Small Business Lessons Learned to Get Ahead in 2021

If there was ever a year that you learned something as a small business owner, last year was the year. With the pandemic, many businesses were forced to pivot and re-imagine their business plans completely. No one had the experience of what to do when a global pandemic hits. It took flexibility and grit, and a lot of small businesses didn’t survive in 2020.

What did you do with your small business that allowed you to stay in operation during the pandemic? Take a look back on the year and think about the moves you made that were vital to your business succeeding and carrying on when many other small businesses had to close up shop indefinitely. These small business lessons are integral to continuing on and making sure you learn from your 2020 strategies in the future.

Small Business Lessons Learned

Now that you have the year 2020 behind you, look back and think about pivotal decisions that were made to benefit your small business. These small business lessons are some that you want to record so you can remember what worked when you were in a time of crisis. Your list may include:

  1. Step Into Unknown Territory with Confidence

This past year forced many businesses to make changes that weren’t familiar to them in the small business world. Change is scary, and feeling inadequate or inexperienced is even more frightening. But most of the time, that unknown step can turn out to be just the thing your small business needs. Do not be afraid of the unknown.

Take a look at some changes your small business may have experienced and reflect on how you made it work:

  • Moving your business online: For many small businesses, this was a natural progression of their business that was kicked into hyper-speed because of the pandemic. It takes a lot of work to move your business online, including website development, pictures of inventory, finding the right interface for selling your product, and getting the word out. It is vital to offer an online option for your customers who are staying home and staying safe during the pandemic.
  • Offering sidewalk sales: Using your store-front property could have been a pivot that your company made this past year. Offering your customers with an option to shop out in the open air is a huge positive for many customers. The small businesses that implemented safety practices and showed that they cared about their customers’ health were the businesses that thrived in 2020.
  • Virtual classes and services: For bakeries, yoga studios, and art schools, 2020 was a year of virtual courses. This new idea came to light for many businesses, as many people at home were looking for ways to stay busy and educated. It is a business plan that can benefit businesses with or without a pandemic. When a bakery offers a baking kit to pick up and virtually learn together, it will only increase customers who use that bakery for future needs.
  • Partnering with other small businesses: This past year, it was common to see small businesses supporting each other. You could stand in line at a restaurant to pick up your to-go order and find local jams and homemade bread available for sale from a different small business. Or a restaurant invites a dessert food truck to park in their parking lot and add a dessert option to their site. This cross-promotional model only benefits both businesses. And customers recognize the community feel of small businesses coming together.
  • Finding a manufacturer: For some e-commerce businesses, sales went through the roof in a short timespan. A small business lesson learned from these businesses was how to find a manufacturer, and fast, to keep up with the sales. Once you find a way to create your products quickly and from a source that you can trust, it is invaluable for your business going forward. This is a significant next step that many small businesses were forced to take during the pandemic.

When you look back on 2020, you can be grateful for the new ventures your small business had to pursue to change with the needs of the customers during the pandemic. These new changes won’t have to be undone if things ever go back to normal. Going virtual and offering several buying options for your customers will only help expand your business and keep it growing.

  1. Stay Current with Apps and Technology

If you were behind on technology when the pandemic hit, you’re likely caught up now. It’s essential to keep up with the technology changes to be ready to use the platforms when needed. The pandemic may have taught you that social media is vital for your small business.

When a lot of companies had a substantial following built already, you had to start from zero. If you had already been in-the-know with that trend, you would have had that headstart also. So learn from that.

  1. Conduct All Business Virtually and from Home

What a change it was to stop the hustle and bustle of small business life and be forced to slow down. Most business is now conducted virtually or from home, which saves so much time and money. And all of the noise of combining busy schedules to get together for meetings or coordinating where to meet was silenced. As the calm set in during the pandemic, what were your small business lessons learned?

  • Create a Home Office Escape: Make a pod inside your home where you can block out everything else and focus on your work.
  • Set Work Hours to Separate Home and Work: Communicate healthy boundaries around separating work life from home life.
  • Maximize the Time Saved on Commuting and Money Saved on Gas: Write it out – if you are saving 45-100 minutes per day from your commute and 30-60 miles worth of gas, record those savings and make a plan to reallocate the time and funds.
  • Break the Ice with Virtual Calls: How did you help your associates and customers feel comfortable on virtual video calls? Take those small business lessons with you as virtual calls become the norm, and people will continue to feel more comfortable with that.

This change to eliminate the busy-ness of small business life and slow down to focus on what’s really needed for your business was a major bonus of 2020. Take these small business lessons with you as you move on from this past year.

  1. Learn Small Business Lessons by Conducting Surveys

A great way to glean real data from your company is to send out customer surveys. The power of a survey is more than you realize. The opportunity to learn precisely why a customer isn’t returning to your store, whether it be a particular company or a cleanliness issue, is immeasurable. Collect data about customer service, pricing, cleanliness, product quality, etc., and then use that data to turn even larger profits.

Contact customers who had a poor experience and show them that you value their opinion. If you make changes to improve your processes, tell your customers about it so that they can see their survey made a difference.

  1. Connect with Your Customers and Share Your Personal Story

A big focus of running a small business during a crisis is showing vulnerability and letting your customers see the heart of your business. Something that sets you apart is your origin story. Share that with your customers and connect over shared struggles and successes.

Some ways that you can connect with your customers are:

  • Send thank you cards
  • Give holiday gifts
  • Share how you started on social media
  • Highlight your personal life on your business page regularly
  • Follow up with customers who connected with you
  • Run customer appreciation promotions
  • Spotlight valued customers

These simple ideas are wonderful ways to make your customers feel seen and appreciated. You may not be able to contact each customer that uses your business, but even just reaching out to a few customers a week will show your efforts. Customers share touching experiences with their friends, and your small business reputation will reach a greater audience.

  1. Be Prepared for the Unexpected

If there were ever a small business lesson to learn, it would be that you are surviving a pandemic. Maybe your small business is even thriving during a pandemic. If you can achieve that, you can achieve anything. A pandemic came your way; nobody saw it coming. Nobody had pandemic insurance or pandemic procedures written out in their employee handbooks.

What did you do to meet the unexpected head-on and turn it into a strength in your business? Be prepared to do it again as you’ve learned your lesson that anything is possible, and you should be prepared for disaster or success to come your way.

You may have made it through 2020 and don’t want ever to look back. But by reflecting on the small business lessons that you learned and making goals on how you can be even more prepared for the future will only benefit your business. Don’t be afraid to look back and be proud of your wins from this past year.

At Easier Accounting, we can help your small business succeed. If you are looking for ways to save money in 2021, we are here to help! Our accountants specialize in working with small businesses, which is why you know you can trust our team to maximize your savings. Schedule your appointment by calling (888) 620-0770.

Does a Small Business Need a Bookkeeper, a CFO, or a Controller?

When starting a small business, it may be tempting to stay in control of your finances and do all of the bookkeeping and accounting yourself. Some entrepreneurs choose a trusted family member to help with small business accounting. When a small business owner begins their business venture, their passion doesn’t always lie in accounting. Understandably, accounting services get put on the back burner, and business owners make do with the limited knowledge they have.

A lot of businesses start out with the DIY approach to accounting. While this may make sense at the beginning of a startup, you will soon find that professional accounting services can offer real value and financial return to your small business.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional for Small Business Accounting?

Running your accounting system by yourself or asking a friend for help will not result in the savings that professionals in the industry will implement for you in your small business. Accountants are in charge of your money and have a responsibility to know how to save the most money and run the business seamlessly. Take a look at the potential savings:

  • Tax savings
  • Vendors and manufacturing savings
  • Payroll services
  • Reports and big picture snapshots of the financials
  • Risk mitigation with insurance and checks and balances to prevent fraud
  • Simplifying operations and processes to save money
  • Avoidance of fines, late payment fees, high-interest penalties from missed payments, and dings to your credit score

It may be an initial investment to hire a small business accountant. But when you look at all of the savings that result from having a professional behind your accounting system, you will quickly recognize the return on investment. While you can put your passion into building your business, a small business accountant can use their expertise to save you money every step of the way.

