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Keeping a Great Work-Life Balance While Working from Home

Whether working from home is your normal routine, or you recently started working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to be proactive in maintaining a good work-life balance. There are definitely benefits from commuting from the bedroom to an office just a few doors down the hallway. But you are likely facing common drawbacks as well. It can be hard to maintain work boundaries when there isn’t much distance between your home life and workplace.

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, then you likely have a lot of experience working from home. Additionally, many corporate businesses have been shifting to offer more work from home positions for their employees. We live in a time where the internet keeps us connected from any location, creating more flexibility and creativity for the way the workday is structured.

The Perks of Working from Home

Working from home is a dream for many people. The idea of schedule flexibility and staying in sweatpants all day sounds dreamy, and there are notable benefits you can enjoy when working from home:

  • More Time: How much time do you usually spend getting ready for work and commuting to the office? Some people have a short 10- or 15-minute commute, while big-city workers sometimes face a commute of 1 – 2 hours each way. Eliminating the hours you spend in the car or on public transportation means that you have extra time to spend on activities you enjoy. You literally add more hours to your personal time by skipping the commute.
  • Family Support: Depending on the ages of your children, working from home might enable you to cut childcare costs. If your children are old enough to be self-sufficient during portions of the day, then you might have the option to keep them home with you while you are working. Not only will you save a significant amount of money on childcare expenses, but it’s nice to have family bonding time when you have a moment to step away from the computer.
  • Flexibility: Lunch breaks can be much more productive when you aren’t tied to a cubicle. Working from home means that lunch is easy to grab from the fridge, leaving you with the rest of a work break to use as you wish. Even half an hour can make a big difference when you need to clean up the kitchen or fold the laundry. Many people working from home also find that they have more flexibility with the start/finish time of their workdays. This flexibility is a valuable benefit that can help tremendously with work-life balance.
  • Exercise: Have you found that working from home is playing a positive role in your health? It’s easier to fit in a quick workout when you are at home. For example, when the commute is eliminated, some people use the extra time in the morning to exercise before sitting down at the computer.
  • Nutrition: Another notable benefit is how much easier it is to manage your menu when you don’t have tempting foods near your desk. Many office workers find it challenging to stay on track with their dietary goals because coworkers bring treats and extend lunch invitations. When you stop eating fast food every day and instead choose healthy meals at home, it’s easy to cut calories and choose the menus that best fit your health goals.

Setting Boundaries While Working from Home

While there are great benefits that come from working at home, it’s also important to recognize potential drawbacks that can occur. Being aware of these issues and setting clear boundaries is key to optimizing your work-life balance.

Many small business owners and employees find it challenging in the beginning to set healthy boundaries. But creating a few rules is just what you need to ensure that you stay at the top of your game. Here are a few suggestions to help:

  1. Designate a Workspace: Without a dedicated work area, then you will find your work and home life mixing together in every room of the house. Instead of turning the house upside down because you can’t remember where you set down the contractor paperwork, be deliberate in confining your work activities to a specific part of the house. Ideally, this workspace is separate from your family life, such as an office where you can close the door. If you like the flexibility to work on the couch, then use the desk as your home-base with a change of scenery when you need something different.
  2. Look for Other Working Spaces: Do you feel cooped up when you are spending the whole day at home? You might consider the benefit of locating an office nearby. For example, co-working spaces offer plenty of room for social distancing, giving you a quiet place to focus away from the house. Working from home doesn’t mean that you must stay home all the time. Instead, it opens up a variety of options for working anywhere you desire – away from the office.
  3. Respect Your Work Hours: While flexibility is a notable benefit of working from home, there is something to be said about maintaining boundaries with your work hours. Even if you don’t want to stick with the traditional 9-5 schedule, decide on the hours that are best for your family and your ideal focus time. Whatever your preference, mark it on the calendar and treat those hours as sacred – as if you weren’t home during that time. When it is time for work to end, be proactive in stepping away from the computer and turning your attention back to the family again.
  4. Walk Away from the Computer: Once surprising report from the mass work-from-home transition that occurred due to the pandemic is that many companies found that productivity increased. Since employees always had their work equipment on hand, it was easy for work to fit in along with other daily activities. Yes, it’s good to stay connected. But you should also be deliberate in creating time when you are away from the computer. Block out your lunch break to give yourself a mental rest during the day. Also, be serious about respecting your days off so that you can recharge your mental health before a new week begins.
  5. Communication with Others: Daily social interaction is one thing that many people miss when stepping away from the office. Even though you aren’t talking with your coworkers face-to-face, be deliberate in reaching out regularly. A quick email, text, or Slack message can go a long way to maintain those relationships and help the team feel connected.
  6. Get Dressed for the Day: It might seem blissful to spend the entire workday in sweat pants, but there is something to be said about getting dressed for the day. If you are looking for ways to separate your work life and home life, then your clothing can play a role. Put on your work clothes before sitting down at the computer. Don’t assume that you need to wear a tie, put on makeup, or button up a power suit. Instead, make sure you are changing into something different from what you slept in.
  7. Create daily routines: What are the common rituals you enjoyed when working in an office? Some people have their favorite coffee mug, turn on a specific playlist in the morning, or love to start the day with an empty inbox. Find the routines that work best for you so you can start the workday with the right mindset. Building in rituals can help your brain distinguish the difference between work hours and home hours.
  8. Know When to Say No: If you are working from home, then it’s likely that your family, friends, and neighbors assume that you have unlimited time on your hands. If you have people often asking for favors or help during your work hours, then it’s important that you learn to say “no.” Yes, there are times when it makes sense to take a break and lend a hand. But you treat your daytime hours the same as if you were at an office building all day. One easy way to respond is by telling someone: “No, I’m not available during business hours. But I’m available to help when my work ends at 5pm.”

Finding Your Preferred Work Routine

Ultimately, the best way to succeed when working from home is to find the perfect balance between your work responsibilities and your family life. Every person is unique, which is why there isn’t a right or wrong way to structure your work-from-home schedule. Instead, create a vision for your routine and goals, then find the best way to optimize your daily habits so you can create the ideal lifestyle.

At Easier Accounting, we’re here to offer the accounting and bookkeeping support you need. If you are a small business owner who is working from home, then tap into these important resources to stay ahead of payroll, invoicing, tax strategy, and more. Call our team to learn more about outsourced accounting services: (888) 620-0770.

Accounting Tips to Prevent Fraud in Your Small Business

While you want to believe the best in everyone you meet, at some point it is likely that your small business could be vulnerable to fraud. The truth is that scammers often target small- and medium-sized businesses more frequently than large corporations because these small companies don’t have the same security measures in place. Unfortunately, the effects could be disastrous to your company – which is why it is essential to be proactive to prevent fraud.

Fraud: Will it Bring Down Your Company?

Too often, small businesses are running on thin profit margins and tight cash flow. Whether you are trying to get the company off the ground, or you are working through growing pains to expand, every penny matters in the long-term success of your efforts.

Regardless of the size of your company, fraud could be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. Losing money due to theft or scams might bring down your company. As such, you need to have a solid system in place to not only detect potential fraud cases, but also prevent fraud whenever possible.

A shocking report from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) shared that most businesses lose around 5% of annual revenue due to fraud that is committed by managers, employees, executives, and owners. Even if you think that you have a good relationship with every member on your team, you can’t make assumptions that your company is immune from fraud. Smart business owners develop policies and stay up-to-date to ensure they are protecting their livelihood from theft.

