What financial tools do you find the most helpful? Any apps? What do you use to process your payments? Do you have a professional accountant?This is always an interesting question. Thimblepress had a part-time bookkeeper for four years, and it wasn't until this year did we finally make the leap in hiring a CPA firm to take care of our accounting needs. We utilize Quickbooks for transaction recording, balancing, payroll, taxes, basically all the financial aspects of Thimblepress run through Quickbooks. We use PayPal to process web and wholesale orders and Square for our retail shops in Highland Village and downtown Jackson. I personally HATE the money aspect of running a business, because frankly I do not do what I do for money, but as we grow it is one that I have had to become best friends with. I have to make sure that what is coming in is always greater than what is coming out. When you have a team to take care of and people that rely on you, you have to have your stuff in order or at least hire someone who can put in all in order for you. I feel like I am always checking the financial pulse of Thimblepress. There are always times when we sell out of product far faster than we even imagined or forecasted or even have random things that happen like a roof leak or lights going out, so I try my hardest to keep a small amount of padding for emergencies and things that we cannot predict. I am excited about this one, mostly because this is my least favorite subject, but one that needs to be talked about for not only business reasons but personal. Even if you don't own a business, you may find some great tid-bits to help you out! Happy Reading, Kristen
I use Bill.com to send invoices and receive fees for some of my blog and social media projects. I also have a personal accountant who handles my taxes. There are too many tax laws to keep up with and I think its always worth the expense of hiring him. He also has great ideas on things I can write off each year that I would have never thought of myself.
We use Stitch Labs for inventory management and customer info. It links with our Quickbooks Online, and after working through MANY problems, it is now running like a champ. We used to have Quickbooks for Manufacturing and Wholesale for tracking inventory but it was a total nightmare. Stitch is really great, and it also syncs with our Shopify website. Our payments are processed through Stripe, through Stitch Labs, through the matrix. Seriously don’t know how it all syncs together but it does. We always used a professional accountant for taxes, but the best money we ever spent is when we hired a bookkeeper. She works around 6 - 8 glorious hours a week, and it is truly the best thing in the world to pay her to do what would take us HOURS longer, and we can do the million other things on our lists.
CONNECT WITH E. FRANCES
For years we used Outright (now GoDaddy Bookkeeping) but we are finally switching to Quickbooks for our payroll and P&L (about time!). We also have a professional accountant who takes care of our taxes for us.
CONNECT WITH STACIE
We hired a bookkeeper and it was the best decision we’ve ever made. I’m not a numbers person and forcing myself to do all of the bookkeeping was stressing me out and making Andy crazy. Having another person who is naturally good with numbers and enjoys the work makes us rethink all of the hours that we spent doing something that she does in 20 minutes. It also helps make tax season not stressful, everything is already ready.
CONNECT WITH JANE & ANDY
I use shopify as our ecommerce platform and absolutely love it! We send all of our invoices through Shopify so that every transaction is kept neatly in one place. I use TaxJar to file for sales tax and it’s great because it links with Shopify so it generates all the reports seamlessly. It saves me so much time! I am sure no one loves doing taxes, not even accountants! I also hire an account to file for LLC tax!
CONNECT WITH SHERRY
Thankfully, I married a financial planner and my brother is an accountant. I have a professional accountant, and it has been the best investment in my business.
CONNECT WITH KATIE
I am so grateful to have a CPA for my business and would be lost without their services. My goal this year is to establish healthy financial habits and gain more control of my income. Last year brought contract work and I received a couple of grants, but my workload prevented me from taking normal commissions or painting new work to sell. That is not said to sound like a complaint by any stretch, but it gave me time to really think about this year and how I can generate a revenue stream. Part of that is balancing a teaching schedule, commission work, and selling original artwork, which my 2017 calendar allows.Choosing Squarespace for my website + commerce has been a huge step to getting a foothold as a business. Being able to manage my content with a click and ease to operate a shop has helped me grow leaps and bounds. Squarespace also keeps track of my customers and helps me to better understand analytics. In addition to Squarespace, I send invoices through Square to collect payment for other non-site related jobs for agencies or other custom work that I do. Square is also helpful for bookkeeping and tracking my sales and customer information. In the event that I do an art fair, the Square reader allows me to accept credit cards on the spot, which always helps my sales for on-site events.
