Accounting & Bookkeeping Basics #8 - Diane Sanfilippo | Build a Badass Business

Build a Badass Business Podcast #8: Accounting & Bookkeeping Basics

Accounting & Bookkeeping Basics #7 - Diane Sanfilippo | Build a Badass BusinessTopics:

I recently sat down with my good friend Jessica Mishra who happens to be a smarty-pants CPA. Jessica is also a holistic health coach and a registered yoga teacher, so she’s no stranger to running a small business as well as the nuts and bolts of keeping order with all things financial in business. Listen in and then submit any additional questions you have for Jessica via the Build a Badass Business Facebook group. We’ll dive a bit deeper and answer your questions in a future, follow-up episode with Jessica. Enjoy!

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Build a Badass Business: Episode #8: Accounting & Bookkeeping Basics 

Coming to you straight from her basement home office in suburban New Jersey, this is Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s here to teach you how to grow and develop a successful business you love, and how to create raving fans along the way. Here she is, your host: Diane Sanfilippo.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, welcome back to Build a Badass Business podcast. This is episode number 8. Today I’m recording in San Francisco with my very good friend, Jessica Mishra, and we are going to talk all about accounting and bookkeeping.

Jessica Mishra: Yes, how to organize your finances for your small business.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright. I know a lot of you guys listening are either new business owners, you’re getting starting, or maybe you’ve been in business a year or two, and this is a huge question I get all the time about just kind of what’s important to get started with and how to keep track of things and all of that. Jessica is a CPA, who is also a health coach and a yoga teacher, and she pretty much knows what you guys are going through, because she’s done it with her own businesses, and she’s a CPA. I’ll let her tell you a little bit about her background, and then we’ll get into just the meat of a Q&A so that you all feel better prepared to deal with taxes and just keeping your finances in order for the year.

Jessica Mishra: Great! Thanks for having me here today, Diane. I’m really excited to record with you live in person in San Francisco.

Diane Sanfilippo: In this cute little studio that we’re in!

Jessica Mishra: {laughs} In this cute little studio that we’re in. To tell you a little bit about my background, I worked in public accounting for a couple of years. I worked for one of the big 4 firms, and then I went on to work in the private industry for a big utility company, PG&E. When I was there, I decided to pursue a nutrition education, and eventually left and started my health coaching business, which I did for about 3 years.

Through that business, I met a lot of entrepreneurs that were struggling with organizing their finances for their business, and had a lot of questions for me, so I realized that there was an opening to support these people. So I started another business, Beam Financial Group, and that’s helping small business owners get their finances in order through bookkeeping, through financial planning, QuickBooks consulting; so I’m doing all that.

I’m here today to just give you some tips about what you can do to get started, and what things maybe you need to think about tracking so that you’re organized come tax time, and you feel on top of your business, and you can make strong business decisions.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So, Jess and I just had a giant organic salad before this.

Jessica Mishra: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Before this recording.

Jessica Mishra: We know how to go crazy, don’t we?

Diane Sanfilippo: So we’re just party animals. We’re wild. But we were kind of chatting about what kind of information you guys would find useful. I think the very first thing to kind of get started with would be, if you’re starting out brand new, new business, maybe within the last year you started a business. We’re recording this end of February, so it’s kind of tax season now.

Jessica Mishra: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: So people who are just getting started, they’re probably going to have these questions. What are the foundational things that people should know about getting themselves up and going, just starting out?

Jessica Mishra: Basics.

Diane Sanfilippo: Just very basics, yeah.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah. So the first thing I ever recommend is to set up separate business bank accounts for your business. What a lot of people don’t do, and what I didn’t do the first couple of years in business, is I had everything running through my personal accounts, and it really is good if you can have a business credit card, business bank account, so you can see everything that specifically relates to the business. For some people, maybe they don’t need that, but for a lot of people, just for simplicity sake, have it separate. Go to the bank; it can be the same bank you bank at. Get your separate business accounts, and get your tax identification number. That’s another thing I recommend. You can use your social security number as a sole proprietor, but I like to have a separate number.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Jessica Mishra: So I’m not throwing my social security number around.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve always done that.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah. So tax ID number is really easy to apply for; even your bank can do it for you, or you can just submit a form to the IRS.

Diane Sanfilippo: And that’s just online.