Does a Small Business Need a Bookkeeper, a CFO, or a Controller?

Once you decide that you need to hire out for small business accounting services, what service is required for your specific company? What are the differences between a CFO, Controller, and Bookkeeper?

Services Offered by a Bookkeeper

A bookkeeper keeps track of all transactions regarding money going out and money coming in. They do not offer expertise when it comes to business strategy or expanding your business. Some bookkeeping tasks include:

  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Keeping a list of all small business costs
  • Managing payroll, including tax and federal withholdings and insurance deductions
  • Preparing reports
  • Paying the bills on time
  • Tracking inventory
  • Preparing taxes

A bookkeeper is responsible for the necessary accounting transactions and helps you keep your small business finances organized with all records up to date. A detail-oriented bookkeeper may be all you need when your business is small. If you’re not looking to be advised on your business’s growth and the right financial path for growth, then use a bookkeeper.

When A Small Business Needs a Bookkeeper

If you find yourself putting more time and energy into keeping up with your books, then it may be time to hire a bookkeeper. You can outsource bookkeeping services instead of hiring an in-house employee. It is an excellent time to hire a bookkeeper if you don’t fully understand the accounting.

If you are unfamiliar with tax code and how to save the most money in taxes for your business, a bookkeeper can help. If your business experiences rapid growth and keeping the books becomes overwhelming, then you can hire out.

When seeking investors or presenting to shareholders, professional reports may be preferred and can be drawn up by a bookkeeper. The level of professionalism in which you present your company can rely on whether you have a professional handle your bookkeeping or not.

The Role of a Controller

Another role for small business accounting is a controller. When your company becomes large enough to have one or more financial employees or an accounting team, a controller oversees that team. They are usually mid-level accounting staff, reporting to the CFO or CEO of the small business. The responsibilities of a controller include:

  • Managing the accounting team
  • Running reports for in-house review
  • Financial risk management
  • Budget decisions
  • Final sign-off on accounting services
  • Implementing tax strategies
  • Consulting in regards to investments or business strategy

A controller has a full view of the company’s accounting practices, implementing the most streamlined processes along the way. When leading the accounting team, the controller is the trusted leader who gives the final sign-off on critical financial operations, including taxes and reports for the board of directors.

When a Small Business Is Ready for a Controller

As the business grows to require more than a one-person accounting team, a controller may be needed. Suppose your small business has a board of directors. In that case, it is common practice to have a controller in charge to present finances and take on protecting the company’s assets. A controller typically focuses on accounting services while a CFO concentrates on strategy.

An alternative to hiring an in-house controller is outsourcing your accounting to a firm specializing in small business accounting. The professional accounting team will serve the same purposes as a controller and always have your business’s best interest in mind.

What Are the Responsibilities of a CFO?

CFO’s are involved in all business decisions and work closely with the CEO. As your business grows and turns high profits, a CFO has the responsibility to foresee risks to the company and protect against them. Some CFO duties include:

  • Steering the company through mergers and acquisitions
  • Changing the business structure
  • Implementing expansions
  • Managing stakeholder relationships
  • Setting financial goals
  • Understanding the market and capitalizing on it
  • Making investment decisions

A CFO is vital for a business that is growing rapidly. With a financial expert at the helm of a growing company, the accounting practices will never be neglected. A business cannot succeed without a team that is proactively protecting the assets and implementing business strategy.

When a Small Business Would Benefit from a CFO

For an executive-level financial officer who works hand-in-hand with the CEO and oversees the whole company’s financial operations, you will need a CFO. If your company has grown to the capacity of needing a financial strategist involved in every business decision, it is time to hire a CFO.

The financial aspect of the company is just as important as the creative process of running a business. And every creative and logistical decision has a financial component to it. That is why the role of a CFO is so vital for a growing business.

A CFO should have expertise in small business operations as well as the financial systems of a company. Hiring out a small business accounting service can benefit your company, and the CFO can keep in close contact with that team to help implement business strategy along the way. The CFO will also present the financials to the board of directors and be your small business financial expert.

In Summary

While you can get away with hiring a bookkeeper while your company is small, it is vital to invest more money into your accounting services as the business grows. A bookkeeper will keep you organized and provide you with a detailed view of your financials each month, making sure payments and payroll are processed on time.

By the time your business has grown to have more than one accountant, then a controller would be the person in charge of overseeing the accounting team. You can always hire an accounting team that specializes in small business to take care of your accounting needs as your business grows.

A CFO would be needed to represent the business’s financial side for a small business experiencing rapid growth and coming up on huge expansion decisions. With a CFO on the executive team, the CEO can focus on growing the business, always receiving input about whether ideas are financially feasible. A business owner relies on the information from the CFO.

Make the decision on what kind of accounting team is right for your small business. Taking shortcuts with accounting can lead your business to miss out and huge savings and ultimately lead to the business’s demise. Arm your team with accounting professionals, and be ready to change the team as your small business grows.

Hiring Small Business Accountants

The benefits of hiring out your accounting services are innumerable. The huge savings you will receive will cover the costs of accounting fees and more. Find an accounting service that has a good reputation in the small business industry. An accounting firm with niched experience will only instill more trust and start your relationship off to a good start.

If you are looking for an accountant specializing in small business services, then Easier Accounting is here to help! Getting control of your bookkeeping and accounting for your small business should be a priority. Instead of doing it all yourself, seek help from a knowledgeable accountant. Call us at (888) 620-0770.

Big Goal for 2021: Start a New Business

As many people are setting New Year’s Resolutions during this time of year, it may be time to set a huge resolution for yourself and make it a goal to start a new business in 2021. This attainable goal is not out of reach. All it takes is careful planning and setting priorities to align yourself with opening a business.

What Does It Take to Start a New Business?

  1. Make a Plan

You can’t start a business without a plan. Hand-write a business plan that is very detailed and thought out. Often, a business plan is presented to investors or when applying for a business loan. It is vital to show that every aspect of your business is contemplated. A one-page business plan can include:

  • A hole in the market that your small business fulfills
  • A business pitch
  • Target audience
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Potential threats to your small business
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial breakdown, including the money needed to start a new business and the projected profits

This written out plan will give you a beginning point to start a new business. Once you get the answers to fill in all of the parts of your business plan, you will be knowledgeable to take the next step toward realizing your goal.

  1. Find Areas to Save Money for a Business

When planning to start a new business, you need to save up money for the startup costs. Look for the parts of your budget that you can save money on, like coffee runs and eating out. These costs will add up little by little each month and help you save up for your small business.

If you plan to quit your full-time job and put everything you have into your business, it is sensible to wait until you have the money saved to support yourself for 6-months. A small business owner doesn’t take home a paycheck right away. So if you are quitting your 9-to-5 job to start a new business, have the savings to back it up.

  1. Conduct Market Research

Do research in the small business industry in which you are interested. If you would like to start a dog walking business, google local dog walking services and see how many come up. Research the average price that is charged and how much demand there is in your area. Visit dog groomers and related companies that may have a pulse on the community’s needs but would not be direct competitors.

Once you have the information gathered, compare it to what you think your product or service is worth. If you are a well-trained music teacher, you do not have to match what other community music teachers are charging. Have confidence in your expertise and find a balance between what you think you’re worth and competitor pricing.

  1. Be Aware of the Risks

Every small business owners have risks associated with their business. Be sure to explore all of the possible risks and find what you can do to protect yourself and your business. Meeting with a small business expert is a good idea to discuss the potential risks specific to the small business that you may not have considered.

  1. Set Attainable Goals

You may have big ideas of growth for your small business, but remember that growth is gradual at the beginning of a startup. As you are learning the industry’s ins and outs and troubleshooting, it is essential to set realistic goals. Checking off small goals along the way will keep you motivated and increase morale.

  1. Ask for Feedback from an Industry Expert

Now that you have a business plan in place, it is good to ask for a second opinion. You don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable to having your dreams shutdown or criticized. Instead of pitching your whole business, ask for feedback on components of your business and the startup process. Of course, it is helpful to ask for advice from someone you love. But sometimes they don’t tell you what you need to hear.