Common Types of Business Fraud

The term “fraud” covers a range of dishonest activities that could occur within a company. Business fraud means that one or more people are committing illegal acts for financial gain. Often, these activities are hidden in daily activities or legitimate business transactions.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of business fraud:

  • Personal Purchases: Using business funds to purchase services or products for personal use. For example, an individual might add personal spending on a corporate credit card, or approve his own expense reports to cover up the transactions.
  • Asset Theft: Employees can steal office equipment, inventory, or any other assets from the business. Often, these items are stolen, then sold for cash.
  • Fake Payments: The creation of fake invoices can be one way to move money out of the company. Another common practice is to use “ghost employees” on the payroll, fake people so someone can collect the paychecks.
  • Skimming: Collecting a little off the top can go unnoticed for a long time, especially if you don’t have a good accounting system in place. For example, a person might take a portion of the funds before the transaction is listed in the accounting records.
  • Identity Theft: Sometimes employees access the personal information of other employees or customers, then use the identity to access credit lines. If someone gets their hands on bank statements, tax ID numbers, or financial reports, then they might be able to steal enough money to commit identity theft.
  • Fake Bills: There is quite a bit of fake cash circulating around the United States, and it’s possible that these bills could come through the doors of your business. Most counterfeit bills are high-valued, such as $100 bills. Accepting fake money means that you will lose out on the cash, which cuts into your profit margins. If you want to prevent fraud, then it is important to have systems in place to check these bills at the register.
  • Return Fraud: Customers can also commit fraud against a business using various return fraud strategies. Common issues include customers who buy an item, use it, and then return it. Or, sometimes people steal products from the business, then attempt to make a profit by “returning” these items to the store.
  • Digital Fraud: Someone doesn’t need to be in your office or workplace to commit fraud. Scammers can hack into different computer and software systems to steal valuable information, such as customer details, credit card numbers, bank account info, and more.
  • Workers’ Compensation Fraud: While it is important for employees and customers to be protected on your property, some people take advantage of the system by claiming injury or illness to get money through Workers’ Compensation insurance. For example, a person might be injured outside of work, then claim it is the result of work activities. Some employees are even bold to the point where they make up an injury or illness.

Since fraud is so prevalent among businesses of all sizes, it is impossible to list all of the potential fraud situations that might occur. The above list gives you an idea of the many ways someone might take advantage of your company. Your responsibility is to be proactive to prevent fraud, helping to reduce the likelihood that these issues will happen to you.

Tips to Prevent Fraud

Where should you start if you need to implement new fraud prevention systems? Here are a few main categories that need to be addressed:

  1. Digital Security: Scammers have more access than ever to private information because they can hack in through internet connections. Don’t leave your company exposed digitally! Choose software programs that have built-in security features, such as encryption and two-step verification. Also, talk to your tech team about proactive digital security on all servers, computers, cell phones, and internet connection points.
  2. Accounting Services: Don’t make the mistake of having only one person managing your accounting and bookkeeping. Often, small businesses only need a single person to keep up with client payments, receivables, invoicing, managing cash, and other accounting-related tasks. When one person is handling the finances, it increases the likelihood of fraud to go unnoticed. You can prevent fraud by assigning multiple people to oversee the financial reports. Or, consider hiring a trusted outsourced accounting team to implement checks-and-balances, as well as regular accounting audits.
  3. Background Checks: A formal hiring process can be a valuable step in knowing the people you are bringing into your company. Even though a background check is an extra cost when hiring a new employee, it is essential to know the history of every person you entrust with financial records or cash. The more an employee interacts with finances and sensitive information, the more scrutiny you should put in regards to their background check. Personality isn’t enough to prevent fraud – the truth is that most employees committing fraud are well-liked by their managers and coworkers. These fraudsters are proactive in endearing themselves to others so they can gain trust.
  4. Internal Audits and Controls: Setting up systems can be a critical step to prevent fraud. For example, it’s appropriate to restrict access for employees who don’t need information about inventory or financial details. Design multi-person checkpoints for payroll processing, check writing, and reimbursements. Have a solid plan in place for regular accounting audits to review bank account statements and activity.
  5. Lock Up the Files: Not only do you need to password protect digital files, but it is also important to be sure that paper records are kept under lock and key if needed. Invoices, customer information, bank records, and other sensitive documents can be used for fraud. If a paper is sitting out, an employee could easily snap a picture on their cell phone to collect the information undetected.
  6. Employee Training: Not only do you need fraud prevention training when onboarding new employees, but it is also important to offer ongoing fraud training. Your employees should be taught how to identify the warning signs of fraud. If an employee suspects suspicious behavior among customers or coworkers, then they need to feel comfortable to report the situation without worrying about their job. Create a code of ethics and maintain open communication so employees can share information safely.
  7. Take it Seriously: One of the fastest ways to discredit your fraud prevention efforts is by dismissing reports of fraudulent activity. When there are suspicions about things that are happening in the office, then you need to be proactive in researching the situation to see if it is a valid claim. Regardless of the size, each case should be given its due based on your no-tolerance fraud policy.

Prevent Fraud with Good Accounting

A solid accounting system provides a good foundation to help you prevent fraud and avoid issues in the future. When you are tracking the transactions and you have systems in place to reduce the risk of skimming, you can rest assured to know that there is a low likelihood of losing money due to fraud.

How are you protecting your company? If you need assistance with general accounting services and fraud prevention, then Easier Accounting is here for your business. We offer the support you need for everything from payroll processing to tax strategy: Call to learn more about why accounting is an important service to compliment your other efforts to prevent fraud: (888) 620-0770.

How Your Bookkeeping Should Look Different During This Time of Pandemic

It’s no surprise that Coronavirus has changed many aspects of the way business is done. Not only has this pandemic been a global health concern, but an economic crisis has been triggered since people are unable to interact in the same ways as before. As a business owner, you’ve been facing new challenges relating to the way you are handling safety for employees and customers. At the same time, you still need to keep up with regular responsibilities, including bookkeeping, inventory management, hiring, taxes, and more.

Most likely, your stress as a business owner has increased during this time. For some small business owners, they are busy trying to keep up with the ongoing safety and regulation changes to keep the business doors open. In other situations, businesses have been closed because of limitations and social distancing challenges.

Now is a time to adapt and change to match the new circumstances. If you want to maintain a thriving business in the future, then you need to be looking at the ways you need to adjust your systems and practices.

Service Providers are Out of the Office

Previously, you could find many local service providers available to help through face-to-face interactions. For example, if you needed a bookkeeper, you could have a local accounting team come to your office if needed.

Now, these services have moved online more than ever before. Since most bookkeeping software programs are cloud-based, it means that you no longer need an in-house bookkeeper or local services. Outsourced bookkeeping and accounting give you access to these important skills, without the potential risk of spending time together in the office.

The COVID-19 pandemic created the perfect conditions for many businesses to move online. Additionally, companies previously using computer-based bookkeeping software are now moving to cloud-based programs so the books can be handled remotely. This health and economic crisis have brought about a necessity of changes – many of which will likely improve your business for the future. Business owners who are unable to adapt will be left behind.

Cloud vs. Traditional Bookkeeping Software

If you haven’t already made the move to a cloud-based accounting software, then it is the perfect time to make this change. Traditionally, accounting and bookkeeping software was installed on one computer. Or, there were options for networked computers within the same business to have access to the files. Since the software was only installed on local computers, it meant that businesses needed in-office support to manage the finances. The options were to either hire an employee to take care of these responsibilities, or bring in an accountant or bookkeeper as a consultant. This solution worked for years, especially in the early days of the internet.

Now, technology has transformed the way bookkeeping and accounting can be done. Bookkeeping and accounting software can be hosted online securely, giving you and your team access from any location. Cloud-based software means that all of your financial data is kept on a remote service, giving you access to the information through an online interface. The highest levels of digital security are used to keep your information protected. This means that you no longer need to have a full-time bookkeeper on staff. As you look at the costs of outsourced bookkeeping vs. hiring a new employee, you’ll see that it is much more affordable to bring in the outside services that you need.

One of the main benefits of cloud-based bookkeeping is that you are no longer limited to a single computer. So, access to your financing information doesn’t stop after hours. Plus, having cloud-based information is a better solution in case of a local disaster. If something happens to your computer or office, you can still tap into the information that is needed from another location.

Finally, cloud-based bookkeeping is beneficial because it gives you real-time information regarding the financial circumstances of your company. Your accountants, bookkeepers, managers, and customers can be located anywhere – and the bookkeeping system can continue as-normal, regardless of the lack of in-person interactions.

