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

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

Resolutions Before the New Year

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

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

Common Annual Trends

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

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

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

Setting New Financial Goals

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

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

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

  1. Increasing Revenue

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

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

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

  1. Decreasing Expenses

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

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

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

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

  1. Maximizing Tax Deductions

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

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

  1. Managing Debts

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

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

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

Year-End Financial Goals for Your Business

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

Business Owners: How Valuable is Your Time?

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

Wearing Many Hats as a Business Owner

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

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

Financial Benefits from the Time You Spend on Business Building Activities

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

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

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

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

Strategies to Assign Value to Your Work Hours

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

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

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

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

Value vs. Price

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

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

Why Delegation is Essential If You Value Your Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warning Signs: Is Your Business in Financial Distress?

Everyone hopes for the best when starting a new business. In the beginning, the hard work is often fueled by big dreams and future possibilities for the company. It is exciting and challenging at the same time, and owning a business can have incredible payouts in the future. But, as things are progressing, it is important that you watch for a few warning signs that might indicate potential problems for your company. When you see the signs of your business in financial distress, then a few changes can correct the course and help you avoid disaster.

Look for Clues about the Financial Health of Your Company

It is easy to get caught in the assumption that everything is going well. Then, you might feel blindsided when things start to fall apart… especially when you didn’t see it coming. The truth is that there are always clues that indicate the success of your company. If you notice these small issues, then it is time to adjust your strategy and habits so that you can avoid bigger problems in the future.

Sometimes, these clues show up in the financial reports. But, other times, the clues might be in sales patterns or other indications that could impact the bottom line. The most important thing that you can do is pay attention to the financial statements and the ongoing patterns of the success in your company. Then, you can seek assistance if you notice anything unusual. This proactive approach is essential so that you can avoid problems later on.

If you don’t have experience with accounting and bookkeeping, then it can be helpful to enlist the services of a team that understands small business strategy. Tapping into this expertise can help you identify things that will impact the future of your company.

Here are a few things that you should be watching for that indicate signs of a business in financial distress:

Sign #1: Cash Flow Problems

If money is coming in, but there is never enough to pay the bills, then it is an indication that you need to look at the cash flow for your company. The profit margins are found in the difference between receivables and expenses. You can bring in large sums of money. But, you aren’t profitable if your expenses are higher than the amount of money that is coming in.

How much money is in the bank account right now? What are the upcoming expenses that need to be paid? One common problem that happens with cash flow is that the company has money in the account right now, but the money is spent leaving nothing leftover for expenses in the future. For example, it’s no surprise that taxes will need to be paid regularly. But, if you use the excess money in the savings account to buy more inventory or equipment, then you might not have the cash available to cover the expenses for the tax bill.

Cash drains can lead to the downfall of your company. Not only do you need to make sure that you are bringing in money to cover the costs. But, you also need to be sure that you don’t have high spending and overhead expenses that affect your cash flow. These are some of the most common reasons your bank account is being drained:

  • Excessive overhead costs
  • Heavy debt loads and high-interest payments
  • Poor spending decisions
  • Outstanding accounts receivable

Keep in mind that it is normal for companies to have fluctuations in sales numbers. You might have a great month with a large amount of cash flow. Make sure that you have money set aside so that cash is available to cover the expenses in the lean months that will inevitably happen in the future.

Sign #2: Increasing Overhead Costs

When the business is thriving, it is easy to slip into a pattern of overspending. If money is in the bank, why not use it for business investments, marketing, or more inventory? It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to increase overhead costs. But, you need to make sure that the receivables increase accordingly.

Also, keep in mind your spending patterns throughout the seasonal changes in the industry. Your spending might go up in the busy season. But, you need to be prepared to drop those expenses in the future when things start to slow down again.

If you can see that your spending and overhead costs are increasing but your receivables are staying the same (or even decreasing), then it means that you are heading towards financial problems. Eventually, you will burn through the cash in the bank and face a difficult situation because there’s no money left over to pay the bills.

Take some time to understand why your expenses are increasing. Where are you spending the most money? Are there any spending categories that can be adjusted to reduce the amounts that you are spending? There might be small costs that add up quickly, such as interest expenses or other non-operating costs that pop up. Or, there could be monthly subscriptions that are no longer needed. Don’t let these cash suckers eat away at your profits. Be proactive to make sure that every dollar spent is going towards an essential product or service that is impacting your company in a positive way.

Sign #3: High Levels of Outstanding Receivables

It’s great to see that sales are increasing. But, if you are selling products and services and the outstanding receivables number is growing, then it could be a potential indication of an issue. When your business profits are tied up in invoices that are outstanding, then you don’t have the cash in pocket that is needed to keep the company running.

The key is to ensure that customers understand the credit policies. Communicate the payment terms upfront, and then make sure that your team is consistent about following through on the collections. Sometimes, it takes a little work to ensure that you are collecting the money that is owed by your clients. But, it is worth the effort to collect the outstanding invoices so that you have money to keep your company going.

Sign #4: Sales are Decreasing

Even after a strong season or year, there might be times when the sales start to slow. It might seem like an obvious financial warning sign, but there are times when business owners don’t notice the changes in sales numbers. If you don’t have money coming in through product sales, then it is time to figure out the problem.

You need to get to the root of the issue to find the area where you can have the most impact to increase sales. The stagnation could be seasonal changes, which means that you can anticipate that things will increase again in the future. But, these revenue decreases could be due to adjustments in your marketing campaign or a difference in the inventory that is available.

It is essential that you know what your customers need and want so that you can be sure that your products and services are designed to match their needs. Then, your strategies can be catered to increase the likelihood of repeat customers.

Sign #5: Customers aren’t Coming Back

The easiest way to help your company grow is by increasing the rate of repeat customers. It takes a lot of money to generate new customers through marketing efforts. The simpler (and cheaper) method is to continue selling products to people who already trust your company.

You need to maintain communication with current and previous customers, helping them know where to go when it is time to make another purchase. Keep your company at the top-of-mind so that people know that you are always there to support them when they need help in the industry.

Run reports to look at the patterns of sales. Then, use your marketing strategy to reach out to customers who might be interested in buying again. When you are consistent with customer communication, then it is easy to build business relationships that last for many years.

