How Does Shoebox Accounting Solve Basic Business Problems?

What is shoebox accounting?

How much time do you spend on finding the physical receipts and business transaction records?

How much space do you spend on keeping these records? 

How much energy do you spend on keeping track of these transactions?

How much trouble do you go through at the end of the tax season to account your expenses? 

If your answer to those questions is quite a lot, I suggest you spend just 5 minutes of your time to know how Shoeboxed services can solve all these problems for you and your business. 

What is shoebox accounting? 

Shoebox accounting is the practice of filling a symbolic shoebox with receipts, invoices, and other accounting documents so that an accountant can sort these out at the end of the accounting year. 

How does shoebox accounting help you increase revenue? 

Shoebox accounting saves business owners’ costs by reducing the stress of keeping accounting records and adding more time to concentrate on growing the business.

Why do you need to use shoebox accounting specialized software? 

Shoebox accounting software such as Shoeboxed reduces the risk of human errors and optimizes the efficiency of the automated accounting system. 

These are the most prominent features of Shoeboxed that make accounting a walk in the park for your business. 

  1. Important receipts and documents are scanned and safely stored at a physical warehouse and in the cloud. You can easily access all the data that you need without worrying about safe keeping the records. 
  2. Key data is extracted from your business records and organized in your account. At the click of a button, you can track all expenses and review scanned images of your receipts. 
  3. Expense reports are simply organized and created catering to your own needs. You can choose to export all or part of your data at any time and have them beautifully downloaded in the format of PDF or CSV files. 

If you are still not sure whether Shoeboxed is a good fit for you, reach out to us at our support center and give it a try completely free of charge.

Maximizing 2016 Tax Deductions: Tips & Tools for Millennial Freelancers

The earlier you organize expenses and keep track of potential deductions, the more money you’ll save in the long run.

Millennial freelancers are a force to be reckoned with and the numbers are there to prove it. According to a national survey from Freelancers Union and Upwork (formerly oDesk), 38% of millennials are freelancing — more than any other generation. Considering that they now make up 45% of entire workforce, this group of 20 and 30-somethings is taking the freelancing industry by storm.

It’s clear to see why. The benefits of being a freelancer align with the lifestyle that millennials seek. They want flexibility, independence and creativity – a perfect formula for a rise in freelancing jobs. But while there are many perks to being a freelancer, there are also stodgy downsides such as complicated taxes and the responsibility of tedious administrative tasks.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome these drawbacks. Tax season may be months away, but that doesn’t mean millennial freelancers can’t start prepping now. The earlier you organize expenses and understand tricks and tips to maximize deductions to make tax season a breeze, the more money you’ll save in the long run. Start sooner rather than later with these recommended tools and tricks:

Research Deductions in the Freelancers Union Tax Blog
One thing freelancers shouldn’t complain to the IRS about is the amount of tax breaks they offer. Tax breaks give freelancers a valuable opportunity to win back money they’ve been spending on their business. It’s also a unique way to encourage entrepreneurship. There’s only one problem: it’s hard to keep track of what’s what, and deductions often change on a yearly basis.

Learn about which expenses qualify for which tax break by reading the in-depth tax blog written by the awesome folks at Freelancers Union. Freelancers Union is a nonprofit organization and insurance company that advocates for the rights of freelancers. Their blog posts are written by freelance veterans and include everything from how to calculate hourly rates to how to write client contracts.

Freelancers Union Shoeboxed

Don’t procrastinate! Use IFTTT for Important Date Reminders
Unless you want to have a very stressful week, don’t wait until right before April 15 to prep and file your taxes! When you take your time to carefully approach filing your taxes, it won’t seem as stressful or time consuming. You’re more likely to make an error or miss out on a deduction if you rush the process.

Eliminate the risk of filing late by using IFTTT. Simply set a receipe that sends a email and/or text reminders on certain dates leading up to the April 15 deadline. This nifty web tool can also help with QET deadline reminders.

IFTTT Shoeboxed

When in doubt, ask for help using sites like NerdWallet
With an endless supply of information, the Internet of things can answer any question you may have related to taxes. Sometimes though, having 10+ pages pulled up with an overwhelming amount of information can make material difficult to comprehend (which is especially true for taxes). Depending on the complexity of your question, it may be best to approach a tax expert or CPA. Tax deductions change often — stay ahead of the curve and make sure you’re taking advantage of ways to save money by asking for help.

