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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

Just getting a small software business off the ground, and starting to accumulate some expenses.

I have been evaluating some software packages (MoneyWorks, iBank, QuickBooks, etc). I am actually finding MoneyWorks to be fairly nice to work with. But that is not what this question is about.

I am just wondering if I am wasting my time learning this stuff. If my business takes, off I'd likely have to hire someone, and right now my transactions are so few that I really could just save bills/reciepts take them to someone who uses accounting software regularly. And pay for their time. It is likely only 1-5 transactions a month. So it is wouldn't be a lot of work for me, but that is also the downside, I am not the quickest at doing it because I am not getting much repetition in.

It may just be simpler to pay for an hour of someones time every now and then to keep the books for me.

Thoughts?
 

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I would tend to argue for doing your own books at first. Not as an attempt to save money but rather to be sure you fully understand the nuances of accounting.

OTH with a small business I would at least pay an accountant to review my tax returns before I submit them.

Whatever else you do keep good records on mileage as this can be a major deduction over the course of the year. This includes start and finish mileage for each trip plus the purpose of the trip. If trips are to purchase materials reference the receipts as well. Review regs carefully so you know what does and does not qualify as a legit mileage deduction. I know one rural photographer whose annual mileage deduction was well over $5000 and it was all legit enough to pass an audit. It all comes down to accurate record keeping.

Certainly as your business grows be prepared to turn some or all of the load over to a pro. At some point your time is better spent doing what you do best not keeping track of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Um, I am not making enough to buy butter for my bread right now (at least off my side business, I have a reg job too).
But I am hoping that changes over the next year or so. The stores I sell through pay quarterly. And I don't have many expenses.

It is software I am selling. Is there a version of money works or MYOB that is better for software than real estate? I have looked, but most of the accountants I spoke to said they didn't care what it was, real estate or software.

I have been playing with the money works trial, and am really liking it. I think I may download Account Edge too, and see how that goes. Though their cheapest offering is $400. Money Works offers different levels from $99 to $550, and I believe the $99 version would be fine, as I don't have accounts receivable or payable, just 'cash' transactions.

I was thinking there is some value in me learning more about the accounting side, so ehMacMan, your comment just reaffirms that.

Thanks,
~S
 

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I agree. And if you are going the Money Works route, you'll be forced to learn about how accounting works (a good thing) - quickbooks doesn't allow for this kind of learning. Plus, your accountant will get a free copy of Money Works so it's as simple as sending the file to them, or them to you. Having an understanding will also allow you to understand what you need to send your accountant, so they won't have to ask you repeatedly for receipts etc.. Besides, since you're just getting your business off the ground, it's a perfect time to learn; you can focus on learning the software since you have so few transactions.

One thing though.... Are you sure you won't need receivables in the future? I can easily see people either downloading, or you shipping, and there being a time delay in payment. Even if you're not sending out invoices, it's a good thing for keeping track of who owes you money.

I'm using Money Works Express, and this comes in handy quite a bit, but then I'm providing a service internationally.
 

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Just a quick overview of how I manage the financial records of my small company. I use an accountant to do my year-end books and file my income tax as I think these are outside my comfort zone, and frankly he knows the way to protect my income better than I. I asked him what program he uses and recommends and he told me Simply Accounting. Of course it doesn't exist for OS X but I run in under Boot Camp and Windows XP and it works just fine (and you can get it on sale at a reasonable price). I paid for one of his staff to set up my books and train me on how to do the entries I need to do (frankly I think I only do about six different things, and that's all I need to know). Then at the end of the year I simply send the accountant my SA file and he uses that to do my end-year report and file my taxes. He's not cheap but in the long run I am comfortable he is saving me money. I probably spend a couple of hours a month in Simply Accounting and now its pretty simple, and I have a better understanding of my cash flow, etc. I don't know if this will work for you (I run a consulting business) but its a model that is working for me. Good luck!
 

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I am just wondering if I am wasting my time learning this stuff.
It's never a waste of time to learn how the business runs, and will also keep you more in tune with your expenses versus income. Expenses have a habit of growing exponentially and sometimes seeing them all written down can be a bit of a wakeup call.

I do all my own books (I use AccountEdge), but my background was as a bookkeeper/office manager and I migrated into management/sales from there, so it's easier for me to do it myself than to try to train someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I may need receivables in the future. I asked MoneyWorks, and they said they would allow me to upgrade, by paying the difference. Gold handles multiple currencies which would be handy too, for the odd US bill. But I think I will start with CashBook and see how it goes. Gold is $550, versus $99 for Cash, and $250 for Express.

I believe Simply Accounting is now Account Edge, is that not correct? It is $400, with no entry level solution. So I am pretty sure I'll stick with Money Works.

Thanks for all the insight.
 

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MYOB became AccountEdge. I've used various incarnations (starting with MYOB) since 1996. I need multiple currencies, inventory, accounts receivable, etc. and it does everything I need, and does it on a Mac. (The files are exportable to a Windows format if that's what your accountant uses, and your accountant gets a free copy of the software when you buy yours.)

I agree that $399 is a bit steep if you don't need all the features.

Simply Accounting is a different (I found much more difficult to use) program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I spent a couple hours with Account Edge.

I feel that Money Works is slightly 'lower level', and feels closer to a spreadsheet. I know it does a lot behind the scenes, and is quite powerful (especially gold and data centre), but I felt like I knew what it was doing. It also felt like a native mac app.

Account Edge felt a little clunky, and looked dated. It felt like it was using some ugly cross platform framework, very un maccish. I suspect that at least subconsciously, that may have affected my overall opinion. I also felt like there was a bit of magic going on with AE, as I didn't always know why things were happening. Though part of the reason for this could be because MW provides an excellent tutorial (and excellent docs in general). I did like that AE provided a dictionary of terms and how they related.

Anyway, I think it is pretty safe to say, it'll be MoneyWorks at the end of this trial period.
 
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