6 Free Online Resources for Orange County Businesses

A laptop with Google open and cell phone, symbolic of free online business resources.

Diving into the Orange County business world can be intimidating and overwhelming, and you need to make use of all available online tools and information, which is why we put together this list of 6 free online resources for Orange County businesses. These resources can help you manage all the headaches of running your business as smoothly as possible and hopefully make your life a bit easier.

It’s a wide ranging list containing information pertaining to everything from setting up a business in the OC, to handling taxes, to finding helpful reading material. So check out these 6 great resources and bookmark them for future use. (And good luck with the business!)

Free Online Resource #1: The California Secretary of State (SOS) Website

Without proper knowledge and preparation, the process of setting up a business can be confusing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single online source where you can finish all the business filing requirements. However, the CA Secretary of State’s website can help guide you through the process and offers a wide range of useful resources.

The official website of the California SOS offers various tips, links, and other resources that can assist any business owner across the state. On their Business Entities Section, you will find great online resources regarding almost all documents and forms an Orange Country business needs.

From options for online searches and filings for certificates and copies to tips for filing most business documents, this website covers everything. You can also check the current processing dates for Business Entities, which can help you choose the most suitable method of submission for your needs.

Free Online Resource #3: The IRS2Go App

If you’re going to try to do your business taxes on your own, it’s important to leverage as much help and resources as you can. Thankfully, the official mobile app of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can help. It is available in both English and Spanish and offers a long list of useful features.

The IRS2Go app provides a free and secure way to make online payments directly from your bank account or using a credit or debit card. You can also check your federal income tax refund status using the app, and it will enable you to access the IRS’s free tax software which can help you prepare your taxes. (Hopefully you’ll get them in on time…)

Free Online Resource #4: Federal Tax Refund Tracking

Every year, the IRS has millions of dollars in tax refunds that go undelivered or unclaimed. To avoid this situation, it’s important to track the status of your refund. If you don’t want to download the IRS2Go app, you can use the above link to check the status of your federal tax refund. Or, you could simply call the IRS and get put on hold, which seems a bit less efficient, but to each his own.

The online IRS system is updated once every 24 hours. So, if you have issues, or the information isn’t available yet, don’t give up and keep trying. To track your federal tax refund, you should be prepared: have your social security number, filing status, and the exact dollar amount of your tax refund ready. You will need to enter all of this information to view any updates.

Free Online Resource #5: The U.S. Small Business Administration

The SBA is the only cabinet-level federal agency fully dedicated to helping small businesses start, grow, expand, and even recover. To this end, they provide counseling, capital, and contracting expertise, among other things.  

By using the SBA’s online resources, you can learn how to start, manage, and grow your Orange County business. You can also find SBA-guaranteed business loans or an SBA investor to help fund your business. Not only that, the SBA can also help you find and win small business government contracts.

There is so much more SBA has to offer, so check out their website for more information. (There is a reason the SBA is considered a go-to online resource for small businesses across the US.)

A wall filled with books surrounding a door, symbolic of how much you can learn from our blog!
Reading the My OC Bookkeeper blog is better than reading a wall full of books. For reals. (OK, not really for reals, but it’s very helpful, so we put it on our list of 6 free online resources for Orange County businesses.)

Free Online Resource #6: The My OC Bookkeeper Blog

We understand how challenging it can be to start and run a business in Orange County. That’s why we don’t just offer accounting and bookkeeping services- we’ve also created one of the most informative business and Orange County living blogs in Southern California.

The articles we publish are widely diversified to suit everyone’s unique needs. You can learn about accounting, business, and living in Orange County. To help you choose the best legal structure for your Orange County business, for example, you can read this post on starting a business in the OC.

Our blogs will also introduce you to 5 great free apps for your Orange county business, help you learn everything you need to know about Taxes in CA, find the Best Project Management Apps, or learn about the basics of property management accounting.

So don’t wait, check out our blog today. Actually, strictly speaking you are already here, so welcome. Please take a look around and see if there is anything that might help you or your business.

You might be asking yourself who we are. We’re My OC Bookkeeper. As noted above, we offer bookkeeping, accounting, and business advisory services to great companies all over Southern California. We love working with great local businesses and helping them to reach new heights. So, if you are in need of some outside assistance reach out today and let’s chat. We’re always standing by and would be delighted to help.

Click below to learn a bit more about why companies hire outside help like us!

The 5 Best Free Apps for Orange County Businesses

A monitor with various app icons, symbolic of our list of 5 great free apps.

Nowadays, modern technology plays a vital role in almost every aspect of the business world, both in Orange County and beyond. No matter the size or nature of your business, if you’re not making the most of available technology, you’re likely a step behind the competition. But making the most of modern technology doesn’t necessarily mean paying thousands of dollars in app subscriptions. There are many free apps in the market today that offer valuable benefits for any business. As champions of the OC business community, we want you to thrive – that’s why we’ve put together this list of the 5 best free apps for Orange County businesses. Read on for some great apps that might help your business.

Free App #1: Evernote

Many businesspeople need to remember a million things at once. Unfortunately, that is nearly impossible for most human beings. However, this free app makes it possible. With Evernote, you can store, organize, and share anything you want. From texts to voice notes to web pages, Evernote will help you keep track of everything.

With just a single click, Evernote allows you to transform content into digital notebooks that you can organize as you like and access at will. Come across a website for an obscure product that might help your business in 6 months? Put it in a notebook. Want to add some ideas on how to use it? Put it in. Find another option? You guessed it, put it in the notebook. While you’re at is, throw in some notes from your meeting and a voicemail from your district manager as well. Then, when you’re finally ready to get going on the project you can circle back. It is a great organizational tool optimized for the digital world. If you do a lot of research or have a lot of information to organize, Evernote is for you.

Free App #2: Slack

As a collaboration platform, Slack will help simplify your business communications. It provides a powerful solution for sending and receiving messages, transferring files of all types, and engaging in other forms of collaboration. (It’s also extremely hip, by the way.)

