New Year’s Resolutions – Financial Goals for Your Business in 2018

The New Year is often considered an opportunity for a fresh start. People begin the year with the best intentions to improve their lives and overcome bad habits. Talk to anyone that you know, and most people will have a theme for the year or some sort of personal goal that they are focusing on.

Personal Goals Impact Business Results

Often, these goals are centered around health and fitness. For example, people set resolutions to exercise more and eat less to achieve their desired weight loss results. Or, these goals might be focused on overcoming addictive behaviors, improving sleep habits, or buying a new home.

As a business owner, these personal goals can be important to help you feel better about yourself. By improving your physical and mental health, you will be in a good place to improve your business as well. Many entrepreneurs know that their business results are directly related to their personal successes.

But, setting personal goals won’t be enough to maximize the business results that you desire. If you want to increase your income this year, then you need to be willing to put in the work. It all comes down to the daily, weekly, and monthly systems that are in place to manage your business finances, inventory, client management, and more.

Do you need help choosing the right resolutions for your company this year? Here are a few suggestions to help you start 2018 on the right foot:

Resolution #1: Put a Stronger Focus on Customer Service

The satisfaction of your customers is one of the most important things that will affect your business results. If you have happy customers, then they will continue coming back to your company when they are ready to buy again. It is easier to maintain a list of satisfied customers than it is always to generate new leads.

The business world is shifting from basic customer service to personalized relationships. Instead of a scripted phone call to handle a customer inquiry, customers want to know that the company has a vested interest in the outcome of the situation.

So, companies need to step up and show customers that they are putting in the effort to outshine the competition. A few small changes in your customer service systems can go a long way to help you create the life-long relationships that you need for business success.

Also, remember that many customers are turning to the internet to share their experience with others. If someone has a good interaction with your company, then it increases the likelihood that they will share a positive review online. On the other hand, a negative experience could be detrimental to your company because of the bad review that drives other potential customers away.

If you want to succeed in this social world, then you need to be willing to put in the work that will create a good environment for your clients and customers.

Resolution #2: Strengthen Your Online Presence

There is no doubt that the internet is now an integral part of the business world. As mentioned above, many customers turn to the internet when they are looking for a local company or service. If you put in the effort to create an online presence, then it is easier to bring in customers who are interested in the things that you are selling.

Not only do you need to maintain a social media presence, but you also need a website that outlines the products and services that are available. These tools can be used to feed people into your sales funnel, resulting in an increase in your sales for the year.

There are other ways that you can leverage the internet to improve your business results. Sometimes these tools aren’t about customer interactions. Instead, you can find tools that can be used for team management and financial tracking. The dynamic nature of the internet makes it easier than ever to oversee the company success from anywhere in the world. You can go on vacation and still view reports about sales numbers, cash flow, and more.

Resolution #3: Improve Financial Tracking

Business finances are often the details that people push to the backburner. When you are facing immediate needs, such as stocking shelves and inventory orders, then it is hard to find the motivation to tally receipts or enter expenses into the financial system.

Even though these boring tasks seem like busy work, they are essential to ensure that you are meeting requirements for taxes and financial reports. The details will have a big impact on the long-term results that you achieve in your company.

If you are stuck in the rut of procrastinating your business financials, then you need to set a goal to make it a priority this year. Keep track of the costs that are incurred every day. These expenses are important business write-offs so that you can minimize your tax burden.

At the same time, you need to look at cash flow projections to determine the anticipated costs that are coming up. These factors can help you make big financial decisions so that you can improve the overall results for your business. If you don’t know the current cash standing for the company, then you could be making the wrong decisions that can have a negative impact on your cash position in the future.

Resolution #4: Outsource the Busy Work

Do you feel overwhelmed as you are trying to find the time to keep up with the data entry and financial tracking? If you are already loaded down with too many responsibilities, then it could be beneficial to outsource some of the busy work.

Some business owners choose to hire employees who can take over these tasks. But, then you still carry the responsibility to make sure that the employees are performing the work correctly. Plus, you will need to bring on the added costs of salary, benefits, office space, and more.

A cheaper solution is to outsource the tasks to an outside team instead. For example, you can hire an accounting service to oversee the financial tracking and tax preparation details. These services might cost a little money and impact your overhead costs. But, they are cheaper compared to the cost of bringing on another employee.

It is hard to quantify the benefits that are gained from these outsourced accounting services. Not only will you have an easier time tracking cash flow and other business details. But, you will also be able to maximize tax write-offs. Calculate the savings that are available for your company, and you will likely see that it is worth the investment to hire these financial services.

Resolution #5: Commit to Simplification in the Workplace

One of the drawbacks of workplace initiatives is that these goals can complicate the processes that need to be followed in the workplace. Even though your intentions are good, you need to be careful so that employees aren’t overloaded with unreasonable expectations. Employees still need the time to focus on the core job duties, instead of getting distracted with other tasks to meet the required goals

So, as you are choosing goals for the year, look for ways that you can simplify the process for everyone involved. Outsourcing is a great example of simplification. You can assign the tasks to a professional team, and let go of the worry about how these tasks will be completed. In most situations, outsourcing is an effective way to simplify your business efforts and still achieve the results that you desire.

Also, consider simplification for your daily tracking. For example, if you are still keeping financial records by hand or in a spreadsheet, then you are missing out on the benefits that are available from a good accounting software program. There is no reason why you should be doing these calculations by hand if there are tools that can do the difficult work for you.

If you don’t already have a good financial tracking system, then right now is the perfect opportunity to talk to our team about the options that can be implemented. We are focused on streamlined business solutions. Hiring an accounting service means that you can simplify your business finances, and at the same time free up your responsibilities to focus on business growth.

We have proven systems that will transform your finances and help with your goals this year. There is no reason for you to re-invent the wheel when we already know the best systems in the industry. If you want to tap into this expertise, then contacting us is the best thing that you can do for your company.

Are you ready to make 2018 the best year yet? Our team here at Easier Accounting wants to support your business goals for the year. If your resolution is to improve your accounting and financial systems, then right now is the perfect time to call us. We will take care of the financial details so that you can grow your company to higher levels of success this year. Call to learn more: (888) 620-0770

Christmas and New Year’s Tips for Small Business Owners

Christmas is in just a few days, and many small business owners are wrapping up the final holiday details so that they can take time away from the office. It is important to have a good work-life balance between your business and family responsibilities. But, there are a few things that you shouldn’t overlook if you are preparing for a vacation or time off.

Right now, Santa is going through the naughty and nice lists. As a business owner, you should be going through your own to-do lists of things that need to be completed before you leave for the holiday. Here are a few tips to help you keep up with accounting and the other business tasks that need to be addressed:

Christmas Spirit for Your Employees and Vendors

You might have gifts for the family members under the tree. But, you aren’t done with the shopping until you have offered a holiday gift to your employees. Even though it is a busy time of year, it is important that you take a moment to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that comes from the work that your employees offer to the company.

