Online blog and business accounting

By glblguy

blog-accountingI’ve been on a quest for the past few months to to find a better way to manage my blog accounting for my blogs and business accounting for my Empty Cabin Media blog consulting business. I’ve been using a mixture of spreadsheets which were marginal, but didn’t offer some of the automation I was looking for such as invoice creation, payment tracking, and integration with Paypal.

Thanks to an article in Daily Blog Tips I discovered Outright and subsequently Freshbooks.

Outright.com

Outright.com is simply: simple online bookkeeping software and offers the following capabilities:

  • Tracks sales and business expenses
  • Organizes business records for tax times
  • Assists with paying estimated taxes on time
  • Provides reporting for getting up to date information on how your business is doing.

When you login, the main homepage provides a summary of your financials, including the last 5 transactions and a simple but effective profit and loss statement for your business. It shows profit and losses for the current month, current quarter and current year.

Income tracking

The income tab is basically a general ledger that allows you to enter and track any income you’ve received from your customers or advertisers. An additional benefit is that Outright also functions as a simple contact management package managing all of your customers and advertisers contact information.

Expense Tracking

The expenses tab does just what you would expect, allows you to enter and track your business expenses. One of the slick features is that it integrates seamlessly with Shoeboxed.com. If you aren’t familiar with Shoeboxed, it’s an online service that will scan your receipts and business cards and store them in your Shoeboxed account. They use OCR technology to pull transaction information from your receipts along with categorizing them for you. Due to the integration Outright provides, transaction information can automatically be imported from Shoeboxed as your receipts are scanned and entered as an expense into your Outright account.

Taxes

The taxes tab tracks taxes owed, including reminding you of when your federal estimated taxes are due and how much you’ve paid. They are even working on a state taxes feature that will be available soon. The tax tracking features are easy to use and simple, but very effective.

Freshbooks

Freshbooks is a time tracking and invoicing website that provides automated estimate, invoicing and payment tracking services.  Freshbooks has been a huge time saver for me with my Empty Cabin Media business and for invoicing advertisers on Gather Little by Little and my other blogs. Not only has it saved time, but the professional look and feel of the site has given me a professional edge that I didn’t have before.

Freshbooks provides screens for setting up and managing your clients and their associated contact information. Once you’ve created a client, you can then send an estimate, an invoice, or a recurring invoice to them.

I primarily using Freshbooks for providing client estimates and invoices for both my advertisers and clients. There are a number of other features, including:

  • Expense tracking which can be associated with a projecdt or client and then billed to a client
  • Time tracking for tracking hours worked on a project or for a client.
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Ability to manage staff and their permissions within Freshbooks
  • Integration with Basecamp an online project mangement package.

So far I’m really impressed. The estimates and invoices now have a very professional look and contain my company logo. I also like the ability Freshbooks provides to see whether or not my clients have viewed them and really appreciate the integrated payment tracking Freshbooks provides.

Outright and Freshbooks integration

One of the key features of these two products is their integration. Outright can be configured to automatically import transactions from Freshbooks. So when you invoice a client and the client pays, the transaction is automatically entered into your income tab within Outright.

I am a huge proponent of making things as automatic as possible. This is especially true since I am by nature a procrastinator and always find an excuse to skip the bookkeeping and do something more fun! Using Outright, Freshbooks, and Shoeboxed has really made me more organized and allowed me to have a complete and up to date financial picture of my business. If you aren’t running your blog like a business, maybe it’s time to consider doing so. All three products offer free trial offers. I guarantee once you give them a try you won’t want to quit.


9 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Online blog and business accounting”

  1. MyJourney Says:

    What are the costs of the items? Wouldn’t it be easier just to use quicken books or similar program?

  2. glblguy Says:

    The cost depends on the plan you go with. Freshbooks starts for free, 25 clients for $14 and $27 for up to 100 clients. I actually have the $14/month plan but did an add-on to get my # of customers to 150. Shoeboxed is also a tiered plan depending on how many scans you submit. Prices start a $9.95. Outright is free.

    I looked at Quickbooks, the cost is $119.00 for the Pro version, which I would need. I’m a huge fan of simplicity, and Freshbooks is a much easier app to use and has far less bells and whistles that I just don’t need. I looked at the online version of Quickbooks as well, and prices are around $30 per month for my needs.

    I just like the software and the cost is minimal considering the benefit it provides. I also like the ability to add expenses and update my accounts using my blackberry.

  3. Ben Says:

    I’ve used Freshbooks in the past. One of the things I like about them is that they constantly seem to be enhancing their product.

  4. Ares Says:

    Outright does all I need when it comes to accounting software. Freshbooks is alright, but it’s getting better by the minute. Quickbooks is not practical for very small operations, as it is expensive and not streamlined very well. Outright is my choice.

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  6. Jonathan@Friends and Money Says:

    I still use spreadsheets for tracking payments and for creating my cash flow forecasts. Is this software primarily for a US market or would it be applicable in the UK

  7. Ron Says:

    As a first time small business owner (web hosting / development) Freshbooks has absolutely been a lifesaver. And if they ever gain support for TD Business bank integration I’ll be in heaven. Additional QuickBooks export/import functionality would be a plus.

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