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How You Can Use Bookkeeping to Prepare for Business Growth

June 11, 2019 / by Steve Barber posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Northwest Maryland

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You've launched a small tech startup that makes an app for digital widgets. Business seems to be going well, but you can't tell for sure because the office manager who also does the books is always running behind and you don't know where your cash flow stands.

Finally, when your CPA prepares your taxes and straightens out some bookkeeping errors (running up a big bill in the process), you get confirmation: Business for the first year ran 50% ahead of what you'd anticipated.

That tells you two things. First, you should hire another sales rep and ramp up production. Second, you'd better get your bookkeeping squared away, and fast.

A Valuable Asset to Your Business
A strong bookkeeping practice can help you keep pace with your business today and better prepare to grow your business tomorrow. Here's how:

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Reduce Nonprofit Admin Costs With Streamlined Bookkeeping

June 6, 2019 / by Tom Ross posted in Bookkeeping Services, Kansas City, Nonprofits

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Most nonprofit organizations have multiple revenue streams. Tracking all those funds and their associated expenses can easily overwhelm the administrative staff, particularly at smaller organizations. Or, to put it another way: Admin costs often consume a disproportionate amount of a nonprofit's budget, measured in both money and time.

Here's how you can streamline your nonprofit's bookkeeping to cut admin costs:

Stay Current
Instead of allocating revenue and expenses as they occur, many nonprofits wait and assign them to funding sources as a separate process. But with so many buckets and so many costs, it's a poor use of time to do all that scrubbing, trying to back every dollar into where it needs to be. It can also be stressful, especially if mistakes or discrepancies start piling up.

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Case Study: Modernizing a Mature Nonprofit's Bookkeeping

May 28, 2019 / by Indre Bauza posted in Northern Virginia, Nonprofits, Case Study Blogs

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When he became Executive Director at Arlington Thrive in March 2016, Andrew Schneider encountered a problem common among mature nonprofits: "Over time, as in any organization, internal systems develop that make sense to the people who are operating them but might not make sense to new people coming in."

In fulfilling its mission of providing same-day, emergency financial assistance to residents of Arlington County, Virginia, the organization relied on a steady flow of cash. A legacy bookkeeping system, coupled with a nearly indecipherable method of donor classification, threatened to disrupt that flow. Schneider needed to resolve the problem quickly. Supporting Strategies | Northern Virginia and Managing Director Indre Bauza delivered a solution.

A Clearer View
Supporting Strategies took a proactive approach to solving the problem — from modernizing the bookkeeping system to establishing monthly conference calls with the finance committee. The result? Real-time financial reporting, enhanced communication, and greater financial transparency.

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Supporting One of Our Own in a Unique Quest

May 22, 2019 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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This was not the usual request for vacation time. When she joined Supporting Strategies | Los Angeles, Financial Operations Manager Mary Rose informed me that at some point she'd need about three months off to row a boat across the Pacific Ocean. All by herself.

For a lot of employers, that would have been a deal-breaker. In fact, Mary, 48, had had to quit an earlier job the first time she took on the Pacific.

But Supporting Strategies is different. Yes, one reason we've been named to Entrepreneur magazine's Fastest-Growing Franchises list is that we consistently deliver top-notch customer service that puts the client first. But another key component is that we provide a flexible work environment for experienced bookkeeping professionals, with redundant systems and cross-training that give our team members the freedom to pursue their passions without giving up their careers.

Mary, Mary, Row Your Boat
Now, you might think that someone who sets out to row across the Pacific Ocean would have a track record of competing in extreme sports, or would at least be an elite athlete. But that's not the case here. Mary, a native of the Australian island of Tasmania, became a long-distance rower after attending an inspiring talk by Roz Savage, who used ocean rowing to raise awareness of her environmental advocacy.

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Has Your Business Outgrown DIY Bookkeeping?

May 14, 2019 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services

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Are you frustrated by the amount of time you spend on bookkeeping? Do you put off sales and networking efforts to take care of daily bookkeeping tasks? Many small-business owners are surprised by the extent to which bookkeeping demands can distract them from building their companies.

Few business owners actually want to do the bookkeeping. But many feel they have to, at least in the early stages when money is tight and business is light. This is particularly true in companies that started out as a sideline, where the owner learned to do the books along the way. Some owners might even become competent bookkeepers and enjoy it.

But then comes that inevitable moment of reckoning. As the business picks up, the owner (or business leader) wants to take advantage of new opportunities to grow the company — and they no longer have time for the bookkeeping tasks that had fit easily into their schedule before.