Jessica Mishra: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: I remember, even years ago, sometimes it’s called a federal ID number, or FEIN or whatever.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I actually think for a lot of the payment processors, if you want to get the benefits of having it as a business account, you have to have a business bank account. So like PayPal and maybe Square. So if you’re trying to take payments, you actually need to get the bank account pretty early. I think in the whole process of getting a business started, I think registering your business name, depending, I know that’s by state, right?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, depends on the city.

Diane Sanfilippo: And the city. So that’s number one, but when it comes to the financials, just getting the bank account open, it’s kind of like all you need is to have either a business name or your own name to open it, and you can do that.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, step 1.

Jessica Mishra: Step one; get your business bank accounts. If you switch to QuickBooks later, you may not do that to begin with, it’s going to be so much easier if you have everything linked to your business bank accounts, because otherwise you’ve got PayPal and all your other things you’re taking payments on, and it’s a big mess. So set those up.

Diane Sanfilippo: So is the next thing that people should be saving receipts or tracking everything, or is it that they should get themselves set up with QuickBooks or something like that? I know for me QuickBooks was like, I’m good at a lot of things, but QuickBooks was not one of them!

Jessica Mishra: {laughs} It’s daunting. It’s daunting for a lot of people.

Diane Sanfilippo: I really tried hard. And for me, I just couldn’t get it. But I think my brain just works differently than some peoples. I would be ok, I would probably have an easier time with just a straight up spreadsheet, just managing a spreadsheet, because I’m like, I know what everything is, and subtracting and adding or whatever. But if people can get started with that, do you think that’s going to make their lives a lot easier if they just figure it out early on?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah. I do recommend getting into QuickBooks sooner rather than later. If you’re really new and you’re not making a lot of income, you maybe don’t want to pay the $20-25 that it costs for QuickBooks per month. But if you’re far enough along where you feel comfortable paying that, I say get in sooner rather than later. Because when you have a lot less business going on, or a lot less transactions per month, you can really take the time to learn the system before it gets crazy and you have everything that you’re trying to juggle. So yeah, if you can do it earlier rather than later, definitely recommend that. It does make your life a lot easier. It’s a little bit of a learning curve in the beginning. You have to learn it. It’s not that bad. You’ll learn the specific things that you need for your business in the software, and then it’s repetitive. You’re doing the same thing every month.

Diane Sanfilippo: I actually think it makes sense to do it when you don’t have a lot of business going on.

Jessica Mishra: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because if you have a handful of transactions a month, it will be easier when you have a lot more transactions in a month. These things add up, the expenses add up, whether it’s web hosting, or QuickBooks, or whatever it. I generally thing when people are getting started with business services, if you can swing it, it’s always worth it to just put the thing in place, because then it’s kind of a no brainer. So even if it’s $25 a month. If you’re pulling in $500-1000 a month from your business, it’s probably like, ok.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, because it’s a very small percentage at that point of your income.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright. If they are tracking expenses and income, and they’re getting all that in QuickBooks, what’s next? Should we talk about the kinds of things that are maybe considered business expenses, and then maybe some things that people think are expenses but aren’t, or things they don’t think are but are?

Jessica Mishra: Sure, sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, can I write off my clothes? {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: Can I write off everything I wear to an event?

Jessica Mishra: Like yoga instructors, right? They ask me all the time; I’m wearing all these yoga clothes to class, can I deduct that? No, you can’t because it’s not a set uniform.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ah, darn it!

Jessica Mishra: So, there are some rules.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m going to make this a uniform {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: Yeah! Just make sure the person who hires you requires that you wear lululemon. No, I’m kidding.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: Generally a business expense is any expense that relates to the business. The best rule of thumb is to think, if you ever had to defend yourself to the IRS and say this is a business expense, can you really back that up? If you go to Whole Foods and you buy a ton of food for yourself, and then you try and expense that, can you prove to the IRS that that was really for your business? Maybe, maybe not. If you’re eating that food, all of that, no. That’s for you, that’s personal use. You can’t deduct that.

If you took all that food, made ingredients for a really nice recipe on your blog, probably you can get away with I’d say half of that if you’re going to eat it later. So part of it is for the business, part of it is for you. So you just have to think about, how would I defend this. If an auditor came to me, and I had to explain how it relates; they just want to know that it relates to the business, and you’re not trying to put one over on them. That’s kind of a good rule of thumb, because some of these get grey lines.

Diane Sanfilippo: When we used to do shopping for cookbooks, for example. I would take my kombucha, and all my little random Hail Mary’s, and all the random stuff and put it in a separate bill.

