On-the-Go Accounting with Outright & Shoeboxed

As an entrepreneur who is always on the go, Sean Ogle needed a simple and mobile way to keep up with bookkeeping and accounting. He found a solution in using Shoeboxed and Outright. Check out this User Success Story for details on Sean’s paperless, moving target lifestyle!

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.

“I travel 3-4 months out of the year, so to be able to use Shoeboxed anywhere in the world has allowed me to stop stressing as much about record keeping and focus more on the business itself.”

-Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle 1Introducing: Sean Ogle

Profession: Business builder

Location: Everywhere!

Website: www.seanogle.com

Twitter: @seanogle

Shoeboxed: Hi, Sean! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourself and your business.

Sean Ogle: Sure! My name is Sean Ogle and I’m the creator of a site called Location 180. The site is all about teaching people how to build lifestyle businesses that allow them to work from wherever they want and generally do more of the stuff they like to do.

In keeping with this theme all of my small businesses are around my interests: Entrepenurship, photography, and most recently, golf.

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

sean ogle headshotSO: I’ve always known I’d wanted to be an entrepreneur. This started in college when I did everything from selling concert tickets, to having my own house painting business, to making t-shirts.

About two years into my job as a financial analyst I realized I wasn’t getting any closer to having a real business of my own. So I left, moved to Thailand for seven months and started learning how to build businesses online.

SBX: Wow! That’s quite a change of pace. So now that you’re doing what you want to do, tell us your favorite part of your job, and the most stressful.

SO: My favorite part is the flexibility. I can work whatever hours I choose, and if a cool opportunity comes up I’m usually able to take advantage of it. That said, income can certainly ebb and flow. So the most stressful times are the ones where sales slow down and you’re wondering if they are ever going to start up again!

SBX: That’s definitely something all small business owners face! Another challenge is dealing with finances. What did you do with all your documents before Shoeboxed? How did you stay organized before using our service?

SO: Ha, I wasn’t that organized before your service. I had a giant pile of receipts that I had to sort through during tax time, and I’m sure I missed plenty of them.

SBX: Well, we’re certainly glad you found us! How did you hear about Shoeboxed and decide to take the plunge?

SO: A couple friends of mine started a site called Taxreceipts.com, and they told me about the service. One of them is a tax attorney and gave me a little scolding on how I needed to keep better track of my receipts – I’ve been using Shoeboxed ever since!

SBX: Tell them thanks on our behalf! :) So now that you’re a regular user, can you tell us about how you use Shoeboxed to manage your business?

SO: Sure. I almost completely rely on the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker on my smartphone. Once a receipt goes in my pocket, there’s no telling when, or if, it will be seen again. Shoeboxed makes it so easy to take a photo right after every meal or purchase, and know that it’s all stored in one place for whenever I need it.

I also manage my books with Outright, so the fact that Shoeboxed works with Outright is a nice bonus.

SBX: Awesome! We’re glad to hear you’re taking advantage of one of our partner integrations. Can you tell us a bit about the value you’ve found in Shoeboxed? Maybe you could elaborate about how we fit into your business and lifestyle.

Sean Ogle - Location 180SO: No problem! I try to be paperless everything, so to be able to take something that has traditionally always been about paper and send it to the cloud is really important for me. I travel 3-4 months out of the year, so to be able to use Shoeboxed anywhere in the world has allowed me to stop stressing as much about record keeping and focus more on the business itself.

SBX: That’s fantastic– we’re honored that we can help your business grow! Okay, last question. Do you have any helpful tips for our users or small business owners that are trying to get organized?

SO: Don’t wait until the last minute. In the past I’d do an entire year’s worth of organizing the week before tax day. Spend a 20 minutes a week making sure everything is accurate, and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

SBX: That’s great advice, Sean, and thanks again for taking the time to chat with us! We’re thrilled to be a part of your small business owner on-the-go lifestyle.

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 then, stay tuned… and stay organized!

How to Make Your Accountant Love You

A good accountant is crucial to the success of any small business. In this post by our friends at Outright, you’ll find some ways to let your account know how much you appreciate them. Just a few simple changes will make your books (and their lives) easier!

This guest post is brought to you by Outright, the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today for a less taxing tax time!

Your accountant does so much for you every single day. You might not be great with numbers, and you definitely do not have time to deal with every minute change in tax law. That’s why you hand your books over to a professional. If you’re like most small business owners, from time to time you call your accountant up in a panic over something and they quietly assure you everything will be okay – then they make it okay.

So, we say now is a great time to give back. Let them know how much you appreciate them by doing a few simple things to make their lives easier. Not only will they love you for it, the changes will actually help them make your business run more smoothly.

Get Organized

Think back to when taxes were due in April. Did you walk into your accountant’s office with a huge box full of receipts and other paperwork with a wide-eyed look on your face? Many business owners have done this in the past, and accountants are used to it.