Business in Financial Distress? Talk to the Experts

If your business is having financial problems, then you might need to bring on a team of experts to help with the cash flow and strategy. Make sure to choose a team of bookkeepers and accountants who understand small business strategies, ensuring that you receive services that are catered to the needs of your company.

At Easier Accounting, we have specialized our services to match the accounting needs of startups and small businesses. We understand the challenges that you are facing as you work to grow the company. So, we offer the services that you need to manage your ongoing financial tracking and reporting. At the same time, you can tap into the tax strategy to help you leverage all of the financial benefits that are available from working with an experienced team. If you are interested in learning more, then it is time to talk to our expert team for a consultation. Call today to see if our accounting services are a good fit for your company: (888) 620-0770

Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outsourced Accounting Team

If you need accounting support, then the most common approach is to find an accountant in your local area. There is nothing wrong with working with a team that is close to home. But, you shouldn’t overlook the other options that are available in the industry. Before you rush into this decision, the best thing that you can do is learn more about the benefits of outsourced accounting.

Employee, Local, or Outsourced Accounting Services

There’s no question that you need accounting support, especially if you don’t have much experience with financial reporting and bookkeeping. Don’t waste your time on tasks that could be assigned to an industry expert. Instead, you need to look for the right services that will match the needs of your business.

One of the most common mistakes made by new homeowners is that they hang onto many of the responsibilities that could be outsourced. You don’t need to manage control over the busy work. Instead, find the right team to support your efforts so that you can focus on the business building tasks that are required. There’s no reason why you should be sending invoices or managing the bookkeeping transactions that are moving through your company. A better solution is to create the right system to outsource these tasks so that you have the necessary support for the overall efforts and vision of the company.

Bookkeeping and accounting should be the first thing that should be handed off to an experienced team. Here are a few options if you are looking for assistance with your financial tracking and reporting:

  • Employee: You have the option to hire an employee with a background in finance. If you want to have someone in-house, then make sure to choose an employee with experience in the industry. You need to hire someone who can take responsibility for the tasks and ensure the quality of work that is completed. But, you need to understand the drawbacks that come from hiring an employee. If you hire someone, you need to pay the salary as well as the cost of benefits that are required. Plus, employment taxes can add up over time. Most businesses find that an employee is more expensive compared to outsourced accounting services.
  • Local Contractor: You can see that hiring an employee isn’t always the best solution. So, you might turn to the local business results to see if you can find an accountant to help with the services that you need. A local contractor can be helpful in many ways, and some business owners like the comfort of meeting with someone face-to-face. But, if you limit your options to local services, then you might miss out on the benefits available from working with a team in a different location. There’s no reason to limit your choices, especially when the local services are more expensive compared to the outsourced options that are offered
  • Outsourced Accounting Team: Finally, the most popular choice is to choose an outsourced accounting team to assist with your books. Looking online will open up many windows of opportunity. This process allows you to choose a team the provides more than basic accounting services. You can find a company that specializes in small business accounting services to match the needs of your company.

Hiring an outsourced accounting team is one of the best ways to keep your costs low and maximize the benefits that are available. These services are catered to match the needs of your company while ensuring the long-term results that you deserve. We live in a digital world, which means that there is no reason why you need to have someone in your office or down the street. Instead, you can tap into the automation and cloud-based accounting that can improve your business systems with the support of a team offering these services online. If you are interested in learning more, then you need to talk to our experienced team at Easier Accounting for the full details about the ways our services will support your business goals.

Hiring an Accounting Team? Consider These Factors

Now that you can see the benefits of hiring help for bookkeeping and accounting, it is time to hire the experts who are a good fit for your business goals. Here are a few factors that should always be considered before you move forward with the decision:

  • Size of Your Business: It is essential that you consider the size of your business and the volume of transactions that are moving through the company. It is probably unnecessary to hire a full-time employee if you only have a few or a moderate number of transactions that are recorded in the books. This work won’t be enough to keep a full-time employee busy. At the same time, the size of your company should influence the team that you hire. If you are a startup or small business, then you need to pick a team that specializes in small business services (and skip a company that offers big corporate services).
  • Needs for Your Financial Goals: Identify the areas where you need the most support for your business goals. Are you looking for an accountant who only talks to you once a year to complete your annual taxes? Or, do you want a team that will take a proactive approach throughout the year to ensure the long-term results for your company? A variety of accounting services are available, including payroll processing, tax preparation and filing, long-term tax strategy, bookkeeping, invoicing, and more. Find a company that can support your goals with all of the work that needs to be completed throughout the year.
  • Qualifications of the Team: Your financial details contain sensitive information, which is why you need to be cautious about hiring an accounting team that you can trust. Learn about the qualifications, education, and experience of the accountant so that you understand the quality of services that are available. It might seem like a good idea to hire your niece to take care of the bookkeeping at a low hourly rate. But, many potential issues will arise if mistakes are made with the books. Never cut corners on the quality of bookkeeping and accounting services that are used for your business efforts! Instead, choose an accounting team that has hands-on experience with the services that are required for your business.
  • Cost of the Accounting Services: Finally, don’t overlook the price of the services that are available. The goal of outsourcing these services is that you can improve your profit margins, decrease spending, and maximize revenue as much as possible. Consider the cost of the accounting services to be an investment for your company. You need to understand the scope of work that will be provided as well as the cost that you will need to pay for the services. Then, compare this price with the expenses that would be required to support a full-time employee. You will see that it is usually more affordable to outsource these services instead of bringing on another employee.

Remember, that a big price tag doesn’t mean that you will receive the best accounting services. It is important that you hire an accounting team based on reputation, experience, and the scope of work that is provided to support your company. Evaluate the needs of your business and then find an accounting team to match.

You’ll Love the Services from Easier Accounting

At Easier Accounting, we understand that you have many options when it is time to hire the services of a company in the industry. We are here to support your goals and offer the advice that you need, without making you feel pressured into the services that we provide.

The best thing that you can do is have a conversation with our team. We invite you to discuss your needs with us so that we can determine if these services are a good fit for your company. If we discover that we can support your needs, then we can work together to design a custom plan that will ensure the long-term results that you desire.

We are striving to show you how affordable and easy it can be to hire an outsourced accounting team. We offer the full range of accounting services that are required, without the expensive price tag that is usually associated with hiring an accounting. By keeping our business online, we can minimize the overhead expenses so that these savings are passed onto our customers.

