At Singletrack Accounting, we love hearing from happy small business owners that our team has saved time, headaches, and the stress of the dreaded tax filing season. In addition, as entrepreneurs ourselves, we enjoy connecting with our customers and learning their struggles as well as what makes them tick. We sat down with one of our customers, Alley Rubadeau, from Chair 9 Marketing and did a Q&A with Kim Hornsby, Singletrack’s founder.
Kim: What inspired you to go off on your own and start your own business?
Alley: Freedom. I dreaded the idea of living somewhere that did not fit my lifestyle and I feared not being able to spend my time the way I wanted to. I’ve always had somewhat of an issue of sitting in a cubicle and being “just a number.” Becoming the boss of myself seemed logical. Yes, I technically have multiple “bosses” since I work for clients but I can choose which projects excite me and craft a schedule that fits my lifestyle. I schedule meetings around the things I enjoy doing such as taking a hike in the middle of the day or taking off a Friday to head to the mountains. This may mean I sometimes work longer nights or weekends but the freedom of being the boss of my schedule was my main motivator. Once I started running towards entrepreneurship life 6 years ago, I never looked back.
Kim: When you first started your business, was accounting on your mind?
Alley: Not exactly. When I first took the leap to go off on my own, I knew I had to manage my books and stay compliant but I was naive to the time commitment and the complexity of accounting. Yes, I was concerned with how much revenue was coming in but I wasn’t concerned with the specifics such as what type of business to form, how to categorize my expenses, and how to correctly run payroll. I was determined to do everything myself and I was in the dark on how much my expenses were compared to my revenue. I was only looking at the number at the end of the month of how much profit I retained in my bank account.
Kim: What was the turning point in your business where you thought “Hey, maybe it’s a good idea to hire an accountant?”
Alley: In 2016, I specifically remember being on vacation in New York City, having to sit out of sightseeing for the day to file taxes. I was sulking in my AirBnb pressing submit before midnight on April 15th. While this was poor planning on my part, I didn’t anticipate the complexity of filing business returns. The next year, the week before taxes were due, it was like a big cloud hanging over my head. I would then take that day at the very last minute and go through all my bookkeeping. Full transparency – it was a big, giant mess! I did my business taxes myself for 2 years and each year, I swore I would hire an accountant the next year. The time, uncertainty, and stress it added to me was unnecessary.
It’s common for entrepreneurs to think they can do everything themselves and the moment I realized that was not the case, my life changed. The same year I took the leap to hire an accountant, it motivated me to ask for help from other experts to take on aspects of my business that I am not an expert in such as hiring my first social media manager.
Kim: What scared you the most about hiring others?
Alley: Control and cost. Besides wanting to be in control, the cost scared me. Running a contract marketing company, my business income in the first few years of business looked like a rollercoaster. Some months, I was booking trips to Hawaii and other months I was trying to go 5 days without spending any money. Being a contractor can be unpredictable and I was worried that outsourcing work would be financial suicide. Boy was I wrong! In fact, after I was able to admit that I could not do everything myself, all of a sudden I was excelling at everything else that was being put on the backburner. I was able to focus on my strengths in my business such as project management, I had more time to acquire business instead of doing all the work, and the best of all, I gained more time for myself and my family. Also, I no longer loath the month of April. And did I mention, I saved thousands of dollars on my tax bill?
Kim: Bringing time back to our customers is one of our biggest goals. Speaking of having more time, how much time do you think you have saved by hiring our team?
Alley: Endless hours. While I can’t give a specific amount of time, to me it’s more about redirecting that time into something I enjoy. I value looking at my bookkeeping numbers at the end of the month but the road to get there is not one I have the time, motivation or expertise to take. I remember the first time I filed my personal taxes in 2018 after hiring Singletrack and I was ecstatic about how little time it took because my business taxes were done. I also had the peace of mind that they were done right which to me is invaluable.
Kim: What advice do you have for other small business owners when it comes to outsourcing accounting?
Alley: Don’t wait to start. If I had started even a year earlier, I would have saved thousands of dollars in taxes. I thought by doing it myself, I would be saving money. That was not the case at all. In fact, not only was I paying unnecessary money to the tax man but I was losing precious time I could have been doing things I love. Before Singletrack, I felt this sense of anxiety around tax time. Even after I filed, I never knew if I had done it quite right. I think as entrepreneurs we can all relate to this feeling when it comes to making business decisions. It took me multiple years to realize that I cannot wear all the hats and I don’t want to wear all the hats. By letting go of some control, I not only hired an amazing team but I’m more successful and organized because of it. They say that your productivity goes down 50% if you have a cluttered, disorganized desk. I would say the same may hold true if you have messy books.
