“If we are growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”
Quoted by John Maxwell
This is never more true in the world of businesses. This year you may have planned different growth strategies but pandemic has taken a turn over all your decisions, it has prevented your business from seeking its full potential. But certainly, there are several other ways to ensure manageable and profitable small business growth for your small business even in unprecedented times like covid-19.
Creating a growth strategy for your business will ensure sustainability. A growth strategy is beyond just envisioning long-term success. If you’ve no tangible plan then you’re actually losing business or increasing your chances of losing business to competitors. There is no specific recipe for instant results and nothing is guaranteed. But you can accelerate growth and reach milestones with clear goals and strategies.
Take the following crucial steps to ensure the growth of your business:
End of Year Tax planning from the Get Go:
For many small businesses, the year end purpose is to get your taxes in line. However there are other things that adds value to your small business. Many small businesses find that their bookkeeping is always lagging behind. When you lag behind in bookkeeping, you’ve no idea where your business is at financially and worse your business is running blindly.
Following a process of handling accounts receivables, accounts payable, asset reviews and book reconciliation will allow you to calculate financial reports for each quarter that will help you to set realistic growth plans. A good bookkeeper will design a bookkeeping system to meet both your needs and budget.
Bookkeeping services for small business
Start outsourcing your bookkeeping:
Bookkeeping can be time-consuming and complex. As a small business, it’s vital to maintain records that will add value to your business. You may handle bookkeeping yourself, or hire an in-house bookkeeper or outsource your bookkeeping. But if you’re a small business then you may not want to hire a full time bookkeeper for your business, this will only add up overhead costs. You mostly need someone who can update your books a few times a month.
Financial Forecasting is the most important benefit you can get from outsourced bookkeeping services. It’s vital to get your books updated on a regular basis. You need to set clear guidelines and deadlines for bookkeeping tasks. Make sure you’re not only receiving information on time, but accurate information as well. Your bookkeeper will help you to make better financial decisions for things such as cash flow, revenue & expenses, profit & loss, hiring or downsizing, disaster planning, opening new locations etc.
Financial forecasting is the greatest step towards growth. You never have to take big risks if you have a clear financial plan and forecast to predict big financial risks. The key to financial growth is to have a reliable bookkeeper that can manage books and work with you to understand your goals.
Learn from the year before:
If your bookkeeping is not helping you to add value to your business then it’s really hard to say to keep the books current. Your bookkeeping system must be able to provide you with unique information that will take your business towards your goal. It must aid you in making key business decisions. You must communicate clear objectives and goals with your bookkeeper. Once you have clearly stated your expectation to your bookkeeper on how you want it and when you want it, you may hold your bookkeeper accountable to meet or exceed your expectations.
Identify your ideal customer:
You started a business to solve a particular problem for a certain audience. But the question is, who is that audience? Is that audience your ideal customers? Identify your true target audience, reach out to them as you adjust your business to stimulate growth. Focus on your strength rather than improving your weaknesses, this way you can establish growth strategies.
Your employees are in direct contact with your customers, so hire people who are inspired and motivated by your company’s value proposition. It’s important to have the right team to ensure fast growth. Be cheap when it comes to office furniture, marketing budgets and holiday parties. Hire few employees but pay them well enough. The best ones will always stick around even in bad times when you cut their compensation.
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You should always have an exit strategy, even if you have no plans to sell. It helps your business up for success. Sometimes, exit strategy may foster restructuring or merger. The intention of an exit is to have an overall valuation of your business. It will help your business to stay organized and work towards glory. If in the worst scenario, selling your business looks like a great option, then you will have everything in a row.
Outsourcing your bookkeeping services has never been so accessible and compelling than it is today. The introduction to new technology, cloud computing has changed the way we do business today. The common reason small businesses neglect their financial accounts is time and cost. They have neither time nor knowledge to carry out necessary bookkeeping tasks themselves. Yet they are reluctant to either outsource bookkeeping services or burden their business with in-house bookkeepers.
Bookkeeping is essential for all sizes of business but it’s also time-consuming. Delegating tasks to a qualified bookkeeper helps focus on the core mission of your business. Outsourcing bookkeeping services can help you save time, money alleviates the hassle of managing books.
The undervalued benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping are:
The value of service-based bookkeeping:
Using an outsourced bookkeeping service doesn’t mean buying software and working the system yourself. The human factor and customer service provided is what creates a dynamic working relationship between your business and your bookkeeper. Bridging the gap between people and software is a great business model and something you should consider when selecting an outsourced service.
