Stefanie Hahn is the vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS® in Collegeville, Pa. Visit her Web site: www.StefanieHahn.com.
I Made How Much?!
Need help managing your real estate business finances? Here are 5 app recommendations.
September 9, 2013
We are more than halfway through 2013. How is business? Are you making more money this year than last? Do you even know? Did you promise yourself that you would keep better track of your income and expenses this year and then get overwhelmed with business and put off managing your business finances the first half of this year?
I’m sure some of you are financial wizards and are running your finances the way an independent contractor should. But there are a fair number of us who…well, kind of stink at this part of being in real estate.
Managing your small-business finances seems to be missing from our agent training programs. Sure, we teach a new agent how to figure out how much they want to make each year and how to calculate their average sale price, times commissions, minus fees, but not much beyond that.
There are a great number of tools available to assist you in finance management, expense tracking, deduction calculations, and retirement plans. In this article, I will review five apps to help you manage the financial health of your small business. Many of these apps were made with independent contractors in mind.
Note: The scary part of using one of these apps is that they require entering your bank, credit card, and investment information. If you are not cool with that part, you can stop reading here.
Mint is pretty popular for tracking your personal expenses and works well handling your business ones too. Check out Mint at www.mint.com and get started there (before downloading the app). The app for Mint works on any device, and bonus — it’s free! I know it can be daunting to do, but once you enter all of your accounts on Mint, from credit cards to mortgage and car loans, plus your checking, saving, and investment accounts – you will get a true and clear picture of your money. You can set up budgeting and saving goals and watch your progress. Still concerned about security? Mint’s line is this: Bank-level security with 24/7 protection and no one (even you) can move your money anywhere out, in, or sideways.
Expensify is a super slick tool to manage your everyday expenses. Take a photo of your receipt or invoice and upload it instantly. Expensify will track your expenses and categorize everything based on your criteria. Simple, fast, and free. Learn more about Expensify here: www.expensify.com
OutRight (Apple only)
“Outright dramatically streamlines the work involved with running a small business by helping entrepreneurs pay the right taxes, organize their income and expenses, and keep their businesses on track. We help small businesses thrive in our connected world.”
The mission statement of OutRight is one that resonates with any small-business owner — particularly real estate practitioners. Who has time to figure this stuff out? OutRight wants to be in your corner. Take a video tour here. Get more information or sign up at www.outright.com (the basic account is free; if you need more, try OutRight Plus for $9.95/month). Fun fact: OutRight is owned by GoDaddy.
RetirePlan (iPad only)
Do REALTORS® ever retire? Not if they don’t plan for it! No more excuses, kids. Let’s do this…with the free RetirePlan app you can finally answer those questions that you have been putting off. How much money will I need to retire? What do I need to do on a monthly basis to get there? How long will that money last? The versatility of this app is second to none – you can add all of the “what ifs” that you can think of to see your possible outcomes. Check out this fabulous planning tool and see if your current plan will work. For more on how this app works, check out the author’s Web site here: https://sites.google.com/site/retireplanapp
Zoho (not an app, but still great)
Zoho is one of my personal favorites and does way more than just help you to manage your expenses. I’m convinced that Zoho will change the life of any small-business owner. Prepare to be amazed by all this company has to offer you – some of it for free, some of it for a fair price. The Books app of Zoho is one more great option to manage your real estate business finances. Check out Zoho and all they have to offer at www.zoho.com. Additional helpful tools from Zoho fall under three categories: business, productivity, and collaboration applications – including a CRM, document suite, online meeting tools, and even a recruiting platform. Zoho Books will cost you $24 per month.
For many of us, the accounting part of our real estate business can be scary and, frankly, a pain. Take the time to set up one of these tools and let the application do the work for you. Because, let’s face it, you need to get to work on finding your next listing.