Are you interested in learning more about the ways that your company will benefit from outsourced accounting services? Then it is a great time to reach out to our team so that you can have a conversation. We offer information about the accounting packages that are available, so you can take some time to read through our website. Then, call us at your convenience when you are ready to learn more about the ways that our accounting services are transforming the industry. Easier Accounting is always here to help! Call today so that you can see if our services are a good fit for your company: (888) 620-0770

Taking Control of Small Business Finances: Payroll, Invoicing, Bookkeeping, and More

Have you strapped into the seat for the roller coaster ride of running a small business? As a business owner, there are many ups and downs that will be faced along the way. It can be a challenge to keep up with everything that is going on. Not only do you need to manage your workforce, but you also need to oversee the paperwork and finances that happen behind the scenes to keep the company running. If you don’t already have the systems in place, then right now is the time to take control of small business finances.

Why You Need to Be in Control

Why does it matter if you are keeping up with the boring paperwork and reports? It is exciting to work on product development and creative marketing campaigns. But, these activities aren’t possible if you don’t have the cash flow to support the daily business activities.

Taking control of your business finances is essential if you want to set your company up for success in the future. As you manage the cashflow, invoicing, and other systems that affect your business activities, you will be in a position to make the decisions that will have a positive impact on your company in the future. A few small actions right now will go a long way to ensure that you are positioned for growth in the future.

Too often, financial details fall to the back burner because business owners are focused on other development activities. For example, it is easy to neglect the bookkeeping tasks if you are busy preparing for an upcoming sale in your store. The immediate needs take priority, and then you are left to clean up the financial details later on.

Procrastinating on these financial reports and management can result in situations where you are facing financial problems that could have been avoided. For example, if you are current with your expense tracking and profit analysis, then you can anticipate potential tax bills in the future. As a result, you will have time to set the money aside so that you aren’t caught in a difficult situation where you are unable to pay the bills when they are due.

Managing Money for Your Small Business

Every business has the money management concerns. Cash is king in your business practices. Without financial management, you could find yourself stuck in a debt hole where you can’t recover. It is essential to design a financial structure that will help you maximize profit margins and stay ahead of the cash flow that is needed to keep your company running every month.

These systems need to be in place for every financial aspect of business management:

  • Payroll: Ensure that payroll processing is accurate and timely, helping to maintain employee satisfaction. Not only do you need accuracy with the payment calculations, but you also need to stay current with tax withholdings, benefits calculations, and more. Additionally, you need to be sure that enough money is in the bank so that the checks clear.
  • Invoicing: There are two sides of invoicing that need to be addressed. First, you need to make sure that you have the cash flow to pay the invoices that are due for products and services that are used to keep your company running. Second, you need to stay current with sending invoices to your customers when balances are due.
  • Bookkeeping: Do you have a system in place to track every transaction that moves through your company? Not only do these transactions need to be recorded, but it is also important to categorize the spending and pay attention to the cash flow.
  • Financial Reports: You don’t need to look at financial reports on a daily basis. But, this information can be helpful several times during the year, especially when you are making big decisions that impact the future of your company. Have a system in place so that it is easy to run financial reports that might be needed, such as profit before taxes or a Profit & Loss report.

These are just a few of the financial details that need to be handled on a regular basis. Many business owners don’t have the experience or time to handle these tasks. Instead of stretching yourself thin with the busy work, it is better to lean on the experience offered by an outsourced accounting team.

Financial Management Tips for Your Small Business

Resources are available to make it easy to set up the right financial management system for your small business. Keep in mind that you don’t need to start from scratch when setting up these systems. Instead, it is more effective to tap into the services that are offered by an experienced financial team. When the accounting team has worked on other similar projects, then insight can be offered to help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that are encountered along the way.

Here are a few financial management tips that every small business owner needs to keep in mind:

  1. Learn about Your Options: Educating yourself is one of the first things that you need to do so that you have the right information to support the decisions. Evaluate services that are offered, financial information that needs to be tracked, and where you should turn for the help that is needed. Also, you need to be educated about the current financial health of your company. If you don’t know where you are starting, then it can be hard to determine the changes that need to be made for the future. When the finances are a mess, then it might be tempting to look the other way. But, this information is important so that you can get a feel for the severity of the situation, and then decisions can be made to change the trajectory of the company.
  2. Business and Personal Finances Should Be Separated: It is easy for the finances to get mixed up when you are running a startup or home-based business. Even though the business is in your name, you need to be careful to keep the finances separated so that there isn’t a mix up when it is time to track spending or look at transactions. Get a business credit card and checking account so that all of the expenses are in a different account than your personal The separation takes a little work in the beginning, but it is essential so that you can stay in control of the way the money moves through your accounts.
  3. Manage Large and Small Expenses: You might have a false sense of security if the profits are rolling in. But, don’t assume that a big bank account means that you have money to spend. If you aren’t managing your expenses, then the incoming money will quickly be eaten up by nickel-and-dime costs that are required to keep the company running. Watch out for the cash-suckers, such as monthly subscriptions, inventory purchases, or a slush fund that is hard to keep track of. You need to be consistent about tracking every penny that is spent. At the same time, determine whether the expenses are essential so that you can find areas where you can cut back the spending.
  4. Use Good Accounting Software: A cloud-based accounting software is the best solution in our modern business world. This system makes it easy to track your inflow and outflow. At the same time, your accounting team will be able to access the information even when they are located far away. Additionally, there are many conveniences to having the accounting reports at your fingertips from any place in the world. If you don’t already have a good accounting system in place, then this step should be at the top of your priority list. Our team at Easier Accounting can assist with the implementation of a system that will work for your business needs.
  5. Measure Performance and Progress: Ongoing measurement will help you see the progress that is being made with the money that is coming in and the being spent. It is important that you evaluate progress on a regular basis to determine the trends. For example, you might see that this year is trending with a stronger profit margin compared to last year. As a result, this information can be used if you are looking at options to reinvest the profits in business development or extra marketing campaigns.

You don’t have the time or expertise to manage the business finances without support. So, it makes sense to invest your money in a good accounting service. Outsourcing these tasks will free up your time and improve the systems that are being used in your company. At the same time, you can rest assured to know that you are tapping into the expertise offered by an experienced team that you can trust.

