Being in the accounting department of a small business doesn’t mean being tucked away in the back corner of the office hammering away on a Dell desktop running Windows XP and an old copy of QuickBooks. No sir, accounting can actually be fun thanks to the help of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and some nifty apps as well as long awaited Mac accounting software.
The idea of putting accounting-related tasks into a mobile device might seem scary to some accounting pros. But the concept of being able to touch, swipe and manipulate numbers at the stroke of a finger can be pretty liberating.
Shoeboxed is an app that keeps track of receipts, bills and other financial documents. Is it difficult to use? Not at all. Simply snap a photo and Shoeboxed does the rest. Its technology is intelligent enough to extract information, like where the receipt came from, how much was spent, what was purchased and when was it purchased. That information automatically gets thrown into a database that make searching for those receipts easy as typing in a few key terms. As your small business grows, you’d normally have to hire someone to organize that information for you, but really, Shoeboxed is all you need. The app is free, but the service costs $20 per month.
Mint is another popular consumer and small business app. While it’s technically geared toward the consumer, it does allow you to add bank accounts and credit cards, and it will categorize your expenses to show you if you’re spending too much money going out to eat, or on office supplies. It’s not perfect, but if you run a really small operation, or are just on your own, it’s a great, free solution that’s easy to use.
FreshBooks is the touch version of QuickBooks. It allows you to track expenses and profits and includes some needed functionality, like employee time tracking, chart and graph creators and tax-related features. If you think it’s for you, the company offers a month-long free trial. It’s $20 per month after that.
InDinero is strictly an expense-tracking app that, like Mint, uses data from your bank account and credit cards to organize all expense. You can set alerts on your expenses in InDinero that let’s you know if there is unusual activity outside the norm of your business operations. That’s done using a history of your expenses.
What Else Do I Need?
There are a few other financial-related digital tools that can help keep your small business organized and efficient.
Coin is being billed as the only credit card you’ll ever need. It’s not uncommon for a small business owner to have a business debit and a credit card or two… or three, plus a personal credit card and debit. That’s a lot of cards in one wallet. Coin lets you load all of your credit cards onto one digital card that’s the same size of a normal credit card. When you want to use a certain one, you coin through the screen on the card until you find the card you need, lock it in, then hand it to the cashier. Better yet, Coin also lets you load all of your gift cards onto it, which should essentially empty your wallet altogether.