If your team uses Slack, they’ll be able to work together on the same file, with each employee receiving a specific level of access in terms of what they can do. For example, some people may just be able to observe, others may be able to make notes, and others can actually make edits. It also offers excellent integration, storage, and reporting functions, and there’s no need to worry about your privacy – the app uses advanced security standards which encrypt your data both in transit and at rest.

Slack also offers various remote communication options which have become extremely popular as remote work has grown in popularity. From audio/video conferences and online meetings to group chats and digital messaging, Slack has you covered. It’s sort of one stop shopping for collaboration of all kinds. If you need something along those lines, definitely check it out. And if you need a really robust offering, you can always upgrade to one of their paid plans.

Free App #3: Google Drive

When it comes to cloud storage platforms, Google Drive is by far one of the most affordable options. The free plan of Google Drive will give you 15GB of storage space which is quite a lot. But, if you need more space, you can always upgrade to a paid plan.

With Google Drive, you can effortlessly create and share documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, and much more. Multiple members of your team can have access to the same document, which will allow you and your team to collaborate easily. As was the case with Slack, you can grant each user either editing or viewing only access, so you can control who can do what. Of course, only the people you share your files with will have any access at all, and you can access your data anywhere so long as you have an internet connection. (And a computer, of course.)

As is commonly the case, if you need more bells and whistles, just upgrade.

An old school cash register, symbolic of saving money with free apps.
Want to save money? Use free apps. We’re 3 into our list of the 5 best free apps for Orange County businesses. Read on for the last two!

Free App #4: Square

Have you ever failed to close a sale because you don’t offer enough payment options? With the Square app, you’ll never miss out on revenue just because you can’t get paid. Square is a POS (Point of Sale) application that allows you to accept cash, chip cards, contactless cards, and even mobile payments.

That’s not all this app has to offer though. You can also use Square to keep track of your stock and inventory, and at the end of each day, week, or month, Square can generate reports analyzing your sales. With this app, you can also set discounts for customers, receive orders, manage sales disputes, email customers their receipts, and much more.

There a couple small caveats: you’ll need to buy the Square Reader to be able to receive cashless payments, and like all POS systems, there is a processing fee for transactions, but the app itself is both free and quite robust.

Free App #5: Asana

You can forget the hassle of project management with Asana. This free app will help you plan, track, and manage various projects using just one dashboard. It enables you to create and assign tasks, set deadlines, track time, and do everything else related to project management. Basically, it enables you to stay up to date on the status of your projects, plan out your next steps, keep track of how often you meet your deadlines, and perhaps most importantly, avoid forgetting to do something.

If you have a lot going on and want to manage your projects efficiently, Asana is a great way to go. The free version grants access to up to 15 users, and if you want some extra bells and whistles you can always upgrade to the paid version. Oh yes, we nearly forgot – Asana also displays cools unicorns whenever you complete a big task. How’s that for motivation.

When it comes to apps, there is no single solution that suits every business. You can use one or a combination of the apps here. It all depends on your business needs. In the end, the whole point of using an app is to reduce the number of tasks you need to do or enable you to do them in a more efficient or cheaper manner. Hopefully this list of the 5 best free apps for Orange County businesses has helped!

Want to learn even more about apps? Check out this great post on the best project managements for businesses, or the 5 best apps for QuickBooks Online. Or, just check out the best bookkeeping, accounting, and business blog in Southern California.

Who are we? We’re My OC Bookkeeper, the best bookkeeping and business advisory firm in Orange County, CA. We understand the challenges of running a business in Southern California and offer a wide range of bookkeeping and consulting solutions catered to your specific needs. So if you’re in the OC (or SoCal in general) and need some help with the finance side of things, reach out to us today. Let’s do great things together!

Want to learn more about what we do? Click on the surfers to find out!

Seven Tips for New Small Business Owners

A man looks out into the ocean at sunset, perhaps contemplating starting a new business.

Starting a new business can be a daunting task, but there’s nothing we love more than watching entrepreneurs succeed. That’s why we put together this list of seven tips for new small business owners – to help make your lives just a little bit easier, because we want you to be massive successes. (And you might as well learn from the entrepreneurs that came before you, right? No need to reinvent the wheel.)

And there is no shortage of you. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 5.4 million new business applications were filed in 2021. This is a major increase, compared to 4.4 million in 2020. But starting a new small business is one thing, keeping it up and running is a completely different story. You’ll need all the help you can get, and we hope our tips will help you on your journey.

So read on for seven great tips for new small business owners! (And if you need help with the process of actually setting up a business in Orange County, or California in general, or anywhere really, check out this in depth blog post on how to setup a new business.)

Keep Personal Affairs Separate from Your Business

Many new small business owners tend to mix things up. For example, they use their personal bank accounts for business. This is definitely something to avoid. You need to keep everything related to your business separate from your personal life. Open credit and bank accounts exclusively for your business. This way, you will be able to easily trace your business transactions and keep organized financial records.

Identify Your Unique Selling Point (USP)

Do you offer a high-quality service or a unique product? What makes your business stand out from the others? How will the customer benefit from your product or service? All these questions can help you identify the USP of your small business. The USP is the essence of any business, large or small. It is what makes your product or service better than others offered by competitors.

Don’t forget why you went into business in the first place. There must have been a passion or personal need that helped you build your business idea. Use this to find your USP and articulate it clearly to your potential customers. Tell them what value your small business will bring to their life. This is how you attract and persuade people to buy your products and services.

Target a Niche Market

As a small business, you probably have limited resources. So, don’t spread your efforts too thin. Focus on a smaller target group to be able to fulfill their specific needs successfully. You probably can’t afford to target large markets, at least in the beginning, so you may benefit from focusing your efforts and resources on a smaller niche market.

For example, instead of targeting the entire food industry, you can specialize in “under 5 mins meals”. This will help you stand out in the market, keep your marketing and branding budget down, and provide a more unique customer experience. Then, over time, you can start expanding your market scope steadily.

Grow Gradually

When starting a business, you probably dream of it becoming a great success overnight. However, it’s important to keep your plans realistic. Having a successful business requires a lot of time and effort and you need to be patient and persistent.

