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CPA vs. Accountant Responsibilities

When deciding whether you need to hire a CPA or a general accountant for your small business, it’s essential to know the difference. There are a variety of accounting services that you can outsource or hire an in-house accounting team to address. Bookkeeping and day-to-day accounts payable and receivable do not necessarily require hiring a person with a degree in Accounting.

There are more in-depth accounting services that you would need to hire someone who is educated with an accounting degree. A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant with even further education and has passed a test to earn that title. They must adhere to a code of ethics as well to keep their certification.

For a greater understanding of which accountant professional may be right for your small business, let’s look at the roles of an accountant and a CPA.

Accountant Responsibilities

While many accountants are trained to do many of the duties that your small business may require regarding accounting, some tasks may need a CPA’s expertise. What are the responsibilities of an accountant who doesn’t have their CPA credential?

  • Has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting: A general accountant will have a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting or have a degree with a large number of accounting credits.
  • Oversees Bookkeeping: A general accountant should be experienced in managing bookkeeping and signing off on the processes.
  • Consults on Financial Strategy: A general accountant will have a broader view of your company and offer advice on how to save money in the long run.
  • Sets Up Business for Taxes: An accountant can register your small business as an LLC or whichever category is best for your tax situation.
  • Manages Cashflow: An accountant will keep a close eye on the cashflow and have boundaries set on how much cash goes out in order to maintain ample working capital.
  • Projects Future Earnings: A general accountant can collect data and look at the earnings and growth over a period of time. They will use this data to predict earnings for the future.
  • Runs Reports and Analyzes for Optimal Savings: A small business accountant will also run reports to compare and contrast month-to-month or even week-to-week reports. They should also be experienced in recognizing opportunities for savings within your company.
  • Business Planning: They can help with business planning and offering advice on the financial side of your business. Having an accountant in on the meetings with big ideas for the future is always a good idea.
  • Tax Planning: Every business has a strategy with taxes that helps them save money and utilize tax credits. A small business accountant will be very familiar with the best tax strategies for your business.
  • Files Business Taxes: An accountant can file taxes for your business and make sure there aren’t any errors that could lead to red flags that alert the IRS for an audit.

A general accountant can get the job done when it comes to running the financial side of your business. They are well-versed in business planning and helping businesses thrive. There are some things that an accountant cannot do without the CPA certification.

CPA Responsibilities

It changes state to state, but a CPA generally has a Bachelor’s Degree with a certain amount of accounting credits. And on top of that, they either have to have a Master’s Degree or 150 credits total to be able to sit for the CPA exam. Once they have passed the exam, they participate in continuing education to keep their CPA license valid.

Here are the responsibilities of a CPA:

  • Legally Defends Your Company in an IRS Audit: If the IRS audits your small business, a CPA can defend your business and act as a representative. Choosing a CPA with their tax expertise will minimize the fees that may be required by the IRS.
  • Creates and Signs Off Audit Reports: When a CPA signs off on an audit report, they are putting their name and reputation on the line. A CPA signature means that you can trust anything on the report is accurate.
  • Has Expert Tax Knowledge: If you are looking to file out of state taxes or have a complicated tax return, a CPA will have knowledge of all the various tax laws. They will be able to help you with your unique tax return.
  • Offers Advanced Tax Strategy Advice: A CPA will have advanced knowledge of tax strategies for small businesses.
  • Adheres To a Strict Code of Ethics: The reputation and career of a CPA are on the line if they were to break any rules or sign off on an audit without thoroughly checking it for accuracy.
  • Signs Off on All Financials for Publicly Traded Companies: If your company is publicly traded in the stock market, then all financials that are presented must be signed off by a CPA. The public isn’t going to trust your profit margins until you have a CPA’s stamp of approval.

As you can see, it takes special training and effort to receive a CPA credential. Because of this, their work is more valued and sought after. If you need help with an IRS audit, a CPA can help. And you can always know that they have to be honest and ethical to keep their license.

What is an EA?

An enrolled agent, or professional tax preparer, also has to sit for an exam and adhere to a code of ethics. An EA has the expertise in the tax side of the CPA certification. Their roles include:

  • Preparing Complex Tax Returns: If you are looking for an expert in tax preparation and strategy, then an EA will help you with that. Their role is primarily to prepare taxes and execute tax strategies that are best for big and small businesses.
  • Specialized Knowledge in Tax Law: An EA will know all of the tax laws and fix any problems in your small business that may be bad news to the IRS. They can also defend you if the IRS were to accuse your company of breaking any tax laws.
  • Representing Your Business Before the IRS: An EA is qualified to defend your business before the IRS, just the same as a CPA. They will fight for your business during an audit and reduce fees and present the proper paperwork throughout the process.
  • Negotiating Payment Plans with the IRS: An EA can work with the IRS to negotiate payment plans if there are back taxes that are owed. They can also advocate for your small business and cooperate kindly with the IRS demands.

An EA may be an excellent option for your company if you are looking for an accountant to help you with an IRS audit. They are well-qualified and tax experts. Most of the work an EA focuses on is in the tax side of accounting, so they will always be a great option to take care of your small business taxes.

Which Accountant Professional Is Right for Your Small Business?

Here are some questions you might ask yourself to decide what accounting professional is right for your small business:

  • Is my company private or public? If your company is public, then you will need a CPA to certify all of the financial documents that you present to the public.
  • Do I need help with specialized accounting? For any complex accounting processes, a CPA will be the right person to use their further education to help your small business.
  • Do I need help with daily bookkeeping and simple accounting? A general accountant can help you with any bookkeeping processes and help get your company organized.
  • Do I need representation in an IRS audit? A CPA or an EA can represent you before the IRS. These agents are used to working with the IRS and have the negotiation skills to save you the most money.
  • Am I seeking financial advice for my business? An accountant or CPA is an excellent option if you are seeking big picture advice for your business.
  • Do I need help with taxes? An accountant, CPA, or EA can help you file your taxes and remember all the tax credits for which you qualify. A CPA or EA may have more specialized knowledge and more experience. Plus, their certification is on the line if any big mistakes were to occur.

The answers to these questions should get you started on which path to take when choosing the right accountant for your company. Doing the proper research beforehand will save you from having to hire additional help in the future. The last thing you want is to be audited just to find out that your accountant isn’t qualified to help you with the IRS.

Contact Small Business Accountants Today

When you sign up for accounting services, you want a team who can help you with every need that you have. With Easier Accounting, we have a team of qualified accountants and CPAs who specialize in small business. Our experts can relieve your stress related to bookkeeping or taxes, or day-to-day checks and balances. Invest in your small business by hiring small business accountants today. Give us a call at (888) 620-0770.

Advice for Making a Small Business More Diverse and Inclusive

Being an entrepreneur can come with many brainstorming ideas that are made into a reality with your drive and go-getter personality. An essential part of owning a small business is surrounding yourself with people from all backgrounds and demographics who can help you learn about all perspectives. If you were only surrounded by people who think as you do, you would never be able to reach a broad audience.

What Does Diversity in Small Business Look Like?

Diversity in business can involve many aspects, including:

  • Age: Having a wide array of generations on your executive team is an asset to a company. Yes, hiring a 21-year-old fresh out of college can feel like a risk. It can also have a big payoff by gaining a new and innovative perspective from someone in a different stage of life than you. On the flip side, someone with a lifetime of experience will know shortcuts and life lessons that you may not have experienced yet.
  • Gender: Many successful businesses have spoken out about hiring more women on their teams, and their companies are thriving. Getting input from both men and women can widen perspectives and bring in better ideas.
  • Socio-economic Status: Surround yourself with people from all walks of life in your small business. It is essential to have people from different socio-economic backgrounds so you can discuss price points with real input from your team. Choosing a diverse accounting team is crucial as well, in age and experience, and background.
  • Race: Diversity can look like a wide array of racial backgrounds. You can provide the representation of success and power in hiring people who aren’t exactly like you.
  • Place They Were Raised: An employee raised in the Northeast could have different ideas from a person from California. When you have many regions represented on your team, you will reach audiences all over the country and world with your online business.
  • All Abilities: Open your mind to hiring someone who is deaf or has any disability. Small changes in the workplace to make it more accessible can take care of any initial differences. And you can enjoy the skills presented by a valued employee.
  • Sexual Orientation: Great perspectives and a more extensive reach will result from people who have a variety of life experiences. Celebrate the differences in your work community.