However, they shouldn’t have to be used to it, and it certainly won’t endear you to them. It’s time to get organized! If you don’t have a system for filing your paperwork, get one started now. All your receipts need to go together in different folders for easy access – receipts for materials in one, others for gas in another one, so on and so forth.

Another great idea is to use Shoeboxed to digitize all your receipts throughout the year. Shoeboxed then integrates with small business bookkeeping app Outright, which will sort your expenses into handy digitized reports. No (actual) shoeboxes required!

Don’t Hold Back

Nobody likes to hear bad news– or to deliver it either. But if you’re deliberately withholding information from your accountant, it’s your business that gets hurt in the long run. Also, it makes your accountant’s life harder which means their “love level” will drop.

Of course you may be leaving stuff out because you’re just not aware of it. Sometimes we get so bogged down as business owners the world around us disappears. You don’t realize how much money has come in and out because you’ve constantly got your nose to the grindstone.

So if your accountant tells you that you overspent on printer paper, don’t tell them they did anything wrong. You might just not know the whole story. If you know ahead of time you spent way more money than you wanted to (even after they told you last month to cut it out), don’t lie and say everything’s fine. They’ll find out!

Prepare Ahead of Time

You’re busy, but your accountant is likely doubly so. After all, they don’t just deal with you; they have tons of other clients who are just as frantic and worried about their money as you are. So when you walk into their office and only have half the paperwork you need, they’re going to lose their mind

Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time. If you’re unsure what to bring, call them up or send them an email so you can get a list. If you think you’re bothering them, think of how much more “bothered” they’re going to be when you come rushing in with “extra” paperwork on April 14th.

Lastly, when you end a meeting with your accountant, ask them if there’s anything you could do for “homework” that will make their lives easier. They’ll surely be able to think of something you can do that will make the process smoother. If not, they’ll at least appreciate you thinking of their needs.

How do you make your accountant love you? Let us know in the comments!

Image via Flickr

Can an Experienced Business Owner Learn New Tricks?

When you’ve been a business owner for a while, you get used to doing things a certain way. In this guest post by Outright, find out if it’s time for you to learn new tricks and discover new ways to grow your business through increased productivity and organization.

This guest post is brought to you by Outright, the alternative to Mint for business and the simplest way to handle your small business finances online! Sign up today and make financial organization less taxing!

When you’ve been in business for a while, you get used to doing things a certain way. You send packages one way and no other way. You perform activities in the order you’ve always performed them and won’t change for anything. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Once in a while, though, it’s healthy to look around and wonder if you’re doing things in the most efficient, cost-effective and productive way possible. It’s not a sign your business is doomed, not by any means; it just means you think something might be improved upon. It’s actually a sign of growth and that you’re willing to do what it takes to keep your business going forever.

To get you started, try looking at the following examples and see if they sound like you. If so, it may be time to learn some new business tricks.

How to Know When It’s Time to Learn New Tricks

You own the business, so in the end it’s up to you to decide when it’s time to upgrade your business processes, but there are a few warning indicators that it’s time to look around for a change:

  1. You don’t feel like you’re getting enough done in a day.
  2. You are paying a lot of money for business services that you don’t understand or rarely use.
  3. Your work quality is suffering.
  4. Your bottom line is heading rapidly toward the red.

Sounds bleak, right? But here are just a few examples of “new tricks” you can use to automate some of those tasks and get back to doing what you do best – running your business.

Task Lists

When you first started out, doing daily tasks wasn’t that big of a deal. You memorized everything or jotted it down on a Post-It note and headed out the door or hit your computer. Once in a while something got switched around accidentally, but for the most part everything was fine.

Over the years, though, that’s changed. You have multiple clients, a few contractors and a growing mountain of things to do. You’ve gone from messing up a task once a month to goofing up several things a week. On top of that, you now have two employees who are sometimes left with nothing to do because you won’t delegate.

Instead of using slips of paper, try using a project management app like BaseCamp or Insightly, which lets you schedule your day, week, month or even year out to as much detail as you want. You can also send assignments to your employees so they’ll always have work to do.

Managing Your Finances

Potentially one of the most aggravating things about being a business owner or freelancer is figuring out your own money situation. Tracking every invoice and expense gets really old after a while, but it’s just something you have to do.

So every week you sit down with a heavy sigh and start to figure out your books. Of course there’s always something you missed so you thumb through all your receipts to find the offending slip of paper. Wouldn’t it be nice to try something better?

Cloud accounting software like Outright can help you achieve the lofty goal of automating your finances. Every cent that goes in and out of your business is tracked automatically, giving you free rein to actually run your business. Plus, you can look at how you’re spending your money in-depth to better your company.

What other new tricks have you recently learned that have helped you to run your business better? Have you found a great proposal writing service? A business mileage tracker? Something else? Let us know in the comments!

image credit: watchdogmi.com