Be careful, because your business will probably face a lot of ups and downs. So, don’t take success for granted or expand too quickly. Things can easily get out of control, and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed. It’s better to take things slowly. Set regular goals that help your business grow gradually and steadily. Land small customers first, then target larger companies. At each stage, give yourself time to build the required experience and resources for the next phase.

Create a User-Friendly Experience

Do everything you can to simplify and shorten the buying process. Keep in mind that not all customers have the time or patience to fill in long forms or go through multiple steps to purchase a product. So, remove any unnecessary steps. Also, try to offer various payment options to meet different customers’ preferences.

Make sure your website is easy to navigate. Any marketing content you publish must also be clear and simple. In addition, your business must be accessible. The customers should be able to reach you through various methods, like phone, social media, and email.

Sharpen Your Networking Skills

Networking is a crucial part of any successful business, especially if you are just starting out. By attending business networking events, you’ll get to know key players in the field. You’ll also learn about market trends, identify best practices, and open new opportunities.

There is no way to avoid networking events, even if you are an introvert. That’s why you need to work on your business networking skills. Attending these events should not feel like torture. To master networking skills, you can check our top 5 tips here.

A woman lounges in a hot bath, symbolic of new business owners remembering self-care.

Just because you are starting a business doesn’t mean you should forget about work-life balance entirely. Remember to find some time for yourself. Self-care can help new business owners avoid burnout.

Don’t Forget Yourself

Starting your own business requires a lot of time and effort. All the stress and the heavy workload can take a toll on your health and mental wellbeing. That’s why you need to be careful not to lose sight of yourself and your needs.

You are the main asset of your new small business. So, take good care of yourself, just like you are taking good care of the business. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night. Don’t forget to exercise and eat healthy, nutritious meals. Spend some time doing things you love and do your best to keep a reasonable work-life balance.

There you have it. Our seven tips for new small business owners. Hopefully, this will make your life just a little bit easier, and nudge you along on your road to success. Building a new business isn’t easy, and it’s important to take all the help you can get. Here’s to your success!

The road to a successful small business can be full of challenges and obstacles, but we are here to help. At My OC Bookkeeper, we understand the challenges of starting a new business in the Orange County area and can help you each step of the way. From basic monthly bookkeeping services to sophisticated business consulting, we are here to help. Reach out to us today and let’s do great things together.

Want to learn even more about starting a business? (Especially if you are in Orange County, or somewhere in CA.) Take a look at the video guide below, read this step by step guide to starting a business in Orange County, or check out this post on finding out if the name you want for your CA business is available.

5 Networking Tips for Business Owners

A group of professionals surround a table, like you might see at a networking event.

Without the right tools and skills, attending a business networking event can turn into a nightmare for any business owner. That’s why many people try to avoid these events. They think having a strong presence on social media platforms can be enough; however, that’s not the case at all. All of the online platforms combined can’t substitute for what networking brings to the table. According to a study published by Forbes: “Networking is vital to entrepreneurial success for 78% of startups!” Networking helps you generate new leads, gain a deeper knowledge of your industry, and open more opportunities for your business – whether it’s in Orange County or elsewhere. That’s why we created a list of 5 networking tips for business owners. So read on for some great networking tips!

Networking Tip 1: Set a Goal

You can easily feel lost and overwhelmed in networking events, not knowing where to start. That is why you need to determine your goals, before attending the event. Are you going there to establish new connections? Do you want to learn more about the industry from other business owners? Are you looking for referrals to help your business grow in Irvine or somewhere else in Orange County?

The goals you set will help you navigate the networking event. You can also determine who you want to talk to first or spend more time with. But, how do you know who is going to attend the event?

Networking Tip 2: Research Other Attendees

Showing up prepared will save you a lot of time during the event. It will help you strike up meaningful conversations with the right people. Some networking events mention the list of attendees in their description. If the event is on Facebook, you can check the list of people “interested” or “going” to the event.

Once you’ve found a list of attendees, do a little research. You can try to Google the names, check their business websites, or search for them on LinkedIn. This will help you create a shortlist of the people you want to speak to. Don’t make the list too long. After all, you want to establish a real connection with each of them.

The inside of an elevator, symbolic of using an elevator pitch at a networking event.
Always prepare your elevator pitch before going networking. They’re not just for use in elevators.

Networking Tip 3: Prepare an Elevator Pitch

In a networking event, you want to make the conversation long enough to generate a lead. However, it should not be too long. You want to have time to talk to other attendees as well. The term “elevator pitch” is familiar to anyone who has worked in sales or marketing. It consists of short and to-the-point sentences that best describe your California business and what you do. Try to focus on the core problem your business solves. This will raise people’s interest in what you do. Using the elevator pitch strategy will help you introduce your business to others in networking events. By keeping it short, you won’t lose their interest or attention. This will also give you time to ask them questions or answer theirs.

Networking Tip 4: Listen

Yes, you should promote your OC business at a networking event. However, the conversation should not be all about you. To truly connect with people, you should listen to them. This is not just about hearing them or giving them a chance to speak. Being an active listener can help you create a strong relationship with other attendees.

To show people you are truly listening to them, pay attention and try to ask questions. Do not just wait for them to pause so you can ask the next question on your list. This is not an interview. Instead, try to dig deeper into what they are saying. This will not just show your interest in their business, it will also give you the chance to learn something new from them.

Networking Tip 5: Follow Up

Establishing a strong connection at a networking event is only half the battle. Keeping the relationships going afterward is the other half. You don’t want the conversations to end at the event. If you do, you’ll leave the event with a bunch of business cards that will just gather dust on your desk, which won’t help your business. ALWAYS follow up after the event.

Wait a couple of days, after the networking event, then reach out to the people you met there. You can either write them an e-mail or send them a text thanking them for their time. Try to summarize what you have talked about and remind them of who you are. This will give you another opportunity to keep the conversation going and grow your business network.