Search for resources in the community with networking opportunities for entrepreneurs like the chamber of commerce. Meeting up with a local entrepreneur can help you get a good idea of how to start a new business in your community. When you seek the advice of an entrepreneur who recently started their own business, you will receive fresh advice that is applicable and easy to implement.

  1. Consider a Partner

If your business requires more starting capital than you can come up with, you should consider taking on a partner. It is also helpful to have a partner to progress the business quicker. With a partner, you can split the workload and see results faster as you put in double the work together.

Take caution in choosing a partner. You want to work with someone you trust, someone whose opinion you value, and someone who can add value to your business. Also, consider what a small business partnership may do to your current relationship with the person.

  1. Choose a Business Name

Before any significant steps can be made in starting a new business, you must choose a name. This is the fun part. Choose a name that is meaningful to you, can be spelled easily, and isn’t too close to an existing small business in the industry. Also, choose a catchy name that is short and sweet. Look to see if there are available website domains for your business name.

It can also be helpful to brainstorm ideas with a friend, sharing ideas back and forth and seeing what sticks. A friend or colleague may recognize something about a name that you overlooked, whether it sounds like an unpleasant item or is hard to pronounce to the general public. Two minds work better than one when dealing with a passion project like naming your small business.

  1. Register Your New Business

While some small businesses wait to register their business until they’ve made money, there are benefits to having your small business registered from the beginning. Whether you choose a sole proprietorship or incorporation, you save yourself from liability when the company is registered. If legal issues come up, it is the business that enters litigation, providing protection of your personal assets.

  1. Implement an Advertising Strategy

Get the ball rolling and put your work behind advertising your small business. It takes grit to start a new business, and you may not see your first sale for a long time. What is your advertising strategy? Will you establish a reputation and social media presence by posting ongoing content, regardless of the growth you see? Will you pay for social media advertisements to get your product out there? There are so many options when it comes to marketing your business.

Why 2021 Is the Perfect Year to Start a New Business

  • E-Commerce Has Grown Immensely During 2020: Although 2021 was a troubling year for many small businesses, online sales saw major growth in 2020. If you have a business that would thrive with online sales or virtual services, then 2021 is the perfect year to take advantage of the opportunity.
  • Downtime Allowed for Introspection and Career-Changing Inspiration: While extracurricular and social activities were canceled in the year 2020 due to the pandemic, many people spent more time at home. This extra time allowed for thoughtful pondering about possible career changes and doing something that you love. Take this passion with you in 2021, and continue to use that spare time to start a new business.
  • Unemployed Workforce Waiting to Work: There are many small business employees in the restaurant, movie, bars, and clubs industry that are now out of work. They are waiting to be employed, and you can make that happen. Tap into the unemployed workforce and offer new jobs to those looking for new opportunities.

2020 was a challenging year for many people with COVID-19 and countless small businesses needing to pivot to adjust to the changing safety protocols during a pandemic. These trailblazing small businesses have implemented processes now that are allowing them to thrive during the pandemic. You can learn from these small businesses and take on the strategies that helped them to succeed.

Contact Small Business Accounting Professionals

So many aspects of starting a small business can require professional guidance. When you hire a small business accountant from the beginning, you can be sure that your business is set up correctly. Our experts can help set up the business plan, pointing out possible risks and setbacks you may face. They can also help calculate the startup costs that will be needed and project when you will take on an employee or pay yourself.

If you are looking to start a new business in 2021, do not delay. You can contact Easier Accounting to learn about the bookkeeping and accounting systems needed to run a small business. Our experts specialize in small business and can answer any of your questions. Call us at (888) 620-0770.

Tax Deductions for Small Businesses: COVID Supplies and More

As you are going over your end-of-year accounting checklist and looking at expenses compared to previous years, you will notice a big difference for the year 2020. The amount that you spent on COVID-19 safety supplies adds up over time. Are these expenses tax deductible?

What Is a Tax Deduction?

A tax deduction is when you subtract a qualified business expense from your total taxable income. Essentially, the amount you spent on the ordinary and necessary business expense is tax-free and does not need to be included in your taxable income.

The words ordinary and necessary are the verbiage used in the internal revenue code. When it comes to your business expense, you will have to explain how it’s ordinary compared to other small businesses in your industry. And you will also have to be ready to prove that it is necessary to qualify for a tax deduction.

Are COVID Supplies Considered Ordinary and Necessary?

Given that we are in the middle of a pandemic, I think it is safe to say that safety supplies for COVID-19 are necessary. Many businesses were closed for the stretch of 6-weeks to 2-months, and when they reopened, they showed they were ready for customers by posting their safety practices. If a small business reopened without any safety measures in place, then many people did not feel comfortable going into that business. It is necessary to have safety measures in place if you want customers to come to your store.

Along the way, masks were mandated in each place of business. If a customer were to forget a mask, then it is helpful for the company to provide a mask. It is also necessary for companies to supply their customers and employees with hand sanitizer, social distancing reminders and cues, and plexiglass shields for employees who meet face to face with customers all day long.

One of the ways that expenses can be distinguished as excessive rather than ordinary is by giving out top-of-the-line free masks. Say your business has some masks available for customers who were not prepared with a mask before entering your store. Paper, disposable masks would be considered an ordinary expense. If your masks-on-hand are embroidered in a fancy print with a customized logo, then that free mask service would be regarded as excessive. That expense would not qualify as a tax deduction.

When it comes to COVID-19 safety measures and the supplies needed to implement them, all of these items are considered tax deductions:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Paper Masks
  • Social Distancing Decals
  • Plexiglass Shields
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Employee Reusable Masks
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Signage Referring to Safety Practices
  • Extra Employees Hired to Implement Safety Practices
  • Thermometers

Your 2020 expenses will look a little different than previous years and will continue through 2021 as well. When you plan for these expenses and remember to include them as tax deductions, you will see the benefits outweigh the negatives. You want your business to have a reputation for safety and compliance. All customers with varying health conditions are welcome to your business and can feel safe there.

What Other Small Business Expenses Are Tax Deductions?

There are many expenses when running a small business that can be considered ordinary and necessary. We can review some of the most common tax deductions for a small business to be sure that you don’t have a big expense that is overlooked. Remember, the more tax deductions, the less taxable income. When you have a lower taxable income and use that number to calculate your tax rate, then you will pay a lower number in taxes.

It is easy to get confused about what is tax-deductible and what is not when your personal and business world is so intertwined as a small business owner. The most common tax deductions for a small business can include:

  • Gas Use for Business: Keep a clear mileage log when you are using your personal car for business affairs. You can use the standard mile calculation provided by the IRS, or you can keep track of your monthly payment and any maintenance bills for the car. Add that up with the total spent on gas, and then multiply it by the percentage of miles that were used for conducting business. When tracking miles, you cannot include your commute from your home to the place of business. That is considered a personal expense.
  • Business Insurance: You can use premiums spent on various forms of insurance for your business as tax deductions. This can include accidental insurance or worker’s comp. It can consist of insurance for your large assets in your business. It can include group health insurance or life insurance that you provide for your employees.
  • Interest on Business Loans and Bank Fees: If you have interest accruing from loan payments or incur bank fees for using a premium business account, they are tax deductions. If you use a third-party service to process payments like PayPal or Stripe, then the fees for that service can be deducted as well.
  • Home Office: Many people transitioned to working from home this year. If you set up a nice office in your home and purchased a desk and office furniture, then the supplies are counted as tax deductions. The space must be distinguished from the rest of your home as a place of business, so your kitchen table won’t count. You can calculate your deduction by a provided calculation per square foot in your home.
  • Internet and Phone Expenses: If you use your home internet for work, you can deduct the percentage of your time conducting business. A separate phone line or business phone can be deducted entirely. Be sure not to deduct your personal phone bill from your small business taxes. If you are using a phone for personal and business purposes, then your whole bill does not qualify as tax-deductible.
  • Business Meals: In general, you can deduct 50% of meal and beverage costs. Meals with clients or on the road while traveling for business are qualifying tax deductions, as long as it is not extravagant. Meals provided for your employees who stay late to work are also deductible. When it comes to meals at a work party, they are 100% tax-deductible. Proper documentation is needed when using meals as tax deductions. You can save the receipts and write down what business matters were discussed during the dinner.
  • Advertising and Promotions: The expenses incurred from advertising and offering promotions are tax-deductible. If you choose to sponsor a school or an event, that can be a tax deduction. Building a new website or hiring a graphic designer to create a new company logo is also included in this category. Any cost you put toward putting your name out into the community can be tax-deductible.
  • Continuing Education: If you can prove that your education is of value to your business, whether it’s for a license or certification or a degree, then it is counted as a tax deduction. This can include seminars or workshops to improve your skills and inspire you to grow your business. It can also include employee training.
  • Rent: The money that is paid in rent for a brick and mortar office or store is tax-deductible. If you work from home, then part of your rent can be deducted if you use the home office tax deduction.
  • Salary and Employee Benefits: Salary paid to employees, including paying out their vacation and sick days, can be counted as tax deductions. This only applies to employees who are not owners. And the service has to be provided; you cannot deduct a salary if the person isn’t providing you with work. The salary also has to be reasonable, comparable to other employee salaries in the industry.
  • Taxes: This can include sales tax, payroll tax, real estate tax, any taxes that are paid while conducting business are tax deductions. This also includes state income tax. When buying inventory for your business, you are exempt from taxes. And if you have paid them, then you can use that money toward your tax deductions for the year.

