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Bookkeeping Services Best Practices | Scheduling Quarterly/Annual Bookkeeping Tasks

March 29, 2016 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas

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Andy-Hale.jpgToday's post, the final one in our Bookkeeping Services Best Practices series, looks at scheduling quarterly and annual bookkeeping tasks. If you haven't read them yet, please check out previous posts on scheduling daily, weekly/bi-weekly and monthly tasks. 

Let's start with the quarterly bookkeeping tasks:

1. Prepare and file your quarterly taxes as required by your jurisdiction. File all reports on time for sales taxes, employee payroll taxes, FICA, etc. Timely filing will help you avoid late penalties and additional scrutiny.
2. Perform a quarterly review by consolidating monthly statements and reviewing trends to examine the big picture.
3. Review policies, accounting processes, benefit/insurance and retirement plans, bonuses, procedures, etc. Make changes as necessary.
4. If you have inventory, count it. Update your bookkeeping services system with revised inventory quantities and journal entries as necessary.

As for the annual bookkeeping tasks:

1. Complete year-end close. If you've been closing each month, the end-of-year close should be easy.
2. Create and review a year-end reporting package. Get into the habit of doing this every year.
3. Send out the year-end reporting package to board members, banks or investors as required.
4. Complete tax preparation activities. This includes everything from understanding your books to ensuring they're complete and your documentation is organized. Your efforts will pay dividends when you meet with your accountant at tax time.
5. Meet with your accountant. With an organized set of books in hand, you can use the time with your CPA to focus on growing your business.

Continuous monitoring and management of your finances will demonstrate to lenders and investors that you're responsible. In addition, the information you get will allow you to adjust quickly to changes in the business environment and to take advantage of situations that present themselves.

Proactive management will also save you time and money. More importantly, good bookkeeping habits will give you peace of mind from knowing your business is on track and taking you exactly where you want to go. If you're unable to manage your books efficiently, consider a bookkeeping service provider in your area.

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Bookkeeping Services Best Practices | Scheduling Monthly Bookkeeping Tasks

March 23, 2016 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas

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Andy-Hale.jpgWelcome back to our Bookkeeping Services Best Practices series. So far, we've covered best practices for scheduling daily and weekly/bi-weekly bookkeeping tasks. This time, we set our sights on monthly bookkeeping tasks.

Here's our list:

1. Download and reconcile cash and credit card accounts.
2. Run a trial balance to ensure that all of your debits and credits are in balance and that all entries have been posted in the correct ledgers.
3. Create and review reports. Most accounting packages have a set of canned reports that you can create with ease. Whether you're sending out a report or not, get into the habit of creating it and reviewing it monthly. Also, ask yourself tough questions such as: What do the numbers on my balance sheet tell me about my business' performance? Are cost projections in line with gross profit goals? Are my margins where they need to be?
4. Distribute a monthly reporting package to board members, banks or investors as required. The timely receipt of financials not only is a requirement in many cases, but also serves to instill confidence.

Next week, we'll conclude our Bookkeeping Services Best Practices series with a look at scheduling quarterly and annual bookkeeping tasks.

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Bookkeeping Services Best Practices | Scheduling Weekly/Bi-Weekly Bookkeeping Tasks

March 17, 2016 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas

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Andy-Hale.jpgLast week, we kicked off our Bookkeeping Services Best Practices series with a post on scheduling daily bookkeeping tasks. Now we'll shift our focus over to bookkeeping tasks that must take place on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Here's our list:

1. Run a weekly cash-flow report to verify your data entries are complete and up-to-date.
2. Run accounts receivable aging reports to look for any overdue accounts receivable. Address any overdue balances by sending a reminder to the client or customer.
3. Review accounts payable to ensure all bills are paid on time, a necessary step to protect your business' reputation and credit rating.
4. Set up and run payroll. Making mistakes with payroll can be a huge liability. Make sure to hit your dates by having a game plan for collecting time cards, inputting data and running payroll.
5. Download bank activity into your books. Depending on your bank and your bookkeeping software, you might be able to have this information sync in real time. If not, do it every two weeks to stay current. Code/match all transactions. If you're unsure about any transactions, place them in a suspense account to review with your bookkeeping services provider at a later time.
  1. In next week's post, we'll cover bookkeeping services best practices for scheduling monthly bookkeeping tasks.

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Bookkeeping Services Best Practices | Scheduling Daily Bookkeeping Tasks

March 7, 2016 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas

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Andy-Hale-for-Web-2.jpgAdhering to timely bookkeeping practices is critical to managing a business.

Besides having the peace of mind that comes from knowing your books are up-to-date, you'll enjoy the confidence of making good decisions based on relevant data. Scheduled correctly, bookkeeping also allows you to drive your business proactively, looking ahead into the horizon rather than backwards out the rear window.To keep your bookkeeping in order — and avoid problems that might otherwise fester — you need to schedule recurring tasks and then complete them accordingly. In this blog series, Bookkeeping Services Best Practices, we'll review the daily, weekly/bi-weekly, monthly and quarterly/annual bookkeeping tasks that must be completed so that your business runs like a well-oiled machine.

