Sunday, May 8, 2011

Enterpeneur Wants Comprehensive Tax Compliance Solution

In inviting guest bloggers, I have not limited myself to other tax nerds.  I want to get the viewpoint of people who have to deal with tax problems, while spending their time on more socially productive activities.  I am very gratified that Bobbie Carlton has agreed to be featured here

I met Bobbie at Mass Innovation Nights, but she is not just somebody you can meet there she is the founder.  Now if the founder of Mass Innovation nights identifies the need for a new tax software product, how long before someone is coming out with it ?  Here is what she has to say:
Two weeks ago I got a big book in the mail – no, not a delivery from Amazon but a book-sized sheaf of paper called my taxes. As an entrepreneur, a small business owner, and a part-time employee of yet a third company, with a freelancing spouse, two kids and a house, our taxes are probably a mite more complicated than most people but nothing that far out of the ordinary. We work with a wonderful CPA. I keep careful records all year, carefully logging mileage in an Excel spreadsheet, inputting my receipts, and in general, spending a lot of time I don’t have keeping this one more ball in the air.

I am the co-founder of a monthly product launch party and networking event called Mass Innovation Nights. We’re readying a new website and want to provide it as a platform to help other communities do the same thing we’ve been doing for the last two years – helping innovators and entrepreneurs get more buzz for their products by using social media. In a single night one of our events can generate hundreds of blog posts, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, online video and pictures. It is great, “no” cost visibility for the companies and their innovative products (more than 250 of them in just two years.)

One thing most of these products have in common is a reason for being – they solve a problem. They make something easier, faster, prettier, tastier, cheaper, better. I see new products all the time – a lot of companies send me cool new products because I blog about innovation.

Here, try this out. Tell us what you think. And, I usually am able to quickly discern the problem they solve. And every time I see a problem, someone comes up with a product to solve that problem. Until now.

Where’s my small business tax solution? Yes, yes. I know about all the lovely tax software tools. (And, since I have a CPA, why do I need that anyway?) But what I am talking about is an integrated tax dashboard that collects my mileage from the car, that I scan receipts into, that helps me log hours (and maybe even invoice them back to clients) and captures all those home office deductions. I have mobile location-based tools like foursquare and SCVNGR that know when I am walking into a Starbucks and yet neither one can capture how many unreimbursed miles I drove to get there and log it to my account? COME ON. Get with the program. They are wonderful toys but give me a solution for my business and I will be forever grateful.

Bobbie Carlton is the co-founder of Innovation Nights LLC, the founder of Carlton PR and Marketing and the Director of Marketing for Accounting Management Solutions . Follow her on Twitter.

If there is one issue that is common to just about every single audit or tax case it is substantiation.  When dealing with auto use and meals and entertainment it is absolutely critical as the Cohan rule no longer works in those areas so the product that Bobbie is suggesting might have quite a market.

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