Small Business Finances, Accounting, Managing Money - Articles, Tutorials, Books, and Software
Now that you've planned your Web design business or small business, how do you best handle all the money that comes in and goes out? This section is devoted to how to handle the financial aspects of your small business, including articles and tutorials on accounting and record-keeping, time-tracking, tax information, small business financial software, including accounting software for small business, payroll software, small business tax software, QuickBooks accounting software tips, and recommended books on small business accounting, taxes, handling finances, and more.
Know of some good articles, tutorials, tips, Web sites, books, or other resources related to the financial aspects of running or managing a Web design business or small business? Recommendations are welcome and encouraged!
On this page:
- Articles and Tutorials on Small Business Finances, Small Business Accounting, Small Business Taxes
- Small Business Accounting Software, Time-Tracking Software, Tax Preparation Software
- Business Tax Forms, Small Business Tax Forms
- Web Sites Devoted to Tax Information and Small Business Tax Information
- Recommended Financial Software for Small Business, Small Business Accounting Software, and Books on Small Business Accounting and Handling Finances
Also within Web Design Business:
- Web Design Business Home
- Planning, Running a Web Design Business or Small Business (1 page)
- The Legal Side of Web Design Business and Web Site Ownership (1 page)
- Creating Your Office Workspace (2 pages)
- Training, Education, Online Courses in the Web Design, Development Fields (1 page)
- Professional Organizations, Associations, and Groups (1 page)
Articles and Tutorials on Small Business Accounting, Small Business Finances, Small Business Taxes
How you handle the financial aspects of your small business can contribute enormously to making or breaking your business, from handling business records and bookkeeping, sending out invoices and billing statements, and keeping track of the money that goes in and out. Below are some articles, tutorials, and tips on small business accounting, record-keeping, and tax information, followed by helpful accounting software for small business including Web design business software for accounting, time-tracking, tax preparation software, and more.
Small Business Accounting and Record-Keeping Tutorials, Tips
- Common Sense Tips on Keeping Business Records
Short, helpful article about handling your business records and what to keep (United States). [Article by Isabel M. Isidro, Managing Editor, PowerHomeBiz.com.]
Small Business/Self-Employed section at the IRS. Outlines the required records to keep, how long, with tips and links to more details. (United States businesses) [Web site section part of IRS Web site.]
- Setting Up a Record Keeping System
Where to start, elements of a good record keeping system, bookkeeping methods, references. Part of the Small Business Series. [Article/tutorial by Cheryle Jones Syracuse, for Ohio State University Extension.]
Small Business Tax Information, Tutorials, Tips
- A dozen deductions for your small business
Helpful article about 12 great deductions, including your home office, telephone, insurance, retirement accounts, travel and entertainment, mileage, software, supplies, and more. [Article/tutorial by Dana Dratch, Bankrate.com.]
- Guidelines for Business Giving
Helpful article by the Better Business Bureau. [Article/tutorial by Better Business Bureau (BBB).]
- Tax planning for a home-based business
Helpful Q&A article explaining operating expenses, home office expenses, and links to more information. [Article/tutorial by Stephen Windhaus, Bankrate.com.]
- The Home-Office Tax Deduction
Helpful information and examples of possible deductions for a home office. [Article by Nolo.]
- The Myth of the Self-Employed Health Deduction
Short, helpful tips and information as the title states. By well-known expert Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA. [Article by Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, TaxMama.com.]
Small Business Accounting Software, Time-Tracking Software, Tax Preparation Software
Small Business Accounting and Financial Software
Which software to choose? What do others think? Financial Software Reviews, About.com's Financial Software Guide reviews the top accounting software with links to the sites. Ask your accountant, your friends and colleagues what they use, and discussion lists can be a great source for honest recommendations. Here are a few of the most popular programs.
- Microsoft® Money Home and Business (formerly Microsoft® Money Small Business)
Inexpensive software by Microsoft. This version is created with small businesses in mind and includes the basics for small business accounting. Create invoices, track spending, manage your cash flow, handle payroll, and more. Some of its features (via the product description):
- 1-year online payroll from PayCycle calculates and prints paychecks, fills out tax forms (including W-2s), and reminds you of tax deadlines
- Create great-looking invoices and manage the billing process
- Track business finances and generate business reports and charts
- Savings & Spending Budget helps you plan for retirement, savings, and debt repayment
- See all of your accounts--checking, savings, investments, and credit--in one place
Accounting software with several versions to fit your needs. Choose from BusinessEssentials and Premier Accounting Small Business Suite for Windows, and FirstEdge and AccountEdge & Network Edition for Macintosh. MYOB accounting software products are geared toward small business and include a suite of business software that provides tools for business forecasting and planning, full-featured accounting and financial management, appointment scheduling, employee file management, and more. You can also compare all MYOB products to help determine which version best suits your needs. For Mac and Windows. [Software by Acclivity LLC.]
