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Fraud Prevention: How to Keep Your Books Secure

June 21, 2018 / by Bill Davis posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Richmond, VA

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Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to $1.5 Million Fraud Scheme

That headline represents a small-business owner's worst nightmare. The person you trusted to ensure your finances were handled properly and professionally instead exploited your trust for their own gain.

How can you be sure this will never happen to you?

Segregation of Duties Is Key
It's shocking how much damage an unscrupulous employee can do to a small business. In the case cited above, a bookkeeper at a Virginia construction company pleaded guilty to funneling $1.5 million into her own account over eight years.

The devastation can be psychological as well as financial. That's certainly the case when the guilty party is a trusted friend or even a family member.

From day one, you need to establish a system of internal controls that includes segregation of duties. It might feel awkward, particularly in a small family business. But delegating responsibility for, say, reviewing invoices to one person and paying invoices to another person is vital.

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Our Northeast Florida Office Named a 'Top Accounting Firm'

June 15, 2018 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in Bookkeeping Services

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Supporting Strategies is proud to announce that our Northeast Florida office has been named a Top Accounting Firm in an annual ranking by the Jacksonville Business Journal

"We've been in business for three years, and this is the first year we've made the list," says Supporting Strategies | Northeast Florida Managing Director Pete Denholm. "I'm excited to be on the list with national firms and with regional firms that have been around for decades, and I look forward to continuing to grow and climbing up the list in the years ahead."

"This is a testimony both to the hard work that Pete and his team have put in, and to the basic soundness of our business model," says Supporting Strategies Founder and CEO Leslie Jorgensen. "It's gratifying when outside organizations recognize our franchisees' success."

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Calif. Cracks Down on Independent Contractor Classification

June 12, 2018 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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California businesses might soon need to overhaul their staff compensation models, thanks to a ruling from the state's Supreme Court that sets a more rigid standard for determining "independent contractor" status.

As detailed here, the ruling puts the onus on employers to prove a worker's independent contractor status by satisfying all three components of a rigid new "ABC" test.

According to the court's decision, this test presumptively considers all workers to be employees, and permits workers to be classified as independent contractors only if the hiring business demonstrates that the worker in question:

  1. is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
  2. performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business; and
  3. is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
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Paperless Bookkeeping: It Can Work for Any Business

June 7, 2018 / by Jeff Starr posted in Small Business Advice, South Shore, MA, Bookkeeping Services, Providence, RI, Business Advice

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The iconic portrait of a bookkeeper — hunkered down with an adding machine, an eyeshade and a stack of paper — is hopelessly outdated. Bookkeeping has gone digital. And the way paperwork is done has changed too, with most documents now stored online, in the cloud.

If you run a business that traditionally generates tons of paperwork that must be tracked, logged and stored in space-hogging filing cabinets, this is wonderful news.

Scrap That Paper
Have you made the transition to online banking with your personal finances? Well, just as you can now pay certain bills automatically, or transfer funds remotely without filling out deposit or withdrawal slips, you can simplify many of your business transactions. And you can eliminate a ton of paper in the process.

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Checklist: How to Start a Business

May 29, 2018 / by Michael Oberther posted in Small Business Advice, Manhattan Financial District, NYC - Midtown, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups

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One of the hardest things about starting a business is, well, just getting started. Here's a checklist to help you organize and prioritize.

Research your market:
You've been working at a sideline — more of a hobby, really — for years. Now you're finally ready to quit your day job and pursue it as a full-time business. Before you take that plunge, here's what you need to explore:

  • What is your target market?
  • Is your target market large enough? Are enough people interested in paying for your product or service for you to make a viable living?
  • Who is your competition? What can you do better than they do?

Write a business plan:
As this article suggests, your business plan doesn't have to be elaborate — nor will it ever truly be finished. Still, in order for you to get started, it should include the following:

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Working Too Much on Bookkeeping? Consider Outsourcing

May 24, 2018 / by Bill Davis posted in Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Richmond, VA

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Small-business owners often get themselves into trouble by taking on too many responsibilities. Bookkeeping is one area especially prone to DIY-itis. The consequences can range from burnout for the owner to stunted growth for the business. Learn from other entrepreneurs in these examples from some of our recent case studies.