Bonus: Networking Faux Pas

Networking tips are not all about what to do. There are a couple of things you need to avoid as well. Try to keep the conversation positive. If you start talking negatively about former employees or coworkers, you might scare people off. They would think you might talk badly about them as well.

When it comes to networking connections, remember it is all about give and take. So, do not be selfish. Try to offer people something as well. You can give them some business advice or share your knowledge with them. This will encourage people in your network to help you or offer something in return.

Thriving at networking events isn’t an easy task – that’s why we put together our list of 5 networking tips for business owners. Who are we? We are My OC Bookkeeper. We understand the challenges that business owners have to face every day and are ready and waiting to help. Unlike most bookkeepers, we don’t see ourselves as outside service providers, we consider our clients partners in making the Orange County business community thrive. Our bookkeeping, accounting, and business advisory services will help take your business to the next level. Get in touch with us now and let’s do great things together! Watch the video to learn more.

Want to learn a bit about more about who you might meet at a networking event in SoCal? Check out this post on the 5 biggest employers in the OC.

The 6 Best Project Management Apps for Your Business

Colorful sticky notes saying 'To Do', 'Doing', and 'Done', symbolic of project management.

Running a business in Orange County can be a challenge. That’s why you need to obtain all the help and support you can get. Relying on documents and spreadsheets alone to manage everyday business tasks is not enough anymore. You need to find a good project management app you can count on.

When it comes to project management apps, there is no one size fits all solution. You need to choose the project management tool that best serves your needs and the nature of your business. However, any project management app you choose should make your workflow more organized and efficient. It should help you maximize your output with minimum effort. A good project management tool should also be fast to load and should have an easy-to-navigate interface.

With so many project management apps in the market today, choosing the best one can be confusing. To help you out, here are our recommendations for the best project management apps.


If flexibility is what you need, then this project management software is the best for your Orange County company. Asana stands out as the best free project management app out there. It allows you to add up to 15 people and use a good chunk of its features for free. As your business grows, you can also enjoy the amazing, advanced features it offers in its premium plan.

With Asana you will enjoy ultimate flexibility. There is no right or wrong way to create a project or task. List format is the default view; however, you can easily switch to board, timeline, calendar, or dashboard layout. This way, you can stay in control of how you want to view and organize your work.

The well-designed, colorful interface is extremely easy to use, so your team won’t waste time trying to learn and adapt to the app. Asana also integrates with almost every other software your business might use, such as Microsoft Teams, Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce, Slack, MS Office 365, Google Calendar, Gmail, Outlook, Google Drive, Vimeo, DropBox, and many more.


The great reporting features are what set this project management app from the rest. Wrike will be a great tool if you like to quickly gather detailed information about the workflow in your company. With a personalized dashboard, you can add widgets to see the most essential information for your work. These widgets can include items like to-do today, overdue tasks, tasks created by me, and so on.

Similar to Asana, Wrike also offers flexibility. However, in this project management app flexibility comes in a more structured way as you can customize what information is required for each task. It also offers a solid free plan with unlimited users. This can be extremely appealing if your OC business runs on a tight budget.


Used by huge companies like Uber, Adobe, Hulu, and Unilever, you can’t go wrong with this project management app. Monday.com comes with great features and a colorful, user-friendly interface. That is why it is popular amongst both large and small businesses. To suit companies of all sizes, monday.com offers 5 pricing plans.

Monday.com is considered a very elegant system. The color-coded tags will help you easily scan and filter your tasks. For better visibility and organization, you can use different views to see what is being done, when and by whom. This project management software also offers great time-tracking abilities and collaboration features, like chat.

Hands on a keyboard, symbolic of working hard while using a project management app.
Select the best project management app for your business to help ensure you are working as efficiently as possible.


Looking for the best Kanban board tools in the project management space? Choose Trello! You can use this project management app as your primary planning and organization tool. Trello can also complement any other software you use for your daily business tasks.

Unlike other complicated project management apps, Trello is extremely easy to use. Thanks to its intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, your team will quickly learn how to use it. Even if you are on the free plan, Trello offers unlimited card creation. No need to worry, even if you have created hundreds of cards, you will not get lost in the app. Trello has enough filters to help you find quickly what you are looking for.

You can also enjoy other amazing features like project templates, mobile device management, and unlimited activity logs. To add some fun to your daily work schedule, Trello also allows you to use customized backgrounds and stickers.


Just as the name suggests, TeamGantt is the best project management app to use for Gantt charts. If your business relies heavily on Gantt charts, look no further. With this app, you can build a base Gantt chart and save it as a template. Later, you can reuse this customized template as many times as you want.

TeamGantt is also packed with other amazing collaborative tools and useful features, such as project plan templates and project planning filters. This app is also mobile-friendly. It can easily integrate with Slack, Trello, and Dropbox.

Want to learn even more about cool apps? Check out our post on the best apps for QuickBooks online, or our post on the never ending battle to determine whether QuickBooks or Xero is better accounting software.

Choosing the best project management app for your Orange County business is critical. However, alone it is not enough for your business to thrive. You need to build a strong, reliable team by your side.

At My OC Bookkeeper, we don’t regard ourselves as just an outside bookkeeper. We see you as a partner. That is why we do our best to help your business achieve its goals. You can rely on us not just for recommending great project management apps and software. My OC Bookkeeper can help you with anything related to business or accounting.

It doesn’t matter if your Orange County business is just getting started or already well-established, our services will help you grow. We don’t just cover day-to-day bookkeeping -you can count on us for anything that has to do with business finance. Don’t wait any longer, reach out to us today, and let’s do great things together!

Click on the surfers to learn more.

The 5 Best Apps for QuickBooks Online

Computer codes and various colors are reflected off of a woman's face, symbolic of using software applications that integrate with QBO.

When it comes to accounting software, QuickBooks Online is hands down the best. No wonder it is the most preferred in the business community in California and across the US. QBO offers your business much more than just remote access to your accounts anywhere, anytime – and that is exactly why we’ve compiled this list of the 5 best apps for QuickBooks Online.