Create a festive environment in the office by bringing in food and treats. You might even hang up lights or set up a Christmas tree. When you are sending out emails, consider adding in holiday greetings or small things that will make the communication a little more festive.

Simple employee gifts might be as basic as adding a Christmas bonus on their paychecks. Or, you might consider handing out gifts so that you have something to give in person. Cash and gift cards are always popular because people like the option to buy the things that they want to receive for Christmas.

Don’t Go Overboard with Holiday Celebrations

It is common for companies to have a Christmas party or a New Year’s gathering. While these events are memorable and fun, you need to be careful not to consume too much alcohol. Too many drinks can have a negative impact on behavior. You want to create good memories, not something that you will regret the next morning!

Even though you are having fun with your team, it is important that you don’t cross the line of maintaining respect among employees. So, it is usually best to keep alcohol to a minimum and provide plenty of food and water during the event.

Check Your Cashflow

When you are planning holiday gifts or parties, you need to be sure that you have the cash available that is needed to pay for these expenses. Cashflow is a critical factor that can make or break your company! You might have good intentions to offer holiday bonuses for your employees. But, the plan could backfire on you if the bonus checks bounce.

Talk to your accounting team to ensure that everything is up-to-date in your financial tracking system. Go over your budget and look at anticipated costs. Then, you will be able to put together a budget that is available to pay for the holiday events.

This cash flow assessment is also important to ensure that you can meet other accounting needs, such as payroll and tax payments. These details need to be evaluated this month before the year comes to an end. But, you should make a point to review this information regularly throughout the year.

Clear Communication about Holiday Hours

Don’t leave people guessing about the times that your office will be open during the holiday season. Instead, focus on clear communication with your employees and customers to set expectations for the holiday hours.

This information can be posted on your door in advance so that customers and visitors know when they can come to the office. Also, share the time-off details with employees so that they can plan their family travel arrangements. It is common for employees to take extra PTO days during this time of year, so make sure that you coordinate these details in advance to ensure that you have enough coverage during the times that the business is open.

Do you have an emergency contact number? Make sure that you have clear responsibilities assigned for the coverage of this number during the holiday season.

If you are going to take extra time off during the holidays, then this information also needs to be discussed with your staff. Communicate to ensure that everything is covered while you are gone. Then, you will be able to leave the office to spend time with your family, with the peace of mind to know that things will keep operating while you are away. Pre-planning will help you avoid vacation interruptions that come from phone calls or emergency emails that need to be answered.

Website and Email Messages

Will there be a few days when you won’t be checking your email? Set up an out-of-office message so that no one is confused by the delayed response. An out-of-office message is a professional, polite way to handle communication if you are going to be away. If someone knows your return date, then they won’t be worried if it takes a little while before they hear back with your response.

Also, consider adding an update on social media websites. If you are going to be away, then post a quick message on Facebook or Instagram to let people know that your office will be closed. Social media provides a great way to communicate information in a fast way, keeping your customers, employees, and vendors updated about the things that are happening in your office.

This essential information should include details about the days that your business will be shut down for the holidays. Also, provide clear information about the re-opening times. You might provide details for emergency contact if needed.

Maximizing the Down Time During the Month of December

Some businesses are busy during this time of year, and there isn’t a lot of extra time available for additional tasks. If you are in the retail industry, then it is likely that you are pushing through the holidays knowing that you can take a break after the year is over.

On the other hand, some companies slow down during this time of year. December can be a quiet time for service-based industries, giving business owners a little more free time. If you own a business that isn’t busy during the Christmas season, then you might consider the advantage of focusing your extra time on bonus tasks that will set you up for the new year.

Yes, you can use the time to spend with your family and friends. But, some business owners find it difficult to step away from work completely. Here are a few important tasks that you might consider to evaluate your success for the year and improvements that might be needed in the New Year:

  • Cashflow trends throughout the year
  • New clients that were lost or won
  • Main referral sources, to dedicate more effort to those marketing strategies
  • Effectiveness of marketing techniques
  • Professional development activities that contributed to your skill set
  • Process and workflow, looking for inefficiencies that need to be corrected
  • New idea brainstorming
  • Tax evaluations and payment plans
  • Accounting software and financial reports

Assessing this information will ensure that you are ready to hit the ground running when the New Year starts.

Don’t Forget to Take Time to Relax!

As a business owner, there is always something else that can be done to support your company. It can be a challenge to be in this position because it can be hard to step away from the office. But, don’t overlook the benefits of taking time for yourself so that you can relax and recharge.

Whether your business doors are staying open or you are closing down for a few days, structure your schedule so that you can take care of yourself. Personal care is more important than many business owners realized. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then you won’t have the effort or energy to support the needs of your employees or team.

There will always be more time to pay the bills, service your clients, or go through the accounting and financial paperwork. But, there are only a few moments when the family gathers together to celebrate the holiday. So, don’t be afraid to set down your phone and focus on the moment that you are sharing with the people that you love. Stay present in the experience of celebrating the holidays, knowing that you can set aside an hour or two after the party is over to catch up on the business tasks that need to be addressed.

Segmenting your time in this manner is important for mental wellness and the relationships that you share with friends and family members. If you don’t have the option to take time away from the office, then it might be a sign that it is time to outsource some of the busy work.

Our team at Easier Accounting wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! If You need assistance with your year-end accounting, then feel free to reach out to us anytime: (888) 620-0770

2017 Taxes and Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes it easier to obtain healthcare for most Americans. There are ups and downs to this coverage, and tax penalties apply for those choosing not to get it.

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How does this affect taxes?

Those choosing to waive health insurance for more than three months have to pay a penalty in most cases. What kinds of penalties? Take a look:

The penalty tax is calculated in two ways: you’re charged based on a percentage of the household AGI, or a flat rate. The catch – whichever amount is greater.

2017 Tax Year

2.5% of your total household adjusted gros income. That equates to $695 per adult, and $347.50 per child under the age of 18, up to the maximum amount of $2,085. Your accountant can provide concrete numbers on how much the penalty actually is.

Are there exemptions to the tax penalty? Absolutely. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • The most inexpensive coverage is more than 8.13% of your household income
  • You did not have insurance for less than three consecutive months in the year
  • Your income is too low and you don’t have to file a tax return
  • You are Native American or can get health services through the Indian Health Service
  • Religion
  • Participation in a health care sharing ministry
  • You have been overseas for more than a year
  • Hardship (homelessness, bankruptcy, eviction, etc.)

