What You Need to Know about Accounting and Tax Preparation for Start-Ups

Starting a business means that you are juggling many tasks and responsibilities: setting up bank accounts, creating accounting systems, designing a website, building out customer service platforms, tax preparation strategies, business development, and more. Even though it is a lot of work to launch the business, it is worth the efforts because of the long-term benefits you will enjoy.

The truth is that the solid foundation created right now will have a lasting effect on the success of your company. In the beginning stages, it might be tempting to skip a few steps and rationalize that you will work on those systems or processes after the business is up and running. But you could be hindering growth and opportunities by procrastinating the most important aspects that affect the financial health of your company.

The best thing you can do is get it right the first time. Commit to putting in the time and effort to creating systems that are built to last. A few months or years down the road you will be grateful that you didn’t skip these important elements.

Today, we are going to focus on tax preparation and strategy for small businesses. This topic is one that is often procrastinated. Since tax season only rolls around once a year, it’s easy to assume that you can wait until April to work on taxes. It’s time to change your mindset on this topic. Implementing a good tax strategy right now will save an incredible amount of money due to the decreased tax burden. Plus, you will have the processes in place to support bigger tax responsibilities that will come in the future when your business expands.

Tax Preparation Can Feel Like a Chore

Most small business owners will agree that taxes can feel like a chore. Do you get a headache just thinking about the stacks of paperwork and accounting calculations that need to be done? Not only do you need to crunch the numbers, but you also need to stay current with the latest changes in tax laws and other applicable industry regulations.

It is common to feel stressed or worried about the requirements that need to be met for tax preparation. As a small business owner, you don’t need to carry this responsibility without support. You are already focused on product development, marketing, and more. Instead of spending your free time with your head buried in numbers, it makes sense to outsource these services to the pros. A good accounting team is key to help you develop the right tax strategy and transform the results that are available in the future.

Your accounting team will make start-up and small business taxes transparent and clear. Tax preparation doesn’t have to be difficult when you are working with the right team. You’ll find that our staff at Easier Accounting understands the best practices for every industry, helping to take the stress out of tax time. We’ve worked with many small businesses over the years, giving us the hands-on experience to know the optimal way to structure your tax preparation, paperwork, and filing.

Assessing your Current Situation

If you are going to improve your tax strategy, it is important first to assess your current situation. Are you preparing to launch a new company? Are you structured as a sole proprietorship? Did you form a corporation for your business efforts? Do you have a partnership that needs to be included?

These details might seem simple, but they will impact the way the tax strategy is designed. It is essential that you offer as much information as possible to your accounting team, ensuring that nothing is overlooked in your tax preparation.

Basic Steps for Tax Preparation

Whether you are just getting started with your business efforts or you are looking for ways to improve the financial health of your existing company, there are a few basic steps that should always be followed for tax preparation:

  1. Choose a Tax Preparation Provider: The best solution is to choose an accounting team that will work with your company throughout the year. You can find financial experts that offer one-time tax services. But these short-term services don’t create a long-term mindset that is necessary to maximize tax strategy. Pick an accounting team, such as Easier Accounting, that offers ongoing support to ensure your company is on track during every season of the year.
  2. Gather Records and Information: Maintaining documentation of all transactions that move through your company is essential so that you can track every penny that is earned and spent for business purposes. Exact records vary depending on the type of company that you are running. Examples of income records include sales transactions, gross receipts, allowances, cost of sold goods, tax refunds or credits, interest earned from bank accounts, and more. Expense information should include costs for vehicles, marketing, employee payroll, contract labor, office expenses, utilities and rent, maintenance and repairs, depletion, professional services, insurance, inventory purchases, fees and commissions, and anything else that required you to spend money for business purposes.
  3. Organizing the System: It can be a hassle to sort through a year’s worth of receipts when it is time to do your taxes each spring. Instead of spending hours on the paperwork once a year, it is better to have a proven system in place that makes it easy to track and categorize expenses throughout the year. When these transactions are organized and managed on an ongoing basis, then you can simply run a report that shows the information that is necessary for tax preparation.
  4. Filling Out Tax Paperwork: The IRS has paperwork for everything, so you need to make sure that you are filling out the right forms that apply to your company. Most companies don’t need to use the majority of the forms that are out there. Depending on the structure of your company, you may need Form 1040, Form 1040-ES, Form W-2 and W-3 for employees, Form 1099 for contractors, Form 941, Form 943, Form 944, Form 1120S, Form 1065, and more. Do you feel like your head is spinning just reading through all of those options? You don’t need to get into the fine print to figure out which forms apply to your situation. Instead, lean on the knowledge offered by your accounting team. Not only will your accountant provide guidelines regarding the forms that are required for tax preparation. But your accounting team can also handle the information that is entered on these forms.
  5. Submitting Tax Forms: Now that all of the work has gone into the information needed for income and expense categorization and filling out the applicable tax forms, it’s time to submit the paperwork. These submissions need to be sent to the IRS. Additionally, there are deadlines to send specific tax forms to employees and contractors each year. Not only are you responsible for annual tax filings, but other deadlines need to be met throughout the year for employment taxes, estimated tax payments, and more. Your accountant can help you keep track of these deadlines and oversee submission through an e-filing process. The documents can be filed on printed paper as well, although the e-filing is becoming more popular due to the immediacy of the filing results.

Using a Professional for Small Business Tax Services

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is attempting a DIY tax filing when you don’t know much about accounting processes for the IRS paperwork. If you want to set your company up for success, then you need to be sure that you are working with a small business accountant who will oversee every step of this process.

Certified tax preparers help by working through the calculations and information needed for the paperwork. Additionally, your accountant will ensure that the paperwork is filed with the IRS before the deadline.

Keep in mind that scammers try to take advantage of unknowing individuals and small businesses owners. Make sure that you choose a reputable accounting company. Your tax preparer should have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN) that is issued by the IRS. Always research the accounting company before handing over sensitive financial information and business details.

Quality Tax Preparation Services for Your Business

You deserve quality tax preparation services, including ongoing accounting support throughout the year. If you are searching for the right services for your small business, then we invite you to talk to our experienced team at Easier Accounting. We understand the best systems for tax strategy and preparation, and our team is just a phone call away.

Choosing our team means that you have access to a group of knowledgeable tax accountants that will offer personalized recommendations to improve the results for your company. Our goal is to streamline your financial systems while reducing the tax burden and improving overall results for your company. For details about the services that are available, you are invited to contact us at Easier Accounting. We’re just a phone call away: (888) 620-0770.

Effective Budgeting and Accounting Strategies for Businesses Owners

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t overlook the necessity of setting up the right budgeting and accounting strategies to organize financial information. Too often, business owners see budgeting as a practice that adds little value in the beginning. It’s easy to get caught up in the details relating to product development, marketing, and client acquisition. As a result, budgeting and accounting practices are pushed to the backburner.

Don’t make the incorrect assumption that you will put these financial strategies in place when it is convenient. Instead, you need to prioritize your time and activities and understand that budgeting and accounting should be at the top of your list. Creating an effective and reliable budgeting process might be the difference between success and failure in the future.

These systems will help you avoid common problems that pop up in business management. An effective budget will help you oversee the financial health of your company. At the same time, you will have the tools in place to reach your financial goals more quickly.

Assessing Your Current Situation

It might seem overwhelming to look at the books and assess your current situation. Understanding your starting point is key if you want to achieve improved financial results in the future. If you don’t know where you are starting, then you won’t be able to identify the most effective budgeting and accounting strategies that will have a positive impact on your business efforts in the future.

You need a real-time snapshot of your accounts, as well as historical financial data to identify any trends that have been experienced over the years. Reviewing this information will help you recognize positive and negative things that impacted your budget and profitability. Then, you can use the information to create a custom game plan that will support your financial goals going forward.

