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Commercial Lending: Everything You Need to Know about Business Loans

Most people agree that it is easy to get a credit card or personal loan. The consumer culture in our nation has created an environment where financing for everything from a shopping spree to real estate is easily accessible for the majority of the population. Consumer debt is rising and it is common for people to feel that debt is a normal part of living. Even though personal loans are easy to come by, it might be a bit tricky if you are looking at options for commercial lending.

There’s no question that you need to manage the cash flow for your company. As a business owner, it can be a challenge to ensure that the money is available at the right times throughout the year. If you are struggling with cash flow right now, then you might be looking at options for a business loan to help you get through a dry spell.

How Will You Use a Business Loan?

What are the reasons why you should consider a business loan? Commercial lending can be beneficial for a variety of expenses:

  • Buying a real estate property for office space
  • Investing in more inventory of the upcoming busy season
  • Purchasing equipment that is necessary for the office or storeroom
  • Preparing for the future in case the cash is needed unexpectedly
  • Construction or remodeling costs
  • Business acquisition
  • Start-up expenses for a new company

These loans can be of various sizes, depending on the needs of your company. If you find that you need a business loan, then it is essential that you choose a reputable lender and understand the financing terms before jumping into the agreement. A poor choice with your business loan could cause financial stress and strain on your company in the future.

Don’t Wait for Commercial Lending

It is common for business owners to hold off on commercial loans until they are in a critical time when the cash flow is needed. But there’s no reason to wait for the application! Cash flow ebbs and flows depending on the season and economic changes, so you need to be sure that you have the money available before you reach a critical situation.

The timeframe for commercial lending takes a little longer compared to personal loans. Additionally, you need to have a good financial profile to be approved for the loan. For example, if your business is already burdened with debt, then it might be difficult to get approval on your applications. Instead, apply for the financing when your business is in good financial health so that the credit is available in the future when it is needed.

The right financing can be the saving grace that serves your business needs in the future. It is important that you are working with a great accountant every step of the way, so there are no surprises with cash flow, future costs, and more.

A Few Things You Need to Understand about Business Loans

The best thing that you can do is learn about your options so that you can get the financing that is needed. A little bit of information can go a long way to help you avoid common problems that might arise with financing. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind:

  • Time Frame: It usually takes a little longer to receive approval for a business loan. Even though most consumers can be approved for a credit card or line of credit on-the-spot, the business loan application process is a little more involved. Be prepared so that you have plenty of time to prepare for future financing needs. Sometimes, commercial lending can take as long as 60 to 90 days until the loan is closed and the money is available. The complexity and timeframe vary depending on the type of loan that you are getting.
  • Complicated Application: This application process is a bit more complicated than filling out some paperwork and waiting for approval. Be ready for an extensive screening and piles of documentation that might be required. Common paperwork requests include several years of tax returns, AR/AP reports, financial statements, and documentation for collateral that will be offered. You might also need to show a business plan so that the lender can understand how the money will be used for business needs.
  • Payback Ability: As with all types of financing, the lender wants to see that your company will have the ability to pay back the money that is provided. Your lender will be evaluating your cash flow to determine how you will be able to handle the required payments. The Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) will be evaluated, which looks at the operating income of the company as well as the current and anticipated debt obligations that need to be paid in the future.
  • Financing Fees: Anytime commercial lending is offered, you can expect that fees will need to be paid. Ask about the fees that need to be covered up front, or if these costs will be bundled into the loan. Understanding the fee structure will help you know the amount of money that you are spending for the financing that is offered. Don’t forget to ask about pre-payment penalties in case you decide to pay off the loan early.
  • Collateral Requirements: When you are getting a personal credit card, there isn’t usually a need to offer collateral. But, the lender often requires collateral for bigger business loans. If you are providing collateral and the applicable documentation, it is common for the lender to require that the loan is 80% of the value of the collateral. So, you will need to come up with 20% cash before you can be approved for the financing. Banks calculate this Loan to Value (LTV) to minimize risk in case you default on the loan.
  • Structure of the Loan: The timeframe and payment requirements vary depending on the type of loan that is acquired. It is important that you understand your options and compare the payment details before settling on financing for your company. For example, some loans are less than 5 years and have an aggressive payment schedule. Other loans can be spread out over 20 or 25 years if needed. Additionally, you should look at options for fixed or revolving loans based on the way the money will be used.

Types of Business Loans

What type of financing is needed for your business requirements? These are a few options that you might consider:

  • Line of Credit: Small businesses often obtain a line of credit so that funds are available on an as-needed basis. Usually, there is a cap on these funds. This type of loan can be an excellent solution for managing unexpected costs and ongoing cash flow.
  • Working Capital Loan: Sometimes daily operations need to be financed, and you might consider this type of loan for these anticipated costs. These loans are ideal when you need to manage the fluctuations that occur due to seasonal changes or other variables that affect your cash flow throughout the year. This type of loan is usually unsecured.
  • Small Business Loan: Whether you are getting a start-up off the ground or you are looking at options to expand, a small business loan might be the right solution. The structure of the loan will vary depending on the lender, and might be secured or unsecured. Interest also varies depending on the terms of the loan.
  • Small Business Administration Loans: If you are searching for a low-interest loan, then don’t overlook the benefits of a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. The SBA guarantees the amount, making it possible for the lender to offer the most favorable terms when it comes to interest rates and repayment schedules. These loans are usually between $30,000 and $5 million.
  • Accounts Receivable Financing: This money is available based on the amount of Accounts Receivables on your books. When your customers send payments, then that money goes to pay down the AR line.
  • Business Credit Cards: Sometimes the simplest solution to qualify for a loan is by getting a business credit card. But, you need to use this strategy as a short-term solution because the credit cards usually have high interest rates and can pose a liability to your company. If you are going to spend money on a small business credit card, then look for perks like cash back or 0% interest for 6 to 9 months. These bonuses will help to offset the cost of the card.

Do you have questions about your business cash flow or financing options? At Easier Accounting, we’re here to help you create the right financial strategy for your company. If you are considering commercial lending, then we can help you with the reporting and documentation that is needed so that you can qualify for the financing that is required.

Our team specializes in ongoing services for small business accounting and bookkeeping. Easier Accounting is a leader in the industry and offers flexible packages to accommodate the needs of every company. Call today to see how we can help with your business efforts: (888) 620-0770

Ready for Black Friday? Tips to Boost Small Business Sales

If you are in the retail industry, then the holiday season is the perfect time of year to boost your sales and optimize profits for the year. Shoppers have a buying mentality right now as they are searching for gifts to share with friends and family this holiday season.

Often, businesses take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a way to lure in more shoppers with time-sensitive bargains. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or your business is run online, this time of year shouldn’t be overlooked. Right now is when you need to start the preparations to be sure that you are ready for the influx of sales that will come from interested customers.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to sell physical products to take advantage of Black Friday shopping. Shoppers are looking for all types of bargains, which means that it might be a great time to offer discounts or packages for your business if you provide services or digital products.

