Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FREE: Tutorial - QuickBooks Simple Start Online - Make It Work for Your Etsy Shop

Written by Holly from Accounting SPOT

I have posted time after time about my love for QuickBooks. I am now offering my Tutorial on how to make QuickBooks Simple Start Online (the free version) work for your Etsy shop, for you to download for FREE! See below for details, Enjoy! :)

{Download tutorial HERE. Sign up for QB Online HERE}

-Due to many pictures and links, the download takes a couple of minutes.

*Are you looking for a free accounting solution?

*Do you have a modest amount of transactions?

*Do you want to use a tried-and-true accounting program?

*Are you unsure of how to make the free QuickBooks® Simple Start Online work for your Etsy shop?

If you are answering YES to these questions, THIS is the solution for you!


Simple to read, step-by-step tutorial on how to make the free QuickBooks® Simple Start Online work for your Etsy shop (product created in excel).


QuickBooks® Simple Start Online (free from Intuit), click HERE to view.


The QuickBooks® Simple Start Online tutorial provides directions on how to make the program work best with your Etsy shop. Using the QuickBooks® Simple Start is an easy way to track sales and expenses. All your finance information is organized in one place, so you can easily stay on top of your business and be ready for tax time.

What isn't always easy, is knowing how to set it up and make it work for you.

This tutorial gives you easy to understand, step-by-step directions (with pictures!) from setting up your company to posting transactions to reconciling to reporting. Start-to-finish!

If you've found this tutorial helpful, I'd love to hear your comments! Also, if you have a business blog, feel free to post a link so your readers can enjoy this tutorial as well. Thanks!

Holly Neitzel

MBA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Accounting SPOT

P.S. (For the sake of full disclosure: I am a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Affiliate. I receive a small reimbursement if you sign up for QuickBooks® Simple Start Online using my link. This is not WHY I am offering this tutorial, but it is why I am able to offer it for free. Yay!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What: What program should you use to track your bookkeeping?

There are many different levels and options to choose from. It comes down to both your business needs and how your brain processes information. In this post I will run through the general options, giving pros & cons of each.

(I would like to add another post at some point that reviews specific programs. If you have an accounting program you would like me to review, please post in the comments!). Hopefully this will provide you a good starting point for making the best choice for you and your business!

Please share in the comments what program you use for your accounting and what you like/dislike about it.

{Pen & Paper}
Options: General Ledger paper book, #2 Pencil (or a trusty ol' Bic if you prefer)
Price: Inexpensive
Pros: If you are not computer savvy, this might be up your alley. It is all right in front of you, straight forward. Many people just work better in this way.
Cons: You will need some accounting knowledge to get it set up properly. Also, maintaining can be pretty time consuming if you have to hand write everything. Making changes and adjustments can also me difficult as you have to erase, rewrite and hand adjust every entry effected.

Options: Excel, Open Office, Accounting SPOT: Free, Inexpensive
Price: Free - Inexpensive
Pros: Spreadsheets can be very automated and easy to use when set up properly. Entry and adjustments are quick and easy to do. Can be set up to your specific needs and very versatile.
Cons: You will need some accounting knowledge to get it set up properly if you are doing it from scratch. Can mess up the functionality of the formulas if you aren't familiar with excel.

{Free Software}
Options: QuickBooks Simple Start, Outright, MicroSoft Office, For Mac: TinyBooks
ATTN: Outright has an option to download PayPal transactions. It is a great option, HOWEVER it is not currently working correctly for the Income items. I have contacted them and they are working on a solution. So, do not yet use that function.
Price: Free
Pros: Well, Free is a pro! Automated accounting programs make the process so very easy. They are set up and ready to use. Just plug data and review reports!
Cons: There are some limits and boundries to what free software will do for you. Although for many small business owners, there is plenty of function to meet your needs. You will need to review on a program by program basis to determine if it fits your needs.
Other comments: QB Simple Start is the only one of these programs I can vouch for from actual use. I have reviewed the others, but not used them. Please use your own research and judgment before making your choice.

{Purchased Software}
Options: QuickBooks, PeachTree, MicroSoft Office
Price: $90+
Pros: Very automated. The versatility of accounting software is usually beyond the needs of many of us small business owners. But, that is a good thing, because more often than not the program can be set up to work for your business in just the way you need.
Cons: Can get pricey. Can be confusing to set up (see my Etsy shop for help on this).

So, there is an overview of options for how you can track your accounting. Please post any questions in the comments, I'll respond asap. In the next installment, I will try to give you some direction when it comes to the dreaded and oh-so-complicated, TAXES.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why do you need to do your bookkeeping?

Written by Holly from Accounting SPOT

{Intro: Welcome to the Accounting Simplified series for small business!}

Welcome! I am Holly, owner of Accounting SPOT. My focus is on helping small business owners get their accounting and bookkeeping organized and maintained. I am putting together this series to help simplify this task which many business owners tend to avoid.

Maintaining your books can be daunting and is often a procrastination point. It does NOT have to be this way! I am going to try to lay out the process as simply as possible, so as to help you WANT to do this fun (ok, so maybe I am the only one who considers bookkeeping FUN!) task.

