Fed up with all the time and energy involved with managing your business finances and wish you could just automate it? Well, you know you could automate it BUT you don’t have time to do all that research – because that’s just a black hole of internet reviews that you’ll never crawl out of.
How about I just tell you what tech tools I love the best? After 9 years of working with all sorts of awesome and crappy tech tools I’ve got me some opinions! and I want to share what I’ve learned with YOU. This week on the Andi Smiles Show I’m sharing my 7 favorite tech tools for managing and automating your business finances.
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**This post contains affiliate links to products that I use, know, and love! Affiliate links mean that if you sign up for something through my link I receive a small commission. I only recommend products that I have tested, use for myself or for my clients**
How tech tools impact your biz (5:20)
Before we start, I want to define what tech tools are. They can be software, mobile apps, or subscription services like Quickbooks Online. They’re digital so you can download them online and use them to streamline your business.
I want to talk about the benefits of using tech tools because I know when people are getting situated with new technology, they tend to feel intimidated and worry. Do I really need to learn something new? I already know how to do the manual processes.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea of trying out a new tool, this is going to help you see how it can benefit and positively impact your business.
The number one reason that people tell me they don’t do their bookkeeping is because of time. Here’s the great thing about tech tools… They save you time.
Developers are creating these tools with the end goal to make things easier for you and to save you time. Many of these tech tools are automating processes to streamline certain aspects of your business for you. Instead of taking you 3 hours to organize your income and expenses, some of these tech tools can help you cut back your bookkeeping time to 30 minutes.
These tech tools are organizing your finances and give you a very clear starting point. They do the messy work for you. Woo hoo!
The first on the list of my favorite tools is spreadsheets.
I know what you’re thinking: “Andi, I thought you would be sharing tools that are way cooler than spreadsheets!”
Hear me out. I think spreadsheets are key to tracking your business finances because they calculate the numbers for you, and they’re a simple way to organize and track your data.
But I also need you to know that a spreadsheet is not a bookkeeping system. It’s an addition to a bookkeeping system. When you rely solely on a spreadsheet for everything in your bookkeeping, you’re going to be very frustrated AND your bookkeeping is going to take you FOR-EVA.
You only need one or two additional spreadsheets in addition to your bookkeeping system in order to have a really strong tracking system.
Here are some of the things you can’t typically track in your bookkeeping system that spreadsheets are perfect for:
Home Office: These are expenses that typically come out of your personal accounts. They aren’t part of your business accounts. These include your rent, mortgage, renter’s insurance, home owner’s insurance, and your utilities.
Cell Phone: This is another one of these expenses that usually comes out of your personal account, so you need some way to track it.
Start-Up Expenses: When you’re first starting out in your business, these are the expenses that you are spending personal money on to get your business up and running.
What is so great about it is you can just share your spreadsheet with your tax person- no more scanning piles of receipts!
My favorite a spreadsheet tracking system is Google Sheets!
One, they’re totally free so you don’t have to invest in anything. Two, it’s Cloud-based, so you can access your documents from anywhere. You can edit them from your phone when you’re on the go, or from a computer at the library or wherever you are! Three, Google Sheets are extremely easy to share with people.
QuickBooks Online (13:32)
Quickbooks Online is a very good bookkeeping program for small business owners.
I believe it’s the easiest to learn and it’ll evolve with your business. You can start in one place and you can level up as you need to.
If you’re not familiar with Quickbooks Online, we’ll refer to it as a digital bookkeeping program. Here are some of the things you can track on Quickbooks:
- Income and Expense Tracking
- Digital Invoicing
- 1099 Contractors
You can use it to track your income and expenses. You can also send estimates to your customers. You can send project proposals and invoices.
The beauty of Quickbooks Online is the automation. You can link your bank account directly to Quickbooks and receive direct deposits. You can download your transactions from your bank account into the software. The only thing you have to do is assign categories to your income and expenses.
The starting price for Quickbooks Online is only $15/month, and you can upgrade at any time as your business grows.
(Psssst- not sure if QuickBooks Online is right for- check out this post I wrote about who needs QuickBooks and who does)
The next tool on the list is Dubsado! This one is a client management program so you may be wondering why I’m including it on this list.
I think that can be a huge game changer in businesses that are heavily invoice based. While it doesn’t offer bookkeeping just yet, it does have a great system for invoice tracking which I think is even better than Quickbooks Online.
Here is how Dubsado can save you time: First, you can send contracts in questionnaires with your invoices. This is super helpful because it streamlines the workflow process for you. Instead of sending an invoice through Quickbooks, then a contract through email, then a welcome email… you can do it all at once through Dubsado.