At Singletrack Accounting, we have countless customers with similar stories. Hearing stories like Alley’s is why we love what we do. We understand that no one can go at it alone and asking for help is not only smart but can be invaluable for your business. Take the leap! Reach out today for a free consultation.
Over the past several years we have learned as a company who our ideal customer and niche industries are. Our main objective is to work with people who our values align with. Our ideal customers are “mountain people.” This does not mean they need to live in the mountains to fall into this category. We prefer to work with customers who are positive, enjoy and respect the outdoors, and understand that no one can go at it alone. We like to call them lifestyle entrepreneurs. Just like our team they are hard workers yet know when it’s time to take a break and enjoy life. They are also simply kind and good humans. Based on the type of clients we want to work with combined with our personal expertise, we have also narrowed down our niche industries.
Coaches and Consultants
We have numerous coaches and consultants as customers and we know the highs and lows of helping others. It can be emotionally draining and at the same time an emotional high helping people succeed. We also know how important financial success and stability is to your business. Income can fluctuate greatly and your books can be tricky since coaches and consultants typically do a range of work from Ted Talks to surf lessons. Maintaining cash flow, keeping track of expenses, and having full financial transparency is especially important with this type of business and we are with you every turn of the way.
Creative types such as web and graphic designers are talented individuals that are excellent at what they do but most likely do not have the time, energy, or expertise in accounting. We love helping designers because of your growth potential and flexible lifestyle which typically allows you to have the “work hard, play harder” attitude. We want you to be as creative as possible and we help put your “boring” accounting on autopilot. We are also well aware that these businesses face ups and downs in income based on what contracts you choose to take on. We work with you to make sure you have enough cash flow for every month despite the rollercoaster of busy and slow months.
You are an expert in your trade and we applaud you for your success. If you own your own practice, chances are you are far too busy to do your books. You are helping clients, managing your personal life, and building wealth. However; you can quickly end up with a large tax bill if your accounting is not managed properly. Did we mention the tax man also loves your industry? Our team will make sure your books are audit ready and our tax planning service will make sure you are not overpaying taxes and you have a good cash flow strategy for years to come.
Like the above industries, the tax man also loves attorneys. You are hopefully making lots of money which can quickly add up in taxes. Choosing how to structure and manage your business is immensely important. You didn’t spend multiple years in law school to do your own accounting. Our attorney packages keep the books accurate and we structure your finances to keep the tax burden as low as possible so you can keep earning those dollars.
You are a hustler! We applaud you on taking the leap to take your career in your own hands. You could be a tech freelancer, writer, independent contractor, part of the gig economy, and the list goes on. We know how dynamic your income can be and we are here to make your accounting a breeze. It can get complex with 1099s, K-1s, etc… We want to make sure we limit your tax burden as much as possible. When things get messy, having a professional team behind you will save you money and headaches.
We are old hands in the restaurant industry. Our managing CPA, Joe Soave, even owned his own restaurant. Having walked the walk, Joe is incredibly knowledgeable about restaurant accounting. He is also aware of the challenges restaurant owners face on keeping cash flow steady throughout the year to set you up for long term success. Similar to some of the above industries, restaurants can also be a good target for an audit. Our team of professionals will make sure your accounting is in tip top shape in the case the tax man comes knocking. Do us a favor and focus on delivering excellent food and service. We’ll take care of the books.
By narrowing down this list, we have niched down and in return, leveled up. We have pinpointed our ideal customer and with that narrowed down the industries we work with. However; just because your industry was not mentioned does not mean we cannot work for you. Although we do not work with some companies such as nonprofits and retail, we work with numerous companies in all different industries all over the world. We know small businesses and our speciality is to keep your finances organized and save you a ton of money on taxes. What are you waiting for? Reach out to see if your business is a good fit.
As we transition into a new year, tech has been busy keeping up with a massive transformation in the way we do business. With the sudden work from home surge, there are many great apps out there to take some heavy mental and time suck lifting off of your work day. Tech is one of our greatest tools in the 21st century and fully using it to your advantage will help you thrive as a business owner and person. In this article, “Planet of the Apps,” we break down our top app picks for 2021.