Setting Up the Right Systems to Help Your Business Grow

The truth is that a good bookkeeping system is one of the foundational pieces you need to ensure that your company can grow to higher levels of success in the future. Growing a business can be challenging and expensive if you aren’t proactive in implementing tools that are designed to expand with the company.

Cloud bookkeeping and accounting software give you the option to scale and adapt as needed, so you can adjust your business practices to whatever might happen in the future. Invest the time, energy, and resources right now to create a solid system, which will eliminate potential roadblocks in the future.

Coronavirus-Specific Bookkeeping Tips

There are a few things that might need to be implemented in your bookkeeping system because of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Move to Cloud-Based Systems: As mentioned above, it is more important than ever to have your business information stored in cloud-based systems. If you haven’t already made this move, then it should be high on your priority list. Cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting will allow your managers and employees to access the information if the team needs to work from home.
  2. Maintain Communication with Bookkeepers and Accountants: Even though your bookkeeping team might not be physically located in a nearby office, they are still offering the quality services that are required. Many of these providers are working from home now, and you can continue to use the skilled services that will support your business. Look for ways to maintain optimal communication, even though you aren’t having face-to-face meetings. Email, phone calls, and Zoom meetings can be great to ensure that you are staying in touch with your business support team.
  3. Paycheck Protection Program Documentation: Many businesses have accepted funds through the federally-funded Paycheck Protection Program. This stimulus package was designed to help cover business costs through the shutdowns and immediate economic crisis. If you are a business owner who accepted money through a loan program, then you need to be sure that you are maintaining the proper documentation regarding how the money was spent. Certain guidelines and regulations need to be met if you are going to qualify for loan forgiveness. These rules are constantly changing, so the best solution is to talk to your accountant to ensure that you are keeping up with the documentation requirements.
  4. Tax Strategies for the Year: Different tax strategies might be used for your business finances this year. For example, many people took advantage of the option to delay their tax payments since the filing and payment deadlines were pushed from April 15 to July 15. Additionally, there might be other ways that you can leverage write-offs and deductions for 2020. For example, if you spent money on health and safety equipment, such as cash register shields or online business tools, then these costs could qualify as business expenses. Every situation is unique, which is why you can’t find the ideal tax strategy online. Instead, schedule a consultation with an experienced accounting and bookkeeping team to see how you can tap into the available tax breaks for small businesses.
  5. Cash Flow Management: Since we are living in uncertain times, it’s hard to say what your business cash flow might look like in the future. Every company needs to be proactive in maintaining an emergency fund of cash whenever possible. Having a rainy-day fund can help you get through the slower times, so you are ready to bounce back when the timing is right. Your accountant can offer personal recommendations to determine how to restructure your business assets, as well as how much money you should set aside for emergency situations.

Good Accounting and Bookkeeping will Keep Your Company Afloat

Without a solid financial strategy, your business could struggle more than necessary during this time. If you want to stay ahead of the competition and maintain a strong company, then you need to be sure to have good bookkeeping and accounting systems in place. These reports show you the current financial health of your company. Additionally, you can identify potential weak points in your business practices that will lead to undesired results in the future.

You are already carrying a lot of responsibility as a business owner, so it makes sense that you might be experiencing challenges in keeping up with the current situation. You won’t regret the decision to invest in a good accounting and bookkeeping team.

If you are looking for information about bookkeeping services for small businesses, then we invite you to schedule a consultation with us at Easier Accounting. We specialize in quality bookkeeping services that can be done remotely – giving your company the ongoing support needed through anything that might happen during this pandemic. Learn more about the benefits of bookkeeping and accounting services for your company by calling us to discuss your unique needs. We’re here to help: (888) 620-0770.

Hiring New Employees for Your Small Business During Coronavirus

As the restrictions are easing from the COVID-19 lockdowns, many businesses are looking for ways to maintain their livelihood in this “new normal.” How is your business adapting to the new circumstances? Whether you had to close your doors for a few weeks, or you’ve been able to stay open during this time, it’s possible you might need to look at options for hiring new employees now. As businesses expand offerings, it’s important to make sure that you have sufficient staff to support customer needs.

Not only has your way of business changed because of the pandemic, but companies need to use different techniques and strategies for recruiting and hiring. If you are hiring new employees, here are a few things you should keep in mind to find the right employees:

Recruiting and Hiring Remotely

Some businesses have gone virtual by having employees work from home during this time. If you are in an industry that has allowed you to continue remotely, then hopefully your workforce has been able to maintain the same productivity while everyone has been at home. In some cases, businesses are booming in this virtual space – which means that managers are having a hard time keeping their teams staffed to stay current with the demand.

As the business world is shifting, now is a great time to look for potential employees. The shift in employment situations, combined with a high unemployment rate, means that the pool of skills is great for companies who are ready to hire.

The biggest change is that most of the initial conversations need to be happening virtually. People are concerned about social distancing and the safety of spending time in an office. If possible, you can connect with more potential candidates by completing the initial round of interviews remotely. Zoom and Google offer great tools that enable virtual meetings from the comfort of any location. You can talk to the person in a face-to-face conversation, using virtual tools through the computer or a smartphone.

Even new hire paperwork, training, and onboarding can be done remotely if you have the right tools. For example, an outsourced accounting team can take care of payroll setup and management when you provide digital information after hiring new employees.

Tips for Hiring New Employees in a Pandemic

Here are a few tips that every business should keep in mind when hiring new employees during this time:

  1. Public Job Posting: Many companies suspended hiring when the pandemic hit, which means that potential candidates might not know that you are ready to hire now. If you are actively hiring new employees, then you need to be sure that this information is public and shared on multiple platforms. List the job openings on your business website, add these postings on job search sites, and reach out to local employment centers to notify them about the opportunities. Additionally, these job posting links can be shared through social media and other marketing avenues, increasing the likelihood that you will be able to connect with the right candidate.
  2. Refresh Job Details: Since the way of doing business has changed, it means that your old job descriptions might need some updating. Refresh the language and include COVID-specific details, such as whether work from home opportunities are offered. Also, don’t depend on job postings that went up a few weeks ago. New postings get more views and better traction, so it is smart to take down the old listing and post a new listing to ensure that candidates can find your information in the search results.
  3. Narrowing Down the Results: Much like traditional hiring in the past, you should narrow down the pool of candidates to determine who you would like to invite to an interview. Use specific filtering methods to determine which candidates are most qualified for the job. Because of the high unemployment rate right now, many people are searching for jobs – which means that you will have plenty of applicants to choose from. This long list of possibilities gives you the option to have strict hiring standards, so don’t be hesitant to cut any applicants that aren’t a good fit for your needs.
  4. Video Interviews: If you are planning to talk to potential candidates using video interviews, then make sure that you’ve worked through the technical details to increase the likelihood that everything will go smoothly. Be clear in your communication with the job applicant. For example, include information about the time, date, and who will be reaching out for the interview. Always include time zone information in case the candidate is located in another state. Share a link for the video meeting. Be ready to log on a few minutes early so the candidate isn’t waiting to access the virtual meeting room.
  5. Making an Offer: Since it is an uncertain time for both employees and employers, you need to be realistic in the things that are promised through the job offer. If you are unsure about the modifications that need to be made with new employees, then it might be better to offer a temporary position instead of hiring a long-term employee. Also, be clear about how expectations might change in the future if the employee needs to start working at the office after having a remote position.

Communication with Job Applicants

Keep in mind that your communication in the hiring process will speak volumes about how your company is responding to the current conditions. It feels like many things are in flux right now, which likely means that your job candidates are unsure and uncomfortable. You can snag top-talent by maintaining open communication, ensuring that you are closing the loop on things that are at the top of your applicant’s minds.

Show an empathetic approach in how you are keeping applicants informed and updated. Share information about what they can expect regarding working conditions, safety measures, and possibilities for remote work. This communication creates an opportunity to build trust with your new employees, which means that you can develop an ongoing relationship based on job satisfaction.

Virtual Onboarding for New Employees

If you are looking to hire immediately, then it is best to offer the option for new hires to work from home whenever possible. Training and initial meetings can be held virtually, which eliminates the risk of virus exposure to new employees and current team members.

