saved me time and given me peace of mind.
What tips would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments section.