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Bookkeeping: Expectation Vs. Reality

Bookkeeping is one of those fields where expectation is different from reality. We're stereotyped as these human calculators who sit in a dark room filled to the brim with receipts, and we magically create a ledger out of them. While it is true that we spend a lot of time going over receipts and inputting data, our jobs are much more dynamic than that. Here are the expectations of a bookkeeper, and the reality.

Expectation:

Bookkeepers Inherently Know What to Do. Hire them, let them do their work, and forget about it.

Reality:

Every organization, and every business leader has different goals and needs for the bookkeeper to keep in mind. While bookkeepers are trusted professionals, they are still humans who need to know your goals and expectations. We recognize standard business practices, but we also want to know details about office culture, general goals, fundraising goals and projects, etc. Talk to your bookkeeper before they start working to make sure they are a good fit and understands the standards you want and the expectations you have.

Expectation:

Bookkeepers are living calculators that should be left alone.

Reality:

If you want a business relationship with your bookkeeper, communication is a must. Constantly talk to your bookkeeper about ways you could be saving money, how to minimize your tax burden, and organizational alternatives to boost efficiency. These conversations are what makes a bookkeeper a worthy investment.

Expectation:

Quickbooks is no different from a bookkeeper.

Reality:

All financial applications, including Quickbooks, are designed to help bookkeepers, not replace them. Technology does not, and will never replace bookkeepers, nor are the two even at odds with each other. Bookkeepers today give the best service when working with technology, not against it.

Bookkeepers know their debits from their credits, they have a deep knowledge of accounting principles that Quickbooks does not have. While it looks like it's all filing, there is a fair amount of analysis that goes into a proper, accurate, and efficient ledger.

Bookkeepers are masters at data input and analysis. We know how to categorize any expense and review any ledger, including ones produced by apps. We also work best through communication and collaboration. It's never as simple as being told what to do. Consider these points before you hire a bookkeeper and consider giving us a call when you're ready to take your finances to the next level.

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How the Cloud Revolutionized Bookkeeping

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How the Cloud Revolutionized Bookkeeping

The art of bookkeeping changed dramatically since the rise of cloud servers. Ledgers went from being the sole, tried and true method, to being almost obsolete. Instead, the cloud has opened bookkeepers to a new world of possibilities. Now bookkeepers are not working with a ledger, they are able to accurately input data at much greater speeds, and work with the company to find their best options for taxes, loans, and whatever they may need.

The field is widening; bookkeeping is less of a niche and more of an opportunity for collaboration. Finding the right bookkeeper is still about skill and integrity but finding a good colleague who is invested in your business is even more imperative in the age of cloud servers. Here are three changes that have occurred because of the cloud.

Faster Bookkeeping than Ever Before

The fact that bookkeeping online is faster than by hand is a no-brainer, but how much faster is it? Fast enough that bookkeepers have a lot more time for consultations and collaborations. Since the rise of cloud servers, bookkeepers nationwide have seen an increase in their personal interactions with the business. Whether it's advice on taxes or recommending services to help the business grow, bookkeepers now have more flexibility with how they do their work, and more time to focus on the company.

Access from Anywhere with an Internet Connection

When it comes to the benefits of the cloud, no one can deny that the ability to access information remotely, from anywhere with an internet connection, is its greatest asset. In fact, one can argue it is one of the more notable technological achievements of the century. For bookkeepers, this unparalleled access changed everything.

The future is moving towards increased collaboration and oversight. Bookkeepers can do their work from anywhere in the country, and while this opens room for remote work, it also makes sharing and communicating over distances a lot easier.

Unparalleled Efficiency

An online platform for bookkeeping means that efficiency is entirely at the control of the user. Apps are usually customizable, with different plug-ins to fit different needs. Paired with the immediate speed of the internet, the rise of automation and AI, it looks like bookkeepers will continue working together with developing technology to improve bookkeeping for your business.