Popular accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses. Some of its features (via the product description):
- New Company Setup Wizard will walk you step-by-step through setting up your company
- Internal Accounting Review scans your Peachtree data and checks for up to 15 types of common accounting mistakes
- Rapid Access Reports — save time by running key reports from your most commonly used screens
- Payroll Entry window creates paychecks to print for individual employees
- Through Maintain Inventory Items, you set up the goods and/or services you sell
By Intuit. Popular accounting software, smaller than QuickBooks Pro and may be sufficient for some small businesses. Some of the Home and Business version features (via the product description):
- Easily track supplies, telephone, vehicle costs and more to monitor your P&L, budget and spending
- Business Center gives you instant overviews of all your unpaid invoices, upcoming bills and more
- Connect with over 4,000 participating financial institutions to download your bank and credit card information for easy reconciliation
- Creates visual picture of sales, profits and expenses for any time period; prints or saves PDFs of cash flow reports, balance sheets, P&L statements and more
By Intuit. Leading accounting software for small businesses. Several versions are available, from QuickBooks Basic and QuickBooks Pro to QuickBooks Premier, and you can compare them at the site to see which is most appropriate. QuickBooks also includes time-tracking software. For Mac and Windows. Editor note: I've used QuickBooks Pro for many years and especially appreciate its integrated approach with time tracking, banking information, invoicing, statements, and much more. No program is absolutely perfect, of course, but overall it's a huge help with my small business (Web site design, development) accounting needs. [Software by Intuit Inc.]
Working with a solution that handles your bank accounts and the invoicing provides a seamless, simplified approach to your billing and produces professional invoices to clients. Some solutions also integrate time-tracking, while others provide import/export capability. In addition, some offer PDA versions to use when you're out and about, and some PDA software will integrate with a variety of accounting programs.
Instead of using accounting software, some small business owners set up spreadsheets, track time manually, and create an invoice template to use, too.
There are plenty of approaches for managing your small business finances, that's for sure! What counts the most is developing a system that works the best for you and is convenient and as easy to use as possible.
In addition to the listings below, QuickBooks and possibly other accounting software products include good time-tracking software. See the Accounting Software section above.
Note also that some of the time-tracking software below also handles invoicing and offer other features in addition to their time tracking features. If you have a PDA, check out the timers and time-tracking freeware and shareware at PalmGear.
- AllNetic Working Time Tracker
Start and stop manually or automatically, pause feature. Unlimited number of tasks and projects, child projects, and more organizational features. Much good feedback about this reasonably priced software. For Windows. [hat tip: thelist]
- CyberShift - Time Tracking Solutions
Time tracking and workforce management solutions for employee management - time and project management, vacation scheduling, access control and more. Leader in time management solutions.
- Time Tracking Software
Time tracking, project management software. Timekeeping, timesheets, attendance, web timesheet, Internet time, and more. Several versions from which to choose based on your needs. ZDNet Editors' Choice and more high ratings.
Versions available for Palm OS and Windows 98 and above, and will export to Word or Excel. Stopwatch-exact time tracking; invoicing; unlimited projects clients, tasks, and logs; automated association of tasks to projects and clients, and much more. Very reasonably priced. By L3Solutions.
Integrated online and offline use, includes use with Palm PDAs, and more. Track time, projects, activities, billable and non-billable time, start/stop timer and more. Integrates with QuickBooks and many common data formats. For Mac and Windows.
For both Windows and Mac platforms. Timekeeping, invoicing, application tracking, time rounding options, and more. Reasonably priced. For Mac and Windows.
Time and billing software by the same company that created the popular Peachtree accounting software. Many features, such as timekeeping, time and expense tracking, billing, reports, and much more. For Windows. [Software by Sage Software.]
Personal Punch Clock for Windows. Many kudos from PCMagazine, Windows Magazine, Tucows, and more. Standard and Pro versions. Reasonably priced. For Windows. [Software by Spud City.]
