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Small Business Owners: Why it is Essential to Track Your Miles

If you are a small business owner, then it is important to have a system in place to keep track of your write-offs and other expenses that can be used as tax deductions. Most people are pretty good at keeping track of inventory costs, employee payroll, and office supplies. But, do you track your miles? If you aren’t doing it already, then right now is the perfect time to get started with mileage tracking so you can maximize your tax deductions for the year.

Focusing on Revenue vs. Take Home Pay

One of the reasons why deductions like mileage fall through the cracks is because your focus is turned to the activities that are bringing in revenue. While it is important to be proactive about increasing your receivables, you are making a big mistake if you aren’t also thinking about your costs as well. The amount of money you spend on business line items will cut into your profitability and reduce your take-home pay.

One of the best ways to manage your profitability is to design a system so that you are maximizing your deductions. This process helps you see the money that is moving in and out of your account. You can evaluate each of the transactions to determine if it is essential for business activities and growth. Then, these transactions can be recorded to be used as deductions when it’s time to do your taxes for the year.

Personal Vehicle Deduction

Most likely, you are using a personal vehicle to get around town for business purposes. In this case, you can’t write off every penny spent on buying the vehicle, the monthly loan payments, maintenance services, or gas. But these costs add up, especially when you are driving for your business. The most effective solution is to track your mileage. Then your accountant will use this information to calculate the deduction for motor vehicle expenses.

The IRS allows you to deduct a portion of the costs of using your personal vehicle. Even though the car is used for personal activities, such as driving the kids to school or picking up groceries, some of the miles used are necessary to keep your business running. For example, if you are driving to meet a client or you need to go to the bank, then you should track your miles to use as a deduction.

It is important to note that you can’t deduct your commute between home and work. But you can deduct the miles for every trip related to your small business. Every time you get in the car, evaluate whether the trip is for business reasons. Examples might include:

  • Picking up office supplies
  • Meeting with a vendor
  • An appointment at a client’s office
  • A trip to the bank
  • Driving to a conference or expo
  • Moving between offices
  • Driving to the airport for a work trip

Even if you don’t feel like the miles are significant, you might be surprised to see how much they add up when you are keeping track. For example, if you drive an average of 10 miles per day throughout the year for your business, then it is over $2,000 in potential deductions.

How Much is Your Mileage Worth?

Is it worth the time and effort to track your miles? Some business owners don’t worry about this write-off because they feel it is too time-intensive. The truth is that the miles add up over the course of a year, and could be worth a lot in terms of deductions that are available for your tax calculations.

The IRS has a standard mileage rate deduction that changes each calendar year. The mileage rate in 2019 is $0.58 per mile, which is higher than the $0.545 in 2018. So, if you drive 10,000 business miles in 2019, then it means that it could be worth a $5,800 deduction if you track your miles. This deduction can be an effective solution if you are looking for solutions to reduce your overall taxable income.

IRS Rules for Tracking Your Miles

If you are planning to write off a portion of your personal vehicle, then you need to be sure you have documentation to back up the write-offs on your taxes. This information will be essential if you are ever audited in the future. The IRS isn’t going to take your word for the write-offs and they don’t like to calculate deductions based on ballpark figures. You need to keep a detailed record of your mileage so you can claim the mileage deduction.

This mileage log doesn’t need to be filed with your taxes. But you should hold onto the information and keep diligent records in case there are questions in the future.

Creating a Log to Track Your Miles

Once you have a good system in place, it can be easy to keep track of the miles that are driven for your business. Your mileage log should include:

  • # of miles driven on each drive
  • Date of the trip
  • Destination
  • Purpose

The simplest and cheapest option is to have a manual mileage log that is kept in your car. You can have a small notebook and pen where you record the date, mileage, and business purpose. Keep it handy, so you remember to track the information when you are driving for business errands. Then, the miles will need to be tallied and calculated at the end of the year to provide this information to your accountant.

The drawback of this manual system is that you have to remember to write it down each time. It is surprisingly easy to forget to check your odometer, especially when you are in a rush to get to a meeting. Many people forget to log the miles because they are preoccupied with other details of the day.

Mileage Tracking App

The easiest solution is to leverage technology, so you don’t have to get caught in the details of mileage tracking. For example, a mileage tracking app can be installed on your smartphone. There are a variety of app options available in the industry. These apps are designed to provide automated mileage tracking, which means you don’t need to worry about remembering to write down the odometer details each time you get in the car. Using GPS, the app can keep track of the exact mileage driven. Then, the value of the drives can be calculated, providing a report that can be given to the IRS if required in the future.

Do your research to find an app provider that you can trust. For example, some of the free apps make their money by selling your information to third-parties. As such, some business owners prefer to use a paid app to maintain privacy.

Taking Your Mileage Deduction at Tax Time

You are already carrying a load of responsibility as a small business owner, so it is smart to outsource your tax calculations and filings to a trusted accounting team. In this situation, you don’t need to waste your time crunching numbers or trying to figure out how the tax forms should be filled out. Instead, the information and documents can be provided to your tax professional, giving you more time to focus on other responsibilities within your company.

When tax time rolls around, your accountant will mark down your mileage deduction in the “expenses” section of your schedule C tax form. Depending on the situation, you might need to provide the following information:

  • Number of miles tracked during the year
  • Business miles per vehicle (if multiple vehicles were used)
  • Beginning and end odometer readings
  • Parking or toll road expenses incurred while driving

Keep in mind that you have the option to deduct the actual vehicle expenses instead of mileage if you prefer. But this accounting strategy requires more record-keeping, and most business owners find that it isn’t worth the hassle. This system could potentially result in a bigger deduction, though, so it is important to evaluate your options.

Consult with an Accountant

As with any accounting strategy, it is always best to consult with your account. You can read information online about deduction strategies, but nothing beats a conversation with a financial professional who has a clear understanding of your business finances. Most business owners don’t have formal accounting or bookkeeping training, making it invaluable to hire an accounting team for assistance.

A small business accountant is a great investment so that you can maximize more than just your miles. Your accountant will offer recommendations relating to your business spending, payroll processing, and more. Making the transition to outsource these services instead of trying to handle it yourself means you can free up your time to focus on the tasks that will help your business grow.

If you have questions about tracking your miles or you need help with accounting services, then Easier Accounting is here to assist. We invite you to contact our team at your convenience to learn about the accounting and bookkeeping services that are available for your business: (888) 620-0770

Warning Signs It’s Time to Hire an Outsourced Accountant or Bookkeeper

Are you carrying more responsibility than you need to within your small business? As a business owner, it can be hard to let go of the control of certain tasks that need to be done. Too often, business owners spend their time on busy work, resulting in a situation where there isn’t enough time left for some of the most important activities to help the business grow. Right now is a great time to consider the support available to help your company. For example, there are many benefits to hiring an outsourced accountant or bookkeeper.

Strain of Accounting and Bookkeeping on a Business Owner

You are already carrying the stress of business development, employee hiring, management, and more. Why overwhelm yourself with the added strain of accounting and bookkeeping as well? Instead of spending your free time with your head buried in the financial records, you can hire an outsourced accountant or bookkeeper for assistance. It is amazing to see how much your stress levels drop when you can lean on the services offered by an industry professional.

There’s no question that maintaining an organized set of books for your business can be both confusing and time-consuming. Not only do you need to track the numbers that are moving in an out of your accounts, but you also need a way to keep track of receivables and payables. If you don’t know much about accounting, it is likely you will waste hours of time searching the internet trying to find tutorials or information. Even with the best of systems, business accounting and bookkeeping can turn into a full-time job that is hard to manage.

Some business owners try to solve this problem by hiring an in-house accountant or bookkeeper. But you will likely encounter problems with this solution. For example, you still hold the overall responsibility to ensure the employee is doing what needs to be done. Plus, you are carrying the added burden of paying for their salary and overhead costs that come from another employee in the office.