Important

You’ll have to claim that exemption when filing taxes for 2017. These penalties rise every year due to inflation. When paying the fees, there are some distinctions:

  • The percentage method only counts the part of your household income above the yearly tax filing requirement.
  • The per person method only counts the individuals in the home that do not have insurance coverage.
  • Having coverage for part of the year will count for something. You’ll pay 1/12 of the annual amount for each month someone in the home does not have coverage. There is a “short gap” exemption that applies – if you only lapse coverage for one or two months, you won’t incur a fee.

Knowing how to prep for the penalties for not having health insurance will help you avoid sticker shock once the tax return is filed. You can estimate how much you will have to pay by using the IRS tool. Your accountant should also be able to let you know how much you will be paying for not having health insurance.

If you feel you qualify for an exemption, have a conversation with your accountant to see if you can get the fee waived.  There are a number of circumstances that qualify, and a licensed tax professional can guide you much better than assuming you cannot get the exemption.

As the rules continue to change, obtaining health insurance for your own well-being is the best choice. If you cannot afford it, you can definitely avoid taking money you don’t have from your budget. File the necessary paperwork to ensure you aren’t caught in the fray. Get your documentation in order, and prepare to file.

Are Your Books in Top Shape?

It’s almost the end of the year. One of the things you may want to do to let close the year out and start fresh. To do that, make sure your books are in the best possible shape. Now is the time to have them looked at and carefully gone through. That way they will be in order for the coming year. If there are problems or discrepancies, why not take care of them now? Even a small problem can end up becoming bigger when it’s not addressed right away. A simple mistake can turn into something much larger. Catching it right away mitigates that damage so the issue can be fixed.

Time for a Professional?

Many people don’t realize there’s an issue until they have a professional look at their books. By then, serious concerns can arise. But if you take care of those problems early on, they become much less significant. No one wants to go into the new year being required to pay a lot of extra tax. They might also be asked to pay fees and penalties because of bookkeeping mistakes that were made. You can avoid that with professional guidance. Your books will then be in great shape, so you don’t have to worry. Living in fear of financial issues isn’t fun, and there’s no reason for it to continue.

Not everyone likes a stranger going through their books. While that makes sense, it’s also important to be open to having a professional take a look. With the right financial service help, you will have fewer worries about how your books are looking. Your books are very important to the financial health of your business. They give you insight into the ebbs and flows of money. They also show you if you’re consistently making a profit or experiencing a loss. But if your books aren’t right you could be doing better or worse than you think you are. That’s something you need to know.

Don’t shy away from diving into your books. Any small discrepancy can become a big discrepancy very quickly. That’s partially because numbers that are even a few cents off affect other numbers. Soon a few pennies is a few dollars, instead. If it goes on long enough, those few dollars can become hundreds or even thousands. That depends on the number of transactions listed, of course, and the size of the business. But even a small business can struggle with financial problems that multiply due to bookkeeping errors. A simple error can really affect long-term financial health.

Don’t let your business fall victim to bookkeeping problems. Instead, work with a professional company that offers accounting services. That way your books will be in top shape going into the new year. Then you can have a trusted company on your side, to keep your books looking good all throughout the year. Discrepancies, mistakes, and worries about whether your finances are right will be things of the past. That can give you a good feeling about your financial future, or help you see trouble before it becomes too serious. It can also give you peace of mind.

Easy Steps for Small Business Automation

Starting a business is a hands-on experience. Many times, small business owners find themselves working on accounting in one moment and customer service in the next moment. When your company is in the start-up phase, then it is necessary to have all-hands-on-deck to make sure that you are starting in the right way. But, don’t overlook the importance of implementing small business automation to set up for future success.

As your business grows, it is common to feel like your schedule is getting busier and busier. But, the truth is that you should be doing LESS as the company gains momentum. Setting the right systems in place will allow you to step back from the daily grind. Instead, you can focus on the overall strategy that is implemented throughout the company.

Here are a few options that you should consider for small business automation:

Software Solutions

There is no reason that you should be manually tracking details in a spreadsheet. Instead, find the right small business automation tools to manage the information so that you can reduce the busy work and free up your time. We live in an incredible digital era that makes it easier than ever to manage business expenses and other information. Consider using some of these automation tools:

  • Cloud-Based Accounting: All of your expenses and income can be tracked through a cloud-based accounting program. For the best hands-off solution, pair the automated software with an experienced accounting team. Your accountant will oversee the transactions that are moving through the account, complete regular reconciliations, and finalize the numbers to ensure that you have accurate reports. You can access this information anytime, anywhere through the online software.
  • Invoicing and Bill Tracking: Falling behind on your invoicing means that you will have a hard time managing cash flow. Unfortunately, invoicing sometimes falls to the backburner when other matters are more pressing. Instead, look for a solution that makes it easy to automate your invoicing. Often, this feature can be incorporated into your accounting software. You can also talk to your accounting team to get recommendations that work well with the rest of your accounting system.
  • Tracking Receipts: There is no reason that you should have a shoebox full of receipts and spending documents. Instead, implement a paperless filing system so that you don’t have the clutter of so much paper in the office. Dropbox can be a great solution to consider. Sign up for paperless statements, or take a picture or scan of each receipt/invoice, then file everything in an organized folder. This information can be shared easily with your accounting team for reconciliations.
  • Password Manager: Do you have the same password for every account so that you can remember the logins? If you are still using your pet’s name for your password, then it is time to make some changes. Passwords should be long and strong with multiple letters, numbers, and characters. Use an encrypted tool such as 1Password or Roboform to keep track of the credentials. Never store your passwords on a Post-It note or in a spreadsheet that can be accessed by other people.
  • Admin Tasks: Simple tasks can be outsourced to freelancers. For example, you shouldn’t be dedicating time to write blog posts or social media updates. Hire a freelancer to handle these tasks so that you have regular online publishing without spending hours every week on the task. You can find affordable help through freelancing websites, allowing you to access people with applicable skills and many years of experience with the tasks that you need.

Daily Tasks

Other tasks need to happen around the office to keep things going. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the tedious work. Instead, assign tasks to your staff or bring in outsourced services to help. These are some of the daily tasks that you can automate so that you don’t have to worry about the details:

  • Office Cleaning: You shouldn’t have to take out the garbage on your way out the door at night. Hire a cleaning service to scrub down the bathrooms, manage the garbage, and water the plants. These baseline tasks should always be addressed so that you don’t waste brain power thinking about these things.
  • Lunch Orders: It can take a lot of time to leave the office so that you can find something for lunch. Instead of spending an hour away from your desk, consider the option to have a pre-paid meal delivery service. You can submit your order in advance, and then the meal will show up in your office at the planned time. This service allows you to take a shorter lunch break because you don’t need to spend any time in the car.
  • Landscaping: If you own the building for your company, then it is essential that you invest in a good landscaping team. These services are helpful so that you can keep up with the outdoor appearance of the building. Remember: the curb appeal of your office will set the first impression when people come to visit. So, you need to make sure that you are setting the right tone for current and potential customers.
  • Snow Removal: Businesses located in cold areas need to also think about snow removal services. Often, these services are offered through landscaping companies. Instead of showing up an hour before the office opens so that you can shovel the sidewalks, it is nice to come to work and find that the snow has already been cleared.

