Now that the hustle and bustle of another tax season is behind us, it’s time to hunker down for a new one. While some of you may financially fly by the seat of your pants, others like to prepare. No matter which group you fall into, check out our 4 Houston bookkeeper tips for a better 2018.
1. Check Your Credit Score/ Get a Credit Report
If you haven’t checked your credit score recently, doing so now can save you headaches down the line. Your credit report is used for many things from getting a loan to opening an investment account. It is useful to get a score, but there is a better reason. Checking your report allows you to see and address any outstanding debt you may have. This includes for credit cards, loans, and even unpaid medical expenses from years ago.
There are many methods of checking your credit score which include but are not limited to:
- Annual Credit Report – This site allows you to retrieve credit reports from the three big agencies. This includes Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A credit score is not included.
- Experian – This is the site of one of the official and probably the best. It’s because the site is a sort of “no muss, no fuss” stop for credit reports. You can get your report and score, as well as a monthly membership..
- Equifax – Another of the big three, their site is similar to the above. It doesn’t have the ease of use as Experian. Equifax also comes with a mandatory monthly membership.
- TransUnion – With this site, you can get your credit score and report. It also offers a free identity protection plan. However, since there is also a paid plan, the free one may be an easy way to up sell.
- Your Credit Card – Did you know that some credit cards have your score and/or report on request? The Discover is one example and even gives the information to you on your statement. Not sure? Just ask if they will share their data on you, with you.
BONUS HOUSTON BOOKKEEPER TIP: There are also other free and paid options from sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, etc.
If you have an investment account or are looking to start one, you’re in luck. With a better tax plan looming, investments now can pay off big. Not sure what to do? Check out Barron’s Best Brokerage Rankings for 2017. They have tips for the novice investor, long term investors, and best in person service. Two great takeaways from the piece include:
- Trade commissions continue to fall, which means more money for you.
- This is probably due to the increased use and improvements in trading via smart device.
3. Don’t check your stocks regularly
It’s not unusual to see the guy next to you checking their stocks, portfolios, etc. on their phone as if it were a social media feed. Unless your job is directly tied to stocks, do not follow suits. This is because stocks are supposed to be a long term investment. This means they will dip and rise on a daily basis. The overall performance of the stock should trend upward from year to year. All that checking is going to do nothing but give you false highs and lows. This can lead to rash and poor decisions.
4. Get a Scanning App
As a Houston bookkeeper, I see a lot of clients who tend to lose important documents. They swear they had it a minute ago. I advise them to end it all by getting a scanning app for their phone. The apps allow you to take pictures of your receipts, bank statements, etc. You can then find them easily on your phone, even if you have trouble remembering the name of the document. One of the best is Genius Scan. It’s available for the iPhone and Android devices. It allows you to scan with a click and save or export scans as you see fit. It even comes with a great batch scanning feature to save time.
Houston Bookkeeper Help
If you live in Houston and need help preparing for 2018, feel free contact us for assistance.