By Maddie Jostol
We talk a lot about making your brokerage more profitable, but it would be silly if we didn’t touch on the role that agent finances make on a brokerages’ success. How? Let’s quickly break it down: you know you need to retain more agents, agents are always searching for higher commissions, and many agents often struggle to run their business efficiently. Yes, the more smoothly an agent operates their business, the more money they make, and the happier they’ll be, resulting in them wanting to stay at and promote your brokerage. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it’s not.
Here’s the bottom line: offer resources and recommendations that will help your agents run their business more effectively and it will pay off. The beauty of this is that it often takes very little (if any) time or funding from your brokerage. This can come in many different forms, such as specialized training, sphere selling education, marketing tools and resources, or assistance with tax filing.
Take accounting, for example (an area that many real estate agents struggle with). Too often, we hear the stories of the shoebox full of receipts or unorganized spreadsheets tracking expenses. The truth is, these practices result in a huge loss when it comes time to file taxes. All of the potential tax deductions that could’ve saved some serious cash are, instead, a blow to the wallet.
For a real estate agent, this is a big deal. It’s vital that they have a profitable, sustainable business in order to stick with the brokerage they know and love. When we came across QuickBooks Self-Employed, we instantly knew it was the perfect solution to these pain points. It’s an inexpensive, easy-to-use, reliable accounting solution built for independent contractors that saves agents time and money ($4,340/year on average, to be exact).
It made us wonder: why aren’t more brokerages recommending solutions like this to their agents? It costs the brokerage nothing to make these resources known, yet they often aren’t offering support outside of the standard.
Sure, educating your agents about tools like QuickBooks Self-Employed might not seem to benefit your business at the surface level, but remember that successful agents make successful brokerages. QuickBooks Self-Employed makes agents more efficient and helps them retain more of the money they make. Remember what we said about happy, money-making agents effecting your bottom line?
Provide your agents with what they need to be successful and you’ll find your brokerage more successful in turn.
Interested in learning more about QuickBooks Self-Employed? Agents can get QuickBooks Self-Employed for just $5/month. Take advantage of our exclusive discount here.
By Maddie Jostol
As an independent contractor, you’re running your own business – and you experience all of the perks and challenges that come with that. Tax season isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s particularly frustrating as a 1099 independent contractor.
We all experience the same thing year over year. Tax season arrives, and it’s all you can do to pull everything together to file, let alone do it in a way that will save you money. You work through the endless forms, attempting to find all of the information you need. You get to the part where you need to fill in your Schedule C deductions… and… nothing. Another year went by and you don’t have the necessary documentation to deduct most of your business expenses. “Oh well” you think to yourself, “it’s not worth the time anyway.”
Here’s the deal: real estate agents are losing serious cash by neglecting to take advantage of available deductions.
The truth is, it’s incredibly time consuming to track your expenses, mileage, and deductions all year-round. And guess what? It isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you start early in the year. Below are a few things you can do to help yourself survive tax season as an independent contractor.
1. Know what deductions you should be looking out for.
The first step is knowing what deductions are available to you – and there are more than you might think. Things like your home office or software subscriptions are deductible expenses that you shouldn’t let slip through the cracks. Know what you should be looking out for, so you can get a system in place to track them year-round.
For a comprehensive list of deductions and information about each, click here to download our Guide to Stress-Free Taxes for Agents.
2. Track your expenses as they happen.
Receipts are every independent contractor’s worst enemy. Paper or digital, they’re a pain to keep track of and they’re difficult to organize when it comes time to file those taxes.
Consider a simple personal accounting system like QuickBooks Self-Employed. This app lets you snap a pic of a receipt from directly within the app and it automatically categorizes and stores that receipt. It then matches the receipt with the expense when it comes through as a bank charge. When it comes time to file, all of those business expenses have been tracked, categorized for your Schedule C, and documented appropriately. You can officially say goodbye to that mismanaged shoebox of receipts.
Mileage tracking is one you definitely won’t want to miss. You’re always on the go. Some days it feels like you live in your car – you’re running errands before an open house, picking up signage, meeting with clients, and having coffee with prospective clients.
When you have the QuickBooks Self-Employed app, it tracks your mileage every time you get in your car (seriously!). You can then go into your app, view your recent trips, and swipe left or swipe right to designate those trips as business or personal. Yes, it can be that easy (we didn’t believe it until we tried it either). Easier than a dating app, even.
