About 30 percent of small businesses don’t make it past their first two years, according to the Small Business Administration. One way to ensure your success is achieved is through being organized with your finances.
Here are 6 financial tools for your small business that will help streamline your finances, making every payment, invoice and petty cash report easily accessible.
1. Compare Bank Rates
A small business can have a slew of complex banking needs, from a simple checking account to one or more lines of credit. Finding the right financial institution is crucial.
Bankrate is one example of a website that compares and aggregates information on thousands of financial institutions. Since bank services are constantly evolving, using this type of tool should not be a replacement for talking to a banker. Even online banks, which can offer steeper savings since they don’t have as many overhead costs, encourage potential customers to call in with questions.
2. Increase Payment Options
Today, anyone can have a credit card reader. Most are free but have varying fee options.
Consider using a credit card reader that is part of a small business accounting suite, like Intuit’s GoPayment, which can integrate with QuickBooks’ accounting CRM system. The tiny gadget attaches to mobile devices and offers next-day payment. You have the option of selecting a pay-as-you-go or a month-by-month pay-per-swipe plan.
The Square is a matchbook-sized credit card reader that also attaches to your smartphone or iPad but is not part of a larger CRM package.
3. Streamline Your Finances
It’s very easy to let your bank accounts sit on the back burner. Mint streamlines your financial life by automatically pulling all your financial information into one place, and lets you easily see what’s in all of your accounts: checking, savings, investments, and retirement.
Mint also helps you set up a budget and financial goals based on your account information. If you’ve ever struggled to understand your finances, Mint is the perfect tool for you—it puts everything in one place and makes all your information easy to digest and view.
Your days of sorting through stacks of papers, receipts and reports while preparing your taxes are in the past. New accounting software is like having a live, on-staff bookkeeper.
Xero is software as service (SaaS) subscription accounting suite that prepares financial reports, tracks wages, expenses, bulk bill payments, offers receipt approval, reconciliation of online accounts, imports bank transactions and provides free online support. They also have a mobile app, so you can do invoicing, expenses and track cash-flow on the go. Also, if you want to learn more about invoicing tips, check out read Xero’s invoicing guide for small businesses.
The government is getting increasingly nitpicky about tracking those random outgoing costs for everything from postage to gas and petty cash payouts. Instead of stashing scraps of unruly receipts in a drawer, Expensify allows you to scan or take a snapshot of your receipts using a smartphone.
The app then organizes your information onto a report with itemized date, payee, amount and category columns. You can also import your expense reports from a bank account or credit card, email online receipts to be merged with your paper receipts and export reports to tax-filing applications.
6. Tax Preparation
The purpose of utilizing the previous five tools will help you streamline your expenses and keep your finances organized. Ultimately, all of that organization comes down to preparing for tax day. While small businesses are required to file a tax return just once a year, business owners are permitted to pay estimated taxes quarterly.
An accounting program, such as TurboTax, allows small business owners to file taxes without assistance from an expert (recommended for the very least complicated returns only). While these programs offer suggestions for taking advantage of different business deductions and write-offs, experts suggest working with a tax professional your first few years in business.
Look for a program designed for small businesses and one that has a tax preparation checklist. This comes in handy for when you’re collecting and organizing forms for your qualified tax professional.