Most business owners and entrepreneurs are sleep deprived. It is not that they have anything against sleep; it’s just that they can think of at least ten other more productive things (like how to calculate payroll taxes) to do in the same time. While you may be able to get things done by staying up for 2-3 hours after bed time, here is what those few hours can do to your health.
- Increase Blood Pressure– Less than 6 hours of sleep per night has been linked to increased blood pressure and other heart conditions.
- Increase Inflammation– Insufficient sleep has been shown to increase inflammation in the body, thereby leading to conditions like heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, depression etc.
- Impair Cognitive Abilities– Regular sleep deprivation can adversely affect your attention span, decision making skills, memory etc.
- Increase Stress Hormones– Sleep regulates stress hormones thereby keeping your nervous system healthy. Understandably, inadequate sleep leads to increased irritability, stress, anger, depression and mental fatigue.
- Increases Mortality Risk– Recent studies indicate that mortality risk increases if you sleep less than 5 hours a night.
- Weight Gain– During sleep, the body produces hormones that regulate appetite, metabolism and energy. Reduced sleep upsets the balance and often leads to weight gain.
If you feel you are not getting adequate sleep, it may be time to make some lifestyle changes. Here are some things you can do.
- Try to get 7-8 hours of good sleep every night.
- Go to bed at the same time.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed.
- Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark and cool space.
- Avoid TV and electronic gadgets at least an hour before bed.
- Do something relaxing like reading a book or listening to music before sleeping.
Sleep is important for the well being of your body. Without sleep, you will soon find that you are not able to focus on work. Are the few hours of extra work to figure out how to calculate payroll taxes worth the long term effects?
If you have clients with long overdue payments and haven’t outsourced receivable management services, you should understand that you are bound to have conflicts with the client at some point of time, especially if the client continues to put off making payments. You need your client to clear the payments, which is why it is prudent to avoid conflicts. Here are some tips to help you avoid conflicts.
- Stay Calm– No matter what, it is important that you stay calm and talk in a confident, moderate and non- threatening tone. Your client shouldn’t feel belittled or attacked.
- Keep Your Emotions in Check– If your client raises his voice, you responding in kind will not help your cause. In fact, all it will do is agitate your client further and escalate the situation. Instead keep your emotions in check and respond rationally.
- State the Facts– The facts are in your favour, which is why you should state the facts and deliver proofs to your client. State the consequences and what action you intend to take if payment goes unpaid longer. Once the facts are out, discuss repayment. This makes your client aware of what the consequences will be, allowing him to process things.
- Give your Client Time to Think Through– It goes without saying that any call concerning unpaid dues never goes well. Your client is bound to get defensive and be rude. Be prepared for this and once you have gotten off the phone, remember that you need to give your client time to think through whatever was said and cool down. Once you have given your client a couple of days to cool down, call back and start over.
Collecting overdue payments is no easy task. What you need to remember is that you need the money. If the collection efforts are taking too much of your time and effort, you should consider investing in receivable management services. Receivable management services professionals know how to handle delinquent payments and even avoid them altogether, making your life infinitely easier.
Creativity is an important quality in an entrepreneur. Coming up with new solutions and ways to do things require creativity. Besides you need to be creative if you are to crave a name for yourself in today’s competitive business world. But no matter how creative you are, there will be a point when your creative juices are low and you need to recharge. Here are some easy ways to recharge and get the creative juices flowing again.
- Talk to Close Friends and Family– Something about the human connection triggers creativity. Maybe it is because people who know you well just know what to say to get you going, maybe it is because the interactions free up your mind and lets you think. Whatever the reason, something good always comes out of talking to close friends and family.
- Read a Book– No list is complete without mentioning that reading a book will do you good. A good book clears the mind, strengthens the brain and makes you feel good. Reading improves concentration, cognitive ability and critical thinking.
- Take a Walk or Spend Some Time with Nature– Being outside can do wonders for your creative and analytical skills. Take a walk, roam the countryside with your family- this is sure to clear your head and give you the perspective you need.
- Meet with Other Entrepreneurs– Meet up with other people in your line of work or someone you look up to. A meeting of the minds is a great source of inspiration and the exchange of ideas is sure to trigger something.
- Meditate on Your Problem– You may be used to working in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life, but sometimes you may find yourself overwhelmed by it all and unable to think or work. At such times, it helps if you separate yourself from everything, calm down and mull over things in your head. Give your brain the space to think freely and you will be surprised at the ideas that follow. Do not think anything is stupid or won’t work; just let it flow. You will have a solution soon.
- Give it a Rest– If you have tried everything and still haven’t found a solution, we would recommend just letting the problem rest for a bit. Just forget all about the problem and solving it; the solution will either hit you suddenly or when you approach the problem with fresh eyes.
The most important element of any business is, without doubt, customers. What good will your product or the service you offer or your online bookkeeper do if you do not have customers? Customers turn the wheel of every business, so it goes without saying that as a business owner or entrepreneur, you have the huge responsibility to keep customers happy and satisfied. Here are some simple tips from online bookkeeper businesses to improve your customer service and grow your business.