Think Outside the Box to Catch People’s Attention

While Black Friday can be hectic and busy, your company doesn’t have to get caught up in the noise of the holiday shopping season. Instead, look for ways to make your offerings stand out from the competition. Here are a few options to help you think outside the box so that you can set your company apart from the rest in the industry:

  • Don’t Fight the Early Morning Rush: As a small business, you shouldn’t be trying to compete with the big-box stores by starting your sales before the sun comes up. Most shoppers will head to the big-box stores in the wee hours of the morning (or even on Thanksgiving evening). You can bring in more interested shoppers by starting your sales later in the day. Everyone will be done with the crazy morning rush and ready to move onto your special promotions by noon. Communicate your sales hours in advance so that your customers can arrange their shopping schedule to match. You might be surprised to see how many people are happy to know that they don’t have to set an early-morning alarm to access your Black Friday sales.
  • Longer Holiday Hours: Regardless of the time that your store opens in the morning, consider extending evening shopping hours. Some people like to head out for holiday shopping after spending the day with family. So, extended evening hours could bring in more shoppers that wouldn’t have visited your business otherwise.
  • Encourage Gift Card Sales: How often do customers walk out of the store empty-handed because they were unsure about the right gifts to purchase? Instead of letting your customers get stuck in analysis-paralysis, offer a simple solution: gift cards. It has been found that gift card sales always go up during this time of year. You need to be sure that you have gift card options available and on prominent display when customers walk through the doors for the Black Friday sales.
  • Start a Marketing Campaign Right Now: Why should customers choose your products or services over other options that are available? Start a marketing campaign right now to show the reasons why you are the go-to resource for holiday shopping. In this campaign, highlight the reasons why your business is better than the competition. For example, do you have handmade items, locally-sourced products, or limited-edition options that are hard to find? These hooks are often more effective than the race-to-the-bottom with discount prices.
  • Don’t Offer Unsustainable Pricing: Be strategic with the way the holiday sales are structured. The goal should be to increase conversions. But, don’t boost sales at the risk of harming your profit margins. While it is important to offer deals to bring people in the doors, you should be strategic with the structure of the sales so that you don’t take a hit. The most effective way to ensure that your profit margins are still built-in is by offering product bundles or quantity discounts. Or, offer deep discounts on old inventory that needs to be moved.
  • Bonus Services: What is an extra service that could be offered to bring people in the door? For example, you might go the extra mile by offering free gift wrapping on Black Friday or passing out balloons for children. Or, have stocking stuffers that are complimentary for purchases over a certain amount. Consider the extra services that your customers would value. Don’t forget to share these details in your marketing messages that are shared via email and social media.
  • Schedule an Event: Plan Black Friday to be a day when there is a party in your store. Offer snacks or drinks, play fun holiday music or bring Santa Clause into your store. Send out an email and share these happenings on social media so that your customers know what to expect when they visit your store.
  • Incentives for Social Media: If you are trying to boost social media engagement, then let your customers help with the difficult work. You can share great content on social media to highlight the Black Friday sales that are available. Another option is to add an incentive for customers who share on social media. For example, a share on Facebook gives the customer access to a special discount on the products they are buying. Always include the popular hashtag #blackfriday and a hashtag that is unique to your company.
  • Product Bundles: Gift bags or baskets are always a great solution when people are looking for fun, creative gift ideas. Instead of selling items individually, look for logical ways to package your products. This strategy is an effective way to upsell people to a higher price point. Plus, people love the gifts that are ready to go without additional work. If you don’t have pre-designed packages, consider offering a discount when customers choose three items that are related.

Step Up Your Digital Presence

Promoting your Black Friday sales on social media is a good way to share information online. But, more and more customers are turning to online shopping options. People love the idea of completing their shopping lists without leaving the comfort of home.

As a small business, you can take advantage of Cyber Monday and/or Small Business Saturday. If you don’t have online shopping options available, then right now might be the perfect time to expand your offerings to include e-commerce sales so that you can capture a larger portion of the market.

Offer coupons that are exclusive to Cyber Monday or Small Business Saturday. Or, you could also capture the people who procrastinated their Black Friday shopping by offering sales that are available through the first few weeks of December.

Administrative Prep for the Holiday Season

You might be busy stocking the shelves and working on holiday marketing and promotions. But, don’t overlook the importance of keeping up with the necessary tasks that need to happen behind-the-scenes for your business. For example, right now is an excellent time to get caught up on bookkeeping and accounting if you have been slacking on these tasks.

Procrastinating the financial reporting, auditing, and other business paperwork that needs to be handled means that these essential items will just build up through the holiday season. There’s nothing worse than reaching the end of the year to discover that you have a huge task list of unfinished business that should have been addressed for your company.

Make sure that your payment processing system is ready for the increase in sales. Upgrade accounting and bookkeeping software so that you don’t run into glitches during the busiest time of year. Assess inventory and redirect cash flow if needed so that you have plenty of product to offer when customers are ready to buy. Evaluate the employee schedule so that you have plenty of help available during the busiest times of the season. These small details will go a long way to help you increase sales, improve customer experience, and optimize the results that are available for your company.

Outsourcing the Services that are Needed

A little bit of work right now will ensure that you aren’t overly stressed as you reach the end of the year. If you don’t have the time or desire to work on these tasks by yourself, then it is the perfect time to bring in an industry expert for assistance.

For example, an accounting team can get your books in order so that you are ready to close out 2018 and start 2019 on the right foot. It is important that you have a good financial system in place so that the growth of your company isn’t hindered by the work that needs to happen behind the scenes. Professional accounting services are essential to assist with tax strategy, cash flow, and more.

Easier Accounting is here to assist with your small business efforts. If you need financial advice or you are looking to implement an improved financial strategy for your company, then we invite you to call to learn more about the services that are available: (888) 620-0770

Avoid These Accounting Strategies that Just Don’t Work

Staying current with your accounting system is essential so that your business can keep up with the growth that is happening. But, it is important that you are careful to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that often happen in the accounting industry. The right accounting strategies can be crucial to help with potential success. On the other hand, the right financial strategies could be the downfall of your company.

You can find many resources about accounting and bookkeeping tips for small business owners. While there are helpful resources in the industry, it is hard to know which strategies are applicable to your industry and business. Instead of guessing your way through the systems and processes, you need to tap into the expertise that only comes from someone working “in the trenches.”

Hiring an accounting team might be the best decision that you will ever make for your company. Not only will these accounting strategies give you insider information about the processes that are working in today’s economy. But, you can also learn about the techniques that are applicable based on your personal circumstances.

Accounting Mistakes that are Costing You Money

These are some of the biggest mistakes that we see in the accounting industry. Shining a light on these poor accounting strategies can help you avoid some of the problems. Learn from other people’s mistakes so that you don’t have to harm the success of your business:

  • Profits = Cash Flow: Just because you close a big deal, doesn’t mean that the full contract amount can be chalked up as profits for your company. It is easy to see the money that is coming in and assume that the cash is available for other purchases. But, business owners often make mistakes with the way the money is handled. Then, they run into issues when the cash isn’t available for taxes or payroll. Whenever money hits the bank account, it is a good idea to set a portion aside in a savings account that is dedicated for taxes and other expenses.
  • No Emergency Account: Most companies experience ebbs and flows in the way the money moves through the bank account. Instead of being surprised when there isn’t enough cash to pay the bills, look ahead and make sure that you always have an emergency fund to cover the gaps when needed. The best solution is to have 3 to 6 months of cash flow in an account that is left untouched until an emergency situation This strategy protects your company from going under if the economy slows down or you experience normal seasonal fluctuations.
  • Procrastinating Bookkeeping and Reporting: It is essential that you are recording everything that moves through your business account. No matter the size of the transaction, be sure that you are keeping records of both large and small costs and invoices that come through. Proper categorization for your accounts is essential for tax deductions and future financial strategies. Many business owners find it difficult to implement a good accounting system. So, the best solution is to bring in an outsourced accounting team to help with the business strategy and application of the systems.
  • Improper Tax Filings: Did you know that a mistake on your tax filing could cost your company thousands of dollars? Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that you can handle DIY business taxes. If you don’t have experience working on business tax filings, then you need to outsource these services to a team that understands the best methods for your company and industry.
  • Blurry Lines Between Contractors and Employees: Understand the legal requirements that separate employees and contractors so that you are handling the taxes correctly. There are major accounting consequences that can occur if mistakes are made with worker classifications. So, never make assumptions about the way the person is classified without consulting with an industry professional. You need to understand the difference between employees and consultants so that your accounting records are accurate to match the business relationship with each person.
  • In-House Financial Services: When new skills are needed, or the team is overworked, then it is common for a company to hire in-house employees. There can be benefits to having an accounting on staff. But, you need to consider the financial impact that will affect your profit margins. When you own a small company with low revenue, you probably can’t afford to pay for the in-house services that are needed. Not only do you need to cover the cost of the accountant’s salary, but you also need to pay for benefits, office space, equipment and more. Plus, in-house accounting could result in problems with accuracy, tax deductions, and more. The best solution is to choose an outsourced accounting team that can help with everything from payroll to reconciliations.
  • Outdated Accounting Systems: If your tax deductions are tracked on sticky notes, and you are still managing invoices in a spreadsheet, then it means that you are behind the times. Manual accounting was a great strategy back in the day. But, newer systems have changed the industry and improved the options that are available for small businesses. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of an automated computer system that is managed by a team of accounting experts. Implementing the right system can have a profound impact on your company, helping you keep up with the trends that are happening in our modern digital age.

