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Is there a software or form that y'all use to keep track of the paid and unpaid invoices? I really don't have an efficient way to track mine and it's becoming a real pain. While most get paid on site or via an email through Paypal or Intuit before the report is emailed, I do have a group of clients that all do payment at closing.

With both kids back in school full time next week the wife will be the new full time assistant/book keeper. She's inheriting a mess from me and I'm looking for some suggestions to help us both out and make life easier.

What about accounting software like Quickbooks for record keeping? I've signed up for the Quickbooks Self Employed software, but it doesn't let me input previous invoices and their invoice numbers. I'm not sure it's even good for what I'm doing.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Kiel

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I've used QB Pro for well over a decade. Works fantastic but yeah, it's doesn't allow entering an invoice or payment receipt with an earlier number and there's a good reason for that...it makes it easier for the auditor. QB has always allowed creating an invoice/payment receipt with an earlier date.

QB just sent out a notice that 'QB for Mac' will no longer work on the next IOS upgrade so I'm considering Money Works. It seems comparable to QB.

I do not like QB online: too expensive.

With accounting software like QB, preparations for the CPA takes about one minute. I Email but a single document to him and it saves me $500 in tax return fees because he's a QB expert. He exports everything directly into his forms.

Marc

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Thanks Marc the 5 min Tex prep sounds amazing! I really don't think Quickbooks is for me the more I learn and use it. Thank you for the tip on MoneyWorks. I'm checking it out now.

MoneyWorks claims you can download your bank statement directly into the software. It's a QBO download, made for QB, but is claimed to work with MoneyWorks as well. That feature alone saves a lot of work.

Marc

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QuickBooks is not for the faint of heart. It is not easily self taught and takes time, at least that was my experience. I finally just hired an accountant for book keeping. However, that has nothing to do when tracking who owes me money.

I use excel to track every job: date, name, address, fees, referral source, etc. I use color coding for different things. If someone owes me money the "fee" cell is highlighted red. Once I'm paid the highlight is removed. I may add a "comment" to a cell to track when I sent the invoice, or when closing is scheduled, etc. It works for me.

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QB is definitely sophisticated but for my use most of it boils down to four operations:

Payment receipt: Use this when the fee charged is paid on the spot.

Invoice: Use this when the fee charged will be collected at a later date.

Sale payments: Use this to record a payment received.

Deposits: Use this to record deposits made to your bank account or petty cash box.

I can easily describe how each is done on QB. That gets you started quickly. The rest can be figured out later. I can easily describe just about anything that QB can do.

Marc

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My software has a built in billing module. Payment, ongoing consulting by job or hourly, and a query for "where's my money?" QB for this gig is kinda overkill.

Get a bookkeeper. Send them the checks and stubs every month. They balance the books, enter the info, do the P&L, prepare quarterly's, 941's, year end tax, and everything else. It's the best couple hundred bucks a month I can think of.

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If all you want is to issue invoices and keep track of them, Square Credit card processing lets you do that for free.

I started using it for out of town customers and have begun doing it for everything if I'm not paid up front. You can also issue receipts through the software, much easier than me creating an invoice or receipt from my template and emailing it.

Then when they pay online, it shows up in my online reports or I can mark it paid if they send me a check. Simple, and I like simple.

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Is there a software or form that y'all use to keep track of the paid and unpaid invoices? I really don't have an efficient way to track mine and it's becoming a real pain. While most get paid on site or via an email through Paypal or Intuit before the report is emailed, I do have a group of clients that all do payment at closing.

With both kids back in school full time next week the wife will be the new full time assistant/book keeper. She's inheriting a mess from me and I'm looking for some suggestions to help us both out and make life easier.

What about accounting software like Quickbooks for record keeping? I've signed up for the Quickbooks Self Employed software, but it doesn't let me input previous invoices and their invoice numbers. I'm not sure it's even good for what I'm doing.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thanks,

Kiel

We're presently using ISN. Before that, we used a product called Office Tracker, before that, I used a custom MS Access database. Several companies make home inspector database products and all of them can track payments, issue invoices, etc.

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I use QB, I've been using it for 20 years through just about as many iterations of the product.

It's indispensable if you have interests in more than one venture or if you carry an accounts receivable balance.

It's cheap, malleable, and intuitive. I'd have a hard time running my life or business interests without it.

It creates deposit procedures that make it impossible to let anything fall between the cracks.

I'm curious- if you get paid at closing, how do you get paid when the deal is dead?