- Greet Customers Warmly– The first few seconds of any interaction determines which way the discussion will go, so it is important that you start it right. So whether it is face to face interaction, over the phone or an email, make every client feel welcome. Greetings should be sincere and enthusiastic. Avoid auto- response emails and send out a personal email stating that you got the email and would be replying at the earliest. Happy customers are always more likely to return.
- Apologise Sincerely– No business is error free; there are bound to be instances where your client is upset with you and your service. In such situations do not hesitate to apologise and address the customer’s issue. A gentle and understanding response will calm your customer and make way for issue resolution.
- Hire Mystery Shopper– The best way to evaluate your customer service is to hire a mystery shopper. These customer service experts will explore each facet of this area of your business and give you tips to improve customer experience.
- Listen to Customers– Customers are not only for source of revenue, they are also great sources of information. They can let you know what areas of your business need improvement, so always listen to what your clients have to say and address the issues raised. This can go a long way in helping your business succeed.
If customers feel you care, you will earn their loyalty and your business will flourish.
Customer service is an important aspect of any business. Your customer service team is the face of your business and how they interact and present themselves goes a long way towards creating the image of your business. This is also true when it comes to AR management, even if you outsource receivables management. If you have a decently sized business, chances are that all the calls to your clients for payments go through your customer service team or at least one person who fulfils that role. Though there may be no visual cues involved, a lot of signals are being sent out to the listener. A listener knows within seconds of talking to you how the caller’s day is going and how to push his buttons and this can be detrimental to your AR collection efforts. This is why outsource receivables management services say it is important that you and your people learn good telephone conversation skills.
- Develop the Right Tone– The tone of your voice makes all the difference- you should always sound friendly, calm, confident, trustworthy. It is based on this that the listener decides how the call should proceed. In receivables management, it helps if your client feels your confidence and calm when approaching them about payment.
- Avoid a Monotone Voice– Voice modulation delivers the importance of the matter being discussed effectively. If you are able to stress where needed, put feeling into your words and lower and raise your voice as needed, you will be able to communicate a lot more than you could ever say.
- Use a Strong Voice– A strong voice, not a loud one, suggests confidence and discourages any argument from your client. Loud voices, on the other hand, come across as rude and will rub your client the wrong way (you don’t need an outsource receivables management company to tell you that.
- Pause in the Right Places– If you speak continually or break off unnecessarily, you come across as impatient and uncomfortable. Deliver your message calmly and clearly with adequate pauses.
- Use Courteous, Polite Language– Polite language indicates respect and helps get across your message clearly. Do not antagonise your client.
If you do not have the time or resources to manage your AR, it might be prudent to invest in outsource receivables management services. They are professionals and know how to approach clients for overdue payments.
As a business owner, you probably take late payments and overdue payments in stride. However, it is important that you learn how to read between the lines and spot the first sign of trouble. There are always signs before trouble starts, being able to identify them can save you and your business precious time and money. So how can you spot if your client is having financial troubles?
Maybe your client was having cash flow problems from the beginning, maybe it is a recent development, whatever it may be, chances are that you will see gaps in the payments. The general pattern that receivables management services see is initial payments made promptly, and then the duration between payments increase until they become regular defaulters. This signals cash flow problems in most cases.
Clients need a reason to put off making the payments. The most common practise is stalling for time. Clients may challenge the charges on the invoice or ask a lot of questions and need a lot of seemingly pointless clarifications. No matter what you do, when you think it was cleared, the client will find something to question. You don’t need professional receivables management services agencies to tell you that your client is trying to delay payment.
Another common stalling technique is claiming to have not received the invoice. Of course, you can’t ask the client to make payments when he hasn’t received the invoice and had a chance to check the charges. If you find that your client is regularly and deliberately delaying payments, it is a clear indication that your client is in financial trouble.
In such cases, press for quick payment and if it doesn’t work, hire a receivables management services agency to help you recover the payment. Once everything is cleared, it would be best if you cut ties with the customer as such a relationship will only bring you trouble.
What do you do when your client just refuses to pay? Maybe you have already been there, maybe you haven’t, but if your business depends heavily on customers being satisfied and payments being made on time (sounds like most businesses to me- accounts payable outsourcing, HR firms, retail), you are bound to face this at some point. So now, what do you do when that happens? Deal with it politely and respectfully; here’s how accounts payable outsourcing firms recommend you proceed.
- Send Friendly Reminders– Monthly bills and phone calls politely reminding of overdue payments are fine and needed even. However you should take a look at your state’s collection laws to ensure you do not get into trouble with the law for harassment.
- Understand Things from the Client’s Point of View– Most often, clients don’t pay because they aren’t happy with the services provided. Place yourself in their shoes, understand where they come from and acknowledge their point of view. If needed, offer discounts on future services. Understand that it is easier to maintain relationships than build new ones; if there is a way to retain the client, do it. But if you find that things don’t work out in spite of your best efforts, it may be best to end the relationship.
