Refer New Customers & Get Up to 100% off a Shoeboxed Premium Plan!

You asked for a better incentive to invite your friends to Shoeboxed, and we heard you loud and clear! With our new referral program, for every referral you send us you’ll receive 10% off a Premium Plan of your choice for an entire year. Refer 10 friends and earn a year of free service. It’s that easy!

Today, we’re thrilled to announce our new referral program, which enables you to get a Shoeboxed Premium Plan for free for a year!

We listened to your feedback and came up with a better incentive for you to invite your friends and contacts to Shoeboxed.

It’s simple: Whenever one of your referred contacts signs up for a Premium Plan, you’ll receive 10% off your own plan for an entire year. And guess what — so will your friend! And if you refer ten friends that sign up for a Premium Plan, your Shoeboxed plan will be completely free for a year!

Shoeboxed Referral ProgramIt’s easy to get started: Just click the box in the bottom right of your Shoeboxed account, aptly titled Your Account Could Be Free. From there, a widget will pop up that allows you to refer contacts via email, Facebook, Twitter or your custom referral URL. Invite as many people as you like, anytime!

It’s painless to track: Once you’ve sent your invites, just visit the widget to see how many of your referred contacts have signed up for a Premium Plan. You’ll be able to track which contacts signed up, how much of a discount has been applied to your monthly payment, as well as how many new referrals you need to receive your Shoeboxed plan for free.

Why wait? Refer a friend to Shoeboxed to receive 10% off today!

If you have any questions about our new customer referral program, give us a shout at help@team.shoeboxed.com or 24/7 on Twitter at @ShoeboxedHelp.

September is Tax Time: Understanding your Quarterly Estimated Taxes

If you are self-employed, a sole proprietor, a partner or an S-corporation shareholder, you may need to pay quarterly taxes. Use our helpful guide to ensure you don’t miss the deadline!

If you run your own business or are otherwise self-employed, chances are you’re required to pay quarterly estimated taxes. Instead of having a certain percentage withdrawn from each paycheck for taxes, you’re responsible for saving and paying the IRS at intervals throughout the year. This can seem like a confusing and frustrating process, but it doesn’t need to be!

If you are self-employed, a sole proprietor, a partner or an S-corporation shareholder, you may need to pay quarterly taxes. If you anticipate owing more than $1,000 in taxes at the end of the year, you definitely need to make quarterly tax payments. Form 1040-ES will help you determine and pay any taxes that may be owed.

Quarterly estimated tax payments are due on the 15th day of the months of January, April, June and September. Even if you expect to receive a refund at the end of the year, it’s still crucial to make your quarterly tax payments on time. If you don’t, you could face a hefty penalty by the IRS.

You will also face penalties if you miss any of the quarterly estimated payment due dates. It’s not okay to save up and pay your taxes as a single payment at the end of the year. If you do this, you may be subject to additional penalty fees and interest. Do your best to pay on time every quarter to avoid pointless penalty fees.

Begin by taking a look at last year’s tax return and estimating what you expect to make in the current year. Each quarterly payment should be roughly 30% of your taxable income for the previous quarter. Keep in mind that depending on your state, you may need to pay quarterly state taxes as well.

It can be difficult to save 30% of everything you make, especially if you’re a freelancer or small business owner with revenue that continually fluctuates. Even if you’re unable to pay the total amount due each quarter, it’s advisable to pay as much as you can. IRS penalties may be avoided if at least 90% of the monies owed have been paid throughout the year.

It’s better to overestimate your annual income than underestimate it. In your first few years of business, it may be difficult to see a growth pattern when it comes to your revenue, so err on the side of caution and assume you’ll make slightly more this year than you did last year. If something amazing happens and you experience exponential growth, you can make adjustments to your quarterly taxes by filling out a new 1040-ES form.

A good way to ensure you have enough saved to make quarterly estimated tax payments is to open a separate savings account specifically for tax payments. When you receive money from a customer or client, automatically transfer 30% of that payment to your tax savings account. It may not be fun, but you’ll be glad you paid on time when your refund arrives! Also, don’t forget to track receipts and expenses throughout the year so you’re always prepared come tax time.

What questions do you have about quarterly estimated taxes?

10 QuickBooks Tips for Product-Based Businesses

Accounting and inventory management are essential components to all businesses, big and small. Here are our top 10 QuickBooks best practices based on a variety of customer service issues we’ve helped alleviate along the way.

This post is brought to you by Lettuce, a simple inventory management tool made for e-commerce and wholesale.

Accounting and inventory management are essential components to all businesses, big and small. Unfortunately, small businesses have it tough considering that most enterprise software is just that: enterprise software.

We’ve been looking out for small product-based businesses for awhile now, helping our customers navigate the treacherous waters of the wholesale and eCommerce world. Here are our top 10 QuickBooks tips and best practices based on a variety of customer service issues we’ve helped alleviate along the way:

Create SKU’s for All Products and Product Variants

1. Create SKU’s for All Products and Product Variants

As your business grows, so will your customers. When you start working with bigger buyers, you’ll discover that they all require unique SKU numbers for every product you sell them. And yes, that includes variations. For example, a dress available in three different sizes should have three different SKU numbers (e.g. DRE-BL-S, DRE-BL-M, DRE-BL-L).

Not only are SKU’s important for your business relationships in the long term, but they’re extremely important to you in the back end. Organizing your inventory with SKU’s for products and its variants gives you the opportunity to have a true inventory count of your entire stock.

