The History of the Receipt

Check out our infographic about the history of the receipt to learn how these little pieces of paper came to be and what will happen to them in the future.

Did you know that receipt paper is responsible for 1.4 billion pounds of trash being dumped into landfills every year? How about the fact that it takes 1.2 billion gallons of water to produce paper receipts in the U.S. each year?

Paper receipts are terrible for the environment, but they are also as common as snow on Antarctica. Luckily, the use of paper receipts is on the decline as more stores now offer eReceipts, and individuals and businesses are going paperless by digitizing and then recycling their receipts. But how did these little pieces of paper come to be? Check out the infographic below to learn the history of the receipt across the globe.

shoeboxed_history_of_the_receipt

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6 Personal Money Management Tips for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, you know that managing your expenses is essential. Check out these six personal money management tips that you can put into action today.

As a small business owner, you know that managing your expenses is essential – every dollar you save is one more you can put toward the bottom line. If you don’t treat your personal finances like a business too, though, you could bring a host of problems on yourself. Check out these six personal money management tips that small business owners can put into action today.

1. Budget Your Personal Finances
Set up an Excel spreadsheet or use a free online resource like Mint to create a budget. List out all your monthly expenses, weigh them against your income, and set about getting your spending under what you’re bringing in.

2. Eliminate Credit Card Debt
Long-term credit card debt is the nemesis of many budgets. Total up all your balances, achieve a budget surplus through your cuts, and pay them down until they’re gone for good. Whether it takes you three months or three years, making an impact and sticking to it means moving in a positive direction.

3. Take Advantage of Coupons and Deals
Use grocery coupons, both from the Sunday paper and mobile apps like Grocery Pal and Saving Star. Check out websites like SlickDeals and FatWallet for deals on general purchases. Just make sure you truly need an item before you pull the trigger. If it’s for a food product you don’t normally eat or an electronic upgrade you don’t need, keep your money in your wallet.

4. Shop Online
Many retailer websites offer better pricing than they do in-store, so go online before heading out. Sign up for email newsletter updates to keep abreast of offers and cross-check prices for any purchase you’re considering on eBay or Amazon.

5. Cut Back on Personal Purchases
Avoid that fancy dinner, skip the upgrades on your TV and mobile device, and spend your vacation time at home. Your current wardrobe ought to serve you perfectly well, too. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses and leave the plastic in your pocket.

6. Automate Retirement Savings
Even though you probably don’t have access to a 401k plan, that doesn’t mean you can’t automate contributions to your IRA. Have your bank direct a preset amount to your retirement accounts, preferably at the beginning of each month. By getting your savings out of the way first, you can spend with a lot more freedom.

If you saved $1,000 on a business expense you would likely put it toward whatever area of your venture needed the most help – marketing or staffing, for example. Take the same approach with your personal savings. Invest them in your emergency fund if you have less than six months’ worth of living expenses, or direct them to a college fund for the kids. If those are not issues, boost your retirement investments and you just might be able to hang it up early. Managing your personal finances as a small business owner is important, but capitalizing on the fruit of those efforts is even better.

What ways can you think of for small business owners to better manage their money?

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3 Bookkeeping Mistakes to Avoid

Bookkeeping is a key component to any successful business, but it can be complex and time-consuming if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience. Mistakes with your books can also be expensive to fix. Read on for three bookkeeping mistakes you should take care to avoid in your small business, courtesy of our friends at Bench.

This guest post is brought to you by Bench, the online accountants that use your Shoeboxed receipts to build you tax-ready financial statements.

Bookkeeping is a key component to any successful business, but it can be complex and time-consuming if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience. Mistakes with your books can also be expensive to fix. Read on for three bookkeeping mistakes you should take care to avoid in your small business.

1. Mixing Business and Personal Finances

In the event of an audit, having business and personal expenses combined can be a very costly mistake. Under audit, the IRS may take a sample of a period of a few months to see the volume of personal expenses on your books. If they find many personal expenses, they’ll extrapolate that to the entire period and apply taxes for that amount. As you can imagine, this is an expensive consequence of not separating accounts. If you have an LLC or corporation, you have even more reason to be vigilant about separating expenses – in fact, you’re legally required to do so. Failure to comply could result in a lifting, or piercing of the corporate veil, which opens you up to unlimited personal liability.

2. Doing it Yourself for Too Long

While a DIY approach is good in the beginning when the books are simple, as your business grows you’ll need to decide on a more robust system. To determine when the time is right to hire a professional, calculate your hourly wage and multiply it by the number of hours you spend bookkeeping – hours that could be spent improving your business in other ways. When the cost to do it yourself matches or exceeds the price of outsourcing it, you may want to look at your options. And remember, many professional services expenses can be deducted!

3. Trashing Receipts

Part of tracking expenses is maintaining records that prove the legitimacy of those costs. While the IRS doesn’t require receipts for expenses under $75 (provided you can show a bank statement), they can still be helpful to have for bookkeeping purposes. Not to mention, the more evidence you have, the better off you’ll be in the event of an audit. And in this day and age, keeping a thorough record of your expenses is no reason to clutter up your office; digitize your receipts with Shoeboxed or send them directly to your Bench bookkeeper. The following receipts are important to keep, so take extra care with them:

  • Meal and entertainment costs
  • Business travel costs
  • Mixed-use assets (for example, a vehicle used for personal and business, or the home office).
  • Client gifts

While it may be a pain point for your business, thorough bookkeeping is key to long-term success. Avoid these expensive mistakes by doing your research and bringing in help when you need it.