Hiring an Outsourced Accountant or Bookkeeper

Most clients reach out to us at Easier Accounting because they are overwhelmed with everything it takes to manage bookkeeping tasks. When the business is growing, business owners don’t often have the patience or time to keep up with these bookkeeping and accounting requirements. Instead of beating yourself up because you are behind with your bookkeeping, remind yourself that this process is a normal part of business growth.

It’s a good sign because it means that your business efforts are expanding and moving forward! This overwhelm also means it is the perfect time to reach out to an outsourced accountant or bookkeeper for the assistance that is needed.

The truth is tapping into the expertise offered by a financial professional might be one of the most effective decisions you could make for your company. Your accounting team can provide recommendations that will propel your business efforts forward and help you reach higher levels of success.

Warning Signs that You Need Accounting and Bookkeeping Help

How do you know when it is time to finally hire an outsourced accountant or bookkeeper? Here are some of the warning signs that indicate you need to hire the help that is needed for your business finances:

  • Working Too Much: Do you find yourself doing bookkeeping date entry or tallying tax deductions late into the night? If your business efforts are cutting into family time or personal hobbies, then it means you need to bring in extra support. You work hard throughout the day on business development, brand strategy, client relations, and more. These daily activities should take priority, often causing the busy work to fall to the backburner. Working late to the point where it cuts into your sleep means you are on the fast-track to burnout. Instead of spending your nights trying to stay current with the bookkeeping tasks, bring in the experts so you can turn your attention to your services and customers.
  • Behind on the Paperwork: A quick glance at your desk can be revealing about your ability to keep up with the bookkeeping tasks. If you have a stack of paperwork that needs to be addressed, then you should find expert help to get ahead. Staying current with Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable are essential so you keep the money coming into your business, and you don’t fall behind on the payments that are owed. Be realistic about your efforts and ask yourself if your books are currently at this moment. If you know that the reports would be inaccurate due to inaccuracies with the transactions, then the best thing you can do is call an accounting team right away.
  • Outdated Financial Systems: Even if you have an accounting or bookkeeping system in place, you need to evaluate whether you are keeping up with industry trends. Accounting technology can be used to simplify your processes and optimize the reports that are available. If you are still tracking your business expenses manually on a spreadsheet or notebook, then you are leaving benefits on the table. Hire an outsourced accountant to get support with setting up your new system and implementing the right technology that can support your business growth.
  • Taking Time Away from Customers: Another warning sign you need an outsourced accountant or bookkeeper is that the paperwork is taking up so much time you no longer have enough time in the day to offer to your customers. When the accounting and financial reports take precedence over your clients or customers, it is a sure sign you need expert assistance.
  • Starting a New Company: Even though you have positive expectations about a DIY approach for the first few years of your new startup, you need to consider the potential consequences of skipping professional accounting services from the beginning. The best thing you can do when starting a new company is to ensure you have a solid foundation and a good financial system in place. Starting on the right foot means you are setting yourself up for success in the future. An experienced accounting team will offer advice and suggestions to help you avoid common pitfalls and problems encountered by other business owners.
  • Lack of Compliance Understanding: When it comes to tax calculations and business write-offs, it is essential you have a clear understanding of IRS requirements, as well as state and local laws. Maintaining compliance for your business efforts is not only time consuming, but it can be stressful if you don’t understand these laws. In fact, the laws often change, which means it is more effective to lean on the services of someone who truly understands the financial industry. Making a mistake could be costly, resulting in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. These issues can be easily avoided by hiring an industry professional for assistance.
  • Missing Payments from Customers: Without money coming in from your customers, your business won’t be able to keep going each month. Unfortunately, it is common for businesses to have overdue payments from customers. You need to have a system in place to follow up on these payments to ensure you have the cash flow to keep up with your business expenses. There’s no doubt outstanding payments can result in a domino effect that could topple your business in the future. If you aren’t consistent about tracking and following up with payments that are due, then it is best to let someone else handle this aspect of your business. Hire a bookkeeping or accounting professional for assistance.
  • Mixing Personal and Business Finances: It is a huge mistake to be using the same bank accounts and credit cards for both personal and business transactions. Not only is it complicated to extrapolate the transactions, but you might find yourself tapping into personal finances when business operational costs need to be covered. Using the same accounts for business and personal spending is a sign you don’t have a good tracking system in place for your business. The best thing that you can do is hire an accounting team to get your business system set up so you can create clear boundaries with your spending.

As a business owner, it can be a relief to know you don’t have to carry this financial burden without support from an experienced team. If you are ready to hire an outsourced accountant or bookkeeper, then we are here to help. Not only can we assist with the ongoing tracking and financial reports for your business, but our services can also include essential tasks such as tax calculations, payroll, and more.

You deserve to have a proven accounting system to support your business needs. So, it is time to call the experts at Easier Accounting. Contact us right away to learn about the services that are available for your business needs: (888) 620-0770

How the Right Cash Flow Strategy Can Save Your Business

Encountering cash flow issues might be one of the most stressful things that you face as a business owner. It can be hard to keep the company running if you don’t have enough money in the bank to pay overhead costs, payroll, and other ongoing expenses. Instead of waiting until money gets tight, it is essential you implement a good cash flow strategy right now so you are prepared for the future.

Profitability and Cash Flow

It’s easy to assume money isn’t going to be a problem if you have built your business to the level of profitability. But just because you are bringing in more than you are spending, doesn’t mean that the cash will be available at the times when it is needed. It is normal for a business to have ebbs and flows with payments that are due. For example, you might feel the pinch when it is time to process payroll, but you have a few outstanding Accounts Receivable invoices that haven’t been paid yet.

Too often, business owners feel like they are gasping for air… barely keeping their heads above water as they navigate the challenging aspect of bringing in enough money to keep up with expenses. Rest assured to know you are not alone in these cash flow challenges. An article on Entrepreneur stated that 82% of small companies and startups fail because of poor management of cash flow.

Just because you have good ideas for your new business, doesn’t mean you have the experience with the necessary accounting and bookkeeping practices that are needed. If you want to fix your business cash issues, then you need to tap into the expert advice from someone who can recommend a good cash flow strategy.

Lack of Cash Flow Strategy Could Bring Your Company Down

Even if you have a great product and customers who are interested in the things that you are offering, you won’t be able to continue with your business efforts if you can’t keep a roof overhead. The quality or popularity of your products doesn’t matter if you can’t keep up with the expenses required to keep you in business.

In fact, cash flow strategy should be high on your priority list. When you have sufficient cash flow, it enables you to focus on other business-building techniques, such as marketing, product development, and more.

Be Honest about Your Current Situation

Are you ready to turn things around with your cash flow management? Then you need to be brutally honest about where you are spending money and how the cash is moving through your account. Finances can be a stressful topic, causing many business owners to turn their attention to other business responsibilities such as employee management or product development. But ignoring the “elephant in the room” isn’t going to fix your cash flow. Instead, you need to evaluate your current situation and put together a proven strategy that will help to turn your business around.

Start by tallying your current cash flow situation. How much money is available in your bank accounts? Do you have room available on credit cards or a line of credit? Next, you need to evaluate the anticipated expenses and receivables in the future. This information will help you see the overall picture so you can determine the potential pitfalls that could leave you in a stressful situation.

The best solution is to have accounting software that calculates these numbers for you. Yes, you can do the calculations by hand on a spreadsheet. But it is time-consuming and quite a burden to keep up with ongoing calculations. There’s no reason for you to spend your valuable time on busy work when tools and outsourced services can easily take care of these details for your company.

Anticipate Upcoming Costs

Now that you know your current standing and the amount of money that is available, it’s time to consider the costs that are coming up. Certain expenses tend to come in cycles, such as tax payments and payroll. Look at the amount of money you need for general overhead costs each month. Also, list out quarterly and annual payments that you will need to meet. Creating a cash forecast for the next 12-months will give you the numbers that need to be met to ensure you can keep up with your payments.