Diversity comes in many forms, and all ways are beneficial to your business. Making small efforts to invest in your business’s diversity will be steps toward making your small business the best that it can be.

Where to Start?

You don’t have to clean up shop and overhaul your team all at once. Company culture doesn’t change overnight. There is power in awareness and then taking the steps toward diversifying your team, little by little. When you all are on the same page and moving in the right direction, real strides can be made toward executing change. Here are some ideas on where to start:

  1. Educate Your Small Business on Diversity and Why It’s Important

The first step is educating your current employees and executive team. You can talk about the benefits of surrounding the business with contrasting ideas and opinions. A company culture of diversity and inclusion isn’t only the right thing to do – it will give your company a competitive edge and help your business grow into financial success.

When the whole team is educated on how important it is to invite differing opinions and views to the table, they will all be on board to move forward with the initiative. Unity in this intent is essential in a business so that everyone is genuinely working together to make a change in company culture.

  1. Start with One or Two Goals

Of course, you can’t fire everyone on the team and start fresh. And you also can’t hire a bunch of new employees without work for them to do. Implement initiatives to drive your current employees into the state of mind surrounding inclusion and diversity.

When the company changes its culture and way of thinking, a new team member will feel more welcomed when starting work at your small business. Employees in a small business can be tight-knit, and your team can work on inclusion strategies before the need to hire a new employee comes up.

  1. Celebrate the Differences Among Your Employees Regularly

You can implement programs in your company to promote the employees to show who they really are and what they love. This can look like a simple basketball or book club that meets after work hours together. Or you can also start service initiatives where the company comes together to serve in the community, and employees take turns choosing charities they are passionate about.

The worst culture you can have is a standard where everyone is expected to conform and hide who they really are. Encourage sharing and learning from one another. Maybe you can spotlight an employee in each staff meeting, highlighting personal achievements and passions. Let people know that opening up and sharing are welcome in your business.

  1. Make a Plan for Recruiting

In order to open your mind to finding diverse talent for your small business, you can create a navigation plan. This can include a diversity component to your interview scorecard. If you are evaluating a potential employee, how would they contribute to your company in a way that would stand out?

Another strategy for hiring a new employee is to try a blind resume assessment. Have the names, schools, and the city they live removed from the resumes and look through them with fresh eyes. This way, you can be freed from quick judgments. When you don’t know their gender or University, you can decide based on qualifications alone. This will set the tone for the interview process and keep yourself aware not to make snap judgments based on appearance as well.

When hiring new employees with diversity in mind, be sure to highlight the steps your company has taken toward educating and making goals around diversity and inclusion. You never want a potential employee to feel like a token hire to check a box. Be genuine about your end goal and the small steps you are taking to achieve it.

  1. Represent Your Company in Advertising Honestly

A lot of times, a company uses models of different ages and races to advertise their business. While this is a great way to show that your company has representation, be sure that your employees also reflect a picture of diversity. Customers want to know that the people involved in making the decisions with the company also look like them.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start when implementing diversity in your small business. When you make your intentions known and implement small initiatives to revamp your company’s culture, you will make the transition more natural. Surrounding yourself with a variety of voices and celebrating those differing opinions will create ideas that are on the next level, ready to propel your small business into a success.

What Are the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace?

There can be so many benefits to having varied voices and opinions in your small business. One person in charge of making decisions without consulting with others will always lead to a dead-end in innovation. When you brainstorm with a small group of people, especially people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs, you will find success with fresh and new ideas.

Here are some benefits to having a diverse team for your small business:

  • Multiple perspectives
  • Fresh ideas
  • More creativity
  • Increased collaboration
  • Faster problem-solving
  • Higher profits
  • Respected company reputation

When you take the small steps toward building up your small business’s diversity, you will see great results. It takes more than just big talk. You have to act on your ideas and set measurable goals. When you hold yourself accountable for making change, your business will gain a reputation of inclusion and being a safe place for people of all backgrounds to work.

Now Is the Time for Diversity and Inclusion

If it has been heavy on your mind to make changes in your small business surrounding diversity and inclusion, put your money where your mouth is. Taking the necessary steps toward altering your company culture and hiring people with fresh and exciting ideas will help your small business thrive.

When you have a team that is filled with broadened horizons and problem-solving skills, it may genuinely be the revamp that your business needs. Make a plan and invest in the diversity of your small business today.

Contact an Expert Accounting Team

Our team at Easier Accounting can help you with your small business accounting needs. If you are looking to diversify your team, let us take the stress of day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting off your hands. You will be left to focus on the growth of your company with increasing big and diverse ideas. Contact Easier Accounting to learn more about delegating out your small business accounting so that you can focus on what really matters. Please call us at (888) 620-0770.

Start the New Year Off Right for a Small Business

As you go into the New Year with your small business, you may find yourself feeling energized and ready to make 2021 your year! There were likely some hard lessons learned in 2020. But you made it through, and now your company has the potential to grow and thrive. What can you do for your small business to make sure that you start the New Year off right?

Looking Back to Find Fresh Ideas for the New Year

How can you look back on 2020 and turn your experiences into even better results for your small business in 2021? With great analysis and dedication, take a look at these ideas on how your past unexpected adventures can serve great benefits for your small business:

  • Contact Existing Customers: Get in touch with your existing clientele to find out what your business is doing right. What keeps them coming back to your website or store? Is it the friendly employees? Is it the cleanliness? Is it the store layout and modern style? Is it the quality of the products? When you find out why people stay loyal to your small business, you can emphasize those areas of your business to attract new customers.
  • Survey Previous Customers: It’s not easy to hear criticism on your small business, but it helps know why customers are not returning. When you reach out to people who only have one purchase from your company, you can discover why they didn’t return. Maybe the reason is that they loved the product so much, they never needed a replacement or a reason to return. But other reasons could be helpful to know: was it too busy, was the interface complicated, was the product defective, did they have a terrible customer service experience? These things would be vital to know so you can move forward in improving your small business.
  • Look at your ROI on Marketing Strategies: Write out the numbers of how much money you invested in marketing, and find out which marketing strategy brought in the most business. You can find out how people heard of your business through a short exit survey. Or you can send out coupons through email, social media, and the mail, and see which coupons are used the most. If you can pinpoint where your marketing paid off the most, you can put more money into that investment.
  • Review Your Small Business Sources of Success: What is the source of success in your small business? Maybe you initially set out to start a headband business, and you discovered that your greatest strength was in the design prints and fabric choices. With those strengths, the sky is the limit, and your small business can expand into designing workout clothing or athleisure. Maybe your strength is building a community and connecting with customers. Then you can put your efforts into growing your social media following and obtaining loyal customers that will get behind all of your business ventures.
  • Celebrate the Best Performing Months: When you look back at 2020, which months were your best sales months? 2020 was a unique year, but you can learn at what point during the pandemic that your company found its footing with tweaked safety procedures and a big move to online sales. How can you continue that growth into the New Year?
  • Glean from What Worked and Move On from What Didn’t: Do not be afraid to admit failure on an idea and move on from it. You don’t have to stay loyal to your ideas if they are sucking money from the business. If an innovative marketing strategy didn’t work for your business, cut it loose. This will relieve you from unneeded stress and a more significant loss from holding on too long.

Collecting and analyzing data in your small business can work toward your benefit. If you are in over your head with an accounting system, then eliminate the stress and find a team you can trust to do your small business accounting. One of an entrepreneur’s best characteristics is recognizing what’s failing early and making the change to minimize your losses.

