The Future of (convenient) Accounting

by Craig on November 10, 2012

Over the last few years, accounting (in it’s truest form of keeping track of your dollars) has come a long way. In the recent past, while software was available to make things simple in the aggregate, there was still a great deal of detailed manual entry required.

The perhaps all to familiar plight of the business owner entailed copying every line of your bank statement into Quickbooks, printing and mailing your invoices in Word, and wondering where in 150 lines of numbers that you reversed a digit, throwing off your balance entirely.

Fortunately, the days of those frustrations are numbered (heh.)…for those willing to adapt, anyway.

As for me, I’ve been using FreshBooks.com, a cloud based invoicing service, to keep track of all hours worked and do all of the billing. I track my projects, which then go straight to automatically generated (yet fully customizable) invoices, which are then emailed directly to clients. When I get paid online, FreshBooks knows instantly, and records the invoice as paid.

From there, all of my invoice and payment data is sent straight to Xero.com, where it’s automatically updated, and where all of my accounting is done. Xero also links directly to my bank account and downloads all debits and credits directly from the bank, every day with no input from me. Then, it “learns” where they go. When it sees a payment to my landlord, it “knows” that it’s rent, and all I have to do is confirm. No data entry, just review.

There’s a misattributed quote to Bill Gates that goes like this:

I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because he will find an easy way to do it.

And while you’re probably not a lazy person in regards to your business, keeping up on the accounting is not high on the list of most people’s uses of their precious motivation. (And you do have a limited amount, it’s scientifically proven!)

So, if you find your accounting to be tedious, there is hope for you yet!

All that said, in my entire accounting lifetime, I’ve never been quite as excited about something as I am about the implementation of these technological advances.

Sure, people like to have their taxes done and done on time. But seeing the look on people’s faces when they see how ridiculously simple accounting can truly be, is really really fun!

If you are curious about more, I am happy to chat anytime. All of the contacts listed here go straight to my inbox or mobile phone.

Craig Mason, CPA

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Something Unrelated…

by Craig on March 30, 2012

This time of year, things tend to get busy. So I haven’t made the time to write anything on the ever-thrilling subject of taxes.

However, I would like to share a video that, while not directly related to accounting or taxes, is extremely relevant to business and life in general.

People sometimes ask my why I do strange things like post videos about vulnerability on the news section of accounting firm’s website. I hope this video helps explain.

Please leave your thoughts. If you hated it, I promise to only post my musings on the alternative minimum tax and depreciation recapture from now on.

-Craig

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Choosing Your Entity—Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC vs. S-Corp

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Clients often ask me the best entity choice when forming a new business venture. The answer is quite simple: “It depends.” Like many decisions when it comes to taxation, your best course of action (what achieves your long run goals),  can’t be summed up in a blanket statement. Even beyond the scope of this article, [...]

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Elgin Business Owners Still Concerned Over Economy

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On a regular basis, I have the privilege of working with a variety of business owners in the Elgin area. Since the state of the economy is a subject that is both relevant to nearly every citizen and a subject I personally find quite interesting, I take the opportunity whenever possible to ask business owners, [...]

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What Does The Illinois Tax Increase Mean For Elgin Residents?

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Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning while most Elginites slept, your state legislators were hard at work—raising your taxes. The personal income tax rate went from a flat 3% to 5% tax on every taxpayer. This means that a family making $100,000/year will now pay just under $2,000 more per year in taxes [...]

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Need Something To Do This Winter In Elgin?

November 24, 2010

The Center For Economic Progress is looking for volunteers to help prepare tax returns for low income community members so they don’t have to pay someone to do so. I did this last year, and it was an awesome experience. The volunteers are extremely nice people and those that they help are overwhelmingly appreciative. Overall, [...]

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Elgin CPA To Write For Long Time Elgin Blog, The Elginite

November 23, 2010

Have you heard of the Elginite? If not, check it out. It’s a blog/news website that’s been around for quite some time and keeps a pulse on the goings on around  the city of Elgin. And now, if you’d like to hear this Elgin accountant kvetch about politics and the economy, you can do so [...]

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Elgin Supports Small Business Saturday, November 27th!

November 18, 2010

In an effort to support local small businesses, American Express is sponsoring the first ever Small Business Saturday, on November 27th. Squeezed between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, Small Business Saturday is a drive to encourage consumers to spend an entire day shopping local in order to support and grow their local economies. Personally, I [...]

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