Xero Timesavers

Xero has many features that make your accounting work both easier and faster. Here are a few.

  • Cash coding allows you to code large numbers of transactions in bulk. This feature is especially useful when your bookkeeping has fallen behind.
  • Find and Recode – change the coding of multiple transactions with just a few clicks.
  • With the Xero Mobile app, you can generate invoices, record transactions, and code transactions.
  • Upload important Files to Xero and store in the library, or attach them to a transaction or contact.
  • Get feedback on unreconciled bank items with Uncoded Statement Lines. With one click, you can create an editable PDF to send to your client or colleague. The recipient can then type comments into the PDF and send it back to you. This is a simple yet efficient way to collaborate on transaction coding.

Download my free report, Bookkeeping Myths: Common Mistakes Small Businesses Make

(Almost) Free Digital Checks

At Checkbook.io, you can send a digital check to anyone, and receive a digital check from anyone. The initiator (sender or receiver) pays a $1.00 fee per transaction. Both parties have to verify their identity. This verification happens instantly if your bank is one that Checkbook has partnered with. If not, you must use the micro-deposit verification method. (Checkbook states they provide instant identity verification on 75% of their transactions.) The sender’s bank information is not shared with the recipient, nor is the recipient’s info shared with the sender.

In short, Checkbook seems to be an easy, fairly cheap, and convenient service. My bank charges $3.00 to send ACH transfers, so Checkbook is a great alternative.

Schedule your free bookkeeping consultation today.

Home Work

According to SBA.gov, more than half of U.S. businesses are home-based. I own one of them, so I know both the benefits and the challenges of working from home. In the hopes that I can be helpful to other small business owners, here are some things I’ve learned over the years.

  • Set aside space in your home for work. A separate room or building works best, especially if you have other family members at home during your working hours. Minimizing distractions will increase your productivity and decrease the amount of time you must spend working.
  • Make your office space pleasant, because you’ll be spending significant time there. Decorate it the way you like, use ergonomic furniture to maximize your comfort and productivity. Add motivational and/or inspirational artwork if you feel it will be beneficial.
  • Establish regular office hours, and firmly ask family and friends to honor those hours. There’s a tendency on their part to think, because you work from home, you’re available to family and friends all the time. But frequent interruptions can drain productivity, meaning you have to spend more time in your home office to get your tasks finished. Those same interruptions can also lead to mistakes in your work.
  • During those office hours, decide what time of day you are in top form, and reserve that time every workday for focusing on  your more intense tasks. Use the remainder of the work day to do things like return phone calls and answer emails.
  • Use automation and outsourcing as much as possible to minimize the amount of time you must spend on administrative or management tasks. The cost of tech hardware and applications can be justified if it allows you to spend more time growing your business and, therefore, your income.
  • Never give out your home address as your business address. Instead, get a post office box, an address at the UPS store (for example), or an address with a virtual mail service such as Virtual Post Mail or Traveling Mailbox. I know several home-based business owners who gave out their home address, only to find themselves in scary stalking/harassment situations.

Download my free report, Bookkeeping Myths.


QuickBooks Online & Hubdoc: WOW!

Previously I wrote about the numerous plugins available for QuickBooks Online (QBO). Today I want to rave about Hubdoc.

Hubdoc allows you to automate your retrieval process for documents such as bank statements and bills, with automatic upload into QBO. There’s also a smartphone app that allows you to scan receipts and automatically upload them to your Hubdoc account, or you can scan and email to the Hubdoc portal using a unique Hubdoc email address. These processes eliminate errors such as lost receipts and accessing the wrong bank statement.  Check images, electronic transactions, email transfer details and CSV data are loaded into Hubdoc, making the reconciling process painless. Hubdoc will allow your company’s bookkeeping to be  fully paperless and cloud-based. Watch the five-minute video see just how amazing is the Hubdoc integration with QBO. You might also want to look at this page of the Intuit website. (Intuit is QBO’s parent company.)

Download my free report, Bookkeeping Myths.

Xero and Power BI

Last week, Xero announced an exciting new integration with Microsoft Power BI, a rich business analytics tool for businesses of all sizes. Accountants and bookkeepers who serve their clients as business advisors will also find it useful.

Read the full Xero blog post which covers this new integration.

Why AutoFile Sales Tax?

