Finance is generally not the strong suit of most small business owners. The numbers don’t make any sense and they can be overwhelming, but whether you like it or not, finance is an integral part of your business. It is important that you realise it from the very start; to ignore it is detrimental to the growth and development of your business. Here are some financial planning tips that can help your small business.
- Keep your Operations Lean– Most business make the mistake of investing in grandiose offices and hiring more staff than they need before the business as stabilized. Think about what you need, not what you want and plan accordingly. Don’t drive your business into the ground. Think rationally and plan.
- Don’t Ignore Your Bookkeeping and Accounting– A huge mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make is ignore accounting and bookkeeping for small business. This can turn out to be a costly mistake. The more you put it off, the bigger a mess it will be. You will have trouble when its tax time and will never have an idea of where your business stands financially.
- Be Prepared– You never know when disaster will strike; so be prepared for risky times. Regular risk assessments are a good way of assessing your business and where it stands. Manage your cash flow carefully, ensure accurate bookkeeping for small business and have risk strategies in place to counter any turbulence.
- Seek Funding When the Market is Up– Getting a loan when the market is down may prove to be difficult especially after the recent financial crisis. So be smart and secure funding when things are good. Don’t wait for things to turn for the worst.
- Invest in Technology– Technology has touched all facets of business- HR, payroll, inventory management, supply chain management, bookkeeping for small business and more. These latest solutions are cheaper, effective and efficient. Invest in useful software, tools and cloud computing solutions.
Accounts Payable is an important function of any business; that this is done on time and with accuracy is crucial for the growth and development of the particular organisation. This task, though not a core business function, requires expertise and extensive work, and can often be quite expensive as well. The solution? Accounts Payable outsourcing.
Benefits of Outsourcing Accounts Payable
Why should you outsource your AP functions? Here are some of the benefits of outsourcing Accounts Payable.
- Accounts Payable is a task with the scope for numerous errors- from receipt to invoice processing, and these errors can prove to be quite expensive. Accounts Payable outsourcing reduces the incidence such errors considerably.
- This task is quite complicated and requires a lot of resources. Outsourcing the task will relieve you of the responsibility of hiring good personnel with adequate knowledge of AP and reduce operational costs. You can stick to what you know.
- There is no field today that is untouched by technology, Accounts Payable included. Running an in-house AP operation would mean investing in reliable software and sustaining it. Outsource the task and your service provider will take care of the whole thing and you won’t have to know anything.
- You will also see greater productivity at lower processing costs.
- Improved compliance
- Reduced training costs as this will be handled by the accounts payable organization.
- Contracted Service Level Agreements (SLAs) will ensure that the work is structured, consistent and meets best global standards. You can also assess quality of work by time taken, cost, error rate and internal control metrics.
Accounts Payable outsourcing is a strategic business decision. It is the perfect choice for any business, big, medium or small. Contracted SLAs ensure consistent and good performance, reduced costs, greater efficiency and productivity, use of latest technology without having to invest in it or worry about its sustenance and lower error rate. So what do you have to lose really? Make the best of the benefits of outsourcing Accounts Payable.
Online payroll services are a heaven-sent for small and mid business organisations. Come payday you no longer have to worry about how to do payroll processing; all you have to is click some buttons and the system will automatically generate pay checks for everyone in the organisation. The life of everyone involved is a lot easier. If you are still weighing the odds and want to decide whether online payroll services are for you or not, here are some reasons why you should consider using online payroll services.
- Reduced Cost of Labour– Which business owner, big, medium or small, doesn’t want to save money? With online payroll services, you can automate numerous manual payroll related procedures which means you have to hire fewer employees. Plus, you also get more results.
- Instant Report Generation– The beauty of any automated system is that you get reports immediately when needed. Gone are the days of rummaging through files and piles of papers. You won’t have to depend on your employees to do the work for you either. Get the reports you need instantly. You can also generate reports that are needed by law to demonstrate compliance with laws, regulations and mandates.
- Maintain Employee Confidentiality– Payroll information is by far one of the most sensitive information that a business owns. Personal information like name, address, phone number as well as payroll related details like salary, social security number form payroll information. Keeping payroll information safe is important to ensure employee confidentiality is not violated; it is one of the rules of how to do payroll processing. With online payroll services, you will have access to user friendly and secure payroll solutions.
Online payroll services can make managing your business a lot easier. They are an effective means of fulfilling your payroll obligations as prescribed by law.
The primary aim of all businesses is to generate income. As a business owner, one of the first things you should have in place is a system for AR management. Most business owners have a lot of trouble collecting payment, which is why it is vital that you understand this from the very start and ensure that you take steps to ensure effective AR management. Here are a few steps that you can take to curb the issue of late payments.
- Clearly State Terms of Payment– Believe it or not, most late payments result from miscommunication or misunderstandings about the terms of payment. So keep things simple, make sure your customers know and can easily remember your terms of payment and include them in every invoice.