It’s essential to ensure that you have established systems in place for these onboarding activities. Unfortunately, onboarding details can be easily overlooked when you aren’t in the office working with someone in person. The best solution to create a seamless onboarding experience is to have a checklist in place that covers all of the essential points and information. For example, the new employee should be introduced to the company, have an opportunity to talk to team members virtually, and even take a virtual tour of the different departments and job roles within the company.

Proper Accounting and Bookkeeping Support

It takes a lot of work to post a job and connect with the right candidates. As you are exploring your options for hiring new employees, it’s important that you have access to solid business resources to support your needs during this time.

For example, outsourced accounting and bookkeeping can offset the work that needs to be done by your current workforce, which means that you can dedicate more time and resources to the hiring process. An accounting team is truly an investment for your company because you have someone who can oversee specific details required by law, such as employee information needed for payroll taxes and more. These services can be accessed virtually through an outsourced team, ensuring that your business can continue running smoothly – regardless of what might happen in the future.

Adapting to New Changes

It’s uncertain when the future may hold, which is why companies need to be ready to change and adjust as needed. The hope is that this pandemic will be contained soon and we can return to a more normal way of doing business. But there is a possibility that social distancing will need to be maintained for a while, which means that you should be ready to adapt in case closures need to happen again in the future.

What are you doing right now to prepare for ongoing virtual business activities? Hiring new employees might be an important part of the strategy, especially if you need access to the skills and talent for website management, customer support, and other ongoing responsibilities.

Easier Accounting specializes in outsourced accounting services, and we are here to assist through the challenging situations your business might be facing. If you need help with payroll when hiring new employees, then call us today. We also offer other small business accounting services, including tax strategy and filing, ongoing bookkeeping, and more. Call to learn more about how you will benefit from these services: (888) 620-0770.

Small Business Owners: What to Do During a Temporary Closure

Millions of businesses across the nation were forced to close their doors during the stay at home orders with the COVID-19 pandemic. Was your company one of the many that had to implement a temporary closure? At this point, restrictions are being lifted which means that you might be open again. But some industries are still affected and haven’t been able to open for business yet.

Temporary Closure or Permanent Business Loss?

The problem with a temporary closure is that some businesses can’t carry the overhead costs without money coming from customers. In some cases, these temporary closures could result in permanent closure for companies that were already financially unstable before the pandemic occurred. The closures were the “tipping point” that put businesses over the edge.

Another factor that could affect the long-term sustainability of your company is how much business picks up when you reopen. For example, some companies have opened back up again, but the customers aren’t shopping like they did before. Consumers are being careful with their spending, and many people are choosing to avoid public spaces because they are worried since the virus is still spreading.

At the same time, certain industries are still affected. For example, entertainment venues such as theme parks and movie theaters are still closed in certain parts of the country. In areas where these businesses are allowed to re-open, the businesses are running with a much smaller group of customers each day. Social distancing needs to be maintained at all times, which means that some companies are only running at a 15% capacity. A little money is better than nothing, but when these slow months are on the tail of a few months of temporary closures, it can be hard to sustain the overhead costs that need to be covered.

Your unique business decisions could be the factors that determine whether your business can keep going as the pandemic dies down. With a few specific strategies, you can keep your company strong and weather the storm.

Your Responsibilities During a Temporary Closure

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unexpected temporary closure for millions of businesses. But it’s not the first time when companies have needed to close their doors due to unforeseen circumstances. Even when this pandemic is over, you need to have an emergency plan in place so that you can recover after other situations that might result in temporary closure. Common examples are slow seasons, natural disasters, or national emergencies.

During this temporary closure and any other closures that might happen in the future, here are a few responsibilities that you need to maintain as a business owner:

  • Employee Notifications and Communication: Updating your employees is key during a time of closure. You need to keep your staff in the loop and let them know what is going on in the business. If you are closing the doors temporarily, you might still have the option to offer work-from-home opportunities, depending on your industry. Share the options with employees who could potentially continue working. Otherwise, do your best to give as much notice as possible to employees so that they can look into COBRA benefits and unemployment as needed. Even though it is hard to have these conversations, it is important that you take care of your staff by sharing details about the situation. Remember that your response to the temporary closure could influence their decision regarding whether or not they decide to come back to the company again when you reopen in the future. You can schedule virtual meetings, hold phone calls, send text messages, or keep employees updated through email communication.
  • Customer Notices: At the same time, your customers need to know whether your company is open for business. If you need to shut down temporarily, then you might send a newsletter notification regarding your current circumstances and potential plans for the future. Post notifications on the storefront, website, and social media profiles. At the same time, it is just as important to share details about when your business is open again. Or, if your company falls into the “essential” category during this pandemic, then it is smart to let customers know that you are still open. Many businesses have adjusted daily hours, which is another important detail to share with your customers.
  • Talk to Vendors: Do you have suppliers or vendors that regularly offer products or services to keep your company running? If you need to temporarily stop the replenishing of inventory, then it is essential to contact your vendors as soon as possible. Ideally, you can use what is left of your inventory without the need to restock the shelves during a temporary closure.
  • Coordinate with Banks and Lenders: How will your cash flow affect your ability to keep up with bills and loan payments? It’s likely that a temporary closure will result in low cash flow, which means that you might need to explore your options for financing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many options have been offered for small businesses, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Talk to your bank to explore the best possibilities for your business needs during this time.
  • Maintaining Accounting Records: Just because your business is closed, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about keeping up with bookkeeping and accounting. It’s important that you continue tracking transactions as they come through, especially if the funding is related to the Paycheck Protection Plan. Loans through PPP could potentially be forgiven, but you must have detailed documentation to show that the money was used according to the restrictions of the loan terms. Additionally, maintain records about other information related to the temporary closure, such as when the business closed, which employees were furloughed, which employees were paid while the business was closed, and strategies used when the doors opened again.

How to Bring Your Business Back After a Temporary Closure

Opening back up isn’t as simple as unlocking the doors and resuming regular business practices. Your company needs to determine what the “new normal” looks like to ensure the safety of customers and employees. It’s likely that you will need to implement strict cleaning and health policies to avoid the risk of having COVID-19 spread in your business place. One positive COVID-19 test among employees or customers in the business space could result in another closure – and thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in professional sanitation services.

Consider how your employees interact with customers. Also, look at the ways your staff interacts with each other. What are systems that can be implemented to maintain social distancing and limit contact between people? Some businesses are restructuring the layout of the store or business space to make it easy to keep distance between people. Others are limiting the number of people in the office.

You might also consider implementing a quick health check for employees and customers. For example, some businesses are choosing to do a temperature check at the beginning of every shift, as well as a symptoms questionnaire to identify potential risk.

Also, look at the ways your policies are influencing employees in coming to work. The best practice right now is to encourage people to stay home if they have any symptoms, or if they have been exposed to someone else with COVID-19. Employees might be tempted to come to work if they are worried about losing their paychecks and/or jobs. Have a good policy in place that makes it safe (and encouraged) to stay home when there is a possibility of infection.

The overall goal of these tips is to minimize the likelihood that you will have COVID-19 spreading through your workplace. If you are proactive, there is a way to find the balance in keeping the business running while also managing risk at the same time.

It’s a Great Time for Innovation

The businesses that are thriving through the pandemic are those who are looking at possibilities to innovate. More than ever, it is important to anticipate the needs of your customers and find ways that you can provide the products and services that they desire. Customers still have money to spend – you just need to find solutions to close the gap and maintain a safe environment where people can access the things that are needed.

Depending on your industry, there might be ways that you can adjust business practices to optimize your systems after a temporary closure. For example, restaurants and retail providers are offering curbside pickup options if customers aren’t coming into the stores. Other examples are limits on the number of people allowed in the stores, switching to online ordering solutions, or even providing teleconsultations for services that can be done over the phone or through video conferencing.

Having the right support team can also help you get through a temporary closure. If you need accounting or bookkeeping support, then our experienced staff is here to offer services for your business. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve provided outsourced accounting solutions that can be completed without face-to-face interactions. For more information about these services for your business, call Easier Accounting at (888) 620-0770.