Today, you will find hundreds if not thousands of applications that integrate seamlessly with QuickBooks, helping you to make the most of your software. Rather then having to spend hours manually inputting information, these applications help you to automate your financial operations and maximize efficiency.

With so many applications available, you may not know where to start. To help you cut through the clutter, here are our recommendations for the top five applications for QuickBooks Online.


Currently, one of the highest-rated apps for QuickBooks Online. Just as the name suggests, Bill.com makes the billing processes of your business run faster and more smoothly. With this app, any bill you receive will be sent electronically to an inbox, entered, coded, and routed for approval. In addition, it enables you to go paper-free, decreasing your reliance on paper checks and hard copy invoices.

By downloading Bill.com, you will be able to sync your bank account information with QuickBooks Online. All it takes is just a click of a button to pay your approved transactions. You can also create payment schedules, set reminders, and automate bills approvals, according to your unique business needs.


Also a favorite amongst QuickBooks Online apps. With this app, you won’t have to worry about all the hassle of timesheets anymore. TSheets will help you track your employees, during their working hours that is. Thanks to the GPS tracking feature, you can relax knowing that everything will be recorded accurately. Your employees can also easily record their working hours with just a touch of a button.

In addition to eliminating manual timesheets, it will also provide you with real-time reporting and may simplify your payroll process. It will also alert your team about any schedule changes via text, e-mail, or application notifications, and everyday tasks like leave management or labor allocations will be much easier to administer.

Once the timesheets of your employees get synchronized in QBO, you can easily start calculating your labor costs. Accordingly, you will be able to issue more accurate invoices and optimize your pricing for certain jobs or projects.

Hub Spot

If customer relationship management (CRM) is essential for your business, then getting this app is a must. HubSpot allows you to sync your CRM with your accounting software, which will enable you to see everything related to your leads and customers. (It may also help you increase your sales and speed up your customer buying cycle.)

Your customers can bring draft invoices into QBO and HubSpot will automatically send these drafts for review and approval. Working with multiple currencies? The multiple currency syncing feature will help you put together invoices for your foreign customers.

Hands type on and point at a laptop, symbolic of integrating apps with your QuickBooks software.
Integrate outside apps to get the most out of your QuickBooks subscription.


Expensify makes managing your business’s expenses easier. Forget about saving old receipts, filing an expense claim and waiting for it to get processed. With Expensify, all you need to do is take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app. (Plus fill in a couple of boxes…)

Expensify will code and report the expense and submit it for approval. The expense will then get uploaded to the general ledger in QuickBooks. No more mistakes or wasted time on manual expense report spreadsheets. For an added bonus, the electronic approvals requirement reduces the risk of fraud.

Another great feature is the rapid reimbursement system. Once a report is fully approved, the money gets electronically transferred into the employee’s bank account. For all these reasons and more Expensify is considered the best app for automating the expense reporting process for QuickBooks Online.


The last app on our list, but definitely not least, is Salesforce. This app connects your business sales and finance teams together. This way, you will get a clearer picture of how your business is running.

Integrating the Salesforce app with QuickBooks Online will ensure consistency of information regarding sales orders, invoices, and payments. The app can also send automated reminders for invoices on behalf of your business and will ultimately provide you with more control and visibility over your cashflow.

There you have it. Our list of the 5 best apps for QuickBooks Online. We know that we have merely scratched the surface – there are hundreds of other useful apps out there. So, let us know if there are any other apps you think should have made our list. Maybe we can cover them in our future posts.

Looking to learn even more about accounting software? Check out this post discussing the age old accounting question: which software is better, QuickBooks or Xero?

By the way, we’re are not just good at recommending great accounting apps and software. My OC Bookkeeper can help you with anything related to business or accounting. We are Southern California’s premier bookkeeping, accounting, and business consulting firm. Our work doesn’t just cover day-to-day bookkeeping – you can count on us for anything that has to do with business finance, even building complex financial models.

It doesn’t matter if your business is just getting started or already well-established. Wherever you are in your business’s lifetime, our services will help you thrive. So, reach out to us today, and let’s do great things together! Check out the video below to learn more.

Is QuickBooks or Xero Better Accounting Software?

A laptop on a countertop, symbolic of choosing the best accounting software for your business.

Is Quickbooks or Xero better accounting software is an age old question in the world of bookkeeping. And that’s not a surprise. When it comes to accounting software, QuickBooks and Xero are the most popular names in the market today. Both provide powerful, comprehensive accounting solutions. They tick most boxes that business owners are looking for. However, their approaches are different. That is why one is more preferred in the business community than the other.

Xero is an incredibly user-friendly accounting software. It is designed to help businessowners in a simple way. On the other hand, QuickBooks has a cloud-based system. It allows you to manage your bills and invoices, track your projects and accounting processes through your smartphone. Things could not get any easier or more convenient than that.

Add this to other advantages, like flexibility and detailed reporting, and you will see that QuickBooks has a clear edge over Xero. Here is why.


Launched in 1983, QuickBooks has a long history in the world of accounting software. Xero was founded in 2006 and is no newbie either. However, QuickBooks is the most popular by far and is preferred by many accountants and businessowners.

With about 8 million users worldwide, QuickBooks is an accounting software giant. (Xero comes next with more than 3 million users around the world.) This is not only because QuickBooks has been in the market for longer. QuickBooks is also very well-developed and offers a higher value for your money. That is why it has been dominating the US market for years.


When choosing an accounting software, you want something that will be able to grow with each stage of your business. While both software offer multiple tiers, QuickBooks has greater flexibility, higher reporting standards at each level, and a much higher ceiling. In the higher-tier plans, for example, QuickBooks provides customized reporting options. This could be of a great value to experienced businessowners who wish to run more complicated reports as their operations expand.

Ease of Use

Both accounting software companies offer a user-friendly dashboard. You can easily get an overview of all your main business accounting data. Choosing one user interface over the other comes down to your personal preferences. However, QuickBooks has an edge with its customizable layout. You can easily get a quick glimpse of your business profit/loss, expenses, invoices, sales and much more. Furthermore, QuickBooks offers a superior reconciliation process and greater flexibility when creating journal entries – both of which are central to the bookkeeping process.