If you are looking for ways to take control of small business finances, then Easier Accounting is here to assist. We invite you to call our company so that you can learn more about the services that are available: (888) 620-0770

Red Flags that Might Increase the Risk of a Small Business Audit

Every small business owner dreads the idea of being audited by the IRS. Even if you have a good bookkeeping and accounting system in place and you are careful to follow the guidelines set by the IRS, there is a chance that you might face a business audit at some point.

It is challenging enough to run a small business and manage cash flow. Adding the stress of an audit on top of your current responsibilities can feel overwhelming. Luckily, you don’t need to handle the situation without support. The most important thing that you can do is hire a good accounting team to help with the auditing process.

Preventing a Business Audit in the Future

There is nothing that you can do to eliminate the risk of an audit completely. But, you should be proactive to minimize the risk so that you can prevent the possibility in the future. As with many other aspects of life, prevention is more valuable than dealing with a problem after the fact.

Talk to your accountant for recommendations about things that you can do to lower your odds of an IRS audit. Certain actions might raise a few red flags, resulting in a situation where the government takes a closer look at your business practices and transactions.

Red Flag #1: You Aren’t Turning a Profit

If you are writing off business deductions, then you need to show that you are working to bring in a sustainable profit. Tax deductions aren’t designed to cover hobby activities. So, a trend of non-profitability could make the IRS suspicious.

Your accountant can help you determine the right strategy to avoid this red flag. As a general rule of thumb, you need to be profitable for at least two out of five years.

Just because your business isn’t profitable, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the deductions that are available. Most accounting professionals will recommend that you maximize your deductions as much as possible to leverage the tax benefits that are available. But, you need to be sure that you are managing good records to document the transactions in case any questions arise.

One or two years of business losses won’t be enough to raise a red flag for the IRS. Instead, they are looking for a pattern of loss that might indicate unusual activity. The IRS wants to be sure that you are taking deductions for a viable business.

Also, consider a new business strategy and cash flow management if you are spending in the red every year. Your accounting team will help you find the right solutions to minimize overhead expenses and maximize the money that you are bringing in. Sometimes a few small adjustments can go a long way to improve your profitability.

Red Flag #2: Most Transactions are Cash-Based

There is nothing wrong with accepting cash payments. But, it could cause a red flag if every transaction happens with cash. We live in a digital world, which means that many businesses are moving towards credit card and digital transactions.

The IRS might scrutinize your company a little more if everything is done in cash. This method of doing business increases the likelihood that business owners or employees could be taking a little off the top tax-free. It’s easier to hide money or adjust the numbers if the transactions are handed over in cash.

It might be tempting to avoid some of your tax obligations by sheltering some of the money that comes in. But, it isn’t worth the risk that you will be facing for penalties and fines if you are audited. Protect yourself and your company by keeping careful records of your cash transactions and the way the money is flowing in and out of your business.

Red Flag #3: Failing to Report All Your Income

The digital age in which we live has made it possible for the IRS to scrutinize the transactions a little more than before. Remember that you aren’t the only one sending the IRS information about your income. Other businesses are required to submit tax forms and paperwork regarding the transactions and payments that were made.

For example, if you offer a services-based company and you worked as a contractor for another business, then that company will provide tax information about the amount of money that was paid to you in a calendar year. Then, the IRS has a computer system known as the “automated underreporter” that compares various types of income reports with the tax returns that are filed. This IRS computer ensures that the numbers match with things like mortgage interest costs, W2 wages, and 1099 freelance income.

So, if you receive income, then make sure that everything is reported on the forms and tax filing. It isn’t worth the risk of withholding some of the information. If the numbers don’t match up, then it could trigger an audit, which in turn increases the likelihood that you will pay back-taxes and additional money for fees.

Red Flag #4: Unusual Deduction Activity

Are you inflating deductions? Some business owners are looking for ways to maximize deductions, so they work the numbers when it comes to things like cash contributions, unreimbursed business expenses, medical expenses, and more.

You should always claim every deduction for the costs that are incurred for business-related activities and purchases. But, if your deductions seem out of line for your industry, or you are claiming a lot more compared to other people in the same income range, then it could be a cause for concern.

Red Flag #5: High Home Office Deduction

If you work from home, then you need to be specific about the amount of space that is being dedicated for business use. This calculation needs to be based on the overall square footage of your home, as well as the amount of space that is needed for the business activities.

In the situation where a business audit is completed, the IRS wants to see that the home office deduction is legitimate. Is that space only used for business activities? Or, is it a place where the business and personal activities are mixed?

As you are calculating your home office deduction, your accountant will also help you look at details for the other home-related expenses, such as utility costs, HOA fees, and more.

Red Flag #6: Using Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are relatively new in the financial world. But, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to report income that comes from these sources. If you have any transactions that are done using cryptocurrency, then the income always needs to be reported.

Failing to report your income from these currencies means that you could be facing prison time and as much as $250,000 in fines. The punishment varies depending on the situation. But, it’s always best to report the income so that you don’t face any of these fines or jail time.

Red Flag #7: Expensive Costs for Business Travel, Meals, and Entertainment

Expenses should be deducted when you are on the road for business. But, it will raise a red flag if you are writing off high costs for lavish restaurants, entertainment, and more.

If you are going to use these costs as deductions for your business efforts, then you need to make sure that you always have good documentation about why you needed to travel. At the same time, be reasonable with the frequency of the travel compared to the needs of the industry.

Of course, these details change depending on your business and ongoing activities. Just be smart about the way you are writing off the meals, transportation, and entertainment. Any time you have questions about legitimate write-offs, it is a good idea to talk to your accountant for custom recommendations.

Red Flag #8: Claiming Vehicle Use is 100% for Business Activities

It’s hard to prove that the vehicle was only used for business, because it is natural to use a car for personal activities as well. So, it isn’t a good move to write off 100% of the vehicle costs. Instead, keep a log in the car of the number of miles that were driven and the purpose of the trip. Then, you can take a standard deduction based on the mileage rate.

This tracking can be as simple as a notebook and pen in the car. Or, there are apps that are available now that make it simple to punch in the mileage numbers so that you can keep a digital log.