Why You Will Love Outsourced Accounting Services

If you want to improve the accounting strategy for your small business, then outsourced services are likely your best option. Bringing in a professional perspective is a great way to ensure that you are staying on the right track in the way your company is being managed.

You can offload the busy work that is associated with financial management. When the accounting team takes over these tasks (such as payroll processing, transaction categorizations, auditing, reconciliations, and more), then you can dedicate your time and efforts to other tasks that are needed for your company.

Too often, business owners get caught up in the busy work required for bookkeeping and accounting. If you are spending your valuable hours going through transactions or calculating payroll, then it means that you are likely missing out on opportunities that could help with the growth of your company in the future. How much will your sales improve if you spend time working on new marketing strategies or product development, instead of crunching the numbers for the monthly financial reports?

Outsourcing these services to an accounting team means that you can enjoy the benefits of accurate financial information and a clear picture of the financial health of your business. But, you don’t have to waste your time when you are already carrying many other responsibilities to keep the company running. Invest a little money into accounting services so that you can focus your efforts and attention on other things that will leverage your results in the future.

Making the Best Decisions for Your Company

One thing to consider is the potential mistakes that could be made if your financial reports aren’t managed properly. For example, if there are issues with your accounting system, then it means that you are likely using inaccurate information when it is time to make big decisions relating to the future of your company.

These accurate reports are essential when you are looking at hiring options, equipment purchase, inventory replacement, business development and more. You need to know how much cash is available right now, as well as the cash that will be needed for the future. Staying ahead of this financial information will help by reducing your stress related to cash flow problems.

What Accounting Strategies Do You Need?

Now that you can see the importance of hiring the right services to support the needs of your small business, it is time for you to choose the services that are required for your company. The advantage of working with a concierge team, such as Easier Accounting, is that these services can always be catered based on your requirements.

We are always looking for solutions to personalize your business systems. Our team has been working in the accounting industry for many years. During this time, we’ve built the right experience to ensure that you always receive the best services that are available. We understand the importance of specialized accounting services, which is why you should choose our team. We’ve focused our experience on small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Learn About the Accounting Services that are Available

How should you get started if it is time for you to learn more about accounting services? You can read information online, but nothing beats a personal conversation with an industry expert. Right now is the time to take action, so we invite you to call our team to learn more about the services that are available.

Easier Accounting is leading the industry by offering innovative solutions for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Call us today to see how we can help with your business needs: (888) 620-0770

Top Benefits of Outsourced Accounting Services

You know that it is time to hire an accountant to help with your business finances. But, now you are facing the challenging decision of choosing the right accounting team to take care of the services that are needed. How should you go about choosing the right accounting services for your start-up or small business? Outsourced accounting services can transform your financial reports, helping to boost the potential of success of your company.

DIY is a Bad Idea

Do-it-yourself might be a good solution if you are repainting a bedroom or working on product development ideas. But, don’t make the mistake of trying to manage the finances for your company if you don’t have experience with accounting and bookkeeping.

One of the common problems that we see is when business owners attempt DIY financial management for their startups. While things might seem fine in the beginning, even the smallest issues can snowball into big problems in the future. As a result, you might end up paying more money to an accounting team that needs to clean up the mess.

These problems are easy to avoid by hiring the right accounting team in the first place. Quality accounting services will be helpful to create a solid foundation for your company and set you up for a successful future.

Local vs. Online Services

Often, the first idea is to look for accounting services in your city or town. While there may be benefits to local accounting services, don’t overlook some of the benefits that are available from hiring remote services. Most businesses are managed in the cloud, which means that there is no reason why you need to have face-to-face conversations with your accounting team. Instead, you can choose a team located anywhere in the country.

Online accounting services can be a good choice because you can tap into the best skill set applicable to your business needs. Plus, it is common to get a better “bang for your buck” regarding the quality of services that are offered at a minimal price.

The best thing that you can do is evaluate your options and then find the outsourced accounting services that match the requirements of your business.

Why Outsourced is Better Than In-House Accounting

One common debate is whether you should hire an employee or an outsourced accounting team to assist with the financial reports. Consider the costs of bringing an accountant on staff, and you will see that it is more affordable to outsource these services instead of maintaining the work in your office.

If you hire an accountant, then you are adding another salary to your payroll. Plus, you will accrue additional costs for office space, equipment, office supplies, benefits, and more. These costs definitely add up to more when you are paying for an internal employee.

Also, consider the fact that you can tap into a specialized skill set. Employees are often looking for training on the job, which means that you will need to cover the costs as they learn the skills that are applicable to your company. On the other hand, you can skip the training expenses by choosing an outsourced accounting team that specializes in the type of accounting that you need. For example, if you have a small business or a start-up, then your best bet is to choose an outsourced company that has experience working with other small businesses. It doesn’t make sense to hire a big, corporate accountant if you are in the beginning stages of getting the business off the ground.

Benefits to Expect When Hiring Outsourced Accounting Services

Here are some of the benefits you can expect when you choose outsourced accounting services:

  • Don’t Stress Over the Numbers: Does crunching numbers give you a headache? If you don’t enjoy managing the bookkeeping, taxes, and accounting, then it is time to hand these tasks off to an experienced team. You have the luxury of choosing how you are going to spend your time. Don’t waste your day doing something that you dislike. Outsourcing this part of your business means that you will have more time and energy to put into business growth activities and other management tasks that you enjoy.
  • Lean on the Experience from the Pros: Putting your books in the hands of the experts can have a drastic impact on the success of your company. Your accountant can offer years of experience, training, and education. They work with many companies on a day-to-day basis, which means that your business can benefit from the lessons that have been learned over the years. While an in-house employee can handle basic tasks, the employee can’t match the industry-specific skills that come from a dedicated accounting firm.
  • Improved Productivity: Instead of dedicating your time or your employee’s responsibilities to accounting and bookkeeping, outsource these requirements to free up resources for other tasks. A large amount of paperwork is required to keep up with accounting needs, leaving many companies buried in invoices and tax forms. Let the experts handle the files, which will help to boost the productivity of the staff in your office.
  • Save Money: One reason you need financial management is to save money and boost profit margins. As mentioned above, outsourced accounting services are cheaper than hiring an in-house employee. But, there are other financial benefits that can be expected as well. Remember that outsourcing is an investment. When you compare the costs of outsourced services, you will find that these costs are more affordable compared to other options. Plus, a good accountant can help with cost savings by reducing the tax burden, managing expenses, and more.
  • Grow Your Business: If you are experiencing a growth trend in your company, then you need to be sure that you have the support to help with the anticipated expansion that will be happening in the future. Bringing in the services of an accountant means that you will have the structure in place so that your company doesn’t buckle under the potential growth. It is possible to maintain agility as the industry fluctuates with rises and falls over the years.
  • Latest Industry Technology: It is easy to get stuck in “analysis paralysis” when you are comparing various accounting software programs that are available for your business needs. Instead of wasting days or weeks trying to determine the right features that are needed, talk to an experienced accounting team for assistance. You can access the latest technology and create financial systems that are built to last. Using the services of an accounting team means that you are benefiting from the leading accounting software and best systems to ensure the success of your business.
  • Focus on your Business: When you hire an accounting team to take care of the financial services that are needed. Then, it means that you can turn your focus to the core activities that are needed to grow your business. Don’t let yourself be distracted by focusing on things that sidetrack your focus from the things that you need to be working on. While it is important to take care of back-end tasks, these things can be outsourced so that your focus is placed solely on the activities that will help with the future growth that you are striving to achieve.