We’ll start with the most cliche, no brainer app, Zoom, which is a video conferencing app. This app has been around since 2011 yet only recently have they seen the tremendous amount of growth. It seems as if Zoom experienced massive “overnight success” but in actuality it took them nine years and a world pandemic to get there. Not only is this video conferencing app a godsend for business meetings, people are using it for birthday parties, happy hours, cooking classes, fitness classes, and even romantic dates. Chances are you have already tried Zoom but if not, check it out. Their ease of use and features make it one of the best video conferencing apps on the market.
With the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans in full swing, business owners all over the country are pulling tedious reports to upload to the Small Business Administration (SBA). With Gusto payroll system, they are one step ahead of you and already have the reports and documents well organized for you to download. This makes submitting your application a breeze. This is only one of the many benefits of this helpful program. They also simplify paying yourself, employees, and 1099 contractors. Stuck? Get ahold of their helpful support and receive a timely response. They also have a dedicated support team to help business owners navigate PPP loans.
Square’s motto is “Tools to run your business even when it’s not business as usual.” Most people know square as the pioneer app of taking credit card payments. But did you know they offer several tools such as invoicing, tracking and accounts receivable? They work with every type of business and keep all your statistics in one dashboard. Square simplifies the process for business owners so they can focus on running their business efficiently.
We all know that person who has a purse full of paper receipts or dressers full of receipts from 10 years ago. Luckily, we are not in the dark ages anymore and there’s a good solution for holding onto your receipts without heaping piles of paper. Meet Hubdoc. With this app, you can automatically import your financial documents and export them into data you can use. Say goodbye to digging in the recycling bin looking for that Home Depot receipt you accidentally threw away a week ago. With Hubdoc, immediately have the receipt emailed into your database or snap a photo of it. Voila, one step closer to a more organized and efficient life paper and clutter free.
IRS Free File Program
The Free File Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of industry-leading tax software companies who partnered with the IRS to help millions of Americans prepare and e-file their federal tax returns for free. The service is unique because it gives taxpayers access to a number of different tax software options from Free File Alliance members. After selecting the software that works best for their tax situations, users are seamlessly transferred from IRS.gov to the company’s website to complete their returns.
As much time and headaches these apps will save you, sometimes we can get trapped in not so productive apps. It may seem counterintuitive to download another app however; RescueTime rescues us from wasting precious time on apps that are not going to be beneficial to our day. Most of us enjoy scrolling through Instagram reels of golden retrievers as much as the next person but it’s not uncommon to let over an hour go by watching dogs eating birthday cake and sliding down ski runs. What could you be doing with that time? Skiing, fat biking, working on your business? With RescueTime, get clarity on exactly where your time goes, block your worst distractions, set time limits on certain apps, and get reports and tools on how productive your day was.
We’ve done the homework and these are our top apps of 2021 based on ease of use, features they offer, and pricing. Use these suggestions as tools to improve efficiency, concentration, organization and accuracy for your business and throughout your life. If you are still craving more terrific app ideas visit our post, “The Best Apps On the Planet for Productivity.”
At Singletrack Accounting, we know small business. Similar to the above apps, we are here to make your life easier. Our team of accountants, bookkeepers, and coaches live and breathe helping business owners just like you with accounting and coaching. Reach out today for a free consultation.
A new year means a fresh start. With 2020 in our rearview mirror, it’s time to reflect on all the things we have learned and to start fresh for planning for the future. Let’s be grateful for how we have grown as people and as business owners over the past year. There’s no doubt we have learned a whole lot and we are stronger for it. Now is the time to take what we have learned and create a fresh start.
With all this madness ending on the horizon, our futures look bright. It’s time to hit the ground running. Innovation is at an all time high and the art of pivoting has never been more pronounced. The world has changed rapidly and has forced many companies to rethink how they do business as well as how we as business owners and entrepreneurs live our lives. Are you living your best life?
Important lessons we have learned is how important our health and our families are, the art of multitasking, and the agility to roll with the punches. It has also forced us to take a step back and evaluate our processes. Is our process working for our customers? Is it working for us? How is it affecting our loved ones? How do we create fresh starts and become a healthier and happier entrepreneur in 2021?