Enlisting the Help of an Experienced Accounting Team

Whether you are facing an IRS audit or you are being proactive to minimize the risk of an audit, you need to be sure that you have a trusted accounting team to help with your business finances. These services offer a valuable way to protect your company and minimize tax burden at the same time. Learn more by calling our experienced team at Easier Accounting. We specialize in small business accounting services and offer year-round bookkeeping, tax preparation, payroll processing, and more. Call today to learn more: (888) 620-0770

Low on Cash? Small Business Management Tips for Cash Flow

Not having enough money in the bank can be the downfall of a company. Even if you have money coming in, the current cash position could be a hindrance for the daily operations of the business. If you aren’t keeping up with cash flow, then you need to talk to a financial professional as soon as possible. Here are a few small business management tips for cash flow:

Set a Schedule for Receivables

Even if you have good relationships with your clients, it can be unpredictable to know when the payments will come through. There might be times when your client is late on a payment, which causes a domino effect that hinders your cash flow.

It is important that you have clear guidelines and payment expectations for the amount due. Each invoice should include the due date for payment, such as due on receipt, due net 30, etc. This step will ensure that everyone involved is on the same page for the payment cycle.

At the same time, you also need to be sure that you are consistent with setting the schedule for when the invoices are sent. Have you found yourself too distracted by immediate tasks that need to be addressed, so you forget to put together invoices that are needed for the work that has been completed? Maintaining an invoicing schedule is necessary so that you are consistent with sending out the invoices and maintaining follow-up communication as necessary.

Manage Overhead Expenses

Often, the problem is not that you aren’t bringing in enough money. But, the issue lies in the money that is spent. If your overhead expenses are higher than the money that is coming in, then you will end up in the hole. You need to make sure that you have a clear picture of the money that needs to be received each month to break-even on the expenses that are due.

You might be surprised to see the small ways that you can reduce these overhead costs. Look for extravagant services or features that might be eliminated. For example, you might be able to adjust the landscaping services schedule to decrease the amount of money that is spent on the outdoor care of your location. Or, call around to see if you can get a cheaper business package for internet or phone services.

Sometimes, it is as simple as a phone call to your current provider to ask for a discount to remain a customer. Other times, switching service providers could save you a bundle of money on the ongoing costs.

Outsource Instead of Hire

There are times when you might need to increase your workforce to handle various services in your company. It is easy to assume that the best solution is to hire an employee with the skillset that you need. While there are times for employee hiring and workforce expansion, take a look at outsourcing options before hiring another in-house employee.

In most situations, outsourcing the services is usually cheaper compared to bringing another employee onto the payroll. You can save money on benefits and employment taxes. Plus, you don’t need to pay money for the equipment and office space that is required for the person to complete the work.

Outsourced accounting is a great example of how you can save money. If you hire an in-house accountant, then it is a significant annual expense to cover the cost of their salary, benefits, office space, and more. When your company is tight on cash flow, you probably don’t have the option to absorb these high costs.

On the other hand, it is much more affordable to choose an accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll processing company instead. These services are a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee. You can tap into the expertise without carrying the heavy financial burden of a larger team of employees.

Manage Your Records

Accurate bookkeeping and accounting records are essential so that you know the current cash position of the company. Not only can you see a snapshot of the immediate financial situation, but you can also see accounts receivable and anticipated payments coming in the future.

You won’t know that you are low on cash if you aren’t paying attention to the financial reports. Then, you might encounter a situation where paychecks bounce or you can’t pay the utility bills. We can’t stress this point enough: it is essential that you maintain records of all of your expenditures and income. Utilize the services of a bookkeeping company to learn more small business management tips for cash flow.

Leverage Assets

Most businesses have assets that might be of use when cash flow is tight. Do you have any furniture, electronics, or equipment that isn’t in use? Don’t let these items gather dust in the storage closet. You might be able to sell them on a local classified website to pull in the cash that is needed to pay the outstanding bills.

Something seemingly small, like an older generation smartphone, could bring in several hundred dollars. While the cash might seem insignificant, it can help to reduce the burden that you are feeling. Every little bit adds up, which is why you need to make incremental changes to your habits.

Consider Credit Options

Do you have a credit card or line of credit that can be used to cover the immediate expenses? Leveraging credit is a risky strategy if you can’t pay it back right away. The credit costs could increase the financial benefit in the future due to the payments that need to be met and the increasing interest costs.

So, be careful about the way you choose to use a company credit card. But, there are times when it might make sense if you need to get by until the end of a month when a big payment is anticipated. The best solution is to talk to your accountant or bookkeeping company to see if it makes sense to use credit as needed.

Have an Emergency Account

If you are facing cash flow problems right now, then this tip won’t help with your current situation. But, make sure to be prepared for the future: set aside the extra cash when it is available. An emergency account is essential if you face unexpected expenses or you don’t have enough to cover the overhead costs on a slow month.

Planning ahead is one of the best things that you can do to save your company. It is inevitable that your business will face cash flow problems at some point. So, you need to make sure that you are ready for the rainy days with a savings account set aside for these situations.

Scare Up Extra Business

Look at your current offerings and inventory to see if you can scare up extra business. Do you have old inventory that is sitting on a shelf? Run a sale to clear the inventory and bring in the cash that is needed. The sale will help customers feel the urgency to make a purchase. It is a win-win situation because the customers will be happy about the discounted price and you will be able to bring in the cash that is needed.

Even if you don’t have physical inventory, you can offer promotions for the services that you offer. Send an email to your customer list to offer a one-time package for the services that you provide. Or, look for ways that you can add extra services onto the packages when a customer is ready to buy from your company.

Hiring an Accounting Team to Help

One of the reasons why small businesses often face cashflow problems is because the business owner doesn’t have accounting and bookkeeping experience. Small mistakes can have a long-term impact on the financial health of the company. You don’t have to be a bookkeeping expert to ensure the success of your company. Instead, you need to hire an experienced team to oversee the details.

Hiring an accounting team will free up your time so that you can focus on solutions and problem solving for other aspects of your company. These services are essential to make sure that you are keeping up with some of the biggest payments that could influence your cash flow: payroll, inventory purchases, and taxes. Your accountant will discuss cash flow strategies so that you have money in the bank when these big expenses roll around in the future.

You can choose an accounting service in your hometown, but many people find that the offerings are limited. Instead of selecting a general accounting team, it is better to choose a company that specializes in small business accounting services. The internet has opened the doors of opportunity for you to connect with specialists located anywhere in the country.