Gathering the information and doing a self-assessment is just the first step. It is critical that you also get an opinion and recommendations from a financial professional. Talk to your accountant so that you can use their expertise in creating a budget that will work for your company going forward.

Creating Budgeting Goals for Your Business

Now that you have a clear picture of your current financial situation, it is time to determine your goals and strategies. In most situations, these budgets are created by looking at margin targets as well as net income. How much money is coming in that you can work with? What are your anticipated and unanticipated expenses that need to be addressed?

Profitability is desired by all business owners. But you can’t reach the profitable point without understanding the path that should be followed to get there. As you are setting goals, you need to determine action points that will be followed to help you achieve the specific goals.

Here are a few things to consider when you are choosing goals for your company:

  • Business Revenue Goals: You need to have a clear picture of the amount of money that is available for you to use. Look at revenue based on both price and volume to determine the feasibility of your goals. Be realistic about the numbers, giving you some wiggle room if you have a slow month or two. Don’t overlook other investments and resources that might impact your budgeting as well.
  • Business Spending and Expenses: High revenue won’t cut it if your expenses increase faster than the money coming in. You can bring in millions of dollars a year and still have cash flow issues if your expenses aren’t under control. When you are creating a budget for your company, you should consider the ongoing business spending, overhead costs, and any other expenses that could be cutting into your profit margins. You might be surprised to see how many line items can be reduced or eliminated, helping to decrease the out-of-pocket expenses you are carrying each month. A little bit adds up over time, so don’t overlook the small changes that will offer long-term benefits.

Make sure that you are realistic in the way these goals are set and managed. If you don’t achieve the goal, then you need to identify a real explanation to identify what happened to stop the progress. Then, action steps can be identified to overcome those issues, helping you achieve higher levels of success in the future.

Ongoing Adaptation and Strategy

In many situations, especially with new businesses, it is likely that your first budget is going to be off. There are costs and industry trends that you didn’t anticipate, making it difficult to stay on track with the outlined budget. Instead of creating your budget and setting it in stone for the year, it is best to have ongoing analysis and evaluation to help you dial in the process.

Draft your first budget and do the best you can to stick to your goals. Then reevaluate and identify ways that actions and processes can be improved to boost profitability in the future. Reporting needs to be happening every month. At the same time, it is a good idea to assess real results every month to identify discrepancies between the results and the ideal budget practices.

Finding these gaps improves your understanding. Just because you don’t match your first budget draft, doesn’t mean that you have failed. Instead, this budgeting and accounting information can be used to improve the system. Learn from the mistakes, identify the points of success. Then shape a financial system that is catered to the needs of your business efforts.

There are always costs that are infrequent or variable, which means that it can sometimes take as long as a year to identify budgeting details. Ongoing tracking gives you more and more information that will help you identify the things to watch for in the coming years.

Making the Hard Financial Decisions

One of the most beneficial aspects of creating a budget is the opportunity to use the information when you are addressing decisions that will affect the health of your company. For example, if you want to buy new equipment for your employees, it might be tempting to spend a large sum of money on the best products in the industry. But if you look at the numbers and see that your budget is tight this month, then you can change your approach by searching for used equipment. The budgeting and accounting reports can help you time the big purchases so your cash flow is not negatively impacted.

Financial decisions don’t have to be difficult when you have a good accounting plan in place. Instead of feeling emotional about the situation, you can look at things from a logical perspective. The financial reports are just giving feedback about the current status and trajectory of your company. Then, the information should be used to make incremental changes that will help you overcome ongoing issues that are hurting your budget.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference

Just because you want to improve your budget, doesn’t mean that you need to lay off staff members or cut inventory to save money. Instead, look for small ways that you can improve your spending without hurting the long-term profitability of your company.

These strategies vary depending on the type of company you own and your industry. Looking at the trends will help you identify the lean times of the year. Then, you can build a strategy to help you carry through even when things are slow.

For example, if you are busiest during the holiday season because of the many retail sales moving through your company, then it might make sense to bring in temporary employees to assist during this time. Even though your workforce costs will go up, you won’t be locked into long-term payroll expenses that you won’t be able to afford in the slower months.

Evaluate the small costs that are chipping away at your profitability. Are you paying for services or products that aren’t producing the results that you anticipated? Ask questions about every line item to determine the value that is being offered to your company.

Also, ask yourself: “What’s another way?” Looking at alternative options might open up ideas about ways that you can tap into the skills and services that are needed to improve your financial future. One example is hiring an outsourced accounting team instead of carrying the expensive burden of a full-time accountant in the office. Your accounting team will offer the financial advice needed to improve budgeting systems, tax strategy, and more. At the same time, you can reduce overall expenses compared with the burdened cost of an in-house employee.

Financial Services for Your Small Business

If you are ready to improve your budgeting and accounting systems, then our team is here to help. We specialize in small business accounting and would like to help you create the right budgeting systems to meet the needs of your company. Contact us at Easier Accounting by calling for more information about the available services: (888) 620-0770.

Strategies to Reduce Bookkeeping and Accounting Costs

It’s easy to see that good bookkeeping and accounting strategies are important for the financial health of your company. But sometimes small business owners have a hard time justifying bookkeeping and accounting costs because they are worried about managing overhead expenses. Today, we are breaking it down to help you see that good services are an essential investment for your company.

Expense Vs. Investment

Yes, you will need to pay money for services, software, and more. Instead of viewing the money as an expense that is eating away at your profit margins, a better solution is to reframe the spending as a long-term investment for your company.

What is the difference between an expense vs. an investment? An expense is a drain on your resources without adding measurable benefits for your company. In comparison, an investment is a cost that will start paying you back and improve your business efforts.

You need to balance the initial and ongoing costs with the potential benefits and costs in the future. For example, failing to implement a good bookkeeping and accounting system can result in messy finances in the future. Even though you are “saving money” by not paying an accounting service for support, you will likely face expensive consequences in the future such as:

  • Missed opportunities for tax deductions
  • IRS fines for incorrect tax filings
  • Mistakes on payroll and invoicing
  • Cash flow problems from poor tracking
  • Poor business decisions due to inaccurate financial reports

When you understand all of the potential issues that can be prevented with the right accounting services and software, then it will help you see why you shouldn’t delay these investments.

Most Important Investment

What is the most important investment that you can make in your company? People! If you cut corners on the quality of employees, contractors, and service providers that are hired, then it will hurt the performance of your company.

Often, business owners look at the amount that is spent on people as an expense. Instead, ask yourself how much that person is worth to your company. Investing in the right talent means that you can bring in the skill set that is needed to help your business flourish and grow in the future.

As you put together the right team, all of the skills and services will be available to help you accomplish the top goals for the organization. If you are paying for costs that don’t contribute to those efforts, then it might be an indication that you can do without those things.

Tips for Managing Expenses

Even though you can’t eliminate the budget line-item for bookkeeping and accounting costs, there are a few things that you can do to decrease your overall spending. Set a budget, then put your money into the right places that will support your needs. Hiring the right accounting team can have a positive impact on your cash flow and the overall financial health of your company.

Here are a few tips to help with the management of your costs:

  • Cut Expenses: Now that you understand the differences between expenses and investments, evaluate your spending to see if you can find areas where you are spending money on unnecessary items. Are there any expenses that you are maintaining that aren’t adding to or supporting your main business goals? You will need to decide about each item to determine the overall strategy that is best for your needs. Then, use that money for an investment that will have an impact. For example, you might adjust your insurance coverage to save a little money each month. Then use that extra cash to put towards bookkeeping services to ensure that you are staying ahead of the numbers throughout the year.
  • Organize Your Information: Once you’ve hired bookkeeping and accounting services, keep in mind that the costs go up if the team has to do extra, unnecessary work. Instead of overpaying your bookkeeper, look for ways that you can streamline your in-office systems to ensure that everything is neat and orderly for the financial professional. Organization not only saves you money, but you can also save time sorting through paperwork and other busy work. Bookkeepers and accountants only work based on the paperwork and information that is provided. So, you need to be sure that you are offering accurate, effective information. Maintaining this organized system will reduce the number of hours required to manage your books.
  • Professional Advice: Without experience in running a business, setting a budget, or filing taxes, it is likely that you are making mistakes with your financial management. You will find that it is worth the cost to bring in an expert for advice on the services that are required. Even though you will pay a fee for time with the professional, you can identify areas where your finances are managed Small tweaks to your ongoing bookkeeping and accounting systems can result in big savings in the future.
  • Contractor Instead of Employee: When you know that you need specific services or skills, then it might make sense to hire an employee to help. But there are many situations where business owners don’t need the full-time services provided by an employee. Another option is to skip the full salary, benefits, and overhead costs of employment by hiring a contractor for outsourced services. For example, you can save thousands of dollars each month by paying a small business accountant for basic services instead of hiring a full-time accountant to work in your office.