Customer Management

There is no doubt that your customer relationships are the most important resource to your company. Maintaining positive relationships with your customers will increase the likelihood that people will come back in the future when they are ready to purchase again. Because customers are so important, business owners often dedicate a lot of time to customer management activities.

These are a few ways that you can automate customer interactions to reduce the time that you need to spend on these tasks each week:

  • Customer Service: It is important to provide fast, quality customer service. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to spend your day responding to emails or answering the phones. These tasks can be assigned to an employee. Or, you can outsource using websites such as Help Scout or Ruby Receptionist. Basic admin tasks can be handed off to these services, freeing up your time to focus on other important tasks for business growth.
  • Managing Communication: You need to be proactive to manage communication with your current and potential customers. One of the best things that you can do is put together an autoresponder series so that regular emails are sent. These messages should be personal and engaging, helping customers see that you are interested in their satisfaction.
  • CRM: One way that you can improve the personalization in your company is by implementing a database that tracks customer information. A good system will help you keep up with details such as the person’s birthday, their shopping history, and how much they have spent with your company. Then, you can send out personalized emails on birthdays or anniversaries. Additionally, you can offer discounts or coupons that are catered to their shopping habits.

Why You Need Small Business Automation

Automating these tasks in your company can give you the time and energy to level up your business results. If you are micro-managing every small detail, then you are stunting the growth of your company. Instead, you need to put the right systems in place so that you can automate these tasks. Letting go of some of the daily busy work will free up your schedule.

What will you do with the extra time? When you aren’t loaded down with busy work, then you can spend that time on business development. Research new product ideas, look for ways to boost your current services or optimize the office to improve results for your customers.

Another option is to spend your time building relationships. Forming the right business relationships is a valuable step to open up options for the future. You can’t put a price on important relationships. But, it can be hard to form these solid relationships if you are too busy working on the minor details in your company.

Our team at Easier Accounting understands the importance of small business automation. So, we are working hard to make it as easy as possible for you to manage your accounting and bookkeeping. We offer a wide range of services that will simplify your business management and make it easier than ever to help your business grow.

Whether you need help with basic bookkeeping tasks or you are looking for tax-strategy advice, we are here to offer the assistance that you need. You are welcome to contact us anytime for more information about the services that we offer. We’ve worked hard to identify the best solutions that will maximize results for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Call our team at Easier Accounting to see how we can help with your business automation systems: (888) 620-0770

Don’t SPOOK Potential Investors with Messy Financial Records

Halloween is right around the corner, and many kids are getting excited to wear their costumes and go door-to-door looking for treats from the neighbors. Even if your business isn’t planning any Halloween activities, it might be a good opportunity to see if you are inadvertently scaring away potential investors.

Bringing investors into your small business is a significant step to help your company grow in the future. But, it is essential that you find the right deal that will set your company up for success. Picking good investors is important to ensure that you are ready for the growth that is possible in your company.

Do You Need Business Investors?

It is a big decision to bring investors into your company. Whether you are in the start-up phases or you have been in business for several years, you need to consider the impact that it could have to bring in investors who are interested in your company.

The main reason that you should consider accepting investment money is that your company is poised for growth and you want to take advantage of a great opportunity. These funds can help to launch the company into higher levels of success. If you don’t have the cash flow or employee base to support this growth, the investment money might be the right solution.

Before you make this decision, it is important that you talk to experienced financial advisors for more information. For example, ongoing accounting services are important so that you can see the financial history of your company. This information will help you track the progress and identify if you are ready to bring in more help and cash flow.

Pros and Cons of Business Investors

As you consider the investment money that is available, look at the pros and cons of bringing in investors. Benefits of investors include:

  • Human Element: Investors don’t always have the same requirements as banks or other financial institutions. If an investor is passionate about the work that you are doing, then they might be interested in trying something new. They want to look at the numbers, but they also want to see the vision of the company. Most investors are established entrepreneurs who are willing to take a little more risk with their funds compared to a bank. If an investor can see the potential of the company, then they won’t be worried about making a larger investment.
  • No Loan Repayment: If you take a loan from the bank, then you will be expected to repay the money regardless of the success of the company. On the other hand, investors are taking a portion of ownership in the company. So, you won’t need to pony-up the cash if the business fails.
  • Higher Odds of Growth: Not only are you receiving money from the investor, but the person might be able to offer insight into business strategy. These investors are usually experienced business players, and they can improve the future growth of your company through their advice and expertise.

Even though there are advantages of business investors, you might run into a few drawbacks as well:

  • Higher Expectations: An investor might be willing to throw in with an unproven business model. Even though they have a higher risk tolerance, this tolerance often comes with higher expectations as well. They want to make money on the deal, not just donate it to your ideas. Most investors want to know the anticipated rate of return that is available.
  • Giving Up Future Earnings: Since you hand over a portion of the ownership to an investor, you will also give up a portion of your future earnings. The deal will be negotiated on the amount of money that the investor puts in. If you experience huge business growth in the future, then you need to consider the amount of earnings that you will need to pay the investor.
  • Hand Over Full Control: During the start-up phase of your company, you have full control over the decisions that are made since you are the sole owner of the business. When you hand out partial ownership to investors, then you are giving up some of the ability to make these decisions. Most investors don’t want to take a hands-off approach to their business dealings. So, you need to be ready to allow them to participate in future decisions that can affect the company.

Investors vs. Bank Assistance

Just because you need financial help, doesn’t mean that you need to hand over some of the control of the company to investors. Some business owners want to maintain as much control as possible, so they look for other financial opportunities instead.

For example, if you are in a bind with cash flow, then you might consider the option to talk to the bank for a small business loan. If you can show the growth of the company and the future success that is possible, then it is likely that your bank will be willing to lend the money to help you continue.

Many small businesses turn to traditional banks, community credit unions, and other financial institutions for the capital requirements of running a company. But, there are times when these financial options won’t be enough. If you talk to the bank and you can’t get enough money to meet your requirements, then it might be time to bring in investors.

What Will Business Investors Be Looking For?

Before you pitch the investment opportunities, you need to be sure that your accounting reports are ready to show. If your books are a mess, then people won’t trust the management of the company. They will view the opportunity as a risk, and walk away.

So, you need to be sure that you are consistent with all the bookkeeping and accounting tasks, allowing you to provide accurate reports when you are ready to bring in investors. The easiest solution is to hire an outsourced accounting team, such as Easier Accounting, before you are ready for the investment money. These services can create the foundation that you need so that you can attract the investors that will set your business up for growth in the future.