Small Business Tax Preparation Software
Customized tax interviews and guidance, error checking, seamless imports from previous years and from other tax preparation software. Several versions available, including a FREE version and online versions. Comparison chart to help you decide which versions is best for your particular needs. From their description:
[Software by TaxACT, aka 2nd Story Software, Inc.]
Maximize your tax deductions and credits for a bigger tax refund. Includes expert tax help & advice to find IRS tax deductions and credits, potentially saving you big money. Life Events guidance helps you deal with marriage, buying a home, inheritance, stock options, home equity loans, and other topics that impact your tax return. Includes both Federal and State tax returns with free federal income tax filing.
- Save Money! Includes both Federal & State Tax Form Software.
- The TaxACT Ultimate Bundle consists of our two top-selling tax products, TaxACT Deluxe and TaxACT State.
- Timely federal income tax tips explain complex tax laws, pitfalls to avoid, recent tax law changes, tax filing tips, and year-end tax strategies.
- Informative Life Events Guidance assists you in determining how to handle major Life Events such as getting married, having children, buying a home, and others that impact your tax return.
- FREE Technical Support by Phone, Email, and Over the Web - Need assistance with your TaxACT Deluxe software? No problem!
- Time-saving Import Feature - Why risk costly data entry errors re-keying the same data every year? Simply import key data from your previous year's TaxACT return.
- Alerts help you steer clear of problems - TaxACT meticulously inspects your return for errors, omissions, and valuable tax-saving opportunities you may have missed.
- Prepare and print unlimited federal tax returns at no additional cost!
- FREE Federal Income Tax Filing with IRS E-file! Get your tax refund FAST and worry-free - you'll receive an acknowledgement as proof that your return has been filed. E-file your state return for only $7.95.*
- 100% Accuracy Guaranteed! If you are assessed a penalty due to a calculation error in TaxACT Deluxe, we'll pay the penalty & interest.
And Much More!
Maximize your business deductions, from advertising and meals to entertainment expenses. Also includes extra guidance on depreciating business assets,e-filing, and tax advice with Premium versions and up. Several versions are offered for this popular tax preparation software, including online versions, too. Use for federal and state taxes. Available for Windows and Mac. From their description:
[Software by H&R Block Digital Tax Solutions, LLC.]
- Includes everything you need to complete and e-file your federal and state taxes
- Guidance for every personal tax situation from 1040EZ to Schedule C
- Step-by-step interview guides you through a customized process
- Includes advice on how to find every deduction you deserve and get the maximum refund
- Includes advanced tools for investors and business owners
Popular tax preparation software by Intuit. Use their online version or purchase their software. Available for Windows and Mac. From their description:
[Software by Intuit Inc.]
- Includes everything you need for your self-employment and personal income taxes
- Expanded interview guides you step-by-step through schedule C to help maximize business expenses, home office deductions, depreciation and more
- Creates W-2 and 1099-MISC forms for your employees and contractors
- Shows you your maximum depreciation method
- Includes over 60 categories of business deductions
Business Tax Forms, Small Business Tax Forms
U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms and Information
- Forms and Publications
Index page to listing of news, latest forms, publications, and further information. [Part of IRS Web site.]
- Forms and Instructions
The IRS has provided online eforms and printable formats of their forms, instructions, FAQs, local office information, and more. [Part of IRS Web site.]
- Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records (PDF)
Direct from the IRS, this PDF file provides information about starting up a business, setting up your records, taxes, business expenses, what to keep and how long, examples, and more. (United States) [Part of IRS Web site.]
- Tax Information for Small Business/Self-Employed
Information area for self-employed and small businesses, including starting a business, employees, employer IDs, disabilities, small business resources, and more. Much information is available online, some information available via online ordering (CDs). [Part of IRS Web site.]
Web Sites Devoted to Tax Information and Small Business Tax Information
You'll find top-notch tax-related information for your business provided in a light-hearted while informative and professional way. For business owners and tax specialists. By well-known expert Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA. [TaxMama.com]
- Yahoo! Tax Center
An extensive resource of all things related to taxes, from the latest news and tax forms to retirement accounts, investing, charitable contributions, planning, software, and more.
- Tax and Accounting Software
Thorough listing of links to software for individuals, businesses, professionals. Terrific resource.
Recommended Financial Software for Small Business, Small Business Accounting Software, and Books on Small Business Accounting and Handling Finances
Financial Software for Small Business, Small Business Accounting Software
Read short reviews and find more book recommendations on Web site-related topics in our Recommended Books, Software section!