Accounting Solution Pitfalls to Avoid Like the Plague

photo credit: lifed.com

Growing up means giving in, letting go of childish fantasies of being different or special, and finally following the crowd. Or wait – maybe growing up means thinking for yourself, even when everyone else is going in a totally different direction. Or maybe it means finding that perfect balance between both ends of the spectrum? When it comes to finding and implementing the best accounting solutions and practices for your small business, it’s best to evaluate these practices in terms of your own individual company and your specific needs.

You wouldn’t jump off a cliff, just because everyone else was doing it….right? So why would you use the same accounting solutions that seem to be working for everyone else? Your accounting software, organizational applications and accounting team may end up as the most popular choice, but only after thoroughly evaluating what they can do for your company. Sometimes what everyone else is doing also happens to be the most common accounting mistakes. Which ones are you making?

1. Fear

To Cloud or Not to Cloud…that is the question. Many companies are still working on internal servers that, while connecting computers to each other via a network, still run the risk of creating problems with multiple versions of files. Spreadsheets that are technically accessible on any network computer may save updates on one machine, and not another. If two employees are contributing to the same document, you could run into some real trouble locating accurate numbers. If your small business does decide to utilize iCloud, Google or Dropbox to update documents in real time, plan on a period of chaos until the transition is complete. While everything is being transferred online, it’s imperative to communicate with your employees and colleagues so everyone knows where to enter data, and when the offline versions of the documents will become obsolete.

2. Sloth

Nothing’s worse than annoying pop-ups. Except maybe those stupid pop-ups that seem to appear constantly on your computer when you’re actually trying to get some work done. If those pop-ups occur within your accounting software, it’s imperative to authorize the updates immediately. Maybe the latest version of iTunes can wait, but the latest version of the application that provides you with integral accounting solutions can’t wait. So don’t be lazy, and don’t procrastinate! The accuracy of your numbers could be compromised, not to mention the security of your files. Besides, selecting “update now” is a great excuse to go grab some coffee, or check your latest fantasy football stats.

3. Vagueness

Feeling a little noncommittal when it comes to accounting solutions for your payables and receivables? Some days it may feel like an accomplishment just to have kept track of what’s coming in and what’s going out. But lumping all deposits and income together isn’t advisable, especially come tax time. Having taxable income in one category, and small business write-offs in another, is essential to keep track of and will make your accountant love you. Heck, with organizational applications like Shoeboxed.com, you don’t even have to do any of the organizing yourself!

While your buddies in the small business club may be afraid of the Cloud, running a four year old version of their accounting software, and adding deposit and payment receipts to a growing pile behind their desk, you know better. As a small business grown-up, you’re ready to compare what everyone else is doing with what everyone should be doing and, in the end, choose whatever works best for you.

What accounting solutions have you tried that no one else thought would work?

 

Top 3 Accounting Solutions for Small Business Rockstars

Starting off on the right foot is important in everything you do – your first day of school, a first date, and the first day your small business opens its’ doors, whether they’re brick and mortar or virtual. And while your excitement and enthusiasm may tempt you to hit the ground running, it’s important to step back, take a deep breath, and make sure you have all of your ducks in a row; especially when it comes to your small business’ accounting solutions. While your inner child may think that’s lame, the grown-up you will jump for joy come tax time.                                                                                             photo credit: chumpysclipart.com

Accounting solutions for small businesses include much more than solid accounting software and a CPA on speed dial. Whether you’re just starting out, or suspect it’s time to get your accounting act together, take a look at our handy checklist to see if your small business is on the right track.

1. License and registration, please.

Is your small business in compliance with all of your city and state’s licensing regulations? Sounds like a small thing, but – oh, wait. No, it actually sounds pretty important. The last you want is to be rolling along, keeping track of absolutely everything, and putting time and energy into accounting solutions that aren’t in accordance with local regulations. Since growing up means following the rules, no matter how much paperwork is involved, set aside some time to thoroughly research what’s required to get your small business on the good side of the law.

2. Open a big boy (or girl) bank account

If your small business staff is comprised of, well, you, you may be tempted to implement these accounting solutions into your personal financial practices. While it may seem easier to view all of your financial transactions in one place, it’s better to heed the sage advice of 90’s rock band, The Offspring; “You gotta keep ‘em separated.” Opening a separate business account lets you track each of the transactions related to your business, make accounting and bookkeeping a cinch, and makes for easy scanning into your online Shoeboxed account.

