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Why Closing Your Books Monthly Makes Sense and How to Do It

November 3, 2015 / by Ivan Dodic posted in Sacramento, CA

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Ivan-Dodic-213-x-213If you are a small business owner and are using a program like QuickBooks to run your accounting function, you are likely interfacing with your books on a daily or frequent basis, entering in transactions to invoice your customers, pay your vendors, and perhaps even to pay your employees. All of these transactions are feeding into your business' financial reports in the background, so that at the end of the month, you can run the reports and see how your business is operating.

The process of closing the books is a very standard monthly task that is performed either by a business' staff accountant or outsourced accounting services provided. This process allows you not only to review the transactions that have been put into the system to ensure that they are accurate but also allows you to make other adjustments to properly reflect the business' activity for the month. This Houston Chronicle article highlights some of the key steps of this process. See the following for a few key steps to follow in closing the books for your business.

Start with the Balance Sheet 
The balance sheet is a point-in-time view of where your business stands at any given time, displaying cash, accounts receivable and other asset balances, as well as accounts payable, and other liability balances. In the equity section, you can see the amount of capital invested in the business, as well as the accumulated profits or losses in the business. Each account's ending balance as of the month-end date should be reconciled. For example, for your cash accounts and credit accounts, this means reconciling the activity to your statement for that month. For other accounts, you may need to make journal entry adjustments, as is discussed in the Houston Chronicle article, to adjust balances to accounts such as prepaid expenses or inventory. To learn how to properly record these entries, you may enlist the assistance of an accounting services provider or your CPA. After all adjustments have been made, review and confirm that the ending balances are accurate. Often, reconciliation schedules are created to support these numbers. The use of supporting reconciliation schedules is a best practice used by most businesses in closing the books.

Review the Profit & Loss Statement 
Most accounting transactions and journal entry adjustments are creating the results on your profit & loss statement. Run this report and customize the view to compare this month against historical months. Review the trends on your revenue and expense line items. Make sure you are not missing any key transactions or adjustments and make sure that the transactions are recorded in the correct category.

Run Your Financial Statements & Analyze the Results 
Now that you have closed your books, you can run the balance sheet and profit & loss statement for the month, and can also present this information to include monthly and even annual comparisons, or year to date results. This financial reporting package can also include other financial reports, and can be prepared by your internal team or your accounting services provider. Share the financial package with your management team and discuss the results. This process will allow you to identify potential issues in the business to be discussed and addresses. For example, your outstanding accounts receivables may be out of control, creating a cash flow issue, or your legal expenses are much higher than anticipated and you need to follow-up to determine what is driving this change. Closing your books in a timely basis gives you and your management team consistent reporting to keep a tight pulse on the business and to provide timely information to make the most informed business decisions.

 

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What’s the Deal With Outsourced Bookkeeping Services?

October 21, 2015 / by Ivan Dodic posted in Sacramento, CA, Bookkeeping Services

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As someone in charge of a growing business you’ve probably considered outsourcing your bookkeeping services to an outside firm. You might also be thinking about bookkeeping software, hiring your own in-house bookkeeper, or trying to fill that role yourself. To help you make the best decision, read below to learn more about the outsourced bookkeeping option.

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1) A Trusted Advisor

Naturally your bookkeeper (whether it be an individual, a team of employees, yourself, or a bookkeeping services firm) is going to do bookkeeping. By that, I mean logging transactions and providing financial reports for your business. But the benefits of an outside firm go far beyond traditional bookkeeping services. More than just “keeping track,” your bookkeeping services firm will serve as one of your business's trusted advisors. They’ve worked with many small businesses before and know their way around a spreadsheet. They will tune into your business and help you make the wisest financial decisions available.

2) Easy to Scale With Growth

As time goes by you’ll find that your business doesn’t just grow, it evolves. Certain departments become more important and others become less of a priority. Both reassessing and reorganizing based on your needs and goals are crucial to continued development. If you do end up employing an outsourced bookkeeping services provider, you’ll find this solution easy to scale with you according to your needs. And if you grow to the point where it makes sense to have your own in-house bookkeeping department, you’ll find your outsourced team ready to help with that transition and get your new in-house team up to speed.

