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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Tools to Easily Manage Business Finances

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 11 Tools to Easily Manage Business Finances


    Ask The Entrepreneurs is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    What app or software helps make managing your business finances a breeze?

    1. Stay on Track With Indinero

    Bhavin Parikh

      The most important financial metric for most startups is monthly cash flow. Indinero lets us easily see how much we’re spending each month by category so we can budget for the coming months.

      Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh, Inc.


      2. QuickBooks Eases Things

      Eric Bahn

        Almost all small business accountants in the United States are familiar with QuickBooks. Thus, I recommend any QuickBooks product (although I like Online Edition the best) because it makes it easy for your to clean up books and collaborate with your accountant for tax time.

        Eric Bahn, Beat The GMAT

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        3. Outright Shows Everything

          I’ve got Outright set up to push notifications to my phone: every time I receive a payment, my phone goes ‘cha-ching!’ It’s a good noise to hear. On top of that feature, Outright can automatically pull in data from accounts and other apps, while putting everything together in a format that makes my CPA very happy. (Disclaimer: I write for the Outright blog, as well as using the app religiously.)

          Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

          4. Go With Google Docs

            Google Docs is a great tool to manage business finances. It’s very powerful and simple to use which makes it a breeze to use.

            Ben Lang, EpicLaunch


            5. Pay Up With Square Up

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              Square Up is a great payment processing mobile app that makes accepting credit cards a snap and moves money quickly into my bank account.

              Benjamin Leis, Sweat EquiTees


              6. Microsoft Excel Is Still Relevant!

                It is the industry standard for spreadsheets for a reason. With a little training, you can run circles around any closed source software.

                Peter Minton, Minton Law Group, P.C.


                7. I Owe It All to Freshbooks

                  I’ve never been very good with money. In fact, at one point, I appeared on CNN as the poster child for those with shopping problems. But Freshbooks helps me keep it all together on the business side. I use it to track my time and my business expenses, send invoices (and followups), send out and receive estimates, and generate tax reports. And despite my history with money, it’s all a breeze.

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                  Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro

                  8. Wave Accounting Saves Time

                  Josh Weiss

                    Wave Accounting is completely free and connects directly to your bank account. It automatically keeps track of all your spending for you. It’s a great product and a huge timesaver.

                    Josh Weiss, Bluegala


                    9. Sync With Mint.com

                      Although most people use Mint.com to monitor their personal finances, many business owners don’t take advantage of doing the same thing with their business accounts. Not surprisingly, Mint’s software works similarly with business bank accounts and credit cards, which makes it very valuable to manage budgets and overall spending.

                      Logan Lenz, Endagon

                      10. Stick With Shoeboxed

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                        I used to dread tax time, because my receipts were always a mess, and often nonexistent. Shoeboxed makes it incredibly easy to keep track of all of my receipts, and then import all of the data to sites like Outright, Mint, etc.

                        Sean OgleLocation 180, LLC

                        11. There Are Still ‘Human’ Applications…

                        Brent Beshore

                          I have this awesome human application called a Director of Operations. She handles all the accounting, financing, taxation, and regulation. It’s like magic. I’d highly recommend getting one. They can read between the lines on all those long-winded documents and keep you from wandering into trouble.

                          Brent Beshore, AdVentures

                          (Photo credit: Hands Managing Bank via Shutterstock)

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                          Last Updated on June 6, 2019

                          The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

                          The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

                          Are you on track for retirement?

                          If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

                          Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

                          But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

                          If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

                          What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

                          Saving for retirement is tricky.

                          Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

                          Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

                          Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

                          Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

                          20’s – $16,000

                          During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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                          Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

                          30’s – $45,000

                          At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

                          Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

                          40’s – $63,000

                          This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

                          50’s – $115,000

                          During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

                          60’s – $172,000

                          By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

                          Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

                          The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

                          Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

                          First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

                          Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

                          Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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                          How to Save Money Each Month

                          By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

                          But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

                          Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

                          Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

                          Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

                          Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

                          Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

                          To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

                          How?

                          By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

                          Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

                          If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

                          Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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                          Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

                          Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

                          When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

                          Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

                          Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

                          If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

                          Why?

                          You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

                          Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

                          Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

                          Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

                          After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

                          You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

                          By starting a side-business.

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                          This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

                          The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

                          So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

                          Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

                          Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

                          What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

                          My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

                          Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

                          For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

                          If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

                          Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

                          Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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