Enter NerdWallet, an educational blog that helps millennials make smarter financial decisions by breaking down complex financial information into simple terms. The writers at NerdWallet can tell you exactly which expenses qualify for which tax break as you track your finances into tax season. They also have on-demand financial professionals available to answer your tax questions directly from their homepage.

NerdWallet Shoeboxed Freelance

Organize Your Receipts and Expenses by Tax Category with Shoeboxed
One of the easiest way for freelancers to maximize tax deductions is by staying organized and keeping updated records of receipts, payments and expenses. The IRS demands documented proof for claims, so having everything stored and accessible can reduce a substantial amount of time and pressure. Organization also helps maximize deductions and reimbursements without the hassle of scrambling to find misplaced financial records.

Apps like Shoeboxed let on-the-go freelancers snap pictures of receipts using their phone, which are then digitally stored as IRS-accepted images. Receipts are processed and organized so that vendor, total amount, date, tax category and payment type are extracted and available in a searchable online account. Simply make a note that the receipt is deductible and boom – you have a digital archive of everything you can write off for taxes.

Shoeboxed Freelancers

Use these tools and tips to help make your freelance tax season the smoothest (and most time-saving) yet!

What Your Accountant Wishes You Knew Before You Walked In

We asked a few accountants to tell us what they wish you would learn before you walk into the office next time. Here are some of the surprising answers!

We treat our accountants like miracle workers. We walk in with a big pile of papers with a panicked look on our faces. They sigh, collect the pile, and sometime later everything is magically fixed and your money isn’t in jeopardy anymore.

If only you would take the time to learn a few things before you walked in, the whole process would actually be much smoother. Not only that, but you could participate in the growth and health of your finances and make your business that much stronger.

We asked a few accountants to tell us what they wish you would learn before you walk into the office next time. Here are some of the surprising answers!

There are No Dumb Questions

Your accountant understands that there are concepts you don’t “get.” If you did, you might not have an accountant. There will always be some new law, or rule, or other regulation that comes up and throws you for a loop. It’s going to happen.

The worst thing you can do in this situation is to simply nod your head and pretend you understand. If you don’t get it, don’t be embarrassed. There are no dumb questions!

“Give me a call if you have a question,” says Chris Peden of The Accounting Scribe, “no matter how insignificant the matter may seem. I would rather have them ask me what they think is a stupid question, than not ask and have something that should have been reported go unreported.”

George Sleeman of Tax Man to You advises, “Not all spending is deductible.” This might seem like a simple concept, but you might not realize it until you ask. “Also, you cannot expense everyday clothing because you wear a suit to work.” How would you have known that if you didn’t ask?

Participate

“Spending the time to review your business operations on an annual basis can be a time to create opportunities for tax savings or keep your compliance in check,” says Lauren Stinson from Windward Tax. “We are here to help you.”

Basically, if you’re not active in your finances, you’re limiting what your money can do. Your accountant can only do so much – they’re going to organize your money in a way they know best. If you have other ideas, though, on how you want your business to move forward, you have to be there to advise.

“I cannot get your return done without all the information I ask for,” Sleeman continues. Without your help, your accountant is only getting half the story. Help them out by participating in the discussion and staying informed.

Set Realistic Expectations

You probably know by now not to rush into your accountant’s office on April 14th with a giant stack of papers for them to help you with. However, you’re probably recreating this same stressful situation throughout the year and not even knowing it.

“I cannot get your return done in an hour,” Sleeman bluntly states. No matter the form or paperwork you want them to help you with, expecting them to literally pull off a miracle is unfair and unprofessional on your end.

On top of that, the more you rush your account the more likely there will be an error. Just make sure you get all your ducks in a row quickly so you have time to calmly explain what you need as well as ask questions when you’re confused.

Accountants are our friends. They keep our feet out of the fire and the taxman from our door. We hope these tidbits from real accountants will help your relationship with your own financial pro run more smoothly!

Zach Olson is the Founder & CEO of TaxAlli.com. At Tax Alli, we pair you with real life accountants and use cloud software to make small business accounting awesome. So you can do what you love while we handle the rest.