As entrepreneurs we have the opportunity to lead by example, not just by earning money but by prioritizing our health and wellbeing as well as the health of our employees. As driven individuals, some entrepreneurs tend to give up some quality of life to grow their business. Living in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, our team is well aware of stepping outside for some fresh air as well as busting our asses in the office but there has to be balance. We try to lead by example by getting out of the office to hike, bike, run, ski, or take a quick jont in the woods. While we have always prioritized outdoor activity and our health, we will be more conscious of it going forward.
Practice Good Karma
Photo credit: Yampa Valley Community Foundation
The world is full of great people that truly care about our community and give back and our hometown of Steamboat Springs is no exception. Our quaint, mountain town raised $1.1 million dollars on Yampa Valley Gives Day, beating out last year’s number even during a particular tough financial year. It’s a real town with real people that care about others. Giving back is one of the most gratifying things you can do. Practicing empathy is satisfying and reminds you of why you became an entrepreneur in the first place.
Learn Something New
Most if not all business owners were forced to at least change something about the way they do business in the last year. It forced us to think outside of the box and truly understand our customers wants and needs during a rapidly changing year. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a pivot is to challenge yourself to learn something new. Learning something new changes your brain activity to think outside of the box.. The greatest threat to your business is complacency. Doing the same thing over and over again the same way may have worked in the past but it is not guaranteed to work in the future. Some good examples of learning something new are, learning a new language, teaching yourself a new business skill set such as Google Analytics, or taking up a new sport. The process will positively translate into your business.
Make a plan
The best way to achieve goals and create a fresh start for yourself and your business is to make a tangible plan. Start by writing down the large goals and work your way backwards on the tangible steps to achieve those goals. You may have a goal to acquire 5 new customers in Q1. While this is a great, tangible goal, what detailed steps will you take to achieve it? What potential obstacles could you run into and how will you overcome them? The more detailed of a plan, the better chance you will have to carry it out. Like accounting, seeing the actual numbers helps us have full clarity of our progress. It’s hard to make a revenue goal without running the numbers of what it will take to get there such as expenses, costs of goods sold, and ultimately profit.
The main thing to remember is that you are not in this alone. Not only does Singletrack Accounting provide excellent accounting and bookkeeping services but we are with you every step of the journey. When you succeed, we succeed. We also offer small business consulting services. Getting a fresh perspective is a crucial part of setting fresh goals. Reach out for a free consultation to our team of experts.
We have been recently reminded that it is crucial for entrepreneurs to stay up to date on emerging trends. Staying dynamic will allow you to successfully alter your course to fulfill client needs and thrive [...]
For the majority of small businesses, this year has been a tough one. We like to compare it to frozen, skied out moguls. When we look back to February when all this began, business was popping like a bottle of champagne after an amazing powder day on the mountain. The economy was on track to have a spectacular year. Flights were packed, restaurant reservations were hard to come by, retail was having an outstanding quarter, ski resorts were thriving, and so on. Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little time called the beginning of 2020. And then, almost overnight everything changed.
Was your business prepared? With all this madness ending on the horizon, we are going to highlight some lessons we have learned this year and how to better prepare your business for a downturn in the hopefully not so near future.
The first and arguably most important lesson is business agility. Was your business able to pivot from its normal operations quickly and efficiently? Were you able to be agile enough to not resist change and come up with an altered, perhaps new business model? Business owners had to humanize their companies by really knowing their customers wants and needs, and changing processes and procedures to meet those needs. Part of adapting quickly has to do with mindset. You must be mentally prepared to switch gears in a timely manner. 2020 has tested us and revealed our strengths and weaknesses. Were you able to make the best choices with the information you had?
Photo Credit: IG/@michaelmowery
This brings us to the next topic of creativity. I bet you have had to come up with creative ways to either thrive or hold on for dear life this year. The pandemic has forced businesses to get out of their comfort zone and come up with new creative ways to reach customers. This may have been finding new channels to target, creating new products to fit customer’s needs (for example: lots of companies started making face masks), modifying how customers use or consume products, and finding new market opportunities. By getting out of your comfort zone, you may have unlocked new, exciting transformations you never would have known existed if it weren’t for 2020.
Getting out of your comfort zone also meant getting familiar with technology. Tech has been the backbone of having a successful business in 2020. Many entrepreneurs have become pros at digital platforms such as Zoom and wizards in document sharing cloud platforms such as Dropbox these last few months. The biggest takeaway here is, be comfortable with using technology before you even need it. Zoom made its debut almost a decade ago but most business owners had never used it before 2020. Were you ready to jump on board with new tech services?
