Building The Perfect Team with Shoeboxed and Bench: A User Success Story

Find out how a creative director living in San Diego uses Shoeboxed and Bench together to save time and hassle with bookkeeping and accounting.

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

Forrest Wright 3Introducing: Forrest Wright

Profession: Creative Director, Page 90, Inc.

Location: San Diego, CA

Website: www.page-90.com

LinkedIn: Forrest Wright

“I was not very good at being my own bookkeeper. Right before Bench, I had hired a bookkeeper who would come in every quarter but now Shoeboxed and Bench keeps things up-to-date in near real-time. No more quarterly meetings.”

-Forrest Wright

Shoeboxed: Hi Forrest! Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with us– we know how busy you are directing your next production!

Forrest Wright: Absolutely! Thanks for taking the time to interview me.

SBX: We’re glad to have you. To get started, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

FW: I started my career working in production and development for the film industry. When I got my MBA, I noticed an overlap between screenplay story structure and branding. That’s where I found my sweet spot – brand storytelling. With Page 90 I get to do something immensely rewarding: help individuals and brands simplify their story, and then share that story in a way that captures their audience’s attention.

SBX: Have you always wanted to run your own business? How did you get started?

FW: I haven’t always wanted to run my own business as much as I have always wanted to be part of a great team. When I’ve worked for large companies in the past, sometimes I found myself on a great team, sometimes not. Running my own business, I get to assemble a dream team for each project and this has given me access to amazing talent.

SBX: A great team is definitely a must! What is your favorite part of your job, and what is the most stressful?

Forrest on set for a shoot
Forrest on set for a shoot

FW: My favorite part is the discovery phase. A lot of clients hire us to help with idea generation and clarifying messages. When I facilitate a day or two of idea generation it’s not your traditional brainstorm. We essentially set up a creative play day. You’d be amazed at how much thoughtful, practical content emerges when you break the rules of business-as-usual and have fun with the marcomm/branding process.

The most stressful work: delivering pitches on behalf of clients. I’m a bit of a showboat so on one level I enjoy this, but I still get nervous before a big pitch. Your whole job is to influence the audience and you know right away whether you’ve succeeded.

SBX: I like the sound of a “creative play day!” Now, let’s jump in. How do you use Shoeboxed and Bench to manage your business? What is the best part of using them together?

FW: Shoeboxed and Bench are my solution for managing my business’ finances. I’m one of those people who found QuickBooks to be a cumbersome tool that took way too much time away from my actual work. Now I upload and itemize receipts from my phone at point of purchase, Shoeboxed stores and shares these with Bench, and Bench takes care of the rest. Then, once a year at tax time, I correspond with my guy at Bench (Luke is awesome) and we get it done. This saves me a lot of time and I’m no longer hoarding receipts.

SBX: How did you handle your bookkeeping before you started using Shoeboxed and Bench?

FW:  See #4. I was not very good at being my own bookkeeper. Right before Bench, I had hired a bookkeeper who would come in every quarter but now Shoeboxed and Bench keeps things up-to-date in near real-time. No more quarterly meetings.

SBX: Can you tell us a little bit about the features of Shoeboxed you use (expense reports, storing receipts for tax purposes, etc.)? What’s your favorite one?

FW: My favorite feature is the mobile app, and being able to categorize my receipts. This insures that Bench has the information they need to do their job.

SBX: Would you say that we make it easier for you to stay organized and up-to-date with your accounting? How so?

FW: Absolutely. My company’s accounting process is now streamlined to capture > tag > send. Shoeboxed + Bench = automated accounting for my business.

Robert DiIorio 1

SBX: Do you have any helpful tips for other small business owners that are trying to get organized?

FW: Use your time, energy and passion to do what you’re great at. Outsource the rest.

SBX: Well spoken, Forrest. We couldn’t agree more! Thanks again for sharing with us today!

FW: My pleasure!

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until next time, stay tuned… and stay organized!

 

The Top 5 Document Scanners for Small Businesses

If your small business is ready to go paperless, a document scanner can help you digitize all your receipts and documents. Here are our top 5 favorites!

If your small business is ready to go paperless, you’re going to need a powerful document scanner to take you from hard copy-zero to digitized hero.