Let's start with the tasks that should be done daily …

  1. Input business transactions as they occur into the general ledger. Doing so mitigates the chances that transactions will be omitted and creates a financial history of your business activity. This audit trail of activities will come in handy if you're ever called upon to explain your company's finances.
  2. Invoice your customers/clients as soon as the sale or service is completed to improve cash flow and reduce the chance that invoicing is forgotten or delayed.
  3. Make cash deposits daily to improve cash flow and reduce the chance that funds are lost or delayed in getting to the bank. Make sure to record deposits in the proper journal section.
  4. Review bank balances and run a daily cash-flow report to review where you stand and ensure day-to-day operations won't be impacted. Make adjustments as necessary.
  5. Back up your financial files. If you're using a cloud-based solution like QuickBooks Online, you're already covered. If not, make sure you back up your data daily.

Keep an eye out for next week's post, where we'll highlight bookkeeping services best practices for scheduling weekly and bi-weekly bookkeeping tasks.


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Bookkeeping Best Practices | Resolutions for 2016

February 2, 2016 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas

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Andy-Hale-for-Web-2.jpgI love the idea of New Years. What I like most is that it provides all of us an opportunity to look back at how things have been going (the good and the bad) as well as an opportunity to look forward to make changes to our trajectory by setting new goals. Each year I try to figure out changes I need to make to be happier, healthier, and more financially sound. I assume you do the same. Heck, there are even lists available of the top New Year’s Resolution ideas and how to achieve them should you need some assistance with personal resolutions.

The same holds true for businesses. New Years is a time to set new goals with aspirations of making your business happier, healthier, and more financially sound. As the Managing Director of a bookkeeping services company, I regularly talk to people about their personal and business resolutions. What’s most amazing is that our personal resolutions are often tied to our business resolutions. Getting your business finances organized not only helps your business’ bottom line, but will also help you to personally earn more money, spend more time with family, and reduce stress. Here is a four-step plan to help you assess and organize your business finances and hopefully knock out a few of the personal resolutions at the same time.

  1. Assess your current state.
    Take a few minutes and ask yourself the following questions: Are your books in good order? Are you keeping them up to date? Are you spending more time than you should on accounting and bookkeeping activities? Can you handle this alone or will you need help from a professional bookkeeping services provider? It is necessary to understand these before any changes can be put into action.

  2. Develop a plan to get back on track.
    Set a goal to keep your books current starting right away. Make sure to also add in time each month to get caught up on any bookkeeping that might not have occurred in the past. When you are behind, it's easy to postpone current bookkeeping while you are catching up on past bookkeeping. This is a mistake! If you wait until last year's books are done, you will be in the same position next year.

  3. Get organized.
    This can include everything from cleaning up your desk to making sure that you are using the most efficient tools. Develop an organized system to manage your documents electronically rather than getting buried in paper. Cloud-based accounting applications that you can access from any location will also help to maintain a work/file balance. A great list of these tools can be found here.

  4. Ask for Help
    If you are not good at bookkeeping, get help. If you don't have time to do the bookkeeping, get help. If the idea of looking at the bookkeeping makes you panic, get help! Reach out to your trusted advisors (CPA, Banker, etc.) and ask them who they know. I recommend you research at least two or three professionals, look at their backgrounds and choose the one you feel most compatible with. Don't just choose the cheapest option. FYI, most accountants and bookkeeping service providers will assess your books for free, and just the process of talking about your situation will make you sleep better at night.

Whichever way you go, getting your business finances in order will likely cost less than you realize, and the benefits are likely to be much greater than you imagine. Here’s to being happier, healthier and more financially sound in 2016. CHEERS!!!

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The Importance of Financial Management in the ‘Trinity of Management'

August 31, 2015 / by Andy Hale posted in Small Business Advice, Texas, Accounting Services, Bookkeeping Services

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Andy-Hale

For all you small business owners out there, I thought you might like to learn about a useful framework for basic business management. It's called the "Trinity of Management."

Patrick Brower, Enterprise Facilitator for the Grand Enterprise Initiative, explains the concept in this article. He says the trinity has three legs, all of which a business needs to succeed: 1) a superb product or service, 2) strong sales and marketing, and 3) solid financial management.

Naturally, item #3 caught my eye. I urge you to read the article to learn about the three key aspects of financial management, including one vital piece that many businesses miss. How about your business?

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Leveraging Bookkeeping Services to Focus on Your Core Processes

August 25, 2015 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas, Bookkeeping Services

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Assuming you are not a CPA or bookkeeping services company, the recording of financial transactions including purchases, sales, receipts, and payments is likely not one of your business' core processes, but rather a "supporting" process.

