Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Intuit discontinued its own QuickBooks mobile app a while back, but there’s still plenty of processing power available for your smartphone or tablet.

In days gone by, running a company was a 40 hour per week proposition. You might have taken work home some evenings or gone into the office on weekends.

Those days are over, thanks to the internet and mobile technology. This fundamental change in the way we do business means that it’s now hard to get away from work. Your smartphone and tablet are usually within easy reach, and they’re always tempting you to check in.

On the flip side, that kind of 24/7/365 accessibility to apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file has numerous benefits. You can, for example:

  • Make sales wherever you are,
  • Document expenses as they’re incurred, and
  • Monitor employee time for payroll purposes.
Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Mobile Sales 

Figure 1: One of the oldest apps that integrates with QuickBooks is GoPayment. You can process transactions on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere.

Payment-processing on smartphones has become commonplace these days. You’ve probably seen merchants accepting credit cards on mobile phones in one of two ways: by swiping the card on a small card reader that attach to their device or by entering bank cards numbers directly.

 

Intuit’s GoPayment lets you do either. You can download the free app and process a customer’s payment on your smartphone. However, you still have download it into QuickBooks and either create a sales receipt or match it to an open invoice. This isn’t a difficult process once you understand it, but you must be sure to do it correctly from the start. We can do some practice runs with you.

 

Benefit: Improved sales that aren’t dependent on location 

Travel Expenses On the Go

One of the smartest, most useful apps that has ever been created is the expense reporter — particularly when used by your road warriors for on-the-go expenses. There are a handful of these. Travelers can record expenses in two ways: they can either enter the information directly or snap a picture of a receipt with a smartphone. When your employees get back to the office, they’re able to prepare complete expense reports, whose approved data can be transferred into QuickBooks.

 

Concur is one of these apps. When you set it up, it imports Account Codes, Customers, Jobs and Classes, Vendor and Employee Records from QuickBooks so that these can be assigned for each expense entry. Credit card transactions can be imported directly. When an expense report is completed, it can be sent to a manager for approval, and reimbursement is then deposited in the employee’s bank account.

 

Figure 2: Intuit’s App Center is home to hundreds of add-on applications for QuickBooks.

Tallie works similarly. It can automatically categorize expenses and alert approvers to expense policy violations. Used in conjunction with Bill.com and SmartVault, it can accommodate a sophisticated, seamless accounting workflow. We’ll see more multi-app integration as cloud-based financial solutions mature, but if you’re going to attempt such a setup, let us help you with the initial mechanics.

Benefit: More accurate, policy-compliant expense reports

Time-Tracking and Timesheets 

If all of your employees walk through the office door every morning and stay there, you don’t need a mobile app for time-tracking. But for businesses whose cash flow depends on recovering and recording every minute of billable time, a smartphone time-tracker is ideal.

TSheets Time Tracker can help improve your bottom line in numerous ways. This particular app:

  • Accommodates real-time mobile data entry,
  • Tracks employee locations using GPS, and
  • Creates timesheets that can be synchronized with QuickBooks, tracking billable time by customer, job, employee, etc.

Benefits: Employee accountability; recovery and correct classification of all billable hours; and less time required to create timesheets

 

Moving Toward Integration 

Given the size limitations of smartphones, some mobile apps contain only a subset of the features found in their desktop counterparts. But that subset is chosen based on the needs of mobile users.

Fewer features means that your learning time for the mobile apps that integrate with QuickBooks will be minimal. But the steps to sync with QuickBooks must be followed to the letter, and you may not be familiar with such a process. We want you to experience the benefits that these smartphone solutions can offer without compromising the integrity of your QuickBooks company file. Let us introduce you to these forward-looking, beneficial tools.

Cool Tech Tools: Google Drive

April 16, 2015 · Posted in Business Tips, Management Tips · Comment 

Google Drive, which used to be called Google Docs, is a great way to collaborate with team members and stakeholders that are in a different location than you are. Here’s a quick introduction (or refresher) on how to use this powerful collaboration tool.

Google Drive is a browser-based application that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents that reside in the cloud. They can easily be shared with others, and both of you can see and edit the document at the same time.

Using Google Drive

To get started, you’ll need to have (or set up) a Google account. If you have a gmail account, you can use it. Log in to your gmail or Google account, and at the top right corner of your screen, you will see a square made up of nine small squares. You can click on it and select Google Drive.   Alternately, you can go to drive.google.com.

