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Small Business Advice


Financial Insight for Business Loans

August 6, 2019 / by Al Regdos posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Charlotte, NC

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How much of a loan can your business really afford? Learn more about how lenders will determine your loan amount so you can evaluate your loan options.

Your Financial Picture
To understand where your company is financially, looking solely at the income statement can be misleading. Reviewing the balance sheet, statement of cash flows and understanding a company’s on-going capital requirements is crucial, and depending on the nature of your business and how you do your financial analysis, can be surprisingly difficult to nail down.

A good first step, for both your business and a prospective lender, is to be sure you have all the necessary documentation to obtain a loan. If nothing else, keeping a current balance sheet, P&L, etc., will give you an idea of where you stand financially at any given moment. (If you bring your financials up to date with the help of a bookkeeping services company, you might even find to your surprise that you don't even need a loan.)

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Case Study: A Game Plan for Managing Irregular Cash Flow

July 23, 2019 / by Jane Lvovskiy posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Brooklyn - Staten Island, Case Study Blogs

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File this under "Good Problem to Have." SASKIA, a Brooklyn jewelry startup, grew so fast that its bookkeeping demands soon exceeded the capabilities of its husband-and-wife co-founders.

Of particular concern was the company's irregular cash flow. At the start of each year, SASKIA had a lot of upfront expenditures for the materials needed to create their unique designs. The company relied on no-APR credit cards for purchases of up to $50,000, knowing the return on that investment wouldn't come until much later in the year. But in the meantime, they still had to meet their regular expenses, including payroll for eight employees. The math on how to accomplish that could get a bit fuzzy.

Into the Right Boxes
As is often the case, the first step in solving this problem was to acknowledge it. Partner/COO Scott Kerns, who had been doing the company's books, realized it was time to outsource that responsibility to a specialist. "We needed someone who could put things in the right boxes in the right way," he says, "Then we could look at all of the data together and make informed decisions based on where the money was flowing."

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3 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a Bookkeeper

July 18, 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.

Small-business owners sometimes have trouble delegating responsibilities. We get it. Once you've invested so much time (and money, in many cases) in launching a business, it's difficult to relinquish control over key aspects of that business — especially the finances.

But as your business grows, you eventually realize there literally aren't enough hours in the day to do everything yourself. And unless your goal in launching the business was to become a full-time bookkeeper, that's one of the first areas you should consider outsourcing. Have questions regarding how to go about it? Here are some answers.

1. Will the bookkeeping services provider help you focus on your business rather than on bookkeeping?
The best bookkeeping services providers understand their role is to minimize your involvement in bookkeeping so that you can refocus on your core strengths. And they'll assert their expertise in accomplishing that — sometimes from day one.

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Crossing State Lines: What Small Businesses Need to Know

June 20, 2019 / by Gianluca Santinelli posted in Small Business Advice, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice, Ecommerce, Wilmington, DE

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The phrase "interstate commerce" used to have a fairly straightforward meaning: transporting goods or services from one state to another. But the advent of ecommerce has blurred those traditional state boundaries. If you are based in one state but are doing business, or intend to do business, in other states — even if only via the internet — how do you stay in compliance with all applicable regulations?

The answer depends on the precise nature of your business as well as individual state laws. Here's an example.

Let's Cover the Easy Stuff First
Let's say you live in Delaware and decide to open a seafood restaurant near the Pennsylvania border. You might not even realize this, but you're already off to a good start because Delaware has such a good reputation as a business-friendly state that more than 1 million businesses have made it their legal home.

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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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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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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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How to Avoid the Top 3 Marketing Mistakes

April 2, 2019 / by Karen Barnes-Rivera posted in Small Business Advice, Business Advice

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No business can succeed if it's not marketed properly. In light of this simple truth, it's remarkable that so many businesses treat their marketing as an afterthought.

It's time to put your company's marketing efforts top of mind, starting with an awareness of the three most common mistakes — and how to avoid them.

1. Silver-Bullet Syndrome
We've all been guilty of this. Basically, it's deluding yourself into believing that one simple change in your marketing approach will fix everything. For instance: "If I just do social media, that will be a game-changer."

The problem with this approach is that it relies on tactics rather than strategy. In the military, we used to say, "You always stay focused on the mission but flexible on the details."

In the scenario above, "doing social media" is a detail. It's not the mission.

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