Some of the best digital scanners available today are single-function scanners that are designed specifically to turn documents, receipts, and business cards into editable, exportable, searchable data.

If you’re serious about going paperless, one of those dinky, multi-function scanner/printer/fax hybrids just won’t cut it. Top scanners are able to:

  • Detect document size

  • Scan large stacks of documents at once

  • Scan multiple pages per minute

  • Digitize data into exportable formats

  • Scan to third party programs like Shoeboxed, QuickBooks, and Google Drive

Here are our top 5 document scanners for small businesses that are in need of some serious scanning power.

1. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i (pictured above) is Fujitsu’s smallest, lightest, most powerful multi-page mobile scanner. Weighing in at just under 5 pounds, this model is perfect for business travel and off-site projects that require the power and efficiency of a desktop scanner without the bulk.

Mac and PC users can scan color and grayscaled documents at lightning-fast speeds – up to a dozen double-sided pages per minute. The ScanSnap intuitively detects the size of your paper document, making it easy to scan everything from business cards to bank statements.

In addition to allowing you to create one-click, searchable PDF scans, the ScanSnap makes it easy to scan to a variety of different cloud-based programs, including Evernote, SugarSync, Dropbox, Google Docs, and Salesforce CRM.

2. Visioneer Strobe 500

The Visioneer Strobe 500 Mobile Duplex Color Scanner with Docking Station is a multi-function scanner that serves as a powerful desktop unit and a lightweight travel scanner.

When used within its docking station, the Visioneer Strobe rivals the most powerful desktop scanners in terms of scanning speed and document feeding. But when business travels calls, this 7-pound powerhouse can be easily ejected from its docking station and used on-the-go thanks to its USB functionality.

The Visioneer is slightly heavier than the ScanSnap, but with an extra 3 pounds of weight comes additional scanning power: the feeder holds up to 20 documents at once and can scan up to 30 images per minute.

Another great function of the Visioneer is its ingenious function settings. By adjusting the settings of each button on the scanner, you can instantly scan documents to pre-set locations such as email, a specific folder on your computer, or your favorite web publishing program.

3. Xerox DocuMate 3115

The Xerox DocuMate 3115 is one of the most flexible scanners on the market. Whether you’re digitizing business cards or oddly-shaped photos, or working in the office or on the road, the DocuMate has you covered.

Like the Visioneer, the DocuMate comes with a docking station that lets you easily convert the desktop scanner to a mobile scanner. Its extra USB cable makes it possible to power the scanner without an AC adapter, making it easy to scan from absolutely anywhere.

The DocuMate also comes with Visioneer OneTouch software, which makes exporting scanned documents a breeze. There are 6 settings preconfigured for popular applications, but each one can be easily customized.

The best part? The DocuMate is able to deliver digital scans to just about any application in existence, as well as any device – scan documents to your hard drive, a cloud-based app, your smartphone, or your tablet.

4. Kodak ScanMate i940

The Kodak ScanMate i940 scanner is lightweight, functional, and USB-powered. Although it’s meant to be primarily a desktop scanner, its weight (5 pounds) and USB capability make it another surefire bet for scanning off-site if need be.

The ScanMate specializes in scanning every shape and size document – even plastic ID cards, embossed cards, and over-sized paper.

SmartTouch and NewSoft Presto! Bizcard software make it easy to manage contacts and sync business card scans with existing contact records.

You can also edit scanned images with power that rivals top image editing software – rotate and crop photos, adjust contrast and brightness, and take advantage of Kodak’s Perfect Page software to perfect each and every scan.

5. Xerox Mobile Wi-Fi Scanner

The Xerox Mobile Wi-Fi Scanner is a wireless, cordless, battery-powered scanner and the quintessential device for business travel and mobile scanning.

At just 2.8 pounds, it’s the lightest scanner on our list, with a design that’s managed to retain a fair amount of power even when compared with the larger desktop scanners.

In addition to being completely wireless, the Xerox Mobile scanner is able to scan up to 6 full pages per minute. That’s not quite as powerful as the Visioneer in terms of speed, but what this model lacks in power it makes up for in portability.

You scan up to 300 documents on a single battery charge,  and use the included Eye-Fi memory card to instantly beam scanned documents to any device or cloud-based application.