Choosing an Outsourced Accounting Team

The most important factor in choosing an outsourced accounting team is to find the core competencies that will help your company grow. What services are needed for your business model? How much support is needed throughout the year?

You might be surprised to see just how much you will benefit by bringing in a bookkeeping and accounting team to help. These services can be used to manage payroll processing, ongoing tax forms and payments, invoicing, cash flow, and more.

There’s no question that outsourcing helps with the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. When you have a good financial system in place, then many of the common issues will be smoothed over. Plus, you can rely on accurate financial reports when it is time to make big decisions that will affect your company.

Boost Your Business Results

If it is time to make a change so that you can move your company forward, then you need to look for options that will help with the growth of your business. Accounting and financial services are great solutions that can make a difference in the future.

Before you rush into this decision, we invite you to call our team to learn more about the services that are available. We offer a range of options that can be customized based on the needs of your company. Our team is always on call to answer your questions and help you determine the solutions that are most applicable to your business model.

Easier Accounting is leading the industry by offering the best outsourced accounting services that are available. We offer many years of experience helping entrepreneurs and small businesses with common accounting tasks. Call today to see how we can support your business efforts: (888) 620-0770

Tips for Securing Your Business Financial Information

Technology has made it an amazing time to be a small business owner. There are many options to improve your business by leveraging the use of software, computers, the internet and more. Computers and software programs can make your daily tasks easier. You can automate transactions and organize information related to the management of your company. It is obvious that digital business management makes things easier for you and your customers.

Many business owners use online budgeting tools, payment processing systems, websites, mobile apps and more. These tools are great to reduce the time that is required on busy work such as banking, accounting, and bookkeeping. At the same time, you might be putting yourself at risk due to databases that aren’t secure.

With the benefits of technology comes potential risks as well. Since we live in a digital world, there are many scammers and hackers looking for ways to exploit information that can be accessed online. As a result, it is important that you are proactive to secure your business financial information to protect your company and your customer information

Risks of Financial Exploitation

Why does it matter if you have the right security systems in place? If your financial information is hacked, then it could be a devastating problem for you and your company. Not only can the hackers steal your information, but you could lose money and time as a result of the stolen information.

In some situations, you know about the problems immediately. For example, you might find unexplained charges on your credit card. Or, a hack could cause your bank account to be drained. But, there are other times when the exploitation isn’t noticed until the issue has grown into a bigger problem, such as identity theft. These serious scams could cost thousands of dollars to correct the problem.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Company

Just because there is a risk to your business financial information, doesn’t mean that you need to stay in the stone-ages and use paper and pencil to track your business accounting. Instead, you can implement a few effective tips to protect yourself and your business finances. Here are some of the essentials that should be considered by every business owner:

  • Set a Schedule: It is important to change passwords regularly, especially on your sensitive financial accounts. But, many people don’t think to change the passwords until it is too late. Mark your calendar so that these passwords are changed Even though it takes a little time to update the information, it is worth the time investment so that you can protect your company.
  • Use a Password Manager: Storing your passwords on a notepad in your desk drawer is one of the biggest mistakes that could cost your company money. Even though you assume that you can trust everyone in the office, there is a possibility that someone might make a poor decision when they find an easy opportunity. You shouldn’t keep your passwords in printed or written form without putting those papers under lock and key. If you have hard copies of this information, then they should be stored in a safe or locked filing cabinet. Better yet, choose a good password management system such as Roboform or Lastpass so that you can keep all of your passwords in one digital location. These password managers have great reputations and offer the encryption and security that is needed to protect your financial interests.
  • Manage Your Computer: If you open up a bank account or other financial account on your computer, make sure to log out and clear the cookies after you are done with the session. Leaving your online banking data open in the browser could increase the likelihood that someone will access your information. Also, consider adding a password to access your computer so that you can protect the offline files that are stored on your hard drive.
  • Choose Reputable Software Companies: Don’t make the mistake of trying to save a few bucks by choosing a new software company. The best solution is to pick a software program with a great reputation in the industry. You can rest assured to know that your information is protected when the software program offers the encryptions that are needed to avoid hackers and information theft.
  • Set Up Notifications: Do you know when someone accesses your bank accounts? It can be helpful to set up notifications so that you are alerted when someone is trying to access your information. Also, consider adding transaction limits or transaction notifications. For example, choose a dollar amount that would be an unusual transaction so that you are notified immediately if anything looks suspicious in your account.
  • Check Your Bank Account Regularly: Are you aware of the financial transactions that are moving through your bank account and credit cards? Regularly monitoring of these accounts can be helpful so that you can quickly catch any issues if something comes up. Consider utilizing the services of an outsourced accounting team so that you have regular audits of your financial accounts. These services are essential to detect potential fraud and scams.
  • PCI Level 1 Compliance: If you receive credit card transactions from your customers or clients, then you need to be sure that you are keeping up with PCI Level 1 compliance. Most business owners don’t understand the ins and outs of these compliance requirements. So, the easiest solution is to choose a reputable merchant processing company that ensures the details of the compliance requirements that need to be met. For example, your payment processing service can take care of encryption and good stewardship of all of the data.
  • Two Factor Authentication: When someone accesses the password to your bank account or email account, then they can do a lot of damage in a short time. Make it hard for hackers to access these accounts by adding two-factor authentications on your accounts. This means that you need to enter a password when accessing the account. Then, you will receive a text message or email with a one-time use access code. Most of the time this access code is only good for 60 minutes, helping to lock down the time that you can access the account.
  • Turn on Activity Tracking: Some software programs allow you to turn on tracking activity. For example, on your email account or accounting software, you can view an activity log that shows all of the logins and the activities that are completed. This information helps with the audit trail so that you can see the source of problems if things aren’t adding up.
  • Update Your Software: All software programs need to stay updated at all times. Sometimes, hackers find weak points in the software code that can be used to access information. So, software updates are designed to patch the identified issues. Not only do you need to maintain updated software on your computer and cell phone, but also keep the software updated on your websites, accounting software programs, and anything else that might provide access to sensitive information.
  • Use Cloud-Based Services: If something happens to your office or computer, then it can be a tragedy to lose all of the information that was stored on the hard drive. Use a cloud-based accounting software so that you can still access the relevant information in case your hard drive fails or your computer is stolen. These cloud-based programs are encrypted to secure your information. Plus, you can provide secure access to trusted, remote service providers, such as your accountant.
  • Check Your Credit Report: A regular review of your credit report can be helpful to ensure that your credit hasn’t been tampered with. Look at this information a few times a year to see if any unexpected credit lines have been opened. If you find any errors or suspicious activity, then you can file a dispute with the reporting company as soon as possible to clear up the mess. Also, consider the benefits of credit monitoring services. Sometimes, you can find package deals that include credit reporting information and credit monitoring. Each time activity happens on your credit report; then you will receive an alert notifying you of the activity.
  • Be Careful about Social Networks: Most people use social networks on a daily basis, but you need to be careful about the information that is posted on these sites. Quizzes and fun games are designed to pull information that might be related to security questions, such as your mother’s maiden name, phone number, birthdate, or your pet’s name

Other Tips to Protect and Improve Your Business Financial Information

The best thing that you can do to protect your business finances is to tap into the services offered by an experienced accounting team. At Easier Accounting, we’re here to support the financial health of your company. If you are looking for support to improve your business systems, then we encourage you to call us right away to learn more about how we can help. Contact us at: (888) 620-0770

Effective Techniques for Cutting Small Business Expenses

It doesn’t matter how much money your company brings in… if you can’t manage expenses, then you will find it hard to make your business profitable. Companies can profit millions of dollars a year and still be “in the red” if they are spending too much on overhead costs, expenses, inventory, and more. Instead of only focusing on your income, it is also important that you look for effective options for cutting small business expenses at the same time.