Second, Dubsado has financial features that I think are really fun! You can set up payment plans with your clients. Let’s say you’re selling a coaching program that has a total cost of $3,000. You can set up a monthly invoice of $500 to send to your client until they pay off the total amount of the program. You don’t have to remember to manually send an invoice each month because Dubsado will do it for you.
From a cash flow point of view, this can prevent a halt in your income. One of the biggest reasons people’s cash flow gets stopped up is because they are waiting for client payments. Dubsado helps because it offers recurring invoices and automatic payment reminders.
Dubsado also integrates with Quickbooks Online, so you do not have to do double entry work. It will bring in all of your invoices and payments in Quickbooks Online and categorize it for you. We’re talking about saving time and automations.
Dubsado is $25/month, so it’s the most expensive tech tool I’ll be mentioning here. It’s an investment, for sure, but they also offer discounts and lifetime memberships throughout the year. Sign up for their newsletter and stay in the know!
I’ve mentioned Qapital before and that’s because it’s so great! It’s an app that automates your savings based on rules that you set up. You give Qapital the parameters, and it does the rest.
Qapital monitors your parameters and looks out for triggers. It sets aside money for you based on the triggers.
First, you can automate your tax savings. This is called the freelancer rule which is setting aside 30% of your income (or you can start with 20-25%). Whenever income is deposited into your bank account, Qapital will automatically save the percentage that you indicated.
Another rule you can implement is the round up rule. Every time you make a purchase it will round up to the nearest dollar and set aside that money for you. Let’s say your latte costs $4.50. Qapital will consider that a $5 purchase, so it will set aside $0.50 for you.
You can also get really creative with how you trigger Qapital to set aside savings. You could set aside $1 everytime you post on Instagram, which is a really good motivator to get you to post content every day!
The best part about this app is that it’s FREE. There’s no reason for anybody not to download this app because it is so awesome at helping you automate your savings.
Mile IQ (29:09)
If you follow me, you know I love me some Mile IQ! This is a mileage tracking app that detects when you drive and captures your miles.
Tracking your business mileage can really save you a lot of money. It can add up to thousands of dollars in tax deductions. The problem is that it’s so tedious to track your miles manually every time you hit the road.
That’s where Mile IQ comes in. The app is triggered every time you step foot in your vehicle. It works in the background and does the heavy lifting for you. At the end of each drive, you tell the app whether the drive was for business or for personal use.
You can even capture your medical mileage. That’s right, if you’re driving to several doctor appointments after you’ve had surgery, or if you’re going to physical therapy on a regular basis, you can write that off during tax season.
You can also add parking and tolls. Mile IQ will add that to its data, and all the information will be there at the end of the year for you.
Another neat feature is setting up vacation mode. You can tell that app that you’re going on vacation for 5 days so it won’t track anything at all.
Mile IQ is free for the first 40 drives!
The next tool is T-Sheets which is a time-tracking software that integrates with Quickbooks Online. It’s another app that will automate some of the business processes for you.
You can track your current time through the app or web application. You can also input your old time, so if you forget to turn it on you can manually input your time.
This is where the magic happens. You can assign your time to a customer and mark it as billable. Then you link it with Quickbooks Online, and when you set up the invoice, a box will pop up and tell you what your billable time is.
Do you want to add it to the invoice? You click yes and it includes the billable time on your invoice. This is what makes T-Sheets so awesome- you can automatically integrate into your invoices through Quickbooks for free. Doesn’t that sound better than manually tracking hours and sending those hours to your clients separately?
You can also use T-Sheets to track the time that your subcontractors do, and you can share that with your clients in the invoices.
T-Sheets is free for one user for however long you want to use it. If you want to add on additional users, then it costs money.
This is my final tech tool and it’s near and dear to my heart because it was the first software that I used to organize my business finances. It’s called Foreceipt, and it’s a receipt management app. My favorite part about it is that you can sync with your Google Drive.
It uploads the photos of your receipts directly to your own Google Drive. This is a great thing because Foreceipt isn’t saving your data in their app. Rather, they are uploading it to an external server. I’ve had software in the past that shut down, and when that happens, you typically lose all your data, so this ensures you are in control of your data!
Here are some ways that you can use Forereceipt. You can take pictures of your receipts and then throw the hard copy away. Once your receipts are online, you can categorize them. Some of them might be for reimbursements from your clients. Others might be for a product launch, and you want to track the ROI.
This app also converts different currencies for you, which is a great addition. If you travel internationally, this is perfect. You can also scan receipts offline which is good if you’re in another country, and don’t have access to WiFi.
The best part? Foreceipt is free!
And that’s it! I believe that all of these tech tools will be a great asset to your business. Let me know which ones you’re interested in using, and how they are helping you stay sane!
What to get the deets on even more tech tools I’m in love with? Download the Bookkeeping Automation Resource Guide so you can get even more of an inside scoop on all the tech tools I love for bookkeeping automation.