Jessica Mishra: Good.

Diane Sanfilippo: or if it was ingredients that I’m like, this is not for the book, just separate it so it would be separate expense. Sometimes I think it was probably a little more like gray area, but just having those expenses go through and talking to my bookkeeper and saying 20% or 30% of this or that, and for me it is different if I have two books come out, obviously a lot of that went into it.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think what you said, a lot of people listening are probably bloggers or nutritionists, or whatever, and I think there’s always a percentage, and it’s probably easiest to put it on your business card if you’re like, ok this is definitely for recipe development.

Jessica Mishra: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: There’s a good delineation, especially if you’re like, this is the recipe I was developing.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, and you can do kind of like what you did. You do sort of a survey, where you see, ok out of all of my food expenditures, I think 80% of them related to blog prep or my cookbook, and I can back that up just based on, maybe I looked at 1 months’ worth of expenses. And then you can apply that to every month. You don’t have to break everything out. You can say 80% goes, because I based on this study that I did. So as long as you can back it up, and you have documentation, generally if it’s reasonable, they will accept it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And those kinds of expenses are not huge, and are not going to be these crazy red flags.

Jessica Mishra: Right, right. A couple hundred dollars here and there.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what are some things that people don’t realize they could probably be writing off, either all or a percentage of, and how do they figure out what percentage?

Jessica Mishra: Mileage, of course. I think people are aware that they can deduct mileage if you’re using your car for business purposes, you can use the IRS mileage rate, which now it’s gone up. It’s 0.575.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} this is so nerdy.

Jessica Mishra: I know, it’s so nerdy.

Diane Sanfilippo: Use the IRS mileage.

Jessica Mishra: I’ve got my glasses on by the way.

Diane Sanfilippo: This is hilarious. We never talk about this stuff, so it’s really funny.

Jessica Mishra: I know, we don’t, we don’t. So IRS changes their rate every year, and it keeps getting higher. So it’s a pretty decent amount of money. If you’re driving a lot with your car for business purposes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So if you were a personal trainer driving too and from the gym.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And if you’re going to meet nutrition clients or something like that.

Jessica Mishra: Mm-hmm. You can’t take a normal commute. So if it’s like you commuting to work, just like you would in a corporate setting.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, ok.

Jessica Mishra: You can’t take the commute. But if you’re driving around for any other purpose, or you’re traveling to a workshop or anything like that, you just track the mileage, make sure you have a mileage log, and then you multiply the mileage times that IRS rate. Which, it adds up. It’s a decent amount. Because it’s covering the wear and tear on your car, gas, and insurance, and all that.

Diane Sanfilippo: So if you do that, can you then also not write off the gas?

Jessica Mishra: No, that includes the gas.

Diane Sanfilippo: So you drove 4 hours each way to teach a seminar, which in my life I’ve definitely done that. I actually, in the past I don’t think I’ve ever done the mileage calculation.

Jessica Mishra: Ok. You just took the gas?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, like the expenses that way. This was longer in the past, because I haven’t done that for several years. But does it generally work out better for people.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, it works out better to use the mileage rate, because they are factoring in depreciation of the car, and wear and tear on the car. You get a little more than just gas and other stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, so that’s a good one. So what else do people not think of to write off, usually?

Jessica Mishra: Home office expense is another one that either people don’t know they can take it or they don’t quite understand what to be tracking. The calculation is pretty simple, I won’t go into it here. But what you need to at least be tracking for your accountant to calculate it is all the costs related to your home. If you’re renting, it’s your rent, it’s your utilities, if you get the apartment cleaned it’s cleaning costs, any repairs. If it’s a house, it’s your depreciation. So you basically track all the expenses for the whole house, and then you’re going to calculate the percentage of space that your home office takes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like the square footage.

Jessica Mishra: The square footage, right, as a percentage of the total square footage, and then you apply that to all those costs you’ve been tracking. So basically you just need to know that you track all those costs, and you’ll need to tell your accountant the square footage of your office. And just something to be careful of with home office; it has to be a dedicated space. This is if the IRS were to audit you. They’re going to come in, and they want to see that it’s an actual office.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} If they came into my home, they would see that my “dining room” is actually a studio. There’s no dining table in there. It’s all props. We don’t eat in there; it’s a photo studio.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, so that works, right? Because that is dedicated, you’re not eating in there. If it’s a dual purpose space, that doesn’t count.