When it comes to tax deductions, the list can go on and on. The most important part of adding up business expenses to list as tax deductions is keeping a comprehensive record. If you were to be audited, your documentation should back up all of your tax deductions and explain anything that the IRS may question.

Hire a Small Business Accountant

It is possible that you are missing a chunk of tax deductions that could bring your taxable income down immensely. Invest in a small business accountant and get the return on investment instantly in the tax advice they give. Our team has extensive experience with small businesses and qualifying tax deductions. You will not go wrong when you hire an accountant who works exclusively with small businesses.

If it is unclear whether you can deduct a business expense from your taxable income, contact a professional small business accountant to help. Here at Easier Accounting, we have the expertise to set your business up for success. We can find the best savings available to your business as you file for taxes this year. Call us at (888) 620-0770.

What is Working Capital?

Working capital is a measure of how much liquid cash a company has after bills are paid. It is a short-term snapshot of the financial health of a company. When you have sufficient working capital, you are able to keep your company afloat. Suppose you find that you have an abundance of working capital. In that case, you can invest in your business by adequately paying employees, investing in software or marketing strategies, and having the cash flexibility to buy larger chunks of inventory at a time.

Working Capital Formula

Short-term Assets – Short-term Liabilities = Working Capital

When you take your current assets and minus your current expenses each month for your business, then you can calculate your working capital. Keep in mind that this is a short-term snapshot. You are working with numbers that are in the now, not projected numbers that you hope to have once x, y, and z are achieved.

What Are Small Business Current Assets?

To calculate your current assets, you can add the cash that you have on-hand to the guaranteed income you have coming in that month. Remember, when calculating working capital, we are focusing on the short-term.

There are a few different sources of current assets:

  • Liquid cash-on-hand and in your business account
  • Accounts receivable, the money guaranteed to come in from clients that month
  • Your inventory’s cash value
  • The current value of any investments

This number can be easily calculated when you keep a detailed accounting of your small business. Your accounts receivable should be easy to find and sum up. The cash value of your inventory could be found on the replacement value of what your inventory is worth today if you were forced to liquidate. And you can look up what your investments are currently worth if you were to cash out your stocks.

When you have identified your current assets, then you can use that number to calculate your working capital. This calculation will help you discover how financially healthy your business is.

What Are Current Liabilities?

The list of current liabilities can be quite long. This number is found by summing together all of your expenses. How much money goes out of your account each month in order to cover the bills? This can include:

  • Accounts payable, any money you owe for goods and services
  • Payroll payments to your employees
  • Payroll taxes and business income taxes that are incurred
  • Outstanding credit card balances
  • Loan payments
  • Rent on your office or store space

When you add up all of the expenses over a month, you will come up with your total in current liabilities. Having a good view of the cash that is outgoing in your small business will only benefit you. You will be able to clearly see how much you’re coming out ahead each month, rather than just guessing that all is well with your cash flow in your business.

How Does Working Capital Calculation Help a Small Business?

Now that you’ve found your current assets and current liabilities totals, you can calculate your working capital. Current assets minus current liabilities equals working capital. When you see your short-term financial balance, then you will see how much money you have to keep your business thriving each month.

If you take it a step further and see how your working capital can turn into long-term savings, then you can decide if you have room to invest that money into further growing your business.

There are several ways that you can invest in your business. Some of them being:

  • Invest in newer technology
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Rebrand with a more modern design of business logo and website
  • Buying more inventory to prepare for a busy season
  • Employee training programs

Investing in your company will set up your small business for future success. It may feel comfortable to stay stable and keep your business profits consistent and even. Why not maintain your business rather than seek constant growth? You will never regret challenging your comfort zone and standing behind your business by growing it.

Before you take all the extra cash that you have each month and invest it all, there is more to working capital. It may be comforting to know that your working capital is in the positive, but you want your current assets to stay higher than your current liabilities. And you can calculate a new number, a working capital ratio, to know how much higher you would like your existing assets to stay.

Working Capital Ratio

The working capital ratio is calculated by taking your current assets and dividing it by your current liabilities. For example, if your small business is bringing in $3000 per month and your total expenses come out to $1500, then the working capital ratio would be 2:1.

A 2:1 ratio is considered to be very healthy for a small business. It is essential to keep your ratio in a healthy range, and it changes business to business. Some industries can have a working capital ratio as low as 1.2:1 to operate sufficiently. Your working capital ratio will be examined when it comes to applying for loans or lines of credit. That’s why it’s always important to know what it is.

How Can a Small Business Increase Its Working Capital Ratio?

One way to increase the working capital ratio is to cut costs. This may mean laying off employees, finding different vendors for your inventory, finding an office or store space with lower rent, or taking a lower paycheck yourself. It may be tempting to keep things as is if you’re not in the red each month, but the focus on increasing your ratio will set you up for long-term small business success.

Another way that you can increase the ratio is to increase short-term assets. This can be done by raising the prices of your goods or services. Adequate research can be done to determine if you have room to raise prices without losing customers. Sometimes a small increase can make the difference in your working capital ratio that you need for your specific industry.

Lastly, you can always apply for a small business line of credit loan or use a business credit card. While these are not ideal solutions, as it will increase your long-term liabilities, it may be the boost your business needs to get through a hard time.

Cash Conversion Cycle

Now that you’ve calculated your small business’s working capital and know your working capital ratio, it is notable to talk about the cash conversion cycle. This is the time in between when money goes out, and money comes in. If you have a 30-day cycle, that means you have paid all your bills and are waiting for funds to come in for 30 days. For those 30-days, money is tight, and there isn’t room for emergencies. Your goal is to get your cycle down to the least amount of days as possible.

This might mean giving your clients less time to pay their bills. If you have a piano teaching business, you may require your customers to pay at the beginning of each month. This is better than paying each lesson day or billing them and giving them time to pay later. It will decrease your working capital cycle.

Or if you have a haircutting business and find it awkward to ask for money in person, you may send out bills each month and give them 7-days to complete the invoice. The goal is to increase the cycle of waiting for payments to not wait between incurring expenses and getting paid. Requiring real-time payments or even asking for payments in advance will decrease your working capital cycle time and be healthier for your small business.

Working Capital Explained

Now that you have all the information regarding working capital, you can use that knowledge to set your business up for success. It is essential to have your working capital in the positive, making sure that your current assets are more than your current liabilities or expenses. And then take it a step further and ensure that the ratio between the two is a healthy ratio for running a business.

Each small business is different, but working capital is universal. A healthy working capital ratio is something that every small business needs to thrive. If you are passionate about other parts of your business, including customer service, marketing, and manufacturing, it may be sensible to consult with a small business accountant.

Small Business Accounting Professionals

When you contact professionals who are well-versed in small business practices, then you will know that your business is in good hands. Take the stress out of working capital and leave it to the experts. You can sit down together and find the best working capital ratio for your business specifically. Save yourself stress by seeking small business accounting services today.