Reporting Flexibility

Over time, you will get more experienced at accounting and business operations. As a businessowner, you will need more complex, detailed reports from your accounting software. That is why, the reporting capabilities of QuickBooks scale up with each plan tier. They are designed to reflect your growing business requirements. With each upgrade, QuickBooks provides more detailed, complex reporting. This is crucial for setting your business goals and predicting new business trends.

Xero is not as flexible. It provides users with project tracking and expenses claiming options only at the highest-tier plan. Other than that, Xero’s reporting capabilities stay relatively the same.

Transaction Tagging

This feature is available in both QuickBooks and Xero. Each accounting software offers their own versions of transaction tracking tags. However, as usual QuickBooks has an edge in this area. Xero lets users create only 2 active tracking categories. Meanwhile, QuickBooks allows you to create 40 tracking categories in their Simple Start, Essentials and Plus plans.

The more tracking categories you create, the more reports you will get. This will provide you with a better overview of your business operations. It will also help you spot business growth opportunity.

A pair of hands holding up a clock on a blue background, symbolic of a discussion of the QuickBooks and Xero time tracking features.
Which software has better time tracking – QuickBooks or Xero? Read on!

Time Tracking

With Xero, you can unlock this feature only at their highest plan tier. By choosing QuickBooks, you can enjoy time tracking feature at each plan level they offer. Mileage tracking is also incorporated into all QuickBooks plans.


QuickBooks supports an unlimited number of invoices in all its plans. Xero’s Early plan allows only 20 invoices per year. If you need more invoices, you will have to upgrade your subscription or switch to QuickBooks.

Conclusion: QuickBooks is Better Than Xero!

When considering all of the capabilities of these software, it becomes clear that QuickBooks is the superior choice. (Although to be clear we use both and don’t begrudge companies who prefer Xero – especially those in the UK where it is particularly popular.) Disagree with us? Let us know your opinion in the comments. Ready to become a QuickBooks expert? Check out our great post describing the 5 best apps that integrate with QBO.

At My OC Bookkeeper, we are Southern California’s premier bookkeeping, accounting, and business consulting firm. We can help you with anything that has to do with business finance – from day-to-day bookkeeping to building complex financial models, we know how it is done. (We also know whether QuickBooks or Xero is better, see above.) It doesn’t matter if your business is just getting started or already well-established, our services will help you thrive. So, if you are looking for a true partner you have come to the right place. Reach out to us today and let’s do great things together!

Wondering about accounting software because you are starting a new business? Check out this great blog post for everything you need to know about starting a business in the OC. (Orange County specifically but it’s applicable all over.) Or, if you are a visual learner, check out the video below. Good luck!

Taxes in CA – Everything You Need to Know

A pile of papers and tax forms, symbolic of the tax considerations for businesses in CA.

Starting a new business in CA is exciting.  There’s the initial ideation and snagging your first client.  There’s the first deposit that hits your bank account and the first time you realize your income is covering your expenses.

What’s less exciting is dealing with taxes. Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps) that is something that every business has to deal with, and not understanding the tax environment can cause your business all kinds of problems. So read on to learn everything you need to know about taxes in CA. We promise it won’t hurt too much.

California Minimum Tax

If you are a corporation or an LLC operating in the state of California, you’ll be subject to the annual state minimum tax of $800. Even entities that are registered in a different state but operate within California are also subject to this minimum tax. 

For new businesses formed in 2021 and 2022, there is a waiver in place for the minimum tax in effect for the first year the entity is in business.  However, if you are a corporation and your actual tax is higher than the minimum tax, you’ll still be required to pay the tax.

California LLC Fee

This California LLC surprises a lot of LLC owners.  There’s a fee-based solely on your revenue figure, regardless of your net income.  The fees range from $0 – $11,790 based on your annual revenue.  This one can be challenging because expanding revenue does not always coincide with expanding profit.

If your business operates on a calendar year, you must prepay your estimated LLC fee each year by June 15th with the remainder due by the following April 15th. 

Secretary of State Fee & Statement of Information

It’s worth mentioning that the California Secretary of State requires the regular filing of a Statement of Information with the state.  For corporations, the statement is due within 90 days of registering your corporation and then annually for the life of your corporation.  For LLCs, the statement is required within 90 days of setting up the business and then every other year thereafter. 

The filing can be completed online and usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and the fee is under $50 but varies by entity type and year.  Though the Secretary of State sends out reminder postcards, if you overlook the filing, you will get a notice 1-2 years later with a penalty of $250 that cannot be waived.  Additionally, each entity has its own due date based on when the entity originally registered making it easy to overlook.

A line of palm trees at sunset, symbolic of doing business in CA and the tax considerations associated with that.
CA is a beautiful place and with a thriving business community (and palm trees) – but there are some important things you should know about taxes in CA, so read on.

Difference Between Federal and California Depreciation

California adheres to many of the federal tax rules, but not all of them.  The federal depreciation rules are a notable exception.  In recent years, the federal government has allowed taxpayers to claim bonus depreciation of 50-100% depending on the size of the business, type of asset, and year.  California has not adopted the bonus depreciation rules which means that you may have significant mismatches between your federal and California deductions.

One of the most notable implications is on new vehicle purchases.  For example, in 2021, businesses were allowed to claim up to $18,200 for standard passenger vehicles whereas California limited the first-year deduction to $3,670. 

In later years, the depreciation on a vehicle in California may exceed the federal allowed amount, this mismatch can make tax planning more difficult.

Real Estate Withholding Tax

If you’re selling property in California, whether it’s your own home or an investment property, California will want you to withhold state tax from escrow.  This often comes as a shock to homeowners and investors.  While you can avoid withholding if you do not have any taxable gain, you will have to certify the lack of gain to the state. 

Form 593 walks you through the calculation of the gain on sale and requires different withholding depending on the type of entity (or individual) that owns the property. 