It can be a challenge to see all of these details without evaluating the payment history. Look at the transactions that moved through your company last year. Note any transactions that you anticipate will be repeated this year. If you have the information, it can be helpful to review several years of business transactions so you can see the overall patterns and trends.

As a startup, you might not have the luxury of looking at historical information for your own company. But you can learn from the experts by talking to an accounting team that has worked with other startup companies. Your accountant will know the industry patterns and expectations. You can use this information to build in the cushion that you need to ensure cash is available at the right time.

Decrease Your Spending

Looking at the upcoming costs can be a powerful way to help you identify the areas where you might be wasting money. Is there anything that is taking too much cash? Look for areas where you can cut your spending to streamline your overhead costs.

While overhead expenses are unavoidable, you shouldn’t be spending on unnecessary line items. Distinguish necessary costs from the luxuries so you can cut back your spending and reduce the amount of cash that is needed to keep your business running each month.

Follow Up on Receivables

One common pitfall with cash flow strategy is that the expenses are coming in faster than the receivables. It is easy to be focused on product development, keeping up with monthly expenses and paying the taxes. If these accounts payable items are taking up all of your attention, then you might consider putting the focus on the money that should be coming in.

Create expectations with your clients regarding payment terms. You should have clear boundaries regarding when invoices need to be paid in full. At the same time, your business needs to have a follow-up system to ensure you are reaching out to customers when the payments are due. Too often, customers wait until the last minute before the invoice is due before sending the payments. Delayed payments impact the amount of money in your bank account, which means you might not have enough cash to keep up with inventory restocking or employee payroll to keep the company going.

One option is to offer a discount to customers who pay their invoices right away. For example, offer a 2% discount when payment is made on the day the services are rendered. Before you offer this discount, evaluate your profitability to ensure your price-point can bear the discount that will be given.

Evaluate Your Credit Options

Racking up loads of debt isn’t the best choice for you or your company. But credit can be a fail safe if you find yourself in a difficult situation for the month. The most important thing you need to consider is preparing ahead of time with this fallback plan before you are facing the immediacy of cash flow problems. If you are already too leveraged with your current lines of credit, then financial institutions will be hesitant to offer more credit to your business.

When you are in a good cash position, reach out to your bank and other financial providers. It will give you peace of mind knowing that a line of credit is available in case you find yourself in a challenging cash flow situation. Use this credit as an emergency-only option that will save your company from going under due to cash flow.

Talk to a Pro

You aren’t expected to know everything related to running a business. Sometimes it is important for business owners to swallow their pride and look for outside help. Enlisting the services of a bookkeeping and accounting team might be the best decision you can make to take control of your cash flow. These services will help you evaluate your current financial situation, look at forecasts for the things that are coming up, and determine the right system that will ensure that money is flowing in faster than it is flowing out.

If you don’t systematize your business spending and receivables, then you are almost guaranteed to run into financial problems in the future. You can get ahead of these issues by talking to our team to learn about the accounting services that are offered. We will help you create a strong foundation, so you don’t have to worry about cash flow issues in the future.

For more information, Easier Accounting is here to help. Call our team for information about the small business accounting services that are offered: (888) 620-0770

Accurate Financial Records Will Impact the Value of Your Company

Are you consistent with maintaining accurate financial records for your business? Many business owners are so caught up in the challenges of keeping the company running that they overlook the essential steps of financial management and tracking. It is easy to get distracted by employee management, cash flow concerns, and product development. If your attention is turned to other business priorities, then your financial records might fall to the backburner.

The truth is that we can’t place enough emphasis on the importance of business financial records. These numbers show the story of your business success and weak points. Having the right financial information available will implement the strategies that are important for your company, as well as the decisions that are made going forward. Your financial records can literally show whether your company will be increasing or decreasing in value.

Here are a few ways that your financial tracking and reporting can have a positive influence on the value of your company:

Transparency for Better Decisions

When you are making decisions about how money will be reinvested in the company, it can be a challenge to make the correct decision if you don’t have accurate information. It is essential that you maintain transparency in your financials so that your decisions will align with the reality of what is happening in your company.

You can look at reports to see the revenue that was earned over a period of time. Keep in mind that this information is only a piece of the puzzle. You should also evaluate the actual cash on hand, as well as expenses or anticipated costs that will affect your cash flow.

If anything is reported inaccurately, then it can have a domino effect on the success of your company. At the same time, these problems are easy to avoid if you implement the right system for tracking and auditing. A good accounting and bookkeeping team can help you understand the performance of your business so you can implement the strategies that will change your trajectory for the future.

How Much are You Paying in Taxes?

Tax liabilities are directly tied to the accuracy in your financial situations. As a corporation or small business owner, your tax liabilities can be high, which has a negative impact on your cash flow and profitability. How much money will you have left after paying the government? Accurate financial records will give you a clear picture so you know the funds that will be available for future business costs.

Strategies can be used to reduce your tax burden. An experienced accountant will be able to offer advice regarding the write-offs and deductions that fall within the acceptable lines for the IRS. Not only do you need to create a clear, accurate picture for the IRS. But you also need to be consistent about your financial tracking so you can back up the numbers if there are ever questions about the transactions that are moving through your company.

Reducing your tax burden comes down to the way you are managing your expenses and claiming these write-offs. Even the smallest details might seem trivial, but they can add up over time. Make sure you are recording every dollar that is spent on business expenses so this information can be used when calculating your tax burden for the year.

Good Financial Records Reduce Errors

How often have financial errors slipped through your business, causing you to lose money? If you don’t have a good system in place, then it is hard to determine where you have lost out on money that should have been collected. Your financial systems should be designed with checks-and-balances in place so you can identify any potential transactions or invoices that were overlooked.

For example, many accounting services offer monthly reconciliations. Not only does the accounting team keep up with the daily and weekly transactions, but an internal auditing system is used each month to make sure all of the accounts line up.

If a discrepancy is identified in the services that were rendered and the money that was collected, then it is a good indication that you need to turn your attention to collections on the outstanding invoices. Bringing in more money will ensure you are protecting the overall value of your company by protecting your profit margins.

Plus, the right financial system is essential to identify any potential risks for fraud. Even though you want to trust your employees and management, there is never a guarantee that illegal activity won’t happen in your office. Keeping accurate, detailed financial records will help you catch mistakes in the early stages before they turn into something that brings down your company. It is essential that you have the right system in place to identify internal wrongdoings so you can avoid major issues in the future.

Optimize Payment Trends for AP/AR

Pay attention to the cash flow trends to see if you find a cycle of cash flow issues that pop up throughout the year. If you find there is a trend or theme in the times that you are facing challenges with managing your cash flow, then it might be time to make some tweaks with your Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable systems.

But you need to take a step back to ensure that you have accuracy in your financial statements. Inaccurate invoices can make it difficult to understand the clear picture regarding money that is flowing in and out of your business. You need to be sure you have correct information about the anticipated money that will be flowing into your company. At the same time, these financial records can help you be prepared for expenses that are coming up: wages, dividends, taxes, business development, rent, utilities, credit payments, and more.

Poorly kept financial records will make it almost impossible to keep up with these obligations because you don’t know when the payments are due. As a result, you might face late fees and interest charges, which can have a domino effect to make it even harder to keep up with your cash flow. Running proper calculations and implementing a good cash flow system is essential to help you avoid the credit issues that could be the downfall of your business in the future.

Financial Information Ensures Quality Decisions

What it all comes down to is one simple concept: you need to be sure you are making the right decisions to support the needs of your company. These decisions can influence the possibilities for your company in the future. When a business owner is always making decisions reactively, it means they are scraping enough money together to pay the immediate bills. It is a struggle to look to the future and plan for possibilities if you can’t keep up with the current requirements.