Our team at Easier Accounting understands the best accounting and bookkeeping practices for entrepreneurs and small business owners. We’ve been using these strategies for many other companies like yours. Contact us right away to learn more about the ways that we can help with the cash flow for your business: (888) 620-0770

Guide for Business Owners: When to Hire an Accountant

As your business grows, how do you know the right timing to hire an accountant? Many business owners struggle with the commitment to outsourcing. It makes sense that you need the additional help. But, the cost of the service is often the reason the decision is delayed.

As we interact with small business owners, the answers to this question vary depending on the size of the company, the recent growth, and anticipated trends in the future. Often, some specific events or situations triggered the idea to hire an accountant. So, it is important that you talk to a finance professional to see if the services are needed for your company right now.

Why Business Owners Delay Accounting Services

Finances and cash flow are a foundational aspect of the future success of your company. So, why do many business owners delay accounting services? Here are some of the common reasons why people procrastinate this service:

  • Costs: Many startups require bootstrapping, which means that business owners wear many hats throughout the day. Instead of hiring professionals for the services, it might make sense to handle everything in-house in the beginning. It isn’t unusual to find a start-up founder staying after hours to pay the bills or process invoices that need to be sent. These strategies help to minimize startup costs. But, eventually you will need to take the leap to bring in the professionals to help with the services that are needed.
  • Cashflow: Another concern lies in the amount of money that will be spent on the accounting services. Can you afford to spend the cash on these services? The real question is whether you can afford NOT to hire an accountant. Even though you will pay for the services, there are many financial benefits that are available for your company: better financial decisions, tax deductions, and more. In fact, it might be costing you money if you delay the decision to start with outsourced accounting services.
  • Control: If a business owner has a micro-managing personality, then they might want to oversee the way the transactions are entered. Even though there are limited hours in the day, you might have a hard time delegating some of the busy work. Just because you did the books when the business started, doesn’t mean that you need to continue these tasks as the company grows. Look for ways that you can outsource tasks that are taking up your time. By handing off these tasks, you can free up your day to focus on other activities and responsibilities that are more important.

What is your excuse for not hiring an accountant? If you don’t already have someone to help with the finances of your small business, then right now is the perfect time to change your mind and implement a new financial system.

Opportunity Cost of NOT Hiring an Accountant

It is easy to see why business owners get stuck on the amount of money that will need to be spent on accounting services. But, these costs are minimal compared to the potential financial benefits that are available from an accountant. Bringing in a financial professional might be one of the best things that you can do to help your company grow.

An accountant will be able to optimize your financial system, helping to eliminate redundancies or things that are costing you money. This process can be essential to tighten down the overhead expenses, resulting in lower costs that need to be paid each month.

Accounting services can also be beneficial to ensure payments from your clients. It is easy for overdue invoices to slip through the cracks. You need a team that can watch the transactions to make sure that you receive timely payments from your customers.

Additionally, these services are essential to help you maximize the write-offs that are available for your company. Are you leveraging all of the tax breaks that apply to your industry? Only an experienced accountant will know the right places to look to find other options to minimize tax burden. It is common for business owners to find that the accounting fees are recovered in the tax savings alone.

Finally, you need to consider the opportunity cost that you are missing when you are spending your limited time on bookkeeping and accounting tasks. Instead of looking at product development or employee management, you are dedicating your time to busy work. If you keep your head in the books, then you will miss out on potential opportunities to help your company grow. It makes sense to outsource these services so that you are setting your company up for success.

Signs that You Need to Hire an Accountant

Here are a few sure signs that it is time to hire an outsourced accountant:

  1. You Don’t Have Experience with Accounting: If you are sick, then you schedule an appointment with an experienced medical professional. In the same way, it is important that you find someone with hands-on experience to help with your business books. If you are confused by financial reports and you have a hard time keeping up with the transactions, then it is time to hire an accountant. A small business accountant will sift through the information and provide the information in an easy-to-understand format to help you make better decisions for your company.
  2. You are Too Busy to Keep the Books Current: Is there a stack of invoices and transactions sitting on your desk? If you can’t keep up with the paperwork, then it is a sign that you need to outsource these tasks. Even if you can carve out a few hours a week to handle the bookkeeping, consider the other tasks that are neglected within your company. It doesn’t make sense for you to waste your time managing the books. Instead, dedicate that time to connect with new clients or work on your marketing strategy.
  3. You Don’t Know the US Tax Code: Do you stay up-to-date with the changes that happen each year with the tax code? If you aren’t working in the tax industry, then it is likely that you will miss changes that are applicable to your company. Failing to pay the right amount of taxes can result in fines and penalties for your company. An accountant is helpful to identify the right tax strategy, ensuring that you can maximize deductions while staying within the guidelines of the law.
  4. Your Company is Going Through a Rapid Growth Phase: You might have been able to keep up with the bookkeeping when the business started. But, if you are experiencing rapid growth, then the accounting tasks will grow as well. Not only are you facing more paperwork and reports that need to be analyzed, but the increased income can also affect your tax strategy. Make sure that you hire an accountant who can help you move through the growth patterns with ease.
  5. You are Struggling to Maximize Profits: Some companies find that their revenue is increasing, but they are having a hard time keeping money in the bank. If you don’t see that the profits are going up, then it is time to hire a financial expert to analyze your cash flow, expenses, and more. Your accountant will help you identify areas where you can reduce expenses, helping to increase your profit margins.
  6. You are Being Audited: A notification from the IRS about an upcoming audit can be one of the most stressful things that a business owner might face. There’s no way around the messy process that is required for an audit. If you want to protect your company, then don’t make the mistake of trying to navigate the audit without professional accounting services. An accountant can save you time and money, guiding you through this experience.
  7. You are Preparing to Merge or Sell the Company: Whether you are looking at an acquisition or you are preparing to retire from the industry, you need to make sure that you have an accountant to help with strategy. These efforts will maximize the price that you can get for the company. At the same time, your accountant can offer recommendations to decrease the amount of taxes that you will pay from the proceeds of the sale.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you need to hire an accountant. If you aren’t already using professional accounting services, then right now is a great time to learn more about the benefits. For more information, you need to talk to an accounting team that specializes in small business accounting.