Don’t Drain Your Assets

Today, we are talking about the most common things that could be draining your business bank account. As you review your bookkeeping strategies and cash flow, you will be able to identify a few small changes that can be made to have a lasting impact on the long-term profitability of your company. Don’t overlook the power that is available in the smallest system changes.

Reinvesting the money that comes into your company can help you leverage to higher levels of success. But, you need to be sure that you are using that money in the best way to get an optimal Return on Investment (ROI) for the money that is spent. Think about the ways the money will return value when it is spent on various things that are needed for your company.

For example, spending money to expand inventory can be important, as long as your sales increase so that you are selling the inventory that is coming in. Or, you might choose to invest the cash into a new marketing plan to boost your list of active customers. These examples show good ways that you can be spending your money to improve business results. Bad examples are often found when money is spent on unnecessary, frivolous expenses, such as luxurious vacations, unneeded furniture upgrades, and more.

Effective Strategies for Cutting Small Business Expenses

Often, business owners don’t see the problems because they are too focused on the management of their companies. Bringing in an outside perspective from a financial professional can be an effective way for you to identify problem areas that need to be corrected. Here are some of the things that you might find when you are working on cutting small business expenses:

  1. Review All Costs: You need to see the flow of money before you can determine where the excess is being spent. Do you have a clear picture of the way your cash flow is moving through the company? If you are unaware of the costs that are being paid, then it will be impossible to identify the right strategy for your company. So, the first step is to make a list of recurring expenses, as well as expensive one-time purchases that come up. Recurring costs might include everything from your office rental to internet services, janitorial services, and more. Categorize everything by looking through your transactions that are moving through all bank accounts and credit cards.
  2. Cut Unnecessary Spending: Now that you’ve compiled a list of expenses, you might be surprised to see that you are spending money on things that might not be necessary to run your company. For example, did you sign up for a business software years ago, but you aren’t currently using the system? Stop the membership so that you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for a service that isn’t being used. Remember that you can always sign up for the service again in the future if you decide that you need access to the software again. Every expense that moves through your company should be identified and justified. If there is anything that is unjustified, then it might be a good candidate to cut so that you can reduce your expense.
  3. Reducing Costs on Essential Expenses: Some costs can’t be eliminated, such as rent, utilities, payroll, and more. But, don’t assume that you need to pay the set amount. A few phone calls might help you find other strategies to reduce these expenses. For example, talk to your credit card companies to see if you can negotiate lower interest costs or eliminate annual fees. Talk to the internet and cable provider to find cheaper monthly service packages. Consider moving to another office location where you can pay a lower
  4. Outsource Instead of Hiring New Employees: As your business grows, you need to be careful so that you don’t lock yourself into ongoing payroll costs. Even if you need the services right now, it can be a burden to continue paying these payroll expenses in the future if you no longer need the extra workforce. Consider outsourcing the work that needs to be completed. Contractors or freelancers can assist with short-term jobs, giving you on-demand assistance when you have work that needs to be completed.
  5. Go Digital: While it is nice to send a letter in the mail occasionally, don’t overlook how much the costs can add up over time. Not only do you need to pay for the paper and envelope, but the cost of stamps and ink can add up over time. Whenever possible, look for ways that you can communicate with business connections and customers digitally. For example, if you are sending many invoices each month, then you could save hundreds of dollars by sending email notifications instead of mailing the statements.
  6. Negotiate with Suppliers: Often, it is possible to negotiate bulk pricing when you are buying a large quantity from the same supplier. If you anticipate that you will continue a long-term business relationship, then talk to the supplier about options to reduce The supplier is often happy to accommodate the request because they want to maintain an ongoing relationship with your company. Have a conversation to find a win-win solution that helps everyone get ahead in their business efforts.
  7. Reduce Company Travel: While it’s fun to have a company trip, these costs can add up over time. Sometimes, you might be able to manage the business activities over online services such as Zoom or Skype instead of meeting in person. Conducting meetings online will help you avoid costs such as airfare, hotel, car rental, meals, and more. If you choose to schedule a business trip, then make sure that you can identify the business opportunities that will come from the travel.
  8. Buy Used Furniture and Equipment: You can find great deals on equipment and furniture if you are willing to purchase used instead of new. Look at the local classified ads to see if you can find the equipment that is needed for your company. Also, evaluate your options to sell old equipment that is no longer needed. Then, the generated cash can be applied to the purchase of the new equipment that is needed.
  9. Offer Telecommuting: It might seem necessary to have employees in your office, but are there positions that could be completed off-site? Don’t assume that you need to have employees in the office at all times. More companies are offering telecommuting options as a way to improve employee satisfaction and cut costs in the office at the same time. Studies show a long list of benefits that are available for both the employee and employer when telecommuting is offered. When you reduce the number of employees in the office each day, your utility costs will go down, and you can decrease the amount of office space that is required.
  10. Evaluate Benefits Packages: Offering a great benefits package is an effective way to ensure employee satisfaction. But, be cautious so that you aren’t “giving away the farm” on the health care premiums that are paid. Shop around to see if you can find similar coverage for a lower price, helping to reduce your ongoing expenses for the benefits that are provided to your employees.

Apply one or two of these strategies in your company, and you will see that the savings add up over time. Try implementing as much as possible if you want to achieve the best results for your company.

Be Proactive with Your Cashflow Management

Improving the management of your business finances might be the most important thing that you can do to improve your long-term results for your company. It is essential that you understand the financial health of your business. This information helps you see where money should be invested and how you can cut inefficient systems.

Our goal at Easier Accounting is to help you optimize your business profitability and help you reach higher levels of success in your company. We understand how much of a challenge it can be to manage various aspects of your business while keeping up with paperwork, bookkeeping, accounting and more. These services can be customized to match your needs, helping you create the best results for the future.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can apply a new system for cutting small business expenses, then we invite you to talk to us for additional information. Easier Accounting is here to help with anything that you need. Call us to learn more about the way our services will be beneficial for your company: (888) 620-0770

Tax Deductions to Consider for the Last 3 Months of 2018

This year has flown by, leaving many people surprised that we are nearing 4th quarter. How did your business perform during the first three quarters of the year? What are the tasks that need to be addressed before you finish up 2018?

As we start into the fourth quarter, it is a great time to assess your business efforts and identify areas of improvement. The best thing that you can do is tap into the resources that are offered by business professionals who can help with your goals.

What Support Do You Need in 4th Quarter?

Here are a few ideas of outsourced professionals that can help you end the year on the right note:

  • Accountant: Evaluate the books to determine any expenses that should be covered before the year closes. Look at potential tax deductions to help with the management of your tax burden for the year. We will discuss this in more depth later in this article.
  • Lawyer: Is it time to restructure the business? Whether you are changing the way the entity is structured or you are looking for ways to improve your contracts, don’t hesitate to bring in the services of a legal team. You can find a local lawyer who can assist with your efforts. Or, look at online services such as Legal Zoom and more.
  • Business Coach: Sometimes, goals are just out of reach because you are having a hard time seeing things from a different perspective. A coach can be a valuable asset to help you identify systems that are no longer working. Changing a few of your habits and systems can make a big difference to boost your profits during the holiday season.
  • Marketing: If you want to maximize sales when consumers are shopping for the holidays, then make sure to utilize the services of an experienced marketing team. There’s no reason for you to spend time trying to figure out the best strategies. Instead, tap into the services that are offered to bring more customers to your website.

As you can see, there are many different focuses that you might choose for the last four months of the year. There’s no question that the financial health and organization of your company should be the top priority. Once you have the right financial system in place, then you will know how much cash flow is available to support the other services that are needed to help your company grow.