Saving time and money is just the beginning:
Outsourcing services helps you to offload your financial accounts burden to a professional bookkeeping company that can save you both time and money. You will generally pay less to an outsourcing firm than you would to your in-house bookkeeper or part time employee on the company payroll. This will lower your administrative work and you can focus more on growing and sustaining your business. You will also save on lost productivity cost that comes along with hiring employees onto the payroll. When you outsource you only pay for what you need- nothing more, nothing less.
When you outsource bookkeeping services, you are at an advantage of expertise and better knowledge at your disposal. They are experts who stay updated on all the pertinent financial details so you don’t have to worry about anything. You will learn more about your business and have access to expertise advice. They are proactive and may offer you advice that can affect your overall business operations thus saving you time and money both. It will give you peace of mind that’s often associated with business obligations as government remittances, annual tax returns, ever-looming possibility of an audit.
When you outsource bookkeeping services, you get benefit from the combined diligence and experience of a team of professionals. Some things that may be neglected or go unnoticed by your in-house professionals are far more likely to be spotted and dealt by the group effort that is consistently applied by outsourcing firms.
Your business might not be able to afford the latest accounting tools and softwares, but your professional outsourced bookkeeping firm can. Regardless of the cost, professional firms tend to invest in the latest technology to provide the best possible services to their clients. When you outsource bookkeeping services you tend to reap all the benefits provided by top level accounting systems without having you invest and maintain them yourself. This top level system creates nightly backups and keeps records organized for years, ensuring that if the IRS does come knocking for an audit, you’ll be more prepared than ever.
Wearing and assigning multiple hats in small business can be a hard reality to grow business successfully. Trying to perform bookkeeping services amidst other responsibilities may result in incorrect data entry, reporting or any other missed data altogether. But with outsourcing bookkeeping services, the keeper is focused exclusively on financial accounts, ensuring timely and accurate results.
Full scalability is the biggest advantage when outsourcing your bookkeeping services meaning the flexibility it provides in scaling your business. When you make wise decisions to outsource, it means you can expand and cut back on growth and expenses when and where you see it. Outsourced firms help you to make the best decision for your small business by providing real-time access to facts and figures at any time possible. Saving time = gaining new clients and growing your firm.
When outsourcing bookkeeping there is no threat regarding employee access to critical data and the information can be stored electronically. You should also ask your prospective virtual bookkeeper if they log into secured servers and if there is proper monitoring of the dissemination of data. You can ask outsourced firms about security features to protect against third parties and to limit access to your self or key members of your business.
Companies that use virtual bookkeepers are more successful in growing their business, generating higher margins and increasing revenue. Outsourcing dramatically increases the scalability of options of our business. Whether your business is in growth mode or cost reduction state, the outsourced team can provide you with different plans and best options to achieve your goals.
Audit and tax preparation:
Compliance and audit preparedness will give you peace of mind that will help you sleep better at night. Bookkeeping firms are always working on your books so that you are prepared fully for the tax cycle or ready for any kind of audit that may come your way. In terms of accounting, this means that someone is making sure a company’s financial matters are handled following federal laws, state laws or local tax laws and regulations.
The bottom line:
Outsourcing bookkeeping services allows you to leverage modern technology and increase scalability of your business. It is a sure way to increase firms profitability and sleep better at night. We provide Bookkeeping Services for Small Business and would be happy to provide you too. Get our team of experts to do your bookkeeping and spend all your extra time more productively.
Everything was running smooth until December 2019. But the unannounced arrival of COVID-19 was a shock for everyone. Businesses as well as individuals didn’t even have the time to prepare themselves for the crisis. Before businesses could prepare themselves to respond against the pandemic, lockdown was forced in all the major economies in the world, sending businesses at the backfoot. The most affected are the small businesses that didn’t have efficient mitigation plans and exit strategies in place.
However, it has been more than 6 months since the first Corona positive case surfaced and since then, the global society as a whole has both learned a lot as well as adapting to what seem to be signs of a new normal. Same goes with small businesses that are slowly and steadily picking up
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Educate your staff
The first step that small business owners need to take in preparation of the COVID-19 is keep themselves as well as their staff well-educated, afterall each individual needs to contribute in this fight against the pandemic. Stay away from rumours and look for trusted news sources. Here are a few sources you and your staff can rely upon:
Strengthen remote working culture
During these tough times, remote working culture has come up as a saviour for businesses. While social distancing and lockdown were in full force, it was remote working culture that has saved businesses from perishing. Working remotely has already shown its true potential and its time business owners fully incorporate a remote working model into their existing business model. From offering funds to set up a home office to reforming your current work policies, this should be definitely on every business owner’s priority list.
Technology can do wonders especially when leveraged wisely. The ongoing pandemic has showed us the wonders of the techade. From working remotely to marking your presence via cloud-based systems, it is technology that has been backing businesses during the times of crisis. From Accounting to managing client relationships, small businesses need to understand the urgency of rapidly infusing technology in every sector of their business process.