Capital Gains

California doesn’t differentiate between long term and short terms capital gains, and it also doesn’t have different tax rates for qualified dividends.  In California, for anything included in your taxable income, then it’s taxed at the same rate.  This is true for both individuals and corporations. 

For people used to the federal favorable tax treatment of certain types of income, this can come as a shock at tax time.

The Good News About Taxes in CA – Pass Through Entity Tax (PTET)

Though most of the items above are either bad news or pitfalls to watch out for, there is good news for business owners in the golden state.  For 2021-2026, the years in which there is a state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap on individual tax returns, the state of California has created a pass-through entity tax (PTET) that allows business owners to pay a business tax and get a dollar-for-dollar credit on their individual tax returns. 

Because business taxes are allowed as a deduction under federal law, paying this tax through your business effectively negates the SALT cap on your individual return and makes the tax paid through your entity fully deductible. 

It’s not that simple though.  There are strict rules on who can participate (sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs are out of luck) and if you elect to participate you must pay 9.3% of your business’s taxable income to the state of California – you don’t get to decide how much of your profit is paid in for taxes. However, each owner of the business has the option to opt-in independently.

With all of These CA Taxes, Is It Still Worth Doing Business Here?

Of course! While California has its fair share of regulations and taxes, it also has a thriving business environment that has been creating awesome businesses for years. (It also happens to be a great place to live.) Just remember to be careful about satisfying your business’s regulatory and tax requirements so you don’t end up hurting yourself in the long run.

If you want to dive even deeper and learn everything you could ever want to know about starting a business in CA, check out this great article on the subject. Or, if you want to go direct to the source, familiarize yourself with the CA Secretary of State website, there is all kinds of important info there. And, for even more great info on doing business in the great state of CA check out our post on the best way to deduct vehicle expenses in CA, or how to setup an LLC in CA.

Need some help with anything that has to do with taxes in CA? Reach out to My OC Bookkeeper. We are California’s premier bookkeeping, accounting, outsourced CFO, and business advisory firm and help businesses all over California.

Want to learn everything you need to know about starting a business in CA? Check out the great video below.

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What Is a Business Consultant and How Do They Make Your Business Thrive?

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Whether you are just beginning your small business journey or if you run a tenured, successful business, a business consultant can come in handy. Their job is to step in and offer solutions to problems or determine new and better ways to perform to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

There are many different types of business consultants, each of which have an area of expertise which they can employ their skills. When you analyze your business and look for areas where you know your company could use improvement, a business consultant can provide that thirty party objective eye needed to shore up your opportunity areas. 

What Are the Types of Business Consultants?

There are a wide variety of different business consultants, covering about any category of business management you can imagine. Here are some specific examples to give you a general idea of how business consultants can help. 

  • Marketing – If you are looking to promote your brand, design a new logo, or otherwise develop a strategy to get your message and services out into the general public, these consultants are experts in the field.
  • Human Resources – Need some good ideas on how to find, acquire, and maintain talent as well as keep your current staff happy and productive? This is the forté of an HR BC. 
  • Technology – An ever evolving field, International Technology can be complex and confusing without expert guidance. Professionals in this field can help you update, find, and maintain your databases and other computer technology.
  • Operations – Want your company to function more productively and smoothly? An operations BC can help you work on processes and engineer how your business works to reduce unnecessary work and reduce costs. 
  • Management/Strategy – This consultant can bring best practices for your particular market into play, helping you expand your business and handle competition, whether through new strategies or increasing your product portfolio.

How Can Business Consultants Help My Business?

Business consultants can perform a wide variety of duties, depending on their area of expertise and your company’s needs. 

They can provide enhanced data and knowledge for a specific market, identify problems and determine solutions, initiate changes to improve productivity and efficiency, provide an objective viewpoint, teach and train employees, clean up in HR by evaluating and modifying your business roster, revive a struggling company, help create a new business, and influence other people on your behalf, whether customers or lobbyists. 

. . . and those are just a sample of what a business consultant can do for you! 

Digging a little deeper, here are a few detailed ways that business consultants can make your business thrive!  

Providing an Objective Point-of-View

Sometimes being so close to your employees and business processes, it’s difficult to see any problems that are wasting valuable resources or which could be tweaked for improved effectiveness. 

A business consultant comes in with a completely fresh, unbiased perspective, which can help when evaluating processes, software, best practices, marketing, or other areas which can be improved. 

As an outsider, the BC will also bring a host of knowledge and expertise as to how others in the field are performing, how they are doing things, and how certain styles and procedures are working in other environments. This gives your consultant a wide range of knowledge which can be applied to your own company’s circumstances to improve and grow. 

Short-Term Benefit with Long-Term Effects

Running a business takes up a lot of time and you have a lot of responsibilities. A business consultant can take over some of those responsibilities and help you establish a sector of your business or improve an aspect while you are free to focus on other duties. 

While it may cost more up front, the benefits of having a consultant take over a specific aspect of your company can continue to have long-term effects that more than make up for the cost in the long term. For example, if you hire him to build your employees and work up a system to ensure their happiness, that top shelf talent can continue to build and your increased ability to retain your staff will have long-lasting effects. 

The same is true for other fields, such as technology. The productivity you save with improved software or methods of handling your databases or bookkeeping can pay great dividends.

Plus, since your business consultant is a short-term employee, you can end the contract whenever you want, so you can bring this expert in or out at your own discretion based on what you need and how busy your company is at the time.  

Acquiring and Meeting Goals

The knowledge a BC brings into your business can be invaluable and can help you build a business plan to meet your goals, or if you are trying to determine what sort of goal to meet, this expert can help you to establish one. 

The consultant will have the know-how to perform the job, plus have the ability to gauge your assets and statistics to set realistic goals while offering methods to improve efficiency, marketing, or productivity to achieve or surpass those goals. 

Company Growth

Sometimes it can be difficult to decide the best method to approach the growth of your business. A business consultant that specializes in this field will know exactly what to do and how to extend your brand, as well as what areas you will need to improve or evolve in order to satisfy growing demand for your products or services. 

You can choose to methodically focus on one area or manage a little bit of everything and the BC will be there to offer you guidance and advice as well as answer any questions you may have as you plan for the future.