- Get Legal Help– If your client still refuses to pay up and is giving you trouble, it might be time for you to approach the small claims court or civil court. Do thorough research and consider your options before doing this. Sometimes clients will agree to pay when things reach the court to avoid legal proceedings. Make sure your client is aware of your intentions beforehand. Do not let your legal proceedings take them by surprise.
Collecting payments from a client who just refuses to pay is not pleasant, which is why it makes sense to prevent it already together. Unfortunately such things need not always be in your hands. If you find that accounts payable management is becoming too much for you and your business, it might be a good idea to invest in an accounts payable outsourcing firm.
You never understand how vast and dynamic the field of bookkeeping and accounting is until you decide to step out and hire a professional help you with your books within your budgeted bookkeeping services rates. Your options are many- bookkeeper, accountant, CPA, CFO, financial controller, accounting consultant. Today we are going to understand a relatively new entry into the bookkeeping and accounting circle- accounting consultant.
Who is an Accounting Consultant?
The first thing you need to understand is that bookkeeping goes way beyond just getting your numbers right and making sure that every penny is accounted for. You also get reports that are right on the pulse of your business and tell where your business is headed. These reports play a big role in making financial decisions about your company. Unfortunately understanding what the reports tell you is not that easy, which is where accounting consultants come in.
What Do Accounting Consultants Do?
Accounting consultants can understand and decipher bookkeeping and accounting reports for you and tell you what they mean for your business. They also help with a number of accounting tasks like financial forecasting, analysing statements, determining profitability and setting up good accounting practises, among others.
Now accounting consultants have a good understanding of bookkeeping, however they seldom take care of the bookkeeping. Instead they will most likely work with your regular bookkeeper (yes, if you hire an accounting consultant, you will have to continue paying the bookkeeping services rates) to get your books in order and to improve the efficiency of your company’s business practises and procedures. The accounting consultant will establish a schedule so that you receive your bookkeeping and accounting reports regularly. When your reports are ready, your consultant will work with you to understand what the reports mean and how it affects your business. With this information, you will be able to make informed business decisions that will benefit your business.
Bookkeeping is meant to help you manage and save money, but what do you do when your bookkeeping costs like bookkeeping services fees and other charges itself takes up a large portion of what you make? So how can you reduce your bookkeeping costs? We can help you with that; we are pretty sure you could use the money elsewhere.
- Be Organised– You will be surprised at how much being organised will help when working with bookkeepers. Bookkeepers need all your transaction information; that is all that they have to work with. If you don’t provide your bookkeeper with the payment details, receipt, date, method etc, he will have to contact you again for the information and keep things on hold till you provide them. All this means more time working on your books, ergo more bookkeeping services fees. You can save all this trouble just if you are organised and keep all your documents safe and handy.
- Use a Cloud Based Document Management System– You know you need to keep your documents safe and you need to ensure they reach your bookkeeper safe and sound. What if you could do it together? Well, you can- using cloud based document management system. Just take a picture of your receipt and upload it into a cloud based document management system of your choice. Now not only is it safe, you and your bookkeeper can assess it easily whenever required. Saves everyone involved time and money.
- Maintain Separate Business and Personal Bank Accounts– We cannot stress enough how complicated things become if you mix business with pleasure. Separating business transactions from personal transactions and tracking them is time consuming and again a waste of precious time and money as bookkeeping services fees. So keep separate bank accounts; it will make it easier for you to keep track of your expenses as well.
Microsoft Excel is a life saver- calculations, bookkeeping, accounts, you can do it all. However despite the many benefits of Excel, it may not be the best choice for business or simple bookkeeping. Let us take a look at why it may be time for you to move on.
- Time Consuming– While Excel may be a time saver when compared to the traditional method of maintaining ledgers, it is time consuming when compared to the modern bookkeeping and accounting software available. Creating a useful spreadsheet that meets your needs in Excel requires a lot of planning. You need a clear picture of what you want and how it should look before you even start on the sheet.
- No Way to Track User Activity– If more than one person has access to the Excel document, there is no way to track who made what changes. This makes it easier for fraud to occur.
- Easy to Make Errors– It is easy to make errors in Excel, like linking wrong cells, and since Excel doesn’t warn you of potential errors, you will most likely work with the error for months before even knowing something is wrong. Such errors can be detrimental to your simple bookkeeping and often even be costly.
- Mastering Excel– Excel is more than just a simple spreadsheet; Excel has many built in functions and formulas which can make your work a lot easier. To use this program well, you have to first of all know Excel in and out. Learning and mastering Excel can be time consuming and tiring.
Things are changing. Science and technology is changing the world and every sphere of life, from healthcare to research to simple bookkeeping. If you want your business to make a mark in this competitive world, you have to make sure that you make use of all the resources available to you, that includes software, equipment, tools. Don’t stand back.