Five excellent Small Business Accounting Apps You Should Be Using!

The time has not only come but we are way past it!

I’m speaking of going paperless, of course. As an accountant, you have to have all your financial records in order and easily retrievable.

Additionally, you need access to forms, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Last. and certainly not least, productivity. The old days of crammed filing cabinets and overflowing in-trays are becoming a dusty memory. Most of your client’s financial records should be online now and accessible from any device.apps_jfw_accounting

So, if you are migrating your data to the cloud, here are Five excellent Small Business Accounting Apps you should load to your devices:

  1. Quickbooks Online: I admit that I have a bias to Quickbooks (we offer it as service in my firm)  However, it is a popular and respected accounting program. And if you use it, you should download this app. This newest version is as good as it gets. You can create and send invoices, get estimates immediately, mark invoices as paid and see customer balances. It’s new, upgraded intuitive Dashboard is incredible.
  2. Tsheets: The time card machine is so 20th Century. Using this incredibly thorough app you can track employee hours. Whether it’s your iPhone or Android, you can use text and dial-in options and clock in. Then, get to work with just the click of a button. You can also switch jobs, locations and tasks. For employees, this time tracking app helps you keep an eye on all your employees time (and effort). But there’s more: you can approve timesheets and see detailed and real-time reports of labor expenses including regular time, overtime, vacation and PTO.
  3. Is a key bill payment application. It streamlines your payments and also eliminates manual and paper-based business bill payment and invoicing processes. It also provides ACH payment to help grow your business. You can also share an estimate, a purchase order or any supporting document. Of course, you can pay bills on the go and even see why payment is being held up and who is doing it. It can also be integrated with Quickbooks Online and your desktop!
  4. Adobe EchoSign: Virtual signatures are not “James Bond” anymore. Now, you can send a document to be e-signed, keep track of the document’s progress, store it in the cloud, collect multiple signatures and send email alerts to signatories. It even works with many leading business systems such as Sales Force and Ariba.
  5. Google Docs: This free app is still one of the best and it’s certainly taken for granted being part of the whole Google structure. Yet, its features and ease of use cannot be denied. Perhaps, its most used and popular feature is the document sharing. You can create a document (Word, spreadsheet, charts, etc) then share it with whomever you designate. No more need to print (some) documents. You can also access it from any device and anywhere as long as you remember your Google access codes. It’s so easy to use and it can be adapted to most any accountant’s workflow.

These are only five and there are more accountants’ apps being developed or upgraded every month. Use any of these apps and be amazed at how your client service improves, production increases and maybe, get a few more hours with the spouse and kids at home (but I’m not promising that one.)

Six Ways You, Your Company or Non-profit Organization can Prepare for Tax Season in 2015

Few things cause more stress than filing your personal, business or non-profit organization tax return, and even fewer things give more relief than getting your refund check. Spend time planning out your tax return so you can limit your stress and get your refund check as soon as possible. tax_calculator_JFWAccounting

Here are Six Ways You, Your Company or Non-profit Organization can Prepare for Tax Season in 2015:

  1. Gather your family’s personal information. You need to know the social security numbers of everyone claimed on your return. This includes you, your spouse, and all of your children and other dependents. For the fastest refund, know the routing and account numbers for your checking account so that the IRS can directly deposit your money into the bank.
  2. Organize all of your income forms. Depending on the type of work you do and the investments you have, you could receive several different income forms. An employer will send you a W-2 form, but other income, like that received from investments, property sales, or contract work, will be sent to you on one of the many types of 1099 form. The exact income from all of these forms will be reported on your tax return, so keep them all together.
  3. Be meticulous in finding deductions. Don’t pay the government more than required. Spend extra time paying close attention to the types of deductions that you are allowed to take, and claim as many as possible. Child care costs, home business expenses, and large medical bills are examples of possible deductions you can claim. Watch the mail for 1098 forms, which will report interest payments you can deduct. Record any moving expenses, charitable giving, and work related expenses that were not reimbursed by your employer. Even if itemizing your allowed deductions does not exceed the standard deduction, some expenses, like a school teacher’s out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies, can be added on top of the standard deduction.
  4. If you need it, pay for advice. The instructions that accompany IRS forms are not going to win awards for clarity and leave many people scratching their heads. Get help if you need it. Hiring someone to prepare your entire tax return is not your only option, though. You can pay tax professionals for advice in how to correctly prepare your own return. Just giving advice takes less of the tax professional’s time, which translates to a lower fee for the service. Save the receipt, because any amount you pay for tax preparation can be used as a deduction for next year’s tax return.
  5. Business Books Reconciliations: Be sure to reconcile your ending cash balance with the checking account balance on your final 2014 bank statement so that you have all of your cash transactions in your accounting records.
  6. Create a Budget for the New Year: Now is the time to do it! You have your income and expenses numbers from last year right in front of you, so all your questions are answered. Sit down with your staff and create a 2015 budget. You will not regret it.

No one can guarantee a stress-free tax season, but these steps will help you prepare for what you’re going to face. It’s the job of the IRS to catch your mistakes and make you pay for them, so the time spent planning ahead and preparing your tax return correctly will always be worth the investment.