Looking Ahead and Start the New Year with a Bang

Whether your business barely made it through 2020 or had the best year yet, every small business owner has pros and cons to look back and learn from over the course of a year. Take what you have learned, and now look to the future. How are you going to make the New Year the best year yet for your small business?

  1. Make New Connections

The small business world is a small community of people who are willing to help one another. Meet new people. Get to know other small business owners in your city and share ideas and tips. When you have friends in the industry, you will likely get referral customers from other small business owners. The people who shop small usually like to support small businesses in general, so become a part of that small business network in your community.

  1. Learn Something New

As your industry is growing and changing, stay at the forefront of the changes. Technology is a huge part of small businesses these days. If you have avoided dipping your toes into social media, delay no longer! Create your small business accounts on social media and post consistently. This way of connecting with your customers will help you keep personal relationships with your clients, especially if you are an online-only business.

If your small business is a service business, then learn new services to offer your customers. If you have a hair salon, stay on top of recent up-and-coming trends. If you have a dog-walking service, implement new procedures to offer contactless pickup and dropoff during the pandemic. This may include a simple tracking device on the dog, so the owner knows where you are. New changes are essential and show that your company is innovative and creative.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Implementing Significant Changes

It can be overwhelming to decide to revamp a process that your small business has used for years. But if there is a better way, then the change is necessary. Whether you need to reorganize your accounting system or need a brand new website interface, make the changes that keep your company current and modern. Leaping into significant changes for your small business in the New Year can result in huge profits or savings.

  1. Dream Big

Think back to what your main goal was before you started your small business. If you have always wanted to run your own music school and are currently teaching lessons out of your home, what needs to change to go to the next level? Often, it takes an investment of money to get the big results that you dream about for a thriving small business in the New Year. Save up and work toward that dream, and don’t lose sight of it.

  1. Set Lofty Goals

Usually, we are talking about attainable, small goals that will keep you motivated. Those goals are important too. But if you want 2021 to be your big year, then keeping your eye on the big end goal is what is going to get you to hit the ground running. Do you have a goal to double your small business team by the end of 2021? What about a goal to delegate the day-to-day business dealings so that you can focus on growing the business?

If you are looking to achieve big goals, it may be time to get an investor. Finding an investor in the New Year is a lofty goal. If your business is a 3-person small business, it may be time to bring in more money so that you can find a manufacturer, invest in ample inventory, and be prepared for tremendous growth. If you have found your small business at this point, don’t shy away from it. Dive in and see what can happen for your small business in the New Year.

You can jump into 2021 with a positive outlook for your small business. Stick with the things that work and run with your big ideas to achieve even bigger goals. Keeping this idea of growth and unlimited heights at the forefront of your mind will help your small business move in the right direction for the New Year.

Contact Small Business Accountants for Help

This New Year could finally be the year that you let the professionals focus on your accounting system so that you can focus on growing the business. When you hire experienced accountants, you will quickly see your investment return when you have a team handling your money that knows how to save. Your business can only benefit from an organized and strict accounting strategy, including bookkeeping, taxes, and payroll services.

Our team at Easier Accounting has an extensive understanding of small business accounting. If you require a revamped accounting system for 2021, then contact our team for help. We can set you up an accounting system focused on saving your business money and time. Call Easier Accounting to schedule your appointment at (888) 620-0770.

New Year’s Resolutions for a Small Business

It’s a new year and time to give your small business a boost with New Year’s resolutions. Finding ways to improve your company continually is a vital part of being an entrepreneur. The smallest changes can make a big difference in your business. Take a look at some great examples of New Year’s resolutions for your small business.

2021 Small Business Resolutions

Revamp your business with these New Year’s resolution ideas:

  1. Delegate More So You Can Focus on Building the Business

If you are caught up in the day-to-day dealings of your small business, you will not have time to focus on growing your business. For roles like customer service, accounting, fulfilling orders, inventory counts, and other daily tasks, leave them to your team. When your time is freed up due to delegation, you can turn your energy toward marketing your business and helping it grow.

  1. Call for Weekly Planning Sessions

Yearly and quarterly planning meetings are essential for keeping a small business in check. But take it a step further and plan out your business strategies each week, cluing in the team on your goals and working together to implement them. You will find that setting aside time for planning meetings will actually save you time overall.

In each planning meeting, you can take a look at the New Year’s resolutions you are implementing and tweak them to serve your small business in the best way possible. Letting too much time go by can really set you back if you don’t catch a lousy business practice right away.

  1. Promote Your Small Business Continually

Sometimes you can get so busy that you lose your focus on continual marketing and promotion of your small business. Even when times are slow and money is tight, regular and consistent promotions will keep your company at the top of people’s minds. Running promotions and finding ways to get customers back on your site or get their foot in your door will always benefit your business.

Make a New Year’s resolution to pay for marketing in 2021. Keep track of the cost and find out if the ROI makes sense for your small business. Many e-commerce companies find success with social media advertisements. If that is something you have been hesitant about, take the jump into investing in marketing for your small business.

  1. Connect With a Local Small Business Networking Group

Each city or community has a networking group of small business owners that get together and share ideas, share referrals, and build relationships with one another. By joining a networking group, you will be on the business owner’s mind when a customer asks where they should go to get a good or service. If you are an artist, a local boutique can recommend your custom paintings to buy for a frame from the shop.

  1. Schedule In “Me Time”

Self-care is the buzz word as of late, and for a good reason. If you don’t ever take the time to slow down and focus on yourself, it can be detrimental to your business. As a small business owner, your business will receive more attention to detail and love if you first take care of yourself.

  1. Learn a New Skill

In reading each New Year’s resolution, you may be overwhelmed where all the time is going to come from to fit all of these goals into your year. The time will come from the delegation and planning that you are also mastering this year. All jokes aside, expanding your small business may take further education or the introduction of a new product or service. To keep up in your small business industry, you must be in-the-know about what’s trendy.

If you own a nail salon, you will need to educate yourself about gel nails and the processes that come with them. If you have an e-commerce site with baby products, then stay up-to-date with the prints and textiles that are selling the quickest in the baby industry. This may come with learning a new stitching style or finding a new designer. Continual education and growth are vital as a small business owner.

  1. Get Involved in the Community

A great way to get your name out is to sponsor the local elementary school or a little league baseball team. You can attend the events and meet people who are interested in your service. A lot of times, people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding a realtor or an orthodontist. If they know your business invested in their child’s school, they will think of your business first when a need arises.

Donating and working with a charity is also a great way to improve your business. The most successful entrepreneurs spend a portion of their time volunteering to help people who are not as blessed as they are. Giving back will bond your team together as you regularly serve others and take the time to think outside of your business.

  1. Embrace Diversity

It’s an important question to ask if your small business team represents very similar demographics, whether it be age, race, or socioeconomic status. Surrounding yourself with people of different backgrounds and experiences will allow you to expand your customer base. Diverse ideas are vital in a small business – to learn from people who think of fresh concepts that are new to you.

  1. Build Up Your Reputation Always

In everything you do, do it with your reputation in mind. Even when you start out and are low on capital, choose quality over quantity. Do not take shortcuts. Handle all deals with integrity and honesty. Your small business reputation matters, and it’s a meaningful New Year’s resolution to make that a priority.

  1. Connect with Your Customers

A great way to bond with your customers is to send thank you notes for their business. You can do this at Christmastime, or you can sprinkle it throughout the year. Anytime you have a quiet moment, write out a thank you note to a valued customer and mail it to them or leave it to collect the next time they stop in. Phone calls can also be meaningful. Or even a quick text to check up on a new development in their life that they shared with you.

These subtle changes to your small business will help you achieve the ultimate goal: to spend less and earn more. When you put your heart into your business, you will reap great rewards. New Year’s resolutions like getting involved in the community and making time for yourself may not sound like they will directly benefit your company, but it’s all a part of the big picture. When you are happier and more well-rounded, your small business will expand.

