Technology

Keep Moving. Make It Happen.

Patti Beres is entrepreneur and owner of Be Green Pro, LLC, a business providing earth- and pet-friendly lawncare solutions. If you need to be reminded of why you started your own business, read Part 1 of my interview with Patti.

Being a business owner for seven years, Patti provided a unique perspective. I believe you will enjoy her responses to the general business and accounting questions I asked her. Patti’s responses are paraphrased and italicized below.

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What was the hardest obstacle to overcome as you started your business? There were two obstacles: (1) finding our niche and (2) helping people understand what they were receiving: something with quality and of value, despite paying more.

Women Making an Impact (WMAI) network group that meets in Delafield, WI was a big catalyst for me in the initial stages of my business because the women in the group were receptive to what I was representing and, as a result, they helped build my confidence as we began overcoming our obstacles.

What is the hardest thing about owning your business? At the end of the day, the hardest thing is the people who entrust us with their business. In a world where customer service has become dead, providing quality customer service weighs heavily on me. Your customer is all you have. We won’t always be perfect, but I want people to know that we care for our customer.

What accounting or tax issue caught you by surprise? Finding the right accountant to match the needs of our business. We really struggled with a budget. Maybe things looked good on paper, but in reality things were different.

What is your least favorite thing about accounting or taxes? Not knowing all the rules and regulations, or what changes affected us. We also didn’t know what deductions we were eligible to take, or that I should have made paying myself a priority.

What accounting software do you use? In June 2016, we switched to QuickBooks Online (QBO). This was recommended by our accountant at the time to aid in working remotely.

What are your most useful phone apps?

  • QBO App: I can record expenses and take pictures of receipts when I’m on-the-go.
  • AUTOsist – Car Maintenance Log: This app costs us $100 a year, but it used by our whole fleet. Drivers record gas purchases, vehicle maintenance, and mileage.
  • Waze: Provides navigation to our truck drivers.
  • Google Calendar and FaceBook App

What is one piece of advice you have for someone just starting a business?  If you love what you do and are passionate about what you do, keep moving. Make it happen.

In addition, Patti shared something that is very important to her as a woman business owner. Patti said: Even though I am responsible for a business, my most important job is to raise my children into responsible human beings. God, family, and work is the order in which I operate. While I’m not perfect and sometimes have allowed work to get in the way, I actively strive to put my family first. Doing so does not mean I—as a woman—am less important, or less smart, or less capable. I believe other mothers who are business owners need to remember this as well.

Saving Receipts with Expensify and QBO

Screen shot of Expensify App

Screen shot of Expensify App

I recently began using the Expensify app because I like the capability to sync expenses and mileage with QBO. I also want to have an electronic copy of each expense.

I realized two things.

  1. When my Expensify report is exported to QBO, a JPG file of the individual receipt is automatically added to each expense transaction in QBO. As long I keep my QBO file, I’ll have access to attachments. But if I decide to change accounting software and export my QBO data, the attachments linked to my transactions will not be exported, per QBO’s export limitations
     
  2. Expensify allows me to save each report exported to QBO as a PDF, including all scanned receipts and mileage reports. Expensify provides helpful instructions here. I tested the PDF feature. Each PDF provides a summary of expenses, a summary of receipts, and copies of actual receipts. I then saved the PDF to my personal cloud storage.

I like to think long term, and I want to make sure I have control of receipts. This means that I will need to save each Expensify report as a PDF and upload to cloud storage.  Once I know electronic copies are safely stored and backed up, I will destroy hard copies of receipts.

Your situation may be different. But when determining how to save electronic receipts, think long term.