3 tools every small business owner needs

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Starting your own business requires blood, sweat and tears – and paperwork. Lots of paperwork. Even a small business needs someone to pay bills, track expenses, send invoices, write paychecks and handle taxes. To keep costs down, some small business owners do most or all of these things themselves. But all that extra work distracts them from the most important job of all: growing their companies.

Technology to the rescue! If you own a business, especially one with employees, you owe it to yourself to check out Intuit Small Business Solutions products. Why spend so many hours on bookkeeping and accounting when you can outsource it affordably  — using technology — instead of hiring up to three extra employees?

Note: People tend to use the terms “accounting” and “bookkeeping” interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. A bookkeeper records your company’s financial activities. An accountant uses that info for things like writing company reports and preparing for taxes.

Intuit Small Business Solutions products do more than just crunch numbers, though. The online platform provides a “connected ecosystem of business tools” – including services every small business needs: bookkeeping, accounting, financial reports, payroll and human resources assistance in addition to bookkeeping and accounting.

And you don’t need a business degree to use QuickBooks Online, Quickbooks Online Payroll and QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping. These user-friendly products help entrepreneurs (or their assistants) feel confident about tasks like tracking expenses, sending invoices, handling health insurance premiums, making sure everyone gets paid, and reconciling the books at tax time.

This help is not limited to technology. With Intuit Small Business Solution products, you can also get live access to a network of human experts who will answer your questions on important issues like workers compensation, health benefits and other essential topics.

In other words: Even though you may be a solopreneur, you’re not running your business alone.

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Small business accounting 

Some people hire full-time accountants for their business, or farm the work out to accounting firms, both of which can be very expensive. And in the case of an in-house, full-time accountant, some business owners are wary of putting all the company’s info and assets into one person’s hands. 

How to do small business accounting 

A small-business accountant could be expected to:

  • Design a bookkeeping system, and check to make sure it’s working right (including watching for misuse of funds)
  • Analyze financial records, to help the business grow, and create a company budget
  • Write reports on topics like profit/loss, industry shifts or client behaviors
  • Prepare financial records at tax time

There’s a reason that accounting is a four-year degree, and that it takes at least seven years to become a certified public accountant (a.k.a. CPA): This is a very complex, specialized job with very high stakes for clients. Poorly done accounting can cost a business untold thousands of dollars in over-payment of taxes, an audit, or even jail time for tax evasion. 

Small business accounting software 

Small business accounting software streamlines your company’s financial reporting and money management. No more guessing at the best ways to keep records – the software does it all.

Learn more about QuickBooks Small Business now, starting at just $1/ month >>

Small business bookkeeping 

Small-business bookkeeping isn’t just about debits and credits. It’s also about what you do with the numbers.

Analyzing cash flow, expense variations, sales trends and other financial information lets you keep an eye on the bottom line, naturally. But it also lets you look for potential problems and brainstorm ways to fix them.

How to do small business bookkeeping 

A bookkeeper must record all financial information from a company’s day-to-day operation. All of this information needs to be compiled for the accountant to check, and to use to prepare reports, budgets and the like.

Think of it as the framework of the company’s finances: By tracking every dollar coming in and every dollar going out, bookkeeping gives you real-time, up-to-the-minute picture of where your business stands.

Small business bookkeeping service 

As with accounting, you can either hire someone or farm out the work.

Hiring someone could cost more than you can afford. Even if you hired someone only part-time, you’d have the expense of onboard plus recurring employee costs. 

Or you could go with a contract worker, assuming that this person has really good references – after all, they’ll have access to business bank accounts and credit cards. Then again, if you send the work to a local bookkeeping firm there’s always the chance your company’s financials could be stolen or otherwise misused.

QuickBooks Online 

QuickBooks Online can tell you everything you need to know about your business. It’s not limited to profit and loss, but also provides information like accounts payable and receivable, sales, inventory and profitability.

QuickBooks Online  tracks revenue and cash flow, organizes and categorizes receipts for tax time, and allows invoicing with just a few clicks. QuickBooks Online will pay bills (including recurring bills), and tracks labor costs and expenses so you can weigh a project’s profitability.

