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Give Thanks to Those Who Helped Your Business Endure 2020

November 24, 2020 / by Mark Schanen posted in Small Business Advice, Business Advice, Milwaukee

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This Thanksgiving, reach out to people in your business community to let them know how much you appreciate their continued support.

There was no "business as usual" in 2020. From government-mandated shutdowns to shortages of critical supplies (including toiler paper, of all things), this was a year of continual disruption. And unlike previous years, when Thanksgiving gave us a chance to pause and share our good fortune with friends and family, most of us will be forced to keep our distance as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues through the 2020 holidays.

Such hardships are all the more reason to reach out (virtually) to those in our lives and business communities, near and far, to thank them for all they've done to help us get through this trying year.

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Selling in the Time of COVID-19

November 17, 2020 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in Small Business Advice, Boston, Business Advice, Business Continuity

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Ready to increase your sales numbers? In a recent podcast, Steve Schultz shares his tactics for selling bookkeeping and controller services during COVID.

How does a company achieve sales success in a challenging market? That was the focus of a recent Sales Game Changers Podcast hosted by Fred Diamond, Co-founder and President of the Institute for Excellence in Sales.

Diamond's guest, Supporting Strategies Chief Evangelist and VP of Franchise Development Steve Schultz, said success starts with a simple reality check. "Our goals didn't change," Schultz said of the company's approach during the COVID-19 pandemic, "but our tactics have had to change."

Those adjusted tactics include the following …

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Business Planning for the New Year? Start with Bookkeeping.

November 12, 2020 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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If you made any unplanned changes in your business this year, you'll want to get an early start on year-end bookkeeping as you plan for 2021.

Let's face it: 2020 hasn't gone the way any of us expected. But that very unpredictability reinforced the core messages in the blog I wrote last year about the importance of annual business planning. The more informed you are about budget trends, tax-planning strategy and your long-range financial outlook, the more readily you can adapt to speed bumps and curveballs. And 2020 provided more than its share of those.

What will 2021 bring? No one knows. One thing is certain, however: Preparation matters now more than ever. And it all starts with solid bookkeeping.

How Did 2020 Change Your Business?
The disruptive events of 2020, most notably the COVID-19 pandemic, have touched everyone. So before you can chart a roadmap for your business in 2021, you need to gauge the extent of those disruptions. For most businesses, that means answering these three questions:

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5 Strategies for Reducing Health Benefits Costs in 2021

November 3, 2020 / by Richie Marrero posted in Northern Chicago

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Savvy employers will be prepared to counter the rise in health benefits costs that is almost certain to come in 2021.

Health benefits costs have been trending upward for years — over 50% in the last decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation — and the current state of economic uncertainty over COVID-19 won't reverse that trend. Realistically, after enduring months of business closures and managing exhausted workforces, many employers will be lucky to maintain uninterrupted operations.

That's why it's critical for employers to think about reducing healthcare costs right now — figure out cost-effective benefits first so money can be shuffled as needed later. Having a solid plan going into 2021 will better position organizations facing limited budgets.

Here are five cost-reduction strategies employers should explore:

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Is Now the Time to Buy a Business?

October 29, 2020 / by Peter Holmes posted in Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Northwest New Jersey

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If you're considering buying a business, read these bookkeeping tips to learn how to evaluate the financial health of a business before you buy.

Whether you are an entrepreneur looking for a potentially lucrative investment, are a pragmatist seeking a recession-proof source of income or have decided the current environment could offer the chance to get a good business at a low price, here's how to approach the process.

Ask the Right Questions
The first question to ask before buying an existing business is: Why is it for sale? This is not to suggest that any business available for purchase is inherently a risky investment. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for a business owner to sell out, from retirement, to health issues, to short-term financial stresses like the novel coronavirus outbreak.

But there are also times when a "For Sale" sign is a red flag. In order to determine which category a prospective business investment falls into, you need to probe further. You'll want to know:

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Be Prepared: Selling a Business Is Harder Than You Think

October 22, 2020 / by Sal Burd posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs

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Before putting your business on the market, you need to get ready for the due diligence phase.

It's an appealing fantasy: You launch a business, work hard to make it successful, and then sell it and retire to a tropical paradise.