The key is to find ways to cut expenses without harming the well-being of your company. Each business is unique, which is why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for all companies. A personalized approach is the most effective way to be sure that you are avoiding high costs and unnecessary expenses.

The Power of Outsourcing

There’s no question that outsourcing is one of the most effective and simple ways to reduce the amount of money that you are spending on skills and support. We’ve talked about this point in other blog posts, but it’s worth a mention again because of the leverage that is available to help you cut accounting costs.

When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why a big team of employees can cut into your overall profits. Hiring an employee can be expensive! You need to look at more than their hourly pay. In addition to these hourly or salary costs, you will also bear the burden of benefits, office supplies, office space, furniture, and more. There are times when it makes sense to bring in an employee because you need full-time services in your office. On the other hand, there are many instances where you can pay a fraction of that amount for top-notch services from an outsourced team.

Contractors offer the same skills that are available from an employee. In fact, there are times when hiring an outsourced team is more effective than employee services since those contractors have experience working with many different companies. You can tap into the expertise that comes from working with other businesses that are similar to your company. This information can be used to improve your systems and help you avoid some of the common mistakes experienced by others.

Lean Strategies to Reduce Accounting Costs

Implementing lean strategies for your company means that you are focused on the measurement, control, accounting, and management aspects to maximize the information that is available when making significant business decisions. If you are trying to decide on a business development investment or whether you should hire more employees, you need to be sure that you have accurate financial information to influence the way the decision is handled.

An experienced accounting and bookkeeping team will ensure that your financial reports and transactions are current. Then, this information can be used at any point to help you determine the right decisions that will have the best impact on your company. Hiring an outsourced accounting service ensures that you have timely reports which can be used to determine the value created for customers. Additionally, you can implement a lean system that reduces overall costs while increasing sales at the same time. It feels great to make these changes, knowing that you are improving cash flow and the potential success for your company.

Do You Need Outsourced Accounting Services?

How do you know when it is time to hire an outsourced accounting team? The truth is that you can probably benefit from these services right away. Many business owners choose to implement these services from the beginning of their startup efforts, ensuring that the financial system has a strong foundation as the business grows.

If you are considering the option to hire outsourced accounting services, then you are welcome to talk to us about your situation. Call our team at Easier Accounting to learn more about the way our services can be matched to fit your needs. We’re here to keep your financial information on track so that you can focus your time and energy on growing your business this year. Call for more details: (888) 620-0770.

Accounting Security Tips to Reduce the Risk to Your Company

Data security is an important topic of discussion, especially since many businesses manage most of their transactions through online platforms. Not only do you need to consider the security of customer payments that are processed, but you also need to think about accounting security offered by the outsourced team that you’ve hired.

Data Breaches and Business Targets

It seems like there are always news headlines announcing the latest data breach. Hackers target businesses with the goal of stealing financial information or personal details about clients or employees. Then, this data can be used for profit by selling the information to the highest bidder.

Large companies are often targeted because of the mass amounts of data that are available through a breach. Even though you might think that you won’t be a target since you have a small business, the truth is that there is always a risk for small- and medium-sized businesses. The risk goes up whenever you are turning information over to an outsourced company or transmitting data through software programs.

Proactive Approach for Data Security

Instead of assuming that your business is safe from these threats, you should always be on the offense to protect your data and business assets. Never make false assumptions about the security of your systems. It is important that you do regular assessments to determine how effective your current security protocols are at protecting your company and your customers.

If you wait until a data breach occurs, then you could be facing an expensive, messy situation to solve the problems. A better solution is to spend a little money right now on the right software programs and services to ensure that you have security controls in place before a breach occurs. These proactive steps will help you avoid the possible problems that can occur if someone breaks into your digital system.

Hiring a Trustworthy Team for Accounting Security

The first step you need to take is to evaluate the security of the outsourced team that you are hiring. Don’t make the mistake of choosing an outsourced accounting team with a questionable background. For example, if the company doesn’t have a proven track record, then you don’t know what you are getting yourself into.

Do your research to make sure that the accounting services are highly rated. Researching the company in advance can save you a lot of grief in the future.

You can research the company by asking for information from the accounting team. Also, complete a search online for the business name to see if you can find any reviews or business listings that indicate the reputation of the company.

Security Begins in Your Office

Even if you are hiring an outsourced team that you can trust, you should always remember that the most important layers of security should begin in your office. Inspections should be done of all areas where information is transmitted to identify any potential leaks. For example, you should have an expert evaluate your data generation, storage systems, and data collection processes to make sure that the information is passing through a secure network.

Potential leaks in the system might be identified in the form of outdated software or poor management in the office. One common issue is insufficient control over employee access to the system. Employees shouldn’t have free access to sensitive information unless that access is required for the person’s job description. Just because the person belongs to a department, doesn’t mean that they require full access to all of the information.

Also, be careful about contractors or vendors who have access to your data systems. Too often, these providers are offered record access when the information doesn’t have a direct connection to the transactional relationship.

Never make the mistake of allowing employees or contractors to use the same credentials when accessing financial information. If everyone is using one username and password, then it might be difficult to identify the source if a problem occurs.

Why Accounting Security is So Important

Keep in mind the reason why most hackers are trying to access information: they want to gather details about personal information or financial accounts. Even if you have a small business, your system is always at risk because of the information that it holds: credit card numbers, bank account details, social security numbers, passwords, and more.

Most companies have digital files with demographic information about their employees, executives, and even their customers. If a hacker can gain access to the information, then it is a goldmine of information that could be sold for profit.

Tips for Accounting Security

Here are a few tips that can be implemented in your business practices to improve the security of your company information:

  • Necessary Information: You should only gather information that is necessary for the employee or the services that are provided to the customers. There’s no reason to gather additional sensitive information if it isn’t required for the situation.
  • Security of Professional Service Provider: Talk to your service provider, such as the outsourced accounting team, to find out more information about their security practices. You will be handing over access to sensitive financial information, and you need to be sure that they have protocols in place to prevent a breach of information.
  • Firewalls and Software Protection: These firewalls should be installed on every computer and electronic device that is used when accessing business information. Additionally, you might consider implementing a monitoring gateway so that you know who is accessing the information and when the access points occur. These proactive steps reduce the risk of exploitation of both internal and external vulnerabilities.
  • Computers and Networks: Consider the ways that data could be removed from the office. One option is to disable the USB, CD, and DVD functions on computers to prevent employees or contractors from downloading the information. It can be helpful to have several layers of authentication to avoid remote access as well. Date transfer should always use 128-bit encryption.
  • Data Recovery Plan: If a problem occurs with the systems, do you have a back-up plan in place to recover the information? It can be a headache for your team if you can’t recover employee or customer information that was saved on the computer or in the cloud.
  • Physical Security: Also think about the security of your office. Could someone walk into the office and access paperwork or files that contain sensitive information? All access points into the building need to be secured. Additionally, data entry and exit points need to be managed. If you have hard copies of the files in the office, then these things need to be kept under lock and key. A locked filing room or secure filing cabinet are both good options to consider.
  • Employee Screenings: Every employee should be screened in the recruitment process. If someone is going to have access to sensitive information in your company, then it is important that the proper screenings are completed to avoid issues. Extensive background checks can be used to reduce the risk that a person with a questionable history is accessing financial
  • Employee and Management Training: It is common for companies to have security and systems training that is offered at the beginning of employment. But this new-hire training isn’t enough to ensure long-term adherence to the security protocols. Consider ongoing training to ensure that everyone is up-to-date on the latest technologies and strategies that apply to your data security.