Diane Sanfilippo: We never eat in there. There’s no table.

Jessica Mishra: It has to be only for business. So then as long as that’s the case, you can measure that space and that’s how you take the percentage.

Diane Sanfilippo: Cool.

Jessica Mishra: So good to be tracking that.

Diane Sanfilippo: That could add up really quickly too, like if you live in San Francisco, that’s one thing.

Jessica Mishra: Oh yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean for me, it’s the mortgage and all of the heating and cooling and all that.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff for you. Let’s see, what was another one I was going to mention. If you are a sole proprietor, or a small business owner, you can deduct your health insurance.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hmm.

Jessica Mishra: And you know that’s expensive now. Whatever your health insurance cost is, that’s deductible. Just a note; it’s not part of your business deductions, it’s an above the line deduction, which you don’t really need to understand what that means.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m looking at her like, a what?

Jessica Mishra: You can deduct it, but it’s not included in the business. But it is deductible. So just know that you need to tell your accountant, I do pay for my health insurance. Please make sure you take this deduction for me. And if you have a lot of medical expenses every year, there’s a cutoff as to when you can take the deduction. But I tell everyone, if you’re not sure about, just track all your medical costs. That can be doctor’s visits, dentists, contacts, glasses, supplements, stuff like that. Track it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Supplements? I feel like a lot of people listening probably have a naturopath and supplements and all of that.

Jessica Mishra: I think there might be a grey line on the supplements, so don’t quote me on that. I think it might have to come from an M.D.

Diane Sanfilippo: Practitioner.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah. We all know that’s silly, but yeah. It might have to fit a certain requirement. But anyway, track all your medical, whatever you think might be medical costs, turn it over to your accountant. They can tell you whether you get the deduction. But it could be a possible deduction for you, especially if it’s higher.

Diane Sanfilippo: What about, and this seems kind of basic but, personal computers and things like that. Or for me, for example, and for anyone listening. I have a bookkeeper for sure. I’ve been running a business for a long time, and there’s a lot of people kind of on my team, so I’m asking for all of your information mostly, but I think its good information to have. You know, buy a laptop, obviously there’s a small amount of personal use, but I kind of wouldn’t buy the new one if it were just for personal.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: There’s no way I’d need a new one every couple of years. And then wifi in the house, for example, if you’re working for home. Is that with your; obviously the wifi seems like a home percentage you would use for the office?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: But what about equipment and things like that.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, if you’re buying any major equipment, it could be a laptop, it could be furniture for your office. Anything, well it’s all deductible, but the question is whether it’s an expense or an asset. And if it’s any item, general rule, over $500, so probably like a Mac laptop would be over $500. Not probably, definitely.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes. {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: {laughs} We all know that. So that would be considered an asset, and an asset is depreciated over the useful life. So basically, why this is important to you, you need to track all your assets on a separate spreadsheet or whatever, write it down, email it to your accountant. They’ll be calculating the depreciation for you. But you do get the deduction, you just deduct it over time versus expensing the whole amount.

Diane Sanfilippo: Gotcha.

Jessica Mishra: Does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it does.

Jessica Mishra: Ok. So yeah, write down all your assets on a sheet. All your information; when you bought it, how much it cost, what it is, and how long you think it’s going to last.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, if someone is, let’s say they’re 1-2 years into their business and they’re earning enough money where now they’re like, ok I can easily spend the $25 on QuickBooks. Or, I got to the point where basically {laughs} we were joking, I’m good at a lot of things, and paying my bills outside of my personal stuff, once I got past paying my own credit card and having one assistant. As soon as I had 2 people I had to pay and deal with invoices from 2 people, I was like, oh shoot. I’m not handling this very well. So I was like, I need to hire someone. What do you see as that breaking point when someone needs to either hire a bookkeeper who’s working either full time, or I know what you do is kind of between a full time bookkeeper maybe and it’s not just like once in a blue moon you talk to people. Where is that line for people that you see?

Jessica Mishra: So if you’re starting to think, there’s just too much going on. Maybe you have a couple of employees, maybe you’re day to day tracking has become overwhelming, and you feel like you’re being pulled away from your core business a lot to do these activities and you’re not liking it. You want to focus on the core business. You want to be growing that business. You want to look at the cost; of course you want to be comfortable with it. You don’t want to be; say you’re pulling in $2000 a month, and then you’re paying $500 for a bookkeeper? No. You don’t want to put yourself in that situation.