On the other hand, the right strategy for your financial records can help you evaluate the reality of the numbers for your company. You can find the areas where the business needs a little more attention. This process is a great way to fill in the gaps where you are losing money or missing out on profit potential.

Don’t underestimate how much your financials will affect all other aspects of your company. When the finances are unorganized, then it creates a huge mess that can be hard to turn around in the future. Instead of waiting for the problems to surface, you need to be proactive with implementing the right systems right now to be sure you are prepared for the future.

Choosing the Right Services to Improve Your Finances

Now that you can see the importance of improving your financial records so you can protect the value of your company, you might be wondering where you need to start to turn things around. If you don’t have accounting or bookkeeping experience, then it means you need to look to someone who understands this aspect of your business.

You have the option to hire an employee, but you will need to bear the burden of their salary and overhead costs. Instead, the smart solution is to find an outsourced accounting service that can help you build the right foundation. Our team is here to assist with the implementation of good accounting software, giving you a strong financial base that will support the future growth of your company.

Not only can we assist with the process of setting up the right system for your company, but we are also here to offer the ongoing support that you need. These services encompass everything from tax strategy to payroll management. When you let our team take care of the financial tracking and strategy, then you can turn your attention to other responsibilities that will help with the growth of your company.

Easier Accounting is just a phone call away. When you are ready to improve your business financial systems, then we invite you to call us for information about the services that are offered: (888) 620-0770

Bad Habits that are Sabotaging Your Business Finances

Even if you have the best intentions for your business, it is likely that bad habits (both big and small) are sabotaging your efforts. Have you identified habits that might be impacting your bookkeeping practices, business finances, cash flow, and more?

Small Habits are Worse Than You Think

Some of these habits might be obviously bad, but they don’t seem to be impacting your business in a terrible way. But, don’t let yourself be fooled. The smallest habits can have a compound effect over time. In fact, your daily, weekly, and monthly habits are key indicators that will affect your business success in the future.

For example, an overflowing filing cabinet with poor organization might seem like a nuisance. But the lack of organization with your paperwork could have a domino effect on your tax deductions, customer billing practices, and more. Not only will important information be overlooked along the way, but you will also spend an unnecessary amount of time sifting through papers when you need to find a specific document.

Instead of letting these small habits take away from the more important business tasks that need to be addressed, it is time to make a change that will improve your practices.

Important Bookkeeping Practices that Need to Be Fixed

Here are some of the worst bookkeeping and accounting habits that are causing problems for your company. You need to be aware of these problems, then commit to making the change that will turn things around for your business going forward:

  1. Messy Paperwork: Invoices, bills, contracts, and random paperwork can make you feel like you are buried in stacks of nonsense when you are sitting in your office. If you aren’t organized with the paperwork, then it will have a domino effect on all aspects of your business. A lack of organization with the paperwork means that you are likely missing deadlines and paying late fees because you can’t keep track of the necessary information. Put together a filing system and set aside time in your schedule to ensure that you are keeping up with the filing throughout the year. Your accountant can offer information and advice about the information that should be kept in your filing cabinet.
  2. Poor Deadline Management: Regardless of your industry, you always have deadlines and due dates that need to be managed. Failing to set these deadlines and adhere to them means that you could be missing key points along the way. For example, do you have a schedule to manage the frequency of when reports are run and analyzed for your business finances? If you are only looking at these reports once a year at tax time, then you are missing out on opportunities to improve your business strategy throughout the year.
  3. Not Saving for Taxes: One of the most stressful things that you can face as a business owner is a hefty tax bill that can’t be paid because you don’t have the cash flow when the deadline comes up. It’s no surprise that taxes need to be paid… you can count on it happening every year. Make sure that you are prepared by setting aside a specific amount of money so the cash is available when the taxes are due. Also, keep track of quarterly estimates and payroll tax deadlines to ensure that you are meeting the tax payment schedule based on the requirements of the IRS. Tax calculations and payroll management can be confusing and stressful, which is why it is important for every business owner to invest in professional financial services.
  4. DIY Financial Management: Just because you know how to balance a checkbook doesn’t mean that you have the bookkeeping and accounting skills for DIY business calculations. Working through tax laws, cash/accrual accounting systems, profit and loss reports, and other requirements for business accounting can be problematic. If you aren’t professionally trained in bookkeeping and accounting, then there is no question that you will benefit from professional support.
  5. Cutting Corners on Bookkeeping and Accounting: Yes, it is smart to save money whenever possible. But you will be making a big mistake if you cut corners by hiring a newbie instead of an industry professional. Even though you can find someone with basic secretarial skills which only costs $15/hour, it’s hard to calculate the opportunity cost of the services that come from a professional accountant. Whether you are hiring an employee or an outsourced contractor, make sure that you are paying the right amount to work with a professional. It’s worth the extra cost to ensure that things are done the right way. In fact, you will likely save money because you can avoid mistakes that could cost you in the future.
  6. Ignoring Software Solutions: There is always a learning curve when implementing a new software program for your business efforts. Even though it takes a little bit of effort to implement these systems, it is important if you want to set yourself up for the future. Talk to your accounting and bookkeeping team to determine the right software solutions that will be best for your industry. Once the software is up and running, you will benefit from the integration that simplifies your life and ensures that everything is running smoothly together. Data synchronization helps to reduce errors that pop up due to manual calculations and will improve efficiencies as well.
  7. Standardizing Business Financial Systems: Failing to have standardizations in place for your ongoing systems is a mistake that could take a toll on your success. Do you have a set schedule and standard practices in place for client billing and management? Consider the ongoing systems that affect the money that flows in and out of your business. Then, create a standardized system so that all employees, managers, and contractors are on the same page with expectations going forward.
  8. Ignoring Financial Reports: When you are busy managing employees, working on business development, and coordinating the new marketing plan, it probably feels like financial reports are low on your priority list. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you only need to look at business finances at tax time. The most important thing you can do as a business owner is to understand key accounting metrics so you can track this information throughout the year.

Tapping into Professional Support to Change Bad Habits

Now that you’ve identified some of the bad habits that are affecting your business, it is time to make a change. But the best of intentions won’t make a difference if you aren’t willing to change ongoing actions and practices. Without the right systems, you will be facing ongoing problems in the future that will impact the success of your company.

As a business owner, the best thing you can do is tap into the professional support that is available to change your bad habits. Spend the money on services to ensure that your bookkeeping and accounting systems are set up in a way that will support your success going forward. Even though it costs a bit of money for the setup and ongoing maintenance, view this spending as an investment for all of the benefits that are available for you in the future. There’s no question that the right bookkeeping and accounting services can optimize your spending, increase profit margins, and maximize tax deductions that are available.

Let the Pros Fix Your Bad Habits

Often, the worse accounting and bookkeeping habits pop up when business owners attempt a DIY approach with their business finances. You need to be willing to let go of these habits, which means that it is time to implement the advice that comes from an industry professional. Tapping into the expertise that comes from an accounting team means you can get rid of these bad habits. Trust that your financial tracking and reports are in good hands, then turn your attention to other business responsibilities that need to be handled throughout the year.

As you are choosing an accounting team, make sure you find a contractor with experience helping small business owners. This ongoing expertise gives you the benefit of tapping into proven systems and strategies. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when we already have formulated the best practices that can be implemented into your business.

Will You Benefit from Outsourced Accounting Services?

Right now is a great time to evaluate your business finances and determine the areas that need improvement. As you look at the weak points in your business, you will find that outsourced accounting services can be the perfect solution to fill in the gaps.

Look for experienced contractors that offer a variety of accounting services. It is essential that you find a team for ongoing accounting support, instead of only talking to your accountant at tax time.

Easier Accounting is available to offer the support that you need. Contact us any time to learn about the accounting packages and small business services that match the needs of your business. We will personalize the services based on your preferences and needs: (888) 620-0770.