In addition to the financial reports, investors often want to learn more about the overall structure and daily activities in the company. Most investors don’t rely only on the financial reports. They want to know about:

  • The problems in the industry and how you are overcoming these issues.
  • The types of acquisitions and mergers that might be available.
  • Retention of top management and key employees.
  • Staffing issues and employee satisfaction.
  • Current and upcoming trends in the industry.
  • How future political and economic factors will influence sales and growth.
  • Inventory and supply flow.
  • Cash flow on a monthly and annual basis.
  • Business assets and liabilities.

How to Find Business Investors

If you make the decision that you need to bring in investors, where do you start? The best solution is to look to your current business community to see if anyone in your network is interested. Talk to a few trusted people, and they will be able to help you connect with parties who might be willing to add their money for the business opportunity.

Another option is to talk to business capital brokers. These brokers stay networked in the community and business world. You can tap into a group of potential investors, and the broker will help you navigate the options to find a good fit.

The potential investors will research your company to see if they are interested in the opportunity. At the same time, you can do your research to see if it is someone that you want to work with. Make sure that you know your investors, and don’t be afraid to ask the right questions regarding their experience and background.

Be ready with detailed financial reports, as well as a fine-tuned pitch for people who might be interested. Know the motivations and interests of the investors, and cater your information to match their preferences. If you have insight into your audience before the meeting, then you can make adjustments with your pitch to increase the likelihood that they will be interested in the investment opportunity.

Don’t forget to bring a solid business plan to the meeting. Potential investors will want to see the history of your company, as well as the possibility for growth in the future. Having a professional business plan will help them see that you are serious about your business efforts.

Where to Find the Financial Support that You Need

Do you feel like you are in over your head trying to keep up with the financial requirements for your company? Then it might be time to hire a team of accounting professionals to help with some of the most important tasks of running a company.

Here at Easier Accounting, we are happy to support your business efforts. Whether you are just getting your start-up off the ground or you are ready to expand with investors, we are here to help. Contact our company to learn about the accounting services that are available: (888) 620-0770

6 Steps to Help You Get Started with Outsourced Accounting

Financial management in your business is arguably one of the most important responsibilities that will impact your future success. If you fail to keep up with accounting and financial tracking, then you could be facing cash flow problems and other avoidable issues. Unfortunately, too many small business owners are carrying so many responsibilities that they can’t keep up with the financial requirements of running the company. One option that you might consider is to look for outsourced accounting services.

Most business owners know that financial tracking and accounting is important. But, they just don’t have enough hours in the day to keep up with these tasks. When you determine that you need help with bookkeeping and accounting, then it might seem like a logical choice to hire another employee. Instead of rushing into the decision to bring on another employee, consider the benefits of outsourcing these tasks.

Not only will you find flexibility in the accounting packages that are offered, but you will also see that outsourced accounting is a great way to reduce overhead costs. Outsourcing is much more affordable compared to hiring another full-time employee! You don’t need to worry about office space or computer equipment. Plus, you can tap into the accountant’s expertise without paying a full-time salary every month.

If your workload is adding up and you can’t keep up with the ongoing demands of owning a company, then we invite you to talk to our team for more information. Here at Easier Accounting, we are always available to answer your questions and help you choose the right outsourcing solutions for your business.

Here are a few steps to help you get started with outsourced accounting:

Step #1: Be Clear about the Tasks You Want to Outsource

It can be hard to hire the right outsourcing team if you aren’t clear about the scope of work that you need help with. Instead of looking for a general outsourcer, find a team that offers specialized experience in the areas where you need the most help.

For example, instead of saying that you want to hire an accounting expert, put together a list of specific tasks that you need the outsourcer to do. For more business owners, accounting outsourcing often includes some of the time-consuming tasks that are difficult to manage:

  • Payroll
  • Bookkeeping
  • Accounts Payable/Receivable
  • Tax Preparation and Filing
  • Financial Reports
  • And More

Being clear about your goals will make it easier for you to find the right services that match the needs of your company.

As you are preparing this list, it is helpful to have information about the financial transactions and needs of your company. Your accounting team will likely ask for information regarding the number of transactions that move through your account each month, annual revenue, the number of clients that you have, and the number of employees that are on the payroll. Providing these details upfront can help you see if the outsourcing team can support your business needs.

Step #2: Find an Outsourcing Team with Experience

While it might be tempting to pass the busy work to a stay-at-home mom in your family, you might run into many issues because of the lack of experience and subpar workflow. The best solution is to find an experience outsourcing team that has many years of experience in the industry. Tapping into this expertise reduces the likelihood of problems so that you are prepared to set your business up for success.

One thing to consider is the size of your company and the experience that the accounting team offers for various types of companies. For example, if you are a small business owner or a start-up company, then make sure that your outsourced accounting team has helped with similar types of companies. This hands-on experience is an optimal way for you to avoid common problems that are encountered by business owners.

Step #3: Consider the Costs

One of the reasons why small business owners avoid outsourcing is because they are worried about the associated costs. If you are boot-strapping to get the business off the ground, does it make sense to spend money on outsourced services?

The truth is that outsourcing is usually more affordable than hiring a full-time employee. When you are working with outsourcers, then you can pay for the time that is used, rather than supporting the full paycheck and benefits for an employee.

Plus, you need to consider the opportunity costs of forgoing these services. For example, if you are managing your own tax filing and you don’t have a lot of accounting experience, then it is likely that you are missing out on important write-offs. These mistakes could cost you thousands of dollars in tax expenses over the years. Instead, it is better to let a team of professionals handle the details so that you have an optimal outcome for your tax filing.

You can set a monthly budget for outsourcing so that you know how much these services will impact your overhead costs. Then, look at the potential financial benefits that are possible in the future. Having a team of accounting professionals can be the best thing that you can do to improve your business cash flow and avoid common problems that are encountered by small business owners.

Step #4: Compare Your Options

Now that you have decided that outsourcing is right for your company, the next step is to compare the companies that offer the services that you need. Don’t limit yourself to your local area! Many accounting services and other types of outsourced services can be completed remotely. There is no reason to meet with the outsourcing team face-to-face.

Limiting your choices to the local area will decrease the options that are available. Instead, focus on the services that you need and don’t worry about the location of the outsourcing team. The only consideration is to ensure that you choose an accounting company in the United States so that the team is familiar with the local laws regulating tax filings.

As you are comparing companies in the industry, look at the reputation of the various outsourcing teams. Online reviews and business information can give insight into the company so that you choose a team that you can trust. Since you will be handing over financial details, you need to make sure that you hire a reputable outsourcer that will use discretion with your business information.

Step #5: Schedule an Interview to Learn More

Most outsourcers will offer a complimentary consultation so that you can learn more about the services that are available. Narrow your choices down to your top two or three accounting services. Then, schedule appointments to talk to each team so that you can learn more about these companies.