- Send Payment Due Reminders– Send out payment due reminders to customers when their payments are due. Receivable management services and AR management tools are a better means of managing this task as it will require just a few clicks on your part, and your customers will get reminder notices. Make sure you include the due date and the terms of payment in the email.
- If a Payment is Past Due– Send out late payment notices as soon as the due date is over. Do not wait to collect names of all defaulters. Send out notices as and when the due date is past for each company. While this may seem like a lot of work, this measure is sure to yield results as it signals to your customer that on time payments are important to you.
- If a Payment is More than 30 Days Overdue– If your customer hasn’t paid up after 30 days, you are dealing with a delinquent customer. Continue to send regular notices and get help to ensure you do not lose your payment. The more days pass, the less chance there is of you receiving your payment.
If delinquent payments are a regular affair for your business, you should consider receivable management services. They are better equipped to handle such scenarios and can relieve you of the stress of dealing with AR issues.
Money, money and more money- the backbone of every industry and business; and that is precisely why effective financial management is so important. Big or small, financial management decisions have to be taken with the utmost care. It is also vital that you manage your finances properly from the very beginning, especially if you are a small business with limited resources. Here are a few financial management tips that will help you keep things together.
- Invest in Cloud Computing Solutions– Do not ignore technology. All the latest software and computing solutions are developed with the sole purpose of making the business owner’s life easier. Bookkeeping for small business is better when you invest in the latest cloud computing solutions. Numerous business owners have found that such solutions save them money and time and they feel a lot less stressful.
- Prepare a Realistic Budget– A budget is a great financial management tool. It can tell you what to expect, where your money can come from and where you can lose money. So put conscious effort and thought into preparing your yearly budget. You will always know where you stand financially.
- Maintain Separate Business and Personal Accounts– One of the first things you need to do when you start your business is to create a separate business account. While it might seem unnecessary at this point, you will find that a single account will make bookkeeping for small business complicated. Maintaining separate accounts will keep you in control at all times.
- Hire Personnel That You Need– Hiring staff will increase your costs, but you cannot run your business by yourself. Hire the staff that you need so that you can run your business effectively and your customers get the best service. It is also prudent to never expand your staff too fast; you may end up with more staff than your business can handle.
- Be Ready For Changes– Flexibility and preparedness are good qualities in a small business owner. Anticipate changes and when the changes comes, be ready to face them and flexible to adapting yourself and your business to it. No business can survive unless it is ready to face and handle changes.
Any business decision pertaining to bookkeeping and accounting is a major one. Do you do your own bookkeeping? Should you invest in an accounting software? Should you outsource your bookkeeping? These decisions play an important part in determining the success and growth of your company. Let us say you decide to outsource your bookkeeping, then the next big question is do you hire a freelance bookkeeper or a bookkeeping firm. Who do you work with?
Freelance Bookkeeper or Bookkeeping firm?
The truth is that this decision depends on your business- how it functions and what your needs are. One size doesn’t fit all. Let us explore how the two setups are different and decide whether you need a freelance bookkeeper or bookkeeping firm.
- Cost– Money is an important factor in making this small business bookkeeping decision. Freelance bookkeepers offer lower rates than a firm. This is simply because they generally work from home and hence have lower overhead costs. A firm, on the other hand, charges higher due to higher overheads and also as they provide you a variety of services with access to more personnel. On hiring a firm, you have access to much more than just basic bookkeeping services.
- Work Arrangement- Freelancers are free to travel and willing to work from your office if needed, except that it might cost you more since you will have to arrange for office space. Some freelancers also offer virtual bookkeeping services. Similarly most firms also work remotely with their clients, making things a lot easier for all involved.
- Work Schedules– Most freelancers work for multiple companies, so they schedule their work accordingly, ensuring that the books for each client is accurate and up-to-date and that deadlines are met. Unfortunately, this dependency on a single bookkeeper can mean that when your bookkeeper is on leave or sick, you have no one to turn to. Also come tax deadlines, your freelancer is going to be really busy. However when working with a bookkeeping firm, even if your bookkeeper is not available, there will always be a backup bookkeeper. Another huge advantage of working with a firm is that due to the large number of bookkeepers available, you will be able to find someone who has worked in your field or at least something similar. The chances of you finding a bookkeeper who understands your needs is also a lot higher with a firm.
- Knowledge and Expertise– Everything is in vain if your bookkeeper doesn’t have adequate bookkeeping knowledge and expertise. The thing with freelancers is that there is no one to regulate them. Everything depends on your bookkeeper’s knowledge and expertise- he could be a beginner or have 10 years of experience. Whereas in a firm, you will have access to people with a range of expertise and knowledge. Always ask around and research on the firm or bookkeeper before taking the final call.
So what will it be? Think about what your small business bookkeeping needs. Think about what each has to offer and decide- freelance bookkeeper or bookkeeping firm?
Outsourcing bookkeeping and accounting is the norm for present day business owners. It is convenient, fewer chances of mistakes and time saving; but for all its benefits, how safe is it to give online bookkeeping services access to all your financial records? With rampant data theft and scams, who can you trust and is anything ever safe?