3. Don’t do it alone.
Get a reliable system in place. As much as we’d like to do it all ourselves, the reality is it takes time and energy that we’d rather put into closing sales. At the same time, there are thousands of dollars to be saved by efficiently managing your business finances. When you get technology on your side, it takes away the weight and frustration of accounting and tax filing.
The best part of this is that you don’t need a complex, expensive system, you just need one that is designed for 1099 independent contractors. That’s the key. Use an accounting system that fits your unique needs as a realtor and helps you run your business more smoothly.
Want to give QuickBooks Self-Employed a try? We’re offering 50% off your first 12 months (that makes it just $5/month!). Click here to try it out!
By Maddie Jostol
Taxes are a pain. Real estate agents face unique challenges as independent contractors because you’re running your own small business. This makes taxes an even bigger pain.
It’s really common for agents to miss out on deductions because the tax filing process is so time consuming and frustrating. Especially when you file on a quarterly basis, the accounting responsibilities of running your small business start to take over. Have you ever thought about how much savings you’re missing out on because you didn’t take full advantage of the deductions available to you?
A few of the many deductions to look out for:
– Mileage tracking
– Business-related technology subscription fees
– Meals and entertainment when you meet with clients
– Home office (or desk fees)
We’re going to focus on mileage tracking because that seems to be a common one for agents to miss out on. We understand why… it’s a huge annoyance to write down your mileage and then remember what that trip was for later on. We all end up with endless images of our car dashboard on our phone. That’s not exactly what you want to see as you’re scrolling through photos of your niece’s soccer game last weekend. When it comes time to file your taxes, it isn’t even worth trying to sift through pictures and records of trips you took for business. That means you’re missing out on some hefty deductions, though.
The good news? There’s a better way. We came across QuickBooks Self-Employed a few months back and realized it’s the perfect tool for busy agents. It’s an accounting tool built specifically for independent contractors, so it tracks your mileage for you so you don’t miss out on any deductions. Tracking your mileage and filing your taxes has never been easier… trust us.
When you have QuickBooks Self-Employed downloaded on your smartphone, it will track your trip every time you drive (yes, it knows when you’re in the car). Go into your app, scan your recent trips, and simply swipe left for business or right for personal. QuickBooks Self-Employed will categorize those expenses accordingly, making tax filing a piece of cake.
It also tracks and categorizes your expenses, making filing Schedule C deductions easy, you can also snap a photo and file away receipts, and see a snapshot of your business finances at any time.
Want to try out QuickBooks Self-Employed? Users are finding an average of $4,340 in tax savings per year. Since they’re a partner of ours, we’re offering you 50% off your first year. Click here for more details and to get set up!
You can also find out more about QuickBooks Self-Employed below:
By Tiana Baur
Every single tax deduction you are or are not allowed to take is impossible to know without a helping hand. If you aren’t utilizing an accounting or tax management system, it means you’re losing a lot of money. And by a lot we mean thousands of dollars that could be in your pocket instead. Avoid overpaying on your quarterly and year end taxes with these tips:
1. Mileage – over $7,000 in deductions
You drive a lot, spending your days driving between properties, appointments and shuttling your clients. Sometimes you probably feel like a glorified Uber driver. How do you determine whether to go with the standard mileage deduction or track all your auto-related expenses?
For those who drive more than 10,000 miles per year, the IRS requires you to keep a detailed log in order to claim this deduction. It needs to include date, time, mileage and purpose of the trip. Do you use an app to track all of this? Even if the answer is yes, there’s a better app out there. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a tool that helps users track an average of $7,393 in mileage deductions per year. It automatically captures everything you need with the click of a button.
2. Meals and fun – save over $4,000 a year
You can deduct meals as a business expense in two forms: 1.) When you are travelling on business and 2.) When you are dining with clients or with other professionals for the purpose of conducting business or generating referral business. With these, you’re allowed to deduct 50 percent of your total expense, which includes tax plus tip for the meal.
Many agents save receipts in boxes and haphazardly enter them into spreadsheets or give them to an accountant later, but this leads to loss of money. QBSE streamlines this process. Simply snap a photo of your receipt with your QBSE smartphone app to digitally store it with your transactions. This process helps users save an average of $4,340 per year.
3. Marketing and ad spend
Online and social media advertising costs are quickly becoming a big part of agent spend. Agents are expected to do more for their listings than they ever have before and they need the tools to effectively do it. Did you know that production costs like writing and design fees are also deductible? This includes website design and hosting fees, search engine marketing, pay per click advertising, video production, and any other IT-related costs.