Time to Create

Once you’re on the Google Drive main page, you’ll see a large red CREATE button on the top left. Click it to create your first Google document. Select among the choices of spreadsheet, document, presentation, and more. Give the document a title, and start editing. The commands are very similar to Microsoft Office®, so there’s no learning curve.

Time to Share

When you are viewing a document, you’ll see a blue SHARE button on the top right side of your screen. Click it to enter the email address of a person you’d like to have see and/or edit the document.

You can tell who else is viewing the document at the same time you are because you’ll see a colored box and perhaps their picture on the top right side. You can also tell where their cursor is in the document; it will show up in another color.

As you create documents, you will see your list growing under My Drive. If someone else created the document and shared it with you, you’ll see it under Shared With Me.

So Many Uses

Here are a couple of ideas on how you can use Google Drive.

  • As a bulletin board for your employees or customers
  • For status reports on projects
  • As a to-do list when multiple team members are involved – they can check off the items as they go
  • As a collaborative note-taker when you’re brainstorming with another person
  • With a client when you need to explain part of a document – you can copy and paste from Word or Excel to Google Drive (but check to make sure everything came over)

Google Drive is great for productivity and makes communications easier. Try it and let us know how you use it.


Are Your Workers Contractors or Employees?

February 19, 2015 · Posted in Business Tips, Payroll Tips · Comment 

If you have workers in your business, you likely made a decision when you hired them as to whether they should be an employee or a contractor. If all you hire are employees, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you hire contractors, there may be some financial risk you may be taking that you may not know about.

Any person that runs a business as a sole proprietor that you pay money to for services rendered is considered a contractor. One difference between an employee and a contractor is that an employee receives a W-2 and a contractor that you have paid more than $600 per year by check receives a 1099. There are many other paperwork differences, but that’s the major one.

One of the biggest mistakes when a business owner hires a worker is thinking that they can decide to classify the worker as a contractor if they simply want to. Unfortunately, it’s the IRS that decides on the classification, not the worker or the business owner.

What’s the Risk?

There is no risk from an IRS standpoint to classify a worker as an employee instead of a contractor. There is significant financial risk if you incorrectly classify a worker as a contractor when they should be classified as an employee. You may be liable for back employment taxes if the IRS re-classifies a worker from contractor to employee, and this can go back many years.

To calculate your risk, take roughly 20 percent of the payments you made to contractors. This amount plus late fees and penalties can add up to what you could owe the IRS if you are mis-classifying workers and the IRS finds out.

IRS’s Employee vs. Contractor Rules

The IRS focuses on three factors to determine whether a worker should be a contractor or an employee: behavioral control, financial control, and type of relationship.

If you control both what and how a task is to be done, you should probably classify your worker as an employee. If you can control only the results you want, you may be able to classify the worker as a contractor.

There are many other rules about this classification, so be sure to check with your tax accountant for more information. Also, for those of you that love tax research, here’s a link that gives the full details of the IRS rules: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Self-Employed-or-Employee

Having a successful business is all about taking calculated risks; however, you may not have known the risk you’ve been taking with contractors that you’ve employed. For the IRS, misclassifying workers is a “red flag” area, meaning they are paying extra attention to it. If you feel like you might be taking a risk that you don’t want to, please reach out and let us know how we can help you with this.


Do You Have a Revenue Plan for 2015?

January 8, 2015 · Posted in Accounting, Business Tips · Comment 

A great way to start the new year is to get clear on exactly how you can make your revenue goal number. A revenue plan is the perfect tool. You’ll need to be proficient in Excel, and if not, you can work with your accountant on this very important and enlightening spreadsheet.

Start by listing all of your products and services, listing one product or service in each row of a blank spreadsheet.  Enter the description in the first column and use the second column for price. You may be able to export an item list from your accounting system, which will save a lot of time if you have a lot of products and services that you sell.

Use column three to enter the number of items you want to sell for the year. Column four should contain formulas to multiply the price by the volume to get revenue for each service and product you sell.

You can then sum the numbers in column four to generate your projected revenue for the year.

