Author Archives: Fournier ABS

HOW TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS SAVINGS

Wait, what? My business should have a savings account, too? In many cases, yes. Is it always necessary? No. I talk about only having a business checking account in my blog, Is One Business Bank Account Enough? However, there are many benefits to having a business savings account for things such as taxes, emergencies, and future improvements for your business.

There’s also a difference between “having” a business savings account and using it wisely. Maybe you already have a savings account that you opened when you opened your business checking account, but let’s say it still has the same $100.00 (or $500.00) in it that you used to open it. Yes, it’s great that you have a savings account, but if the last few years have taught us anything, it is that anything can happen, and we need to have a plan. 

Is your money just sitting in your savings account, collecting pennies? If so, may be time to consider how to better utilize these funds. Whether you have a savings account that you want to start prioritizing and growing for the future, or you’re starting completely from scratch – you need a plan! Luckily, I like making plans, especially when it comes to managing and saving money. 

Your 5-Step Business Savings Plan

Here’s my trusted step-by-step plan to grow your savings balance from $100 (or $0) to something you can count on when the unexpected occurs:

  • Set a Clearly Defined GOAL.   

A goal not written down is simply a wish. So, what is your goal? It could be a big goal, like saving six months’ worth of expenses “just in case”. Or maybe it’s a smaller goal, like enough to purchase a new piece of equipment. Or, it could be as simple as having enough to cover the tax bill in April. 

Whatever it is, write it down, save it, and keep it somewhere where you can look at it. Make sure you give your goal a specific dollar amount, even if you’re not completely certain of what that dollar amount is. To estimate what you might need to cover six months of expenses, you can run an Income Report in QuickBooks® for the last six months. This will give you a good idea of what you’ll need to have in your savings account. You can also research today’s equipment costs and plug them into your report for a more accurate estimate.

  • Create a Timeline.  

Once you’ve defined your goal, you need to decide on a “due date” to reach your goal. I would not recommend trying to save six months’ worth of expenses in one quarter; you’ll likely never meet that goal. You can, however, break it down into smaller goals. For example, maybe you set a goal to have one month’s worth of expenses saved by the end of this quarter. Breaking down your savings goal into monthly or quarterly goals will also allow you to see consistent progress. 

Keep your deadlines realistic, but just outside of your comfort zone. Write down your deadline and milestones, and hold yourself accountable – or find a friend or colleague to check in with you on your progress.

  • Make Adjustments in Your Business.  

As you start to work on your plan, you may find that it isn’t going quite the way you thought it would. This is where you’ll need to decide if you want to keep things at the status quo or make adjustments within your business to meet your goals.  

Some adjustments may mean eliminating unnecessary expenses; we all have them – the “fun” things that we buy for our business. You may need to pay down some debt, or even raise prices. You’ll know best where you can make adjustments to help you reach your business savings goals.

  • Shift Your Mindset.  

This is often one of the hardest steps for people to take. Once you have your plan, you need to commit to it. Spending with intention is not easy, but it can transform your business. The next time you are tempted to make an impulsive purchase for your business, take a moment, pull out your goal (you know, the one we wrote in step 1), and look at it closely. Now, imagine putting that money into your savings account instead of in someone else’s pocket. 

Ask yourself the following questions: Is the purchase still worth it? Or, is it something that can wait? Can I do without this altogether? Taking a moment to think and remember your goal is one of the most important (but also most difficult) steps in building up your savings.

  • CELEBRATE.  

As you reach each small milestone in your savings goal, it’s important to celebrate your success. However, you also want to be careful not to blow all your hard work on an expensive and impulsive purchase. Continue to keep your eye on that larger goal. Celebrating doesn’t have to mean splurging. Keep going until you reach your savings goal. It will be worth it in the end.

 

Celebrate and Set More Goals

Once you reach your ultimate savings goal, it’s time to celebrate, again, while also being mindful of what you have accomplished. You’ve built your savings up to provide an emergency fund, a tax fund, or money for business improvements. Just because it’s there, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it right away or all at once. Once you hit your first goal, think about what financial goal you want to focus on next. 

 

When it comes to our business finances, there is never a finish line. Once you reach one goal, you set another. If you need help managing your business finances, get in touch with me today to see how I can help. Schedule a call today!

Simple Tips to Improve Cash Flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about cash flow? And why is it SO important to your business?

