Many people have trouble staying on top of their finances. That same problem exists for business owners. This process can be a big challenge for those who don’t work in the finance and accounting field full time. If you don’t track you finances properly, you’ll make poor spending decisions- in business and finance.
Fortunately, there are some great tech tools to help you track both business and personal finances.
Personal finance challenges
Everyone is busy. If you don’t have a system to manage your finances, the process can get out of control quickly. Here are some keys to managing personal finances:
· Decide on a monthly amount to save and invest
· Create a realistic budget
· Review spending frequently
Start your planning with a monthly amount to save and invest. A great book, The Richest Man in Babylon, refers to this concept as “paying yourself first”. The savings amount comes out of your budget before any other spending.
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Your budget needs to be realistic. Plan your expenses based on amounts that are reasonable. If your monthly cell phone bill averages $70, don’t budget for $25.
The hardest part of personal finances is tracking your spending once that new month starts. Several tech tools can make the process easier.
Quicken software, for example, allows you to create a budget. The software provides several tools to view your budget, including a pie chart. You can link Quicken to your bank and credit card accounts, so that the data is uploaded automatically. The user can track their actual results on a PC or mobile device.
DIY investing tools
I see a growing trend toward Do It Yourself (DIY) investing. Improvements in technology are constantly making it easier for an investor to manage their own portfolios.
Wealthfront is a great tool. It helps the investor understand their risk tolerance and goals, then puts together a portfolio of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to meet their objectives. The site helps you reduce investment costs while you get a diverisified portfolio. Betterment is another great tool for the DIY Investor
Managing business finances
Business owners have their own set of financial challenges. In addition to budgeting revenues and expenses, the owner must address these other needs:
· Cash flow: Forecast cash inflows so that the business can operate each month
· Payroll: Manage employee hours worked, generate tax reporting, pay employees
· Financial statements: Generate financial statements
This process is more challenging if the firm operates in multiple locations. Here are several apps that can help with this process.
Wagepoint is a cloud-based payroll service that handles payroll calculations. This system can handle deductions for taxes and make direct deposit payments to workers. You can handle both hourly workers and salaried employees through Wagepoint. This software can help you save time and generate accurate tax reporting.
Business tools to save time
Every business should generate monthly financial statements. Your balance sheet and income statement explain how your company is performing.
Quickbooks online is a cloud-based accounting system that’s easy to use. You can create a customized chart of accounts for your business, and generate dozens of financial reports.
If you need specific reports generated to manage your business, Quickbooks can save the report format for you. You can print that report, along with your standard financial reports.
Consider using all of these tools to save time. Spending less time on these tasks can give you some peace of mind.
Have used any of these tools? I’d love to hear from you.
Author: Cost Accounting for Dummies, Accounting All-In-One for Dummies, The CPA Exam for Dummies and 1,001 Accounting Questions for Dummies
(website and blog) http://www.accountingaccidentally.com/
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Cash register close up
David Tarwin, Cash register close up
(CC BY-SA 2.0)