Category Archives: Small Business

When Should You Hire a Bookkeeper

Most entrepreneurs go in to business to do what they love. When starting out, money is often tight, and most business owners try to do it all. Hiring a bookkeeper, even for a few hours a week, can provide a number of important benefits.

1. More time to do what you do. Rather than focusing on paying bills, tracking expenses, and reconciling bank accounts, you can continue to grow and run your business.

2. Up to date info for decision-making. If you record your business’ revenues, but never seem to get all of your expenses posted, you never have the whole picture. Think about it this way. A friend sends you a photograph, but it’s torn in half. Until your friend provides the other piece of the photo, you never really know for sure what he was trying to show you. Not posting all of your business activity on a regular basis only gives you half the picture – and that’s not good for anyone.

3. Error and fraud detection right away. We all know about hackers stealing credit card information, but if you don’t spot it, you may have a serious problem with cash flow if your account is misappropriated by criminals. It happens. And the theft can be closer to home, if a trusted employee is suddenly hurting for cash and decides to “borrow” from you just to get over their troubled time. Banks make errors, too. Your bookkeeper is an impartial third-party checking your bank and credit card accounts and spotting errors and fraud promptly.

Your business needs you. Your business needs a bookkeeper who helps you run your business and succeed. The cost is probably far less than you think, and can provide peace of mind for you, the entrepreneur. Check into a bookkeeper – you won’t be disappointed!

 

Hiring a Bookkeeper – Part 2

If you are using QuickBooks, hire a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Intuit has developed testing to verify that users of each of its products – QuickBooks desktop, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Point of Sale, and QuickBooks Enterprise Edition – are qualified and knowledgeable about the software. You can search for a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor by visiting Intuit’s website http://proadvisor.intuit.com/find-a-proadvisor/search-results.jsp# and searching in your area by zip code. If you are interested in a virtual bookkeeper and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, then call or message Tammy Collins at 401-952-9919 to get started today. With more than 15 years of remote bookkeeping experience, Paragon Small Business Solutions can handle all of your bookkeeping needs on your schedule and within your budget.

Why You Need to Reconcile Your Bank & Credit Card Accounts

Let’s face it. No one REALLY likes to reconcile their checkbook, but here’s why you have to hunker down and get it done.

1. Spot mistakes. The bank makes ’em. You make ’em. Transpositional errors are the most common when recording deposits and writing checks, and can cause problems with your balance. Checking your transactions against the bank statement can help keep your bank account in the black.

2. Spot fraud. Fraud can start with a stranger stealing your credit/debit card and charging small amounts to “test” your account. Reconciling can help spot inaccurate and fraudulent charges to your account before a thief wipes you out completely.

3. Spot employee theft/misuse of company funds. We’ve all read the stories about a trusted employee who fell on hard times and then “borrows” the company checkbook or credit card to get themselves out of a hole. As the owner, reviewing the accuracy of your company’s expenditures can help catch internal theft before it gets out of control.

You can reconcile yourself, of course, or you can engage an outside, impartial bookkeeper to do it for you. A remote bookkeeper will reconcile monthly (or more often if you so choose) and report back to you. Having monthly reconciliations can help point out spending patterns that are out of the ordinary for your business as well.

For more information on monthly reconciliations, call or message Tammy Collins at 401-952-9919 or tcollins@paragonsbs.com.

Is QuickBooks Online for you? Let’s see!

Intuit recently updated its QuickBooks Online product. The older version was very similar to QuickBooks desktop editions making it simple for any accounting professional to make the change.

The new version looks completely different, and for the long-time user of QB desktop, it is a bit of a surprise. For the new (non-accountant) user, it’s a breath of fresh air.  Aesthetically, QBO is colorful and intuitive. It’s simple to use for business owners, yet robust enough to provide the necessary reports they’ll need to manage their business. It’s based in the cloud, so no more worries about hard drive failures. QBO can be accessed from anywhere, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. It functions well on PC and Mac platforms and makes online banking a snap. It allows for simultaneous access for up to 25 users. Support is included in the cost of the product. QBO Plus tracks inventory.

Some users may not be able to make the switch:

  • Point of Sales does not integrate with QBO.
  • QBO does not offer QuickBooks Bill Pay (but your bank probably does).
  • QBO can track expenses by job, but cannot do complete job costing.
  • Reporting in QBO is somewhat less robust than desktop editions with less flexibility in the customization of forms and reports.

The cost of QBO is higher than the cost of a desktop edition of QB Pro, but the convenience of the cloud can make the additional expense worth it.

Your best bet? Consult a Certified ProAdvisor today to determine what is the best solution for your business.

Retaining the Unsung Office Champs

Regardless of your field of business, all organizations have key personnel without whom they cannot function. The mistake most business owners make is assuming those client-facing stars are the only key personnel. Of course, the employees who directly achieve the business’ mission statement attract the most attention from the boss, in the form of bonuses, raises, and company-wide recognition. Those employees get the kudos, the pats on the back, the hearty handshakes, and most of the time, they deserve it. After all, where would the company be without those experts?

These superstars are solely responsible for the success of their firms, right? After all, they keep the clients happy. But what about the day-to-day operation of the office? For the most part, these key players have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Those crucial tasks are performed by the office support staff. The titles vary from company to company, but may include secretary, receptionist, administrative assistant, bookkeeper, human resources administrator and so forth. They know the ins and outs of nearly everything that goes on with clients, vendors and employees. They know who to call when something goes wrong and who can deliver a fancy dinner for an unplanned client meeting in 45 minutes.

The support staff often goes completely unrecognized. When the time comes for raises, they get the bare minimum and bonuses are nearly non-existent. They are generally included in office parties, but usually only because they have planned it all and need to clean up when it’s over. They take the brunt of the frustration from the team stars and always end up running around to compensate for someone else’s lack of planning. If they take a day off, things quite often go to hell in a handbasket; a week off, and chaos erupts.

So why the glaring disparities between the superstars and support staff? The first reason seems to be an age-old cliché: You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. If everything is done everyday, meetings planned, office cleaned, appointments set, clients greeted, mail retrieved, fridge stocked, coffee brewed, people come to expect it. If the person responsible for performing all those tasks (and hundreds more) is suddenly not there, then his/her absence is noticed because it affects others. Then there’s a flurry of activity (panic) in trying to perform all the tasks that were not done. When the support person returns and everything goes back to normal, the rest of the office forgets because they no longer have to worry about it. And there is reason number two – we all forget. When you were a child and your mom put dinner on the table, you didn’t truly appreciate it. If your mom was sick and dad had to order take out or fix dinner himself, you noticed the change and were concerned. As soon as mom was better and the routine returned, you stopped noticing.

This analogy holds true for the support staff, and so they are the most under-appreciated, unrecognized folks in the office. Thanking them regularly, offering bonuses when they go above and beyond, providing regular raises and competitive wages will show how much they are valued and how critical their roles are to the success of the company. Recruiting and training are more expensive in the long run than reasonably compensating those on whom your company relies so heavily.