Can You Scale for Success?
Some business owners with a knack for numbers find they can do their own books quite well during the launch phase, when the volume of work is low. But what can start out feeling like a cost savings can end up feeling like a quickening treadmill as business picks up.

It worked that way for Adam Merrill. In 2016 he launched a custom home building business in Florida. With a modest goal of five homes per year and what he called an "accounting mindset," he assumed he could do the books himself. But as his business boomed, Merrill quickly revised his projection to 12 homes a year. Before long he was devoting a full day each week to bookkeeping rather than focusing on the growth of his business.

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Are you in Compliance Today? California Supreme Court Adopts New Test for Independent Contractor Status

May 21, 2018 / by Cindy Flynn posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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Originally published on the Hackler Flynn & Associates website.

On April 30, 2018 the California Supreme Court issued an opinion that makes California one of the least hospitable jurisdictions in the nation for utilization of independent contractors. As a result, many companies that were in compliance with the labor laws in California related to independent contractors yesterday may be out of compliance today.

The ruling came in a case originally filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by a worker named Charles Lee. Lee claimed that Dynamex Inc. improperly classified him as an independent contractor. The case drew attention from the media and legal minds alike because it involved the hot-button issue of independent contractor versus employee. The distinction is that an employee is subject to wage and hour laws and entitled to benefits such as workers’ compensation.

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SMB 101: 5 Ways to Build a Successful Business

May 15, 2018 / by Kate Wilson posted in Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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Originally posted on the Bill.com blog.

You’ve done it! You’ve successfully transformed your passion into a viable business. But before you deem yourself the “Ultimate SMB Rockstar” you need to face the cold, hard reality of business.

80% of new companies will fail in the first year.

Now, we don’t say this to scare you. In fact, we think you're awesome — we want your business to succeed! And the best way to do this is through your finances.

Sure, 80% of businesses may fail, but what are the key reasons why? According to this report:

  • 29% of small businesses fail because they run out of cash.
  • 82% fail because they experience cash flow problems.

Which is why we’ve compiled our top five ways to ensure your business's financial success.

Tip #1: Go digital.
Small businesses don’t run at a leisurely pace. And your payments shouldn’t either.

The days of printing and mailing communications, invoices, and payments have gone, and what’s replaced it is technology. The cloud can now easily handle tasks that were formerly bound to paper.

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Giglia Named One of Long Island's Power Women in Business

May 10, 2018 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in News, North Shore Long Island

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Congratulations to Cheri Giglia, Managing Director of Supporting Strategies | North Shore Long Island, who was an honoree at the Long Island Power Women in Business Awards & Networking Event on May 9.

The event recognized some of Long Island's most successful business, community, cultural, political, civic and religious female leaders. The evening included a business expo and trade show with networking, followed by a dinner and awards ceremony. Proceeds from a raffle benefitted rock CAN roll, a nonprofit hunger relief organization and think tank.

"It was a thrill to be part of this event and inspiring to share the spotlight with so many amazing women," Giglia says. "I'm very grateful for the award."

Prior to becoming a Supporting Strategies franchisee in 2015, Giglia held a series of financial executive positions in large corporations and technology startups. She has enjoyed applying her expertise at Supporting Strategies to serve growing businesses across the North Shore.

We join the Long Island community in recognizing Giglia's excellence and consider ourselves fortunate to have her as part of the Supporting Strategies family.

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Case Study: Custom Bookkeeping for a Custom-Home Builder

May 10, 2018 / by Bryce Ledet posted in New Orleans, Bookkeeping Services, Case Study Blogs

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Since 1983, Chris Ledet has created affordable dream houses for clients in and around his hometown of Thibodaux, Louisiana.

His company, Chris Ledet Homes, later expanded to include Building Specialist Nancy Bernard and Chris' son, Paul, who is now the Owner and Project Manager. With this growth, and up to 12 building projects a year, old-school bookkeeping became a time-consuming challenge.

Spread Too Thin with Spreadsheets
As a Building Specialist, Bernard was responsible for meeting with clients to help them plan the details of their custom homes. But after bookkeeping was added to her list of duties, she found herself spending additional time creating spreadsheets to track expenses. This approach worked while the business was small. As the number of clients and spreadsheets grew, though, she was soon spending too much time in front of her computer and not enough time sitting with clients.

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