This conversation will give insight into the customer service that you can expect. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions to ensure that the services are a good fit for your business.

Step #6: Maintain Regular Communication

Now that you have a reputable outsourcing team to help with your business, it might be tempting to let them handle all of the financial details. But, you need to stay informed about the financial trends in your company. Regular meetings are important so that you can stay current with cash flow, anticipated sales, profits, and more. Your accounting team will handle the mundane busy work, and then provide the reports that are needed so that you are always up-to-date about the health of your company.

Ongoing communication is important for tax filings, payroll processing, invoicing, and more. Set a system and make sure that you stay consistent with the things that need to be addressed in the future. A good accounting team will keep you updated about the work that is being done. Make sure that your team is always available to answer your questions should the need arise.

It is common for financial questions to come up throughout the year. Your accounting team can be a valuable resource so that you can get professional advice about your company. Instead of waiting to talk to your accountant when tax season rolls around, consider the benefits of maintaining communication throughout the year.

Learn about Outsourced Accounting

Do you love the idea of hiring an outsourcing team to help with the accounting needs of your company? Then right now is a great time to schedule a consultation with our team here at Easier Accounting. We will gladly discuss your needs and help you identify the services that are a good fit for your business.

We have many years of experience in the accounting industry. Our specialty is focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs. We know the common concerns that come up for people who are getting started with new business efforts, and our goal is to help you avoid these problems.

Are you ready to learn more? The experts at Easier Accounting are always here to help! We know that outsourcing can be a powerful way for you to leverage future business results. So, we will work hard to support your financial goals and business efforts. Call for more information: (888) 620-0770

What Should I Consider When Choosing an Accounting Software?

Have you experienced the overwhelming feeling of trying to manage the finances for your small business? Business accounting and bookkeeping are much more than just collecting money from customers and depositing it into your bank account. There are many important factors that you need to consider to ensure that you are protecting the financial health of your company.

One of the foundational decisions that you need to make is regarding the type of software that you will use to track the financial information. Here are a few things to consider when making this decision:

Why Manual Accounting Practices are Outdated

Before the invention of computers and the internet, most business owners kept a ledger to track transactions and cash flow. This information was recorded by hand and reconciled manually as needed.

These practices are ancient in our modern, digital world. If you are still recording transactions by hand, then it means that you need to get with the times and implement a software program. Even basic Excel spreadsheets aren’t sufficient to track your information with accuracy.

Manual accounting practices and data entry increase the risk of error, which can have a long-term impact on the financial future of your company. It is essential to ensure that the information is correct so that you always have accurate details about your business finances.

Think about the Future When Choosing Accounting and Bookkeeping Software

You are focused on the current needs of the company, but don’t overlook the way the software will be able to manage future growth and development. The chances are that you will find multiple programs that will meet your current needs. Just because your current requirements are met, doesn’t mean that you will have the accounting power needed for the future of your company.

If you are planning to go through the effort of implementing a new software program, then it makes sense that you should choose something that is designed to last. It will be frustrating to get a few years down the road and find out that you need to make the transition to a different software system. So, get it done right by choosing a program that will accommodate future needs.

The main reason that business owners are driven to use the wrong software is that they want to save money on the costs. Even though there are other software programs that seem to be effective for your current needs, it won’t be worth the savings if you encounter big problems in the future. Upgrading to a new software program will be the last thing you want to deal with when your business is booming, and you are expanding to accommodate the growth of the company.

Support for the Software and Your Business Efforts

The only way the software will be useful is if you have good support for implementation and ongoing transaction management. So, make sure that you choose a company that offers continuous support for the source code. New versions will be released as the industry needs to change, helping you to stay up-to-date at all times without the painful experience of moving to a new software program.

In addition to the support from the software company, it also helps to have support from an accounting team. For example, our team here at Easier Accounting can help with the implementation of your new software program. At the same time, we will provide the ongoing services that you need to improve the results that are available from the software.

We know the nuances of working with an accounting software. We will combine our experience with the power of the software program to offer the best options for your company.

Consider the Security of the Software

One reason you need to choose a software with a good reputation is to ensure the security of your financial information. Encryption and digital security measures need to be in place to reduce the risk of hackers.

Not only do you need safe information sharing from your bank to the accounting software, but you also need to be sure that your outsourced accounting team is using the best security practices in the industry. When you choose Easier Accounting, you can rest easy to know that we are always proactive to protect your information and reduce the risk of threat or fraud to your company.

Desktop or Online Accounting Software Programs?

Upgrade to a software system that allows remote access from anywhere in the world. Limiting the software program to your computer or laptop increases the risk of losing the information if the hardware fails. For example, if the computer is damaged or stolen, then you will lose all of your financial records.

Plus, you won’t be able to take advantage of outsourced accounting services if you aren’t using a cloud-based software program. The internet will allow you to bring in the skills that will optimize your team and improve the future success of your company.

Another benefit of online accounting is that you can access the information when you are away from the office. If you are on a business trip and you need to make a big decision that impacts the financial future of your company, then you can quickly pull up the reports to see a real-time picture of your financial situation. Your accounting team will also be available to offer tax planning advice and other information that needs to be taken into consideration.

Can I Restrict Access for Certain Users?

If multiple people will be accessing your accounting software, then it sometimes makes sense to restrict the information that can be viewed. You don’t need to provide full access to everyone who will be using the system. For example, you might provide data entry access to some people, while a few select people have access to full reports and the overall financial picture of the company.

What Accounting Software Features Will You Use?

One problem that you might encounter is buying a robust accounting system that offers many features that will never be used. If you have a small business without a lot of complexity, then it might make sense to keep things simple with a less-complicated software program. Investing in a robust financial system that includes features you don’t need will result in higher costs that are not justified for your business model.

As a business owner without accounting experience, it can be hard to know which software programs will match the current and future needs of your company. So, the best thing that you can do is consult with an experienced accounting team to learn more about their recommendations. Here at Easier Accounting, we will gladly discuss your current accounting system and help you see the benefits of choosing a software program to match the needs of your company.

Are Outsourced Accounting Services Right for You?

At Easier Accounting, we are here to help you make the transition to a new accounting software that will help your company grow. We have many years of experience in the accounting industry, and our goal is to ensure that you have the right system to support your ongoing needs.

Not only will we help you move to an accounting software that will be right for your business, but we also offer the continuous support that you need. These services are designed to create the best financial future that will set you up for success.

We understand the nuances of small business accounting. So, we are always here to offer advice and help you miss some of the common roadblocks that are encountered along the way. As you learn more about us, you will see that we offer a full range of accounting and bookkeeping services that can be catered to match your needs.

