Fire Your Accountant: How to use Virtual Accounting Programs to Finish Your Taxes Faster

While small business owners have a quite a few more things to think about compared with the average taxpayer, virtual accounting programs have made it easier than ever to fire your accountant for good.

Back in the day, accountants and tax professional wielded some sort of magical power: you gave them your receipts, held your breath, and a few weeks later they produced the completed 1040 that sealed your tax fate.

With the advent of the Internet and do-it-yourself technology, it’s now easier than ever to do your taxes yourself.

As a small business owner or a self-employed individual, you have a quite a few more things to think about compared with the average taxpayer. However, virtual accounting programs have made it easier than ever to fire your accountant for good. And if you’re tracking your receipts in Shoeboxed, then you’re already one step ahead of the game. Shoeboxed works with numerous online accounting platforms; check out our list of partners.

If you aren’t already using one of these tools for your small business, you’re missing out! Virtual accounting programs allow you to:

  • Track your spending throughout the year – No more digging through old filing cabinets looking for receipts and invoices. Applications like FreshBooks and GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping automatically track what you’ve spent and earned by analyzing your financial transactions. Each transaction is automatically assigned a tax category, making reporting at the end of the year a breeze.

  • Categorize your spending – Instead of analyzing your income and expenditures on a monthly basis, accounting software gives you a live snapshot of your spending for the entire year. Account totals are updated every day, giving you an accurate, up-to-the-minute snapshot of your small business’ financial health. Since every transaction is instantly assigned a tax category, you’ll save hours of time manually entering totals into spreadsheets.

  • Create one-click expense reports – When the end of the year arrives and it’s time to do your taxes, simply log in to your application and create one-click reports based on the criteria of your choosing.

You can generate a report based on what you paid certain contractors, or a report that includes revenue from a certain set of clients. It’s also easy to see how much you spent on vehicle maintenance, travel, education, technology expenses and other IRS-approved deduction categories.

  • Create and manage invoices – All of your invoices are stored in your accounting program, making it easier than ever to find what you need, when you need it. Instantly see how much a certain client paid you last year, or which invoices are still outstanding. You can also compare revenues generated with expenses, making it easy to see how your small business is doing overall.

  • Sync multiple accounts within a single platform – Accounting software can give you an accurate financial snapshot of your entire company through linked accounts. By syncing your software with your bank accounts, credit cards, and Paypal account, the reports you generate will be completely comprehensive and give you an accurate picture of your spending.

It’s easy to forget to calculate totals for accounts you rarely use. With linked accounts, your software will never forget to include out-of-the-ordinary payments and expenses.

  • Painlessly process payroll – As a small business owner, you’re not just responsible for your own taxes. You also have to deal with your employees’ taxes, as well as any independent contractors you may have hired throughout the year.

A virtual accounting program will not only process your payroll throughout the year, but give you the ability to see how much you’ve paid out, determine what portion of that is taxable, generate 1099 forms, and calculate how much you’ve paid in areas like employee health insurance.

Here are additional helpful tips if you’re self-employed or a small business owner.

Are you currently using a virtual accounting program? How do you like it?