Why Tax Write-Offs Before the End of the Year?

It is common for business owners to procrastinate tax strategies until the tax deadlines are looming. But, the truth is that right now is the best time of year to evaluate your situation so that you can manage your spending before the year ends.

For example, if you’ve had strong sales numbers in 2018, then it means that you might be facing a higher-than-normal tax bill when Tax Day rolls around in April. While it is great to have high numbers for the year, it can be debilitating to face the expensive taxes that need to be addressed. Work with your accountant to find the right strategy that might offset the taxes that are due.

One of the best strategies is to invest money into things that are needed for the business. If that transaction goes through by December 31st, then it can be used as a deduction for 2018. You shouldn’t be spending money for no reason. But, with a good strategy, you can get access to the equipment and services that are needed for your company, while managing your tax bills at the same time.

Overview of Business Taxes

The most effective strategy to ensure that your taxes are filed correctly, and on-time is to hire an experienced accounting team to handle the work. You should be spending your time on other business activities, instead of trying to decipher tax law and crunch the numbers. Outsourcing these services can be a powerful way to boost your long-term results. The key is to make sure that you hire an experienced team who understands the most effective strategies to use for your business.

Tax planning should be an ongoing process, which means that you need to talk to your accountant more than once a year. Not only do tax laws change regularly, but it can be a burden to keep up with the rules and regulations that apply to your industry. Even though you will be spending money on the accounting services, you will actually save money in the long run by reducing your tax burden.

There isn’t one flat tax that needs to be paid by your business. Instead, a variety of taxes need to be evaluated. Your accountant can talk to you about the paperwork and calculations that are required for all of your financial needs:

  • Personal Taxes: You need to pay income tax on the money that comes into your household. If your business is structured as a sole proprietor, then your personal taxes will be completed along with the business deductions and income. Other applicable taxes include those associated with your personal property and your house. These taxes need to be considered on a local, state, and federal level.
  • Self-Employment Taxes: In addition to the income tax calculations listed above, there are a few things that need to be considered for self-employment taxes as well.
  • Business Income: If your company is structured as an entity, then there might be business taxes assessed by the federal government. Talk to your accountant and lawyer about the structure of your company and how to determine the taxes that apply to your circumstances.
  • Payroll Taxes: When you have employees on payroll, there are specific taxes that need to be managed with payroll processing. Not only do you need to calculate the right deductions from the employee paychecks, including Medicare and social security. But, you also need to calculate the company’s burden as well. Then, regular payments need to be made to the government. The timing of these payments varies on the size of your company and the number of employees.

Possible Tax Deductions for Fourth Quarter

If you experienced higher than anticipated profits this year, then an effective tax planning strategy is to speed up the timeline for purchases that are scheduled for next year. Shifting the timing of these purchases can help to offset the tax burden in the current calendar year, giving you more time to figure out your strategy for 2019.

On the other hand, if your revenue was lower than anticipated, then you might hold off on certain expenses until the New Year. Since your tax burden will be lower than normal this year, it might be beneficial to wait until January before putting money into equipment and other costs that might be needed for your company.

Keep in mind that a dollar spent rarely equates to a dollar that is saved on your tax bill. So, it doesn’t always make sense to come up with artificial expenses in an effort to reduce your tax burden.

Here are some of the expenses that might help with your deductions this year:

  • Computers, Cell Phones, and Other Electronics: Staying up-to-date with your equipment is essential so that you don’t run into problems due to outdated electronics. You might watch the Black Friday sales to find discounts on laptops or cell phones for your office staff. Everyone will be glad to have the upgrades for their equipment, and you will be glad to take advantage of the write-off before the end of the year.
  • Retirement Contributions: Certain retirement accounts allow you to set money aside tax-free. Talk to your accountant about potential retirement strategies that can be used.
  • Furniture: If your office furniture is outdated, then it might be time to invest in a new style. First-impressions matter when customers come to your office. So, you should always be sure that you are creating a good impression with interior décor that is trendy and welcoming.
  • Office Supplies: Are you running low on printer paper or pens? Put in your order at the local office supply store before the end of the year. Also, look at other expenses that might be needed, such as a new printer, filing cabinets, and more.
  • Software and Digital Subscriptions: We live in a digital world, making it hard for any business to avoid ongoing subscription services. The truth is that these tools can be helpful when you find the right services needed for your company. Don’t be shy to invest money in training courses as well as monthly subscriptions that are necessary for your business model. Examples include accounting programs, design software, stock photos, and more.
  • Insurance Coverage: A good insurance policy can go a long way to protect your company in times of emergency. Review your insurance coverage to see if anything needs to be changed to increase your coverage.
  • Travel and Entertainment: If you are thinking about attending an industry conference, then right now might be the perfect time to book the flights and hotel rooms. A portion of these expenses can be written off on your taxes.

What questions do you have about your business tax strategy? Talk to us at Easier Accounting for personalized recommendations. We are here to answer your questions: (888) 620-0770

Bookkeeping and Accounting Services: An Overview of the Available Services

“Hiring an accountant” can be a general term that seems overwhelming for some business owners. You know that you need bookkeeping and accounting services. But, are you worried that you are going to overpay for services that aren’t necessary for your company? Before you rush into the decision, it is important that you learn about your options. Then you can find the right accounting services to match the needs of your business.

Why You Need Financial Professionals

Financial professionals play an important role in business management. Not only do bookkeepers and accountants help with the ongoing transactions and organization of the books. But, these experts can offer insights that are essential for tax strategy, cash flow management, payroll and more.

Some business owners assume that the best way to save money is by taking a DIY approach with bookkeeping and accounting. But, the truth is that this strategy might cost you more money in the long run. If you don’t have experience in the financial industry, then there is a high probability that mistakes will be made along the way. Then, you could be facing expensive costs to correct the problems in the future.

Also, consider the opportunity cost of the time that you are spending on financial activities. Instead of focusing your efforts on business tasks, such as finding new clients or forming new relationships in the industry, you are spending your time with your head in the books trying to sort through the numbers. If accounting isn’t your strength, then it means that you are burning daylight hours on tasks where you don’t shine. At the same time, you are giving up opportunities to spend time on business activities that could result in real growth for your company.

In the same way, you visit a dentist when you have a cavity or an attorney when you need legal advice, you shouldn’t hesitate to outsource your accounting needs to an experienced team. This strategy frees up the time that is available for your business activities during the week. Plus, you can rest assured to know that you aren’t overlooking important details that need to be addressed in your financial strategy.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Services: What Do You Need?

It is important that you understand your options so that you can determine the services that are needed. There’s no reason to be paying for payroll services if you don’t have any employees! Often, there are options to choose individual services as needed. Or, you might be able to save money by packaging the essential bookkeeping and accounting services together.

In fact, these packaged services can simplify the process and improve the results that are available for your company. You don’t need to worry about working with a bookkeeping team and a separate accounting team. Instead, you can lean on the experience offered by a team that provides the full coverage that is required.