Security for Technology-Driven Systems

Most businesses rely on technology systems for basic processes and ongoing strategies that keep the company running. As a result, security is more important than ever to ensure that you are avoiding potential issues that could arise with a data breach.

There’s no question that investing in the right security protocols, software programs, and outsourcing teams is a good step to protect your company and customers. These investments not only help you reduce the risk of stolen information through a security breach. But some industries are required by law to maintain high standards for security. For example, HIPPA requirements ensure that medical businesses have consistent practices in place to protect sensitive information found in patient files.

When you do the work to choose trustworthy software and service providers, then you can have the peace of mind in knowing that your confidentiality remains intact. Implementing these steps allows you to rest easy since your critical data is protected. As a result, you can turn your attention and focus on the core business concerns that need to be addressed.

At Easier Accounting, we maintain the highest levels of security and confidentiality to protect your sensitive financial information. We understand that you are entrusting us with your information. So, we are diligent about our systems to ensure that your information is protected. If you are looking for an outsourced accounting team that you can trust, then we invite you to contact us for more information. We will gladly answer your questions and explain the services that are available for your company: (888) 620-0770.

How to Choose the Right Accounting Software for Your Startup

We live in a digital world, which means that your small business is going to get left behind if you are still tracking expenses with pen and paper. If you don’t already have a good accounting software program, then it might be time to implement these changes so that you can boost your reporting and tracking.

Overcoming the Overwhelm and Indecisiveness

A search for “accounting software” on Google will uncover a seemingly endless list of possibilities that might be used for your company. One common problem is that small business owners start reading reviews and information about these different software programs… and then quickly get caught in “analysis paralysis.”

Even though there are many options available, this decision doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. Choosing the right accounting software is easy when you lean on the advice and expertise offered by an experienced accountant. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or information while you are comparing the various options in the accounting industry.

Ask Questions about What You Need

You will struggle with choosing the accounting software if you don’t have an end-goal in mind. Ask yourself: what are the features and details that need to be available in the program? Asking a few questions about your goals and needs will help you steer the decision in the right direction.

For example, if you only hire contractors and don’t have any employees on the payroll, then the payroll features might not be important to you. But don’t overlook the possibilities that you might need payroll processing in the future

Consider the Future

As you get clear about your goals, you can consider the features or things that you might need in the future. It is important that the software program can grow as your company expands. You don’t want to face the headache of changing accounting software during the stressful time of business growth in the future.

So, make sure that you don’t cut corners right now. Choose a good software program that meets your current needs and will allow you to expand in the future. A good accounting program will help to minimize the growing pains while keeping you informed about the financial health of your company.

Price Points and Value

How much do you want to pay for the accounting software? It might be tempting to choose a product based on price alone. You are choosing to organize your finances to manage cash flow, so it makes sense that you are trying to save money on the expense.

Instead of only looking at the price tag, evaluate the value that is available from the software. What features will save you time? Decreasing the time that is spent on accounting and bookkeeping tasks is the same as saving money because you can redirect that time for other business activities.

In fact, choosing a cheap software program could potentially cost more money in the future. You might use the software for a while, only to find that you run into problems because you don’t have the necessary features. As a result, you will likely lose both time and money when you decide to switch to a different software. Not only is this future change time consuming, but it can also be stressful.

There’s no question: choose a program right now that will handle everything that you need in the present and future. You should never cut corners when choosing the right systems and organization for your startup company.

Talk to Industry Professionals

It is important to talk to an accounting team about the recommended software programs in the industry. This information can be valuable to help you select a system that will improve your company. Have a conversation about your current and future needs and ask for advice about the ways that you can simplify the implementation of a new tracking system.

In addition to simplifying your finances, you also need a robust computer software that will generate the reports and data that is required. You can use these reports to determine the right decisions in the future regarding cash flow, expenses, and other financial milestones that need to be met.

Make sure that you are working with accounting professionals who understand your industry. For example, if you are just starting a company, then you will be well-served to choose an accounting team that specializes in startups. While a corporate accountant can assist with the services that you require, their expertise isn’t as honed in as someone who is working with small businesses on a daily basis.

One important note: if you are working with a CPA and/or bookkeeper, then it is wise to choose the software preferred by your provider. This financial pro is an integral part of your team and will help with the costly decisions that need to be made in the future. Ask about the software they prefer to ensure they have the system that will enable the best data analysis and reporting down the road.

Cloud-Based Storage

Have you ever had the frustrating experience of having your hard drive crash and losing all of your files? It can be exhausting to recreate the system after everything is lost due to hardware failure. Using an accounting software where the files are only stored on your computer is a risk. If the computer is lost or damaged, then you will also lose all of the accounting information.

A better solution is to choose an accounting software that has a secure system for cloud-based storage. Keeping the information online means that there is no reason to stress if your hard drive goes down. All of the files will still be accessible from the cloud.

Plus, a cloud-based accounting software makes it more convenient if you choose to hire an outsourced accountant. You can take advantage of the skilled accounting services that are available without the need to have someone in your office.

While many accounting software services are cloud-based, there are still old systems that require an on-computer install. Use this feature as a filter to help you choose a program that will last for many years.

Ease of Use

You don’t have to have an accounting degree to navigate the software program. While you are considering the features that are available, also think about the ease of use for each of these features. It is important that the program is user-friendly and a simple solution for people who don’t understand the manual accounting calculations.

For example, many software programs provide a user-friendly admin area with tutorials and simple instructions. You shouldn’t have to do manual calculations for payroll taxes or invoicing. Instead, the right software program will make it simple to plug in the numbers so that you can get the results that are needed.

Additionally, consider how many users will be accessing the software. Not only do you need access to the information when it is time to run financial reports, but you also need to provide access to your accountant. There might be other people in your company who can also benefit from accounting software access, such as an assistant or bookkeeper who is responsible for invoicing. If the person needs to access the computer software regularly, then you should ensure that you have sufficient access logins for the software.

Make sure that each person has their own credentials when logging into the system. The risk of fraud goes up if you have multiple people using the same username and password. If something happens, then it can be difficult to determine the culprit. Keep things clear by separating access for each person who needs to use the accounting software.

Perfect Recipe for Success: Accounting Software and a Good Accountant

Even if you choose the best accounting software, you’ll run into problems if you don’t have the right team to help with the implementation of the computer system. The software is only as good as the person who sets up the system. So, the best thing that you can do to ensure a successful future for your startup is hiring the right accountant to help with setup and implementation.

Combining the right software with an experienced accountant will give you the peace of mind that you are creating a strong accounting system that will last for years. Rest assured knowing that you don’t have to try to figure it out by yourself. Instead, lean on the experience offered by someone who understands the industry.

At Easier Accounting, we specialize in small business accounting services. Our team offers quality, trustworthy accounting services for startups and small business owners. By focusing on services on the smaller companies, we can ensure that you are working with someone who has hands-on experience with other companies similar to your business.

We are happy to answer your questions and help you choose the right accounting software to support your business needs. For more information, you are welcome to call us anytime to talk to an industry professional. Contact Easier Accounting at (888) 620-0770.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Trends to Watch for in 2019

Now that we are a few weeks into the new year and the dust has settled after a busy holiday season, it’s time to look forward to the future. As a small business owner, you should be paying attention to bookkeeping and accounting trends that might impact your company.

