Programs to Track Your Finances
Get your financials in check with these great tools.
Do the following scenarios sound familiar? Some of your clients haven’t paid, while others have. You’ve got several walk-ins who need to pay before they leave. You have receipts and invoices to send and bills to pay. Did you write down the mileage for all of those in-home sessions you drove to last month?
Do you ever feel you’re pushing paper more than you’re helping clients? Operating your own business and keeping track of the financial side of it can be difficult—especially in an industry where sitting in an office is not really on the agenda. So how do you manage your bookkeeping needs while facilitating client sessions and overseeing staff?
Managing your operational finances means invoicing clients and taking their payments, tracking sales, forecasting and budgeting, monitoring expenses and bookkeeping. Here are some great programs and apps that will help you handle everything.
In the February 2015 issue of IDEA Trainer Success, we discussed MINDBODY Online with regard to payments and the software’s ability to handle booking, scheduling and point-of-sale payments. At that time, we didn’t go into much detail about its financial operating capabilities. Now we will.
For taking payments, MINDBODY Online offers three solutions:
- Clients can schedule appointments or classes through your website and pay you right then.
- You can sell memberships and set up recurring payments.
- You can take point-of-sale payments through the iPhone or Android app or by accessing your account online.
In addition to taking payments and setting up schedules, MINDBODY Online offers more than 100 reports to help you manage the financial side of your business. Here are just a few of the reports the software can generate:
- approved transactions
- revenue per client
- end of day/shift cash drawer balancing
- outstanding account balances
- attendance analysis
- forecasting and budgeting
To track expenses and run Profit and Loss reports, MINDBODY Online must be used in conjunction with accounting software like QuickBooks or FreshBooks. You would need to run weekly or monthly P&L reports, export them into an Excel spreadsheet and then input those numbers into your accounting software.
Intuit® QuickBooks is an accounting and bookkeeping software system that is popular with small business owners. It syncs with payment-processing apps and programs like Square® and PayPal®. QuickBooks also has an option for mobile credit card processing called QuickBooks GoPayment.
With QuickBooks, you get all of the accounting and bookkeeping functions you need to run your business—plus a few bells and whistles.
For taking payments, QuickBooks lets you invoice clients via email, with an option for those clients to pay online. The great thing about this feature is that, through QuickBooks, you can track when clients view the invoices, when they pay them and when the money has cleared.
QuickBooks has a robust reporting system for tracking financials and sales; it enables you to create profiles and track sales for each client or for any given time period. You can also view reports for unbilled charges, review deposit details and more. The software syncs with your bank account, so payments received are downloaded directly into your QuickBooks account.
This feature also makes it easy to track your expenses. QuickBooks simply pulls that information from your bank account and automatically categorizes it for you. You can go back in and change the categories as needed.
Other great QuickBooks features:
- invoicing and expense tracking through a mobile or tablet app
- payroll options
- online bill pay and recurring payment options for bills from vendors
- P&L statements
- access for up to five users
- data-syncing from apps like PayPal or Square
FreshBooks describes itself as simple, intuitive and user-friendly.
For taking payments, FreshBooks functions like QuickBooks. You can send invoices online, accept payment online, see when your invoices are viewed and send late payment reminders. FreshBooks does not have a payment processing app, but it does sync to PayPal and Stripe.
The FreshBooks reporting system helps you track sales, payments and expenses; it also generates P&L reports.
For expenses, FreshBooks syncs with your bank account. Plus, it offers a mobile device for snapping pictures of receipts, and you can assign expenses to clients for automatic reimbursement.
Since we’re talking trainer tech, we’ve got to include some great financials apps for business owners. While these apps aren’t an all-in-one solution, they can help you with your “day to day” financial operations and they can be used in conjunction with other software you may rely on.
Easy Books is a bookkeeping app that’s “ideal for small businesses and ‘one-man bands.’” In addition to bookkeeping, it provides invoicing and time-tracking from your iPad, iPhone or Mac.
The app will help you keep track of these much-used items:
- bank accounts
- sales and purchase invoices
Easy Books allows you to generate invoices and email them to clients as PDFs.
The app offers a free, 2-week trial period. After your trial period is over, you can à-la-carte the features you want to pay for (invoicing without a watermark, unlimited transactions, online syncing and a time tracker are some of the paid features that Easy Books offers).
Another great feature for easy bill pay is the ability to set recurring transactions for bills you pay monthly, such as insurance. Easy Books automatically creates these transactions as they come due.
For tracking financials and sales, Easy Books has a full accounting package that prepares P&L reports, balance sheets, budget analyses and cash flow statements. All of your reports can be exported from the app in HTM, CSV or ZIP format.
Finally, if you’re worried about someone accessing the information on your phone, you can set a four-digit pass code to lock the Easy Books app.
If you just need a way to track your expenses, Expensify might be the app for you. With Expensify, you can snap pictures of receipts to be added to your account. The app automatically reads the receipts and enters the information for you.
Expensify will also sync with your bank accounts to track all of your expenses. For any item under $75, the app will automatically generate an eReceipt. According to Expensify, eReceipts are “full digital replacements of their paper equivalents for purchases under $75.” These receipts are legal and are accepted by the IRS.
In addition, if you are traveling to different locations, the Expensify app will keep track of your mileage expenses; you can input the mileage yourself, or use Expensify’s GPS tracker.
Expensify also offers analytics tied to all of your expenses, so that you can easily track how you’re spending your money.
Finally, Expensify allows you to download information as a spreadsheet or CSV and then easily export it to your accounting software.
What’s Right for You?
For keeping track of sales and finances, the tools you choose will depend on your needs. This chart shows at a glance the important features of the software and apps presented above.
|Software/App||Bookkeeping||Payments||Expenses/Receipts||Sales and financial reports||Ability to pay vendors||Syncs with|
|Mindbody||No||Invoicing, recurring, and mobile||No||Yes||No||Doesn’t sync with accounting software but allows you to export data for easy import into accounting software.|
|Quickbooks||Yes||Invoicing and mobile||Automatic through bank account and through mobile||Yes||Yes||Bank accounts, PayPal, Square and many ecommerce apps|
|Freshbooks||Yes||Invoicing and mobile||Automatic through bank account and through mobile||Yes||Yes||Bank accounts, PayPal, Square and many ecommerce apps|
|Easy Books||Yes||Invoicing||Automatic through bank account and through mobil||Yes but not as robust as others||Yes||Bank accounts, Doesn’t sync with accounting software but allows you to export data|
|Expensify||No||No||Automatic through bank account and through mobile app||No||No||Doesn’t sync with accounting software but allows you to export data|