Our goal at Easier Accounting is to make your job easier. With our expertise in small business accounting, we can answer any questions you might have regarding your business. When your accounting is in order, your business is set up for success. Give us a call at (888) 620-0770.

What If a Small Business Neglects Bookkeeping During the Holiday Rush?

If your small business experiences an upsurge of business during the holiday season, it may be tempting to cut corners on seemingly non-urgent things. Bookkeeping and accounting may be one of those things that fall off of your priority list when you are busy keeping your head above water. Your strengths may lie in advertising, customer service, product manufacturing, and other parts of your business. The accounting part of your small business can be better left to professionals.

As you are focusing on building your business and gaining your best holiday profits yet, find ways to lessen the stress in your life. Putting off bookkeeping to be done at a later time will only lead to unnecessary setbacks and fees for your small business. If you are shoving receipts into a bin, hoping to get organized come January, here are some things that may go wrong:

Potential Loans Are Unlikely

There may come a time that you need to go to a bank for a loan. Your bookkeeping will have to be in order if you hope for a bank to invest in your business. A loan officer asks for a detailed account of your income vs. expenses. They are looking for a specific percentage that will allow you to take on more debt while being able to pay back that debt in a timely manner. If you don’t have the books to show them, then your loan will be denied.

When you put accounting on the backburner, you won’t be prepared when you’re in a pinch and hoping to present your small business favorably to a potential investor. If you have a friend or business associate interested in your product and company, they’ll want to see the numbers before investing. It is vital to keep your business organized and presentable if that chance were to present itself.

Tax Fees and Auditing Red Flags

The problem with putting off bookkeeping for the final quarter of the year, during your holiday rush, is that you have to file for taxes come the new year. Setting yourself up for unorganized books and a backlog of purchases and income statements to go through by the tax deadline is a bad idea. In fact, if your books are not kept in real-time, it allows greater scrutiny from the IRS. If you have a strong accounting system in place, or better yet, hire a small business accounting service, then you will never be lost when it comes to taxes. The last thing you want to do is subject your growing business to tax fees and penalties because you failed to do your part with bookkeeping.

A small business that does not have acceptable bookkeeping practices in place is more susceptible to audit by the IRS. Your business is more likely to be audited if your books are not comparable to other companies in your industry. When you maintain good bookkeeping, you will clearly understand how to report your income and claim tax deductions. And you will also have nothing to worry about if you do happen to be audited by the IRS.

More Vulnerable to Theft

A small business without a strict accounting system, including checks and balances every step of the way, is vulnerable to fraud within the company. No matter how much you trust your partner or employees, every company must have systems in place that will not allow for “skimming off the top.”  The most honest people can have desperate moments if they know there is no way to get caught. Your bookkeeping system needs to have strong internal controls that will identify missing money or uncounted inventory.

Strong internal controls can include having two people be present when checks are signed. More than one person counts the money and goes to the bank together to make the deposit each morning. Inventory is counted and checked regularly. There are many ways to have checks and balances in your business to keep employees honest.

Invoices Go Unpaid

As your business grows, it may no longer be plausible to remember which client hasn’t paid or usually pays late, etc. A detailed account of outgoing services and incoming payments should always be present in your books. It will leave you feeling more confident when you seek out late payments, knowing that your books are organized. Your company’s reputation lies in sending out invoices and expecting them to be paid on time. If customers catch wind that you don’t ask for payments here and there, it will reflect poorly on your business overall.

Payroll Mistakes

When your books are not organized, then it is likely that you could be overpaying or underpaying your employees. If you have employees that are commission-based, detailed records are essential for calculating their income each month. When it comes to tax withholdings on your employees’ paychecks, if the amount is not correct, then you could be withholding the wrong amounts that will have to be corrected later if caught. This will lead to more fees.

Waste of Time With the Backlog

When you neglect to keep your small business’s books in real-time, you set yourself up for a mess of records to organize and sift through. Not only is the threshold for mistakes more likely, but the time you put into sorting and recording could be better put into building up your business for the future.

There may be some aspects of your business that you can put on the backburner during your busy times, but keeping proper books is not one of those things. If you are feeling overwhelmed, instead of skipping over accounting processes, hire a small business accounting service that will take care of it all for you. The relief that it brings you during a stressful time will be worth it.

Use Your Small Business Bookkeeping to Plan for Future Success

When your books are in order, you can use your calculated earnings and expenses to prepare for your business’s growth in the future. You will be able to hire the right amount of staff and order enough inventory for busy times ahead of you. Take a look at some ways that your diligent, consistent bookkeeping and small business accounting systems will set your business up for future success:

  • Cash Flow Projections: If your small business has an organized bookkeeping system, you will be able to predict your cash flow better and use it optimally. You can invest in higher amounts of inventory, knowing you have the money to spare and that you can expect significant returns. When you have a clear view of your cash flow, you can make deals with vendors and confidently show the business you will be offering them. This will give you the assurance to make deals that benefit your small business and the supplier’s business.
  • Clear View of Fixed and Variable Costs: Detailed books will give you a breakdown of your fixed and variable costs. When you combine this knowledge with your cash flow summaries, you will be able to have a look at which variable costs return the most profit. Making better investments into your small business is going to set your business up for success.
  • Forecast to Optimize Profit: When you get through your holiday rush this year with great success, you will want to go into the next busy season with bigger goals. It is essential to focus on asset optimization, which is the best price for each product or service that will keep the customers coming. Having records that look back on the number of customers related to the particular promotion you were offering at that time will help you plan for sales and promotions in your small business.

It is essential to use your organized accounting system to make decisions for your business. When you get through the holidays and have detailed bookkeeping to look back on, then you can use those numbers to improve your business. You can take your successful holiday season and make it even more successful for the next year.

Contact Small Business Bookkeeping Professionals

As an entrepreneur, it is tempting to do it all yourself in order to save the most money. This isn’t always possible, and it’s certainly not always true. When you hire experts on small business accounting, you can rest assured knowing that your books are well-organized and accurate. When you hire outside accountants to help your small business, you can focus on the parts of your business in which you are most passionate.

We want to help you during the holidays! When you hire professionals to take care of your bookkeeping and finances, you will receive a clear breakdown of your small business’s accounting. Having a good handle on accounting can help you better predict and prepare for the future of your company. And your small business has a greater opportunity to grow. Give our team at Easier Accounting a call and receive the accounting relief that you need this season: (888) 620-0770.

Gift Ideas for Small Business Clients and Employees

The holidays are a time to give thanks. If your small business offers services rather than goods, then it may not be an especially busy time of year. You can offer gift cards and cooking class registrations. There are many ways to optimize your sales during the holidays. But one thing you won’t want to forget is giving back to your clients. Customer retention is vital for a small business.

If you want your clients to remember you during your slow months or while they are staying home and staying safe during the pandemic, then you can send a gift. Remind them of your services, and any gift, big or small, will help the customer remember your small business the next time a want or need comes up. When deciding on the right gift, think of something you may want to receive from your hairdresser or barista. Most people wouldn’t want a large gift from a small business. Something little can be just the right message that says, we care about and appreciate you.

Gift Ideas for Clients

Be sure to meet with an accountant to carve out how much money you can allow for gifting your clients. The return on investment is always worth it, as every client wants to feel appreciated during this time. They will be sure to remember your small business and the efforts you made to say thank you.