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By definition, core processes are defined as those activities that your customers are willing to pay for because they add value.  While your customers hope you have an efficient hiring process and that you have security in your corporate headquarters, they are generally not willing to pay for those activities because those activities do not add value to your product or service.  For example, a parent buying a toy for a child is willing to pay a fraction of the cost associated with designing the toy, manufacturing it, safety testing it, as well as the cost of shipping it to a location where it can be purchased.    

These core processes make up the value chain.  The most successful businesses in the world know and understand their value chain and are focused on making it the best it can be to stay competitive.  Companies such as Apple, Coca Cola, IBM and Ford spend billions of dollars a year to make their core processes the best that they can be.

Other processes, such as bookkeeping services, are necessary to run a business, but are not typically part of that business' value chain, and are supporting rather than core processes.  Supporting processes are crucial to the growth and development of any business, but do not directly add value to that business' product or service.  Therefore, it makes sense for the business to structure its supporting processes to meet the business' objectives as efficiently and as inexpensively as possible.  For that reason, supporting processes are often outsourced to other companies that specialize in that process.

For example, while the toy company above would likely retain control of its value chain activities, it likely is not having its employees wash the windows of their office building, but instead, contracts with a local window washing company to manage the process of getting the windows washed.  This makes sense because the toy company is expert at producing toys and not cleaning windows.  Their customers' expectation is that the company is focused on bringing the most amazing toys to the market, not on window washing.

While a company's bookkeeping function needs to be managed well, it is not a core process for most companies.  Therefore, outsourcing to a bookkeeping services company makes a lot of sense for businesses, as it enables the business to focus on its core competency and creating value for its customers and in the business.  

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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21st Century Bookkeeping Services

August 24, 2015 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas, Bookkeeping Services

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Bookkeeping has come a long way from its development in 13th Century medieval Europe, yet for too many people trying to find the best in bookkeeping services for their businesses, medieval bookkeeping reigns. One pictures a solitary bookkeeper, dressed in monastic robes, slowly logging transactions into a ledger in a candlelit chamber. 

From these humble beginnings in medieval Europe all the way to 19th century America, bookkeeping has remained essentially the same.  While larger companies have realized process and technology advancements in the past 100 years, bookkeeping for many small business owners has remained locked in the dark ages until recently.  

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A 21st Century approach to bookkeeping brings trained accountants and streamlined processes to the table, and makes use of new technologies which advance the efficiency and effectiveness to meet the business’ needs.  The needs of a modern business are not the same as a medieval merchant, and so today’s business owners must update their approach when seeking out bookkeeping services.

Bringing bookkeeping into the 21st century shouldn't be as difficult as removing King Arthur's sword from the stone.  To get your business there, look for a solution that provides the following types of improvements to unlock the bookkeeping magic:  

1)  PEOPLE - Get the best resources you can find.  If you are counting on your books, find best in class resources to manage them.  Local, CPA level expertise that can handle "bookkeeper through controller" activities is available at rates that will surprise you.  These fractional resources can even work from their own castle which will save you money and headaches.

2)  PROCESS - Use standard processes, workflows, and oversight to ensure accounting standards are met.  Make sure you build continuity into your process by going with a team-based approach.  Reduce transition risk associated with employee departure or unscheduled absence by creating your own round table so you don't have to re-train your troops ever again by going with a bookkeeping services company rather than an individual.

3)  TECHNOLOGY - The dark ages are over.  Even if you are a small business, you should have an integrated, full-cycle accounting software solution - A/R, A/P, cash management, payroll, audit-ready financials with document storage and sharing.  Utilize current accounting software packages that increase automation and minimize manual data entry.  Don't get on any accounting horse that does not have access to best-in-class tools such as TSHEETS, Bill.com, FundBox, SmartVault, InfusionSoft, etc.

If you are stuck in the accounting and bookkeeping dark ages, feel free to stop by our village for additional information:  http://www.supportingstrategies.com/texas

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Accounting Professionals Prefer Paperless Payments, Study Finds

August 18, 2015 / by Andy Hale posted in Texas, Accounting Services

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Andy-HalePaper or paperless payments? For many accounting professionals, the answer is clear: Paperless payments are the way to go, due largely to the reduced risk of fraud.

This is the big takeaway from a recent survey of accounting practitioners sponsored by Bill.com. According to the study, "More than 50 percent of accounting professionals support the idea of moving to paperless payments, with 41 percent intending to adopt a cloud-based client payment solution in the next six months."

I encourage you to download the complete report here.

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Tips for Steering Clear of Bookkeeping Pitfalls

August 4, 2015 / by Andy Hale posted in Small Business Advice, Texas

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Andy-HaleIf you don't enjoy bookkeeping (and what small-business owner does?), Business 2 Community author Catherine Lewis has good news: "It is now easier than ever to manage your business finances."

In her Business 2 Community article, "Make Every Dollar Count: 5 Bookkeeping Mistakes to Avoid," Lewis explains that cloud-based accounting software is taking the pain out of bookkeeping for small-business owners. But, she adds, you have to be sure to avoid certain bookkeeping pitfalls.

What are those key pitfalls? Check out the article for a quick rundown.

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