There’s no doubt that accounting services are essential for every small business. Instead of risking the future of your business, we invite you to call us at Easier Accounting. We will discuss your needs and determine if our services are a good fit for your company. Our team understands the unique challenges that are faced by small business owners. So, we are always looking for ways to improve our services to match your needs. Call for more information: (888) 620-0770

8 Steps to Boost Profit Margins for Your Company

While it is important to focus on increasing your gross receivables each year, you won’t experience a real boost in profits without also assessing the amount of money that you are spending. It is common for business owners to feel like they are successful with their company because of the large amounts of cash that are coming into the bank account. But, these numbers can be deceiving if you aren’t looking at the overall financial picture.

The main goal is to increase your profitability as much as possible. Extra income can be used for business development, marketing, and other efforts that will improve future success. At the same time, higher profit margins mean that you can enjoy the fruit of your labors.

You can find a million tips online that suggest the best methods to improve profit margins. But, the truth is that business finances can be complicated. In fact, there isn’t one set strategy that works for every company. The best thing that you can do is talk to a financial professional who can assess your business, assets, products, and sales patterns. Make sure that you are utilizing the services of an experienced accounting team who can offer recommendations about the way you are managing your cash flow.

Today, we are sharing some of the most common strategies that can be used to increase business profit margins. If you are interested in learning more information, then we encourage you to talk to our team for personalized recommendations.

1. Maximize Tax Strategy

If you don’t have a good tax plan, then it probably means that you are spending more than necessary on taxes each year. Yes, you are required to pay various taxes on the money that comes in for your company. But, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of the tax breaks and write-offs that are available for your company.

The right tax strategy could save you thousands of dollars or more on the money that you send to the IRS. Reducing these tax liabilities will increase the profit margins that are left after you have paid the expenses for your company. Make sure that you are following the tax laws and working with an experienced accountant for help.

2. Watch Invoices and Transactions

It can be easy to get caught up in the daily responsibilities so that you overlook the invoices that are moving through the office. You need to be paying attention to the invoices that are sent by your suppliers. A quick check is essential to ensure that you aren’t being overcharged.

An accounting team can help with the management of your invoices. For example, if there is a pattern set with a particular vendor, then your accountant can bring an invoice to your attention if it is higher than normal. Always pay attention to the details so that you aren’t billed at the wrong rates or charged for products or services that aren’t received.

As a business owner, you can’t keep up with financial records and accounting by yourself. It is essential that you enlist the help of a professional accounting service. Then, it will be easier to identify potential discrepancies or errors in the invoices that are sent to your company.

3. Offer Add-On Services

Do your customers have an opportunity to buy an extra product or service when they are purchasing from your company? When someone has their credit card out to make a purchase, it is an opportune time to increase the amount that they are spending. They’ve already made up their mind that they want to buy from your company, so the hard work is already complete. Now, you just need to show them the services or products that best match their needs.

You don’t have to be overbearing with the add-on services. Instead, provide small suggestions or hints about complementary services that might be considered. You can see an example of this strategy the website of one of the biggest online retailers: Amazon. Every time you are looking at a product, there is a small section that shows other related items that customers selected after viewing the same product that you are ready to buy.

4. Increase Your Prices

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to race your competitors to the bottom with the prices that are offered. If customers see the quality of your products or services, then they won’t be too concerned about the price that you are charging. So, don’t waste your time trying to cut costs to bring more people through the door. Competing on price is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make! Instead, look for ways that you can increase the value perception to help customers see why they should be buying your products.

It is interesting to note that sometimes a price increase can actually raise conversion rates. If a customer thinks that your price is too low, then it could send a message that you are offering lower quality products or services. On the other hand, a higher price could be an indication that the customer can trust the quality that is offered by your company.

Find a balance to ensure that you are communicating value without racing your competitors to the bottom of the barrel. You deserve to get paid a fair price for the products and services that are offered. At the same time, your customers deserve to receive the quality products that they are interested in buying.

5. Increase Conversion Rates

How often are you losing customers when they are moving through your sales cycle? You might bring customers to your website or bring them through the door, but are they actually buying something when they arrive? Lead generation is important, but finding new customers won’t be effective if you can’t close the sale. In fact, there is a strong argument that you shouldn’t focus on lead generation until you have optimized close rates.

For website sales, you need to work with an experienced team that understands online conversions. If you are closing the sales in person, then you need to know the right strategies to share information with the potential client that will help to seal the deal. Even small increases in conversion rates can have a big impact on the profit margins.

6. Decrease Overhead Expenses

It is common for businesses to get pulled into recurring expenses. Even though the transactions might seem small, they can add up over time. Calculate the amount of money that you are spending on overhead costs, then look for ways that you might be able to reduce your spending.

For example, are you using two software programs that are redundant in the reporting? If it is possible to combine your efforts into one software system, then you might be able to reduce the amount of money that you are paying to use the software. Additionally, you can also save money on the manpower that is needed for the data entry and information management.

7. Assess Inventory Management

How are you managing the inventory that is moving through your business? Buying inventory is a big expense, so you need to be careful to evaluate sales trends and manage the amount of money that you are spending on inventory. It can be a challenge to find the right balance, but it is possible to improve the process with a little bit of practice.

There are several reasons why you need to manage your inventory. First, you need to be sure that you aren’t tying too much cash up into the inventory that is on site. Next, inventory management reduces the risk that employees or contractors will steal products from your company. If there is an issue with theft, then an investigation can be completed to find the culprit.

Finally, inventory management is important so that you can always have products on hand when customers are ready to buy. If a customer wants to purchase from your company, then you will lose out on the potential sale if you don’t have the right inventory available for the transaction. Not only will the customer go somewhere else to find the product, but you might be losing that person to the competition for future transactions.

8. Personalized Accounting Services

Cashflow and profit margins can be hard to manage if you aren’t watching the financial reports and paying attention to the way the money is moving through your company. Most business owners don’t have the experience to handle these financial tasks without support. If you want to increase your profit margins, then hiring an accounting team might be the best thing that you can do.