Take a look at some gift ideas for your clients and then meet with a small business accountant to decide which option is the best for your company:

  • Pen and Notepad Set: Everyone needs a notepad they can tuck away in their bag on the go. The pen stays attached, and they don’t have to go digging through their bag to jot down a quick reminder or inspiration. You can print your small business’s name on the gift for bonus advertisement and keep your company fresh in their mind.
  • Essential Oils: Essential oils are becoming more and more popular. The uses are versatile as they can be used for calming purposes or to protect against illness. Choosing a particular essential oil with a note that describes its benefits can be a really meaningful gift. Essential oils could be new to the person or a gift that they can add to their oil collection.
  • Portable Charger: There are some creative portable chargers out there in different sizes and colors. And you can never have too many chargers! It is valuable for anyone to have a charger in their bag or car when they’re on-the-go and realize their device is low as they’re walking into a long meeting.
  • Scarf: No matter where you live, a scarf is a staple for the winter months. It can add a pop of color to anyone’s outfit. And the cool thing about a scarf is you can customize it with the small business’s name or the person’s name you are gifting it to.
  • Hot Cocoa: When you find your favorite fancy hot cocoa, you want to share it with the world. Whether you add a personal touch and whip up your own hot cocoa mix or you gift your favorite brand, everyone would be thrilled to receive a warm cup of joy for their holiday gift.
  • Gourmet Popcorn: There are so many different mixes of popcorn. You can get a peppermint bark mix or a turtle mix with caramel, chocolate, and nuts. Choose a blend that is right for your client’s personality. Choose a brand that packages in a lovely tin or paper bag.
  • Headphones: Another tech essential are headphones. Can you ever have too many pairs of headphones? You don’t have to worry if your client already has this gift, as they will be thrilled to add another set to leave by their home office desk or up by their nightstand.
  • Chocolate: Nothing says happiness like receiving a gift of your favorite gourmet chocolate. This is a treat for anyone who wants a special stash of chocolate for a cozy night at home. Do not forget to tie it in a ribbon or present it in a clear bag for charm. You can also get your small business name printed onto chocolates for added customization.
  • Notecards: For the people who like to leave hand-written thank you notes or words of encouragement, you can gift a stack of blank notecards. There are beautiful designs and colors from which to choose. There are no sentiments written on them – all the writing is up to the card owner. If they aren’t already in the habit of leaving notes, this will inspire them to try it out.
  • Succulent: Have you seen the small cactus-like plants that are on window sills or lined up out on the patio? These charming plants can add joy to anyone’s life. Upkeep is minimal, watering only when they appear to be dry. And they can add decor and freshness to each home.
  • Gift Card: A gift card is a wonderful gift to give to anyone who is hard to shop for. If you are giving to a wide variety of people that you may not know on a personal level, then a gift card is the way to go. You can choose a grocery store or a small business that you’d like to support.
  • Music Subscription: It is common for most people to be paying for a music subscription these days. You can save your client an extra bill for a month or two by gifting a music subscription service. This is a thoughtful gift that is extra fun for the music lovers out there.
  • Water Bottle: Another customizable item, you can give a water bottle. You can choose a style that keeps the water cool while they are at work. Or you can find a variety of colors and shapes. Think about a size that will fit easily in a cupholder so they can bring it with them in the car.
  • Sunglasses: With a variety of price points for sunglasses, you can find pretty reasonably priced, quality sunglasses. A gift like this can be used in the winter or summer, protecting from the reflection of the sun shining off of the snow. And it may remind your client of the beach days ahead.

The most important part of gift-giving is to give from your heart. Each gift should include a personalized note, stating what you appreciate about the person and how grateful you are for them. When you sign each card, it will show how much effort you put into wrapping and preparing the gifts. Think about the most memorable gifts you have received. Is it the actual gift you remember? Or is it the sentiment of the giver that speaks to your heart after all of these years?

The List Doubles as Small Employee Gift Ideas

With the holiday season approaching, you may be in the middle of a holiday rush. Times are busy, and your employees are working their hearts out, helping your business thrive through the flood of customers and sales. The last thing you would want to do is forget about your hard-working staff. As you look through the list, think about a gift that would bring a smile to their face.

Again, do not forget to consider the cost. Of course, there is no price tag on your appreciation and love. But you can give something meaningful and from the heart while contemplating the price that is the best for your small business. No employee expects a grand gift from a small business owner. They just want to know that they are appreciated.

The one thing that you can offer your employees that doesn’t apply to your customers is a paid day off. Think of the relief you would give your employee after working so hard through the holiday rush and maxed out all of their vacation days to find out that they get a bonus vacation day! Any employee would be thrilled with that gift. There are so many ways to ensure that your employee feels appreciated.

Consult with a Professional Accountant

Gifts are so fun to give, and everyone deserves the best. That doesn’t mean that your business should go under in the process. Meet with an accountant to decide on the price points that are practical for your small business. Gift-giving is a successful business strategy – for customer and employee retention. Saying thank you is vital, and what better time to do it than during the holidays. An accountant won’t argue that point with you. Meeting with an accountant will only help you achieve your goals in all areas of your business.

You can contact Easier Accounting for all of your bookkeeping and accounting needs. We specialize specifically in working with small businesses. Our expertise is rooted in affordable accounting strategies to help small businesses thrive. You won’t regret asking for help during this busy holiday season. Please set up an appointment with us: (888) 620-0770.

Get the Boost Needed for a Small Business During the Holidays

If your small business has experienced a slump with the recently implemented changes due to the pandemic, then the holiday rush must be highly anticipated and needed. Now that you’ve pivoted your business to adhere to the safety practices required during this time, focus on how you can boost sales this holiday season.

Don’t forget to make sure your finances match up with your big plans. You can consult an accounting service to be sure you have the money to invest in boosting holiday sales. Careful planning is needed to see the big picture and not just focus on the potential money you may bring to your small business. You must first decide the amount of money you want to invest in order for it to turn around into an increase in sales.

Sales Strategies for Small Business

There may be options that don’t cost your business money at all. And then others could require significant risk with the potential for a substantial return. Check out some of these sales ideas:

  1. Stay Organized: Meet with your staff and prepare them for an influx of customers. Conduct a customer service training refresh or hire any temporary employees that will be needed for extended hours. Adjust your hours to accommodate social distancing and to reduce crowds. You may even want to offer exclusive Senior Shopping hours where older people can come in and know they can safely shop at your store.
  2. Plan a Variety of Sales: You will want to offer sales throughout the whole holiday season. Switch up the sales to catch your customer’s attention. Rather than passing the same old 15% off sign week after week, add a ‘free gift with purchase’ or an ‘extra 10% off discontinuing styles’. Changing up the sale throughout the season will bring back the people who have already shopped with you. They’ll think of other people for whom they’d like to buy gifts and come back in for your new offer.
  3. Incentivize Shopping Early: When it comes to a shipping or delivery option for your small business, this year is predicted to be met with delays as we get closer to Christmas. Offer free shipping on orders made before December 1st to emphasize the importance of shopping early. You can offer free gift wrapping on delivery orders that come in by December 15th. Give yourself the time to create a personal touch on each order while ensuring that the customer gets their gift on time.
  4. Offer a Referral Program: Many people hear about small businesses through word of mouth. They receive a darling, unique gift, and they ask where the gifter got it. Incentivize your customers to share their love for your shop by offering a moneyback bonus or percentage off for each new customer they refer. You will see how quickly your company grows through word-of-mouth amongst friends.
  5. Highlight Your Individuality: What sets you apart from all of the other shops during Christmastime? Show off the parts of your shop that can’t be found anywhere else. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and share advertisements that are unlike any other small business. Speak from your heart and highlight what makes you unique.
  6. Decorate Your Shop: Whether you have a brick and mortar shop or an online small business website, go all out in decorating. Use your own style to place glitter and bows everywhere. Set up a small forest back by sweaters and scarves. Hang sparkling snowflakes from the ceiling. Make it a magical place that people want to visit again and again.
  7. Offer a Coupon to Come Back: Every business knows that if you experience a holiday rush, you’re sure to have a January slump. Keep that in mind and give out coupons to come back that are valid starting after the holidays. Collect emails and remind the customers of the savings awaiting them in January and February.

It is essential to set your small business apart from all the others. Make sure you are implementing a sales strategy to keep your shop at the top of people’s minds when it comes to holiday shopping. An accounting professional can help you breakdown the cost and find the best strategies for your small business.

Marketing for the Holiday Season

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to boost your sales during the holidays, think about how you’re going to get people into the store or drive traffic to your website. Remember, this year is unique in that you can’t rely on it being exactly like past years. When you talk with an accountant, you can look over patterns from previous years and combine them with industry predictions for this pandemic year.

