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Business Advice


How to Plan a Successful Business Succession

May 14, 2020 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC

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Note: This blog first appeared on the NCACPA website.

It's not surprising that many new business owners devote little thought to their exit strategy. They have way too much going on today to worry about tomorrow.

Still, putting together a business succession plan as soon as possible is part of being a responsible business owner. After all, illness, disability or family obligations could force you to sell out sooner than you'd planned.

And even if you eventually do exit according to your own timetable, you'll want to do it properly, both to maximize your profits and ensure a smooth transition. This is especially important when passing the business on to a family member or longtime partner. You want to avoid misunderstandings that could strain the relationship and put a damper on your well-deserved retirement.

Visualize the Moment
The first step in planning your succession is deceptively simple: Stop and think of exactly what selling your business would mean in practical terms.

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Welcome to the Virtual World: Remote Work and Video Conferencing Tips

April 30, 2020 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice, Business Continuity

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Since its inception, Supporting Strategies has embraced the remote-work model. In fact, Forbes and CNBC have both included Supporting Strategies in their lists of growing companies offering work-from-home opportunities.

Now that so many people find themselves joining us in working remotely, we'd like to share some tips about working from home:

  • Have a designated spot to work. If you're fortunate enough to have an office at home, that's great. If not, find a space and set it up so you have everything you need in one place. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional. Doing this will also help you focus and almost feel like you're in an office.

  • Try to stay on the same schedule (or a schedule). It's easy to sleep in when you can flex your work routine but you'll be more productive and feel better if you stick to the same schedule every day. A nice bonus: Since your commute is shorter, you can set your alarm for later.
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Three Tips to Stay Up to Date on Cash Flow in Your Business

April 2, 2020 / by Earle Durham posted in Small Business Advice, Merrimack Valley, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Southern Maine, Business Continuity

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If you're one of the vast majority of businesses feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, these are unsettling times. One way to protect your business' health is to regularly monitor and forecast your cash flow.

With that in mind, here are three tips to ensure your cash flow keeps pace with your business goals.

1. Review Your Cash Forecast Every Week
A cash-flow forecast is just that. It's a projection of how much cash you expect your business to have in the near future based on the information you have today. Simply put, cash flow is projecting your:

  • Cash In: sales, collecting accounts receivable, investments/loans
  • Less Cash Out: accounts payable, operating expenses, payroll, R&D expenses, sales and marketing expenses, owner’s draws, loan repayments
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6 Tips for Business Leaders Now Managing a Remote Workforce

March 26, 2020 / by Bill Davis posted in Small Business Advice, Business Advice, Richmond, VA, Business Continuity

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As the coronavirus pandemic deepens, more and more businesses are having most or all of their employees work from home. While this change inevitably creates short-term disruption, maintaining a strong sense of teamwork and high productivity is still possible.

Here are six tips that business leaders need to know for managing a remote workforce.

1. Establish Clear Communication
This is first for a reason: Nothing derails a business faster than poor communication.

With in-person meetings no longer an option, it's imperative that you as the business leader make it clear from the beginning how you want your team members to communicate — with each other, vendors and clients.

Obviously, you'll need to use online communications. Chances are, you've been using some intra-office communications system anyway, whether simple email or a more specialized messaging or work-sharing platform. Be sure all team members have the latest version of the app and are fluent in its use. (Some probably used it considerably less than others at your workplace, so don't assume everyone is up to speed.)

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Suffering From Tax Anxiety? Don't Fret — You Still Have Time

March 3, 2020 / by Sandra Finerghty posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Durham & Chapel Hill, NC

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Note: This blog first appeared on the NCACPA website.

Even the most competent, upstanding, conscientious business owners tend to fret over filing their taxes. And no wonder. Considering the legendary incomprehensibility of IRS regulations, who can blame business owners for feeling out of their league when trying to determine their tax obligations?

The result? They put off dealing with their taxes as long as possible. Which only compounds the worry.