Are there any changes or adjustments that you need to make this year? As you evaluate the industry trends, these things will help you be sure that you have the best bookkeeping and accounting system to support the needs of your company.

Why Bookkeeping and Accounting Trends Matter

Why does it matter if you are staying up to date in the industry? The truth is that your company will get left behind if you don’t stay current with the latest technology and services. It is important that you are aware of the changes that are happening so that you can stay up with the things that will help your business succeed in the future.

Most business owners know that bookkeeping and accounting are important. But it is unfortunate that these tasks often fall to the back burner because of other priorities that come up in the day to day responsibilities of running a company. If you want to keep your business on the path to success, then you need to be sure that you have a good financial system in place so that you are prepared for the future.

Consider this thought: if you aren’t keeping up with financial tracking and reporting right now, then you will run into problems in the future as your business begins to grow. Failing to have a good accounting or bookkeeping system in place means that your growth and expansion could be stunted because of poor decisions that are made along the way. Each time you consider a significant change in the company, such as hiring an employee or investing in business development, you need to be able to run the reports that show the current situation for your business. This information will help you make accurate decisions that match the needs of your company.

Predicting the Future with a Good Accounting System

Everyone wants to know what the future holds in store. Business owners would love to have a crystal ball that shows the future of the company and product development that needs to be addressed to stay ahead of the competition.

While it’s not possible to see into the future, the right accounting system can help you understand current numbers and projections, giving you a good idea of what you can expect in the future. Implementing the latest accounting services and systems means that you will be ready for whatever may come.

The right accountant will help you manage cash flow and expenses. At the same time, you can look for areas where profit margins could be improved. All of these services add up to the long-term success that you desire. So, the best thing that you can do is ensure that you are staying current with the trends so that you can build a solid foundation on which your company can grow.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Trends in 2019

Here are some of the accounting trends that we anticipate this year. Time will tell if our predictions come true. We are suggesting these potential trends based on the way the industry has changed in recent years:

  • Better Accounting Software: Computer technology is advancing, which means that software continues to improve. Gone are the days of recording hand-written transactions on a leger with a pen or pencil. Additionally, software has moved away from an on-computer installation to cloud-based services. This smarter software gives you the benefit of accessing your accounting information from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good internet connection. As a result, you can improve your work processes and offer increased value for your clients.
  • Automation: One of the benefits of improved software systems is better automation for ongoing tasks. Keep in mind that it isn’t possible to automate all aspects of your financial management. But some of the busy work can be automated, helping to decrease the amount of time required to manage your accounting and bookkeeping. This automation is beneficial since you can save money instead of spending a lot on a full-time accountant employed by your company. The tools continue to get better with time, making accounting software more intuitive and easier to use.
  • Improved Partnership with Your Accountant: In the past, many business owners talked to their accountant once a year… at tax time. While it is important to utilize the services from a tax preparation expert, don’t overlook the benefit of ongoing communication with someone who can offer advice for your company. Even if you are working with an outsourced accountant, your provider can take a proactive approach to help with payroll processing, tax strategy, cash flow planning, and more. Ongoing services throughout the year will improve the overall benefits that are available for your business.
  • Millennial Workforce: It is interesting to see how the workforce is changing with time, especially as the millennials reach career age. According to INC.com, 25% of the workforce is the millennial generation. As a result, new ways of thinking are being brought to the industry. This generation leverages technology to create results that weren’t available in the past, giving you more of an edge when working with an accounting team that understands the latest trends and changes.
  • More Outsourcing and Gig Work: As the workforce changes, many companies are choosing to hire freelancers for contract work. It can be a burden for a business to bring on a full-time employee. Not only does the person’s salary need to be paid, but other expenses are incurred for office space, benefits, and more. Business owners are turning to freelancers as a way to cut overhead expenses and maximize the skill set that is required. As a result, there are more options for outsourced accounting and bookkeeping services. You can take advantage of the experience of a knowledgeable accountant while minimizing your cost at the same time.
  • Bookkeeping to Accommodate Cryptocurrency: Another thing that is shifting in the industry is the implementation of practices to record and track cryptocurrency. While it seems as though cryptocurrency is still an online fad, don’t overlook the importance of being ready with accounting systems if a large portion of the population starts using these currencies. “Triple entry bookkeeping” is required instead of the standard double-entry bookkeeping since three parties are involved in the transaction: two strangers as well as a third party that issued the cryptocurrency.

There’s no question that the accounting and bookkeeping industry is being shaped each year by the different software advances and the economic changes that are happening. While we can’t predict the future with accuracy, you can look forward to the years to come knowing that you are prepared when you have a good accounting system in place.

Protect Your Company with Accounting and Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping and accounting might seem like a chore, but there’s no question that these tasks are essential to protect your company for the future. If you don’t already have a good system in place, then right now is the best time to get started. Talk to an accounting team about the options that are available to match the needs of your business. Make sure that the accountant is considering all aspects of the industry, including anticipated bookkeeping and accounting trends this year.

If you already have a bookkeeping and accounting system in place, then you need to evaluate the effectiveness of the current system. It is a good time to optimize your processes so that you are ready for the changes that might come.

Choosing an Accounting Service

Is it time for you to hire an outsourced accountant? Here are a few things to consider as you are making this decision for your business needs:

  • Experience: Choose an accounting team that has industry experience related to your company. Previous experience with other similar businesses means that you can rest assured knowing that your financial needs are in good hands.
  • Flexibility: Every company is unique, which is why it is important to choose an accountant that understands your unique preferences and requirements. Your accounting services should be customized to cater to the requirements that match your business flow and industry.
  • Reputation: Also, don’t overlook the importance of hiring an accounting team that you can trust. You are handing over sensitive information about the financial health of your company. As a result, you need to be sure that you are protected by working with a reputable team. Look online to find information about the outsourced accounting team that you are planning to hire.

Are you interested in learning more about the bookkeeping and accounting trends for 2019? We are here to assist! Our team at Easier Accounting is happy to answer your questions and help you evaluate the accounting services that are available. You are welcome to call us at: (888) 620-0770.

New Year’s Resolutions for a Business

The end of December is usually the time when people set goals and intentions for the New Year. The ending of a year can be a symbolic time to let go of old habits and implement new practices that will set you up for success. What are your New Year’s resolutions this year?

It is common for people to have personal goals, such as weight loss, organization, relationships, and more. People want to improve and grow each year, and these goals can help you achieve the growth that is needed.

At the same time, business owners have the unique opportunity to set company resolutions as well. As you are determining your personal goals, don’t overlook this chance to identify new goals for your business efforts.

Reflection and Forward Motion

There are two important aspects that need to be addressed as you are identifying your New Year’s resolutions. First, you need to start by reflecting on the things that happened in 2018. Identifying your current position will give you the reference point to know where you are starting. Look at 2018 with transparency and an open mind. This reflection will help you see the things that are working and the areas of improvement.

While it is easy to focus on the areas of improvement and build goals around these topics, don’t forget to identify the things that have been working. When you see the systems that are effective in your business, then you can set goals to build upon the successes and boost the progress of your company.

Next, you need to determine where you want to be in the future. It is important that you “put a stake in the road” so that you can see where you are headed. Identifying where you want to be in a few months and a few years is necessary. This vision will help you identify goals that will lead you to the overall success that you desire.

For example, if you are looking to improve your business profits by 5% this year, then you need to set business New Year’s resolutions that support this effort. These resolutions might be focused on decreasing spending, increasing receivables, and optimizing systems to improve productivity.

