I get quite a lot of ‘accounts’ type questions arriving in my inbox and to be honest when I see these they do make me a little nervous! Why? Well because I am not an accountant and therefore am not really qualified to advise on tax issues, VAT payments, which bank account to choose for business or any other finance related question!
My areas of expertise lie in product research, sourcing and selling online rather than calculating how much the taxman is owed which is why I much prefer working on projects such as The Source Report – my recently launched membership site which incidentally you can currently access with a special trial offer here or my brand new strategy of ‘Finding and Flipping’ – there’s more information on that here – rather than calculating figures! As much as I’d love to be able to help you when it comes to keeping your expenses in order, I’m afraid I do have a confession to make…
Understanding accounting really isn’t my thing!
And that’s because basically I get someone else to sort this kind of stuff out for me!
Now don’t get me wrong – I understand profit and loss, margins and the basic things that tell me whether I can take my foot off the gas…or need to put it back on the gas and I really do know how hard it is when you are just starting up to understand the ins and outs of accounting and working out what receipts you need to keep and record and what you can just file in the bin!
When I started up, I seriously didn’t know a whole lot about accounting, how I should best keep track of all my eBay sales, stock costs and all the other accounts information that I knew was required but always gave me the terrors when I started thinking about it! But I didn’t have anyone I could ask either so I ended up keeping a hand-written record in a little book that became more and more bedraggled as my sales grew!
Finally I ended up doing things the professional way and I enlisted an accountant to untangle my jottings, screwed up bits of paper and receipts and he has dealt with it all ever since! What this means is that my accounts are all sorted for me – very simple and what a relief!
Anyway, back to the original story and for some reason, this week I received a barrage of emails all asking if I could suggest a good, simple accounts package that could be used to keep track of eBay sales. In fact this is a request I’ve had many times before too and it’s obviously in the forefront of your minds at the moment – hopefully because you are making good profits and need to get your house in order!
How to get your accounts in order – automatically and with no fuss.
Not wanting to recommend something to you that’s a load of old rubbish, I signed up to Outright myself to give it a go and to see exactly what it can do for you and your eBay business, and I have to say I found it absolutely brilliant. It was something of a revelation to me to be honest – and it’s so simple to use. I’ve been messing about with it all week (when I should have been getting on with other things like researching new products) and I have to say that in my opinion it will definitely make your life much simpler if you don’t already have any accounts software in place.
Now obviously as I’ve said, this is just my opinion, so having trialled it myself, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about this application now so that you can decide for yourself whether it could help you keep your accounts in order. I do need to point out though that you will need to sign up to eBay Selling Manager or Selling Manager Pro to use this application if you are not already subscribed.
You need to go to www.outright.com
Outright is an original eBay verified Selling Manager Application which can help you simplify and streamline your everyday business tasks. Best of all its totally free!
What you get is a simple, free, online bookkeeping package, perfect for small home businesses such as online sellers like you and me. It will help you track your sales and expenses and see how your business is doing. You can write off your business expenses, track the money you spend on stock and keep your eBay sales history for as long as you like and I so wish that I knew about this when I started selling on eBay because quite simply it would have saved me a lot of time and messing about.
You certainly won’t need to know anything about accounting (as I’ve said, I don’t!) to use Outright and there’s no technical jargon or confusing charts. You simply automatically import your sales and expenses information from eBay and PayPal and it’s really easy to add other business expenses and information in manually if you need to. Then just a few clicks and you can navigate through your accounts and view what you need to.
Once you have registered and then logged in, just go to the ‘Settings’ tab and make sure you change the default country to UK. This will allow you to do your accounting in sterling.
What’s really important is that Outright works with your UK eBay and PayPal accounts with no report limits and will also identify duplications between eBay and PayPal data and so only records your transactions once.
I tested this by downloading my eBay sales and my PayPal sales as two different accounts and sure enough there were no duplications. This is especially useful if you have a website and use PayPal as your website payment processor as you can track non-eBay sales this way and so keep all your accounts in one place.
To be honest, I found that you can pretty much put your book-keeping and accounts onto auto-pilot with this application as once you have given permission to Outright to access your eBay and PayPal accounts your figures are updated daily as if by magic!
- I automatically imported my eBay sales and expenses, including all listing, final value and PayPal fees.
- I easily input my business deductions including the purchase costs of my stock.
- I viewed instant reports that let me see how much money I am making, who my best customers are and where I am spending the most money through my business.
- I manually input my expenses and invoices by typing them in directly in either the Income or Expenses sections.
And I did all this within 10 minutes of registering for free!
I also tested the ‘Reports’ function and it’s very straight forward giving you at a glance profit and loss figures, income by customer which shows who gives you the most business and also the costs by vendor which shows you exactly where your money goes. These reports are always available online and you can download them so that you have your own records backed up on your computer.
I also discovered that I can set my account up to give full access to my accountant so that he always has up-to-date information available. What this means is that apart from adding any manual entries such as for cheque, postal order or bank transfer payments you’ll never have to struggle with your accounts again. What a result!”
Here’s the link again if you want to check the site out – and I recommend you do. Outright.