We understand your fears and worries; unfortunately, aside from handling your accounts and books yourself, there is no way you can ever completely be at peace. That is why online bookkeeping services have stringent security measures in place to ensure that your data never falls into the right hands. Here are some tips on how you can ensure that you choose the right accounting or bookkeeping firm.
- Do Your Research– Never rely on what the firm or representatives of the firm tell you. Always thoroughly research the firm, their background, dig up reviews, talk to people who have worked with them before and take an informed decision. Take as long as you need; this decision is not to be taken lightly.
- Prepare a Legal Document or Contract– Make sure that you draw up a legal document or contract before you begin working with the service provider. Get professional legal help if you have to. Address your security requirements and concerns in the document so that both parties are on the same page.
- Encryption Techniques– To ensure your data is kept safe when transmitting over networks, use encryption techniques.
- Extra Security Measures– Insist that your service provider takes extra steps to ensure security like restricted access to data, screening of visitors, limiting personnel access to data transfer points etc.
You can also ask your online bookkeeping services provider, the following questions to make sure you know what you are getting into.
- Physical security measures in place at the place of business
- Details of encryption methods used on the site and at portals
- What happens to files when the work is done
- Network security
- Company policies on data breach or data theft
Data security issues are here to stay; as long as every industry is computer and internet dependent, there will be those who try to gain unlawful access. So be wise and choose your service providers carefully.
Running a company is no simple feat. There are so many things you have to attend to- you have to check your inventory, make sure you have enough supplies, pay your rent, pay your employees, take care of your customers, market your product or service- the list of tasks is endless. So is it any wonder you work yourself to the bone everyday and still find that you haven’t completed all your tasks for the day?
Well things don’t have to always stay that way. You can automate a couple of your regular business functions. Interested? Here are 4 business functions to automate to make managing your business a lot easier.
- Payroll- Payroll processing is not easy- you have to pay your employees the right amount on the right date, fill in the payroll forms with the IRS, calculate the correct tax amount and pay them on time. Not only is it time consuming, the scope for errors is also high and payroll errors are expensive, because you may end up having to pay fines or penalties. The solution- online payroll services. Eliminate the errors and save time.
- Bookkeeping- Another tedious and time consuming task with lots of scope for making errors that you absolutely cannot afford. Save yourself the trouble. Get a good accounting software or try online bookkeeping services. It will be worthwhile.
- Marketing- Whether you like it or not, you cannot afford to ignore marketing. Every business needs a sound marketing plan that will drive traffic to your site and increase sales. Fortunately there are a number of marketing automation software that you can use if you would like to handle it personally, or else you can always avail of the services of a marketing company.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – What good will it do your business you don’t have a healthy relationship with customers? But again, it can eat into your time, which is why getting an efficient CRM software is a good option. CRM software will allow you to interact with prospective and existing customers, track sales leads, appointments, contacts and conversions, while at the same time allowing you to manage your business better.
Automation and business outsourcing are becoming increasingly popular. Make the best of the opportunities available to you.
Small business owners often have a tough time retaining employees. While some employees are satisfied with working with a company that treats them like family and allows them to grow, others want better salaries and more perks. Small business owners often trouble offering competitive salaries while they are waiting for their business to lift off and deliver profits. So what is the next best thing that they can offer? Affordable, yet effective perks that can make employees happy.
Studies have proven that happy and satisfied employees are more effective and productive than unsatisfied ones. So here are 5 effective employee perks for small business owners to improve employee morale and performance.
- Organize Free Team Lunches Once a Month– Who doesn’t love free food? Organize a lunch once a month for your employees. Such occasions gives all of you, employees and employers, a chance to interact with each other, get to know each other better, relax together and builds team spirit; something that is very important for the success of a company, as much as small business bookkeeping.
- Get Your Employees Smartphones– This perk is not as expensive as you fear; there are numerous service providers with special plans for small businesses on the purchase of a smartphone contract. Good small business bookkeeping can help you find a way to make this happen. Offering smartphones to your employees not only makes them happy, but also gives you a means to contact them when needed. You can also install apps that are relevant to their roles so that they can work on the go if needed.
- Provide Employees with an Option to Work from Home– When you let your employees work from home, you tell them that you trust them. Plus it is probably the cheapest perk you can offer. Working from home means no commuting, no rushing through chores in the morning, thereby giving you less stressed and happier employees. You can offer good employees an option to work from home 1-2 days a week and also allow them to choose the days. What do you have to lose? Instead you gain your employees’ respect and more productive, efficient employees.
- Flexible Days Off and Vacation Time– Be flexible with your employees’ days off and their vacation time. Don’t be stingy with their personal days. Doing otherwise is a sure shot way to lose employees by the dozen.
- Offer Full Health Insurance Benefits– As an employer, this is the best thing you can do for your employees and will earn you their loyalty. I know that most small business owners feel that this is an expensive perk, but there are a number of reasonably priced plans available on small business networks.