Are you the little guy, the micro-business, under-represented and feeling like you don’t get the breaks that larger businesses do? How can you compete?
The good news is that there are lots of other micro-businesses out there, in fact according to Forbes Magazine, almost 1/3 of us are currently self-employed, and by 2020, many predict we will make up half of the workforce. Businesses are taking note of this and offering services specifically tailored to this portion of the economy.
Here are some ideas:
- Look for organizations in your field that might offer discounted rates on services.
- Look for Meetup groups where you can talk to other like-minded folks to share knowledge and skills. These groups can also be good for getting referrals.
- Join Costco Business Services for insurance, refinancing, identity protection and large purchases (even cars).
- Join AAA not just for roadside assistance, but for travel discounts and other specials
- Over 50? Join AARP for lots of discounts and insurance deals.
- Check out Nolo Press to help with business setup and other topics.
Get your Financial House in Order with QBO
I’m a QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor and have been using QuickBooks since version one. QuickBooks was created for small business and is real accounting software, with the tools to make your accountant or tax preparer (even if that’s you) happy. QuickBooks Online has become the version of choice for over four million users largely because you can access it anywhere, even from most smart phones, and transactions download automatically from banks and credit unions. Your accountant and ProAdvisor can also access your file for no extra fee.
If your work takes you away from your office, you can create invoices right from your phone, and if you use QuickBooks Payments, your customers can pay their invoices just by clicking on the invoice and the payments will appear automatically in QBO without you having to enter them. There is also QuickBooks Go Payment for iPhone and Android, with a card reader similar to Square, so you can swipe or take photos of credit cards to process mobile payments quickly and securely and they download right into QuickBooks.
Speaking of not having to enter transactions, I think the bank feeds are the best part of QBO. You connect your bank accounts, so it can constantly download transactions, allowing you to stay on top of things instead of waiting for monthly statements. You can either enter transactions as they happen and QBO will match them to the bank feeds, or just enter the pertinent information as the transactions come in and add them to your accounts. You can automate transactions that come in the same way each month, or memorize them by the data in the memo fields.
Sales Tax and 1099s
Yup, it tracks the information for these too, and there are apps to help if your situation is a bit more complex.
QBO is set up with the basics most small businesses need and allows you to add apps to give you any added features you might need, like payroll (through Intuit and others) and more robust inventory. Here area few of the many categories and hundreds of apps available:
- Incremental backup software that functions much like Time Machine on the Mac (ChronoBooks, Rewind),
- Hour Tracking (TSheets, Time Tracker by eBillity, BigTime, Clock Shark)
- Receipt and Bill scanning with import into QBO (Expensify, Receipt Bank, Concur, Tallie)
- Bill Pay Software (Bill.com – light version also built into QBO, Mineral Tree)
- Software that syncs with eCommerce sites (Webgility, Agiliron)
- Sites that automatically fetch bank statements and bills (HubDoc and Receipt Bank)
What Your ProAdvisor and Accountant See
As a ProAdvisor, I can see all my bookkeeping clients who are also using QBO in one place using the Accountant’s version of QBO. This allows me to stay connected to what’s going on with all my customers at a glance.
Can’t do QBO? Look at Hosted QuickBooks
Some of my clients need functionality they can’t easily get from QBO. Premier and Enterprise can be hosted on a remote server like Right Networks, and accessed by users almost anywhere.
Help from Intuit
Finally, the folks at Intuit understand their audience and have training videos, a test drive file, articles and ongoing blog posts, not just about QuickBooks, but also about business topics helpful to small businesses. They have a website for finding the right ProAdvisor for you and often ask us for input on how to improve their products. They sponsor the Firm of the Future contest each year, as well as the QuickBooks Connect conferences for small business in various locations around the world.