People have differing levels of comfort when it comes to shopping indoors this holiday season. Make sure your shop offers online shopping, curbside pickup, virtual shopping tours, and deliveries for those staying at home to shop during the pandemic. Also, offer hand sanitizer, social distancing, and plexiglass dividers to those who do come inside to shop. If masks are not mandated in your area, kindly require masks inside your business as a courtesy to everyone shopping and working inside.

How are you going to let people know about your business? How will they know that you have safety practices in place? How will they know about your fantastic holiday sales? Don’t just rely on word-of-mouth or people walking by the storefront for this one. Consider these strategies:

  • Social Media Advertising: Paid advertisements on social media are known to pull people in. They are an investment for sure, but most of the time reap the benefits of a great return. If you have a unique product that makes a beautiful and fun gift, then spread the word by paying for advertisements. The amount of people on social media each day surpasses the number of people driving past billboards or watching a particular tv show. You don’t want to miss out on this powerful platform.
  • Engaging Posts on Social Media: How is your small business’s social media account? Are you keeping it active and engaging? It is vital to engage with your social media following, creating posts that get people to stop and read your content. The algorithm is designed to have those accounts show up more often for people if your followers are engaging in the content. Show your personality and connect with your following. Ask for input on upcoming new designs or products. Open up voting for favorite products in the shop.
  • Share Videos: Print ads are great and everything, but if you haven’t tried a video to advertise your shop, then now is the time! Use humor and show your personality as you highlight a few items in your shop. Or get with a few employees wearing items from your store or show off a gadget by dancing to a popular song together. People love to laugh and see the light side of your small business.
  • Email Personal Holiday Memories: Do not underestimate the power of email marketing. Maybe you can send out emails throughout the holiday season where you share personal holiday memories. Or look back on a time during the holidays that your business was tiny and you were packaging up items on your kitchen table. Share old pictures during those early days. People love to connect with you through shared experiences.
  • Post Customer Reviews: When people see a customer they can relate to and know that they love your shop, they will feel inclined to shop there as well. Reliable customer reviews can create a significant influx of business to your shop.

It is essential to reach out and gain a broad audience when it comes to advertising your business. Growth can be slow and steady, but as long as you remain consistent and your products are of excellent quality, you will see the increase over time. Suppose the accounting side of the business isn’t your strong point, or you would rather focus your energy elsewhere. In that case, you can hire a professional accounting service for your financial needs.

Contact Professional Accounting Services

When it comes to boosting sales and marketing, you will have to invest some money into these strategies. It is best to consult a professional when weighing which investments will be right for your business. You can run through the numbers together, or you can turn your books over to an accounting team and ask for a lump sum that you will be able to spare this holiday season. You will not regret asking for help.

We know the holidays are a busy time for everyone, so leave your bookkeeping or accounting needs to professionals. The last thing you want to do is lose track of your books during your busy period. You can focus on marketing and the parts of small business that you love while Easier Accounting does the rest! Do not delay giving us a call at (888) 620-0770.

Visit an Accountant Before a Business’s Holiday Rush

Every company needs to be prepared for the busy times. Many small businesses make enough money during the holidays to carry them through the slow times throughout the rest of the year. It is essential to consult a small business accountant before a significant influx of sales and money. You won’t regret having your books in order and meeting with a small business accountant in order to weigh the benefits of particular investments in your holiday marketing strategies.

First Steps for Small Businesses

  1. Review Your Company’s History During the Holidays: When meeting with a small business accountant, be sure to look over how your business has performed in recent years during the months of November and December. Together, you can set goals for this year and discuss how to go above and beyond what you’ve profited in years past.
  2. Consider How Covid-19 May Come Into Play: This year is different because we are in the middle of a pandemic. Unfortunately, small businesses have been hit hard during this time. Meet with a small business accountant to strategize how to overcome the trials that the pandemic has introduced. It is better to be prepared and educated rather than blindly hoping for the best. A small business accountant will review the cost of safety procedures like providing hand sanitizer, installing plexiglass shields, and spreading out sales to encourage social distancing.

Meeting with a small business accountant will only benefit you as you layout your goals for the 2020 holiday season. An accountant with expertise in small business will offer ideas about navigating sales during Covid-19 and how to set your company apart from other small businesses.

Investment Options During the Holidays

Hiring Extra Holiday Employees

As your store gets busier during the holidays, more employees must be present to handle the extra traffic. No one wants to wait in line, so you can offer a second cashier. Ensure you have enough employees spread throughout the store to answer questions or offer a shopping basket to someone with full arms. People expect full attention from a small business shop; it is what sets small businesses apart.

Advertising on Social Media

Those Instagram ads that we’re all familiar with really draw people in and return significant gains. If you want to ensure an increase in sales during the holiday season, then tap into where people are spending most of their time and invest in social media advertising. Consult a small business accountant to pinpoint how much money you should invest in order to get the return you need.

Holiday Decor and Displays

If a customer chooses to shop small business this holiday season, they want to walk into a quaint, charming shop that makes them feel warm and welcome. Use your personal style to make your store feel at home. When you use decorations that are specific to who you are, you create an intimate space that feels special. Investing in holiday decorations will be worth it once you’ve made a unique atmosphere that your customers can use as an escape.

Many customers walk into a store with the intention to browse for gift ideas. Get creative in your holiday displays, posting signs of gift ideas or pictures of real people unwrapping the product. Make things more sparkly, vibrant, and eye-catching to make people feel in the holiday spirit.

Quality Customer Experience

If there is anything worth investing in this holiday season, it is the customer experience. Conduct a special holiday training where customer service is emphasized. If your employees go above and beyond to give a big smile and genuinely ask about the customers’ needs, that can go a long way. Your customers will remember how validated they felt inside your store and will want to return again and again throughout the season.

Make your checkout process simple, offering no contact or touchless checkout for those worried about germs. Have a generous exchange and return policy that is easy to navigate. Offer gift-wrapping or unique packaging that is different than the regular plastic bag. The ease of these processes will go a long way when it comes to customers choosing to shop with you for their next gift.

Promotional Pricing or Offers

During the holiday season, a small business must be competitive in offering sales and promotions. This is how you catch the customer’s eye and get them in the door. You can offer 30% off everything or a free gift for each purchase over $50. You can offer a cash bonus with a gift card purchase. Whatever the promotion, you do have to offer something if you expect an influx of customers in your store. When you meet with a small business accountant, you can go over a practical sale to offer to get people in the door while still making a profit.

Several Shopping Options

We are in the middle of a pandemic, and people will be looking to shop safely during the holiday season. Invest in an online platform if you haven’t already. Offer virtual tours of your store and curbside pickup. Take your most popular items out to the sidewalk and offer an option to shop outside in the open air for customers who feel most comfortable in that manner. Some retail companies have even provided a delivery option during this time, going above and beyond to satisfy customers.

Regular and Engaging Social Media Posts

Your social media account is vital during the holidays. Especially during Covid-19, when everyone is staying home more and looking into online shopping, then you’ll need to keep your customers updated through social media. Post about your sales regularly, and release new content daily that will pull your audience in and keep your company at the top of their mind. This will take a significant investment of time and dedication but will be worth it in the end.

Surviving a Holiday Lull

If you have had a holiday rush in the past, and it doesn’t look to be in the cards for you in 2020, then contact a small business accountant to help you prepare for that lull. Some restaurants, bars, salons, and spas may specifically be struggling this holiday season compared to years past. Here are some tips to keep in mind to get you through the hard times:

  • Don’t Overspend: Consider the current year and do not overspend on inventory to match previous years’ sales. Be realistic about how your sales have been the past several months and prepare for a small uptick that may come through holiday promotions. If you consult a small business accountant, they can use their industry expertise to find what money you have to spare and how to invest it during this difficult time.
  • Keep Holiday Promotions Consistent: If you do not see the return you saw last year during the holidays, do not get discouraged and give up. Continue with your holiday promotions and let the customers know you are always there. If they continue to see your social media posts and holiday spirit, your store will be on their mind when they get their next paycheck or a holiday bonus.
  • Stay Connected with Clients: If you have special customers, then show them your gratitude by giving Christmas gifts. Even if they aren’t spending money with your store this year, show that you care regardless of their business. Real connections will always shine through when times return to normal.
  • Be Flexible: If you can find any way to promote your business that fits with the current pandemic climate, then go for it. Offer gel nail tutorials for customers who have decided to do their own nails at home. Package your beer or wine to be picked up – you can paint a picture of nights in front of the fire with a bundle of wine and cheese and crackers. Learn how to pivot your business to keep your customers active.