Tips on Achieving Goals

Sometimes writing down your New Year’s resolutions is not enough. It would be best if you made a plan to implement and execute your goals.

  • Set Sensible Goals: All entrepreneurs have big ideas, but be careful to make your New Year’s resolutions attainable. When you set resolutions that are practical to achieve, your positive results will motivate you to keep working toward your goals.
  • Look at the Big Picture in the Far Future: Don’t forget to step back and think of your 5-year and 10-year plan for your business and make sure that your New Year’s resolutions are working toward those big picture goals. When your yearly goals align with your long-term goals, then your small business will always be headed in the right direction.
  • Do Not Settle: It can be tempting to work toward a goal, and then just before you reach it, you decide it’s close enough and never fully achieve what you were working toward. Everything you do must be intentional toward working to build your small business.
  • Embrace Setbacks and Move On: Sometimes, it can be best to throw out a New Year’s resolution once you realize it’s not benefiting your business in the way you thought it would. It is a good business practice to be able to recognize when a strategy isn’t working and move on.

Your New Year’s resolutions are achievable with hard work and planning. Big ideas are the first step to building a successful small business. But hard work goes hand-in-hand to help realize those ideas.

Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet

Get inspired and display your New Year’s resolutions front and center in your office. Remind yourself that this year can be the best year of your life as you grow your small business. Scaling a small business isn’t something that happens accidentally. Setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions will contribute to substantial growth in your small business.

For help in setting purposeful goals for your small business, you can contact Easier Accounting. Our team is here to help! With extensive experience with small businesses, our expert team will help your small business save money as it grows. Call us at (888) 620-0770.

Check it Twice: Year-End Accounting Checklist

As the year comes to an end, it is time to look back on your small business and evaluate what went right and what went wrong. You can celebrate successes and pivots that were made to accommodate COVID-19. You can relax and recover after a holiday rush.

Reflection at the end of the year is essential, and getting your finances in order is also vital. Your year-end accounting checklist is a list of small business accounting tasks to get a pulse on your business. You can use the accounting checklist to nail down exactly how successful your company was this year compared to other years.

As you review your accounting checklist for 2020, reflect on the trials that you overcame in your business. If your business was hurt significantly from the pandemic, make realistic accounting goals for 2021 that will be achievable. Use this comprehensive end-of-year accounting checklist to get your business in order before the New Year.

1. Cash Flow Analysis

There are a number of reports to run at the end of a full year of business. One of them is the cash flow report. When you take a comprehensive view of the cash inflow and cash outflow over the course of a year, you will see patterns. Do you remember specifically when you were strapped for cash in your small business? What went wrong? What can you do better next year?

You can also compare your cash flow to reports from previous years’ accounting checklist. This year will look different because of COVID-19. It was unlike any other year, some small businesses benefiting as online sales went up during the pandemic. How can you continue to bring in cash while being strict about the amount of money that goes out?

Oftentimes, if cash flow has increased, a small business owner may be inclined to spend more freely. If you saw a large amount of cash flow this year that resulted in overall profit for your business, contact a small business accountant. You can review the numbers and make a decision on whether it is smart to make a big purchase to invest in your business with the unexpected year’s profits.

2. Account Receivables Reconciliation

Next up on the accounting checklist is going through your list of accounts receivables for the year and being sure that all is paid and reconciled. You can run a report and find out your turnaround time when it comes to billing clients and receiving their payments.

When you have a clear view of patterns that were set for the year, you will be able to improve accounts receivable for the upcoming year. Did you get paid on time? Were your cash flow problems due to receiving late payments from customers? This is the case with many business owners, and when you don’t have a strict accounts receivable system, it can lead to big problems with needed cash flow.

Use the 2020 accounting checklist to collect all of your outstanding bills and implement a new policy where your accounts receivable will have a shorter turnaround. This way, you will have the money coming in that you planned for when a service has been performed, or goods have been purchased. The smaller the turnaround, the better for your business and accounting practices.

3. Vendor Status Updates

The end of the year is a good time to go through your vendor list. Evaluate which vendor relationships are invaluable. You can send gifts of thanks for their accuracy and timely deliverables. You can compare reports and prices and determine if a particular vendor made good on their promises of savings.

It is also an excellent time to remove any vendors from the list who are obsolete or cannot benefit your business. Keeping your list of vendors short and high-quality will save you time later when you need to consult the list. When you update the list each year, you won’t be caught forgetting that one vendor doesn’t carry what you need or the other vendor can’t compete as well as the others for a particular inventory item.

4. Payroll and Benefits Verification

It’s essential to make sure your employee paychecks are accurate for the end of the year accounting checklist. Your employees will be filing taxes, and your business will be responsible for any mistakes on their paychecks. Backpay of FICA or employee raises can be a large bill that wasn’t planned, so it’s essential to make sure you have that correct the first time around.

The end of the year can also be a time to celebrate your employees. If they worked extra hard through the holiday rush, then reward them with paid time off. Show that you value your employees by giving them benefits specific to your small business.

5. Staff Needs for Upcoming Year

Take a look at your business’s busy patterns vs. slow times and make a plan for hiring staff for the upcoming year. What could you have done better this year to streamline your employees’ workflow? When you look at the year overall, you will get a more accurate picture of how you can improve.

6. Tax Preparation

Collect all of the documents needed to file for taxes. Accounting software can help you identify all the financial reports and documents that you will need. And even better, a small business accountant can help you get everything you need to be done when it comes to taxes on your year-end accounting checklist.

Do you have a tax strategy for your small business? When you consult with an accountant, you will find there are ways to save money with taxes. There is a variety of strategies that could apply to your company, and an accountant can help you identify which one will save you the most money.

7. Accounting Backups

The end of the year is a great time to be sure you have all the backups in your accounting system that you need. If you use a cloud backup service, that is helpful as they backup in real-time. But it is also essential to download specific reports each year to keep on an external hard drive. When you double your backups, you will never lose important files related to your small business.

8. Business Organization

Has your store been turned upside down through the holiday rush? Take time to organize your store at the end of the year. Give a deep clean and organize shelves, rotating any inventory that will no longer be needed in the new year. If your business doesn’t have a brick and mortar store, you can organize your files and your website. Be sure that your website has a customer-friendly flow.

9. Inventory Check

Run an inventory report and make sure it matches up with your end-of-year sales. If you neglect counting inventory, especially after an influx of business, you will leave your small business vulnerable to fraud. Performing checks and balances with your inventory may feel tedious, but it is necessary for keeping your business secure.

10. Website Overhaul

Take this time to go through your website, making sure all the links work. Look at it from the perspective of a potential customer – what welcomes you into the website? What may be difficult to navigate? Your accounting checklist can include updating your website to be ready for new sales in the new year.

11. Business Goals

Take a look at your goals from previous years, and see if you met any new goals this year. When your business is goal-driven, you will always have a target you are trying to hit. And your small business will have a progression toward that goal, always working toward improvement. Set new goals for the upcoming year that are even better than the year before.

Focus on the Future

Now that you have gone through everything on your accounting checklist, it is time to wrap up the year 2020 and focus on the year to come! You have a clear view of how your business improved and know what you need to adjust in order to be even better in 2021. Knowledge is power, and it’s up to you what to do with that knowledge.

Looking ahead for your small business, focus on the positive. Which employees are invested in your business with you? Celebrate them. What challenges are up ahead that you are ready to tackle? Make a plan and overcome slow times in your industry. The possibilities for your small business growth in the future are endless. Your business succeeded through a pandemic that no one saw coming. If your business survived that, it could survive anything and maybe even thrive in the year to come!

End the year 2020 with everything in order and ready for greater success in 2021. Our team at Easier Accounting can help you achieve that. Whether you need help with taxes or setting realistic small business goals for the upcoming year, it is best to contact an accountant who can help. Call us to set an appointment at (888) 620-0770.

How to Give a Small Business a Refresh

This year has been a whirlwind year for small businesses. Many companies have had to completely redesign their business plans in order to survive during a pandemic and an economic crisis. Flexibility in small business is vital. What can you do to pivot your company to fit the current small business climate better?

