While it might sound silly (with me being a business owner), I don’t think that I’m a numbers guy. So when it comes to filing our taxes and figuring out which number goes on what line – I’m pretty useless. And since this past filing was really the first time where my main business made any money, I was even more useless than normal and my wonderful wife had her work cut out for herself.
So at the advice of my mom, (who herself is more or less self-employed as a Real Estate agent), I visited her CPA who gave me the skinny on what I should be doing financially with my business, how I should be tracking my money, and what deductions I was probably missing.
Why I Need to Change
After an hour or two of talking with this guy and frantically scribbling down notes, I knew that it would really be to my company’s benefit to start taking my financials more seriously. Plus I knew it would take a lot of pressure off my wife too. I mean, even though I’ve never been one to make people do things for me and the business is for the family and not just me… I really don’t feel good about having the wife do all that work every year since I know others could do it faster and easier. Additionally, (and this is honestly new to me but would’ve made sense if I had stopped to think about it), apparently when you apply for loans and such from banks, you generally provide your financial records which at this point I’d be unable to do because they’re in such disarray.
I’ve Started with Quickbooks!
And yes, it was what my CPA suggested. Basically I can track all of the monies of my business in the program, and at the end of the year (or quarterly or whatever), I can submit a file to my guy that he can use to easily do my taxes. Now, I’m not sure how easy I thought it was going to be to jump into the program but there is def a learning curve to it. For me, it took me about a day, the help of a “Learn Quickbooks” DVD and searching through the Intuit forums to really get going. And by “going”, I mean halfway through getting my records up to date for the year.
You see, I started Quickbooks what… Yesterday?, some 5 months into my company’s fiscal year. And if you’re as new to this whole thing as I am, know that Quickbooks wants to account for EVERY SINGLE penny coming and going from your business. “Of course it does, what’d you think it’d do?” Well what this means in practicality is that every transaction from Jan 1st 2010 to now has to be entered, and correctly, so that your balance from Dec 31st 2009 goes up and down to the correct balance on your statements now… For me, that’s a lot of statements to enter!
But It’s Worth It
At this point I’ve setup all of my clients and their current contracts into the system (which again took me the better part of a day) and I’m sure it’s gonna take me another full one to get all my year’s transactions into the system. But already I can see that this will be great for my peace of mind and organization. It has tons of reports you can run, invoicing, and a bunch of other stuff that I could go into. For me, I’m just very excited to be able to (at a glance) figure out how much money is still coming to me by way of contracts. Of course I could set this up in Excel or something but setting up all those relationships so that sending invoices, receiving invoices, reporting and everything else plays nicely together would take QUITE a long time so again – I’m glad someone did the work for me.