If you have questions about small business accounting, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team. We are always here to answer your questions and help you learn more about the benefits that are available for your company. We offer the financial support that you are looking for so that you can focus on the other responsibilities that are required for business growth and ongoing management.

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Accounting Systems?

Whether you are looking to upgrade your current accounting practices or you need to implement a brand new program, we are here to help. We can provide support for start-ups as well as seasoned small businesses. Our specialties are focused on small business accounting and services for entrepreneurs. You can choose from a variety of ongoing accounting packages, as well as one-time accounting services as needed. We are always here to cater your services to match your requirements.

Are you ready to learn more? Then you need to talk to the experts here at Easier Accounting. You will see that we are leading the industry by offering top-notch accounting services for small business. Talk to us today to see how we can help with the growth of your company: (888) 620-0770

Hiring Freelancers? Here are a Few Things You Need to Know

The freelance industry is growing every year, and it is easy to see why people are interested in contract work instead of employment. A study in 2015 showed that approximately 54 million people in the United States are doing freelance work. So, right now is a great time for small business owners to learn more about the benefits of bringing in contract workers instead of employees.

Benefits of Freelance Workers

Why should you hire someone as a freelancer instead of an employee? This option allows you to tap into a larger pool of applicants to get the skills that are needed for your company. Instead of depending on full-time employees in your local area, there are many options to outsource tasks to freelancers in different locations. As a result, quality goes up because you can build a highly specialized team based on the specific services that you need.

Freelancers don’t require the same benefits that are paid to employees. When you bring on a full-time employee, you need to cover costs such as employment taxes, payroll processing fees, office space, equipment, ongoing training, health insurance, paid time off, and other benefits. These expenses add up… you will be paying much more than their base salary!

Many small businesses don’t have the revenue to support these types of expenses yet. So, freelancers can be a good option to minimize ongoing expenses while still getting access to the skills that are needed to support your company.

When a contract is put in place for a freelancer, you can choose the amount of services that are needed. So, you won’t be tied to a part- or full-time schedule. In fact, some business owners find that they only need services for a few hours each week. Instead of taking on the burden of a part-time employee, they can pay a smaller amount to an outsourced service.

Bringing in Help on an As-Needed Basis

One of the biggest benefits of using freelance services is that you can bring in the help when things get busy. As you move into the busy season, it isn’t necessary to hire employees that won’t be needed in a few months. This flexibility allows you to manage the size of your team without letting employees go when things slow down.

Freelancers work on demand, and they come prepared with the skills that are necessary to support your company. You can hire the talent that offers the exact range of skills that you need, helping you avoid expensive training costs that are often associated with onboarding and new employees.

Adjusting the services to match the fluctuations of the season allows you to have the variable cost of invoices, rather than the need to carry heavy overhead expenses of payroll when things are slow. It is common for business needs to suddenly increase or decrease depending on the season. You can’t control the external factors that influence these changes, but you can control the way you manage your staff.

Focusing only on new hires means that you need to think several weeks in advance to plan for advertising, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. It can be a challenge to keep up with the trends, which means that you might have too many employees at inopportune times. In comparison, freelancers give you the on-demand services when you need them the most.

Motivated and Passionate Workers

Keep in mind that freelancers are business owners themselves, so they often take on responsibility in a different way compared to employees. If a person is motivated to offer freelance services, then they often have the same values as business owners.

As a result, you might see an improvement in the quality of work that is provided and the long-term results that can be achieved. Working with people who are passionate and motivated will have a positive impact on your company in many ways.

Freelancers know that they have to prove their work to stay relevant in your workspace. So, they focus more on the value that is delivered. Many small business owners agree that they can get away from people who are just “punching the clock” when they hire freelancers instead of employees.

The skills provided by freelancers can help you close the gap in services that are needed within your company. If you have employees that don’t bring the right skill set to the table, then you might consider the option to hire freelancers that offer the specific skills that are needed. This process creates a win-win situation: you win because of the affordable access to top-notch skills, and the freelancer wins because they are in more control of their work schedule.

Setting Expectations with Your Freelancers

Since these workers won’t be located in your office, it is hard for business owners to oversee the tasks that are completed. If the freelancer is paid by the hour, then it is important that you set specific expectations for the time when they are on the clock. Some freelancing marketplaces provide opportunities to do a screen capture during the work time so that the client can view the things that are completed by the employee.

Another option is to pay freelancers by the project. Instead of tracking time, your contract workers receive flat-fee compensation based on performance. These payment structures should be arranged in advance. Make sure that the details are confirmed in writing so that everyone has the same understanding for the project.

Onboarding can be a challenge, and there are times when details might fall through the cracks if you don’t have a system in place. If you are planning to hire a lot of freelancers, then it is important that you set guidelines to follow when someone is starting with the company. Proactively planning a good onboarding strategy for freelancers is the best way to increase the opportunity for success for everyone who is working on the team.

Payments and Taxes for Contract Workers

Technically, freelance workers aren’t employees. But, you are still required by the IRS to keep track of their income and report the totals each year. Employees need to fill out W4 forms, and then tax withholdings are calculated in with payroll. In comparison, you are not responsible for these withholdings or tax payments for contractors.

Freelancers should provide you with a W9 when the work commences. Then, you provide a 1099 each year detailing the amount of money that was paid. A copy of this 1099 also needs to be provided to the IRS.

Most freelancers prefer digital payments if they are working remotely. Since they aren’t located in your office, it can be a hassle to stop by to pick up a check. Consider offering payment option through direct deposit, Paypal, Venmo, or any other popular platform. If you prefer to cut a check, then you might be able to make arrangements to send the payment via mail.

Be sure that you have clear payment terms in place with the contractors. For example, many contractors will send an invoice once a month for the services that are delivered. Then, you have a certain amount of time to provide payment. Freelancers expect timely payments. Just because they aren’t on the payroll, doesn’t mean that the freelancer wants to float your debt.

Accounting Help for Freelancers

Some small business owners are hesitant to bring on freelancers because of the extra paperwork that is needed for tax forms. But, don’t let these tax forms stop you from accessing the skills and services that you need! A good accounting and bookkeeping system can be used to streamline your payments for both employees and freelancers.

The easiest solution is to find the freelancers that can support your company. Then, have an experienced accounting team handle the tax paperwork and monthly payments. When you receive invoices from your freelancers, you can pass the information onto the accounting team. This process makes it possible for you to skip the headache of cutting a check, calculating taxes, and filling out the paperwork that needs to be provided to the IRS.

There is no reason for you to manage these tasks when an accounting team can help! Outsource the busy work so that you can free up your time to focus on employee management, business development, and other activities that will boost the bottom line for your company in the future.

Outsourced Accounting and Bookkeeping Services

There is no doubt that freelancers can be valuable assets for your company, and it can be a smart decision for you to bring in contractors to help. If you decide that these services will be useful for your business, then it is important that you have a good financial team to oversee the time-consuming tasks of dealing with payments and paperwork.