Millions of Small Businesses Could Close Due to Coronavirus

In a sudden change around the world, many businesses were forced to close their doors because of the COVID-19 outbreak. These changes in commerce have had an undeniable impact on the economy, with millions of small businesses struggling due to a lack of revenue.

Many businesses shut down for weeks because of local stay-home orders from state and county government officials. At the same time, certain essential businesses have been busier than ever trying to keep up with the demand. Everyone has been forced to change the way business has been done, and every industry has been affected by the economic response to the pandemic.

Small Businesses vs. Large Corporations

Even though large corporations are struggling, it appears that small businesses are taking the brunt of the economic fallout. When a mom-and-pop store closes their doors for a few weeks or months, they don’t have the cash reserves to cover overhead costs without revenue. Many small businesses feel like it is an inevitable ticking time-bomb… struggling to hold on in hopes that an economic recovery will be enough to keep things afloat.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, a recent poll said that 24% of small businesses (1 in 4) are two months or less from permanent closure. 11% (1 in 10) of the small businesses that responded to the poll indicated they were a month away from going out of business.

The temporary shutdown in response to COVID-19 could be the final tipping point that makes it impossible for small businesses. These local companies were already competing with online giants, and many consumers have turned to internet shopping even more to minimize their exposure in local stores.

Government Support for Small Businesses

The federal government has implemented stimulus plans to not only support families, but also provide the immediate care needed for struggling businesses. Even though trillions of dollars have been approved through the original stimulus package and follow-up support funds, it’s still not enough to help all of the small businesses that have been struggling. Franchises and corporations pulled in millions of dollars through the stimulus packages, reducing the money that was left for the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers three categories of provisions. If your small business is struggling or you are an individual who has lost income, then you might consider accessing the funds offered for unemployment and more. Small businesses can benefit through several details of this stimulus act:

  • 90-day delay for federal tax payments and 2019 filing
  • Temporary cancellation of payroll taxes
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans

This support is designed to reduce the risk of small businesses failing because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Keep in mind that the funds only offer short-term solutions. All businesses need to be proactive in finding ways to adjust to the “new normal” – helping their customers feel comfortable coming into the store to shop.

Current Challenges and The Future Ripple Effect

The thing that small businesses need to know is that it won’t be “business as usual” as locations start to open up again. Consumers are hesitant to spend too much time in public spaces. Plus, unemployment has reached levels that we haven’t seen in a long time. As millions of people are unemployed or underemployed, families don’t have as much cash available to spend. This causes the economy to continue a slow progression in the future.

If small businesses can hold on for a bit more time, will there be enough spending to bring the business back to the previous levels of success? The economic impact will have a long-lasting impact, which means that many of these businesses could be facing the challenge of bankruptcy and/or closure in the coming months. Even with the available stimulus money, it’s not enough to make up the difference.

A recent report shows that 3.5 million businesses are currently in danger of permanent closure. Only time will tell how business trends will play out in the future.

How to Protect Your Small Business

Right now is the time for strategy and innovation so you can keep your small business going in the current challenges. More than ever, you need to be thinking outside the box to serve the needs of your customers. A little bit of creativity can go a long way to keep your doors open and help your small business weather the storm.

Here are a few things you might consider if your small business is currently struggling due to the COVID-19 closures:

  • Virtual Offerings: Is there a way that you can interact with customers through an online setting? It might be a good time to implement virtual customer service or online shopping options. Even if you don’t have a website with this capability, curbside pickup can be a good solution. Some stores are offering online orders or phone orders, with the purchases brought to the customer’s car in the parking lot.
  • Go Digital: Even though it is often said that “cash is king,” many businesses are choosing to go digital with all payments to minimize the spread of disease. Credit cards and mobile payment apps are safer than handling cash. If possible, have the customer handle the payment without the need for a cashier to touch the card or the phone. If the payment needs to be handled by an employee, consider a team approach for managing the product and payment. For example, one employee runs the register while another employee brings out the customer’s food – with no cross-contamination between the two.
  • Business Assistance: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need a little support to get through the hardest times. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan could be a way to help you maintain overhead costs. These stimulus offerings were created for a reason, so you might as well take advantage of your options while they are available. There are a few approvals and hurdles that need to be handled, so don’t delay in getting started as soon as possible.
  • Communication: Your customers need to know what you are doing in response to the pandemic. Put up signs at the store to show that you are still open and offering curbside pickup. Send out emails and social media posts to tell customers about the available options if they would like to shop. Talk to current customers to see if there is anything else that you can do to support their needs – and be willing to adapt where it makes sense.
  • Cash Management; More than ever, it is critical that all small businesses manage cash flow. If you don’t already have a good accounting and bookkeeping system, then implement a new software program as soon as possible. You need to know how much money is available, where the money is going, and what you need to do to prepare for the future. A good accounting team can be an invaluable resource to help with tax strategy, cash flow management, and more.
  • Consider Inventory: If all of your cash is tied up in inventory, then it might be hard to keep up with the monthly payments. Instead of maintaining the same ordering schedule, it is important to anticipate how shopper’s habits are changing. Adjust your inventory management to provide the highest demand products, while minimizing inventory on things that might not be in demand right now. Additionally, keep in mind that trade routes are affected across the world, which could delay your shipping timelines. Be proactive so you don’t end up in a situation with interested customers but no products to sell.
  • Networking Options: Are there any local networking options to bring in business? Some communities have small business programs to highlight services that are still open during the pandemic. Or, you might find a way to partner with other companies in the area to offer package deals that will bring customers through the door.

Your small business can make it through these hard times if you are innovative and creative in the ways you are moving forward. For some industries, the COVID-19 pandemic could be a turning point to help them reach higher levels of success in the future. The key is to not sit back to see what happens. Instead, it’s time to get rid of systems that are no longer working, while looking for ways that you can provide more value to your customers.

Professional Small Business Accounting

Our team at Easier Accounting understands that many small businesses are struggling during this time. We offer account and bookkeeping solutions to help with your cash management and financial strategy. These services are more than basic accounting – we strive to provide a personalized approach and ongoing support for your company.

If you need help with the numbers, then contact the small business accounting experts. Our outsourced services can be an important part of helping your business succeed right now while preparing for the future. Call for a consultation: (888) 620-0770.

How Small Business Owners Can Save Money by Having Employees Work from Home

The way business is done has changed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses are implementing new safety protocols to minimize the risk of virus exposure for both employees and customers. How have your business practices changed in recent months? One common trend is that companies are encouraging employees to work from home when possible.

The Shift to Work from Home Positions

While there has been a big shift to work from home employment opportunities in recent years, the COVID-19 situation has pushed employers to implement these practices unexpectedly. Some companies have been on the fence about employees working outside of the office. But we live in a digital world, which means that many of the projects can be completed off-site without a disruption to productivity.

One benefit of the COVID-19 outbreak is that many business owners are seeing that work from home positions are a smart business decision. This trend is turning into the “new normal” to reduce exposure in the office and maintain social distancing between employees.

Because of the current pandemic situation, there are no signs that telecommuting will slow. It is anticipated that these work from home arrangements will continue after the virus has been contained.

Both Physical and Online Businesses are Affected

If you own a physical location, then it is obvious that these in-person interactions can increase the risk of virus exposure. Since it is an airborne illness, the virus can be transmitted by spending time in close proximity with other people who are infected.

Even if a person isn’t displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus, it is possible that they are a carrier and spreading it to other people. There are reports of asymptomatic patients, as well as carriers who are contagious before they start displaying symptoms. Businesses with physical locations, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, are implementing new practices such as mask policies, social distancing, and other practices. Some employees have been sent to work from home, such as inventory managers and other employees who can complete their jobs remotely.

While it is obvious that physical businesses would be affected by the current pandemic, don’t underestimate the impact on online businesses as well. Customers are minimizing the time spent in local stores, which means that more people are turning to online shopping options. Even though there is no face-to-face interaction between employees and customers, employees still need to be in the workplace to fulfill orders and manage shipping. Not only can employees be at risk in the workplace, but reports have warned about the possibility of contamination on the shipping packages.