New Year’s Resolutions to Consider for 2019

If you are a small business owner and you need help setting your goals for the New Year, then we would like to offer a few suggestions to support your efforts. Here are some business New Year’s resolutions that you might consider:

  • Improve Work-Life Balance: It is easy to get wrapped up in business tasks, causing your family to be neglected. Instead of spending all of your waking time in the office, you need to find balance in the activities of the week. While it is important to keep up with business responsibilities, you shouldn’t overlook the most important reason why you are building a business: to have more freedom and spend more time with the people that you love. Set a goal to optimize your schedule so that you can improve your work-life balance in the New Year.
  • Delegate Busy Work: In the beginning, many new business owners carry a full range of responsibilities. Not only are you focused on business development, but you are also involved in employee hiring and management, inventory stocking, marketing, customer service, and more. It’s easy to see how your schedule quickly fills up with business-related activities! If you want to enjoy 2019, then set a goal to delegate some of the busy work. You are overseeing the workings of the company, which means that you shouldn’t be spending your precious time on tasks that can be outsourced to others. Assign internal employees to take over tasks such as filing or bookkeeping. Or, look for outsourced services to support with these tasks, such as an accounting and bookkeeping service.
  • Improve Business Promotions: If you feel like you are stuck in a rut when it comes to bringing in new customers, then it’s time to add a fresh twist to your promotion and marketing efforts. You want your business to grow, which means that you need to bring in more customers and increase the sales that happen with current customers. Create a marketing plan that boosts repeat sales and helps you promote your business more effectively throughout the year.
  • Implement an Online Marketing Campaign: The internet has become an essential part of business marketing and promotions. If you don’t have a business presence online, then right now is the time to start with your website and social media profiles. Even though it might seem a little overwhelming, a little bit of effort can go a long way to help you connect with the right customers. Most business owners don’t have the time or knowledge to implement an effective online marketing campaign. So, the best strategy is to hire a company that understands your industry and offers the services that will support your needs.
  • Hire a Business Coach: Many people start a small business or entrepreneur efforts without experience or education with business topics. While you can offer products and make a few sales, your overall progress will be hindered if you don’t know how to change your current situation. Hiring a business coach can be one of the most effective things that you can do to bring in a fresh perspective for your company. Find someone who understands your industry and can offer solid advice to improve your results. Then, take accountability so that you implement the recommendations that are offered by your coach.
  • Find Local Networking Groups: It can be helpful to have local connections in the business industry. Networking groups and business organizations offer opportunities for you to find new clients and make business-to-business connections. Attend these events and gatherings with a sincere intention to meet new people without pushing your product or service too much. Build the relationships first, and then the business growth will naturally follow.
  • Improve Cash Flow Management: Cash flow will make-or-break your company. Even if you have a great inventory and money coming in, you won’t be successful if you are spending more than you are earning. If you can’t create enough capital to invest back into the company, then you need to make a few changes with the day-to-day finances of the business.
  • Boost Productivity: Not only do you need to evaluate your own productivity, but you should also look at strategies that can be implemented to improve employee productivity as well. It is surprising to see how a few small changes can have a domino effective to improve overall results in the company. Look for ways that you can improve internal systems to support employees and management in productivity improvements.

Setting the Right Business Goals

The most important thing that you can do is make sure that your New Year’s resolutions align with the vision that you are holding for your business. You need to consider the possibilities that could happen in the future. Observe the things that are happening in the industry, and then choose proactive goals so that you are staying ahead of your competition.

When you are setting new goals, make sure that these resolutions are measurable, achievable, and relevant:

  • Measurable: Most business owners have the intention to increase profits. But setting a goal to “increase business revenue” isn’t clear enough to help you determine whether the goal was reached. Put a number on the goal and make sure that you can measure the progress. For example, you might set the goal that you want to increase revenue by $24,000 this year, which means that you need an average increase in monthly profits that is at least $2,000. Identify your numbers, then find the action steps that need to happen so that you can hit the desired milestones.
  • Achievable: You might love the idea of hitting $1 million in sales this year. But, it’s a stretch to hit that number if you barely made it to $100,000 in 2018. Instead of setting an impossible goal, look for ways that you can implement incremental steps that will move your business in the right direction. Consider your current progress and identify a stretch goal that can be reached if you put in the effort that is needed.
  • Relevant: How does your goal line up with your overall mission and vision for your company? Relevancy means that you are choosing the New Year’s resolutions that align with the long-term results that you are trying to achieve. For example, a good example is to connect with 50 new customers each month, which will help to increase revenue and build your warm market for the future. The goal should make sense for your company and improve the business in some way.

Setting New Year’s resolutions for your business can help you build momentum in the New Year and set your company up for success. If you are thinking about outsourcing options as one of your goals, then our team is here to assist. Easier Accounting specializes in small business finances. We offer a variety of services to support your financial goals and keep you on track throughout the year. Learn more by calling us at (888) 620-0770.

When Should Internal Audits Be Done for Your Business?

Most business owners cringe when they hear the word “audit” because this word is associated with stress, the IRS, and frustrating paperwork. But you shouldn’t be scared of auditing. In fact, internal audits might be the best way that you can improve your business and maximize your results going forward. If you don’t have a system in place for internal audits, then it is time to talk to an outsourced accounting team to learn more about the options that are available.

What are Internal Audits?

An internal audit is a process of assigning an employee or accounting provider to provide an objective and independent evaluation of your business finances. This process helps you identify any areas that need to be improved so that you can avoid big problems in the future.

Internal auditing is a proactive way to care for the needs of your company. In the same way that you take your car in for regular oil changes and tune-ups, you also need to be proactive with preventive maintenance for your company. A little bit of work right now ensures that systems are working and you are staying on the right track. At the same time, you can identify areas of improvement to reach higher levels of success in the future.

Auditing is the answer so that you can reflect on the progress that has been made as well as the goals that need to be set in the future.

Responsibilities of Internal Auditors

What are the responsibilities carried by internal auditors? You can identify these responsibilities and assign them to an in-house employee. But many businesses find benefit in hiring a contractor or outsourced accounting team to ensure that it is a third-party, objective evaluation.

These routine audits are important to ensure that you are maintaining your competitive edge in the industry. Auditors help by:

  • Assessing, analyzing, and monitoring the controls and risks of the company
  • Reviewing your compliance with both state and federal laws
  • Identifying errors or opportunities for improvement
  • Providing recommendations to streamline systems and optimize business practices

The goal is to gather information on the operations of the business. Then, this information is used to show the areas that are going well and identify aspects that are in need of improvement.

It is important that the auditor is objective. When an auditor has a personal connection to the company, then the results can be skewed. For example, as the business owner, you may unintentionally place more focus or attention on things that are at the top of your mind, instead of looking at other aspects of the business that have been sitting on the back burner this year. Getting a fresh perspective is essential so that you can see your business financial situation with fresh eyes.

The Difference Between External Audits and Internal Audits

When you implement internal audits, you have the flexibility to choose the contractor that completes the work and when the audits are performed. This flexibility is nice because you can work around the busy season for your company. The goal is to improve company practices and optimize systems for further growth.

On the other hand, external audits might be done to verify financial reports for shareholders or the IRS. The owed responsibility goes to the entity that initiates the audit, such as the IRS or shareholders. Reporting to different people affects the way the recommendations are presented.

Why You Need to Schedule Internal Audits

Even though it takes a little work and effort, scheduling internal audits might be the best thing you can do to boost your company growth. Here are some of the benefits that you can expect from auditing services:

  • Top of Game: Since full transparency is needed for an audit, this process keeps management and employees at the top of their game. When people know that the work and progress will be tracked, then productivity goes up as everyone strives to meet expectations.
  • Reduce the Risk of Fraud: Regardless of your industry, it is necessary to be proactive to protect your company against the risk of fraud. The auditor will be able to identify any errors or issues that have already happened. At the same time, weak points in the system can be located to reduce the chances of fraud in the future. While you want to trust your employees and customers, it is important that protections are put in place to minimize the opportunities for theft or scams. Not only does auditing help to protect against dishonest activities of employees and customers, but you can also reduce the risk of cybersecurity concerns.
  • Measure Progress: It is easy to assume that your business is thriving when you don’t have a clear picture of the progress that is being made. When you are making big decisions about hiring, business development, and more, it is important that transparency is available to support the decisions that are addressed.
  • Maintaining Compliance: If you are in a business that is governed by state or federal compliance laws, then it is important to ensure that you are implementing all of the necessary activities to maintain compliance. For example, healthcare businesses need to audit the way data is stored and recorded to ensure that HIPPA compliance is respected. Most companies have compliance requirements that need to be met for payment processing and other aspects of running the business.

