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Thread: Any small business owners (especially online, e-commerce, or consulting)?

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    Runs on alcohol. The car does too. Not Verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) Intropy's Avatar
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    Any small business owners (especially online, e-commerce, or consulting)?

    I'm interested in how other small business owners are setup - how you do your accounting, who are your gateway and merchant account providers, what systems you use to accept payments, track customers, etc. Really just anything interesting you might want to share about your experiences.

    Basically, I'm doing enough consulting work on the side that I'm considering taking it to the next level and getting a little more professional.

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    1st ever COTM and COTY verified Feedback Score 9 (100%) green-lantern's Avatar
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    You must be busy, I haven't seen or heard form you in a while. Come by the house this weekend and help me tune. I need to track down an electrical issue also.

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    BAD ASS - I've got one Not Verified Feedback Score 9 (100%) j2k4's Avatar
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    My business is service-oriented (industrial plant/site security and other specialized work) so the only things I can tell you are that my lovely and gracious wife is my book-keeper (we use Quick Books Pro - very flexible), and we farm out our accountant needs to an independent concern with a small trusted staff.

    We felt it was better to go ultra-small rather than a "premium" service made up of ex-IRS employees - they seemed to spend a lot of time in court being adversarial.

    We follow the rules to the letter and hope for the best.

    Don't know what your situation is, but if you can keep your book-keeping in-house, it's a BIG plus - for no reason other than trust.

    If anyone other than my wife were doing it, I'd be too paranoid to breathe.
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    Forum User verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) J-Groove's Avatar
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    Small internet based sales.

    Gateway is Paypal, been using them for two businesses now. Great because it is so widely recognized now and they allow for it to be basically hidden and look like a standard credit card processing screen.

    Use quick Books as well and have an accountant that reviews everything quarterly. Just makes sure we're not messing up and makes sure we have the correct forms to file.

    Track customers, Google analytics, ebay analytics, and quick books helps a lot.

    All sale recipients are filed away by month with their shipping receipts.

    It will get more complicated as we grow, but for right now it is not bad.

    -John

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    Forum User Feedback Score 0 skyrunner's Avatar
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    We use quickbooks Pro, expensive but makes things very easy. One of the biggest things I like about it is the payroll component -- prints employee checks or direct deposit all with the click of a button, tracks all payroll liabilities and tells you when to submit them, can e-pay most of them, fills all IRS forms and e-files them, etc. Sounds like you might not need that though since it sounds like this is just you. But it does help to track expenses, create and print invoices, and more so it would at least be worth a trial. We hire an accountant to do the year-end tax stuff though, and QB makes that REALLY awesome because you can just export an "accountant copy" of your business file, email it to them and then they can make changes and corrections if needed, file out the paperwork, and then send you back the accountants copy and their changes are immediately integrated into your company file. VERY useful.

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    Forum User Feedback Score 0 Telionis's Avatar
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    We have 50-70 customers a year, so we have no need for e-commerce or order tracking. We also use Quick Books, which is a decent setup, though if you don't need the payroll setup you can save effort by using an open source system like SQL ledger. You should hire a CPA that specializes in QB to give you a little training and then check up on your work every month or so + do the yearly taxes.

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    Runs on alcohol. The car does too. Not Verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) Intropy's Avatar
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    Yeah I did go with QuickBooks. Even though I don't need the payroll yet, I do use subcontractors, so it's helping me keep up with that. Having an accountant review my file will definitely be helpful.

    What I'm really interested in now is customer management and invoicing. I want customers to be able to view and pay invoices online. Does anyone have a solution for this? It doesn't have to integrate with QuickBooks, although it saves me time if it does.

    Quote Originally Posted by green-lantern View Post
    You must be busy, I haven't seen or heard form you in a while. Come by the house this weekend and help me tune. I need to track down an electrical issue also.
    Yeah, just been busy. Man I'd love to come out and mess with your car, but I've got to fly to LA this weekend. I do still have to work my "real" job.

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    1st ever COTM and COTY verified Feedback Score 9 (100%) green-lantern's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intropy View Post

    Yeah, just been busy. Man I'd love to come out and mess with your car, but I've got to fly to LA this weekend. I do still have to work my "real" job.
    Awe bummer, I could really use your help this weekend. Edit face not mad lol

    Give me a ring when you get back and if you want to come by this evening and have a drink I have a half of a half gallon of Wisers. lol
    Last edited by green-lantern; 12-03-2010 at 02:49 PM.

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    Forum User Feedback Score 2 (100%) Maximal's Avatar
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    I hate to admit it but I use spreadsheets for everything at this point. It's simple and I found that quickbooks asks for a bit more info than I really needed. I do need to find something else sine things are getting a bit confusing at times, especially when you get towards the end of the year and have a full spreadsheet.

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    Forum User Feedback Score 0 Telionis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximal View Post
    I hate to admit it but I use spreadsheets for everything at this point. It's simple and I found that quickbooks asks for a bit more info than I really needed. I do need to find something else sine things are getting a bit confusing at times, especially when you get towards the end of the year and have a full spreadsheet.
    That should work, but is not good practice. Unless you set the spreadsheets up like a boss, Excel is not double-entry. That greatly increases the chances of small mistakes.

    I use the free and open source SQL Ledger for my personal accounting. It doesn't do payroll but it should serve a very small business. Do you do cost classification for P&Ls, or is your spreadsheet basically a giant checkbook register. Either way SQL-L does pretty much everything you would need.

    If it makes you feel better, I had absolutely no idea how to do any of this when I was put in charge of our company's QB in mid-2000 (we only had 2.5 employees at the time). Our government contract required a double-entry system of accounting so we bought a copy from Office Max and just jumped right in. It is pretty straight forward once someone explains the basics to you. From that point on, a couple of hours spread over the next few months, to check and correct silly my mistakes or help me over the phone, was all our CPA needed.

    http://www.sql-ledger.org/
    Last edited by Telionis; 12-03-2010 at 11:01 PM.

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