As you can see, this pandemic is having a far-reaching effect in many industries. As such, companies are looking for new ways to keep the business running while practicing safety protocols at the same time.

Financial Benefits of Employees Working from Home

Have you decided to shift to a work from home situation for some or all of your employees? As you have made these changes, notice the financial benefits that are available for your company. In fact, many businesses are deciding to change their policies going forward. When the pandemic is over, employees will continue working from home instead of bringing everyone back to the office again.

This shift in workspace reduces the need for desks in the office. Employers can save quite a bit of money on reduced expenses for:

  • Office space
  • Utilities
  • Desks and chairs
  • Breakroom maintenance
  • Cleaning and janitorial
  • Office supplies
  • Coffee and water
  • Transit subsidies

One report suggested that if employees work from home only half the time, the business would save $11,000 per year. Consider the financial impact on your company if the majority of employees start working from home full-time!

Working from Home: Part Time or Full Time?

Even if you don’t move to a full-time work from home situation, financial benefits can still be gained by having employees at home on a part-time basis. Spending a few days a week away from the office makes it easier to maintain social distancing, because employee schedules can be staggered throughout the week.

On the other hand, if there is no need to have employees in the office, then shifting to a full-time work from home status could be beneficial for everyone involved. As a business owner, you can save a significant amount on office space, while providing ongoing work opportunities for your employees.

Other Financial Benefits of Working from Home

It’s easy to add up the savings that come from cutting office space and decreasing utility expenses. At the same time, there are other financial benefits that are harder to quantify. For example, many employees report higher job satisfaction when working from home, which reduces employee turnover. Happy employees stay with the company for longer, helping you avoid the need to spend money on recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

Employee turnover costs companies thousands of dollars in recruiting and onboarding. Additionally, you need to calculate the cost of lost productivity as well. These expenses can add up quickly, which cuts into your profits and makes it harder to keep your company viable in a slow economy.

If you want to help your business thrive through the current economic downturn, then you need to implement all of the ways that you can cut costs and boost sales at the same time. This current pandemic can be viewed as an opportunity to optimize your current business systems. Many companies are adjusting their business practices and finding ways to decrease inefficiencies.

Maintaining Productivity When Employees are Working from Home

You can tally up the savings of having employees work from home because of the reduced costs for office space and equipment. At the same time, it is important to ensure that productivity is maintained when the employees are out of the office. Good systems and communication can keep the employees in a proactive mindset with their work tasks, ensuring they are staying on-point throughout the workday.

Additionally, you should consider the type of work your employees are doing each day. If employees need focused time free of distractions, then some people experience an increase in productivity when they are working out of the office. While it is nice to have the social interactions in an office space, the wasted water cooler time can definitely add up. Stepping away from the office distractions can have a positive impact to boost productivity.

The key to maintaining productivity with work from home programs is to ensure that your employees have access to quality digital tools. Many companies are using high-quality video conferencing to keep team members connected from different locations. Additionally, messaging tools, email, and ongoing communication can keep everyone connected, even if they aren’t meeting in person.

Accessing the Talent Needed for Your Company

Not only can your business save money on overhead costs, but it is possible that work from home opportunities can also help your business grow. When you are no longer limited by geographic location, you can tap into a larger pool of talent for your company.

Hiring a range of skill sets can boost overall performance within the company, helping to bring innovative thinking and increased productivity to all departments. Dialing in the right team for business support can be a valuable way to move the company forward and help you reach higher levels of success in the future.

Financial Benefits for Both Employers and Employees

Overall, financial benefits are available for both employers and employees. As a business owner, you can save money on all of the things listed above. At the same time, your employees benefit because they can avoid the costs of transportation and commute. The average employee spends an hour each day commuting to and from the office. Eliminating this commute results in a smaller personal transportation budget, and frees up time to spend with family. This commuting time can also be spent on work-related projects if extra hours are needed during a busy season.

Optimizing Your Business

There are two important keys to optimize your business: reduce costs and increase revenue. The foundation of these changes needs to start in your financial management. It is important to monitor the money that is flowing in and out of your accounts so you can identify areas of opportunity. If you are looking for new solutions, then it might be time to bring on a financial expert for assistance.

At Easier Accounting, we offer tax strategy and financial support for small businesses. Whether you have a workforce in the office or a group of work from home employees, we can assist with everything from payroll management to tax strategy to annual filings. If you are interested in learning more about how your business can benefit from accounting services, then we invite you to contact us for support. We provide personalized solutions to support your business finances throughout the year.

Call us at Easier Accounting to talk to a financial expert who specializes in small business services: (888) 620-0770.

How an Accounting Service Can Help in an Economic Downturn

The stock market has been on a wild ride as investors are responding to the global impact from the Coronavirus pandemic. The long-term effects of this economic downturn are still unknown, but most people agree that the global economy is going to be rocky for a while. Businesses are closed and social distancing is affecting spending habits, taking a toll on the normally robust spending that is usually happening in our capitalist society.

If you look at the trends through history, it is normal and expected for an economic downturn to happen at times, with other periods of growth and prosperity. It’s been said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” which is a good reminder that these economic difficulties offer an opportunity for businesses who can adapt to the changing needs of the consumers.

Economic Downturn: Businesses Thriving and Tanking

How is this current economic downturn impacting your business? There seems to be stark differences in the way some companies are thriving while others are struggling. For example, the travel industry has taken a massive hit, which means that your business is likely struggling if you provide travel products or services.

Public events and gatherings have also been affected, including event centers, concerts, movie theaters, expos, sports, and anything else that draws large crowds of people. It’s difficult to calculate the total loss in the entertainment industry and how these cancellations will have a long-term effect on the economy.

On the other hand, online retailers have seen a boom in business as people are turning to online resources for groceries and household items. There is still a need to buy food and personal supplies, and the online suppliers that have stocked the shelves are ready and willing to ship anything that you need.

Other surprising growths have been occurring, such as an increase in stocks for companies that provide Personal Protective Equipment, such as face masks. Toilet paper has been sold out as many people have been “panic buying” anything on the shelves. Even jigsaw puzzle manufacturers have been struggling to keep the shelves stocked because families are looking for activities to do at home.

Supporting Your Business in an Economic Downturn

Whether you are experiencing the pinch of slower sales, or your doors are closed right now, it is important that you are strategic in handling your finances and preparing for the future. Even if you are in a busy industry, this economic downturn is a reminder that it’s important to have your business affairs in order – you never know when the tides will turn and your business might be negatively affected.

If you are smart with your strategy and you work with the right advisors and professionals, you can leverage your company for growth in a recession. But you need to be ahead of the curve – looking for the things that consumers might want to but in the future. Additionally, calculated decisions need to be made regarding product manufacturing, development, inventory, and more.

Tips for Positioning Your Business for Growth in a Recession

What is your plan to help your business thrive in an economic downturn? Here are a few tips to help during this challenging environment:

  1. Focus on Your Strengths: Churning out the same-old products and services won’t cut it when things are changing. Look for ways that you can improve your core competencies so that you can gain an edge over your competitors. As you specialize and optimize your business offerings, it is easier to sustain your business in the long-term, regardless of what happens in the economy.
  2. Look for Opportunities: Stay dialed into spending patterns and customer demand to identify areas where you can tap into market growth. If you have financial strength in your business and the ability to move quickly, then you might be able to act fast when growth potential is available. This agility gives you an advantage when your competitors are stuck in old sale systems and outdated marketing campaigns.
  3. Systems Improvements: Next, it is important to find areas of improvement within your internal systems. Are there areas where you are wasting time or money? How can you adjust your current processes to improve output without spending more money? Take time to evaluate key drivers to look for areas where you need to be focusing on business growth. Take a team approach with managers and staff members to find how you can do things cheaper, faster, or better.
  4. Consider Profit Margins: Selling more product isn’t worth your time if your profit margins aren’t adding up. Even small improvements in profit margins can have a significant impact on your long-term business growth. For example, is there a way for you to save a bit of money on every product unit? Or, can you find ways to upsell customers to increase the overall amount of each transaction? Get creative to find ways that you can cut costs and increase profits, without sacrificing the overall quality of the product or service that is offered.
  5. Save for a Rainy Day: Cash in an emergency savings account can bring peace in the unknown. While it’s important to reinvest cash back into your business, you also need to be sure that you have enough cash flow to keep the company running when things get lean. Cash flow can be managed by adjusting inventory, managing credit terms, and creating a financial system with a built-in savings account. This emergency savings can be the difference between your business surviving or failing when unexpected events happen that impact your sales.
  6. Avoid Debt: It takes money to earn money, but you need to be careful about how much debt you take on as a business owner. If you are too leveraged in credit accounts and mortgages, it will be a challenge to keep up with debt payments when things slow down. You can rest easy knowing that the economic downturn doesn’t have to take your business down in difficult times. Instead, minimize the amount of debt that you are carrying to give you more control over cash flow at all times.
  7. Maintain a Vision: You need to know where your business is heading, and this message must be communicated with your employees. Encourage everyone to be innovative with ideas that could influence sales and overall systems. Additionally, share this vision with your customers and business relationships, giving them confidence that you will maintain strength despite the changes in the economy.

