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Creating a Powerful Word-of-Mouth Referral Network

January 7, 2021 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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Ready to grow your business? Learn what to do — and what not to do — to generate more client referrals with word-of-mouth marketing.

When you provide a professional service, as Supporting Strategies does with outsourced bookkeeping and controller services, word-of-mouth can be your greatest marketing asset. Over-deliver for one client and they refer you to another client. Do well for that client and they tell another one. Gradually, your growth becomes exponential. That's how I was able to expand Supporting Strategies | Los Angeles to nearly 250 clients in less than seven years, as I outlined on a recent episode of The Staying Power Podcast.

But a powerful word-of-mouth referral network doesn't just happen on its own. Here's how to create one the right way.

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How Bookkeepers and CPAs Team up at Tax Time, and Beyond

December 22, 2020 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice

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Learn how outsourced bookkeeping and controller services support time- and cost-efficient tax compliance and advisory CPA work.

Taxes … ugh!

Tax laws require most businesses in this country to file an annual income tax return. However, they’re so complex and change so often that it’s very tricky for the average business to comply on their own. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and IRS Enrolled Agents (EAs) are licensed professionals who devote years of study to mastering tax laws — not just to help their clients comply with the laws, but also to employ strategies to minimize tax expense.

Like lawyers, doctors and other licensed professionals, CPAs and EAs are experts in their field. They invest countless hours each year on continuing education to stay sharp on the ever-changing income tax laws.

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Stop Operating by Feel: Why Knowing Your Numbers Is Critical

December 15, 2020 / by Mike Gammarino, Bluprint Partners posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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Note: This blog first appeared on the Bluprint Partners website.

Success in ecommerce or consumer packaged goods requires a great product, a focus on people, process and technology — and bookkeeping on the back end.

One of my favorite reality shows on TV has it all …

Intrigue! Drama! Mystery! Cliffhangers! Joy! Heartbreak!

No, I'm not talking about "The Bachelor." I'm talking about "Shark Tank."

Keeping Your Head Above Water
"Shark Tank" not only is one of the most entertaining 41 DVR'd minutes on TV, but also teaches you about business, finance, invention, pricing, sales, negotiation, winning, losing and perseverance. And if there's one thing entrepreneurs on the show must know, above all else, it's THEIR NUMBERS. Don't know your margins or sales or costs? This is, without question, the quickest way to be eaten alive in the Tank.

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Talent Search: Hiring the Best Bookkeeping and Finance Staff

August 4, 2020 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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There's much more involved in handling your company's bookkeeping and finance needs than meets the eye. Here's how to find a team of qualified professionals.

We live in a world of specialists. As a business leader, you recognize the importance of hiring people with the knowledge base and experience to fill specific roles in your field. During a building project, for example, a commercial builder might hire an architect, plumber, electrician, roofer, drywall installer, masonry contractor and other support people.

You know what a commercial builder won't do? Hire one person and expect them to do all of those jobs. And yet, when it comes to enlisting various forms of operational support, including bookkeeping and finance staff, that's effectively what many business leaders do.

There's a much better way.

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Opening a U.S. Subsidiary Is Still Possible During COVID-19

July 2, 2020 / by Loren Sweigart posted in Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Continuity

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Although COVID-19 has created obstacles for overseas companies to set up U.S. subsidiaries, it has also presented possible opportunities to pursue.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the world's economy, with some sources forecasting a decline of up to 8.8% in global GDP this year. In addition, ongoing travel restrictions prevent entry to the United States from many countries, which may have disrupted plans at some international companies to open subsidiaries here. (As a general rule, opening a U.S. subsidiary requires obtaining a U.S. bank account, which must be done in person.)

Even so, there are glimmers of optimism amid the gloom. The pandemic has also revealed new opportunities, especially for companies that specialize in technologies that enable e-commerce, telemedicine and remote learning. For international companies in those fields, the U.S. market could be more receptive than ever. Here's what you'll need to know about starting a U.S. subsidiary.

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Case Study: Nonprofit Bookkeeping for the Telluride Film Festival

May 27, 2020 / by Mark Wald posted in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Nonprofits, Case Study Blogs

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Although it lasts just four days, the annual Telluride Film Festival (TFF) requires a year-round staff — and roughly 300 employees during festival season. Adding to the logistical challenges, the nonprofit that operates the festival is based in Berkeley, California, while the event itself takes place in Colorado. Moreover, each year the organization needs to be ready to cover major upfront expenses along with a flurry of event-related vendor invoices.

That all added up to a unique bookkeeping challenge — particularly for a nonprofit that was still using traditional paper-based processes and offline systems. So when TFF's long-standing bookkeeper retired, the organization jumped at the chance to modernize its back-office operations.

A Premier Nonprofit Bookkeeping Solution
TFF accomplished all its goals and more by outsourcing its bookkeeping and back-office operations to Supporting Strategies. First and foremost, Supporting Strategies successfully transitioned TFF to a set of integrated online tools to eliminate cumbersome paperwork and enable administrators to securely share financial information through the cloud in real time.

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Bookkeeping and Back-Office Support for Modern Architects

May 1, 2020 / by Loren Sweigart posted in Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County

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A local IT expert, Holden Watne from GenIX, caught our eye with his recent blog post, "Embracing Technology for Greater Productivity in the Architecture Industry."

We see obvious parallels here. Since 2004, Supporting Strategies has embraced the power of technology for greater productivity in bookkeeping and back-office support. Just as modern architects have moved beyond drafting tables and cumbersome physical blueprints and into the digital realm, leading outsourced bookkeeping service providers leverage cloud-based software tools to reduce paperwork and increase efficiencies.

Let's look at the many ways in which outsourced bookkeeping services are a perfect fit for forward-thinking architecture firms.

By Promoting a More Efficient Use of the Architect's Time
Modern architects juggle multiple projects and responsibilities. They'll embrace solutions that enhance their mobility and let them collaborate seamlessly with clients and key team members from the office, job sites and home.

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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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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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How Tax Law Changes Regarding Ecommerce Will Impact Businesses

July 3, 2018 / by Mark Wald posted in Small Business Advice, Santa Monica, Bookkeeping Services, Los Angeles, Ventura County, Business Advice, E-commerce

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A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that has been hailed as a victory for tax collectors could also be a blow to small businesses. If you conduct online sales to out-of-state customers, you need to start paying close attention to laws regarding sales/use taxes (SUT) in every state where you do business.

The backstory to the landmark case, South Dakota v. Wayfair , stretches back decades. In 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that mail-order companies had no SUT obligation on out-of-state transactions. In 1992 the Quill Court decision upheld the physical presence standard for SUT nexus.

Before the Wayfair decision, the same laws governing mail-order sales also applied to sales made through the internet. In other words, if you ran a business in California that made online sales to New York residents, you weren't obligated to collect New York sales tax because you didn't have a physical presence (or "nexus") in that state.

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