This series will cover:
  • Why: Why do you need to do your bookkeeping?
  • What: What program should you use to track your bookkeeping?
  • Taxes: What do you need to know about taxes (or where should you look)?
  • Profit Equation: How do you determine profit?
  • Income: How do you track income?
  • Expenses: How do you track expenses?
  • Left Overs: What else do you need to know?
My hope is that this series will alleviate some of the anxiety often associated with accounting/bookkeeping. I am a numbers girl, so writing is not necessarily my forte. I hope my thoughts come across clear and helpful!

If you have any thoughts, tips or questions, please post a comment to this post. I will include relevant info (with a link back to the commentator's shop) in the series finale 'Left Overs'.

{This series is directed at sole proprietor businesses who use the cash method of accounting.}

{Please be sure to contact your tax professional if you have any questions/concerns regarding taxes.}

{WHY: Why do you need to do your bookkeeping?}

Bookkeeping is such an important task for a business to maintain. To fully know and understand your income and expenses (and the difference between the two!), allows you as a business owner to make better business decisions. Plus, when maintained properly, tax time is a breeze because you already have the information in a usable format.

You know it is good practice to keep your bookkeeping updated. But do you know why you should be doing that? There are both internal and external reasons for doing so.


Internal - When your accounting is up to date, you know your profit, you can view where your income is coming from and where you are spending your money. These are all things that help you make solid business decisions. Pricing, product changes, spending reviews are just a few of the decisions that updated financials can help with.

I want to really drive home the point the keeping your financial information accurate and up-to-date is first and foremost done for you as a business owner. Many owners do their bookkeeping 'for' the tax man. This is backwards. You do your bookkeeping for YOU and as a result, can easily share the required info with the tax man.
So, that brings me to:

External - Taxes and banking. Keeping proper bookkeeping records allows you to easily transfer your data to your tax forms. No need to sweat it during tax time, just plug in the info you already have or send your completed reports to your CPA.

Also, if you are ever in need of business financing, your bank will need financial reports. By keeping your bookkeeping up to date, these reports will be readily available.

I am sure there are many more reasons that I haven't touched on here. If you want to share the benefits you have encountered from properly maintained financial records, please post a comment to share!

We are just warming up, I promise the series gets more beefy as I get in to it :)
Stay tuned for a detailed review of small business accounting programs!

Monday, October 5, 2009


Written by KreatedbyKarina

There are tons of ways to promote..and even MORE threads on "the right way" and "the wrong way". While finding the most possible places to hawk your wares may seem like a brilliant idea, the results you get aren't always going to be the same as the person who swore up and down that it worked for them. Why? It depends on the type of budget you have, what kind of items you sell, and the audience seeing your promotion. My best tip is to figure out your target audience and promote directly to them.

Promoting to a wide audience is fine, but in the end you'll save yourself a lot of time, money and energy focusing your advertising strategies on those people who are more likely to purchase your products.

Think about the ideal person who would shop in your store---how old are they? What sort of websites/blogs would they most likely visit? What kind of magazines do you think they are more likely to read? What areas of the city would they live in? You can expand to other brainstorming questions but those few should give you a good start in figuring out the type of people who frequent your shop (as well as the type of people you want to direct your items to). Once you've figured out your target audience, you can then take out ads on those same blogs/websites/magazines etc.

Another tip I have is to stop thinking like a seller when listing items/promoting and start thinking like a buyer.

For instance...when trying to figure out how to tag your items, think of how YOU search for items when shopping. Do you search by color, or by certain keywords you find yourself using over and over? If so, use them in your tags as well. A great way of figuring out how to describe/tag your item is to ask friends and family. Let them take a look at what your selling (or give them a sample!) and ask what single words they would use to describe it to others. Pick out the most relevant and common ones and use those as tags if they fit, or incorporate some of their suggestions into your item descriptions.

Lastly, think about what sort of promotional tactics work on YOU. Do you sign up for lots of newsletters? Maybe it's time you offered one of your own to your customers. Do you find yourself throwing away business cards, but keeping magnets and always reminding yourself "to check out that store" everytime you see it on the fridge? Invest in getting some promotional magnets made to give out with your orders or to people you meet.

Promoting is the bread and butter to being successful in any business---putting your best foot foward is important, yes, walking in the right direction is too. Best of luck with your shops!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Facebook Share Button HTML

Written by beckykazana

One of my favorite ways to network and market my shops, blog and website is Facebook. I personally find it really fun to see what other people in my life are up to and I like sharing what's going on in my world too.

However, nobody likes a Facebook friend who is endlessly marketing themselves- it gets tiresome quickly. So instead of constantly linking to my listings or blog posts, I share links that I think are interesting. Perhaps it's an amazing pair of Louboutins that I could never afford but am drooling over. Perhaps it's a cool Cole Porter number on You Tube. Or even an amazing DIY project from one of my favorite bloggers.

This way, I stay on people's radar, but it doesn't turn in to drudgery for me or them. You can't reach people if they are bored or aggravated and block you from their newsreel. And my contacts are more likely to peek on the occasion when I do share a new listing or blog post of my own.

My secret weapon is the share button I've added to my toolbar. This way I can link to Facebook from anywhere on the web. Whether I'm reading through my blogroll, shopping for curtains online, browsing Etsy or tracking down a recipe I can share it in a few seconds by just clicking in my toolbar and adding a little note to make it personal. Give it a try and be sure to check back and let me know how you like it! And add me as a friend while you're at it. I'd love to know what you're up to as well!