It’s time to start thinking about your income taxes. If you are doing your own taxes, especially if you are self-employed or run a small business, Excel can be a powerful tool. Moving that pile of receipts and invoices out of the shoe box and into a spreadsheet is a different story, but we have the solution.
Tax day for individuals, self-employed and small businesses that are not incorporated is Monday, April 15. If you have incorporated your small business, the deadline is March 15. You can ask for a six month extension if you aren’t ready.
Ideally, you should have been using Excel all along to keep track of your business financials, but many self-employed or small business owners are too busy getting their businesses off the ground. If you are the individual solely responsible for all aspects of your business, including accounting, you may be overwhelmed.
Not everyone can afford an accountant, or a team of bookkeepers. Some of us aren’t computer savvy. Even if you take your income taxes to a preparer, walking in with a shopping bag or shoe box full of papers isn’t going to impress anyone.
Start now by learning how to keep track of your accounts payable and receivable using spreadsheets. If you don’t have a clue how to use Excel, there are all kinds of tutorials online. Many schools offer basic courses in Excel for the person who just needs to know how to input data and do calculations.
But What About All That Paper?
If you are an entrepreneur running a small business from home, or an office or retail location, the last thing you need are piles of papers on your desk. An accountant or bookkeeper would rather not have those papers added to their pile.
By using a PDF to Excel program, you can organize your business finances. For a small investment that you can write off on next year’s tax return, you can scan your receipts, invoices and other financial documents and convert them into a spreadsheet in minutes.
This allows you to keep track of all of your expenses and profits. You should still keep all that paperwork, in case the IRS asks you for it, but you can store it away in a safe location.
Many large corporations use this method because it is efficient and cost effective. You can do the same thing in your small business; whether you run a catering company, design and sell handmade quilts, are a fledgling clothing designer, a freelance writer, or run a small retail store.
Brilliant and creative people often put all of their energy into developing their business, but they may not be expert number crunchers, so sometimes their efforts fail.
Have you ever watched the TV show Shark Tank? Entrepreneurs go before a panel of angel investors to obtain funding for their start-up companies. The entrepreneurs who don’t have a clue about their bottom line are the ones who suffer the wrath of Kevin O’Leary and walk out without an investment.
An IRS auditor isn’t going to be any kinder. In order to look professional, you have to show that you know what you are doing in all areas of your business.
By using a PDF to Excel converter to move your financials into an easy to use spreadsheet, you can stay on top of the paper pile all year round and be prepared for income tax time.