In fact, you can hire an outsourced team to manage these details! Here at Easier Accounting, we offer the expertise that you are looking for to manage the financial details for your small business. We invite you to contact our team when you are ready to for more information about the services that we offer: (888) 620-0770

Fraud Alert: Tips to Reduce the Risk of Employee Theft

Even if you do your due-diligence to ensure that you are hiring good employees, don’t be fooled into thinking that your business is immune to theft and fraud. As a business owner, it is important that you are taking a proactive approach to protect your assets and reduce the risk of theft in your organization.

Are You Encouraging Theft?

It might be hard to believe that one of your employees would steal from the company. But, theft happens every day. In some situations, business owners aren’t preventing fraud proactively. In other situations, business owners might be unknowingly encouraging their employees to steal from the company.

When you are missing regular checks and balances, then it leaves gaps in the system, often creating open doors of opportunity for people who are looking for an angle. If you don’t have adequate oversight in place, then you could be unintentionally encouraging people to take advantage of the system

How do these problems occur? Every business owner will adamantly argue that they aren’t leaving these doors of opportunity open. But, there are often small situations that are overlooked, where an employee can skim a little (or a lot!) of money from the company. For example, a cashier might see that an error in the cash reporting wasn’t noticed by management. Or, a person over accounts payable could create a fake vendor account if no one else is checking the transactions that are moving through.

Employees know when they are being monitored, so they will stay within the lines when management is watching. But, if people suspect that mistakes and small problems are slipping through undetected, then they might be tempted to take advantage of the situation.

Honest Employees Can be Tempted By Weak Points

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is running a background check when you hire an employee… and then assuming that a clean record means that you can trust the person. It is possible that they have committed theft in the past, but they were never caught. Or, a seemingly honest person could be tempted by an easy opportunity that is presented in the workplace.

Obviously, most employers would be hesitant to hire hardened criminals. But, they never expect that a person without a criminal record might complete fraud. Whether the employee is driven by financial stress at home, or they want to pad their bank account, money can make people do unexpected things.

In some situations, the employee might be dealing with a stressful situation such as an unemployed spouse or unbearable medical bills. These stressful life situations can drive people to make choices that are out of character with their regular actions. Financial needs can challenge the morals of even the best people.

Reconciliations and Audits

It is a big mistake to have one person working on accounts without checks and balances in place. Regular reconciliations are important to reduce fraud so that that small errors can be detected as soon as possible. When employees know that reconciliations will be done, it reduces the risk that they will try to steal from the company. So, let employees know that management is always overseeing the work that is completed.

For example, you could have someone completing the bookkeeping tasks on a daily basis for your company. But, make sure that you also have an accounting team to reconcile the financial reports. These reconciliation activities should be completed on a regular schedule, such as once a month. It is also a good idea to have unannounced audits for routine checks of the financial accounts.

What types of audits or reconciliations should you be using? Your accounting team can make recommendations to match the needs of your company. These tasks might include:

  • Authorizing transactions
  • Counting cash
  • Reviewing transactions
  • Comparing account balances
  • Looking through financial documentation
  • Balancing the accounts and transactions
  • And more

It isn’t necessary to implement an elaborate reconciliation system that is difficult to manage. Instead, make sure that you have multiple people reviewing the information to identify potential discrepancies. These checks-and-balances can go a long way to help you avoid financial problems in the future.

When employees are informed that their work is going to be checked, then they will be more thorough in accurately completing their tasks.

Setting Up Security Systems in the Office

If you want to reduce the risk of theft, then the first step is to set up security systems that monitor the movement in the office. When employees know that they are being monitored, it will reduce the risk that someone will try to pull a stunt in front of the camera.

Physical security might seem like an expensive cost, but it is worth the effort if you can save thousands of dollars in fraud.

Compare the risk of these two companies:

  • Company A leaves the doors unlocked throughout the day, there is no security system in place, and financial information can be obtained Lapses in security create a situation where someone could steal financial details without being detected.
  • Company B has security cameras, badge-entry doors, and managers on-site to oversee daily activities. This situation reduces the opportunities for someone to make a move without it being recorded by management.

Entrances and rooms with sensitive information need to be under lock-and-key. You might consider a key card system that records the movement of employees in and out of the room. These details can help you know who is accessing the areas, pinpointing the source of the problem if anything occurs.

Digital Security

Technology can be a great tool for your business, but it can also open up a host of security issues if you aren’t careful. An employee with access to online financial accounts could make a few small changes that go undetected. Even if your employees are honest, you could be at risk of outside hackers who want to steal information from your company.

Be careful about managing the credentials for computer systems that hold sensitive information. Hire an experienced digital security team who can encrypt information as needed. If employees have access to these areas, then they need to lock their computer before walking away from their desk. These security measures can keep your online information protected so that you can avoid digital theft.

Taking Action When Something Happens

In the unlikely case that something goes wrong, it is essential that you respond quickly to stop the problem. Other employees will see that you dealt with the fraud right away, setting the tone so that people will know what to expect if they make the same mistakes.

Be clear about the company discipline guidelines, and don’t be shy to take action if fraud occurs. Even small instances need to be handled efficiently because these small things will likely lead to bigger issues in the future.

A clear-cut policy will communicate that you are serious about fraud prevention. Discipline is a way to show that you will follow-through with the policy as needed. If an employee is fired for fraud, then you should tell employees what happened and be clear about the punishment that was given. Be careful to protect information that can’t be shared because of laws in your area. For example, you might not have the liberty to share details of the case or the identity of the person who committed the fraud.

Consistency in the implementation of your fraud policy is important. Make sure that you are dealing with employees in the same way, without discrimination. For example, if two employees make the same mistake, then they should receive the same punishment. This fairness will show that the policy is implemented regardless of the extenuating circumstances.

Talk to an Accountant to Implement a Strong Financial System

The best way that you can prevent fraud is to ensure that you have an experienced accounting team overlooking the financial details of your company. An outsourced accounting service can offer third-party oversight, reducing the risk that an internal problem will go undetected.

A conversation with your accountant can be a valuable way for you to learn about the potential weak points in your accounting system. Then, you can make a few changes or adjustments as needed to fill in the gaps and prevent those issues from blowing up in the future. Prevention is the best approach to mitigate your risk and avoid a headache later on down the road.

Your business doesn’t need to be at risk for fraud! A few small changes in your financial systems can go a long way to keeping your business protected. If you haven’t already put a system in place to protect your business interests, then right now is a great time to talk to our team here at Easier Accounting. We will gladly evaluate your finances and make recommendations about the best ways that you can prevent internal and external fraud.

Contact us to learn more about all of the accounting services that we offer. We are here to help with anything that you need: (888) 620-0770