Don't let this confuse you, machines are not replacing bookkeepers. While cloud servers and integrated apps are making data entry much easier, you still need a professional to go over the best organizational methods for your business. Give us a call, and we'll help you get started.

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WE COMPARED 4 TOP PAYROLL SERVICES SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO

Finding the right payroll service for your business is a tougher choice than it seems. You want one that works well with how your business is organized. You want a payroll service that is easy to use, but also has everything you need for your business.

No matter what service you use or how you use it, your system has to be accurate. The last thing you ever want to do is underpay your workers. They deserve to be paid at the rate they were hired for, and on time. A technical error from your payroll service is no excuse. That said, you also want usability and functionality. Does it work well for your business? Is it easy to use? How much time and resources do you need to keep it up?

To make your search a little easier we took the top 3 payroll services and gave pros and cons for each of them.

ADP

ADP is one of the most popular payroll services out there. It is rated among the best for creating accurate, consistent payrolls but it has some major fall backs.

The main issue is with usability. Many would say that ADP Workforce is not as user-friendly as their competitors and has a high learning curve. Taking the time to learn and struggle with a payroll service could be a major issue for your business where you need to be active. A good payroll service should be easy to use, and easy to learn.

It’s accurate, but it’s not easy to use, and not easy to adjust either.

Square

Square is great for small businesses that have a few things to sell. This app is perfect for businesses that don't want to worry about learning new software. The app is designed to do all the dirty work for you and make the process as simple and easy as possible.

The payroll system is based on a cloud so it is available anywhere you go. And best of all, it's automatic. This system is great for businesses where they may forget to give pay stubs, or worry about getting employees paid on time. Like we said before, to do either of those things is not acceptable.

The cost is not bad if you're a confidently functioning business, at $5 per contractor (if you use only independent contractors) and $29/month + $5 per employee/contractor for businesses with employees.

The on issue is it's made for one specific type of business, and if you want complete control over the process this might not be the app for you.

Also, if you're having technical errors connecting to the cloud, you're in trouble, causing concerns for accuracy and usability.

Intuit

Intuit Payroll is a compromise between the two. It has different levels with their own limitations except for the last one, where they take care of everything for you. The app is designed to be easy to use and be completely customizable.

You can trust intuit to be accurate, so long as your numbers are right. And if there's a problem with some automation, you can adjust any issue quickly.

Finding the right payroll service for your business is a tough choice. And it's hard to figure out what your needs are if you aren't completely organized in your expenses, that's why we saved the best payroll service for last.

Count 'Em Beans

We're not an app, obviously, and we use 3rd party payroll services ourselves. But with CEB, you're guaranteed three things that none of the above services can offer together: accuracy, usability, and adjust-ability. These companies only process information; we know how to organize that information, how to best implement benefits, 401ks for your employees, and so much more.

Nothing replaces having a professional by your side helping you make the decisions you need for your business. Give us a call today and let us take care of the payroll hassle!

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Four Ways to Mentor Employees to Grow Your Business

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Four Ways to Mentor Employees to Grow Your Business

When a child grows into an adult, the brain is not the only thing that develops but the entire body. A business grows the same way. A healthy business is one where everyone involved is growing along with the business. Everyone gains experience and learns how to solve problems that come with a growing business. They each understand their role and know how vital they are to the life of the company. But how do you as the employer create this kind of environment? How do you make sure your employees grow with you and your business? Here are five ways to mentor employees of a growing business.

1. Keep an Open Mind

You do not behold all good ideas. You do not have all the answers. And you are not the one who can solve your problems. Too often I see businesses run like an autocracy, where the boss is the one with the solutions and the employees contribute problems, no solutions of their own.

This business model is draining, unorganized, time-consuming, and dangerous. Instead, run it like a democracy. Give every individual in your business a voice and make sure they feel valued. It keeps employee retention up, morale improves, and your employees are much less stressed. It's a solid business model with a long history proving its effectiveness, but most importantly it's the right thing to do.

