Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada: The Original Mobile Bookkeeper

Long gone are the days when mobile bookkeeping equated to an at-home doctor’s visit or an accounting house call. Pre-2013, the “mobile” part of this phrase referred to the movement of the bookkeeper or accountant who would travel to small businesses, setting up shop wherever they were needed.

Today, mobile bookkeeping has morphed into a do-it-yourself way of life for small business owners, freelancers and solo entrepreneurs as they keep track of their income, invoicing and expenses while on the go. Whether staying organized during business travel, keeping track of expenses while out and about in town, or preemptively de-cluttering the home office, mobile bookkeeping is here to stay.

1. Get Moving

Forget waiting around for your accountant to call or your bookkeeper to pay you a visit. On-the-go accounting allows you to take control of your books today, no matter how many meetings you have scheduled or where they might be.

Portable bookkeeping means that you can track your spending in real time, from absolutely anywhere. Whether you spend most of your day driving, chained to your desk, or visiting work sites, mobile accounting allows you to utilize your accounting software wherever you are in a way that’s user-friendly, fast, and easily accessible.

2. Get the App

Mobile bookkeeping centers around applications that can be accessed from your smartphone, tablet or laptop, allowing you to keep your books up to date as you move seamlessly through your busy day.

As you conduct business and generate receipts, you’ll be able to scan and file those receipts digitally using mobile accounting apps. This means that by the time you get back to the office, you’ve already accounted for the business lunch you just finished, or the airline tickets your assistant just booked. You can label and organize each expense as “entertainment” or “travel” right from your phone, allowing you to jump right back in to running your business the second you return to the office or enter your next meeting.

3. Get Creative

Bookkeeping on the go lets you find new ways to engage in accounting solutions from your car, a potential client’s waiting room or your favorite little lunch spot. Instead of hoarding receipts that need to be untangled and deciphered at the end of the year, this technique completely eliminates the need to ever spend more than a few seconds at a time tracking expenses.

Let’s say you’re out purchasing some new office supplies. When it’s time to check out, many retailers now offer a digital POS system that instantly beams a digital receipt right to your smartphone. From there you can import the receipt into your mobile bookkeeping software, label it “office supplies,” and bam! You’re finished.

If the retailer doesn’t offer an instant digital receipt, you can have the receipt emailed to you and repeat the above process. Finally, if the retailer only offers a paper receipt (boo, hiss!), use your smartphone to snap a photo of the receipt before tossing it. You can then email the picture to your cloud-based accounting program, label it and forget it!

Mobile bookkeeping lets small business rock stars prevent those overwhelmed feelings of “tax dread” by making it super easy to track expenses as they occur in real time. In 2013, there’s no need – and no excuse! – for mountainous piles of receipts or paper expense reports. Grab your smartphone, get the app, and stay connected as you become your own personal mobile accountant.

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