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3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

3 Insanely Simple Steps to Automate your Taxes

If you’re like me, you have a hard time staying on top of your taxes. You have gas receipts stuffed in every corner of your car. You are saving them for the day at the end of the year when you do your taxes. You think to yourself: “Is this money I get back even worth the trouble?!” Then you remember money doesn’t grow on trees, you have bills to pay and you just grunt and keep stuffing…

I don’t dread this as much as I used to. I’m going to show you how I use my favorite automation tool to COMPLETELY automate my taxes.

The tool is called: IF THIS THEN THAT or IFTTT for short!

The way it works is, it allows you to connect different tools together. And just as the name sounds, it lets you set up “IFTTT applets” that look like this:

IF “this happens” THEN “do” THAT

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If This Then That Applet

    Here are 3 simple applets that will automate this process… no more stuffing receipts.

    1. One-click: Take a picture of the receipt and upload to an organized folder on Google Drive.

    • Download the IFTTT camera app on your phone.
    • Create a folder “Receipts” and a subfolder “2016” in Google Drive.
    • Turn this applet on and edit it to put photos in the “Receipts/2016” folder.

    Now, with one click your phone will take a picture of your receipt and upload it to your Google Drive folder.

    If you don’t have data, the app will wait for wifi to upload.

    Save your receipts the first year. Once everything goes smoothly this first time around, feel free to throw dem’ receipts out.

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    ProTip: Create multiple versions of this applet with subfolders of different expense types. (“Receipts/2016/gas”, “Receipts/2016/restaurants”)

    2. Add incoming email receipts to Google Drive

    This applet will watch your inbox for emails. Any emails with “receipt” or “order” in the title will automatically go in your receipts folder. IFTTT will add a new row to a spreadsheet so you can keep track of the link to the original email.

    • Turn this applet on and press save.
    • Edit it to put files in the “Receipts/2016” folder.

    3. Send your accountant a timed email with the link to your receipts folder.

    Send Email to Accountant

      This last piece will finish off the automation process. Send your accountant an email every year with your receipts.

      Get an accountant to handle your income taxes at the end of the year. Make sure they allow you to send only electronic receipts of your purchases.

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      Here’s an applet that will send them a friendly email with a link to your receipts folder.

      This last one you’ll have to create yourself.

      • From the My Applets page, click “New Applet”.
      • Click “+this” and select Date and Time.
      • Choose the “Every year on” box.
      • Enter your favorite day in January.
      • Click “+that” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “Send an Email” box.
      • Then, enter the email to your accountant with a link to your Receipts folder.
      • Click “Create Action”
      • Click “Finish”.

      You’re all set to go, make sure your accountant will take photos of receipts.

      Bonus: Integrate more automation with Expensify

      Expensify is service that keeps track of your receipts and expenses for your tax returns. Their free tier is great for personal use. The best part is, you can connect it with IFTTT.

      You can replace the One-click option by uploading to Expensify instead of Google Drive.

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      Replace the “add incoming email receipts to google drive” with this custom applet. Forward incoming email receipts to Expensify.

      • From the My Applets page, click “New Applet”.
      • Click “+this” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “New email from inbox in search” box.
      • Enter “subject:receipt, subject:order” in the input and click “Create Trigger”.
      • Click “+that” and select Gmail.
      • Choose the “Send an Email” box.
      • Then, enter the email to [email protected]
      • Click “Create Action”
      • Click “Finish”.

      I’ll leave it as an exercise for you to update sending an email to your accountant.

      Conclusion

      You should now be up and running with an automated tax return process. There are even more ways you can automate. If you need to record your trips in your vehicle, there’s an applet for that.

      Let us know if there are any additional tools you use to automate your finances.

      More by this author

      Collin Glass

      Growing WealthHackers.net

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      Published on November 9, 2018

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

      Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

      So, are you ready? Here we begin.

      6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

      When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

      1. Spreadsheets and Databases

      Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

      To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

      In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

      • Microsoft Excel
      • Microsoft Access
      • Statistics
      • Data Analytics
      • Adobe Campaign
      • Quickbooks
      • XML Database management system
      • Filemaker Pro
      • MATLAB
      • Hive
      • FORTRAN
      • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
      • SAS

      2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

      Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

      Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

      • Content Management System (CMS)
      • Google Analytics
      • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      • Email Marketing
      • Web Page Design
      • WordPress
      • Digital Media
      • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
      • Campaign Management Software

      3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

      A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

      • Adobe Photoshop
      • Adobe InDesign
      • Adobe Illustrator
      • AutoCAD
      • CorelDRAW
      • Microsoft Visual Studio
      • Maya
      • Microsoft Word
      • Microsoft Publisher
      • Operating Digital Cameras

      4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

      The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

      To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

      • HTML
      • C/C++
      • Java
      • Python
      • XML
      • UI/UX
      • LINUX
      • CISC and RISC architecture
      • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
      • Memory Management
      • PCB Layout
      • SQL

      5. IT Troubleshooting

      Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

      So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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      • Backup management
      • Diagnostics
      • End User support
      • Client-Server management
      • Installation and configuration
      • Issue tracking system (ITS)
      • System administration
      • Tech support

      6. Enterprise Systems

      Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

      Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

      The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

      Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

      Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

      Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

      1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

      a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

      Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

      b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

      This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

      c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

      Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

      Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

      2. Rule the Social Media World

      a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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      Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

      From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

      b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

      This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

      c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

      Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

      Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

      3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

      a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

      From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

      b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

      Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

      The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

      c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

      The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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      4. Live and Breathe Creativity

      a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

      It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

      From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

      b. Canva Design School

      From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

      c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

      62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

      d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

      The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

      Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

      5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

      a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

      IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

      It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

      b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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      The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

      Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

      The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

      • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
      • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
      • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
      • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
      • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
      • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
      • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

      Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

      Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

      1. Practice, Practice, Practice

      It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

      Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

      2. Work on Your Efficiency

      Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

      For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

      3. Look for Shortcuts

      Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

      4. Apply for an Internship

      Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

      By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      The Bottom Line

      Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

      So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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