Ask the Makers ~ Accountants + Bookeeping
I do not have an accountant. I have a previous life as a bank manager and worked two seasons at H&R Block while in school, so numbers are fun to me. Plus I have Quickbooks to stay organized. (Of course, I am too paranoid to claim the home office deduction even though I am totally qualified, so I am probably a bad example.) I think I just do it myself so I get to use my big old adding machine with paper. I love to punch in my numbers (I am impressively fast by the way.) and staple the runs of adding machine papers to my monthly files! So satisfying!
I don’t have an accountant. We use a combination of Quickbooks and Outright. I do, however, have an amazing CPA who keeps me on track with things like taxes, licenses, etc. He also happens to be my Father-In-Law so I feel like I really lucked out! What would I do without him?
My answer is ‘sort of’. Since I sell virtual products, I only need to create invoices for the occasional custom order. Generally everything is automated. Luckily for me my brother-in-law does my taxes, which are complicated because my business is based in Germany, but I sell downloadable goods all over the world. The tax rates vary from the Germany to the EU to ‘everyone else’. I realize that many business sell globally, but because I don’t require a shipping address, it’s sometimes hard to know where the purchaser is based, which impacts how much tax I need to pay per transaction. This requires digging through purchase orders every month. I also have to go through all the PayPal reports and convert the currency from dollars or GBP to Euros manually via a spreadsheet formula. So even though I have someone organizing my taxes, every month there’s a couple of hours work. It’s very specific to my business and I have yet to find software that would streamline this. I do hope to get someone in soon to take care of this task as I hate facing it every time the month ends!
I have had an accountant since the beginning of this year. It’s wonderful – she works remotely and we use Dropbox to share files. I download all my statements and logs and categorize each line item- then she deals with the taxes and reporting portion. She also provides me with a quarterly overview of income and expenses!
The best thing I’ve done for my business book-keeping-wise this year is bite the bullet and upgrade from our trusty spreadsheet to proper accounting software. After some investigation, Nick and I settled on Xero which did everything we wanted it to. We can link our bank accounts, Paypal (in different currencies) and there’s the option to pay for plugins for extensions that do other things. Sure, it costs a bit of money, but the time Nick saves and the ease of looking at our money is WELL worth it at our stage of business. The pure usefulness of it came into its own this month when we had to do a BAS (business activity statement) for the first time, as we finally had to register for GST. It took 10 minutes to copy the numbers from Xero to our BAS form – brilliant! Our accountants actually have access to our Xero account too – so come tax time, they can just log in and do our tax for us.
I’m actually saving up money for an accountant for 2015 because I’m getting tired of doing my own taxes. Excel spreadsheets are my current go-to accounting tool but I know that if I want to take my business more seriously, and if I want other institutions to take my business more seriously, I need to have an accountant. Also, let’s be honest, nobody enjoys spending five hours or so every year doing taxes, let alone the hour or so every month to crunch the numbers. I also believe that having an accountant do the work for me will allow me to get a much clearer picture of the financial state of both my business and my personal accounts.