Here is an overview of some of the ways that your company might benefit from bookkeeping and accounting services:

  • Fixing Messy Books: If you’ve procrastinated the decision to bring on an experienced accounting team, then it is likely that there are mistakes with your books. Before the full systems can be put in place, it is essential to start by cleaning up the mess so that you have a clean slate to work with. This process often includes sorting through the transactions, completing audits on the previous months, determining current balances, identifying upcoming expenses, and then putting a complete system together that shows a full financial picture.
  • Tax Strategy: Taxes are unavoidable as a business owner. But, you don’t need to be scared of the potential bills in the future. With the right strategy, you can minimize the amount that is due and maximize the benefits that are available for your company. A good accounting team will help you design a tax strategy that is used throughout the year. You need to be working with your accountant on an ongoing basis, instead of only calling when it is time for the annual filing. Tax strategy can be used for your personal income tax as well as business deductions that can impact your tax burden each year.
  • Ongoing Audits: Auditing might seem like an unnecessary burden, but this proactive step is essential to ensure that nothing is slipping through the cracks. Regular audits ensure that details aren’t overlooked, such as tax write-offs and income that is received. It is also important to watch for potential mistakes that could be impacting the financial reports and cash flow. At the same time, your bookkeeping and accounting team might identify potential issues that indicate the risk of fraud in your company. Having a third-party auditor adds a layer of protection so that you can avoid internal theft and fraud.
  • Bank Reconciliations: In addition to the audits, monthly reconciliations are also important. For example, if a transaction is overlooked in your accounting system, then it means that the accounting program might show a different balance than what is actually in the bank account. Reconciliations ensure that accounts and records match across the board, giving you the peace of mind to know that everything agrees. If an error is identified, then the system can be corrected to avoid that problem from happening again in the future.
  • Cashflow Planning: Just because you have money in the bank right now, doesn’t mean that you will have the cash flow for the future expenses that are coming up. Cashflow can be a tricky aspect of owning a business. If you don’t have a good system for cash flow management, then it is possible that your lack of cash could sink the company. Work with your bookkeeper and accountant to create a system that evaluates current balances, incoming expenses, as well as future expenses. These reports will provide a clear financial picture that can be used when you are facing large decisions that will impact your company.
  • Payroll Processing: Timely payments for your employees are essential to maintain a healthy company culture and ensure employee satisfaction. It can be a challenge for a business owner to keep up with the payroll schedule. This process requires quite a bit of time and effort to ensure that everything is accurate before payments are remitted. Outsourcing payroll process means that you have an experienced team overlooking everything from payroll calculations to payroll taxes and direct deposits.
  • Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable: At the same time, you also need to consider the payments that need to be sent out to contractors, utility companies, your landlord, and more. What are the balances that need to be paid this month? Are there any outstanding invoices that need to be collected from your clients? These details are important so that you have the cash flow coming in, and at the same time you are keeping up with the obligations that need to be covered to keep your company in business.
  • Record Management: Certain records need to be maintained to ensure that you have documentation for everything that is happening in your company. Each transaction needs to be recorded so that you can back up tax write-offs if there are questions from the IRS. Failure to maintain this documentation means that you could be facing the headache of audits and expensive tax penalties and fees in the future. Your financial team can help with the organization of your records so that you can avoid these issues.
  • Reporting: It is important that you have an accurate understanding regarding the financial health of your company. Your accounting and bookkeeping team can provide monthly, quarterly, and annual reports. This information will help you see where the most profitability is coming in, giving you insight and information that can be used to improve your business efforts going forward. If you don’t have these numbers, then it means that it is a “shot in the dark” every time you make an important decision that affects the financial well-being of your company. Analyze the numbers, look for trends, and rely on these reports so that you can optimize your systems and improve profit margins.

As you can see, there are many ways that you can take advantage of the services that are offered by a bookkeeping and accounting team. A small monthly fee for these services can have a significant impact on the success of your company. If you want to set your business up for future growth, then it is essential that you have the right systems in place. Hiring an experienced accounting team is one of the best decisions that you can make to help your company grow.

One thing that needs to be considered is the experience that is offered by the team that you are hiring. At Easier Accounting, we specialize in small business services. By focusing our scope of services, we can optimize the results that are available for your company. If you are an entrepreneur, you are working on a start-up, or you own a small business, then we encourage you to contact us any time to learn more about the way that we can support your business efforts. We are always here to help: (888) 620-0770

4th Quarter Financial Goals to Maximize Your Year-End Profits

September is here, which means that we are almost ready to step into the fourth quarter of 2018. How has your business performed this year? Whether you are trying to turn things around after a slow year or you want to maximize profits after a great year, it is the perfect time to take a closer look at your financial outlook. Setting a few financial goals could have an impact on the long-term performance of your company. Start working on these goals right now so that you are ready to implement the right strategies next month.

Resolutions Before the New Year

Setting the right goals for the last quarter of the year can drive your business forward. But, you need to be proactive to be sure that you are finishing 2018 in a strong position, instead of coasting through the last few months. Most likely, there are a few small things that you can do right now to ensure optimal results in the future.

There’s no reason why you need to wait until January to set new resolutions for your company. Instead, you can create those goals right now so that you are setting the foundation for a strong 2019. Procrastinating your efforts will stall the business growth that is available. As a result, you are leaving money on the table that could be contributing to the bottom line.

Common Annual Trends

Before you set these financial goals, you need to consider the common annual trends that are experienced in your company. For example, if you are in the retail business, then there is a good chance that your biggest months of the year are coming up. As shoppers gear up for the holiday season, many businesses benefit from the higher sales volumes.

In this situation, you need to be ready to amp up your marketing efforts and bring people through the door. Look for ways that you can offer holiday sales or other options to encourage people to add a few more things in their carts. Also, make sure that you offer online shopping options. Online shopping trends are growing every year because shoppers don’t want to face the crowds at the stores. If you offer your products and services on a website, then it means that you have the opportunity to tap into the online revenue that could take your company to higher levels of success.

On the other hand, some businesses find that things slow down in the fourth quarter. If your business model isn’t based around retail sales, then you need to be looking for ways to stay productive even though things are slowing down for a time. For those business owners in a service-based industry that is affected by seasonal trends, such as home contractors or landscapers, then right now is the perfect time of year to finish the season strong and start working on your strategy for next year. Use this opportunity to build more connections in the industry so that you can start stacking the pipeline for future sales.

Setting New Financial Goals

Regardless of your industry, there is wisdom in tapping into the information that is available from an experienced accounting team. You can gain insights and personal recommendations that can make a difference to help your company grow in the future.

Do you have specific financial goals in mind? Or, are you looking for insights that can make a difference for your company? Our team at Easier Accounting is always here to answer your questions and assist with anything that is needed to maximize your results in the future.

Here are a few ideas that might help you choose the financial goals to focus on this quarter:

  1. Increasing Revenue

It is obvious that you want to boost revenue to improve the results for your company. But, it can sometimes be a challenge to know where you should be focusing your efforts. Think outside the box to see how you can bring in more revenue. You might have the opportunity to increase the number of sales that occur within a specific timeframe. Or, consider the option to raise your prices so that sales stay consistent but you are bringing in more money.

Many different tools can be used to forecast your revenue. Even if you have the right tools, you also need to tap into the experience and insights offered by industry professionals. Services might include marketplace analysis, past performance, anticipated industry trends, and more.

The best solution is to be specific in your revenue goals. Instead of setting a goal to “boost 4th quarter revenue,” consider adding specific details such as “increase monthly revenue by $5,000 by December 31, 2018.” Then, break down the strategies that will be needed to hit the numbers that you are aiming to achieve. For example, you might need to have a certain number of sales calls or client meetings to ensure that enough sales are closed on a monthly basis.

  1. Decreasing Expenses

As your revenue goes up, it doesn’t guarantee profitability for your company. In fact, there are times when businesses end up in difficult financial situations because they fail to account for the money that is moving out of the company. Controlling your costs is essential to avoid failure in the future.

Remember that sales volume is not the only factor that affects profit and loss in your company. Instead, it is more important to make sure that you are spending less than what is coming into the business.

Take inventory of the ongoing costs that are being paid for overhead expenses, such as building rent and maintenance, payroll expenses, inventory management, taxes, and more. Also, consider one-time fees that come up so that you can have the cash flow on hand to pay for these things.

You will likely find areas where you can reduce waste or cut unnecessary subscriptions that are no longer being used. Plus, you might find opportunities to negotiate better contracts to maximize profit margins on each project. Look for solutions that will allow you to decrease utility costs, interest payments, or other inefficient systems that are draining your bank account. Don’t hesitate to bid out services or work that needs to be completed to see if you can find comparable solutions for a fraction of the price that you are currently paying.

  1. Maximizing Tax Deductions

Even though tax season is still a few months away, it is important to address your tax strategy throughout the year. If you spend money on products or services that are used for your business, then those costs can be used as write-offs to reduce your tax burden for the year.