Last Minute Tax Tips for Small Business Owners

If you have procrastinated your tax preparation and filing this year, then these last-minute tax tips might be just what you need as you are facing the looming deadline. Business owners often agree that tax season is the most stressful time of the year. Not only do you need to worry about paperwork, number crunching, and financial reports. But there are often cash flow concerns as you are evaluating the bills that need to be paid to the IRS.

Even though it can be a stressful experience to file taxes as a business owner, there is nothing to worry about when you have a good team to help. An experienced accounting and bookkeeping team can be an invaluable resource to ensure that your taxes are filed timely and accurately.

Tax Tips for Your Small Business

At Easier Accounting, we specialize in all of the financial services needed to keep your business running. Here are some of our best tax tips when you are facing the last-minute crunch of finishing your filing for the year.

  • Deductions to Lower Taxable Income: Even though it takes a little more work to sort through receipts and categorize spending, this extra step is essential if you want to reduce the amount that will be paid. Business owners have a variety of deductions that can be used to reduce taxable income. Just make sure that you are staying within the guidelines established by the IRS to avoid raising red flags with the write-offs.
  • Contributions for the Year: As you are finalizing the numbers on your tax return, is your taxable income still higher than you were anticipating? Other strategies can be used to lower your taxable income. For example, you might decide to contribute to an IRA, helping you save for the future and reduce the amount that will be paid for taxes this year. Even though you are filing 2018 taxes and the calendar year is technically over, you can still contribute until the tax filing deadline and have it count. Talk to your accountant for personal recommendations about the type of IRA that will work best for your needs. As a self-employed individual, you might consider opening a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (often called a SEP IRA), which allows you to contribute up to 20% of your annual income.
  • Organize Paperwork: Handing your accountant a stack of messy paperwork is the wrong way to approach tax preparation. While your accounting team can help with financial strategy and tax prep, you shouldn’t be handing off all of the responsibility. As a small business owner, you need to have a general idea about what is going on with your bank statements, financial reports, costs, profitability, and more. Do your best to organize the paperwork so your accounting team can sort through the numbers and support your strategy.
  • Electronic Filing and Payments: Now that you are down to the last few days, it makes sense that you should take advantage of the digital options for tax filing. It’s been found that paper filing increases the potential errors and could result in lost paperwork, resulting in late fees and fines. We live in a digital world, which means you should take advantage of the digital tools that are available. The simplest solution is to work through your professional tax preparer to complete the digital filing. You can also submit direct deposit payments online to avoid the need to visit a post office to mail checks for payments.
  • Filing Without Payment: One reason why business owners sometimes procrastinate their tax filings is that they are worried about how they are going to come up with the cash to pay the tax bill. Even if you don’t have the money in the bank to pay your taxes, keep in mind that financing options are available through the IRS. Remember that it is more expensive to pay the fines and fees that come from not filing than it is to pay interest costs that come with a payment plan. In fact, the penalty for not filing your tax return could be as much as 10x more compared to not paying in full. The costs can add up, resulting in a higher bill in the future. Avoid late-filing penalties by filing by the deadline, then submitting for a payment plan.
  • Filing an Extension: Sometimes it comes down to the wire, and you just aren’t ready to file your taxes by the deadline. If you need more time or you don’t have complete information, then it might make sense to file an extension. This process gives you 6 more months to file your taxes for the year. Keep in mind that even though you have more time to file your taxes, it doesn’t give you an extension to pay. You still need to send the anticipated payment by April 15th to avoid late-payment penalties. That amount can be adjusted later in the year when you finalize your tax filing. If you choose to file an extension, then Form 4868 needs to be submitted. Or, an automatic extension is available when you estimate the tax liability and make an electronic payment.
  • Report All Income: Failing to report money that was received can start a domino effect of problems that you will face with your tax filing. One problem with scrambling to complete your taxes at the last minute is that you might overlook important information that should be included on the tax return. Every time you receive a 1099 form, remember the IRS receives the same information. If you fail to report income that was received, then it could result in a stressful IRS audit. Even if you don’t receive a 1099 form for contract work that was completed, you are still obligated to report the income on your taxes. It is important to track this information throughout the year so you can be thorough with reporting accurate numbers for your income and expenses.
  • Don’t Guess on Deductions: As you are wrapping up the information for your tax paperwork, it might be tempting to guess on some of the numbers for your deductions. Even though you think that you can get close with estimates, it is essential that precise figures are provided. Estimating could be a mistake that hurts you in the future, potentially resulting in fees and fines. If you are audited, all of the numbers need to be documented with paperwork. You don’t want to face the problems that will arise if the IRS catches you in a lie. Make it a priority to spend the time needed to evaluate your expenses and income so you can provide exact numbers for your tax preparer.

Tax Tips: Make Adjustments to Prepare for the New Year

After the stress of tax filing calms down, don’t assume you don’t need to worry about tax preparation or strategy for another year. Post-tax season is the perfect time to evaluate your systems and business practices. Often, business owners identified weaknesses in their financial systems, which are good indications of areas that need improvement to prepare for the next year.

For example, did you find that your books were messy when it came time to calculate expenses and deductions? If you spent hours crunching numbers and calculating all of these details by hand, then it is a red flag you need to improve your system for the future.

It is easy to procrastinate these decisions because you won’t feel the pain of tax preparation for another year. But you will do yourself a favor by implementing the changes right now while the information is fresh in your mind. Make a commitment to improving your accounting and bookkeeping system so you can save yourself the headache and stress when tax season rolls around in the future.

Year-Round Tax Strategy and Support

It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes when you are proactive and prepared for tax season. Too often business owners only think about tax strategy when the tax deadline is looming. But the best solution is to ensure you are working with your accounting team on an ongoing basis so that you are thinking ahead and prepared for the future.

Many business owners choose to implement a digital accounting and bookkeeping system. These software programs can be used to help you stay ahead of the transactions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Then you don’t have the burden of sorting through a year of transactions when it is time to file your taxes. Instead, a simple report can be run so all of the essential tax information is ready at your fingertips.

Finding Support for Tax Preparation

You don’t have to file your tax paperwork without support. The best thing you can do as a small business owner is to outsource your tax strategy to a team that understands your business needs. At Easier Accounting, we are here to help. Call today to learn about the immediate and ongoing financial support available for your company: (888) 620-0770.

Accounting Checklist: Essential Tasks for New Businesses and Startups

It is both exhilarating and scary to start a new business. You have an idea for products or services that will be popular in the market, and you’ve come up with the cash to get the company off the ground. While you are building the business and launching it into the world, it is important that you follow this accounting checklist to ensure that you are meeting all financial requirements for your company.

Yes, bookkeeping and accounting can be daunting. Most business owners want to spend their time focused on product development, marketing, customer outreach, and other tasks that have a direct impact on cash received. While these tasks are important, you need to be sure that you have a solid financial plan in place to set your company up for success in the future. Failing to take care of these essential tasks on your accounting checklist could cause your business to fail due to poor practices and a lack of cash flow.

Even though accounting and bookkeeping can be time consuming, you don’t have to put in the hours to take care of these tasks. One of the best things that you can do as a business owner is to hire the right contracting service to handle these details. You’ll have a better outcome and be proactive in protecting the financial interests of your company.

Consequences of Neglecting Your Accounting Checklist

What will happen if you neglect the important tasks on your financial to-do list? At first, you might not encounter many issues. But these problems tend to compound over time, resulting in big problems in the future that could take your company down.

While tax and financial compliance are time consuming, it is a critical part of building a solid foundation for your company. These tasks give you the information that is necessary for making accurate decisions for your business. Plus, you can avoid hefty fines and an expensive tax burden by implanting a good financial strategy.

Not only do you need to be educated on the right accounting practices for your small business or startup, but you also need to develop the right systems to ensure ongoing compliance and maintenance. The following tips will help when you are launching a new company so that you can build a financial picture for success.

Step #1: What Accounting Services are Needed?