Florida Dept. of Revenue WebsiteLast Friday (7/8/16), I wrote about the two largest producers of sales tax applications, Avalara and TaxJar, both of which integrate with QuickBooks Online and Xero. Both allow you to automatically file your sales tax returns, but there’s a fee for each return you file. Before you pay those fees, consider these questions.

  1. Do you have time to do it manually, or can your time add more value to your business by engaging it in another activity?
  2. Are you concerned about transposing numbers or other human errors on your sales tax return(s)?
  3. Can you accurately calculate the discount offered by many states for on-time filings? (Sometimes these are a flat rate, sometimes they are tiered or complicated in another fashion.)
  4. Have you ever missed a filing deadline, incurring both penalties and interest?
  5. Do you find state websites for sales tax filings to be cumbersome and generally user unfriendly?
  6. Are you quite sure you thoroughly understand how to collect and file sales tax?

Your answers to these questions will help you decide whether to file your sales tax returns manually.

Download my free report, Bookkeeping Myths.

Contact me to today or schedule a free consultation.


Not Taxed by Sales Tax

Each year, the issue of collecting and filing sales tax becomes more complex. Many revenue items that once were not taxed (such as services) are now taxed in some jurisdictions. If your company is subject to sales tax in multiple jurisdictions, it’s even more complicated. If your company sells nationwide–or even worldwide–then sales tax can become very, well, taxing indeed. In the United States alone, there are thousands of tax jurisdictions, and their sales tax rates constantly change. Keeping up in order to be compliant can be mind-boggling.

Luckily, there’s a way to avoid being taxed (stressed) by sales tax. Yep, you guessed it–there’s an app for that too, for both QuickBooks Online and Xero. The two major players are Avalara and TaxJar. Avalara is the larger company, and serves all kinds of businesses. TaxJar is geared more towards small ecommerce sellers who use platforms like Paypal, Etsy, eBay, and Amazon. TaxJar primarily aggregates sales data and facilitates the sales tax filing process.

Avalara, on the other hand, offers two primary applications–one for calculating and filing sales tax, and the other for tracking sales tax exemption certificates. Avalara integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, and hundreds of online shopping carts and other financial applications. Pricing for both Avalara and TaxJar is based on transaction volume.

Both Avalara and TaxJar integrate with QuickBooks and Xero. If your company needs help calculating, collecting, and/or filing sales tax in multiple jurisdictions, I encourage you to check out at least one of these products.

Download my free report, Bookkeeeping Myths.

Key Financial Statements

To effectively manage and grow your business, there are three financial reports you should complete and review on at least a monthly basis.

  1. Balance Sheet
  2. Income Statement (AKA Profit & Loss Statement or P&L)
  3. Statement of Cash Flows

(For corporations, there’s also the Statement of Stockholders’ Equity or Shareholders’ Equity, which I won’t cover here.)

The balance sheet summarizes the company’s financial position as of the end of a specified time period. It is often used by potential creditors to determine what a company owns as well as what it owes. Investors, management, suppliers, some customers, competitors, government agencies, and labor unions can also be interested in the balance sheet.

Unlike the balance sheet, the income statement covers a span of time. While the balance sheet is a snapshot of one date in time, the income statement covers a time span or interval. It summarizes the company’s profitability during the specified time interval. Revenues, expenses, gains, and losses are included on the income statement, but not cash receipts or disbursements.

Finally, the statement of cash flows also covers a specific time interval. It summarizes cash received and disbursed in these categories:

  1. Operating activities
  2. Investing activities
  3. Financing activities
  4. Supplemental information

A good accountant or bookkeeper will prepare and interpret these reports for you, enabling you to effectively plan for revenue growth and maximum profitability.

Download Bookkeeping Myths: Common Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Happy 240th America

Happy 240th Birthday to my native country, the United States of America. I’m taking the day off from my blog and my bookkeeping practice to spend time with family and celebrate.

And I’m wishing everyone who reads this post a safe and happy July Fourth!


QB Keyboard Shortcuts

Did you know that in QuickBooks Online (QBO), you can pull up a list of keyboard shortcuts by pressing CTRL+ALT+QUESTIONMARK ? This key combination activates a popup window that displays a list of all QBO keyboard shortcuts, along with your Company ID.

My favorite keyboard shortcuts are CTRL+ALT+S and CTRL+ALT+D. The first one saves the current form you’re working on (invoices or sales receipts, for example). The second shortcut saves and closes the form.

Download my free PDF report, Bookkeeping Myths.