The price of hiring an accountant could set your business back anywhere from $50,106 to $60,561 a year, according to Salary.com. QuickBooks Online is priced from $25 to $150 per month, depending on which of the four plans you choose. There’s a 70% discount for 3 months and a 30-day free trial >>

QuickBooks Online earned an Editor’s Choice Award from PC Magazine, for offering “the most effective, comprehensive, useful and usable tools.” The magazine notes that QuickBooks Online’s “depth, flexibility and extensibility outclass those of its rivals.”

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping 

With Intuit QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, the assistance starts immediately. Through live video chat, you’ll be walked through the steps of getting set up in the system, importing data, connecting apps and linking to your bank. You’ll also be assigned a dedicated bookkeeper.

After that, ongoing support for Intuit QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping includes:

  • Best-practice tips, so your business gets optimal results 
  • Ongoing maintenance, categorization and reconciliation of your books during the month, with reports via phone or video chat
  • Monthly, quarterly and annual reviews and statements

Any time you have questions, just e-mail or video chat with your bookkeeper. In fact, Intuit QuickBooks suggests checking in at least once a month. This consulting included in the fee. 

According to Salary.com, a bookkeeper typically earns anywhere from $38,043 to $48,625 a year. By comparison, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping costs anywhere from $270 to $670 per month, depending on your business volume. There’s a 70% discount for the first three months and a 30-day free trial.

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Small business payroll 

Payroll is complicated because it has so many moving parts. Not only is it time-consuming, it’s imperative that you avoid mistakes. Otherwise you might be breaking U.S. tax law.

Besides, your employees work hard for you. Getting their paychecks or direct deposit on time is essential.

How payroll works

When doing payroll you need to subtract federal, state and local taxes from each worker’s gross pay. You might also be taking out health insurance premiums or retirement savings, or in some cases, garnishments to satisfy a legal judgment.

All those monies must then be sent to the government, an insurance company, a retirement plan company or the judicial system. You’ll need to provide tax forms for your employees, too.

Sounds complicated? It is. Payroll can be one of a company’s biggest business expenses.

Small business payroll services

You can hire a payroll company near you, or hire a national company such as ADP or Square. While this can be simpler than hiring a bookkeeper or payroll clerk, it can still be pricey.

In addition, there’s that security issue. How comfortable are you with sending employees’ Social Security numbers and work records – and your own company’s bank information – outside the office?

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QuickBooks Online Payroll 

QuickBooks Online Payroll greatly simplifies the payroll process for you, the employer. You’ll get live help with setup and review, or you can ask that it be done for you. Once payroll is set up, it will run automatically.

The embedded “TSheets” function keeps track of employees’ hours. At the end of a pay period, you don’t have to enter those shifts manually – just push a button and QuickBooks Online Payroll will take care of the rest, including paying state and federal payroll taxes. The platform lets you pay employees and 1099 contractors alike.

It isn’t just about cutting checks, however. Small business owners will also get employee management solutions for healthcare benefits, workers compensation, human resources and more.

The QuickBooks Payroll Elite version includes a “Tax Penalty-Free Guarantee”: If you’re assessed a local, state or federal tax penalty while using the product, Intuit will help you solve the issue and will pay you back for the penalty and any interest.

A full-time payroll specialist will cost your company anywhere from $40,298 to $51,212 per year, according to Salary.com. In contrast, QuickBooks Online Payroll costs are as follows:

  • Core: $4 per employee per month + $45 per month (this includes time-tracking, same-day diret deposit, automated payroll and HR support
  • Premium: $8 per employee per month $75 per month
  • Elite: $10 per employee per month + $125 per month, which includes certified HR support, automated payroll and protection against tax penalties

(Note: Currently there is a 70% discount being offered on all three types of QuickBooks Online Payroll and a 30-day free trial.)

The bottom line

The more successful your business becomes, the more complicated it is to manage. QuickBooks has your back, with innovative small business software solutions that support your company’s growth – and free you up to do the work of growing it.

Check out Intuit Small Business now >>

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