All Businesses Need Good Accounting Practices – Even eBay Sellers

As entrepreneurs, most of us (not all) dread the meticulous and repetitive tasks which are the basis of real accounting. There are many ways to handle the task and more reasons to do so in an efficient manner. My solution involved hiring my own accountant and keeping her safe and well cared for within the confines of my offices. Having a QuickBooks Pro Advisor as a part of my company is a very good thing for a sales and marketing type like myself.

I believe in the advantages of having these invaluable resources available so much that I have added an accounting services division to my iBusinessLogic group of businesses. This accounting services division is set up to help other small business owners and eBay sellers. AccountingLogic is a result of a realization and understanding of the challenges which face any small business start up or any business entering the e-commerce realm or eBay. The accounting tasks are challenging to say the least. AccountingLogic, headed up by my accountant Kathy Naranjo is designed as a service for just these types of businesses.

AccountingLogic helps any business set up the books and import data from eBay, Amazon, or your own shopping cart. Part of the service includes designing specific macros for most listing software packages, so the day to day accounting requirements of online sales joined with the normal brick and mortar accounts is done smoothly and with little effort. Kathy's team relies mostly on the power of Quickbooks to help her set up different businesses for online sales accounting but she has many tools at her disposal.

If you do not have this kind of resource in your office or home based business you should really start thinking about what you will do to make sure your business accounting is handled properly. Either you will "Do it Yourself" or will you hire an accountant? Finding an accountant to set up and do the day to day bookkeeping tasks of a small business is sometimes difficult and never inexpensive. This realization tends to lead most small business owners to either ignore the task or to try to do it themselves.

Should any true business person ignore accounting tasks? I believe we all know the answer to this question...

When it comes time to sell your business, or to apply for a business loan, the first question you will encounter is... Whats your P&L? If you have not tracked your accounts from the very start of business your P&L and other important statements will not be accurate or complete. In effect, you will not have realized the full value of that business you created because you can not prove numbers which are not in the "books". Many small business owners make this mistake and in the end, when they are trying to realize the fruits of the labor expended in other areas of the business, the realization is difficult to fathom. All of the "real" work, all of the sales, all of that marketing sweat, is worth less than what you know in my heart it is worth, if you do not keep the books from the very start.

Without a Quickbooks guru in your organization you will have to deal with accounting on a daily basis, on your own or by assigning it to someone in your company. We suggest you begin by making a decision about which software suite to use going forward. Accounting software is much easier to understand these days and if it is set up correctly from the start, software will make your books much more easily understood. Quickbooks is the primary choice for most small businesses and since my company provides accounting consulting and advice with our new AccountingLogic service which is based mostly on Quickbooks Pro Adviser services, I agree with the decision to go with Quickbooks.

But if your a shopper and would prefer to check out your options. Or if you would rather see if you can get by with a "free" accounting program. You may want to read the following article by Dan Muse about Microsoft Accounting 2008. Do not forget about Quickbooks however, it is still the most widely recognized and used software package for small business and can grow with your business. There is a great deal of flexibility built into Quickbooks and if your plans include expansion it is really the best place to start. If you have any questions about setting up Quickbooks for your eBay or other small business don't hesitate to call Kathy @ AccountingLogic 727-596-6900.

Is Still Free, Now Bilingual
By Dan Muse

November 15, 2007

For vendors targeting the small business market, there's a steady stream of new companies forming each year -- which serves to replace the steady stream of small businesses that, unfortunately, fail each year.There are few absolutes in life, but one is that QuickBooks has a firm grasp on the small business accounting market. For Microsoft, fledgling businesses create a ripe opportunity to gain some market share for its Office Accounting software. While Microsoft dropped the phrase "small business" from the product name last fall, the product is aimed at companies with fewer than 25 employees — especially new small businesses.In the third release of its small business accounting offering, Microsoft today announced Microsoft Office Accounting 2008. In addition to a modest repertoire of new features, Office Accounting 2008 now includes a bilingual Spanish-English version for the U.S.-based Hispanic market as well as a new product for the United Kingdom.

Accounting for Nothing, Software for Free
If you're just getting your business off the ground, you may be particularly interested that in addition to the $199.95 Office Accounting Professional (up from $144.99 from the previous version), Microsoft continues to offer Office Accounting Express for free. The free version is particularly well-suited for home-based businesses and "early-life LLCs," according to Rajat Taneja, general manager for small business at Microsoft.

Microsoft began offering the version last October, and to date Microsoft has recorded to two millions downloads. Taneja declined to say how many of the two million Basic customers have converted to Professional, but did say it's a "nice conversion rate." However, he stressed that Office Accounting Express is a full-function version.

Taneja said that feedback from the small businesses that downloaded Office Accounting 2007 was a significant factor in developing the new features in the 2008 version, which include the following:

  • The Resource Center is designed to bring together educational resources in one location. According to Microsoft, you can read articles on a broad range of topics, participate in online product trainings and even find a local CPA.
  • Office Accounting 2008 is also designed to make it easier to set up a company. Microsoft claims that by using templates, you can customize Office Accounting to your industry and get started in three steps.
  • You can also now create budgets and track how they compare with actual results for better control over your finances.
  • The universal transaction import feature is designed to let you import financial data including transactions into Office Accounting from virtually any accounting package or line-of-business software via Excel or comma-separated value (CSV) files.
  • Office Accounting 2008 is designed to make it easier to convert sales orders to purchase orders. You can also, according to Microsoft, send bulk invoices in Word or PDF formats with just a few clicks. The new version also supports more financial institutions than before.

The bilingual Spanish-English versions of Office Accounting Express and Professional 2008 represent something unique in the small business accounting market, Taneja said. The Spanish Language Edition will have the same features and functionalities of the English versions, but will allow Hispanic small businesses the capability to manage their finances and communicate with customers and accountants in both languages. "They can toggle between English and Spanish," Taneja said.

"We know that the U.S. small-business market is very diverse, and we want to make sure that Office Accounting 2008 meets the needs of all small businesses in the U.S.," Taneja said. Microsoft cites U.S. Census Bureau data from 2005 that reports that there are nearly two million Hispanic small businesses in the country.

Taneja said that Office Accounting is also debuting internationally in the United Kingdom. That version adheres to the U.K. accounting rules, adding that it is HMRC-certified. "The HMRC is like the IRS in the U.S." The U.K. version also features multicurrency support.

But Can It Challenge QuickBooks?
Why would a small business owner switch from QuickBooks to Microsoft Office Accounting 2008? Not many will. However, newly formed businesses might jump on board. "We help small business take advantage of software and the power of the Internet," Taneja said, referring to the accounting software's tight integration with online services from ADP, eBay, PayPal and others.

And, as you'd expect, no one can integrate with Office and Outlook better than Microsoft.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, said he believes that Microsoft has an opportunity to tap into new businesses that start each year. "QuickBooks is entrenched and generally well-liked," he said. "The Initial target [for Microsoft Office Accounting] is businesses that aren't yet tied to QuickBooks."

"The online capabilities for Office Accounting and the connections to e-commerce, business metrics and integration with Office have all stood out as differentiators," Enderle said. "For someone not wedded to QuickBooks, this appears to be a much more complete solution, particularly if they are active on the Web."

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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