Relax! You'll Be Fine
Okay, so before we continue, take a deep breath. There's no reason to panic. The first thing you need to realize is that you still have time to compile a comprehensive, clean-as-a-whistle tax return. If you have an S corp, partnership or multiple-member LLC, your filing deadline is mid-March, same as last year. (Technically, you get an extra day this year because March 15 falls on a Sunday, which bumps the deadline to March 16.) Otherwise, your filing deadline is the same as for most other Americans: April 15.

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Transform Your Business With 360-Degree Vision

February 20, 2020 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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The leader of a growing company needs eyes in both the front and back of their head. They must look forward to project cash burn and capital needs to support their growth. But solid financial projections require reasonable assumptions rooted in past performance — sales growth, profit margins, fixed vs variable costs, cash flow and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

The fact is, you can't do a good job of planning for the future (forecasting) without timely, accurate and thoughtful scorekeeping (bookkeeping) to give you clear insights about the past.

Looking Forward and Looking Back
"Scorekeeping" and forecasting call for different sets of skills. In some larger companies, they're even organized as separate teams: an accounting team that keeps score and a finance team that analyzes results and forecasts ahead.

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The Top Three Reasons to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

February 13, 2020 / by Jim Rice posted in Small Business Advice, Rochester, Orlando, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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Many business leaders are surprised to discover the many ways their company can benefit from outsourced bookkeeping services. We've boiled it down to the top three. Here's the rundown …

1. Gain More Time to Build Your Business

As a bookkeeping services provider, I work with clients in many different fields, with different levels of complexity in their financials. But they all have one thing in common: As their companies grow, eventually they all realize that they're spending too much time on bookkeeping.

The problem is twofold: Many business leaders find bookkeeping to be a stressful and time-consuming energy drain — and that loss of energy leaves them unable to focus on two areas that are absolutely vital to their company's growth: business development and strategic planning.

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Simple Steps to Improve Cybersecurity at Your Small Business

January 30, 2020 / by Bill Davis posted in Small Business Advice, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Richmond, VA

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How can a small business protect itself from cybersecurity threats? Start with a plan — and some free or inexpensive resources.

Here are some simple steps small-business owners can take to help keep their systems safe — even with a small staff and limited budget.

Be Proactive
Your plan doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate. It just needs to spell out some basic ground rules for you and your employees, such as:

  • Use password protection. The days of using a single all-purpose password are long gone. You need to change your passwords on a regular basis and store them offline. Fortunately, there are many low-cost password managers available for small businesses. If you aren't already using one, it's time to start.
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Bookkeeper or Accountant: What's the Difference?

January 21, 2020 / by Andrea Sanders posted in Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Philadelphia

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If you're having trouble deciding whether your business needs a bookkeeper or an accountant, don't fret too much. Chances are you'll need both — and you can probably meet those needs through judicious use of outsourcing.

Here's a look at some important distinctions between bookkeeping and accounting, and how to get the best of both worlds by using each for the right job at the right time.

Who Does What?
Bookkeepers tend to be involved in day-to-day functions, such as accounts payable and accounts receivable. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) must fulfill certain licensure requirements and generally focus on high-level tasks that occur at wider intervals, such as filing tax returns.

I've heard the difference between bookkeepers and accountants explained this way: Consulting an accountant is like visiting the dentist every six months for a checkup, cleaning and fluoride application. It's an important part of your dental health — but so is daily brushing and flossing. That's the bookkeeper's specialty. Let's start there.

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How to Choose the Right Payroll Provider for Your Business

January 7, 2020 / by John Gleason posted in Small Business Advice, Metrowest, MA, North Shore, Bookkeeping Services, Tips for Startups, Business Advice, Central MA

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One of my clients' biggest concerns is finding the right payroll services company. And since we provide bookkeeping and controller services, they often ask us for recommendations.

There's a simple reason that this issue is so important to employers: because it's important to their employees. If your employees aren't getting paid on time, or if there are frequent issues with their withholding, bonuses, commissions or paid time off, you've got big problems.

Fortunately, there are plenty of capable, trustworthy, employee-friendly providers out there. Here's what to look for to ensure you get the payroll services you need to keep your employees happy.

Accuracy, Timeliness and Accessibility 
In an earlier blog, I covered most of the basic things you should look for when selecting a payroll services provider, such as affordability, scalability and security.

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