Many businesses were not financially ready for a pandemic. Every day we are seeing multiple businesses, big and small go out of business. A lot of businesses did not have the cash buffer they needed to withstand the downturn. This brings us to the importance of having an emergency fund. While we know having excess cash is not possible for all businesses, those that had backups were more likely to stay afloat. We cannot stress enough the importance of having a good accountant and bookkeeper to deliver financial reports for you to have a grasp on your cash flow. If you still don’t have full transparency on your finances, reach out to Singletrack Accounting.
Now that we have gone over the learning lessons of 2020, we can look back on this wild year and know that we have acquired some valuable lessons. To summarize, 1) Be agile. 2) Be creative. 3) Technology is your friend. 4) Don’t get over your skis with your finances. We have learned a lot and will come out much stronger in the years ahead.
At Singletrack Accounting, we are here to help you. We want nothing more than your small business to succeed. Our done-for-you program not only provides audit-ready books & tax filing but also a Team of Small Business partners who understand what you are going through and are with you every step of the way. Please reach out. You do not have to go it alone.
We are nearing the end of the year (can you believe it?) and 2020 has tested us. Let’s not make it any harder on ourselves by procrastinating our accounting. Even the most organized business owner can sometimes feel the crunch when approaching tax deadlines. We are here to make your life a little easier in the upcoming months. No one likes to cut a powder day short because they have a few hours left to file their 1099s. What day is that again…? In this article, we’ll go over how to organize your accounting right now, to make your 2020 accounting go smoother. Let’s face it – anything to make 2020 easier is a win.
One of the most common mistakes that we see every Christmas are bonus checks to employees that aren’t run through payroll. When you pay employees ANY type of compensation, it absolutely must go through the normal payroll & tax process. ALL payments to employees must be run through your payroll app.
If you use a service such as Gusto, or work with an Accountant, W-2s will be made available in January. Do not attempt doing payroll by hand, it’s not worth it. 80% of small businesses not using software end up with at least one IRS penalty each year. Penalties run over $400!
Things are a bit different this year. If you paid an unincorporated service vendor (or received money as an unincorporated service vendor) over $600 in 2020, you will be issuing (or will receive) a form 109-NEC, which is new for this year. The 1099-NEC (non employee compensation) is a spin off from the old 1099-MISC. (Basically they took box 7 off the 1099-MISC and created a whole new form called the 1099-NEC). Landlords and Attorneys will still have their rent and legal fees/proceeds reported on the old 1099-MISC, but everyone else will have their non-employee payments reported on the new form. The January deadline to file these comes quickly after the holiday. Start collecting your service vendors information now by requesting w-9s before it’s too late. The worst thing you can do is wait until a few days before the deadline to ask for your vendors’ W-9 info and find out they’re on vacation in Mexico. That’s not on them, it’s on you.
Bookkeeping Reviews & Year End Tips
If you are wise enough to have an amazing bookkeeper, receiving end of the year reports will be a breeze. Make sure to collect each report by month or quarter to make them easier to review (and file them in a safe spot for future reference). Go over the reports to ensure all your income and expenses are accounted for. That random business lunch you put on your personal credit card a while back can be counted as a business expense. As long as you have the proof, you can turn that into another tax deduction. Organization adds up! Keep receipts, make sure to let your accountant know if anything changes, and thoroughly look over your reports. Did I mention receipts already? A paper trail is important. Keep your receipts in a safe and accessible place in case the taxman comes knocking for an audit.
If you’re still with us, this one is important. While we are on the subject of keeping a good paper trail, the end of the year is a good time to do a business audit. Take a look at how your year has been going. What unneeded expenses can you cut? Have you used all your subscriptions? Do you still need premium plans for apps you use? Is your payroll in order? This will help you create financial goals for the upcoming quarter to set you up for success. Bonus tip: Similar to creating a New Year’s resolution for yourself, create one for your business as well.
The best way to handle your accounting is to hire an accounting expert to advise you along the way. You need an accountant to review your end of year financials and any tax and audit preparation that you are required to complete. The end of the year headache should drastically decrease with an expert by your side. It is still your business and you will have important tasks to do, next year to plan, and the added stress of entering a new year but why make it harder on yourself?
At Singletrack Accounting, we are with you every step of the way. We also will go over all your reports alongside you to make sure you are utilizing every resource. Our number one goal is to help you be successful while staying compliant. Reach out today for a free consultation.