The first step is to learn about the industry and identify the accounting services that will best suit the needs of your new business. Why does accounting matter? These financial reports give you accurate information that affects the decisions that are made for your business. Additionally, you need to comply with legal requirements as outlined by the IRS.

The easiest solution to learn about your options for accounting is to talk to an accounting service for information. Yes, you can find details online with a Google search. But it can be overwhelming to identify the right accounting checklist for your new company. Instead, you need to lean on the services and expertise of someone who understands the best processes for small businesses.

Our accounting team can evaluate the needs of your company and provide recommendations that will suit your preferences. We want to be sure that your accounting services are a perfect fit to set your company up for success in the future. During this initial conversation, we’ll understand more about your business, growth patterns, and anticipated changes in the future. Then, this information will be used to create the perfect setup for your business going forward.

Step #2: Setting Up an Entity

Don’t overlook the important step of creating the right entity for your business. Various legal structures have benefits and drawbacks. As you talk to a legal professional, you can understand how these pros and cons will affect the long-term outcome for your business efforts.

During this step, you need to talk to both an accountant and an attorney. There are many intricacies of the corporate tax code, which can be overwhelming to a new business owner who doesn’t understand the legal jargon and other details that need to be addressed. But a good team of professionals can explain your options and help you in finding the solutions that will suit the needs of your company.

You can use this advice to determine the proper legal structure for your business. Then, the accounting and bookkeeping system can be structured to match the structure that has been created. Not only do you need to get the system set up in the first place, but there are also requirements for ongoing compliance. The easiest solution to handle these details is by engaging an accounting team for ongoing services.

Step #3: Financial Reporting and Ongoing Bookkeeping

Now that your business structure is in place and you have the systems established, it can be a trick to maintain consistency with the ongoing tasks that need to be handled. Ongoing accounting and bookkeeping requirements should include the tracking and categorization of all business transactions. Additionally, you need to have a separate business bank account created so that there is no crossover between personal spending and business expenses.

In this step, it is smart to invest in good accounting software. There is no reason why these transactions need to be tracked by hand. Instead, you can maximize the benefits of automation as much as possible, helping to reduce the problems associated with manual tracking and calculations. If you have questions about any of these transactions, then a tax advisor or CPA can review the information and offer advice about the best way to handle these details.

The step of creating the right reporting and tracking system is crucial in helping you avoid common mistakes. When mistakes are made with tax strategy, then often leads to heavy fines from both the IRS and the state. Good software will help with the creation and maintenance of financial statements.

Plus, you can use this information when making decisions regarding the financial health of your company. If you need to invest money in marketing or business development, you will be well-informed due to the information that is available in the reports. Enhanced financial forecasts can be valuable assets to help with the leveraging of your business efforts in the future.

Step #4: Be Prepared for the Future

You never know when you might be facing an audit, so it is important that you are proactive right now so that you are prepared for anything that might happen in the future. Good accounting practices make it easy to navigate a potential audit because all of the information is organized and clear. You need to have documentation to back up the write-offs and deductions used for your tax strategy. Additionally, you need to have a clear line of paperwork showing where your money is coming from when customers are paying for the products and services.

One aspect of preparing for the future is in the management of your cash flow to ensure that you are ready for slow months. It is inevitable that some months will be more profitable than others. Having a good financial strategy in place will give you the emergency savings that will carry you through the months when cash is tight. Sometimes you can anticipate these fluctuations, but other times the cash need is unexpected due to unanticipated costs and details that affect your business.

It is smart to have regular internal audits and bank reconciliations to ensure that all of the accounts are in order. A little bit of proactive work right now can go a long way to helping you avoid a big headache in the future.

Keep your records up-to-date and make sure that you are abiding by all of the financial regulations and laws in your area. There are many benefits that can come from engaging the services of an experienced accounting team.

Do You Need Accounting Services?

Most small business owners don’t have professional accounting skills to manage their business finances without support. You might attempt a DIY system, only to find that you encountered problems that could have been easily avoided by tapping into the services of an experienced accounting team.

If you want to set yourself up for success in the future, then the best thing that you can do is lean on the expertise offered by a small business accounting team. We are here to help with your accounting checklist to ensure that you are starting on the right foot. Then, our ongoing accounting services will support your needs going forward.

Easier Accounting is here to assist with anything that you need for your business financial tracking. If you are looking for small business accounting or bookkeeping services, then we invite you to contact us to learn about the services that are offered. We are just a phone call away when you need answers to your questions, and our team will explain the benefits that are available when you choose to engage the services of a small business accounting team: (888) 620-0770.

To-Do List for Successful Relationships with Independent Contractors

The gig industry is exploding at an incredible rate, with many companies turning to the services of independent contractors as an alternative to hiring employees. As a small business owner, it is likely that you are working with contractors, and you might also offer contract services to other businesses. In fact, it is estimated that contractors will make up 40% of the workforce by 2020!

Whether you are thinking about hiring a contractor for the first time or you are already working with contractors, it is smart to consider the right strategy to protect your business, maximize results, and maintain a successful business relationship at the same time.

Benefits of Hiring Independent Contractors

Why are many companies turning to independent contractors instead of hiring employees? In decades past, it was common for a business to bring in new employees when manpower and additional skills were required. But the business climate has changed, and business owners are shifting their strategies to accommodate these differences. Here are some of the common reasons why business owners choose independent contractors:

  • Reduce Overall Costs: Since contractors are self-employed, they manage the behind-the-scenes details such as insurance benefits, employment taxes, and other admin functions. Reduce these overhead costs, and you can decrease your overall expenses for the services that are required. Plus, you have the option to hire the contractor for the weekly work that is needed, without the obligation to pay a full-time salary if you don’t need that many hours.
  • No Need for Office Space: Another way that you can reduce your costs is by eliminating the need to make space for another person in the office. Independent contractors don’t work in-office, which gives you the option to reduce your rent by selecting a smaller office space. Additionally, you don’t have the overhead expenses of office furniture, computer equipment, office supplies, and other details required for setting up an office for that person.
  • Temporary Support: Sometimes you need services for a short time, making it beneficial to bring someone in for temporary support. Paying on a project basis gives you the option to choose how long you will continue working with the contractor. When these services are no longer needed, you don’t have to worry about lay-offs or unemployment claims. These temporary contractor services are great for one-time projects such as a website redesign, or if you need seasonal assistance when you can’t keep up with the busy season in your industry.
  • Self-Management: Since you are hiring a contractor who is an expert in the industry, you don’t have to worry about high levels of management. The person is hired to handle their responsibilities in the project. You can expect those services to be completed without the need to drive the project with focused management every step of the way. Contractors tend to have higher levels of “self-starter” skills compared to standard employees.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you might consider working with a contractor instead of bringing on another employee.