Accounting Services for Your Small Business

If you don’t already have a good accounting and bookkeeping system in place, then now is the time to get started with these systems. One of the benefits of working with an outsourced accounting team is that you can tap into these resources without the need to meet face-to-face.

When an economic recession hits, many people are looking to cut costs – and you might be tempted to eliminate accounting services. But the truth is that accounting support is more important than ever during an economic downturn. When the business is under stress, you need a trained financial expert who can watch your expenses, manage available capital, and offer suggestions about how cash flow can be improved.

Additionally, accounting services are valuable for leveraging tax deductions as much as possible. As your profit margins change, your tax burdens will shift as well. It is essential that you are staying ahead of these changes and maximizing deductions and tax credits wherever possible. Most business owners don’t have the knowledge or experience to know where tax and accounting benefits can be improved. So, it is an investment to lean on the support from a trusted accounting team.

Refocus Your Efforts on Budgeting and Bookkeeping

It doesn’t matter if your business is in a growth phase or if you are struggling to keep your doors open during an economic downturn – right now is the perfect time to recommit to your financial systems. By refocusing on budgeting and bookkeeping, you can optimize profits, minimize expenses, and set your company up for success in every economic climate.

As business owners learn more about the benefits that come from professional accounting services, it is easy to see why it is worth the effort to hire an outsourced accounting team. We offer years of experience that can be rolled into your accounting strategy. Our knowledgable accountants have worked with small businesses in a variety of industries. We understand what it takes to improve overall results in every economic climate.

Compare the costs of in-house accounting with outsourced services, and you’ll see that it makes sense to leverage the available services from a trusted team. At Easier Accounting, we are committed to your business success and satisfaction. We offer a personalized approach for every business owner, giving you top-notch services at affordable prices.

Whether you need tax strategy or full-service accounting and bookkeeping, we are here to help. Learn more about these available services by talking to us at Easier Accounting. You can reach us at (888) 620-0770.

Small Business Relief Programs During the Coronavirus Pandemic

With government-mandated shutdowns and “Stay at Home” orders across the country, many businesses are taking a hit in this Coronavirus pandemic. Are you worried about the future of your company? Right now is the time to learn more about small business relief programs and how they can provide much-needed support during this challenging time.

Small Business Reality During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The current global health concerns and economic downturn are taking a toll on businesses of all sizes. But small businesses are feeling the biggest burdens since they don’t have the reserves to weather such a difficult environment.

Depending on your industry, it’s likely that you’ve laid off staff, adjusted services, or even closed your doors indefinitely. Just because the business needs to be closed, doesn’t mean that you get a break from overhead costs for your rent/mortgage, insurance coverage, business loans, and more.

In fact, many business owners have their hands full right now trying to figure out how to buy enough time to make it through the economic downturn. If you are sheltered in place at home (as many people are across the US), then your time is probably dedicated to business activities to coordinate orders with suppliers and stave off the debt collectors.

Not only are you facing the challenge of navigating the immediate needs of your business, but you are also likely feeling the stress of the future. What will it take so you have the cash to open the doors again when we get ahead of this pandemic? If you are struggling to pay your bills right now, then it might feel impossible to think about what it is going to require when things go back to normal again. Many business owners have the shared mindset that the “new normal” will be different than what we knew before the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Goldman Sachs survey, only 50% of small business owners will be able to make it through three months of the current pandemic and economic downturn. Almost all businesses are being affected, and many business owners are struggling to know what to do when the cash reserves are gone.

Are Bailouts Available for Small Businesses?

The news headlines have announced that a $2 Trillion bailout has been approved by the Federal government to help the United States through this unprecedented challenge. Checks are being sent to individuals and many bailouts are available for some of the largest industries being affected, such as the cruise companies and airlines. It leaves many of us wondering if small business relief programs will be offered for locally owned companies as well.

Rest assured to know that part of the bailout package includes $300 billion in the form of small business loans. These small business relief programs are designed to help companies with 500 employees or less.

The trick is to know where to look and what you need to do to qualify for the programs that are being offered for small businesses. Also, remember that we are only a few weeks into this pandemic, which means that many of these small business relief programs are still in the beginning stages. It will take some time to determine how the programs will be implemented.

Small Business Relief Programs: Options to Consider

Here are a few possible programs that might be beneficial to help your business during this challenging time:

Small Business Administration Loans:

Normally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) here in the United States offers a funding pool of $20 billion for small businesses. This pool has been increased to $50 billion to providing funding for business owners who need help. For example, if your business is suffering losses because of COVID-19, then low-interest disaster loans can be accessed up to $2 million per business.

This money can be used for whatever is needed to get through these hard times, such as paying bills, keeping up with debt payments, or covering payroll. To apply, the governor in your state must submit a declaration of emergency. Then, the application process can be done online or via mail. Also, don’t hesitate to contact your local SBA office to learn about potential services that might be available in your area.

State Funded Loan Programs:

While the SBA is a nationwide program, there are other local options that might be helpful for your small business. For example, some states have created small business relief programs to help with the Coronavirus pandemic. Visit your state’s website to look for information about available programs. City-based business loans have also been implemented in some of the largest cities in the US, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago.

Private Grants and Loans:

Other financing opportunities can be accessed through private lenders. Contact your business banking service or look to other offers that might be available for discounted business loans during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Private relief programs and waived service fees are being offered through large companies, such as:

  • Facebook: Ad credits and cash grants are offered for up to 30,000 small businesses.
  • Amazon: Cash grants offered for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $7 million or less in annual sales.
  • GoFundMe: A small business relief fund has been set up to provide millions of dollars in small business relief programs.
  • Google: G Suite customers have free access to the advanced services through Hangouts video conferencing.
  • Uber Eats: Delivery fees are waived for orders coming from restaurants that are independently-owned.

If you are searching for new financing, be cautious and remember that scammers are actively trying to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals and business owners during this time. Never provide sensitive financial information without first verifying the reputation of the loan provider.

Tax Deferrals:

With the annual tax deadline looming, it might be hard to come up with the cash that is needed by April 15th. The IRS pushed the tax deadline back to July 15th, giving people more time to file their taxes and pay the amount that is owed. If you have pressing bills, then it makes sense to take advantage of this extra time. Business owners who need more time also have the opportunity to apply for a tax extension, which would push your filing due date to October.

Keep in mind that the automatic July 15th deferral applies for federal taxes. Many states have followed suit and extended state-level tax deadlines as well. You’ll need to check your local state guidelines to know when your taxes need to be filed and paid this year. The simplest solution is to talk to your accountant for personal recommendations regarding your filing and payments.

Also, if you are anticipating a tax refund, then it doesn’t make sense to wait on your tax filing. Instead, finish the paperwork as soon as possible so you can get the refund and use the money for your immediate business needs.

Credit Payment Deferrals

It’s worth your time to reach out to your individual creditors, including your mortgage company or any other lenders that you need to pay each month. Many of these financial institutions are offering payment deferments. For example, you might be able to skip a mortgage payment for 60 days if the cash isn’t available.