What to Expect During the Audit

Now that you can see the benefits of having an internal audit, it is time to identify the right company to help with these efforts. You need to know what to expect during this time so that you aren’t caught off-guard by the activities that are happening.

The auditor will come in and request access to documents, financial reports, computer systems and more. They will use this information to analyze the way the company’s performance matches objectives. At the same time, the observation will determine the effectiveness of different strategies that are implemented.

This work can take a few days or a few months, depending on the size of the company. If you have a small start-up or home-based business, then it won’t take long to review all of the financial details and reports.

When Should You Schedule Internal Audits?

You can choose the timeline when internal audits should be scheduled. Some business owners choose to implement a full auditing practice, while others bring in an auditor for a specific focus within the company. For example, you might audit the bookkeeping records to ensure that everything is accurate for tax filings.

Here are some of the common times when internal audits are implemented:

  • Before an Investment or Loan: If you are trying to bring in investors or you need a business loan, then you need to be sure that your financial information is ready for the scrutiny that will occur. It can be embarrassing to have inaccurate information presented to the investors! Instead, complete an audit to ensure that your financial statements are accurate.
  • Mistakes are Identified: Have you recently noticed a mistake in your books? If an error is identified, then it could be a red flag that other issues need to be corrected as well. It is common for mistakes to happen, which is why internal auditing is essential to keep everything on track. The auditor can identify the errors and provide recommendations to fix the discrepancy. Even tiny discrepancies can add up over time, costing you more money in the future.
  • Cash Flow Problems are Happening: Are you having a hard time identifying why you are experiencing cash flow problems in your business? If you are running into issues where sales are made, but you don’t have enough to pay the bills, then there could be internal inefficiencies that need to be corrected. For example, you might be overlooking the monthly expenses and paying too much in overhead costs. An audit can help you find ways to cut down the expenses so that you can maximize your profitability.
  • Consistent Schedule: You don’t need to have a specific reason to implement auditing practices. Instead, you might set a schedule so that you can be proactive with your business goals. Problems with the business could indicate the need for an audit. On the other hand, you can implement auditing practices before the problems arise. Checking the financial health of your company is as important as regular visits to the dentist or doctor to assess your physical health.

What do you need to know about internal audits? If you have questions, then contact Easier Accounting. We will gladly answer your questions and help you identify the right outsourced accounting services to support your business goals. Our team specializes in small business bookkeeping and accounting. We know the best practices to support your financial reporting and other processes that need to be implemented for long-term business success. When you are ready to learn more, you are invited to contact us to discuss your options. We can be reached at (888) 620-0770

Accounting Checklists: Financial Tasks for Every Small Business Owner’s To-Do List

As a small business owner, it is common to feel overwhelmed with the never-ending lists of tasks that need to be completed. You are carrying a lot of responsibility to oversee the daily activities of your company. As a result, it is understandable that some tasks fall to the backburner when you are facing immediate issues. While some things can wait until next month, you shouldn’t overlook some of the most important financial tasks that can’t wait. Today, we are providing the accounting checklists you can use to determine daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual tasks that need to be prioritized.

Keeping up with your business books should be one of the highest priorities. If you have the right systems and do a little bit each day, then it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Our hope is that these accounting checklists will help you know what needs to be done and when you should do it.

Daily Tasks for Small Business Owners

Don’t assume that you need to dedicate a significant amount of time each day to your business finances. A few small tasks will ensure that everything is looking good and you are aware of the current financial situation:

  • Check Available Cash: What is the current situation in your bank account? Check the balances, so you always know how much cash is on hand. It is common for unexpected expenses to come up. Your cash position will give you the information that is needed to make the right decisions related to spending and expenses. Cashflow can be one of the biggest issues that will harm your company, which is why awareness of the bank account balances is essential to keep you on the right track.
  • Watch for Outgoing and Incoming Invoices: The anticipated transactions can also play a role in your cash flow. Stay current with payments that are expected each day. You should know what to expect for the payables and receivables. This information will give you a good picture so that you know what to expect in the upcoming days.

Monthly Tasks for Small Business Owners

Keeping up with the daily tasks will make it easier to stay consistent with the monthly accounting checklist that needs to be done. Here are a few things that should always be on your monthly to-do list:

  • Invoice Prep and Delivery: Staying current with your invoicing ensures that you have money coming in to keep your business afloat. It is important that you are proactive with invoicing. Not only will your customers know what they owe, but you can reduce cash flow issues by increasing the likelihood that the balances will be paid on time. Consistency with invoicing is key to maintain expectations with your clients.
  • Bank Account Reconciliation: Does your bank account match the information shown in your accounting system? Accounting and bookkeeping software is a great way to automate your financial tracking. But, you need to be sure that these numbers match the transactions that are moving through your bank account. Proper bank reconciliation means that you are reviewing the cash on hand with the numbers that are showing in your accounting software. This practice will give you a chance to identify anything that might have been overlooked in the month.
  • Review and Record Transactions: Make sure that your bookkeeping system is up-to-date with transactions that should be moving through. For example, you should always have information recorded about the billing and invoice history for your customers. Also, you need to stay current with the expenses that are moving through your account. As you are reviewing this information, you can record the payments that are received and sent to ensure that your software is up-to-date with the financial activity that is happening throughout the month. If you have many transactions moving through your account, then it can be helpful to manage this task weekly instead of monthly.
  • Send Outstanding Payments: While it is important to keep track of the payments that are received from your customers, you also need to be sure that you are current with the payments that should be sent to your vendors. Maintaining good relationships with the other businesses you work with is critical to ensuring future success for your company. A necessary part of the relationship management is making sure that you are staying current with the payments that are owed.
  • Payroll Processing: This task might happen once or twice a month depending on your payroll schedule. Paying employees on-time is essential to support employee satisfaction and company culture. Payroll processing includes many subtasks, such as gathering timecard information, calculating payroll (including taxes, benefits, take-home pay, and more), and processing the payments, so the checks or direct deposit transactions are completed.
  • Assess Financial Reports: You also need to be looking to the future so that you know what to anticipate in the upcoming months. Set cash flow and income goals; then review your financial information regularly to be sure that you are on track for the future. Awareness of your current financial situation and your goals for the future will help with immediate decisions that will affect the business accomplishments that are possible.

Quarterly Tasks for Small Business Owners

Some tasks only need to be done once a quarter. These items need to be addressed several times throughout the year, so a quarterly schedule can be a great approach to ensure that nothing is overlooked:

  • Look at Profit and Loss Reports: Are you on track to meet your goals for the year? Reviewing Profit and Loss information can help you see overall revenue, expenses, and profit margins. Use this information to see how things are measuring up with your expectations. If you find that the numbers aren’t where you thought they should be, then it can be a good opportunity to make adjustments so that you are prepared to hit your future goals. Use the Profit and Loss reports as an opportunity to strategize your action plan and anticipated progress in the future.
  • Quarterly Tax Payments: Certain taxes require quarterly payments. Talk to your small business accountant to be sure that you aren’t overlooking these important costs that need to be paid each year. For example, it is likely that payments need to be made for quarterly payroll filings as well as sales tax and estimated payments for income tax.