You might be strategic with your purchases so that the transactions are complete before the end of the year. If you’ve enjoyed strong profits this year, then it might be time to buy new equipment that is needed in your office or restock inventory. Timing is everything when it comes to tax strategy, so it is essential that you are leaning on the experience and insight offered by an experienced accounting team. We are here to answer your questions and help you determine the best strategies that are available to manage the expenses that you are paying.

  1. Managing Debts

Business credit and debts can take a toll on your cash flow. If you are incurring high-interest costs, then it can feel impossible to get ahead of the payments that are required each month. Right now is an optimal time to put together an effective debt payoff plan so that you can control the amount of money that you are wasting in interest expenses.

What is the benefit that you are getting from your debt? Calculate the amount of annual interest that you are paying to determine if you are gaining the benefits that are needed to help your business grow. Often, the debt burden is dragging down your profitability and increasing your stress levels at the same time.

If you are carrying credit card debt, then make sure to pay down the high-interest balances first. One option is to consider a low-interest card or a balance transfer option that will stop the interest for a time. When it comes to debt management, don’t be shy to get on the phone so that you can discuss payment options with the lender. For example, a phone call to your credit card company might result in a lower interest rate or better payment terms. If it makes sense, then you might transfer your business loan to another lender to achieve the favorable payment terms that are needed to help you gain control of your business finances.

Year-End Financial Goals for Your Business

These finance goals can be addressed during any time of the year. But, right now is a perfect opportunity to step up your efforts so that you can have a strong finish to 2018. If you need assistance, then don’t miss the opportunity to work with an experienced account team. Contact us at Easier Accounting to learn more about the services that are provided. We offer a range of financial solutions, including tax strategy and filing, bookkeeping services, and other options to improve the financial results for your business. Call today to talk to an industry professional: (888) 620-0770

Business Owners: How Valuable is Your Time?

Whether you are hiring new employees or contractors or you are looking at year-end raises for your staff, it is common to assess the hourly and salary rates that are being paid out to the team. But, there is one area that often falls through the cracks when you are considering the value of time and skills that are offered for business projects. Ask yourself one important question: How valuable is YOUR time?

Wearing Many Hats as a Business Owner

Since you aren’t working for another company, it can be hard to put a price tag on what your time is worth. As you are launching the business and putting new systems in place, it is common to spend time on lower-level tasks that could be handed to others. During these start-up phases, new business owners are often looking for solutions to reduce overhead expenses, which means that they are often wearing many hats throughout the day.

It takes time for a business to become profitable, so it’s no surprise that you are willing to take on some of these entry-level tasks. But, it is essential that you consider the future growth of the company so that you aren’t dedicating a significant number of hours to tasks that should be handed to an employee or contractor. If you are undervaluing your time, then it means that you won’t maximize your Return on Investment (ROI) or the profitability of the company.

Financial Benefits from the Time You Spend on Business Building Activities

How valuable is your time? When you put in a specific number of hours in business-building activities, is there an anticipated amount of revenue that you can expect in the future? It depends on the type of activities that you are choosing to complete each day. For example, if you are spending your time taking out the garbage or organizing inventory shelves, then these activities won’t likely have a direct impact on your revenue. On the other hand, you can focus that time on improving industry connections or optimizing marketing efforts, which could have a measurable impact on your business profitability.

There are several strategies that can be used to ensure that there is a financial benefit for the time that you are spending on your business efforts:

  • Determine the value of your time. When you know that one hour of your time is worth a specific amount, then it is easy to identify the tasks that can be outsourced at a cheaper rate. For example, you can pay someone $10 or $15 per hour for custodial services such as cleaning the bathrooms and taking out the garbage. If your time is worth much more than that, then you need to focus your efforts on the tasks that bring in money, instead of wasting your efforts on things that should be assigned to other.
  • Identify the wisest use of your hours. You only have a certain number of hours available each day, which means that you need to find the tasks that are the wisest use of your time to gain the maximum results in the future. There’s always “good, better, best,” so you shouldn’t settle for good when there is more upward potential available from the best tasks that will help your business grow.

You are the foundation of your company, especially when you are setting up the systems in the beginning. It doesn’t matter if you are selling a product or a service. You need to remember that your time is valuable, which means that every hour should be spent on tasks that will have an impact on profit margins.

Strategies to Assign Value to Your Work Hours

Several considerations need to be addressed if you are going to assign a value to your work hours. The goal is to reduce the time that you are spending on low-profit activities while shifting your focus to high-value activities and business development efforts. These efforts can help with the optimization of your efficiency so that you are receiving the right compensation for your work. It can be disheartening to know that you are putting in the blood, sweat, and tears only to bring in a minimum wage.

If you want to improve your business profitability, then you can’t sell yourself short in the evaluation of your time. Understand that time is one of the most precious commodities used to help your business grow. So, you need to take advantage of opportunities to leverage your hours whenever possible.

Whether you employ others or you hire outsources to help with business tasks. You should be the highest-paid team member, with the lower-paying tasks being handed off to team other employees or contractors. Not only do you need to consider the hourly rate that is being paid to these people, but you also need to factor in other details that will affect your out-of-pocket expenses, such as overtime pay, benefits, employment taxes, and more.

Also, it can be wise to do some research so that you can see what other people are charging for similar services. What are the price points of your biggest competitors? It is possible that you are charging an hourly rate that is much lower than the competition, which means that it might be time to notch up your prices so help with the optimization of your profit margins.

Value vs. Price

Keep in mind that the price that you are paid for the products and services that are offered isn’t an exact measurement of the value of services that are offered. Some business owners make the mistake of trying to compete based on price alone, which means that it is a race to the bottom to outperform the competition. If you are always dropping prices in an effort to bring in more business, then it becomes harder and harder to increase your profit margins.

On the other hand, you need to be sure that you are delivering value for the services that are offered to others. If you are overcharging for your time without delivering the perceived value, then it is hard to maintain the consistency of returning customers. There is a “sweet spot” that you need to identify for your industry. It often takes a little bit of trial and error to find the right place that will support your business growth.

Why Delegation is Essential If You Value Your Time

If you truly value your time, then it is necessary to implement a good delegation system to improve your efforts. Not only do you need to hand off the lower-paying tasks as mentioned earlier in this article, but you also need to look for ways to tap into different skill sets that can be used to help your company grow.

For example, if you know that your business finances need to be improved, then you have the option to learn more about the industry or hire someone who is an expert in accounting. It can take countless hours and many years of education to master a good accounting practice. There’s no reason why you should waste your time reading through tax laws and accounting software manuals when you can hire someone to handle these tasks for you.

Hiring a good accounting team means that you can bring in the expertise that is needed without spending your precious time learning an education that is peripheral to your main business efforts. In fact, you are likely leaving money on the table if you are diverting your attention to the side tasks instead of focusing on the efforts that will help your business grow. So, don’t enroll in an accounting class at the local college. Instead, look for a team that provides the services that you need so that you can maintain focused efforts on the tasks that you are good at, such as the things that will bring more sales into your company.

Yes, it can be difficult to rely on others when you are unsure about the performance that will be offered. But, as you understand the importance of delegation, it will help you see the best ways to improve your business efforts going forward. Micromanaging every aspect of your business process is a practice that will inhibit business growth and stop you from reaching the highest levels of success that are available.

As you hand over these responsibilities, you will undoubtedly have more time for higher value activities, helping to increase your income potential. It can result in a snowball effect that results in great results for your company overall.

Our experienced team at Easier Accounting is here to assist with your business financial goals. We invite you to consider the question: how valuable is your time? Then, bring in a team of experts that can assist with maximizing the overall results that can be achieved in your company. We are here to help with all of your accounting and bookkeeping needs. If you own a small business, then we invite you to contact us so that you can learn more about the various services that are offered: (888) 620-0770