Consider the long-term effects of not paying a loan though. The interest costs will continue to accrue. You might be able to avoid late fees, but the interest can add up over time. Additionally, you need to be sure that you are prepared with cash in hand when it is time to pay the mortgage again. It might be a challenge to get caught up on two or three mortgage payments after the deferral period is over.

We’re in This Together

Even though the economy is slowing and sales are suffering, rest assured knowing that small business relief programs are available to help you get through whatever might happen in the upcoming months. It is important to know that you don’t have to navigate this challenging road without support. Tap into the resources that are available to keep you afloat until your business doors can open again.

Our team at Easier Accounting is here to assist if you need financial help during the current economic downturn. We understand the challenges that you are facing, and offer proven accounting services for businesses in all industries. If you need assistance with cash flow management, tax strategy, or anything else related to managing your business finances, then we are just a phone call away.

Whether you need information about small business relief programs or immediate accounting services for your business, we are working hard to keep our customers up-to-date in the financial industry. We invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at Easier Accounting to learn more about the ways your business can benefit from our services. We’ll gladly schedule a consultation to help you see why every business should be leveraging outsourced accounting for financial strategy, payroll, tax preparation, and more. Contact us at (888) 620-0770.

The High Cost of Poor Bookkeeping Systems

In a small business setting, it is far too common for paperwork and bookkeeping systems to fall to the bottom of the priority list. Business owners and managers often get caught up in the activities of each day: employee management, customer support, product development, marketing, and more. While these responsibilities are important, failing to keep up with bookkeeping and accounting can lead to big issues in the future.

How often do you have stacks of receipts or invoices that pile up on your desk? These piles of paperwork can be daunting, often resulting in the choice to push off the task until tomorrow. One day leads to another… before you know it, you are months down the road with a daunting project of sorting through all of the transactions that have moved through your business.

DIY Bookkeeping Won’t Save You Money

Often, small business owners will choose DIY bookkeeping as a way to save money. If you are working on a tight budget, then the cost of paying for a bookkeeper or accountant might feel like it is out of your budget. But the truth is that DIY often results in a disastrous outcome – especially if you don’t have formal training in bookkeeping.

The only time it makes sense to choose DIY bookkeeping is if you have the time and skills to ensure accuracy in your records. If you fail to keep the system current, or you are inaccurate in the data entry and calculations, then it will cost you quite a bit of money in the long run.

Bad Bookkeeping Systems Will Cost You Time and Money

Whether you have an outdated system, your books are a mess, or you aren’t doing anything with bookkeeping, now is the time to implement a system that works for the unique needs of your company. The truth is that inaccurate bookkeeping will cost you a lot of money – now and years down the road.

Here are some of the most common ways that you will pay unexpected costs due to poor DIY bookkeeping practices:

  • Mistakes: A few small mistakes here and there shouldn’t be an issue, right? Wrong! When profits or expenses are miscalculated, it has a domino effect on your financial reports, tax estimates, and overall calculations. Typos and errors start small in the beginning, but the snowball effect results in a messy problem several months or years down the road.
  • Incorrect Tax Calculations: Inaccurate bookkeeping systems will have a direct impact on your tax calculations. If you overestimate your profits and don’t calculate all of the expenses for the year, then it means that you are likely overpaying in taxes. Why pay more than necessary? On the other hand, underestimating taxes leads to issues with the IRS and could potentially result in files if you are audited.
  • Categorization Problems: It is important that all expenses and profits are calculated correctly. Claiming deductions that aren’t appropriate for your business could cost you a lot of money in back-taxes and fines when your books are audited by the IRS. Additionally, you need to ensure that all assets are categorized correctly based on income sources and profits.
  • Skipping Reconciliations: Just because you are entering and updating transactions as they are moving through your bank account, doesn’t mean that you are staying current with your bookkeeping systems. It is also important to maintain regular reconciliations, which is a step that is often missed when business owners choose DIY bookkeeping.
  • Misleading Financial Reports: When making big decisions for your company, it is essential that you look at the big picture. How much cash is available to reinvest in the business? How much debt are you carrying at any given time? Accurate bookkeeping reports show a real-time snapshot to give you a clear financial picture of your company. If you are making mistakes or behind with your bookkeeping entries, then these reports will be inaccurate. This misinformation can be dangerous in the way it affects your business cash flow. For example, you might choose to spend money on an unnecessary expense, not realizing that there aren’t sufficient funds to cover the upcoming overhead costs.
  • Higher Risk of Audits: One common mistake with DIY bookkeeping systems is that things don’t add up when the IRS is looking at your tax filings. Missing deadlines or having deductions that don’t make sense could increase the likelihood of an audit. If the IRS sees any red flags, then you could be facing an audit. It’s essential that your books are accurate so you can defend the numbers, otherwise, you could be facing expensive penalties and fees due to the irregularities found in the audit. Working with an experienced accounting team is one of the best things you can do to avoid an audit.
  • Miss Potential Tax Deductions: As a small business owner, you should take advantage of the benefit of maximizing tax deductions whenever possible. If you are spending money on business costs, then those expenses can be factored into the calculations when it is time to pay your taxes. A few missing receipts here and there can add up over the year, resulting in a situation where you are over-paying on your tax bill because you didn’t account for all of the expenses during the year.
  • Late Invoicing: When you complete the work for a client, it is essential to follow-through with a timely invoice. But a poor bookkeeping system makes it hard to keep things straight. If you don’t know which clients have outstanding bills and how much is owed, then it decreases the likelihood that you will be consistent in following through to get the funds that are due. Not only will it take longer for you to get paid, but you are likely missing out on money that should have been received. Too often, invoices are miscalculated or overlooked altogether because of DIY bookkeeping.
  • Late Fees and Overdraft Costs: If you are inconsistent with payments and you don’t pay attention to the account balances, then it is likely that you will run into issues with overdraft penalties and late fees. These small costs can add up to hundreds of dollars each year in avoidable expenses. They cut into your profit margin and also require additional time and effort to correct the problem.
  • Interest Costs and Cashflow Issues: Another way you are overpaying is because of the interest costs that are calculated on balances due. Whether you have a business loan or you use a credit card for business costs, the interest can add up over time. While it can make sense to use credit for building your business, don’t let poor cash flow habits make it difficult for you to pay off the money that is owed. Having an effective bookkeeping system gives you the benefit of staying ahead of the payments, which can help to reduce interest costs over time.
  • Payroll Errors: It’s no surprise that payroll errors result in employee dissatisfaction. Sometimes, DIY bookkeeping can cause delayed paycheck delivery or miscalculations that need to be fixed. Your employees will be unhappy if they aren’t being paid enough. At the same time, it costs your company money if you need to recalculate the paychecks and fix the errors. Additionally, you could be overpaying if the payroll calculations are too high.
  • Investors and Loans: When you are ready to take your business efforts to the next level, you need to have access to money through business loans or private investors. The problem is that a poor bookkeeping system doesn’t look good in the loan application process. Inaccurate financial records show your business in the wrong light, which will have a negative impact on your ability to get the financing that is needed.

Add up the costs listed above, and it is likely that you are losing out on thousands of dollars every year by choosing a DIY approach for your bookkeeping systems. When you consider the cost of investing in bookkeeping and accounting services, you will see that it is well worth the cost of these professional services.

Avoid Expensive Problems

The bottom line: DIY bookkeeping can be both time-consuming and expensive. If you don’t have the right system in place, then it will likely cost you a lot of money in the future to fix the problems and implement an effective bookkeeping system.

The best solution is to hire professional services right away. The sooner you start working with a bookkeeping and accounting team, the better success you will have with your financial tracking and recordkeeping. Get the right system in place so your business is ready for growth and expansion when the timing is right.

At Easier Accounting, we specialize in small business bookkeeping. Our team is here to assist with the financial details of your company so that you can focus on other tasks to help your business grow. Whether you need assistance with payroll, tax advice, or general bookkeeping services, we are here to help. Call us today to discuss the available services: (888) 620-0770.