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Anita Campbell

CEO of Small Business Trends

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Money Apps to Get You Ready for Tax Time

August 09, 2016

From Shoeboxed to Freshbooks, use these powerful apps to get your finances organized. We’ll explore the best financial apps for businesses.

Tax time can sneak up on you. But one thing that makes taxes a lot less painful is if you are well organized and your records are in great order. Financial and money apps that help organize your records fall into three categories: accounting software apps, expense and mileage apps, and tax apps.

Accounting Software Apps

Accounting software helps you manage your books as a whole, keeping track of revenue coming in and money going out. You can use a spreadsheet, of course, but today’s accounting software can save tremendous time and manual effort. For instance, all good software packages enable your bank and credit card records to be downloaded, saving you the time of manually entering data. The best ones integrate with e-commerce apps and PayPal to enable you to import sales data. Perhaps the biggest benefit of good accounting software is that it helps you become more intelligent about taxes and guides you in such things as categorizing expenses into deductible categories.

Popular accounting packages include:

  • QuickBooks - QuickBooks Online is gradually replacing the desktop version of QuickBooks, one of the longest-standing accounting packages. QuickBooks can be a bit of a bear to set up and learn and tends to be good for small businesses that are established or have employees, although there is a streamlined self-employed version. It offers mobile apps for iPhone, Mac, Android, and Windows.
  • SageOne - Sage’s cloud-based accounting system is designed for businesses on the smaller end—typically under 10 employees—but can also be used by somewhat larger businesses. It has a mobile app.
  • Xero - Based in New Zealand, Xero is one of the new breeds of streamlined accounting packages that touts its ease of use. It integrates with more than 450 third-party software applications, saving loads of time and streamlining your back office. It has iPad, iPhone, and Android apps.
  • FreshBooks - While not a double-entry accounting system, FreshBooks is used by millions of the self-employed to send invoices and track expenses. For many freelancers, it is all they really need to keep their books straight. One of the beauties of FreshBooks is its mobile app for Android and Apple devices that enables you to snap a picture of a receipt and log the expense from your phone.
  • GoDaddy Bookkeeping - Originally started as Outright and designed for solo entrepreneurs, GoDaddy Bookkeeping is a simple bookkeeping system. One of the features it touts is that it will pre-populate your Schedule C (used by sole proprietors and LLCs to report taxes).
  • Mint - Mint is a personal finance management app from Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks. You can track and categorize expenses and pay bills. Some entrepreneurs with uncomplicated side businesses skip the accounting software and use Mint along with downloaded bank and financial records to organize their records for taxes. However, best practice is to separate your personal and business finances, so as your business grows it’s important to move toward business accounting software.

Expense and Mileage Apps

Some apps serve specific functions such as keeping track of expenses and mileage.

  • Shoeboxed - Instead of stuffing expense receipts in an old shoebox, with Shoeboxed you can scan receipts and turn them into electronic records for tax time. Shoeboxed also includes a GPS-based mileage tracker for deductions for business, charitable, or medical use of a vehicle. It offers iPad, iPhone, and Android apps. Too many expenses to scan them? Just put them into a prepaid envelope, mail them off, and the Shoeboxed team will scan them for you.
  • Expensify - Expensify automates and organizes expense reporting. If you have employees who regularly incur business expenses and submit them for approval and reimbursement, an app like Expensify can automate and organize expenses.
  • ExpensePoint - ExpensePoint also helps you track employee business expenses. At $7.50 per month (as of this writing) it’s economical for small businesses.
  • Zoho Expense - Zoho has a zillion (figuratively speaking) products and one of them is Zoho Expense. It includes autoscan of receipts and expense management.
  • TripLog - The TripLog mileage tracker app for iOS and Android is tied to GPS to enable you to automatically track mileage deduction for business trips in a car, van, or pickup. On its site it offers tips specifically for self-employed Uber and Lyft drivers to track their expenses.
  • Mileage Log+ - This is a mileage tracker and trip log app for iPhone and iPad. It syncs to Dropbox to store associated receipts.
  • Smart Receipts - This Android, iPhone, or iPad app turns your smartphone or tablet into a receipt scanner. It emails you a PDF and CSV file with expense information at the end of the week.
  • iDonatedIt - Do you donate to charity? This app keeps track of those donations, organizing for tax deduction purposes.

Tax Apps

Finally, I can’t leave this article without at least mentioning tax apps. If you are looking for an app that makes it simple to do your business taxes on your phone, you’ll have to keep looking.

At this time the tax mobile apps from such well-known names as TurboTax, Jackson Hewitt, and TaxAct are geared toward individuals, not businesses. However, apps like the H&R Block MyBlock app help you keep track of receipts throughout the year and may be of some use to business owners. There’s also IRS2Go, the official IRS app. While limited in features and also geared toward individuals, the IRS app helps track your refund if you are owed one.

The good news about money apps like the ones I’ve mentioned and others is that through automation you can save time and organize your business records so that tax time doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Get started now.

This article was originally published on Inc.

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