Steps to Refresh Your Business

Consider a few options to give your business a refresh. You can take these steps to get started:

Brainstorm Ideas

Write it all down. Don’t leave anything out. Every idea that comes to mind that could remotely fit into your brand, add it to the list. This is no time to be critical but to let the ideas flow. Make a long list full of different things that you can do with your small business. The possibilities are endless.

Find Natural Extensions

Next, go through the list and find things that are going to naturally flow with your business plan. Do you have an art school that you could move lessons online? Do you own a boutique that may need to move to online sales during this time? Be creative with how to set yourself apart. Maybe your boutique can have 1-hour delivery options for loyal customers.

Another example, take a restaurant that rarely used takeout. During this time, they pivot entirely to takeout, changing their menus to better fit to-go meals. And then they go a step further. The pickup line is decked out in colorful drinks in beautiful display cases. Along their pickup line, they sell local jams and sauces, jewelry from a local artist, signs to decorate your home, and bring the atmosphere of your favorite restaurant with you.

This restaurant did more than move to takeout. They took it a step further as a love note to their customers. They also made an effort to support local small businesses that may also be suffering.

Think Digital

Have you been thinking you should probably move your business online anyway? Now is a better time than any. Small businesses everywhere have changed their formats to move online. A dance studio teaches all of their classes virtually. A bakery offers cooking classes on their Facebook page with a baking kit that can be picked up. A bookstore will offer a read-aloud in which you or your kids can listen in.

All of these ideas are perfect for the state that we’re in right now. The best part is, they will continue to be great for your business even as life eventually goes back to normal. The flexibility of online options will always be something that people want.

Try It Out

Depending on the idea, you can try out your plan on a small scale first to ensure it will work. If you need to invest some money into launching your new idea, be sure to break it down with your accountant and see where you have the flex room in your budget. Some ideas can have little consequence if they don’t work out. And then some are risky. If your business is struggling, it is definitely worth the try to save it.

Small Ways to Refresh

Even if your ideas aren’t big and company-changing, what are some things you could do to spruce up your business and give it a new purpose? You can do simple things to reach a new audience and have your current demographic see your small business in a new light.

  1. Revamp the Website: Now is as good of a time as any to redesign your website. Think about the extra time people spend on the internet. What is the purpose of your website? Does it have a good flow to get people to see your vision? Pick light colors that are welcoming and warm. Choose clean lines, being sure that it doesn’t look too busy. Add ongoing content to your website. Contemplate adding a blog where customers can engage and learn more about the company’s origin. Share your processes and open up about your business growth and new ideas that you want to test out. This will also serve as a way to bring new users to your website as continual new content with the right keywords will help get your company toward the top of a Google search.

 

  1. Build a Social Media Campaign: Whether you like it or not, social media platforms are the way to bring in new business. Think about the millions of users that use Facebook each day. If they are already there, then make the details of your company easily accessible to people. Build a Facebook page or Instagram account. Present a giveaway to get page awareness out there and show what you have to offer. Think about what you want out of a business when you are scrolling through Instagram. How many posts feel like too many that you want to hit unfollow? Find a happy medium with your amount of posts and mix in light and quick posts with thoughtful, wordier posts. Make sure you post a variety of pictures, some with an inside scoop of who you are as a small business owner.

 

  1. Make Your Business Image More Modern: Along the lines of redesigning your website, think about that on your social media pages and advertisements. Is your image modern? Are you following the trends and keeping up with changing times? If this isn’t your wheelhouse, consider taking on an image consultant for your business. You will be surprised how many people pass on by if the look of a small business doesn’t fit their aesthetic.

 

  1. Update All Pictures Representing Your Small Business: Are your pictures of high quality? Remember that you are representing your business in every picture you post on your website or to social media. Is the lighting natural and open? Are your images sharp? Do you have clutter in the background or old furniture? People can make snap judgments on how trustworthy a business is by finding clues in their pictures. Be sure you present professional photos on every platform, whether social media, flyers, advertisements, mailing lists or your website.

 

  1. Create Engaging Digital Content: The algorithm on social media platforms is calculated by how much the users interact with your account. The likes and comments, even how long they hover over your post before scrolling by, are taken into account. You want to create content where your customers stop and feel inspired. Maybe you can ask for their input by continually posting polls or “This or That” questions. Your customers will feel more valued if they know their opinion is important to you. If your business is very small, you can choose to highlight each customer periodically with their review of your service. Posting reviews is a powerful way to bring new business to your company. People always read reviews before trying out a new service or brand. By posting the reviews along with a small customer bio, they can see themselves in other customers and relate. You will create a community that people will want to come back and visit.

 

  1. Implement New Employee Training: Do your employees need a revitalization? Any job can get stale when you are focused on day-to-day mundanity. Inspire your employees with a fun training where they can invest in themselves by investing in your company. Help them to see the big picture. Maybe you can have a contest on who provides the best Covid-19 solution or improvement. You can play games and reinstate a company culture of positivity and encouragement. It is never too late to overhaul the atmosphere of your small business.

 

  1. Set Updated Goals for the Company: Every small business out there has been challenged through this pandemic. What are some short-term goals you can set for your business? Maybe it is something that will give you the motivation to make it through this challenging economic time. It could be something as small as making your company more takeout-friendly to meeting with an accountant and getting your books in order. You always want to be prepared for any obstacle that will come your way.

Start Fresh with Your Small Business

It’s important to stay inspired as a small business owner, no matter if your company is 200 years old or 2 years old. It is never too late to implement new ideas and to grow. Times are changing quickly, and the digital world has only been magnified more during these times, where many people are at home more. Social media and websites help people feel less isolated as they are social distancing from friends, family, and co-workers. Be the business that reaches out and helps people to be connected.

Contact Us Today

Are you ready for a refresh? First, be sure that your books are in order and seek advice about how much to invest in a new idea. Our team at Easier Accounting can answer any questions you might have. We want your small business to succeed. We want to help you find the way to take those next steps toward your business revitalization. Schedule an appointment today: (888) 620-0770.

Accounting Basics: The General Ledger

One of the most important components of accounting and bookkeeping for small businesses is the general ledger. Even if you aren’t handling the day-to-day responsibilities of your business, it’s important that you know what the general ledger is and how it works. This is the basis of good bookkeeping practices, helping you manage the financial picture for your company.

Types of Ledges in Bookkeeping and Accounting

A ledger is a book where a summary of all ledger accounts is maintained. Before the computer age, ledgers were literal books where business owners had hand-written entries of their transactions. Now, the digital business world mainly uses databases where the transactions are tracked and stored. It’s important for each business to have a place where they can group individual accounts. In addition to tracking the transaction amount, the ledgers also contain other important information such as how the payment is received, the date of the transaction, and anything else that applies to the purchase.

In bookkeeping and accounting, there are three types of ledgers used:

  1. Sales Ledger: This ledger is also sometimes known as a “debtor’s ledger” or “accounts receivable.” This is the place where all transactions are grouped where the customers received services or goods on credit. The sales ledger shows the total of all money owed by the customers to the business.
  2. Purchase Ledger: Next, you need a place to group the accounts related to sellers that you’ve purchased goods or services from using credit. This ledger summarizes the total money owed by your business to other businesses or sellers – also known as “accounts payable.”
  3. General Ledger: Finally, the general ledger is a single place that centralizes all the ledger accounts in a business. The general ledger includes both the sales ledger and the purchase ledger, as well as any other applicable subledgers, such as a private ledger or nominal ledger. All types of accounts within a business are included on the general ledger, including liabilities, assets, revenues, expenses, equity, and capital.

Having separate ledgers helps to reduce complicated aspects within bookkeeping and accounting. At the same time, it’s essential to have a centralized location where you can access all applicable information.