Diane Sanfilippo: What do you; is there a percentage number that you think is comfortable for people? Or it’s going to vary a lot?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, it should be at least in the single digits, I would say. Maybe 2-5% of your income is just cost for a bookkeeper, that will vary. At the very least just feel comfortable with it. I’m fine with this money going out the door, it’s worth it to me, and I think I’m going to be able to, if I take that time away and focus on my core business, I can grow. Like what you were saying to me; I can earn money to pay for that, basically, and then some.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Jessica Mishra: So it’s more important that I be focusing on my income earning than actually the financial stuff. And the expert, the bookkeeper is going to do it so much faster than any business owner having to learn the whole process.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Jessica Mishra: Because that’s their job.

Diane Sanfilippo: 5-10 hours for us is like 1 hour for them.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah!

Diane Sanfilippo: Because we’re sitting there like…

Jessica Mishra: You’re having to look stuff up, and what’s this tax law.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Jessica Mishra: This person is an expert, they do it in their sleep. So yeah, be comfortable with the price. But when you’re ready for it, I think it’s a good idea. Because you’re not ever going to be a financial expert. Nor should you be.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, what are different types of bookkeepers, accountants, consultants, all of that. If somebody is like, ok I’m ready for some help. I don’t know what kind of help, what level. What are the different options that are generally out there.

Jessica Mishra: So I think the first step, what a lot of people do, they hire either an admin or a virtual assistant to be doing the data entry. So that’s just the day to day, these are all the expenses I’m incurring. You enter it into QuickBooks for me. Or you track it on a spreadsheet, whatever. That’s a very simple task. They’re just basically saying what each expense is and recording it into the system.

So if you have someone like that, it’s easy to do that. They’re not being paid that much per hour. And then you can hire a bookkeeper to do more of the overview. So they’re coming in at month end and they’re looking at, they’re reviewing your bank statements, making sure everything matches, and they’re doing any adjustment entries if there’s any mistakes they catch. And they might be advising on, well for tax considerations you might want to be thinking about this. So they’re spending 1-2 hours. So you’re not hiring them for that much time.

As you grow, you might want the bookkeeper to be doing everything, you want their expertise to do all the data entry and all the review, one stop shop. So I think those are sort of the different tiers. If you can get away with having an admin or a virtual assistant to do the data entry, do that. Save yourself some money.

Diane Sanfilippo: I feel like when you’re new, too, when it’s new for you, having an admin look at that stuff where, if they know a little bit more about your business to start out, it’s easier for them to be like, oh I know what MailChimp is, for example, and they can say ok it’s this type of expense.

Jessica Mishra: I know it’s a promotional cost.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, versus Office Max or whatever, or Staples or whichever one is still in business. That seems to make sense. And that is kind of the first step of what takes a lot of time for the business owner. And I’m definitely someone, when I give advice to people on what to spend on, like we were talking about over dinner, basically as soon as I have the money to pay someone comfortable. It’s not straining me to pay someone else to do something, I’m very quick to be like, you’re an expert at this, I recognize that, and I know the time it’s going to take me, it’s not worth my time. But it’s worth my money, and then like you said, spend my time earning money doing what I’m better at.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And also, I think some business owners get a little trapped in wanting to do everything themselves.

Jessica Mishra: I know.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which I think in the beginning I think it’s really valuable to know how to do as much as possible.

Jessica Mishra: Yes, agree.

Diane Sanfilippo: Just in case you get to a place where you can’t afford it.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, and you want to understand it. You’re supervising people, you want to know.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, anything in your business. You should know how to put up a blog post on your blog, you should know how to do all of that, and then if one day you don’t do it all, at least if things all shut down, you’d be ok. You could figure it out.

Jessica Mishra: In the apocalypse, you could handle it. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, if something happens. {laughs} But I think that’s part of it; one of the cool things I think about growing a business is being able to pay other people, and keep their business going. So that for me is something that I really value, also with bringing people onto my team or whatever. I’m like, great I can pay this person to do what they’re great at. We keep the economy going, and everything is good.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, definitely.