Getting Industry-Specific

Depending on what industry you’re in, you may need to make some adjustments to the above simplified revenue plan. If you work in construction, you’ll need to list your projects instead of products and services, and you’ll need to make adjustments if your project will go longer than one year. You’ll need to add a couple of extra column to determine the percentage of the project that will be complete and billable in 2015.

If you bill by the hour, you’ll need to calculate how many hours of service you’ll be able to charge for and factor that into the equation.

If you have sales, you’ll need to figure a discounted price. I recommend you have an extra line for each product that sells at a discount and allocate the total amount you plan to sell at each price. If that’s too much work, you can calculate an overall discount rate and apply it to total revenue at the bottom of the worksheet.

Use the 80-20 Rule

If you sell a lot of products and services, consider bundling them into subgroups to keep your plan cleaner and at a higher level. Spend only the amount of time that’s worth the insights you’ll gain from doing an exercise like this.

A Prosperous New Year

Once you’ve created the plan, you can now take action based on insights you’ve gained. Perhaps you’ve got a whole new set of revenue resolutions to accomplish in 2015. If you need help constructing or analyzing this plan, feel free to reach out to us and let us know how we can help.


Planning for a Fabulous 2015

December 24, 2014 · Posted in Business Development, Business Tips · Comment 

The holiday month of December brings celebration as well as reflection for all the events that occurred in 2014.  It also gives us great hope for a new fabulous start in 2015.  Here are three ideas to start 2015 with a bang.

  1. Find a focus for the year.

    Instead of getting into the rut of making and breaking resolutions, consider having a focus for the entire year.  Choose your focus from among things like:

    • Developing a department in your business, such as your sales, marketing, operations, HR, admin, or another.  The focus will be on building or expanding the department you’ve chosen to work on.
    • Changing your company culture to a trait or aspect you want to be known for.  Developing the trait will be your focus.
    • Building a relationship with an individual or a group of people related to your business.  The relationships are the focus.

  2. Live by a theme for 2015.

    Your theme could be an emotion or expression such as gratitude or compassion.  It could be a color – purple – just for fun.  You might adopt a favorite quote or religious verse or even song.  Your goal for the year will be to embody your theme and/or bring it into other’s lives as well.

  3. Do the one big thing.

    Are you holding back on a huge dream for yourself?  Then take steps in 2015 to move closer to it.  Make 2015 your year to do the one big thing that’s been weighing heavily on your mind.  Just think how you’d feel if you finally did it; your life would be forever altered.

Happy 2015Write your focus, your theme, or your one big thing on dozens of sticky notes, and plaster them everywhere.  Mark your calendar and to do list with reminders and milestone checks.  Make art out of your sticky notes, and post them on the refrigerator door and your office walls.  That way, the reminder will be physically with you all year.

We wish you a happy and healthy new year to you and yours.

It’s Bonus Time

December 11, 2014 · Posted in Business Tips, Payroll Tips · Comment 

Year-end is a great time to think about rewarding your staff for a job well done in 2014.  Here are a couple of quick tips to help you make the most of bonuses while protecting your business and cash flow.

  1. Timing.  Would you be better off timing bonuses in this year to reduce 2014-year taxes or to wait until next year so they impact the 2015 tax year?  It’s something to consider before you dish them out.  Do what’s best for your business.
  2. The pretty holiday envelope.  It might be tempting to hand out envelopes of cash but it’s oh-so illegal.  Making payroll in cash is illegal in most states, and bonuses are part of payroll.  Stick to the payroll system to generate your bonuses even if it’s boring, and you’ll stay out of trouble.
  3. Pesky deductions.  Bonuses are subject to payroll deductions just like any other payroll check, so please don’t forget that.  If you write a check for $1,000 to an employee, you will be liable for taxes on the gross-up, and this ranges between 20% to 30%.  So that $1,000 bonus just turned into $1,200 or $1,300, which is quite generous but might not be what you really meant!
  4. Sticking around.  Bonuses are a great motivator and can help keep employees from leaving, thereby reducing your turnover costs.  If possible, announce a bonus structure ahead of time so employees will have something to work toward and “earn.”
  5. Invisible costs of bonuses.  Bonuses will drive up your workers compensation, state and federal unemployment costs, and any other costs that are related to gross wages, so do take all of that into consideration when issuing bonuses.
  6. Beyond money.   Money is a great motivator, but you may want to provide non-cash bonuses to your employees for extra special memories.  If you do, your tax accountant can help you get the transaction recorded properly.         