The wireless technology allows you to sync up to 32 different networks with your device. Any time you’re within range of one of those networks, all of your scanned documents are instantly sent to the destination of your choice.

All 5 of these document scanners are fantastic choices for small businesses looking to go paperless and turn hard copies into digital data.

When deciding which scanner is right for your company, prioritize in terms of power and portability. Do you need to scan large stacks of documents quickly? Then the Visioneer Strobe 500, Xerox DocuMate 3115, or Kodak ScanMate i940 might be best for you.

Are you constantly on the go and need to scan documents remotely? Then the Xerox Mobile Wi-Fi Scanner or Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i might be best for your small business.

Which document scanner are you currently using in your office?

Image via Amazon

Affiliate Disclosure: Some links in the article above are referral links and we may receive compensation for sending you the way of these scanning companies.

32 Life Hacks for Your Home, Office and Everywhere in Between

Using life hacks to save time, money and sanity in every area of your life will directly benefit your small business. By applying these hacks to every area of your life, you’ll be free to completely focus more time and energy on growing your business. Here are 32 of our favorite life hacks!

As a busy small business owner or freelancer, you may tend to overlook life hacks in favor of organization or productivity tips specifically geared to your startup lifestyle. But cultivating streamlined organization at home is essential to maintaining a more productive workspace.

Life hacks show you how to organize every area of your life – from your kitchen cabinets to your kid’s play dates. These tips and tricks help you develop strong habits that will make every moment of your day more manageable, whether you’re working, working out or working it (y’know, like on the catwalk of life).

Besides, how beneficial is it to have a completely organized office if you’re coming home to a productivity disaster zone?

Using life hacks to save time, money and sanity in every area of your life will directly benefit your small business. By applying these hacks to every area of your life, you’ll be free to completely focus more time and energy on growing your business.

Amazingly, these 32 time-saving and organizational life hacks will also boost your mood, enhance your quality of life, and give you the freedom to spend more hours each day doing exactly what you want to do.

Life Hacks for the Home

1. Can’t tell one key from another? Use different brightly-colored nail polish hues to help you differentiate between the house key, the laundry key and the garage key.

2. Diminish the appearance of damage on wooden furniture by rubbing the offending area with walnuts. (Yes, walnuts. We don’t know why this works, but it works.)

3. Clean your shower head by filling up a large plastic baggie with vinegar. Dunk the shower head into the baggie and secure it with a rubber band. Leave the baggie in place overnight and wake up to a grime-free shower in the morning.

4. If you’ve misplaced an earring, contact lens or another tiny object, find it quick by placing the end of an old stocking over the bottom of your vacuum cleaner. The sucking force will draw the object to the vacuum, but the stocking will prevent it from being sucked in.

5. Get into the nooks and crannies of your home while cleaning by placing the top of an old condiment bottle onto the end of your vacuum attachment.

Never again, Mr. Whiskers. Never. Again.
Never again, Mr. Whiskers. Never. Again.

6. Tuck the end of the toilet paper into the roll to prevent dogs, cats and kids from unraveling it.

Office Life Hacks

7. When opening scissors, electronics or other heavily-packaged office supplies, save time by using a can opener.

8. Use binder clips to keep various power cords untangled and easily accessible. Attach each clip to the edge of your desktop and insert the end of each cord through the clip’s silver loop. Voila! Instant access to all the power you need.

9. If you don’t have any twist ties lying around, you can use hair clips (the kind with claws) to organize your earbuds and other longer cords. Twist the cord into a neat circle or “bun” and place the clip near where the cord ends.

10. Place office supplies into the pockets of a clear, hangable shoe rack. Your desk drawers will stay free of clutter, and you’ll be able to find exactly what you need with a single glance.

Techie Life Hacks

11. Enjoy hands-free FaceTime-ing and video chatting by using an old cassette case as an iPhone stand. This is also a great way to take steady pictures and videos and create professional-looking webinars without springing for a fancy tripod.

12. Increase your online security by including non-English letters and characters in your passwords. Include tildes, umlauts and accent agues!

13. Why buy expensive iPhone speakers when you can make your own? Cut a phone-sized slit in the top of an empty toilet paper roll. Stick four push pins into the bottom of the roll, being sure to space them out along all four “corners” of the bottom area. The pins will serve as a stand, and the roll creates a reverberation area for the sound.

