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Chicago Far West Suburbs


Top 3 Reasons to Use Online Bookkeeping and Move Your Business Forward

December 8, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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Thinking of switching to remote bookkeeping? You would be in good company. More and more businesses are outsourcing bookkeeping to become more efficient.

As COVID-19 has made clear, remote capabilities are a virtual necessity in all aspects of today's business world, including bookkeeping. If you still haven't taken your books online, here are three reasons why you should, along with tips on how to get started.

1. It's Paperless
Until recently, bookkeeping required lots of paperwork. Invoices, receipts, tax forms — all those individual pieces of paper had to be logged, organized and stored. But if you're still keeping paper records, you're not only wasting time, energy and storage space, you’re taking unnecessary risks.

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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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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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Reopen for Business: How to Adapt to New Financial Realities

July 16, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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How can your company regain the momentum it lost due to the coronavirus outbreak? Here are bookkeeping strategies for finding your new normal.

If your business is among the many that have just reopened, or plan to shortly, after the COVID-19 shutdown, you might feel like you're starting all over again. And yes, there are some similarities between starting a business and restarting a business. But there are important differences, too. Let's look at how you can prepare for these new realities with bookkeeping best practices.

That No-Revenue Déjà Vu
The most vivid reminder of your startup days is probably the lack of immediate revenue to cover your expenses. There's no question that can be a source of stress, particularly if your business has substantial upfront costs or a significant burn rate.

In addition, depending on the nature of your business and your particular state's reopening guidelines, you might have to budget for additional expenses that you never had to worry about in a pre-pandemic world, such as Plexiglas shields or extra cleaning staff.

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Reminder: $130 Billion in PPP Funding Is Still Available

July 13, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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The federal government has given businesses more time to apply for COVID-19 relief. Are your books up to date?

Money that was allocated but not used during the initial rollout of the Small Business Association's (SBA's) Paycheck Protection Program is still available to small businesses. With Congress authorizing the extension of the deadline to August 8, access to funds totaling $130 billion is still an option if you haven't already applied for the PPP.

Small businesses that take advantage of the program will benefit in more ways than one, because the SBA has worked out some of the issues in the loan-forgiveness procedures. Basically, if businesses can prove they meet the newest guidelines, the loan will be forgiven before any interest is due. Get the PPP loan and forgiveness details here.

Don't Miss Out
For many small businesses, especially those in states that are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, this opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. But the word of caution that my colleague Craig Feltner offered in April about not waiting too long to apply for a PPP loan still applies today: "There will be a flood of applications, and banks will likely have difficulty managing them all."

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The New Normal: Managing a (Sometimes) Remote Workforce

June 9, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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As various states begin to relax shelter-in-place directives prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak, employers face critical decisions in how to manage their workforces. Should they allow employees to continue to work from home (WFH) or encourage them to return to their places of business?

The "new normal" might involve a combination of these two approaches. Here are some suggestions for how to effectively manage the situation.

Step One: Determine What's Right for Your Business
To a degree, the nature of your business will make this decision for you. In some cases, such as with hair salons, WFH is simply not an option. If the state told you to shut down, you had to shut down.

Now that many states are allowing salons to reopen, the owner of a salon must first determine whether operating would be safe for employees and customers. This assessment must be done with the input of employees; some may not be ready to return to work due to concerns over their health or that of loved ones. From there, it's just a matter of following your state's guidelines.

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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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Do More With Less: How Your Business Can Survive COVID-19

April 29, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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Note: For full information on the FFCRA, please refer to the Department of Labor website. For advice, please contact a legal professional.

With much of their customer base forced to stay home, many businesses have seen their revenues shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press coverage has focused on companies' efforts to stay afloat through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — understandably so.

But some businesses that have secured funding to remain open face a secondary challenge: how to operate with a reduced workforce.

An employee doesn't have to be suffering symptoms of COVID-19 to be absent from work. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) guarantees employees, including part-time employees, up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (see the DOL website for information about calculating hours for part-time employees), at full salary, if they're subject to quarantine due to possible virus exposure. Another component of the FFCRA is that employees, including part-time employees, can receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, for up to 10 weeks, if they must stay home to care for children under 18 whose schools or daycare facilities are closed.

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Keeping Your Doors Open With a Business Loan

March 31, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc with businesses of every size and type. If yours is one of them and you're struggling to meet your obligations, you might be eligible for a loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or other organization.

Here's what you need to know.

Basic Application Requirements Still Apply
In a recent blog on coronavirus preparedness, our colleague Andy Hale mentioned the new low-interest SBA loans that have become available. These Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which the SBA is offering in conjunction with state governors, can provide distressed businesses up to $2 million in working capital.

Although the SBA is expediting assistance through a streamlined three-step application process, you'll still need to provide some basic financial information, including:

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