2. Collaborate with Your Employees

It can be easy to delegate a task to someone else and get it out of your mind, but checking in on your employees and offering suggestions on any issues they may face will increase productivity and will lead to a friendlier bond with your employees.

When you do check in, be as inviting as possible. You don't want your employee thinking that you want to rush them or about to ask for more work. Your job is to create an environment where your employees trust you to be a helpful resource.

3. Ask for Advice

Remember what I said about you not having all the answers? Just because you're the boss doesn't mean your employees will not have advice on ways you can improve your business. Be Always open to ideas on how to make your business better, you can do this by directly asking your employees, but to make sure all opinions are open, and in case anyone has critiques, set up an anonymous feedback box so your employees don't have to fear retribution for presenting their ideas.

4. Encourage Your Employees to do the Same for Each Other

A healthy business is one in which everyone helps everyone. While you're an ideal candidate for their mentor, you don't have to be the only one.

Money isn't the one thing your workers want from a job. They want to be valued and treated fairly and with respect. Acknowledging that they have needs, as workers and as people, is a great first step to creating a collaborative environment. Chances are, your workers are interested in what you do. Give opportunities for them to learn and grow along with your business.

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Looking to Franchise? Five Tips on How to Get the Loan You Want

Congratulations! You did all the research, crunched up the numbers, created your business plan, and you're ready to buy into a franchise! But don't break out the champagne yet! You still need to secure a loan, and investors don't give out loans to just anyone. You need to convince your investors that your business will succeed enough to pay them back! This way of selling yourself can be tricky, that's why we're hire with five tips on how to get the loan you want!

Know What Kind of Loan You're Getting

Most franchise loans come from the franchisee. Since your franchise would be an expansion of their business, you would have more benefits getting a loan through them. Most lenders also allow you to lease their equipment, which would save you thousands of dollars off the bat. But sometimes there are holes in these offers, and you will have to find a way to patch those holes with other, private loans. These varying circumstances are why you need to consider what you are offered and look at all options available to you. This choice has a strong impact, one that can last you the rest of your life. Don't rush it.

Know Your Net Worth

To know what loans you are eligible for, you need to know if you are a good investment. You start by calculating your net worth. It all comes down to a simple formula: assets - liabilities = net worth. Assets are what you have and liabilities are what you owe. To calculate your assets, take your cash on hand, all the money you have, any real estate, car values, bonds, securities, insurance cash values and anything else you can think of and add them all up. Your liabilities are similar, take your bills, charges, loans, mortgage and anything else you may owe and add those all up. The difference between the two is your net worth, and will help investors know whether you can take on more debt or not.

Know your Credit Rating

After you know your net worth, be sure to sit down and review your credit worthiness. Do you have a history of on-time payments? Responsible credit usage? Is your history with loans in top-notch shape? This will let investors know whether they can trust you with a loan or not, so be sure you clean your credit up as best as you can!

Have a Solid Business Plan

Once you have everything prepared, you need to make sure your business plan is stunning. You're trying to convince investors that your business is valuable, needed, and has potential for success. That's a tall order considering most businesses fail after a few years. How can you convince them that your business will beat the odds?

Start by making sure your business plan has every minor detail covered. Give a full assessment of your business and be entirely honest. Make sure you include projections, cost analysis, estimates of working capital, and be sure to tell it with confidence! If you're not confident in your business, no one else will be!

Consider a Home Equity Line of Credit or a 2nd Mortgage

Sometimes even having all the above will not be enough to win over a loan. There may be nothing against you -- investing in businesses, including franchises, is risky no matter what. If you're sure about the business you plan to run, putting in a Home Equity Line of Credit or a second mortgage might be the right choice. Your home has a lot of value, and if you're confident that your business will succeed, you can give investors that extra security while you get the money you need to open your franchise!

Opening a franchise is no joke. It takes years of preparation, research, and hard work to get it open – and then you must keep it running! Stay on top of your finances by considering your loan options, having great credit worthiness, and a solid business plan!

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