However, selling your business is not that simple. In reality, the voyage to that lush, distant island can be long and perilous. You might have to navigate everything from key employees jumping ship, to waves of unexpected demands from the prospective buyer, to strong headwinds from lawyers vetting your company for things like product-liability issues. And when you finally reach your island paradise, you might find you can't afford to live there because you made a lot less money from the sale than you thought you would.

How do you avoid that nightmare scenario? It starts with setting realistic expectations — and being fully prepared to sell your business long before the letter of intent comes in.

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Best Practices for Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness

October 13, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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Ready to have your PPP loan forgiven? Working with a professional bookkeeping and controller services provider can make the process much easier. 

Note: Please visit the Small Business Administration's PPP website for the current details.

Forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans can be a lifesaver for small businesses — provided those businesses follow all the steps required to actually have a loan forgiven. It can be a challenging process, which is why many businesses have turned to professional bookkeepers rather than go the DIY route.

Bookkeepers Know the PPP Procedures
Professional bookkeepers stay on top of all the Small Business Administration bulletins pertaining to the PPP program — bulletins like Interim Final Rule on Revisions to the Third and Sixth Interim Final Rules. Wondering how a rule can be both "interim" and "final" (not to mention why a final rule would need revision)? Well, let's just say that despite the government's best intentions, PPP loan forgiveness is a moving target. That's why you should seek assistance from somebody whose job it is to keep up with the changes.

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How Today's Numbers Drive Business Decisions for Next Year

October 8, 2020 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Bookkeeping Services, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC, Business Continuity

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Note: This blog first appeared on the NCACPA website.

Ready for 2021? Insights into current cash flow are more important than ever for creating an accurate forecast.

If revenue was lower than anticipated at your business this year, you're not alone. But if you were among the fortunate ones whose business remained open or only had a brief disruption, you have an opportunity to regroup and get a fresh start next year. And it all starts with examining your current cash flow.

Understanding the Numbers
For any business to succeed, it must have enough cash available to pay expenses, bank loans, taxes and salaries and to purchase whatever inventory and equipment is necessary to function effectively. That's why the kind of disruption in cash flow that many businesses suffered this year has been so unsettling. Some organizations suddenly found themselves unable to pay their bills.

If you're in that category, now isn't the time to panic — that's never a good approach. But it is the time to apply a sense of urgency and figure out a way forward in this new financial reality.

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Understanding the Bookkeeper and Controller Roles

October 1, 2020 / by Jane Lvovskiy posted in Bookkeeping Services, Brooklyn - Staten Island

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Here's a look at the key responsibilities of a bookkeeper and a controller — and how they work together.

Any successful business needs to have a person, or people, handling bookkeeping and controller tasks. While there is some overlap between the two roles, there are also critical differences. Let's take a closer look at these distinctions and at how the person or team taking on these roles can help you maximize profitability while minimizing risk.

Agreeing on Terms
Maybe the easiest way to grasp the difference between a bookkeeper and a controller is to think of each in a literal sense. A bookkeeper, as the title plainly states, keeps the books — i.e., records all of a company's financial transactions in a systematic way. Without a competent bookkeeper to log this data, a business owner would quickly lose track of how much money was flowing into the company and how much was flowing out. The result would be chaos.

A controller takes the process to the next level by analyzing and interpreting this data to institute financial controls (hence the name). Controllers also help the business owner implement efficiencies, develop budgets and provide insights that could lead to additional opportunities.

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Strategies for Virtual Selling Success in Challenging Times

September 22, 2020 / by Fred Diamond, Institute for Excellence in Sales posted in Northern Virginia

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From developing new skills to focusing on bringing value to your customer, sales expert Fred Diamond shares his tips on sales during the pandemic.

If you embrace this change, it could be a life-changing shift that leads to an amazing sales career.

The highest-achieving sales professionals have discovered there is unique beauty in this role right now. Although the number of transactions is generally lower than expected, many sales professionals have found ways to connect more powerfully with their customers, their teammates and, yes, themselves.

What I've Learned by Hosting Four Weekly Sales Webcasts
When the global pandemic started, my organization, the Institute for Excellence in Sales, immediately began producing Sales Game Changers Webcasts for sales professionals. We have since published over 50 episodes.

Here are three critical lessons we have learned about virtual selling during the pandemic:

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