Tips for Getting Started with a Contractor

Now that you can see these benefits, you might be ready to jump in by hiring contractors to assist with your workload. But there are a few must-do things that need to be completed to ensure you are protecting your company and staying in the bounds of the law. Here are a few tips that should be added to your to-do list:

  1. Tax Documents: The contractor doesn’t need to sign a W4 because they don’t have employment status with the company. A W4 is the IRS document used to calculate the Federal taxes that need to be withheld from the employee’s payment. Since you are hiring a contractor (not an employee), this person will receive a vendor payment instead of a paycheck. So, you don’t need to worry about any tax withholdings because the contractor is responsible for the necessary tax payments. The correct form that they should sign is Form W-9, which should be completed before work commences. This paperwork ensures that you are hiring someone who is legally allowed to work in the US. They will need to provide their resident or citizen information, and then this information is submitted to the IRS each year along with the amount of money that was paid for services.
  2. Send Form-1099: When a contractor is paid $600 or more in a calendar year, then you are required to file tax paperwork documenting the income. This paperwork needs to be postmarked by January 31st for the previous calendar year. Additionally, a 1096 transmittal form needs to be sent to the IRS, summarizing the payments that were provided to contractors.
  3. Signed Contract: A handshake deal is a recipe for disaster. Never assume that you have a common understanding of the project without creating an agreement that is signed by both parties. This contract lays out important details such as the payment structure, the scope of work required, and ownership of intellectual and physical property when the project is complete. While you aren’t legally required to have a signed contract, it is a smart step to protect the interests of your company.
  4. Work Expectations: Be careful about the expectations that are placed on the contractor. There is a fine line between contractor and employee, and you need to be sure that you aren’t crossing that line. For example, a contractor needs to flexibility to choose when and where the work is performed, and the worker must use their own tools for the work that is completed. If you require the worker to be on the project at certain times and you are supplying all of the equipment and materials that are required, then it is likely that the person should be paid as an employee instead. If you have questions about the difference between a contractor and an employee, then it is smart to talk to a payroll expert for advice.
  5. Maintaining Records: In the same way, you need to track employee payroll and performance, it is necessary to keep records of the details related to your contractors. Store a copy of the contract on file, as well as other essential information such as invoices that are billed for the work completed and proof of payment. Make sure there is a paper trail documenting communication and payment so that you can show the details if questioned about the payment and services provided.
  6. Payment Schedule: If the contractor demands up-front payment, then you might find yourself in a tricky situation if the work is not completed according to your agreement. It is common for payment terms to be established in advance. Make sure that you have a shared understanding about when invoices will be sent, the timeframe in which payments need to be received, and how much will be paid for the services. Many business owners have found that it was a mistake to issue full payment upfront, especially when the contractor isn’t motivated to perform or finish the work when the payment was sent in full. You might agree to a payment schedule of half up front and half upon delivery or completion. Or, create a monthly billing schedule with the contractor sending an invoice each month for the work that is completed.

These tips might seem simple, but they are essential to help you in protecting your company and maintaining a strong working relationship with the contractor that you’ve hired. A little bit of proactive work goes a long way to ensure success of the project.

Services to Outsource

When does it make sense to hire an outsourced contractor instead of an employee? Here are examples of services that you might choose to hire a contractor for assistance:

  • Online Marketing: Digital content can be produced by a contractor so that you don’t have to worry about having an in-house marketing expert in your company. Many business owners find that online marketing is more affordable and more effective when hiring a marketing firm instead of attempting a DIY approach. These services might include tasks such as graphic design, content writing, ad management, and more.
  • Bookkeeping and Accounting: Having a strong tracking system for your business expenses and financial reports is essential to ensure success with your company. The busy work of tracking transactions and managing your business financial information can take up a lot of time each week. Turn your attention to other business responsibilities by hiring an accounting and bookkeeping team for assistance instead.
  • Payroll Processing: While this topic can fall into the category of bookkeeping and accounting, it deserves mention on its own. Payroll has a long list of requirements and can be a burden on your company. Hiring independent contractors for assistance ensures that you are staying current with the latest laws and regulations.

If you are searching for a great team of independent contractors to assist with your bookkeeping and accounting tasks, then Easier Accounting is here to assist. Call us to learn about the way your small business will benefit from these available services: (888) 620-0770.

13 Essential Tools, Services, and Resources for Every Small Business Owner

Finding the right tools, services, and resources for your small business can have a significant impact on the overall success of the company. Even though these things might seem like simple details, the smaller efforts add up to great results. At Easier Accounting, we love serving small businesses and our team is always looking for resources and support that will boost your business efforts. Whether you are just getting established or your business has been around for a few years, you might find some of these resources useful.

Some of these recommended tools are free, and others require an upfront or ongoing payment. But they are worth the investment because of the benefits that are available. If you can find solutions to save time and leverage your efforts, it is possible to speed up the growth of your company. We want to help with your financial success, which is why we are sharing this article with great resources for you.

Getting Started on the Right Foot

Entrepreneurship is growing with each year, opening up opportunities for anyone who wants to own a business. Even if you don’t have a background in business or financing, it is possible to start a company that can be run from your home or a local office.

While the excitement of starting and running a business can be exciting, many people find that it can also be overwhelming to navigate the tools and systems that are available. Instead of trying to “reinvent the wheel” by exploring all of the options that are offered, why not tap into the knowledge of others who understand what is necessary for small business success? You can follow in the footsteps of other successful startups, making it easier for your business since you don’t need to navigate new territory.

Keep in mind that if your competitors are using these business tools and you are late in getting started, then your company is going to be left in the dust. Technology has transformed the business industry, making it more important than ever to keep up with the trends.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

You don’t have to work nonstop to support your business growth. Instead, consider the idea that the right tools allow you to work smarter, not harder. You can support the needs of your company and maintain a balanced lifestyle with family and friends at the same time.

The right business systems make it easy to maintain productivity and boost efficiency throughout the days and weeks. Your time will be focused on the tasks that are most important for your company, instead of getting caught in the weeds with the busy work that takes up too much time.

Tools for Your Business

Every business is unique, so you might not need all of these tools that we are sharing. But it can be beneficial to consider the benefits and features to see if they apply to your needs. Save yourself the hassle of research and wasted money by using some of these recommendations, instead of testing an unproven business platform.

Here are some of our top recommendations if you are looking for new business tools:

  1. GSuite: Google developed a suite of tools that make a great software package for businesses of all sizes. This system includes essential tools such as setting up email management, domain purchasing, website analytics, ad campaign management, and more. GSuite is designed with apps, so you can pick-and-choose the features that support the individual needs of your company. It’s nice to have all of these tools in one, easy to access, centralized location.
  2. ScheduleOnce: A good calendar system is essential to keep track of appointments, deadlines, and important dates. Some businesses use the Google Calendar through GSuite. For improved functionality, consider ScheduleOnce that syncs with Google Calendar. This system allows you to give clients the opportunity to book an appointment on your calendar, without the hassle of person-to-person communication to schedule these meetings.
  3. Slack: Step into the 21st century by using this dynamic online team communication tool. Instead of emails and messages getting lost in the shuffle, Slack can be used to streamline communication so that you can be sure that all of your team members are on the same page. This platform allows you to centralize messaging, phone calls, file-sharing, and even fun ways to interact with the group.
  4. Trello: While Slack is a communication platform, Trello is a complementary option to manage workflow and task assignments. You can create different boards for various departments and groups in your company. On each board, cards are set up and assigned to team members who are responsible for those tasks. The system gives flexibility so that you can manage the due dates, tasks that need to be completed, notes about each project, and more. It is a great way to structure the workflow and keep track of the tasks that need to be completed.
  5. Evernote: This app can be used across devices, giving you one location where you can take notes, organize information, keep track of files and more. It’s basically an “external brain” so that you don’t have to keep all of the small details in your head. The notes are cloud synced and can be shared with others if needed. If you have a quick thought or need to keep a running to-do list, then Evernote is a solution to consider.
  6. GoCo: Small businesses don’t often have the resources to bring in an HR expert. Instead of hiring another full-time employee, you might consider the benefits of using a Human Resources service that is based online. This system is designed to help with everything required for employee management and benefits, such as onboarding, paperwork management, PTO tracking, benefits administration, performance reviews, legal compliance, and more. One of the benefits of this system is that it can integrate with your payroll system.
  7. GoodHire: Another great HR resource is GoodHire, which can be used to run new hire checks for background screenings, credit history, driving records, identify verification, employment verification, drug screenings, education verification, and more. When you are hiring new employees, these services are priceless to ensuring that you are bringing in the right team member.
  8. LegalZoom: Paying for expensive legal services can cut into your startup costs. LegalZoom is a good alternative that covers all the basics needed for small business management and even your personal life. You can form a business entity, create an estate plan, file trademarks or patents, or talk to an attorney about your individual needs. This website makes it possible to save thousands of dollars in legal fees by creating basic legal documents without paying expensive, hourly attorney costs.
  9. Shopify: If you want to build an online store, there’s no reason to start from scratch with the website coding. This online service provider simplifies the e-commerce You can create an integrated shopping experience for customers that fit into the structure of your existing website. Additionally, you can track the back-end details of business management, including payment processing, order management, and inventory tracking.
  10. Upwork: Maybe you are looking for services, but you don’t want to bring in another employee? Hiring a freelancer is a great solution to access independent contractors from around the world. You can benefit from the quality services that are offered, without the burden of paying the overhead costs of bringing in a full-time employee. You’ll find anything and everything you might need, ranging from website design to content writing, administrative assistants, social media managers, and more. The great thing about hiring freelancers through Upwork is that you can see their work history and reviews left by other clients.
  11. Telzio: If you are looking for solutions to set up an office phone system, consider an online system. Your entire team can manage messages and phone calls using any device, from any location. The pricing is simple and clear, and you don’t have to worry about locking into a contract.
  12. InfusionSoft, by Keap: This software is commonly known as InfusionSoft, falls under the name Keap A Customer Management System is essential so you can keep track of names, contact information, sales data, and more. The benefit of InfusionSoft is that you can centralize your marketing automation, making it simple to automate your systems so that you are capturing leads and converting them to paying customers.
  13. EasierAccounting: We are proud to add our services to the list of must-have tools for business owners. We have one of the leading accounting and bookkeeping teams, with a focus on small business services. If you can’t keep up with the transactions, reconciliation, payroll, tax paperwork, and more, then we are here to help.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance with your business finances. You will see that we have an excellent reputation in the industry, offering unbeatable business accounting services at an affordable price. Learn more about your options by contacting us at Easier Accounting. Call to talk to an industry expert about the financial services that are needed for your company: (888) 620-0770.

