Shoeboxed saved my business – and my sanity
Linda Tandy runs a regional micro-business providing family day-care services for up to five children each day. Her business started almost 10 years ago when she decided it was time for her to go back to work but couldn’t find anyone to look after her own children for the hours she needed. Despite her children having grown up, she still loves looking after ‘little people’.
Shoeboxed: How did you originally come across Shoeboxed?
Linda: I was google-ing to try to find someone or a program that could teach me how to better manage my paper. I suffer from a ‘disease’ called paper-itis. The minute any piece of paper hits my hand it disappears never to be found again.
Shoeboxed: How did paper-itis affect your business?
Linda: I was drowning in paper and losing the paper that mattered which is real a problem if you’re a small business owner. Not just from a record keeping perspective, I’d also started to get behind in my tax.
Not only did that cost me money in ATO fines, but I was paying more, because both my accountant and I were spending a lot of time looking for paperwork. Not having the right papers to hand meant I couldn’t get anywhere near the tax deductions I was entitled to.
At one stage I was four years behind. But it was much worse than that. I got very depressed about being that out of control and ended up in a place where I was so overwhelmed, I thought it would be easier to declare bankruptcy than try to get myself up to date. If that wasn’t bad enough, the stress had started to affect my ability to run my business and my personal relationships too. It was a really horrible time.
Shoeboxed: So what happened next?
Linda: After I’d Googled Shoeboxed, I found a website forum called ‘Simple Savings’ where I had a conversation about dealing with my paper nightmare. Someone on the forum mentioned I should try Shoeboxed – we had a whole conversation about it. That made me feel more comfortable – it’s one thing to Google something and find it for yourself, but it’s another to hear it being recommended by other people with similar issues.
So I had a bit of a play with Shoeboxed’s free option. It was really easy and I figured it was definitely for me. I’m mean, the simpler it is, the more likely we are to do it and taking a picture is probably the easiest thing you can do. That and stuffing an envelope.
Shoeboxed: What else made a difference to your level of comfort?
Given I was really stressed about my tax, I was relieved to read about the tax man being quite happy to accept scanned copies of receipts on the Shoeboxed website.
I also liked that I could speak to a real person. It’s nice that Shoeboxed is not so big you speak to someone different each time or it’s all automated. I actually looked at another company but they were all automated and that’s just not customer service.
Shoeboxed: So real customer service was important to you?
Linda: Yes, absolutely. Each time I’ve had to ring to speak to someone, it seems to be the same people. It’s nice building a connection with my team. I’m sure I owe at least half the staff a box of chocolates for one drama or another that they’ve untangled for me. Every phone call and every email I’ve sent I’m amazed at how quickly someone’s answered my call or question. It’s that kind of support that will keep me coming back year after year.
Shoeboxed: How did you feel once you’d started using Shoeboxed?
Linda: Relieved! Totally relieved. I’ve actually thrown out my shoeboxes! Yes, really – I had shoeboxes full of paper mess. I had shoe boxes at home, on my phone, on my computer. I had shoeboxes everywhere. Shoeboxed took the worry out of my paper. For the first time in forever, I felt like I controlled it instead of it controlling me.
Shoeboxed: And how are things now?
Linda: As of last week I’m now only a year behind and that will be finalised by July. That will be a real ‘hallelujah’ happy dance moment moment!!
My stress has eased considerably and I’m enjoying working in my business. I can focus on my ‘little people’ again – instead of having my brain crowded by stress. And I recently got rid of my filing cabinet and gained some extra space in my house which is a great bonus.
Working with Shoeboxed requires very little effort on my behalf which has been excellent.
I can either shove my paper in an envelope and mail it off, or take a photo of it and upload it. Then throw that paper in the bin. Shoeboxed saves me time, space and my sanity too. It’s like having a virtual business finance support team. Between Shoeboxed and my accountant, my business is covered from the finance side of things. Now when when the accountant says I need this from you, I can say “it’s all in Shoeboxed – go find it”.
Shoeboxed: Have you thought about using Shoeboxed for other document storage?
Linda: At this stage I’m primarily focusing on the taxation side. But now that I have more free brain space, I’m beginning to consider what else can be stored – like the medical forms we need to keep until the child turns 21, even if it’s as minor as putting a bandaid on a child. I’m in the process of finding out if a scanned copy would be sufficient, so if it is then it would be great because i can just put it all on Shoeboxed.
Shoeboxed: Did you have concerns about submitting your personal info online?
Linda: Yes, l did have some reservations initially. I was worried about the wrong papers are being destroyed and not being able to get them back. But the Shoeboxed team reassured via email and phone calls. They also had knowledge of which papers I could scan and which I was better off keeping hold of. That sort of guidance was fantastic.
I must admit, I did ring the tax department and said these people have told me this, is this the case? And they said as long as it’s legible, then that’s fine. That gave me the confidence to put just about everything on there. I mean putting bank statements on isn’t probably something i would have done four or five years ago because there’s just so much private information on there. But I’m confident that the information is kept there and never shared or sold to anyone. And with the encryptions I feel our information is very safe.
Shoeboxed: So would you recommend Shoeboxed to other people?
Linda: I have and I will continue to. I’m just really just so glad I made that first step, it was embarrassing to admit that my life was ruled by chaos. Everyone was really nice and they totally understood.