General Ledger History

The use of a general ledger has been around for a long time. Luca Pacioli was a Franciscan monk who is known as the father of accounting – he created the first known accounting text. Even though Pacioli has received much of the credit in the history of accounting, his practices were actually based on existing practices that trace back to Benedikt Kotruljevic.

In the 1400’s, Kotruljevic started using a double-entry accounting system. This method of double-entry uses multiple accounts with two columns: debit and credit. As a result, it’s possible to see an accurate view at all times, showing how each transaction affects the various accounts.

What You Need to Know about the General Ledger

If you want to know all the financial information about your business, then the general ledger is the place to look. It is the foundation or backbone of every reporting system. Any time you have a business account and subledgers, these transactions are reflected in the general ledger.

The data for each account is recorded when the transaction occurs, with points listed in chronological order. Not only is the data posted to the individual accounts, but it is also reflected in the general ledger. As a result, the general ledger always shows the history and most recent financial data for the business.

Information You Get from the General Ledger

What can you learn by looking at the general ledger? These transaction details can be valuable for a business owner to understand. Everything is summarized and compiled in one location, helping you access a variety of financial reports and other things that are applicable to your business.

Not only can you use this information as a business owner, but this information is also essential for business management, accounting, investors, analysts, and other stakeholders. Anyone who needs to see the company’s performance will be looking at information that comes from the general ledger.

One example of how the general ledger is used is if you see that costs and expenses are increasing during a certain time of the year. You can look at specific financial reports, as well as other information from the general ledger to see the whole story.

Additionally, it’s essential to identify certain accounting errors that can be located through the general ledger. Each transaction can be reviewed to find the source of the problem. Then, transactions can be updated and you can implement new systems to avoid the same errors again in the future.

 Benefits of a General Ledger

Even if you aren’t trained in bookkeeping and accounting, a general ledger system is always used in your software program. You don’t have to be aware of the general ledger to be gaining benefits from this part of your financial system.

Here are a few benefits that your general ledger adds to your business financial tracking:

  • Accurate Tracking: When you are looking at financial reports, you need to have the confidence in knowing that the reporting is accurate. The general ledger makes it easier to ensure accuracy in your reporting. Everything is entered in sub accounts first, making it simple for the accounting system to pull the balances across for reports that you might need. For example, if you run a profit and loss report, then this income statement pulls information from the general ledger. Maintaining a consistent bookkeeping system is essential to give you correct financial information at all times. Then, you can use these reports when you are making important financial decisions for your business.
  • Budgeting: Setting a budget is a step that helps you manage spending and look at future costs. Too often, businesses lean on incorrect information or fail to set a budget at all, resulting in unexpected expenses that can cut into profit margins. A general ledger is a great tool to identify trends and see where budgetary adjustments need to be made, helping to strengthen the financial health of the company.
  • Auditing: Whether you are conducting an internal audit, or you are going through an external audit, the general ledger is the focus of this inspection. Since the general ledger shows all business accounts, the auditor needs to be sure that everything is recorded and accurately classified. Reviewing general ledger information in an audit is an important step for identifying potential errors and improving the overall system.
  • Analysis: Can you find areas of opportunity to improve your spending and business activities? If you want to analyze trends and look for points that can be improved, then it all comes down to what is happening on the general ledger. In-depth financial analysis usually focuses on specific subledgers. But you can see the overall picture by looking at the trends that are happening on the general ledger.

Set Yourself Up for Business Success

Your accounting and bookkeeping system makes a significant difference in the success of your business in the future. If you are good at selling products, but you neglect your financial reports, then you are building the company on a weak foundation. It’s essential that you always have accurate financial information at all times, giving you a way to move forward in a productive, effective manner.

Even if the reports aren’t showing the profit margins that you want, this financial information is critical so you can implement the right systems to support your business. Looking at financial data regularly is key to empowering you in making correct decisions that lead your company to success in the future. When you know the numbers are accurate at any given time, then you can make decisions with confidence that you are choosing the right solutions for your business.

The only way to ensure that your general ledger is correct is by proactively updating your records regularly. It takes time and effort to stay consistent with the bookkeeping, but it’s an important process to keep you ahead of the ongoing transactions that move through your business.

Professional Accounting Services for Small Businesses

Often, the biggest barrier to an effective bookkeeping and accounting system is staying consistent with the ongoing tasks that need to be addressed. Not only do you need to stay current with the transactions, but you need to have a good system of checks and balances to identify potential errors or issues in the earliest stages.

As a business owner, you are juggling a lot of responsibilities throughout the day. You don’t have the time or expertise to dedicate your hours to bookkeeping and accounting. Instead, let the pros take care of your books so you can focus on other responsibilities in your business.

If you are looking for a pro accounting team that can help with your general ledger and more, then call us at Easier Accounting. We’d love to talk to you about the ways your business will benefit from the services we offer. Contact us to learn more about the individual services you can choose: (888) 620-0770.

9 Small Business Tips to Maintain Your Budget

If you’re like many individuals and business owners, the topic of budgeting makes you squirm. Budgeting can be a challenge for families and businesses alike, but the process of setting financial goals and sticking within the numbers is important. Not only do you need to identify your financial structure, but it’s also important to maintain your budget going forward.

Every Business Needs a Budget

Why does it matter if you set a budget for your small business? The financial picture looks rosy when the profits are rolling in, but then things quickly go downhill if revenue is affected for some reason. Budgeting can feel like a burden, especially if you are confined to tight numbers. But it is an absolute essential if you want to protect the future of your business.

Regardless of your opinion about budgeting, when you set and maintain a budget you are creating a foundation of financial security for the future. Creating and honoring your business budget means that you have guidelines for spending. When difficult decisions come related to cost and cash flow, you can look to the numbers to determine the right choices based on the current needs of your company.

Here are a few reasons why budgeting should not be optional for businesses:

  • Know Your Goals: When you are throwing a dart, you don’t toss it without having a clear idea of where you want it to land. The target has colors and marks to indicate the accuracy of the throw. In the same way, a budget acts as the target for your company, giving you short-term and long-term financial goals that you should be aiming for at all times.
  • Determine Your Priorities: Another reason you need to maintain your budget is to keep business priorities at the top of mind. Every decision you make should have a purpose or meaning, which is why it is important to evaluate priorities when determining the right way to move forward. Budgeting keeps you focused on “true north,” outlining the decisions that should be made – and eliminating potential issues along the way.
  • Team Effort: At the same time, budgeting keeps all team members on the same page. When managers and staff members know the spending limits in specific categories, then they will work to honor the boundaries. As a result, detailed planning can be used to manage the funds available for each category, helping to leverage ROI and increase the overall outcome of the spending.
  • Measuring Your Progress: You can’t determine the true measure of your business success without measuring where you came from and where you are now. In addition to implementing good bookkeeping and accounting practices in your ongoing systems, it’s also smart to have checkpoints throughout the year to measure progress along the way. For example, audits need to be done to evaluate cash flow while also checking monthly and quarterly spending.
  • Protecting Profits: Even if sales are high and you are bringing in a lot of money, it can be hard to hold onto the cash if your spending is high. Good business management needs to focus on both AR and AP. Budgeting ensures that you are always spending less than you are bringing in.

If you are having a hard time seeing the reasons why it is essential to maintain your budget, then talk to an accountant about your concerns. Any financial professional will tell you that budgeting is one of the most important aspects of protecting your business profits. Without a strategic budget, you are setting your company up for failure in the future. Even though designing a budget and sticking to it can be difficult, it is a necessary step as a business owner.