Not every small business that was booming last year will experience the same in 2020. It won’t help to be in denial and think that the holidays will save your business. Be realistic and prepared for a holiday lull by visiting a small business accountant. You may think your business is hopeless, and an accountant can provide you with some hope.

Schedule an Appointment with a Small Business Accountant

It is tempting to save money and do your own accounting. But when it comes to the holidays and the potential holiday profits, you don’t want to make a blunder by offering too big a discount or hiring too many employees. Meeting with an accountant who looks at past years’ profits and takes Covid-19 shopping trends into account will only benefit you and your business.

The holidays are a busy time for every business. Ease some of that worry by calling a small business accountant today. Our team at Easier Accounting specializes specifically in small businesses. We can use our expertise to answer any questions you might have about getting your company ready for the holidays. Please schedule an appointment with us by calling (888) 620-0770.

Why A Small Business Needs Commercial Insurance

When you are running a small business, it’s important to be proactive about managing risk and avoiding unnecessary costs. One way that you can protect your company is by investing in good commercial insurance coverage. Even though you are careful and proactive about safety, there are times when things can go wrong and you end up with an expensive bill that cuts into your profit margins.

Accidents Happen… Protect Yourself!

Accidents can happen in all industries. While it’s good to have safety practices, there are times when things go wrong and you run into expensive issues. Business accidents can range from vehicle damage to injured employees, inventory loss, and natural disasters. Regardless of the incident, it could leave you footing the bill if you don’t have a good insurance policy.

Are you prepared for anything that might happen in the future? Business insurance is a great investment because it can cover damages that you’d otherwise be paying for out of your own pocket – which cuts into your profit margins.

Having business insurance not only saves you money and time, but it reduces your stress when something goes wrong. Not only are you protecting your business; you are also protecting your personal interests as well. Plus, you can offer coverage and benefits for your employees as well.

Types of Business Insurance

Commercial insurance is coverage that protects your business against any losses you might face in unforeseen circumstances. Here is an overview of common types of insurance business owners might consider:

  1. Property Insurance: It doesn’t matter if you own the property or you are leasing the space, property insurance should be a necessity. This insurance plan covers everything from furniture to inventory, equipment, signage, and furniture.
  2. Professional Liability Insurance: This policy is commonly known as “errors and omissions” (E&O) insurance. It provides coverage for you against negligence claims due to failure to perform or mistakes. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every business. Instead, you need to talk to your insurance agent to find a policy that covers the unique concerns in your industry.
  3. Product Liability Insurance: When you are selling products, there is a possibility that someone could be injured in an unexpected way. Even though sellers are proactive to take a variety of measures to ensure their products are safe, things can happen that you don’t expect. It could be devastating to you if you ended up in a lawsuit because of damages caused by your product. This insurance coverage protects your business in the situation. The policy is specifically catered to your industry and type of product.
  4. Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Workers’ comp is necessary if anything happens to your employees. If someone requires medical treatment, disability, or death benefits because of an injury that happens as a result of the person’s employment, then this policy covers those costs. Even employees in low-risk environments, such as offices, could require medical services for unexpected situations such as carpal tunnel syndrome or a slip-and-fall injury while on the property.
  5. Car Insurance: When people are driving in company cars, then you need to be sure that you have full insurance coverage in case something happens on the road. This policy should provide coverage for third-party injuries, as well as company property. When employees use their personal cars for business activities, then they need personal insurance to cover their vehicle since it isn’t in the name of the employee.
  6. Home-Based Businesses: Even if you have a homeowner’s policy, this coverage doesn’t take care of any inventory or equipment for your business. If you are running a business out of your basement or garage, then make sure that you have a commercial policy to cover the business interests.
  7. Business Interruption Insurance: Did you know that you can receive a payout if your business operations are interrupted due to a disaster? When the company needs to close its doors temporarily, then you don’t have to worry about suffering from lost income. This insurance policy is particularly important for businesses with physical locations, like restaurants or retail stores. The insurance policy provides compensation for the income that you lose during the temporary closure.

With the right business insurance coverage, you can prevent major financial damage if you face a catastrophe or lawsuit in the future. The best way to determine the right insurance policy for your company is to talk to an experienced insurance agent for personalized recommendations.

Reasons You Need Commercial Business Insurance

Consider the list of reasons why you should invest in insurance coverage for your business:

  1. Required by Law: Depending on your location, it’s likely that your state requires you to have a small business insurance policy. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t require insurance coverage, don’t view it as an unnecessary expense.
  2. Natural Disasters: How much money would your business lose if a natural disaster occurred? The specific disaster various based on your location, but might include hurricanes, tornados, fires, flooding, or lightning. This insurance protects your assets and inventory if a disaster happens. Even if you think you are in a safe location, there is a risk of flooding due to plumbing or sewage issues. Every business should have good coverage against common natural disasters in their areas.
  3. Show Credibility: Not only do you protect your interests with a good insurance policy, but this coverage also shows your customers that you are serious about managing your risk. Holding the right insurance policies communicates that you are committed to protecting both employees and customers.
  4. Protect Employees: Your employees are depending on your company for protection and safety. If someone experiences an injury or illness related to work, then you need to be able to provide the care that is required.
  5. Protect Customers: Additionally, business insurance offers protection for your customers. Liability coverage is essential for things such as property damage, product liability, bodily injury, data breaches, or even personal injury.
  6. Protect Management: It’s also important to consider the liability that could fall on management in case of an accident. Key people at the top of your organization could have personal legal issues from costly lawsuits. The right liability insurance coverage is essential for minimizing the cost that managers, CEOs, or business owners could be facing in the future.
  7. Contract Requirements: Some business agreements have requirements for insurance coverage. Look at your contracts to see if you need to have specific coverage. For example, landlords might require renters to have a rental insurance policy. Or, loans require borrowers to have insurance to protect the collateral property. Another example is when a contractor is hired for high-risk services, such as construction.
  8. Lawsuit Costs: One seemingly small mistake could result in a lawsuit against your company. Even if you win the lawsuit, you might have a big bill of legal fees that need to be paid. A common lawsuit example is if an employee is injured on the job and ends up with a life-long disability. If you don’t have an insurance policy to provide benefits, then the person might sue your company.
  9. Income Security: If your business has to close its doors temporarily, then it means that you could be out of a paycheck for a while. How will you pay the bills if you don’t have any money coming in? Having insurance to cover lost income could the difference between permanent closure vs. being able to recover and re-open in the future.
  10. Peace of Mind: Can you put a price tag on the peace of mind that comes from a good insurance policy? When you are prepared with the right coverage, then there is no reason to stress about the unknown in the future.

As you can see, a good business insurance policy can protect you from financial catastrophe if something happens. Talk to all the professionals who work with business finances (such as accountants, CFOs, lawyers, and analysts), and they will tell you that business insurance is an essential cost for every company. It doesn’t matter if you have a big warehouse full of inventory, or if you are working a freelance career from home. You need to be sure that you have the right protections to support your growth in the future.

Other Financial Protections

In addition to paying for insurance coverage, also make sure that you are proactive about taking care of the other financial details within your company. For example, good accounting and bookkeeping practices are important for maintaining your budget, analyzing spending habits, and maximizing your profit margins. Every small business can benefit from professional accounting services, especially because most business owners don’t have time to work on data entry and financial busy work.

Our pro team at Easier Accounting helps you stay ahead of the ongoing financial requirements. We are focused on helping your company thrive by offering customized, outsourced accounting solutions that are a good fit for your unique needs. If you require support with bookkeeping and accounting, then we invite you to contact us for a conversation. We’ll help you determine the services that are a good fit for your company, then provide a personalized approach to support the future growth of your business. Call us at (888) 620-0770.