Accounting and Bookkeeping With PayPal Integration
Starting a successful business is challenging. Entrepreneurs need to focus on their market offering, their competitive positioning, customer service and in addition maintain an eye on the (potentially less interesting) administrative tasks. These include bookkeeping - an area that serves to store up problems if it is not dynamically addressed as transactions flow.
Many 21st century businesses conduct a significant proportion of their transactions online. A significantnumber start life trading via online platforms such as eBay, often taking payment via PayPal. Indeed PayPal is also a prolific payment platform for online transactions conducted directly (i.e. not via eBay), and provides notonly a convenient method of revenue receipt, but also for purchases. PayPal records details of the transaction, the buyer, the seller, the date and value of the transaction. Indeed, more often than not all of the information required to maintain effective bookkeeping.
The temptation is to commence using a simple Excel spreadsheet to record all items of expenditure, expenses and also sales. This has its merits, (e.g. low cost, highly customisable), but necessitates manual entry of information that is otherwise already electronically recorded by PayPal. Manual entry of PayPal transactions can actually avoided by electronically "lifting" the data from PayPal records by exporting (CSV) files from the PayPal account. The authors own experience found thatexporting bulk data over a period of more that a couple of months at a time often resulted in a crash and/or excessive waiting and/or retries on the PayPal site.
There are commercial solutions available that provide accounting/bookkeeping functionality with PayPal integration, although surprisingly we were surprised that few incorporated this functionality. One of the big namesin small business accountancy does have an "add-on" that delivers such integration, though a web search indicates that many users find the package somewhat lacking with regard to an intuitive interface. some vendors will offer a free trial run of their software. There is clear merit in trying before you buy, though some free trials are rather crude demonstration platforms as opposed to a fullproduct trial. Some solutions provide a full hosted service,and can therefore offer a genuine trial of the live software, allowing users to use their real transactional data.
A genuine intuitive user interface can draw users into fullengagement with the free trial and can also integrate with the users PayPal account (granting read only access to transactions). Frankly a very clever move by the bookkeeping company as once a user invests the time inloading their bank and transaction data, the usefulness of the solution can become very apparent, (such that the user may be loathed to write off the investment in time).
Solutions that provide the most useful PayPal integration interrogate the PayPal account to solicit and record not only the gross sales but also the PayPal fees. A hosted service is accessed via secure username and passwordauthentication and some providers provide the additional assurance of emailing a backup of accounts status everyweek. A hosed service also offers the benefit or access to accounts from any web enabled PC, or tablet device.
Utilising a professional bookkeeping/Accounts package can save a lot of time compared to manual bookkeeping and ensures that data is recorded in a manner that accountants are happy to receive. In particular, adoption of a "proper" accounts and bookkeeping system willcertainly assist if the business grows and breaches the VAT threshold.
Whilst there are plenty of accounting packages out there, online business transacting significant trades throughpayment platforms such as PayPal need to accommodate gross versus net sales values and how to account for PayPal fees. A bookkeeping package with PayPal integration can save significant time and avoid manual entry of data that is otherwise already electronically recorded.