Encourage healthy workplace hygiene
Charity begins at home and so does the fight against the COVID-19. Try to adapt to the remote work culture as far as possible but in case you have a few employees coming over for work on a regular or shift basis, make sure the workplace is properly sanitized. Consider conducting in-person check up whenever an employee or a client enters the premises. Practice social distancing norms and don’t call all your employees regularly.
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Develop Mitigation Strategies
If you are reading this it means your business has survived the first-wave of the pandemic and its time to move ahead with a plan. Hire a certified accountant if possible to study your current financial position and plan future growth strategies accordingly.
Build a strong communication channel
While most of your employees are working from home, make sure there is an efficient and centralised communication channel in place so that both employees and clients can coordinate amongst themselves as and when needed.
Preparing your small business for the COVID-19 is simple and all that is required is ‘Adaptability’!!
Business and tax are two inseparable entities that can’t stay away from one another for long enough. Every year the tax season arrives and with it comes the tax filing complexities. Even though the tax season arrives yearly it is advisable to work on it all throughout the year else you’ll end up creating a mess with excessive workload to handle. In this post, we will take a deeper look into How to do tax preparation for small business for tax season efficiently.
Small Business preparation for Tax Season
Keep organized and updated throughout the year
Preparing for tax season isn’t a task that needs to be done only when the filing season is near. It is a process that should be well organized throughout the year. Keeping your financial position up-to date will not only make it easy for you to be well-prepared in advance but also ensure that you have your financial state at your disposal at all times so that you can make business decisions accordingly.
A professional bookkeeper can help small business owners in keeping the financial work organized all throughout the year, making it easy when the tax season arrives.
According to the financeonline.com, “21% of SMB owners feel that they are not knowledgeable enough about accounting and finance”. However, many small business owners avoid seeking professional help when preparing and filing taxes. While small businesses can save a handsome a few bucks if they don’t hire a professional, it can also backfire in many ways. As said above, preparing for tax season is a continuous process that requires tracking and recording of financial transactions throughout the year, SMB owners who prefer taking care of their Accounting and Bookkeeping by themselves can end up making mistakes as well as spend their valuable time doing something that they shouldn’t be doing.
Also, if you hire a professional Accountant who is more qualified to advise you on tax matters, you can save more money than you can lose if you do it by yourself.
Looking for Top Financial Preparation Services?
Separate business from personal expenses
While many business owners do spend from their own pockets, they should keep the expenses separate as it not only simplifies the process of managing finances but also helps in claiming tax relief when the tax season arrives.
Know which business tax return you need to file
Small Businesses can fall under many different categories like Limited Liability Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Single Member LLC or Sole Proprietor. And each category has it’s different set of rules and tax rates. Therefore, business owners need to classify their business before they go for filing their tax return. Businesses can lose a significant amount of capital as they could end up overpaying taxes, failing to classify their business.
Technology has made our lives easier and the Accounting profession isn’t new to it. Using Accounting software like QuickBooks can help small business owners automate their day to day tasks and keep the financial records organized while they are safe and secure under multi-layer data encryption that accounting software uses.
Tax preparation for Small Business – Preparing for tax season isn’t as difficult as it sounds. All that needs to be done is keep the financial processes well-organized all throughout the year. While business owners have other core responsibilities to handle, they can hire a professional bookkeeper to maintain their books.
We are living in a smart age where technology drives us to become better at our work each day. Technology has completely transformed how we used to work. Tasks that required hours of manual and mental work a decade ago, can now be completed with just a click. Each and every industry is benefiting from this technological advancement and Accounting & Bookkeeping industry is one of them that is of concern to us.
Accounting and Bookkeeping is an ever-evolving landscape that has adapted pretty well to the technological boom. From the manual paperwork to using Excel to using Accounting software, the Accounting industry has come a long way.
Accounting software is application software that can perform various accounting and bookkeeping tasks like a record: financial data of a business, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and many more. It can also reduce bookkeeping discrepancies that can prove to be costly. Accounting software varies widely with the functionalities they offer and are designed in accordance with the business requirements(small business and large business requirements can vary widely).
However, when it comes to the best Accounting software for small businesses, the one name that pops up instantly is ‘QuickBooks. According to acecloudhosting, QuickBooks has around 800M global small businesses and self-employed customers, and 56M prospects visiting QuickBooks every year. But what makes QuickBooks best for small Business. Here are a few key features that make QuickBooks the stand-out Accounting Software for small businesses:
Features of QuickBooks for Small Business:
Mainly QuickBooks offers two products that are:
QuickBooks Desktop which is a one time purchase software that is installed on your computer and offers robust inventory management, job costing, and industry-specific features and reporting.