3. Who do you think you are?

Accounting solutions can oftentimes be a matter of common sense, but many small business owners get confused when trying to decide what type of small business they’re running. Do you work well with others? Is your small business a partnership, a corporation, or a sole proprietorship? Accurately declaring who you think you are is extremely important for tax purposes. If you’re unsure or fail to fill out the proper paperwork that defines your small business, you will automatically be considered a sole proprietorship. And if you’re, um, not, you could find yourself in a sticky situation at the end of the year.

Starting a small business, or revamping your current endeavor, is an exciting time in any business owner’s life. With all the virtual accounting solutions now available online, there’s no excuse for neglecting your bookkeeping duties. Think of it this way – if you finish all your homework and eat your vegetables, you can stay up late playing Super Mario Brothers! Get those forms filled out, bank accounts open, and accounting solutions in place. Then sit back, relax, and reap the benefits of your hard work.

Are you a small business owner that got started on the wrong foot with your accounting solutions? Tell us how you turned it around below!

How to Get Organized: Life hacks to organize your life, go paperless, and save time (Part III)

Organizing your life might be a daunting task– and it will likely require more than a blog article of advice. So we’ve decided to dedicate our Friday posts to “how to get organized” by biting off manageable chunks of life’s clutter to help you get organized!

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 How to Get Organized for Efficient Travel

Even if you’re heading out for a relaxing vacation, traveling can be stressful if you aren’t properly prepared.  How to get organized for efficient traveling can be easily conquered if you divide tasks into a systematic plan. From planning your itinerary to how you pack your bags, there are plenty of little ‘life hacks’ waiting to make your life easier on the road!how to get organized for efficient travel

 1: Go Paperless

We live in the technology age, where it’s simple to have an entire “folder” of documents in the palm of your hand. From travel visas to GPS directions, we can plan and organize our entire travel itinerary from our phones/tablets/computers on the go. How to get organized for travel no longer requires a manila folder with printed itineraries and boarding passes. Here are some cool tools that will convert you from a confused tourist to a savvy traveler:

2: Create a Checklist

With all of the apps available these days, it’s easy to create a reusable checklist for every time you travel. Granted, how to get organized for each specific trip might require some particular items or special planning, but overall you run through the same essentials on each trip. One of our favorite apps to use is Evernote. Use the app to create a checklist that you can reuse each trip that will list your travel essentials: special clothes, toiletries, travel documents, electronics, chargers, mediations, etc. For the most part, the basics don’t change, and having a reusable list makes it easier each time you travel to not forget anything critical. It is also easy to check things off the list as you’re running out the door. You can even put your itinerary and any other travel lists in a customizable notepad dedicated to traveling in Evernote.

3: Less is More

Since most business trips don’t include a pack horse or camel, you should avoid being an over-packer since you’ll be the one schlepping your extra belongings around. Knowing how to get organized when packing your suitcase is critical to packing light and efficiently:

  • Pack heavy items on the bottom or towards the wheels of your suitcase so they don’t squish your other belongings.
  • Keep a plastic bag full of your travel-sized items that you only use when traveling. Just grab the whole bag each time you’re packing and make it easy not to forget any critical toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, floss, etc.).
  • Pack clothing that is easy to wear twice and not wrinkle; polyester and silk jersey are great travel fabrics. Plan outfits that can be mixed/matched and also layered. (Life hack: It is more space efficient to roll your clothing instead of folding it.)how to get organized for efficient travel
  • Pick up a Tide To-Go Pen or some Shout wipes to keep your clothes spot free on the go.
  • Don’t pack unnecessaries: Do you work out at home? No? Will you really workout in the hotel gym? Doubtful. Spare yourself the trouble of hauling novelty items.
  • Checking your luggage? Plan on still carrying a small carry-on bag with a few extra clothes and essentials. You never know if your bag will actually make it to your destination or if a cancelled flight will have you spending the night in the luxurious and accommodating airport terminal…

How to get organized for travel isn’t complicated. But if you forget something crucial it can be much more of a headache when you are out of town. Being an efficient traveler also makes your life a little easier while you’re working remotely and when you come back into town. Planning ahead isn’t always easy when life throws you curveballs, but worse case scenario, you pick up a parka if you get caught in an out-of-season snowstorm. Rolling with the punches is what make traveling exciting (and also gives you better stories when you return to the office)!

What are your tips and tricks for “how to get organized for efficient travel?” Tell us in the comments below!