3) Focus on What’s Core

When you’re focused on your bookkeeping needs, you’re not focusing on your business’ core processes. For an outsourced bookkeeping team, bookkeeping is their core process. It’s where their skills and expertise lie. When you hand over these responsibilities to an outside team, you can reallocate your resources and time to your business' core focus and providing value to your customers.

4) Developing Good Financial Habits

Even if you don’t end up using an outsourced team forever, you may find that employing one in the early days of your business is a great way to learn the ins and outs of bookkeeping from a team of experts. They can help you develop good financial habits right from the get-go, and as time goes on these will become second nature to your business practice.

5) Providing Insight

Remember, your bookkeepers aren’t just looking at your numbers, they’re reading them. Your bookkeeping team will provide you with expert analysis and insight into your own business from an outside perspective. This can prove invaluable with time as these are the individuals who can make the most sense of your financial metrics, helping you understand, prioritize and respond to the financial information with which you’re provided.

We would love to hear from you!  Click below and we would be happy to provide you with more information on this topic. 

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Bookkeeping Services | Going Paperless With Bill.com

October 5, 2015 / by Ivan Dodic posted in Sacramento, CA

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If you’re trying to go paperless at your office (a great way to simplify organizational systems and communication, save money, as well as help the environment), Bill.com can help you make this transition.

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At Supporting Strategies, Bill.com is one of our favorite tools in providing bookkeeping services to our clients. We use Bill.com mainly for our clients’ payables and receivables workflow, and use Smartvault (www.smartvault.com) for our client's paperless document storage. However, Bill.com also has a light document management feature which is a great option for small businesses looking for a simple way to get all of their documents in one place. Here’s some info we found in an article on Sleeter.com about how to use this great feature:

Documents are sent to your Bill.com inbox via email, fax, upload or even just by dragging and dropping. Within your inbox, you can choose to process the file as a company document and classify it according to following six options: Account, Vendor, Company, Customer, Invoice, and Payment Received .

Here are Sleeter.com’s tips for what to store under each category.

Account: Use the Account category for documents with a GL account, as well as receipts for major purchases, extended warranties and charitable donations.

Vendor: This is a place for different kinds of vendor related documents like tax documents, price lists, contracts and certificates of insurance.

Company: This is your place for company documents and information needed for your whole team, like lists of resources and contacts. It should be noted that Company will be the only category that won’t allow selection of “associated components of the related list you would like the document associated with.”

Customer: The great thing about this folder is that it makes it easy to share all your relevant customer documents (this might be a contract, a W-9 or, if necessary, a list of company contacts) with your clients through their own portal.

Invoice: The invoice folder is another one you can share with your clients, making it easy to invoice for payment and follow up.

Payment Received: Here you can store documents related to payment like a check image or a payment confirmation. This and the invoice category will be a great place to storing those documents needed by your bookkeeping services provider.

Your business’ provider of bookkeeping services will be able to walk you through the feature thoroughly and help you get set up on the new system. You definitely won’t regret the switch to paperless, and you’ll be thankful for the reduction of clutter and the ease with which you and your team can access and manage important documents.

 

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A Nice Overview of Why We're Here, Doing What We Do

March 4, 2015 / by Ivan Dodic posted in Small Business Advice, Sacramento, CA

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IvanDodicRunning afoul of [federal and state] laws, licenses, permits and regulations can result in steep fines and IRS penalties." That's one strong argument in favor of entrusting your bookkeeping needs to Supporting Strategies.

This short but meaty article from enlightenme.com makes several other points about when and why it makes sense to outsource bookkeeping to the pros. (Another good one: The more successful a business, the more time you'll need to manage the books — and the less time you'll have to do it right.)   

Check out this quick but worthwhile read for a nice summary of the importance of our work.

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