Crafty Life Hacks

14. Want to conjure your inner artist (or just your inner Martha Stewart)? Place a large rubber band lengthwise around a can of paint. This creates a band across the center of the can, which can be used to wipe the brush in between strokes. It will also prevent paint from dripping into the ring of the can and over the sides onto the floor.

15. Stop smashing your fingers with a hammer every time you hang a painting! To protect your hands, use a clothespin to hold the nail in place while you pound.

16. Keep wrapping paper from unraveling by placing empty toilet paper rolls around the center of the wrapping paper.

17. If you don’t have a screwdriver handy, try using the plug from one of your electronic devices to screw and unscrew. Most North American plugs can double as flathead screwdrivers.

Dress for Success Life Hacks

18. Late for a meeting with no time to iron your shirt? Your hair straightener doubles as a collar and hem iron! Smooth out hard-to-straighten areas with the iron, and spray the rest of your shirt with Downy Wrinkle Spray to release any remaining crinkles.

19. Life hacks for early mornings? No problem! When storing clothing in dresser drawers, fold each item then turn the entire stack on its side. This way you’ll be able to quickly scan available choices, grab your outfit and go! (This hack is very effective for those of us who tend to wake up half asleep.)

20. We all have that one pair of pants with a zipper that keeps losing its battle with gravity. Combat Open Fly Syndrome by looping a circular keyring through the end of the zipper. When you zip up, loop the key ring over the button of your fly. Voila! No more London, France, or unsightly underpants.

Foodie Life Hacks

21. Are you on an egg whites-only diet? While making breakfast in the morning, use an empty plastic water bottle to separate the yolk from the egg white. Simply place the opening of the bottle near the yolk, and squeeze gently. The release of air actually sucks the yolk directly into the bottle!

22. Why is it impossible to put a straw into a can of soda without it rising upwards? Keep your Diet Coke addiction in check by placing the straw through the tab on the can.

23. Forget those big, expensive candle lighters – to light a flame in hard to reach places, simply light the tip of a piece of uncooked spaghetti.

24. If you’re having a barbecue or dinner party, place condiments like tomatoes, onions, pickles and ketchup in the reservoirs of a muffin sheet. You’ll save time doing dishes later and be able to easily pass and share your condiment platter.

life-hacks-325. Knives are so passé – when cutting cakes, soft breads, cheeses and other desserts, use a long strand of dental floss. Be sure to get the scentless, flavorless kind, unless you want your gouda to be minty fresh.

26. If you’re at a beach bonfire and can’t find enough kindling to get the flames roaring, use flavored tortilla chips instead.

27. When reheating leftovers like pizza, place a glass of liquid in the microwave along with your food. The moisture will prevent the crust of the pie from becoming rubbery and too chewy.

28. In the summer, fill your ice tray with coffee. When the coffee cubes begin to melt, your iced latte won’t become watered down.

On-the-Go Life Hacks

29. Late-night meetings with potential clients? Make sure your headlights are primed and ready to lead the way! Use toothpaste to clean off dirt and dust from your car’s lights – you’ll roll up to your meeting safe and sound, and your new clients will be impressed with your sparkling (minty fresh!) ride.

30. Feel free to leave your towel unattended while at the beach – just place your phone, keys and money into a used, rinsed out suntan lotion bottle.

31. Clean out an old lip gloss or Chapstick tube and use it for a wallet! Roll up your cash and stick in inside. This is a great life hack to use while traveling on business. If the unthinkable happens and your wallet gets stolen, it’s highly unlikely the thieves will also go for your Chapstick!

32. Did you know that most TVs actually have USB ports? Plug in for a great way to charge your phone or laptop while you’re away on business.

Finding creative life hacks that work for you is one of the best ways to grow your small business. Being organized and productive at home and on the go leads to a more productive startup life.

By saving time, money and stress using these life hacks, you’ll be able to increase your focus while at work. Lowered stress levels will mean increased energy at the office, which in turn will lead to more clients, more conversions, and more revenue for you and your business.

What’s one life hack you can’t live without?

References

1. Twisted Sifter

2. Mother Nature Network

3. Tumblr

photo credits: collegelifestyles.org, www.wall-online.net, www.brit.co