Accurately Track Your Inventory

2. Accurately Track Your Inventory

Keep a proper, accurate tally of your inventory. We mentioned that establishing unique SKUs can provide you with a true inventory count – you can see exactly what you’ve got in the warehouse with a quick glance.

In addition to this, regular inventory audits are a must. Go through and physically count all of your products once per quarter. Never find yourself understocked and unable to fill an order.

Use Sales Orders for Faster Order Processing3. Use Sales Orders for Faster Order Processing

Time and time again we come across businesses that jump straight from receiving an order to filling out an invoice. What this does is it deducts the required inventory from your books before you’ve physically moved the product leading to confusion and miscalculations later on in the ordering process.

Instead, before creating an invoice, you should create a sales order. It won’t deduct inventory from your books, eliminating the possibility of inventory discrepancies.

A sales order will just let you know that you need to fulfill a certain amount of inventory. Once you’ve made sure you have the stock and are ready to fulfill the order, you can create an invoice. After that, all that’s left to do is ship the order.

Do Not Create Separate Items for Wholesale & Retail4. Do Not Create Separate Items for Wholesale & Retail

Having a single item listed twice (one for wholesale and another for retail) creates two completely different inventory stacks. We know what you’re thinking – that’s what you meant to do! But frankly, it isn’t in your best interest, especially when it comes to quickly and efficiently keeping track of your inventory.

The best thing to do in this scenario is to have one item listing with multiple wholesale and retail price levels. Then specify if those items are taxable or nontaxable at the order level.

Create Different Price Levels to Ease Inventory Management5. Create Different Price Levels to Ease Inventory Management

Create and implement multiple price levels if you sell across different sales channels or to a variety of customer types.

For example, if you sell directly to consumers at retail pricing, and you also sell to brick-and-mortar shops at wholesale rates, you’ll want different price levels for each. Similarly, if you’ve got a single-site retail store that buys from you as well as a multi-site retailer to whom you’re offering better pricing, you will also want to establish different price levels.

It’s in your best interest to not create multiple SKUs with different prices. You’ll only make inventory management more complicated for your business.

Use Classes to Organize your Transactions6. Use Classes to Organize your Transactions

QuickBooks comes equipped with two simple categorizations to help you identify similar data – classes and types.

Classes are used to distinguish different kinds of transactions, whereas types are assigned to individual jobs, customers and vendors. You’ll want to use classes to organize transactions related to different places, departments or types of business. It will make it much easier to sort through your books later on.

Create Purchase Orders to Safeguard Business Deals7. Create Purchase Orders to Safeguard Business Deals

Purchase orders allow you to keep track of all of your orders with a specific vendor. We recommend always creating a purchase order (better known as a PO) each time you place an order with a supplier or a vendor. You should also create an additional document outlining your terms and conditions, as well as any other requirements (i.e. guidelines for defects).

The more information you provide on a PO, the safer you are from getting caught in a sticky situation with your vendor should anything go wrong. Your POs are essentially the prenups to your vendor and supplier relationships.

Remember to always include a start and end ship date and to state that you have the right to cancel the order if not delivered within the specified time frame.

Utilize Bills for Inventory Tracking & Terms8. Utilize Bills for Inventory Tracking & Terms

After you receive inventory from your supplier or vendor, you should account for it in your system.

The best way to do that is to create a bill that adjusts your inventory for you (unless if you have Enhanced Inventory Receiving turned on).

A bill also allows you to keep track of what you owe your vendors and suppliers. You can reference your bills to see which of your terms are up and then you’re ready to pay, send a payment to your vendor by creatinga payment entry in your system. Utilizing this process will ensure your books stay up to date and enable you to keep track of your terms and payment due dates.

Differentiate your Customers9. Differentiate your Customers

Too often, we encounter small business who don’t input different names for all of their customers, they’re simply labeled “customer.” This is a terrible practice because it completely handicaps you from being able to drill down into your customers to figure out who’s actually moving the needle for your business.

The ability to run detailed and granular reports only becomes more important as your business and sales grow.  Differentiating all of your customers and categorizing their orders appropriately is the way to go.

Utilize Payments10. Utilize Payments

Create a payment entry in your system whenever you send or receive a payment and apply it to the appropriate invoice or bill. Accounting is all about balance, so when using QuickBooks it’s key to maintain an equilibrium within the system by “accounting” for everything that happens from a transactional standpoint. Once you apply a payment to an invoice or bill, you can close them and complete that transaction.

The Bottom Line

Our QuickBooks recommendations come from the most common customer service issues we run into with our new customers. QuickBooks offers a wide range of features, so as a small businesses it’s hard to fully get a grasp of every functionality and how it’s actually beneficial to your business now and down the road.

Still, the best way to enhance and simplify the order process involves more than QuickBooks best practices. Order and inventory management apps like Lettuce make it unbelievably simple to manage your orders and save time processing them. You can easily sync with QuickBooks and conduct all of your important business functions in one simple, beautiful online application.

Nima Patel is a Growth Marketer at Lettuce, a simple inventory management tool made for e-commerce and wholesale. Her team writes about e-commerce, inventory management, and small business on the Lettuce blog. Say “hi” @nimapt.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the integration between Shoeboxed and QuickBooks for an easy and painless way to enter your receipts into QuickBooks!