CONNECT WITH GINGER
I’m really into creating systems for my business, so while we do most of our bookkeeping, it’s very automated to help make it manageable. We run our own QuickBooks each day - it’s become an automation where we spend 10 minutes each morning doing basic bookkeeping, so it’s very manageable. I like that we do it ourselves rather than outsourcing it because we are able to see a full snapshot every single day of where we are financially. Then Fridays are our “Financial Fridays” where we go a little deeper into the financial part of our business, check the budget, pay bills and all that fun stuff. Because we have Fridays set as our financial day of the week, it never piles up or feels overwhelming. I think the key is to honestly keep chipping away at it because when you go weeks avoiding a task you don’t like (like finances) it becomes so big and scary that it’s easy to procrastinate! We do use a professional accountant and, I believe, that’s invaluable. He can tell us what we need to do to help with the bigger picture items financially. We generally set up a meeting with him in October to make sure, too, that we are prepared for any big changes with our taxes or if we need to try to adjust our budget to close out the year to prepare for paying taxes.
CONNECT WITH TONYA
Quick Books Online is really helpful. I love that I can have it on all of our systems, including my phone and iPad so that wherever I am, I can be up to date on the finances. I process our payments as well as our payroll through Quick Books, too; it ain't cheap but it's so nice to have it all streamlined into one program. I DO have a professional accountant - he's my dad. It's not the most comfortable thing, exposing my every financial detail to my dad but it IS the most comfortable thing, when we're working on the accounting from his couch with a bowl of popcorn.
CONNECT WITH CATHERINE
I work in a collective with other agents so we share resources like an accountant and assistant. As far as tools, I use the usual things like google docs, boomerang my emails, and I love editing on the ipad with my Apple pen--it's the closest electronic equivalent to pen to paper! Circle back is a great app for storing contacts for new people I meet. But, for the most part, I’m very low tech (as you can tell) and I kind of like it that way. If tech is organic to you, these things can be amazing, but for me, since it’s not, it ends up feeling like like noise. It’s just a matter of knowing who you are.
CONNECT WITH KIM
For my business I use QuickBooks Online. When I first started, I was using a cloud-based software that was easy for me to DIY my business financials. As my business grew I knew that I needed to outsource this activity to a bookkeeper. What I found was that most bookkeepers prefer QuickBooks and that it also had a better way of running reports so I could better understand the numbers of my business.I always suggest using a system that you can grow into for accounting and using a system that is universally known in the industry. When I went to outsource my accounting, I've spent hours and lots of money converting everything from a limited system that I had outgrown to a system that would give me more advanced financial statements and a system that a bookkeeper understood. Hiring a professional CPA to do our federal taxes is something we've always done as as a couple, especially because we're both business owners and showing our income on our tax return can be complicated. For our personal finances my husband and I use an app called Goodbudget, a cloud-based app. We only include our variable expenses, so things like eating out, groceries, entertainment, and shopping budgets all go in this app where we can keep track of our variable spending each month.
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER
For the past few years, I have used Freshbooks as my primary accounting software. But as the company has grown, we have outgrown that platform and are migrating our accounting services to Xero, which unlike Freshbooks tracks inventory and reconciles monthly. Also, MileIQ is amazing for tracking my mileage. I love that it logs your drives and you just swipe right or left for business or personal, plus it links to my accountant. If you want to try it out, here’s my referral code: https://www.mileiq.com/invite/ADVNY (you’ll thank me later!)
CONNECT WITH LIZ
I use an online accounting and client management system called HoneyBook. HoneyBook was made and designed for creative entrepreneurs. It streamlines the client financial process from proposals, contracts, deposits and payment scheduling. Not having to re-type my contracts over and over has been a game changer. It links straight with my QuickBooks and takes so many things off of my plate!