For more information about personalized accounting services, you should talk to our team here at Easier Accounting. We specialize in small business accounting, and our team is here to assist with anything that you need. Call today to see if our services match the needs of your company. We are always here to help with your business goals: (888) 620-0770

9 Common Scams Targeted at Small Businesses

Everyone needs to be cautious about potential scams… unfortunately, scammers are always finding new ways to exploit businesses and individuals. There are often warnings about scammers that target individuals and families, especially senior citizens. But, there isn’t a lot of conversation about scams that target business owners. Just because it isn’t often discussed, doesn’t mean that your business isn’t at risk of being scammed.

In fact, business accounting scams are becoming more common. Not only are these scams annoying, but they could be threatening the financial security of your company. If you fall into a trap that is set by a scammer, then you will not only lose out on the money. But, it is likely that you will need to dedicate many hours of time to clean up the mess.

Be careful about the management of your company so that you can avoid these potential issues! The best solution is to learn the strategies that need to be used to protect your company. Proactive management of your business is the best solution so that you can avoid some of the most common scams in the industry.

Here are a few common scams that you might encounter and tips to avoid them:

1. Fake Invoices

Truckloads of paperwork can move through the office each month, making it simple to slip in an extra invoice that seems unassuming and harmless. There are scammers out there who send invoices to local companies, with the hope that the invoice will be paid without any questions.

If the business owner is too busy to review the details of every invoice, then it is possible that a check will be sent for the fake invoice. These invoices might show line items for equipment or office supplies or services that are related to your industry. Sometimes, these fake invoices are requesting money for annual renewal or membership.

Avoid this issue by hiring an experienced accounting team to oversee the invoices and payments. Your accountant will watch for potential issues that might indicate the risk of a fake invoice. Good accounting services is an important step to protect your company.

2. False IRS Inquiry

Whether you receive a phone call or email from the IRS, a red flag should go up that something is not right. Usually, these inquiries are threatening and time-sensitive, making people think that they are being audited or in trouble from the IRS.

If the IRS needs to contact you, then they will always send an official letter in the mail. Any time there is a question about communication from the IRS, the best thing that you can do is talk to your accountant for assistance.

Your accounting team will be able to tell if it is a scam or if action needs to be taken with the IRS. In most situations, the request is coming from a scammer who is trying to get access to your personal information. Never send details such as bank account information or your social security number.

3. Robotic Phone Calls

How often do you receive a phone call with a recorded message on the other line? Robocalls are increasing in frequency, and these machines can even leave a message if you don’t answer the phone.

Often, the system finds your business phone number online. Then, you receive automated calls in an attempt to gather information or trick you into sending money. These autodialers are cheap and easy to use, making it nearly impossible to avoid the calls. Most individuals and businesses receive these spam calls on a regular basis.

4. Online Marketing or Directory Placement Scams

Business owners know that they need to create an online presence for their company, which is why so many people fall into traps of paying for fake services or over-inflated prices for marketing. For example, a scammer might contact your company and offer a service that is designed to update your business information in online directories.

Even if the business owner doesn’t agree to the services, the conversation might be recorded. Then, the company will be billed for services that they didn’t agree to. The phone call records can be doctored and used as “evidence,” with a threat from the scammer that they will take legal action if they don’t receive the payment. More often than not, the victim company will send the payment to avoid legal problems.

5. Customer Complaint Letters

One recent scam preys on a business owner’s fear of a bad online reputation. Fake emails are sent impersonating the Better Business Bureau. The letter claims that a customer complaint has been filed and the business owner needs to take action to protect their reputation.

Even though the email might seem legitimate, clicking on the link can lead to a download of malware. If the scammer can get access to your computer, then it means that they are trying to find sensitive information such as bank accounts or customer details.

6. Overpayments from a Customer

With this form of fraud, the scammer shows interest in high-ticket products or services that you are selling. The person requests to send a check for payment, intentionally writing the check for an amount that is higher than the price of the product.

Then, the scammer will request a wire transfer to refund the payment difference. The business owner will send a direct deposit or wire transfer. But, the check will bounce later, resulting in a loss of the money that was wired.

If you encounter this situation, then it is best to hold onto the product and request a new payment from the customer for the amount that is due. Also, be sure that you are cautious in gathering as much information as possible when processing digital transactions: full name, telephone number, address, etc.

7. Business Opportunity Scams

Whether someone approaches you with a pyramid scheme or they are offering a “blue sky” opportunity, it is possible that the scammer is trying to take advantage of your entrepreneurial mindset. Too often, business owners are approached by other people, even friends and family, offering a money-making service or investment opportunities. The person tries to convince you to spend money to join the program, but the promised results never come through.

Usually, these business opportunities are packaged in quick-start systems. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is something that you should avoid.

8. Time Sensitive Emails

Everyone knows that it is a scam if they get an email from a Nigerian prince who wants to send money. But, did you know that other time-sensitive emails could be potentially dangerous to your company? If a scammer gets access to your email address, then they could send business requests or fake inquiries.

The email could be as simple as an offer to help with search engine rankings, or as complex as a proposal for a business opportunity. The goal of the scammer is to gain more information about you or your company that can be exploited or sold for money.

Any time you receive an email from someone that you don’t know, use caution about what you do with the email. Never, ever click on the link provided in the email or open any attachments. If you suspect that the email might be legitimate, then it is best to research the company through search engine inquiries rather than clicking on the provided links.

Even if the link in the email looks legit, it is possible that the scammer could use the click as a way to access your email account. Or, you might be following a seemingly harmless link to a page that places a virus or malware on your computer or phone.

9. Unusual Emails from Friends or Business Associates

While we are on the subject of email scamming, it is important to note that you could receive a scam email from someone that you know. If their account is hacked or they accidentally had malware downloaded on their computer, then it is possible that their email account could be used to send spam messages to your email account.

Often, the email will seem harmless, with a subject line that sounds personal. For example, the email subject line might say “What do you think about this idea?” or “You might like this.” Don’t click on the link in the email! Most likely, it will lead to the risk of your identity being stolen or adware that is downloaded on your computer.

When you receive an email from someone that you know, compare the subject line and content with communication that you’ve received in the past from that person. If anything seems unusual or different, then use caution before clicking on the link. It might be worth a phone call to ensure that the email came from a legitimate source.

Protecting Your Business

As a business owner, you need to enlist the help of industry professionals who can reduce the risk for your business. A good accounting team can help you avoid some of the common scams that target small businesses. If you need a reputable accounting and bookkeeping service, then you need to talk to us at Easier Accounting. We are here to help: (888) 620-0770