Bonuses are fun for everyone, and we hope these tips will help you make the most out of them in your business.

Catching Up with Your Contractors Before 1099 Time

November 26, 2014 · Posted in Accounting, Business Tips · Comment 

In a little over a month, it will be 2015 and time for year-end accounting chores.   One of those chores is getting your 1099s out, and now is a good time to tie up loose ends so the year-end process can go smoother.  Here are some tips to do just that:

  1. Go through your vendor list and make sure each contractor that you are paying is marked in your accounting system as a contractor eligible for a 1099.
  2. Obtain a W-9 form from each contractor if you haven’t already, and update the address and federal EIN for each contractor.  This will ensure that you have the most current information for each contractor and that they will receive their 1099 promptly.

    If you need to make any changes in the way you are paying them or withholding taxes, you’ll have a chance to update that information as well.
  3. Ask your contractors for a worker’s compensation certificate.  If you don’t have one, you might need to add their payment totals to your payroll amounts on your worker’s compensation audit worksheet.
  4. If your accounting system doesn’t break out payment type, you’ll need to do that on a separate spreadsheet before you input the 1099 amounts.  Contractors paid with a check will require 1099s.  Contractors paid via PayPal or credit card will not.   If you have paid them both ways, you will need to break it out.  You can do the bulk of the work now and post the remainder of the year after year-end.
  5. Consider re-evaluating each contractor as to whether they meet the employee versus contractor tests from the IRS.  If you are accidentally misclassifying a contractor who the IRS defines as an employee, you will be responsible for social security, withholding, and other payroll taxes, which can add up to huge numbers for small businesses.

    This is a “red flag” area for the IRS, meaning they are looking to “bust” employers.  However, they also have a Voluntary Classification Settlement Program for people who have been misclassifying workers in the past and want to come clean.

Following these five steps will put you in great shape for year-end.  And if you need help catching up with your contractors or with any related issues, please let us know.

How Understanding Assets vs. Expenses Can Make You Rich

Assets and expenses both have a “debit” balance on the financial statements, but that’s where their similarities end. Spending on one can make you rich and spending too much on the other can leave you broke.

An expense is money you may need to spend, but after a year, there is nothing lasting to show for it. An asset is a tangible resource that is still worth something after a year or more and that belongs to you or your business. The best assets grow in value over time, but some lose their value too. Real estate typically goes up in value, while a car loses value, or depreciates heavily, in its first few years.

The best example of an asset versus an expense is spending on a mortgage versus rent. When you pay a mortgage, you own more of the property than you did last month. One day, you can sell your ownership in the property and get cash or another asset in trade. When you pay rent, there’s nothing left at the end of the month. There’s no accumulated value.

Generally speaking, spending on an asset builds or at least better preserves your wealth. Spending on an expense drains your worth because you don’t own anything at the end.

The path to building your wealth is to spend on assets when you have a choice and minimize expenses when you can.

In the book “The Millionaire Next Door,” one of the top examples to build wealth is to avoid replacing your car as long as you dare. It used to be a habit for some families to replace their car every two years. With today’s reliable models, you can go between five to ten years without having to replace your car. Although a car lasts more than a year and is considered an asset, it still loses value every year.

Investing in assets and reducing expenses will build your business’s net worth and increase profits. Look for ways you can apply this to your business and watch your money grow. As always, reach out if you’d like to know more.

What’s Your Hourly Worth?

October 16, 2014 · Posted in Business Tips, Management Tips, Time Management Tips · Comment 

Time is the most precious resource on the planet, but sometimes we don’t treat it that way. In our businesses, it’s important to get everything done, but we can also get overwhelmed with all the little things that need to be done to take care of customers. One of the big differences between highly successful entrepreneurs and less successful ones is how they manage their time: the more successful simply value it more and treat it as the scarce commodity it is.

A great exercise to bring this home is to track what you do in one day. You can write a diary as you go through the day or simply recall what you did at the end of the day. List the tasks you did; then write the hourly market rate of each task you did next to the task.

Did you spend time on low-level tasks such as email cleanup, filing, order-taking, order filling, or handling routine customer questions? Or did you spend time calling up power partners, dreaming up new products or services, or restyling your marketing message so that it’s more impactful and reaches more customers?