CONNECT WITH CAREY
Oh accounting. this is definitely not my strong suit but of course has to be done. i try to find apps that are super simple, affordable, and integrate with other tools i use to help streamline things. i have yet to find the perfect combination. i’ve used wave for quite a while. it’s a great FREE option that has come a long way with features and user-friendliness. i mostly use wave for invoicing, and i recently started using quickbooks for accounting, which has much more advanced features for categorizing expenses. Later this year i’ll probably make the full switch to QB and use for invoicing as well. i also love, love, love the app zenefits. it’s a great all-in-one resource for HR, payroll and benefits that integrates with other apps. i look forward to starting that up later this year, too! For payments, i use wave’s payment processor to process orders that are invoiced in their app. In my shops I use Stripe and Shopify’s payment processor respectively.
CONNECT WITH ROBYN
This is an interesting question. I’m not 100% sure if you mean for retirement, investing or saving? For me I sometimes use Nasdaq.com to find new stocks that fit my criteria for investing. I read yahoo finance & watch Power Lunch on CNBC. I access Experian to stay up to date on my FICO score. If you haven’t, it’s worth looking to see what your credit score is. I also use Schwab for investing, and I used to have a broker but I like managing my own portfolio. For investing, a lot of it is being able to analyze reports on companies and figuring out quantitively what factors makes for a good long term or short term investment. For me, I invest in things that I like and know. Make sure to have a retirement plan, hire a professional accountant & save more than you think.
CONNECT WITH NANCY
I use Quickbooks for accounting, Freshbooks and Paypal for my invoicing. I have a Chase business credit card that I love! I also work with Amy Northard for all things money (she’s incredible and has taken the BLAAAH out of my money handling).
CONNECT WITH REINA
When I first started my business, I ran it as a sole proprietor and handled the sales tax myself...but as soon as I hired my first employee, I sought out the help of an accountant - I just didn’t want to mess with withholdings and payroll and all that jazz. Our online shopping platform (Shopify) has very simple tools and reports we can run to see how we’re doing at any given time. We also run payments right through Shopify (in addition to Payal) so it’s all pretty streamlined. I don’t touch any of the accounting myself.
CONNECT WITH JESSIE
Calculator! Invaluable at market when figuring out margins. We use the Square Point of Sale app for processing payments off site otherwise Lightspeed is our POS in house. Yes we delegate tax reporting, etc. to our CPA.
CONNECT WITH STEVE & JILL
I use a spreadsheet in google drive to track my monthly revenue and it’s great. I can see what comes in each month per project, and it helps me plan for months when there might be more or less.I also work with mazuma to keep my bookkeeping up to date. I send them all of my statements each month, and they handle my bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes. It’s so nice having everything under one roof (especially because that roof isn’t mine!). I use stripe and paypal for my payment processing.
CONNECT WITH TIFFANY
Since I’m not a numbers person—at all—one of the first professionals I reached out to as my business grew was an accountant who could handle all of my financial reporting, and most importantly, my payroll. Now all I have to do is log in twice a month, enter a few numbers, and all of my employees and contractors receive proper pay statements and direct deposit. Plus, at the end of the year, as long as they’ve been paid from the system, my accountant will automatically draft each person’s tax forms and get them in the mail. You truly can’t put a price on that. Then as far as invoicing goes, I utilize FreshBooks.
CONNECT WITH MANDY
I use Quickbooks online and do most day to day and monthly tax stuff myself. I do have an accountant that files all of my quarterly taxes as well as end of year and helps me keep my head on straight. I had a bookkeeper before QB went online, but now it’s just so easy. I use square for my POS and that links with QB making it easy. We run a pretty small operation, so it works great for us. This is the least favorite part of business as I’m sure it is for everyone else too. I couldn’t imagine not having an accountant to help.
CONNECT WITH LESLEY
I’ve used Stripe and PayPal in the past. We are partnering with HoneyBook to streamline our invoicing processes.
CONNECT WITH MARY
We use Xero for our bookkeeping, and I highly recommend it! It’s affordable, intuitive, and offers tons of features. During our pop-up shops, we use Square to process transactions, and if we’re selling online, we use Stripe. We do have a professional accountant and can’t imagine life without him!