Tips to Maintain Your Budget

Here are a few things that every business owner needs to keep in mind when it comes to bookkeeping and budgeting:

  1. Know Where You are Starting: As hard as it can be to look at the current situation, it is essential that you know your starting point. How much money are you spending in various categories right now? What are your current cash flow requirements? Getting a clear picture of your current situation, then creating a plan to fix potential problems, is one of the most valuable things that you can do to protect your business interests in the future.
  2. Identify Your Goals: Now that you know your starting point, what are your goals? When you maintain a budget, there is room to set immediate goals and long-term goals as well. Having these targets creates motivation to help you stay on track, even when things get rocky. Sit down with your accountant to map out a plan so you have a clear idea about the goals you should be reaching for.
  3. Be Realistic with the Numbers: How many times have you attempted a new budget, only to find that it’s hard to maintain because you were overly optimistic about your goals? If you don’t have realistic numbers, then it is nearly impossible to maintain your budget. When it comes to accounting and bookkeeping, slow and steady wins the race. Look for incremental changes that can be made to stay on track without putting undue pressure on the business. It’s always best to stick with conservative projections for both your income and expenses.
  4. Be Flexible When Needed: Just because you’ve set a budget, doesn’t mean there is no room for adjustments in the future. Sometimes, needs arise that require a bit of flexibility. If you don’t build in a bit of wiggle room, then it could result in potential failure when hard times come in the future. One option to maintain your budget while keeping a bit of flexibility is by having an extra fund to cover the gaps. Leaving a certain amount unallocated will allow you to see where the money is needed as you move forward with your new plan.
  5. Break Spending into Cost Categories: Find the most applicable categories that should be included in your budget, then look for ways that you can streamline spending and transactions in these categories. Some of the costs are fixed (such as your rent or insurance premiums), while others are variable costs that might change based on the current pricing of material and labor. It’s a good idea to build in a bit of flexibility for the variable categories.
  6. Create Responsibility and Accountability: Creating the best budget on paper doesn’t mean a thing if your team isn’t willing to stick to the plan. Not only do you need to assign responsibility for managing the numbers and spending, but it is also essential to build in systems of accountability for the future. People often have good intentions in the beginning, but things start to change through the day-to-day activities and stressors that come up. A critical step for ensuring the success of your new budget is to make sure that all individuals are held accountable for their part in the plan. This process needs to be a top-down approach, with managers who hold their teams accountable.
  7. Access Professional Services: Even though you have great business ideas or have a good knack for marketing, it doesn’t mean that your business savvy gives you the necessary experience needed to maintain your budget. More often than not, business owners have no formal history or experience with accounting or bookkeeping, which means a DIY approach can be disastrous. Investing in an accounting and bookkeeping team can be one of the best decisions you will make to manage your cash flow and stay on track with budgeting.
  8. Ongoing Consistency and Systems: How do you plan to check in your budgeting progress in the future? It is important to invest in the right budgeting and accounting software programs. These plug-and-play solutions are proven to keep the numbers organized, so you can stay on track with everything that is going on. But you need to be committed to creating the systems that will work best for your company – then maintain the consistency required for everything that is happening from one week to the next. When it comes to budgeting, accounting, and bookkeeping, the reports don’t mean anything if you don’t maintain consistency.
  9. Assess Ongoing Needs: Smart business owners reassess their budgets regularly. While the budgeting system can be a set-it-and-forget-it approach for a short time, it’s important to check in to determine how the systems are working. Often, a range of variables are impacting your spending and cash flow, so regular check-ins ensure that you are staying on track as things are shifting. Ideally, revisit the budget monthly to see where things are going well, and where you can identify areas of improvement.

Are you looking for ways to improve your current budget? Or do you need to start at the beginning to create a new budget for your business? One important aspect to maintain your budget is to ensure that you have a trusted accounting team to assist. For more information, talk to our experienced team at Easier Accounting. Call for a discussion about your business needs: (888) 620-0770.

Why Outsourced Accounting is the Best Solution for Social Distancing

The current Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do business. While there are often times when face-to-face meetings are preferred, in many situations it makes sense to handle business dealings via technology. Outsourced accounting is a great option to consider if you want to stay current with your business finances while maintaining social distancing at the same time.

Why Social Distancing is Key for COVID-19

The main concern about COVID-19 is the concern about how fast the virus moves through the population. Most people experience minor or moderate symptoms and then recover at home. Older generations and people with pre-existing health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications from the illness. Thousands of patients worldwide have died from this upper respiratory illness. Not only is it important to prevent the sickness for yourself and your family, but you also need to consider how you could potentially pass it on to other at-risk people that you know.

In-person interactions increase the likelihood that you could be infected by Coronavirus. The virus can be spread through droplets in the air, which can remain airbound for several hours after a person coughs. If you breathe those droplets in, then you could be infected.

This virus can also be passed through contact with someone who has COVID-19. For example, if an infected person touches a keyboard and then you come in contact with the same surface, it’s possible that you could pick up the infection. It’s important to wash your hands and avoid touching your face since the virus can enter through the mouth, nose, and eyes.

Even if you feel fine, it is possible that you are a carrier of the virus. As such, it is important for everyone to be proactive in social distancing and isolation if they suspect they’ve come in contact with someone who has the virus. Everyone is being encouraged to work from home whenever possible, and our team at Easier Accounting is here to assist if needed for your business.

How Outsourced Accounting Works

The benefit of outsourced accounting is that you can take care of bookkeeping and accounting tasks without leaving your home. An accounting expert is always just a phone call away to answer your questions and assist with your personalized accounting strategy.

To get started, you just need to give us a call. We will discuss your needs and design the perfect service plan based on the unique requirements of your business. These services can be managed in the cloud. You always have access to view your financial information and reports, and there is no need for our team to meet with you in person. You get the benefit of full-service accounting solutions, without the concern about the potential risks of face-to-face meetings.

We specialize in small business accounting solutions and know the best systems to ensure that nothing is overlooked in your business finances. Just because we are working remotely, it doesn’t mean that you will receive subpar services. In fact, we are proud to be one of the leading providers of outsourced accounting services. Our team has helped many business owners create financial systems that are built to last.

Why the COVID-19 Pandemic is the Perfect Time to Start

If you haven’t already taken advantage of the benefits of outsourced accounting, then right now is a great time to get started. Here are a few reasons why you should consider outsourced accounting for your small business:

  1. Time at Home: Is bookkeeping often pushed to the backburner because you don’t have enough time to get everything done in the week? With the “Shelter in Place” and “Stay at Home” orders across the country (and throughout the world), many people are finding that they have more time to work on the projects that have been pushed to the backburner. Use this extra time to create systems that will help your business thrive when we are back to business-as-usual after the pandemic is over. Yes, one option is to create an accounting system from scratch – but it’s more effective to let the pros take care of the details. Set up a consultation to get the project off the ground while you have the time available right now.
  2. Save Time in the Future: Being proactive with creating outsourced accounting systems right now will pay off in the future. If you have a good financial tracking software in place, then you don’t have to tie up hours every week. Add up the time savings, and you will find that it is a great investment to free up your efforts for other tasks that need to be handled. Outsourcing is a powerful way to increase your capacity because you can focus on the tasks and responsibilities that fit your unique skill set.
  3. Overhead Costs: Many business owners are concerned about their cash flow, especially if sales have slowed or the doors have closed during this pandemic. You need help with accounting and bookkeeping, but you are probably feeling the pinch of cash flow due to the economic impacts of this pandemic. Instead of putting a bunch of cash into a full-time employee to handle the accounting, you can save thousands of dollars by hiring an outsourced accounting team. Plus, you don’t have to pay for additional costs like office equipment, desk space, benefits, and paid time off.
  4. Preparing to Scale: Anytime changes happen in the economy, it is an opportunity to grow your business if you adapt to the new market. Even though some businesses are losing money right now, there are many companies that have adapted to provide customers with the products and services that are needed. If you position right, then you can be ready to scale your business by matching the demands. But, before you can scale successfully, it is essential to ensure that you have a solid financial system in place. Developing your accounting system right now will ensure that you are ready to scale when the time is right.
  5. Employee Management: Do you have employees who have recently shifted to work from home? It will only add to your stress if you are increasing their workload with bookkeeping and accounting tasks. Any time you keep these services in-house, you will carry the responsibility of training and management. A better solution is to hire an outsourced accounting team that already has experience in the industry. Then, you don’t have to worry about the accuracy and systems followed by your employees.
  6. Risk Mitigation: Another aspect that needs to be considered in a rocky economic environment is risk mitigation within your company. Hiring on outsourced accounting firm can be an effective way to decrease the risk of embezzling or theft within your business. These accounting systems are designed with proven systems and built-in auditing to catch potential issues in the earliest stages. With the right approach for outsourced accounting, you can decrease the likelihood of issues with theft and fraud.
  7. Tax Compliance: Tax laws are always changing on both a state and federal level. It can be hard for small business owners to stay up-to-date with the moving target, especially if you don’t have a formal training in finance or accounting. There’s no reason for you to spend your free time trying to understand how tax law applies to your company. Instead, hire an outsourced accounting team so you can be sure that your annual tax filing, quarterly payments, and other tax details are in compliance with the requirements for the IRS. You can’t put a price on the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your tax filing is accurate and in compliance.
  8. On-Time Invoicing and Payroll: Another notable benefit of outsourced accounting is that your business will always be on-time with payroll processing and invoicing. A bookkeeping system can keep you current with both Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, which helps with cash flow. Additionally, you can avoid potential penalties that come from overdue payments.
  9. Informed Business Decisions: Finally, consider how powerful your decisions will be when you are informed about the real-time financial health of your company. When big decisions need to be addressed, it is important that you have a clear picture of the money that is coming in and how much is owed. Outsourced accounting will help you stay ahead of this information because you can run reports and know that they are accurate.