Diane Sanfilippo: And it’s actually, even if the first few months you feel like, I’m not sure. As long as you’re not not eating, and totally strained from it, I feel like it’s always going to give you that extra space, so the first couple of month’s people are apprehensive about spending. Maybe it’s a few hundred dollars in that month, they’re apprehensive. But I’ve never had somebody say to me, I really shouldn’t have hired that assistant. Or I really shouldn’t have hired that bookkeeper.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: No one has ever said that. Because as soon as they let that money go, the time comes back and they can put it into their business.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, totally. I mean, you could do a simple calculation; this is how much I think I make per hour can generate, this is how much I’m paying, and this is how much time I’ve freed up. So with all this time I’ve freed up…

Diane Sanfilippo: And then also, I feel like it also drives you to be more productive with those couple of hours. Where you’re like, ok, I used to spend 2 hours a week on my own bookkeeping. Now I have 2 hours a week, I should spend it on something that’s going to generate income in a different way.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Cool. Alright, well what other things do you see, now that you, I know you’re starting to work with more people with the new business of being financial, which is awesome. I always have entrepreneurial friends. I’m like, oh I guess my friends are starting new businesses all the time.

Jessica Mishra: There they are, starting businesses again.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, which I love, because I’m like, what are you doing now? Which is what people used to always say to me. What’s new with you Diane? I can’t assume I know what you’re doing anymore, so. {laughs} I didn’t know you were going to be doing this, and I’m like, oh, my friend started a new business. But what are you mostly doing, and what kinds of people are you generally working with?

Jessica Mishra: I am kind of doing both what we were talking about with bookkeeping; I can support people to do it on their own, so I do QuickBooks consulting, if you want to learn QuickBooks and you want to manage it yourself, I will do a couple sessions with you. I will teach you how to use this system, and then you go with it. I have other clients that are like, you know what, I don’t want to touch it. I want you to do it, and then tell me what’s going on with my business. Advise me on it.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: So I do that as well. I do the full service bookkeeping, and I send them reports, and I talk to them about their business as well. Since I have a CPA background, I’m also advising them on business decisions. Which is a step further than a bookkeeper; I’m also saying, what can we do with your business? How can we increase your income? How can we cut back your expenses? Let’s help you grow. So I do that. And then I do business coaching, financial consulting, people that are just not sure how to set up their business, or their financial record keeping, or whatever. So I’m doing all of that now. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Nerdy stuff.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, but it’s good. I mean, a lot of my clients are very creatively minded. One thing I hear a lot is, I don’t think this way. I don’t think about finances. But once they learn it, it’s really not that hard for them. They just need someone to sit down and explain it to them.

Diane Sanfilippo: I only think about adding. {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: Yeah {laughs} But it’s something, I feel like a lot of people tell themselves that. They’re like, I can’t do this, I can’t do this, and they push it under the rug and they don’t deal with their finances, and then it mounts up.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Jessica Mishra: Know that you can do it. You just need to take little chunks at it. It may not be your favorite thing to do.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: But if you just take little chunks, and set up the system early, learn QuickBooks early or at least be tracking things clearly, it’s really not that bad if you do little by little.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Jessica Mishra: It’s just when it mounts up that people get overwhelmed.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was really good, when I first started. I don’t know; I can’t ever remember where I’ve told which version of my story, but the financial story. When I left my job, it must have 2010; like April 2010. So we’re not even 5 years from that. I moved from an apartment that cost me, at the time, $2000 a month, which now they’re renting it for $2795.

Jessica Mishra: Ugh.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m like, you’re ridiculous. It was $2000 a month, and I was like, well I’m going to quit my job. I was making 6 figures doing podunk work. I was pushing pixels around on a screen. I was over qualified for what I was doing, it was crazy. But they paid great money, so it was hard to leave that. But eventually I was like, my soul is dying.

Jessica Mishra: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: I can’t go back. I did as much as I could to bring in the organic food, and make it my little world, and then I was like, I just can’t go there anymore. I didn’t care how much it was paying, it’s not worth it. So I went from spending $2000 a month to a studio that cost $1200. That was a huge reduction in my expenses. And it took, it probably took me between 3 and 6 months. I think by 6 months I was no longer tapping into savings from obviously what I had put aside from that job. I wasn’t using QuickBooks, but I was using a spreadsheet because I was tracking everything, because I was like, I need to know how much is coming in.

Jessica Mishra: I think you used to use Mint or something, right?

Diane Sanfilippo: I was using Mint, which I feel people can probably, can they connect Mint with QuickBooks?

Jessica Mishra: I think you might be able to.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mint was this online budgeting thing that it pulls in all your accounts. I was definitely, I was not really great at budgeting. I wanted to be, I never spent more money than I had.