What was the average hourly rate of the tasks you did today? Multiply that by 2,000 hours and compare it your gross revenues. If your gross revenues were higher than the value of the tasks you did today, then your revenue might be stagnant. If your annualized day was worth more than your gross revenues, then congratulations; you’re moving up and giving yourself a raise. Your business is likely growing.

If you’d like a raise, then the first thing to do is to start delegating the lower level tasks that are eating up all your time. They might be a comfortable way for you to pass the time, but they could also be keeping you stuck, overwhelmed, and moving toward burnout.

We all have the same amount of time each day. If we can free up our time to focus on more powerful action items that move our business forward instead of the chores that clog our progress, then our success will accelerate.

Billing for Time in QB: An Overview

October 5, 2014 · Posted in Bookkeeping Tips, Business Tips, QuickBooks Help · Comment 
Billing for Time in QuickBooks: An Overview

If you sell your employees’ time and skills, you can use QuickBooks to record those hours and bill your customers for them.

 

If your small business sells products, you know how precisely you must track your starting stock numbers, ongoing inventory levels, and your reorder points. QuickBooks provides tools to help with this process, but human factors can sometimes throw off your careful counts.

 

Fortunately, QuickBooks is remarkably flexible when it comes to recording the time your employees spend on customers and jobs. You can enter information about a single activity — either billable or unbillable — and/or document hours in a timesheet. A built-in timer (the “Stopwatch”) helps you count the minutes automatically; you can also type them in manually.

 

One Work Session

All versions of desktop QuickBooks include dialog boxes designed to help you enter all the details related to a single timed activity. To get there, either open the Employees menu and select Enter Time | Time/Enter Single Activity, or click the down arrow next to the Enter Time icon on the Home Page and choose Time/Enter Single Activity.

 

Figure 1: QuickBooks helps you create records for individual activities completed by employees, which can be either billable or unbillable.

 

You fill out the fields in this window like you would any other in QuickBooks. Click the calendar icon in the DATE field to reflect the date the work was completed (not the current date), and click the down arrows in the fields that contain them to select options from a list. If you already know the duration of the activity, simply enter it in the field to the right of the clock icon. Otherwise, use the StartStop, and Pause buttons to let QuickBooks time it.

 

The Time/Enter Single Activity dialog box is designed to record one activity, not necessarily an entire workday, unless an employee only provides one service for one customer in a day. If he or she provides more than one service for one or more customers, you’ll need a fresh record for each.

 

Note: If the employee selected is timesheet-based, an additional field will appear above the CLASS field asking for the related PAYROLL ITEM. And if you’ve turned on workers’ compensation (and the employee is timesheet-based), a field titled WC CODE will drop into place below it. This must be done absolutely correctly, and it can get complicated. We can help you manage this feature.

 

A Comprehensive View

 

At the top of the Time/Enter Single Activity dialog box, you’ll see an icon labeled Timesheet. If you click on this with an employee’s name selected, his or her timesheet will open and display the hours already entered for that period. Or you can open a blank timesheet by opening the Employees menu and selecting Enter Time | Use Weekly Timesheet. You can also click the Enter Time icon on the Home Page.

Figure 2: You can access an employee’s timesheet from the Time/Enter Single Activity dialog box, from the Employees menu, or from the Home Page.

 

If you’ve entered all of the hours individually for an employee in a given time period, the timesheet should be correct when you click through from the Time/Enter Single Activity boxIf not, you can edit cells by clicking in them and changing the data. Be sure that the Billable box is checked or unchecked correctly.

You can also enter hours directly on a timesheet instead of recording individual activities. Just select the employee’s name by clicking on the arrow in the NAME field at the top of the Weekly Timesheet dialog box and fill in the boxes.

 

Note: Individual activities that you enter for employees are automatically transferred to the timesheet format and vice-versa. 

 

Billing for Time 

 

QuickBooks keeps track of all entered billable hours and reminds you of them when it’s time to invoice. If customers have outstanding time and/or costs, this dialog box will open the next time you start to create an invoice for them:

 

Figure 3: This dialog box is one of the ways QuickBooks helps you bill customers for everything they owe.


QuickBooks also provides several reports related to billing for time. We’ll be happy to go over them and — as always — help with any other questions you might have.

Next Page »