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It is very rare for me to do an inspection without my client present.

I explain to my clients that my work is independent of the house closing and I won't wait for payment.

COD at the home inspection is our policy. No money = no report = no accounts receivable.

Also-I use Quick Books for paying bills/payroll/banking. I find it simple and you have to work hard to screw up your accounting because it will warn you if you are doing something wrong.

There are a lot of cool tools to help you keep track of how you are doing and if you are actually profitable.

The QuickBooks Payroll add-on takes care of tax deductions, 401K, and various other employee stuff.

At the end of the year I give my accountant a copy of my QuickBooks file.

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For the QB faithful....how much time each month goes to doing the entry and business management of working with QB? Be honest, count the real time spent.

I'm curious because for a couple hundred bucks a month, my bookkeeper/accountant does everything including quarterly reports, payments, monthly 941 deposits, 401K.....everything.

Does QB balance out to < 1 hour a month?

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I use QB, I've been using it for 20 years through just about as many iterations of the product.

It's indispensable if you have interests in more than one venture or if you carry an accounts receivable balance.

It's cheap, malleable, and intuitive. I'd have a hard time running my life or business interests without it.

It creates deposit procedures that make it impossible to let anything fall between the cracks.

I'm curious- if you get paid at closing, how do you get paid when the deal is dead?

Chad,

Thank you for your reply. I do feel QB is a great accounting software, just not exactly what I was looking for for keeping track of payments. I plan on keeping it for the accounting side. It's great for tracking receipts and mileage so far.

As for the payment at closing thing. I do that for a non MLS real estate company on a private island here in Charleston. It's how they do business. It's not the most desirable payment method, but steady and consistent work. The homes are usually well built, maintained and updated regularly. All the homes are early to mid 80s or newer. The real estate assistants handle everything, even payment if the deal falls through.

Jim,

Thank you for recommending ISN, it looks amazing. I'm leaning towards it. Where has this been all my life!

Kurt,

I'm hoping to stay away from an monthly accountant for now. It's just me doing the work and should be a simple task for the old lady once we get a handle on it.

The bigger plan is to hire on another guy down the road and eventually turn it all over to an accountant.

Thanks for all the replies!

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Jim,

Thank you for recommending ISN, it looks amazing. I'm leaning towards it. Where has this been all my life!

ISN is good, but I'm not a wild enthusiast. It took us over a year to get it up and running and it's still got glitches. It certainly is more good for us than bad for us, but the bad parts are frustrating.

I'm hoping to stay away from an monthly accountant for now. It's just me doing the work and should be a simple task for the old lady once we get a handle on it.

The bigger plan is to hire on another guy down the road and eventually turn it all over to an accountant.

Just an observation, but for the stuff we've been discussing here, you need a "bookkeeper" not necessarily an "accountant." There's a vast price difference between the two and they perform different services. No home inspector should need the services of an accountant every month. Eventually, you should probably have both.

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My accountant provides both services for $200 a month. Cant beat it. Hunt until you find someone cheap. They do all reporting and deposits. It's the way to go. I don't know why folks dink around with ISN. QB if you gotta or if you have multiple businesses, but the hi biz is as simple as it gets.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since 1956 when the business started till 1985, we billed for services. In 1985 we had an accounts payable of over $50k. We decided to go to pay to play, with payment at the time of inspection. No check, no report. Folks said we would lose business. We did not lose a dime. There was a short period of "how come you don't bill anymore?" but after that we had no problems and no deadbeat accounts.

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I'm a very small player in the HI biz. Been at it now for 16 years and will very likely end my run next year or the following year.

Anyway ... I've always required "personal check" or "cash" at the time of the inspection. As noted above ... "no pay" ... "no report". Never did or would accept payment at closing. Been asked several times, but would not go there. A number of clients would have preferred to use a credit card, but I think I've lost only 3-4 jobs because of required check/cash.

I've taken a few fee payments via PayPal with clients overseas or out of town, but that is not the norm for me at all.

I've had to chase two checks in my 16 years and got the cash funds plus some additional dollars for my trouble to chase within two weeks for each circumstance. They were both unfortunate situations and not a purposeful 'screw the inspector' item.

All in all ... I've been very fortunate in that regard compared to many horror stories I've heard.

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I got jammed by a made guy several years ago. It was like something out of a bad corny mob movie....brother Carmine the enforcer tried to make me ante up a street tax to be working downtown, wiseguy's hanging around while I did the job, etc.

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