QuickBooks Online offers quite similar features to the Desktop version with the major difference being that it is a cloud-hosted platform.
However, our concern is QuickBooks Online which currently serves 4.5 million global customers with a net add of 1.1 million new customers in FY’19.
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Key Features of QuickBooks:
One of the features that make QuickBooks Online the best Accounting software is that it automates daily tasks like handling recurring invoices, bill payments, payment reminders, sync bank, and credit card transactions data; bank reconciliation, and many more such tasks, thereby saving time as well as avoiding human error.
QuickBooks further offers excellent reporting with predefined templates available like general ledger, trial balance, 1009 transaction reports, P/L templates, etc. Moreover, it offers graph features that can be used to analyze data easily and make business decisions based on the same. It also allows you to schedule business emails and ease off the manual workload.
QuickBooks Online offers email invoicing features along with other features like accepting online transactions, e-signatures and saves time. You can optimize emails for mobile devices as well as syncs easily with Gmail accounts making it easy to send invoices via your Gmail account.
QuickBooks Online can be integrated with many third-party apps and software that you may be already using. Some of the popular integration include CRMs, email, e-commerce platforms, payment processing, time tracking, payroll services and many more
QuickBooks Online also comes with a mobile application that makes it easy to be accessed from anywhere in the world, using your mobile device. You can do the following using the QuickBooks Online mobile app:
- Create, customize, send and track invoices
- Click photos of receipts and attach them to your expenses
- Reconcile transactions
- View customer information, add new customers and message customers directly from the app
- View data such as your account balance, accounts payable, accounts receivable, profit and loss report, and open current and past due invoices
- Accept online payments
QuickBooks Online Pricing:
- Simple Start Plan that costs $25/month and supports one user.
- Essentials Plan costs $40/month.
- Plus Plan costs $70/month.
- QuickBooks Advanced costs $150/month.
While there are many Accounting software out there, QuickBooks for Small Business has always stayed a step ahead from its competitors, mainly due to easy accessibility and affordable pricing. So if you still don’t use Accounting software and figuring out which will be the best, just go for QuickBooks Online, it has it all!
The unanticipated Corona outbreak has left the global economy and businesses in a state of anarchy. While businesses are still trying to figure out the best way to survive during these tough times, a Business Continuity plan can be their best bet to pull them out of this crisis.
So let’s discuss in details what is a BCP and how it can be of help:
What Is Business Continuity Planning (BCP)?
A Business Continuity Plan(BCP) is designed to pull out companies from potential threats and risks. It ensures that assets and personnel are kept protected so that they are able to function efficiently during tough times and make sure business operations aren’t hampered.
BCP assesses each and every risk that can cause a failure to the businesses operations process and plans out risk management accordingly. Risks can be either natural disasters like fire, flood etc or can be man made like cyber attacks. While every company and industry has a different set of driving factors and therefore BCP differ accordingly, a general business continuity plan includes the following:
- Determine how exactly these risks will affect the normal functioning(or operations) of the company
- Mitigate the risks by enforcing safeguards and procedures to mitigate the risks
- Testing procedures to ensure they work
- Reviewing the process to avoid any delays
- Policy, purpose, and scope
- Goals and objectives
- Key roles and responsibilities
- Risk mitigation plans
- List of tasks required to keep operations flowing
- Explanation of where to go during an emergency
- Information on data backups and site backup
- Plan maintenance protocols
- Coordination with local emergency personnel
- Contact information of management personnel
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5 Steps for Developing a Business Continuity Plan
As businesses have been suffering the mayhem caused by the COVID-19, they are striving hard to get back on track. However, one can use a Business Continuity Plan to come out of this trouble. Here’s how you can develop a solid BCP.
Business Impact Analysis:
Start with analyzing the impacts of the risk on your business and use the information to figure out the processes that are having the most impact on the business’ financial and operational functions. Once you have identified the pain points, move onto the next step which is recovery.
Now since you know about the pain points, in this step, you must identify and explore what steps need to be taken in order to recover critical business operations and make them functional.
While you have devised a recovery plan, it is the continuity of the process that will define how well you recover from the losses done and for how long your operations will continue to be functional. Therefore, it is necessary to form(organize) a continuity team to monitor the recovery process.
Till the time you aren’t testing, you won’t know what’s working best for your business. It’s wise to test various business continuity plans in order to make sure which is the most effective.
To ensure that the continuity team formed above to monitor that the recovery plan is performing its task with efficiency, training of the team is very vital. Training is what is very essential for skill development as well as to keep up with the ongoing trends which is the need of the hour
Tough times require both courage and extraordinary measures. While the economy is suffering a downturn and businesses are taking tough steps like downsizing to cope up with the corona outbreak, a Business Continuity Plan can significantly help businesses find better ways to get back on track.