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Midyear Bookkeeping Best Practices

May 9, 2019 / by Mary Kimmel posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Bookkeeping 101, Business Advice

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Now that the annual springtime flurry of activity that comes with filing your small-business tax returns has passed, you might think you can go on bookkeeping cruise control until you start processing 1099 forms next winter.

In fact, it's important to follow bookkeeping best practices throughout every season. This advice can be particularly beneficial to citizens of Procrastination Nation. Start with this: If you use contract employees or vendors, make sure they submit a W-9 form before you pay them. That way, you'll have that information on file and won't have to chase it down at 1099 time.

Here are some additional suggestions to help keep your organization's bookkeeping in order all year long.

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Forward Thinking: How to Scale for Rapid Growth

April 30, 2019 / by Karen Rinehart posted in Bookkeeping Services, Case Study Blogs, Central CA

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The good news? Two new partners joined a small company and immediately increased sales. The bad news? The company's existing system of keeping the books — paying bills with handwritten checks and keeping tabs on the numbers through monthly visits with a CPA — was inadequate for rapid growth.

"We were losing tons of sleep because we didn't even know our numbers," says Brian Van Norman, ICU Technologies' Vice President and Co-Owner. "It was scary. Like, 'How much money have we got in the bank? What bills do we have?'"

Van Norman turned to the internet for a solution — and found Supporting Strategies.

Proactive Guidance
Karen Rinehart, Managing Director of Supporting Strategies | Central California, was on the case immediately. "Karen got the chart of accounts right, along with all the other stuff that we aren't experts in," Van Norman says.

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Understanding the New Accounting Standards for Nonprofits

April 25, 2019 / by Gianluca Santinelli posted in Nonprofits, Wilmington, DE

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Change has become a constant in the nonprofit sector. Recently we saw new regulations under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that eliminated certain deductions. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has also been hard at work instituting sweeping changes in procedures aimed at reducing complexities while making it easier to understand nonprofit financial information — notably, updates to the accounting standards in 2016 (impacting 2018 financial statements) and in 2018 (impacting 2019 financial statements).

Here's a summary of the most significant revisions.

New Revenue Recognition Standard Focus Clarifies Contributions
You might think that, when it comes to charitable giving, a dollar is a dollar. But in the nonprofit sector, it's important to determine the giver's expectations in providing that dollar. Are the expectations nonreciprocal and unconditional, meaning the nonprofit can spend that full dollar however (and whenever) it sees fit? Or does the giver expect something in return of equal (or "commensurate," in FASB parlance) value, thus an exchange transaction? That return could range from "membership" status to branded merchandise, like a pin or a mug, to funding clinical drug trials, performing public services or conducting scientific research under a grant.

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Outsourced Bookkeeping Services: Your Long-Term Solution

April 16, 2019 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC

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Many small-business owners start out doing everything themselves: sales, marketing, HR, IT, even keeping their own books. As they stretch themselves thinner and thinner, they try to offload as many responsibilities as they can in an attempt to keep up.

If you're thinking of starting a small business, you can learn from this common mistake. Identify what's core to your business, and what can be outsourced, before you open your doors. Take advantage of all the cost-effective expertise that's available today. Because the DIY, learn-as-you-go approach to things like bookkeeping can result in costly, easily avoidable mistakes.

From Recording Transactions to Financial Reporting and Forecasting
In simplest terms, a bookkeeper records a company's financial transactions at regular chronological intervals — day by day, in most cases. While the definition is fairly straightforward, keeping up with a company's financial reporting can be time-consuming and complicated, depending on the nature of the business.

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Achieving Financial Fitness

April 11, 2019 / by Indre Bauza posted in Small Business Advice, Northern Virginia, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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Note: This blog first appeared in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Blog.

Like many business leaders, you made a new year’s resolution to stay current with your financial reporting. Now that it’s Q2, it’s time to make sure your resolution is staying on track.

Don't Just Keep Up — Get Ahead
This is the perfect time to take a big-picture look at the health of your business. Are there ways you can optimize your approach to achieve efficiency and gain a competitive advantage? Technology advances quickly, and there may be better solutions available for your business today than there were when you started — or even a year ago.

For example, it's now easy for small businesses to know their financial status in real time. Using records that update automatically, you can analyze your key performance indicators. Your KPIs can tell you at a glance how your business is performing relative to your budgeting and forecasting (which, by the way, will also be vastly improved with better financial reporting).

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