Annual Tasks for Small Business Owners

Finally, there are a few things that need to be addressed once a year for your business finances:

  • Tax Preparation and Filing: Annual tax preparation and filing is one of the biggest financial tasks that need to be addressed. This process can be tedious and time-consuming. But it is necessary to ensure that you are meeting the requirements set by the IRS. Staying ahead of the tasks listed above means that you will have an easier experience when it is time for tax preparation. The daily, weekly, monthly, and annual accounting checklists are designed to ensure that you have all of the information needed for your tax filing.
  • Year-End Equipment and Inventory Review: Once a year, it is a good idea to evaluate the inventory on hand and the equipment that is being used. Does anything need to be replaced? Are inventory levels ready for the busy seasons of the year? What products or services need business development to improve the offerings that are available for customers?
  • Full Year Financial Review: Now that the numbers are prepared for the year, it is time to review the complete financial reports. Determine which goals were met and where you fell short. Even if the numbers don’t match what you were hoping, this information can be used to improve your strategies and goals for the upcoming year. Use the reports as an opportunity to upgrade your business systems and set your company up for success in the future.
  • Accountant Advice and Strategy: While you should maintain open conversation with your accounting team throughout the year, make sure to have a year-end review of your business. Your accountant will be able to offer insights that will help with your goals in the New Year. One of the best things that you can do to maximize your business efforts is tapping into the expertise and advice that is available from a reputable accounting team.

Help with Your Accounting Checklists

The end of the year is a good time to evaluate your progress for the year and make sure that your books are in order for the New Year. Don’t let yourself be distracted by other things! If you have too much on your plate and you can’t keep up with the essential tasks, then it might be time to bring in an accounting team to assist. We can take care of your accounting checklists so that your time and attention can be turned to other aspects that are required to keep the business moving forward.

Our team at Easier Accounting is here to offer the support that you need to improve your business finances. We specialize in small business accounting services, giving you the best services to support your financial goals. Call today to learn more about the services that are available: (888) 620-0770

Business Owners: How to Save Money in the Last Month of the Year

Now that we are through the Thanksgiving season, many people have turned their attention to Christmas and New Year’s. Can you believe that we are only a month away from the end of the year? Time is flying!

Just because 2019 is approaching fast, doesn’t mean that you should put your business efforts on cruise control for the rest of the year. It is good to take time off to spend those hours with friends and family. The Christmas season is a great time of year when you can build memories that will last a lifetime. But the best thing that you can do as a business owner is finding a good balance between your work efforts and the time that is dedicated to your family.

One business focus that you might choose for December is to save a little more money before the end of the year. Padding your business bank account is the perfect way to ensure that 2019 starts on the right foot. You might be thinking about personal resolutions for the New Year… it’s also a good time to consider business resolutions that should be implemented in 2019.

Why You Need to Save Money for Your Business

Cash flow is one of the biggest challenges faced by small business owners. Even though things might be going great right now, you never know when sales are going to slow down. You might find that things slow down in January and February, which means that you could be scraping the bottom of your bank account if you aren’t careful.

Here are a few benefits that you will find by having a business savings account:

  • Cover Payroll in the Slow Months: Having enough cash to pay the costs of payroll is essential so that you can maintain a happy, satisfied workforce. Even though you aren’t having any problems paying these expenses right now, you might need a little extra in the future when things slow down.
  • Hit the Year End Sales: The holiday season is a great time of year to buy electronics and other equipment that is needed for your business. Having a little extra cash in the bank means that you can purchase these items when you find the right deal. Watch the sale prices and move quickly if you find an excellent price on the equipment that needs to be replaced in the office.
  • Schedule a Holiday Party: Do you want to boost employee morale? Consider scheduling a fun activity that can be shared with your employees during the holiday season. If you have the funds available, it can be a great way to strengthen relationships and show your appreciation for everyone on the team.
  • Cash Available for Inventory: If you are blowing through inventory during the busiest months of the year, then you need to be sure that you have enough money available to restock the shelves when the timing is right. Your savings account can cover the gaps if you need cash flow to pay for the new inventory shipment. In most businesses, these inventory costs need to be paid upfront, which means that you can’t wait to sell the products before you pay the vendors.
  • Emergency Funds for the Unexpected: You never know when an emergency will happen that requires unanticipated costs. For example, if the HVAC system goes out at your office, then you might be facing a repair bill that is thousands of dollars. Other common business emergencies could include a change in supplier pricing, employee strike, and more.
  • Be Ready for Tax Season: The beginning of a New Year means that you are also facing new tax bills. Make sure that you have enough money in the bank so that you don’t need to go into debt to pay the taxes. Work with your accounting team so that you can estimate the amount that will need to be paid in business taxes.
  • Pay Off Business Debts: Have you incurred business debt over the years? There are times when debt can be useful to keep the company running. But, carrying a heavy debt load means that you are also carrying the burden of interest and fees. Saving money and improving your financial practices can free up the funds that are needed to pay off these lines of credit.

There are unlimited options when you have a healthy savings account for your company. Make sure that you are implementing a good financial strategy with your small business accountant so that you have the extra money available when it is needed.

How to Save Money This Month

Saving money doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Instead, try some of these strategies to set aside a business savings account for a rainy day in the future:

  • Streamline Financial Practices: It’s no longer optional to put financial tracking and accounting practices on the backburner. You need to have the right systems in place that will help with the services that are required to keep up with your business numbers. As you implement the right accounting software and work with an experienced team of small business accountants, you can identify trends that are eating away at your cash flow. Create a system of transparency so that you can find the areas where you are losing money.
  • Track All Expenses: Some business owners find it hard to identify where the money is going. You might not be spending cash on big purchases, but the small transactions definitely add up over time. You should have a system in place that tracks every penny that is received and spent. Proper expense management by an experienced accounting team means that you won’t overlook deductions on your tax return. These details can result in big savings when you are consistent with expense tracking this month… and throughout the year.
  • Cut Unnecessary Fees and Expenses: Find and eliminate the line-items that are eating away at your profit margins. Often, service contracts are negotiated on an annual basis, which means that some of these contracts might be expiring at the end of the year. As you are renewing contractors for services such as janitorial work, contractors, ongoing services, subscriptions, and more, look for areas where you can reduce overhead expenses. For example, you might be able to find a cheaper service that will result in savings over time.
  • Sell Unused Equipment: If you choose to replace some of the equipment in your office during the holiday sales, then make sure that you have a strategy in place to get rid of the unused equipment. Old computers and cell phones can be wiped and then sold on the used market. Even though you won’t recover the full amount that was invested in the new product, used equipment sales can cover some of the costs that go into the purchases that are needed for the office.
  • Consider Trade Options: Is there a service that is needed for your company, but you don’t have the extra cash to spend? Consider a trade or barter where the value is exchanged without money changing hands. For example, if you are a small marketing firm and you need a new website designed, then you might be able to find a designer who will accept marketing services in exchange for the design services that you need. This strategy will help you conserve your cash so you can build your emergency savings account.
  • Hire Contractors or Temp Employees: If you need to increase your workforce during the holiday season, consider hiring temp employees or contractors for the services that are required. You won’t need to carry the burden of benefits and other expenses that come with hiring new employees. Plus, you can limit your spending during the holiday season without the obligation to continue the paychecks into the New Year when the services are no longer required.
  • Talk to Your Accountant: You don’t need to be a financial expert to improve your cash position. Instead, you need to be sure that you are hiring the right team of accounting professionals who can help you identify ways to save money. Tapping into a team of accountants can be a valuable way to help you learn from the mistakes that have been made by other businesses in the industry. Your small business accountant will provide the support and advice required so that you can save money and prepare for the future growth of your company.

Why is December the time of year that you need to take action on these action steps? Many business owners rationalize that they will enjoy the holiday season and then buckle down and work hard in January. Instead of procrastinating the things that need to be addressed in your company, it is time to take action right now! Implement your new system in December to be sure that everything is in place by January 1st. You will feel good knowing that your business is off to a good start for the new year.

Do you need help with your small business accounting? Easier Accounting is here to offer the assistance that is needed. We can help you implement the right accounting program in December so that you can save money this month and into the New Year. Call us to learn more about the services that are available: (888) 620-0770