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was very good at just, I don’t have money for this. But I’ve never really had lofty desires of things to spend my money on, besides $99 lululemon pants and I was working there for a while, so I had a discount for a while {laughs}.

Jessica Mishra: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I remember I was really good about it then, I just was not great about it. And then I did get to a point where, like you said, as soon as I had more to be keeping track of, I did get help, because for me, as a creative, it was not my thing. And I’m super quick to just own up to when I’m not great at something. I’m just going to hire this person, and they’re going to help me. So I think it’s useful to know that, and I think it’s probably helpful for people to hear me say that, because for as much as I do with my business, keeping the books, I’m the worst. I’m the worst at paying bills. I’m the worst at mail that comes in. A check comes in, and I’m like, oh, ok, I guess I should deposit that. {laughs}

Jessica Mishra: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Scott is like, you are ridiculous. Can you just take this to the bank. I’m like, ok. But, yeah, I think it’s great for people to know that there are resources. Obviously, you work with people in California, but you also work with people anywhere in the country, right?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So you can do that remotely.

Jessica Mishra: Right, with QuickBooks, with any of the consulting, I use a screen share software, so we can pull up your QuickBooks and we can work in it right there together on the screen.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, people wanting to get in touch with you, we’ll link to some things or you can check out, what’s the website?

Jessica Mishra:

Diane Sanfilippo: And if someone is looking for someone in their local area, because they want to go in, what are some things that people can look for? Because obviously, you know, I’m going to recommend that people contact you but there’s plenty of folks out there to help, and at some point you’re going to have to turn people away because I’m sure, everyone is going to be calling you {laughs}. But, there are local folks, and I have local people right by me because sometimes I just need to go sit down with them. Where should people look, what kind of qualifications? You know, how can they figure out.

Jessica Mishra: So there’s a couple of things if you’re looking for tax prep as well, you’re going to want to find, I recommend working with a CPA. You don’t have to, you can work with just an accountant that’s familiar with tax law. But I like to go the next step and look for a CPA. I recommend looking for a CPA that’s familiar with small businesses.

If they know your industry, great; double bonus. But at least know small businesses and be willing to work with you, and give you a little more support. Because there are some accountants that will leave you hanging, and they’re not calling you back, and if you have questions they’re not supporting you. So just make sure they have some sort of process in place to be able to support you.

You can check and make sure they’re a CPA; usually in the state you can go to the board of accountancy and look them up, and just make sure their license is active. That’s sort of a double check thing. And then go off referral. Go off someone who has enjoyed working with their accountant.

If you’re looking for QuickBooks support in your area, then you can go onto, I’m not sure exactly how to get to it off hand, but it’s Intuit QuickBooks, there’s a pro adviser site, and you can search for a pro adviser in your area. That’s what I am, and it will show you one in the area, and just enter your zip code.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. Before this accountant, when I was here in California, I remember one that all of my friends used because they did a great job, so referrals are definitely helpful. I know that at least one of the women on my team has hired Jessica to help her out, so it’s kind of a good testimonial there. I think, obviously, I always recommend my friends who I think are trustworthy and smart and really good at what they do. So if you guys want to get in touch with Jess or just look for somebody local, either way. I totally just want to let you know that she’s available, and I think you have a Facebook page, too for the business?

Jessica Mishra: I do, yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So if you just have some basic questions, she’s a good resource. She’ll probably do her best to get back to you quickly, but a good resource there so you can check out what she’s doing. It’s Beam Financial?

Jessica Mishra: its Beam Financial Group is the Facebook page. I’m also Beaming with Health, that’s my health page.

Diane Sanfilippo: Beaming with Health!

Jessica Mishra: So you can connect with me either way.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve tagged her on some stuff; you guys can follow her on Instagram, Beaming With Health, right?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah, @beamingwithhealth. That’s right.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome, well thank you for joining me in the little studio.

Jessica Mishra: Thanks for having me. This was awesome! It’s quite toasty in here {laughs}.

Diane Sanfilippo: is it getting warm?

Jessica Mishra: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was really, had a chill today, Starbucks decided to turn the air conditioning way up so I came back to the little air B&B studio that I have, and I was like, I’m going to turn this little space heater on.

Jessica Mishra: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright guys. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time. I don’t remember the little fancy quote I was giving you guys to close out, so I’ll just catch you next time.

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