Right now, most small business owners are frantically scratching through a shoebox of receipts, checking old jacket pockets, and searching through various nooks and crannies in the hopes of finding all their receipts from the past year. Yes, it’s tax time again and as Madonna would say, “Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it.”
The annual scramble commences like some kind of weird dance ritual. And every year, we swear next year will be different. Next year we will be organized. We will faithfully keep our receipts. But every year, we look at the fiasco created by our broken promises to ourselves and borrow Lady Gaga’s famous line as our excuse: What can we do, we were “born this way.”
But, no, people are not born disorganized. In truth small business owners are simply too busy to sweat the small stuff until it becomes big stuff at the end of the year. Fortunately, there are ways to skip sweating tax time without adding to the daily workload because yes, there is an app for that.
There are apps for printers and apps for phones. They all are easy to use while you dash to and fro doing other things, the ones that actually earn you money. Some of the apps even automatically port your entered data or scanned receipts directly to your accounting software. So, pick your app and get started.
It really is that simple. And just think, the tax collector and your accountant will love you for it too, prompting you to sing “All I know is everybody loves me” instead of crying “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” in your beer, this time next year.
To get you started, here are five apps to consider:
1. Shoeboxed is a printer app that you can find in HP’s app store. You can easily download it directly to the device you were going to use to copy that receipt for your accountant anyway. How simple is that?
Use the app to copy receipts straight to Excel, QuickBooks, Outright, Freshbooks, and other popular accounting software. (You can also create expense reports directly on the printer with this app.) Just think, in the time it takes to give the device a copy command, you’re done with filing this receipt. At tax time, an entire year’s worth of tax deductions is at your fingertips or already filed in your accounting software.
2. Genius Scan+ for iPhone creates a pocket scanner that can create JPEGs or PDFs of your receipts on the spot and e-mail them to your computer or accountant. The app also allows you to upload your scanned receipt to Box.net, Dropbox, Evernote Expensify, Google Docs, or, using AirPrint, to send it to your printer.
3. Speaking of Box.net, HP has an app for that on its printers so you can either retrieve and print receipts you sent from Genius Scan+ and other phone apps or create and organize receipts in familiar file folders directly on your printer in Box.net.
The same is true with a printer Google Docs app that enables you to scan and store receipts and related documents online for retrieval later in whatever Google Docs format you prefer.
4. Lemon–Receipts Refreshed for iPhone and Android not only lets you scan receipts with your phone but also turns the information into spending reports. Receipts are stored so they are easy to summon at tax time but all information inside the receipts is taggable, searchable, and tracked. It helps you know in real time where your money is going, making Lemon a very handy money management tool.
5. Expense Manager for iPhone and Android is more an accounting app than a simple receipt scanning app. In other words, it turns your phone into a receipt scanner and expense tracker. It also tracks income, monthly bills, budgets, and multiple accounts. The app also provides you with useful charts, widgets, search functionality, and reports. There are even currency exchange rates, an account transfer feature, and other handy financial tools that you may need to conduct your business on a daily basis.
There are other apps you may want to look into too. Some are specialized, such as CharityDeductions.com; this tool helps taxpayers get the most out of their charitable giving and tax deductions for the year. Others offer choices of specialized or generalized financial tools such as TurboTax and its array of mobile apps.
In any case, apps can save you time, effort, and money. This time next year, tax time will amount to a push of a button or a click of a mouse. Soon you will have forgotten all about the frantic scramble for receipts you used to do. Apps, they’re what good business is made of.