7 Tips to Maintain Positive Cash Flow for Your Small Business

It doesn’t matter if you are in the beginning stages of a startup or if you have a successful, established business, your long-term success rests on your ability to maintain positive cash flow. Whether you are bringing in $1000 per month or $100,000 per month, you need to be sure that your current business needs are met with cash in the bank.

How is Your Company Doing?

Your cash flow snapshot is a good reading on the current performance of your company. So, take time to review business cash flow statements regularly. This information will help you evaluate the things that are working and things that are hindering your growth. Then, you can use the data to implement changes that will help you reach higher levels of success.

Not only is the goal to avoid negative cash flow or any activities that will hurt your profit margins, but you also need to be looking at the things that will help with expansion and growth in the future. Too often, cash flow analysis is only focused on the current month or quarter. It makes sense that you are evaluating current financial obligations and requirements that are coming up. But you shouldn’t let your current situation overshadow resources that might be required for business development in the future.

It is a learning process as you identify the strategies that support your immediate business needs while preparing for the future at the same time. There’s no question that good cash flow will be required for all of these efforts.

How to Maintain Positive Cash Flow in Your Business

You might conceptually see why positive cash flow is required for your company. But it can be a challenge to identify actionable steps that will have an impact on your cash flow outlook. Here are a few tips that will help you boost profit margins, minimize expenses, and ultimately keep more money in the bank:

  1. Ongoing Spending: How much money is required to keep your business running each month? You should have a clear budget and spending goals to determine how much you need in the bank to pay for rent/mortgage, utilities, payroll, inventory stocking, services, and more. You can’t avoid overhead costs, but there might be solutions to manage the total amount that you are spending every month. Go through the spending report in detail to see if anything can be cut or trimmed down so that you can reduce the amount of money going out the door each month.
  2. Big Purchases: Even if you are keeping up with the ongoing expenses for your business, sometimes the big purchases can be crippling. Whether you are facing a large tax bill or you need to invest in equipment or business development efforts, you can’t sacrifice the payroll cash. Look ahead so that you can anticipate potential costs in the future. Then, shape your monthly saving and spending plan so that the cash is available without the need to dip into credit.
  3. Set Up a Line of Credit: The hope is that you won’t need to rely on credit for your business expenses. But it’s good to have a backup plan in case you get in a pinch. One mistake is to wait until your time of need to run to the bank for a line of credit application. Instead of trying to overcome the problem at the last minute, it’s better to set up the line of credit when you have positive cash flow, and your business is doing well. During this application process, the financial institution will run a complete check on your financial records to determine whether you will be approved for the line of credit. They want to be sure that you will have the cash to pay back the loan, and this information will also affect the loan limits. Securing the line of credit right now could be the difference between keeping your company going in the future vs. not being able to pay your bills because of cash flow issues.
  4. Minimize Interest and Late Fees: It might seem ironic to talk about avoiding debt right after the tip that suggests you secure a business line of credit. But there’s no question that it is harder to manage your cash flow when you are spending high amounts of money on late fees and interest costs. The more debt you accumulate, the more money you will be spending to delay the payoff of that loan. It could result in a domino effect that makes it hard to pay your bills on time, resulting in late-fees being added to your balances. Set up automatic payments and make sure that you always have enough to cover the minimum payments. A better solution is to pay as much as possible every month so that you can pay off the debt and eliminate the loan payments.
  5. Dial in Your Pricing: It might be tempting to offer deep discounts if you are trying to bring more customers through the door. Keep in mind that these discounts could result in problems in the future. Offering discounts to all customers will cut into your profit margins and even devalue your service in the future. See the value in the products and services that are offered to your customers, and avoid the practice of “racing to the bottom” to beat your competitors based on pricing alone. Customers are willing to spend more money when they can see that value and quality are available with a higher price tag.
  6. Stay Ahead of Receivables: You need to follow up on outstanding invoices to ensure that you are receiving payments from your customers or clients. Not only should you keep a detailed list of the money that is owed, but it is smart to put together a follow-up system if these payments are late. When you are collecting overdue money, time is of the essence. Stick to the payment plan and make sure that receivables don’t fall low on the priority list if you are distracted by other business management tasks.
  7. Boost Cash Inflow: Are you receiving an inflow of cash every day or week? Depending on your business model, the timing of customer payments might vary. You need to make sure that you are making sales consistently to receive the money that will keep your company running. It all comes down to the numbers. Look at the target amount of income you want to receive each month. Then do the calculations to see how many sales need to be made on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Finally, determine the most effective activities to help you connect with paying customers so that you can close enough deals to meet the needs of your company.

Cash Flow is More than Just Paying the Bills

While it is important to ensure you can pay your bills and obligations, cash flow is about much more than just paying for these ongoing expenses. Creating good cash flow will set you up to make the spending decisions that help your company grow. When you have extra cash in the bank, you have the opportunity to invest in marketing that brings in new customers. You can also put the extra money towards business development and product research to improve the products and services that are offered. Additionally, good cash flow is essential so that you can maintain the right amount of inventory, so these products are always on hand when customers are ready to buy.

Finally, don’t overlook the peace of mind that comes when you know that there is money in the bank. You can’t put a price tag on the lower stress levels you will experience when you have an emergency savings account in place for a rainy day. Good cash flow strategy and management could be the difference between business success and failure, which is why this task should be at the top of your priority list.

Keeping up with Accounting and Bookkeeping

The foundation of an effective system for cash flow management should be based on the right bookkeeping and accounting strategies. You need to track the transactions that are moving in and out of your bank accounts. Data-driven decisions are important to help your business flourish in the future.

As a business owner, do you find it challenging to keep up with the accounting and bookkeeping tasks that are required? You are carrying a lot of responsibility, so it’s understandable that you find it difficult to stay consistent with these efforts.

Instead of stretching yourself thin with too many responsibilities, consider the benefit of bringing in a good outsourced accounting team. These services will improve your financial systems and help you avoid potential cash flow issues. Working with an experienced financial team is one of the best things that you can do to support your business goals.

For more information, reach out to us at Easier Accounting. We are here to help with anything that you need for accounting, tax preparation, financial advice, and more. Call today: (888) 620-0770.