The short-term contract capabilities of business consultants has another advantage. Since there are experts in so many fields, you can bring in an expert in one field to handle one aspect of your business, come up with a valid plan and set it into motion. 

Then, while your team is working on that sector, you can end your contract with your BC and bring in another who specializes in the next field you wish to improve. You can develop this new plan so that when your original plan is in action and growing, your team can turn their attention to your new area of growth. 

This will allow you to perpetually grow and improve while taking advantage of a wide variety of experts in any imaginable aspect of your business creating the best advantage of versatility! 

Most, if not all, businesses need some type of consulting service. At My OC Bookkeeper, we help with everything from strategy planning to bookkeeping. Make sure to call us on 949-345-0639, email us at admin@myocbookkeeper.com, or contact us here for more information on how we can help you achieve your goals.

Want some more great business tips? Check out this post on 6 things to look for when hiring an accountant. Or, just go to our blog.

Want to learn more about us and what we do? Check out the video below!

6 Things to Look For When Hiring an Accounting Professional

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The advantages of retaining the services of competent and experienced accountants are numerous. Professional accountants maintain track of your business’ revenue, assets, and obligations, allowing you to focus on building your business rather than worrying about taxes. 

Accountants assist you with tax filing, auditing, and payroll services, as well as preparing and examining financial records. They can assist with tax planning, financial statement preparation, and company choices. 

However, with so many professional accounting firms to choose from, finding an accountant who can assist you might be difficult.

Know What You Need When Hiring an Accounting Professional

Prior to the hiring process, it’s a good idea to choose what type of tasks or roles you want the accountant to do for your business. A non-certified accountant or bookkeeper may be needed if you want monthly financial statements and accounting services. Your company may need a CPA if you need help with tax planning, forms, or detailed financial statements.

Have a Budget in Mind

Many accountants offer a monthly fee that includes tax preparation. Other accountants charge a monthly price for accounting services and then separate fees for the company and personal taxes. Before deciding which vendor to use, find out how they expect to be paid. 

For the services provided, not all accountants or accounting companies charge the same rate. In terms of what you get for your money and the credentials of the applicant delivering the services, it can vary. For accounting services, several accountants have a fixed cost, while some charge a yearly fee for a specific list of services, including taxes. 

It’s always a good idea to try negotiating how you pay depending on your financial flow. Before you choose someone, make sure you have a budget in mind.

What to Look For When Hiring an Accountant

Knowledgeable and Experienced 

An accountant should have practical knowledge, which should be backed up by experiences, in addition to degrees. A firm may confront a variety of financial and accounting challenges in real life, which an accountant will be able to address only if they have prior expertise in the sector. 

Inquire about the sectors in which their clients operate, as well as the specific elements of those businesses.


You may not be familiar with accounting language or technical details. It would benefit your business if the accountant is personable and ready to explain things to you in the simplest way possible in such cases. 

If your accountant is not approachable, it may damage your financial comprehension. Every business has its own lingo, so if you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.

Great With Technology

Your accountant should be computer literate. They must be well-versed in the most recent accounting software programs to assist you and your staff in selecting the finest solution and increasing productivity. 

You also don’t want an accountant that keeps track of your finances using Excel spreadsheets. You must ensure that they are current with technological advancements in their industry. (Speaking of technology, check out this great post for 6 great project management apps for your business.)


The essential factors for success in the accounting sector are educational credentials and certifications. Solid work with a competent accountant guarantees that they have a working understanding of accounting theory. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of qualifications. 

You can go online and look for their name in the database. Inquire about their certifications, or search about the workplace for them. Inquire about the training courses they’ve completed.

Someone Who’s Organized

Every accountant examines a large number of papers, both physical and digital. The last thing you want is someone in your office who is messy or unorganized. If they are not methodical, they will become overwhelmed by the sheer number of data, papers, and archives. 

As a result, it is critical for an accountant to be well-organized in their approach. If they are well-organized, they will be able to provide answers quickly, which will be quite beneficial to you as a client. 

Attention to Detail

Accounts may be responsible for creating reports including vast volumes of data. They could be in charge of examining these sorts of reports at a senior level. It’s vital to be able to recognize and correct any mistakes; if they produce or accept an incorrect report, it will reflect poorly on their talents. 

This meticulous attention to detail, however, should not cause you to lose sight of the greater picture. Is the information in the data relevant? Is the report they’ve written in accordance with the reader’s other information? Keeping these considerations in mind will assist you in establishing a qualified accountant for your company. 

Perform a Background Check

Before you sign on the dotted line, speak with some of your potential accountant’s clients. There are professional services that can assist you with this, but if the accountant is genuine, they will most likely be prepared to provide you with a list of references. 

This will help you verify some of the information supplied by the accountant. It will also provide you the opportunity to learn firsthand about the accountant’s connection with their other clients. 

Interview Multiple People 

Don’t take the first offer you get, just like you wouldn’t accept the first offer you get in life. Arrange your expectations in such a way that you may compare several accountants. Then you’ll be able to figure out which one is ideal for your company. 

An interview may be a useful tool for determining how well you’ll get along with someone. Furthermore, a series of interviews will not only assist you in better defining the sort of accountant you want but will also provide you with vital free advice. This may even assist you in better defining your company requirements.

Bottom Line 

There’s a reason why everything sounds more like a marriage than a business arrangement. It’s not a decision to be made lightly because your accountant will get closely involved with the running of your business. You’ll need someone you can rely on, who has the required expertise, and who will be available when you need them.

A good follow up question may be, why do I need bookkeeping anyway? Well, we’ve got an answer for that too. Check out this blog post to learn the basics of bookkeeping and why your business needs it.

We hope this article on hiring accounting professionals was illuminating and answered many of your questions. At MY OC Bookkeeper, we pride ourselves on providing the best bookkeeping and business advisory services in Orange County. You can reach us by phone at 949-345-0639, email us at admin@myocbookkeeper.com, or contact us here.

Check out the video below to learn about all of the great things we can do for your business.