4. Home office or space
Do you have a home office or a dedicated space to work? If you do, you’re eligible for a home office deduction, even if you also have office space at your broker’s office — unless you’re deducting desk fees already.
5. Desk Fees
Your desk fees are deductible regardless of your brokerage. With QBSE, whenever you pay that desk fee, you can set a rule to automatically categorize this expense. This however is only an option if you aren’t already doing the home office deduction.
6. Big purchases
Stationary, photocopies, and any other consumables needed to run your business are deductible. The ones you need to make sure you deduct are the big ones: laptops, phones, furniture, copiers, etc.
7. Fees, Licenses, etc.
Annual fees are common costs of doing business and are deductible. In real estate, that means your state license renewal, professional memberships, and MLS dues. Also, you can deduct real estate taxes necessary for your business, but not self-employment taxes.
8. Education and travel
Given rapid industry change, continuing education is imperative. It’s also a requirement in most states. If you need to travel to attend an event or meet with a coach, make sure to track all the information correctly to ensure that you’re compliant with the IRS. One way to do that is by linking your banking accounts with QBSE. As soon as you incur an expense associated with travel, tap a button to categorize it in one of the IRS approved categories.
9. Tools and services
Any software needed to run your business is fully deductible, including subscription services. Products such as QuickBooks Self-Employed not only help you automatically track your expenses and mileage, but may be fully deducted as well.
Get started with QBSE today and start saving bundles of cash!
We have a new company to add to our best-in-class tools and services list! This time, the goal in mind is to help agents retain more of their hard-earned cash. QuickBooks Self-Employed puts the power back into the independent contractor’s pockets!
QuickBooks Self-Employed helps freelancers and independent contractors stay prepped for tax time––from separating business and personal expenses, to identifying Schedule C deductions. York Baur, CEO of Moxi Works said, “Moxi Works is all about helping brokerages and their agents make their business more profitable. Intuits QuickBooks Self-Employed is proven to save agents thousands of dollars on taxes, so this partnership will put a lot of money back into agents’ pockets.”
According to Intuit, 77% of all real estate agents don’t feel extremely confident about managing their finances. Today, agents are burdened by a variety of pain points, such as:
- Taxes: Quarterly and annual tax obligations
- Time: It’s the only thing agent’s control, and they want to save as much of it as possible, while using it wisely
- Thought Leaders: Agents are becoming more digitally savvy & are looking for brokers who are just as updated
- Cash flow: Inconsistent income but consistent expenses
- Visibility: Agents want an easy solution to know how much they really made after each sale
- Growth: Agents straddle the line between consumer & small business
QuickBooks Self-Employed includes a variety of exciting and extremely useful features, including Money Insights, Mileage Tracker, Receipt Snap, and Auto Expense. Here’s what they look like:
Money insights organizes accounts to show the agent’s income and expenses. This connects all accounts to organize the agent’s business finances in one place. QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically tracks and categorizes transactions as they come in. Agents can instantly see a complete picture of their business finances so they can plan for what’s next.
Mileage tracker automatically tracks mileage and allows users easy categorization — creating an increase in potential mileage deductions. Agents’ mileage will be automatically tracked and trips can be categorized as business or personal with a swipe. QuickBooks Self-Employed automatically tracks their mileage whenever they begin driving. Every mile they log increases their potential yearly mileage deductions.
Receipt snap allows users to snap a photo of a receipt from the Self-Employed mobile phone app and automatically create a transaction with the receipt attached. If a transaction already exists, receipt snap will automatically attach the receipt to the transaction. Receipt data is auto-extracted and an expense transaction is created for the user. No more sifting through piles of receipts!
Auto-categorization learns how agents runs their business, recommends categories, and allows users to accept transactions with a swipe. Agents can download all of their expenses, and with a swipe can accept them into their books. QuickBooks Self-Employed learns from past actions and automatically recommends categories. Transactions are organized based on IRS categories to save users extra work.
As it stands, 50% of agents save their receipts or use a spreadsheet to track expenses, leading to manual errors and loss of deductions as well as savings. We all know an agent that saves receipts in an old shoe box. The most shocking statistic is that 16% don’t track their expenses at all.
QuickBooks Self-Employed aims to eliminate these pain points, allowing agents to run their finances properly, while saving them precious time and money. Want to try it out? Click here.