Talk to the Outsourced Accounting Experts

Are you ready to enjoy these benefits for your business? As you are exploring your options for an accounting service, consider the services available from our team here at Easier Accounting. We’ve been working with small businesses for years and offer a personalized approach for every client. Our goal is to help you feel empowered with your business financial system. We create solutions that work for your unique business needs. Learn more about available services by calling us at (888) 620-0770.

Starting a New Business? How to Set Up a Solid Accounting System

Can you feel the excitement in the air? Starting a new business is an adventure and a risk wrapped into one experience. The possibilities are limitless, but you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone to create opportunities for the future.

As an entrepreneur, how are you creating the right systems to support ongoing business activities? It is common for people to be too focused on the implementation and growth of a new business that they overlook some of the foundational details that will influence the future of the company.

Getting the business off the ground is just the first step. When you are starting a new business, you need to be sure that you are prepared with the right systems that will minimize problems in the future. Financial systems are critical to tracking profitability, managing expenses, and staying ahead of the other accounting responsibilities that need to be managed over time.

Why Your Accounting System Matters

We understand how easy it is to push bookkeeping and accounting aside. When you are excited about new product development, marketing campaigns, and other details that affect your business growth, then it seems boring to crunch the numbers and run Profit and Loss reports.

But, neglecting your accounting system is a surefire way to set your business up for failure in the future. You need to know where the money is coming from, how much is coming in, and all of the expenses that are required to keep your company in business. The right accounting system provides the structure and framework so you can keep up with these details without putting in a lot of time for data entry and number crunching.

Starting a New Business: Accounting Tips

Most business owners don’t have formal accounting training. If you don’t know where to start, then you should consider the investment of hiring an experienced accounting team for assistance. DIY might seem like an effective option for reducing expenses. But it is likely that you will be losing money if there are errors or problems in your accounting system.

Here are a few things that should be a priority when you are starting a new business and creating a functional bookkeeping and accounting system:

  1. Register Your Business: It’s important that you can legally run a business from your location, which means that the first step is to obtain a business license. Once this paperwork is in place, then you can move forward with the other steps needed for your financial system.
  2. Open a Bank Account: New businesses often start in the basement or garage of your family home. These startups don’t need to be glamorous or elaborate to have the potential for future growth. But the problem is that business expenses are often mixed in with personal spending, making it hard to track expenses and profits. When you are starting a new business, it is critical that you open a new bank account so all of the finances can be separated from your personal spending.
  3. Hire an Accountant: Even though it might feel premature to bring on an accountant, it is critical that you consider this professional advice for your company. Don’t hire a full-time accountant, because it isn’t common to need 40 hours a week of accounting services. Instead, it is smart to hire an outsourced accountant who can walk you through the process of starting a new business. Make sure that your accountant of choice has experience working with small businesses and entrepreneurs.
  4. Choose an Accounting Software: There is no reason why you should be doing accounting and bookkeeping by hand. Technology enables business owners to avoid busywork by using accounting software that automates these processes. If you aren’t sure what software to use, then talk to your accountant to learn about recommendations based on your unique business needs.
  5. Track Expenses and Profits: Now that your accounting software is in place, you need to be sure that you are prepared with ongoing maintenance of the transactions that are moving through your account. If your bookkeeping and accounting reports are going to be accurate, then it is essential that you build a solid foundation of accurate transaction tracking. Not only do you need to pay attention to the money that is coming in, but you also need to be detail-oriented with the expenses that are required to keep your company running. Tracking these expenses helps you build financial statements, itemize expenses that can be deducted on your annual taxes, and ensure that you are ready when tax season rolls around.
  6. Organize Paperwork: You will have invoices and receipts coming across your desk, which is why you need a good system for organization. A filing system will enable you to pull up receipts when they are needed in the future. It might be as simple as designating a file-folder system in a cabinet next to your desk. Or, you can consider a digital filing system if you don’t want to juggle stacks of paperwork. These receipts and invoices are necessary in case the IRS decides to complete an audit of your business in the future. At that point, you will need to provide documentation that backs up any deductions claimed on your taxes.
  7. Handling Payroll: Depending on how your business is structured, you will need to evaluate how payroll will be managed. This task is another area where your accountant can assist to ensure that the money is managed efficiently. When starting a new business, you might be the only employee. Eventually, your company will grow and it will be time to hire outside help. You have the option to bring on an employee or pay the person as an independent contractor. The worker classification will influence how the person is paid. Not only do you need to ensure that timely payments are provided to your workers, but you need to be prepared for other payroll-related paperwork in the future (such as 1099 forms or W2s).
  8. Tax Systems and Procedures: The specific taxes that need to be paid vary depending on the type of company that you are running. For example, if you are selling physical products, then it is likely that sales taxes need to be collected and paid. A variety of factors influence how sales tax is managed, such as where your business is located, where the goods are shipped, and any tax exemptions that might apply. Your accountant can provide guidance to ensure that you have the right system in place for the collection and payment of sales tax. Other taxes that need to be considered include quarterly taxes, self-employment tax, income tax, employment taxes, excise taxes, and more.
  9. Assess Profitability: The goal of running a business is to bring in a profit for yourself and any investors participating. When you are starting a new business, you can see the possibility of making money. But you need to be sure that your sales are matching up. Are you earning more than you are spending? It is common for new businesses to be “in the red” for the first few years. Even if you aren’t making any money yet, you need to show that your company is moving in the right direction. Your accounting reports are key to evaluating profitability and calculating margins that are available. These numbers provide a clear picture of your current financial standing. Then, gross margins can be improved by cutting costs and optimizing sales.
  10. Funding for Growth: When you are starting a new business, you probably aren’t ready to bring on investors at this point. As your company grows, you will eventually need more capital to boost your business to higher levels of success. Even though you aren’t ready to connect with investors right now, you need to consider how you will access funding in the future. The steps that you take in the earliest stages of business growth will contribute to the possibilities that can be achieved in years to come. If you want to be able to secure funding, then you need to be sure that you are tracking financial details. If money is needed right now, then you might be able to obtain the funding through a small business loan based on your personal credit history.

Professional Accounting Services for Your New Business

The best investment that you can make is hiring an outsourced accounting team to support the growth of your new business. Don’t let yourself be distracted with the reporting and bookkeeping that needs to happen each week. Instead, you can free up your time by letting the pros handle these details.

Our staff at Easier Accounting is just a phone call away. We invite you to contact us in the earliest stages of starting a new business. We’ll help with the implementation of accounting and bookkeeping systems that will set you up for growth and success in the future. Call us at (888) 620-0770 to learn about available services.