tax filing

6 Sanity-Saving Tips for Year-End Inventory

You survived the holiday rush. PHEW. But if you’re in retail, your work is just beginning. Before you settle in for your long winter’s nap, you  still have to count the things. All the things.Here are our six favorite year-end inventory tips to help you get through the process without a breaking into the New Year’s Eve champagne early. We’ll drink to that.

1. Dedicate time to the task. Take the day off or use a series of slow afternoons to dedicate solely to inventory. Focus and keep distractions at bay.

2. Enlist help. Two sets of eyeballs are better than one even with a small shop. Depending on the size of your business, this might involve simply asking a trusted pal to come in for an afternoon. For larger businesses, split your staff into small teams to count (and recount) together.

3. Reward yourself and your staff. Motivation can come in many forms. Order lunch for everybody or bring in a masseuse to give your crew back rubs during their breaks. Give yourself something when you’re done too—you know what you like best.

4. Keep notes upon notes upon notes. After you’ve combed through your products, you might’ve discovered you need a better way to organize them. Or you might’ve uncovered a huge box of plastic dinosaurs that didn’t sell very well this year but will be perfect for your legendary window displays. Make sure you’re not just counting, but making detailed notes that’ll help you be more successful in the coming year.

5. Clean house. Do you have products that have been collecting dust for years, decades even? Even a clearance sticker can’t work miracles. Don’t feel guilty about getting rid of outdated or ridiculously unpopular merchandise. All it’s doing is weighing you down and taking up important space.

6. Use technology to save time and money. Yes, we’re slightly biased. Truly though, the right tools and software can help make taking inventory much less of a drag. A system like Shopventory keeps track of your inventory and sales automatically throughout the year, so it makes those year-end reports and accuracy checks that much easier come tax time. Even if you’re not using a program this year, it’s a perfect time to start since you’ll have all the right information and spreadsheets on hand to upload. You’ll thank yourself next year.

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4 Free Money Managing Tools for Your Small Business

We scoured to the edges of the internet and found the four free money managing tools for your small business that would be tremendously useful for tracking expenses and getting a handle on your small business's bottom-line. Enjoy:

Mint.com

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Mint is a financial dashboard which allows you to manage and view your expenses, income statements and transactions. It has a useful planning tool to chart savings goals and provides feedback on credit cards or bank accounts that may be better suited to your priorities. When you input your financial accounts, Mint automatically categorizes all of your transactions and updates how they apply to your budgets.  Additionally, you can manage multiple accounts on Mint, which gives you the ability to have a dashboard for each of your stores.

Outright

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A bookkeeping tool that is similar to Mint, Outright calculates taxes and provides crisp profitability reports. Once you’ve inputted your bank, credit card and loan information, this app takes care of the excel hell that comes with generating sales and tax data. This app also helps with filing taxes, filling out your Schedule C sheet automatically based on your expense categories. To get some of the juicier features you’ll have to get Outright Plus, which is $9.95/month, but the app is worth taking a look if taxes give you a hard time.

QuoteBase

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Quotebase lets you create beautiful PDF quote files which you can email as attachments. This app can also be helpful to businesses with repeat customers as it organizes them into dropdown menus for easy distribution. An interesting element Quotebase implements is their multi-currency option, allowing users to charge in their local currency or that of their clients. This is especially useful for businesses that need to send out high volumes of quotes or deal with international vendors.

Expensify

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Expensify takes the complication out of collecting and organizing receipts by allowing you to scan receipts from a smartphone camera. You can also upload and email the receipts as email attachments. Ah, the sweet sound of organization.

+ 2 More (Paid) Apps We Think Are Nifty

LearnVest

LearnVest is financial planning made into a sport. You’re armed with the LearnVest app and given a CPA to coach you through the challenges which are set for you. If need the motivation to follow-through on your financial goals, this this could be a very valuable tool for you.

FreshBooks

This is a leading accounting software for small businesses. While it wouldn’t qualify as bookkeeping software, it tracks expenses, time takes online payments and can send invoices to your clients. FreshBooks starts with a 30-Day Free Trial and then paid packages start at $19.95/month.

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We hope that these suggestions help you stay ahead of the curve and keep the burden off your budgets. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve found other apps that help your small business with its money matters.