Business Advice

Finding Financial Direction with Carrie Smith, Careful Cents

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Carrie Smith is one cool gal. I started following her on Twitter and her Careful Cents self-employed tax checklist will once again help relieve some ease when I file this year. I figured since I haven’t interviewed any one for the blog since forever, she’d be the best fit for the last couple weeks of tax season.

In 2014, she wrote an informative post on The Write Life about invoicing international clients.

Her recommended programs and apps: Mint, PayPal, FreshBooks, and Dropbox (for saving receipts)

1) Any advice for tax season?

I recommend other biz owners to work with an accountant throughout the year. Their job is to take continuing education classes, as well as read up on the ever-changing tax laws, so a good CPA will know what the latest happenings are.

One way to tell if a tax pro/accountant is a good one is if they have a PTIN (or tax preparer identification number). Everyone who files taxes has to have this number now, which is given to them by the IRS after they pass a series of tests. So make sure you ask if your prospective accountant has this number.

2) What’s the most important thing to do going into the second quarter of the new year?

Well, if you’re a procrastinator like me, the most important to-do right now is actually file your taxes. Other than that though, you want to get a jumpstart on next year’s tax situation, so make sure you have quarterly tax payments (QET) set up for your freelancing business.

QETs are required for business owners who plan on bringing in more than $1,000 of gross revenue, so this is a must do.

If you already have QET payments set up, the next thing on the list is establish a tax filing system. Create a designated file, or system, to keep receipts throughout the year, have a record of all your expenses, and a place to store important tax documents. This will save you hours and hours of prep time during next tax season.

3) What are you working on at Careful Cents?

Right now I’m working on updating all of the content on the blog. After four years of publishing online, my voice and perspective in my writing has evolved and I want to make sure everything is up-to-par.

I’m also working on a bunch of case studies from other bloggers that show all the different methods you can make money from a blog or online business. I’m including actual numbers, how they make a living, and why they focus on a particular money-making method.

4) Do you have any financial planner or accountant recommendations?

When searching for the best financial planner and accountant, you want someone who is knowledgeable about the online space as well as what it means to be a small business owner.

For bookkeeping and accounting needs, I always point people to the FreshBooks Accountant map. I use FreshBooks for my bookkeeping and invoicing needs and am able to give my bookkeeper access to my monthly reports.

My financial planner is part of the XY Planning Network and is my go-to resource for any online entrepreneur. These are not your fathers’ financial planners, as they are young go-getters just like us. They run virtual planning firms, so they’re able to give advice and problem solve from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection.

Do you have any questions for Carrie? Or any financial advice of your own? Let’s talk in the comments. 

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