 

Cash flow refers to how money moves in and out of your business over a specific period of time, whether over one month, one quarter, or one year. To obtain a healthy cash flow ratio, you’ll ultimately want to be making more money than you spend. Ensuring you have enough cash flow to cover all business expenses as they arise (including payroll, office expenses, taxes, and more) is one of the most important things you can do to keep your business moving forward.

 

According to a study done by U.S. Bank, 82% of small business closures are from cash flow issues. So let’s take a look at how to avoid being included in that statistic. 

 

Tips to Improve Cash Flowing INTO Your Business:

 

  • Set up automatic reminders to follow up on unpaid invoices.

Setting automatic reminders to follow up on outstanding invoices can help keep your customers accountable (pun intended!). Looking at your Accounts Receivable (A/R) report monthly can help you see which customers still owe you money, which customers are consistently late on paying, and which ones are accumulating a balance month over month.

 

  • Implement (and enforce) a late payment fee policy. 

**Note that some states have VERY SPECIFIC rules and regulations on how and when you can charge a late fee. Check with your business attorney, CPA/tax preparer, and state offices to make certain you are complying with all the requirements before establishing a late payment policy. 

 

  • Incentivize early payments. 

Offer a small discount for customers who pay you upfront. I know a landlord who got tired of having to charge late fees to his tenants, so instead, he now offers a discount for rent paid prior to the 1st of the month. He rarely chases rent payments now. 

 

  • Is it time to raise prices? 

As small business owners and solopreneurs, we hate raising prices for our customers and clients, but at times, it is necessary. Whether it’s simply due to inflation, or the costs of doing business have increased, you need to increase your pricing appropriately to stay profitable. Have you added more value to your offers and are now undercharging for the service or product you offer? It may be time to take a look at your prices and increase them accordingly.

 

  • Make your cash work for you! 

Do you have a large balance sitting in your operating account, or maybe even in a normal business savings account? By moving it to a higher-interest savings account, your money can make you money. Don’t let it sit there and collect dust!

Tips to Improve Cash Flowing OUT of Your Business: 

  • Negotiate payment terms with your vendors. 

If you’ve been a loyal customer and have been paying on time, it may be time to speak with your vendors about increasing the payment terms from due on receipt to 30 or 60 days from receipt. This will allow you the opportunity to better plan your Accounts Payable.

 

  • Evaluate your expenses. 

Take a look at what you spend your money on every month/quarter. Are you paying for subscriptions to multiple vendors that provide the same thing? Are there trial subscriptions you signed up for and forgot to cancel? Could you cut back on office space, supplies, or even those business lunches? There may be more ways to cut expenses than you realize.

 

  • Evaluate your processes. 

Are your processes costing you money? Is there a more efficient way to deliver your products or services? Should you consider outsourcing certain tasks to free up your time to bring in more business? As business owners, we sometimes think that if we do certain things ourselves, we are saving money (like bookkeeping and marketing, for example). In reality, NOT outsourcing some tasks could be costing your business more money. 

 

Think about it; all that time you’re spending on tasks that could be outsourced could be time spent working with customers/clients (and invoicing for that time). Consider the mistakes you may make due to not being an expert in performing those tasks, and how much time it will take you to fix them. And finally, think about how much faster and more efficiently an expert could perform those tasks for you, while you’re working on growing your business. Oftentimes, spending money on experts in their fields can cost you less money in the long run. 

 

Is it time to take a step back and evaluate how and when your money is moving in and out of your business? This simple task could give you valuable insights into how to improve your cash flow to ensure your business thrives now and in the future. 

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

Do you need help evaluating your cash flow or general support with your accounting and bookkeeping? The experts at Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services are here to help. We serve solopreneurs and small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the United States. Contact us today to get started!

Best Practices to Get Paid Faster as a Small Business Owner

Being a small business owner has many benefits. You can choose who you work with, how you work, when you work, and your income potential is so much better than if you were working as an employee for someone else. However, there are some drawbacks too. You may wind up working more hours than when you were an employee, you are responsible for ALL the things, and there may not be a bi-weekly paycheck directly deposited into your bank account.

It can be stressful, financially difficult, and even painful when clients don’t pay on time. Having clients pay you starts well before you send your invoice. For best results, it’s essential to set clear expectations of the scope of work you will provide, when and how often you will invoice, the payment terms, and your preferred way of payment.

7 Tips to Increase the Likelihood of Getting Paid in a Timely Manner

Here are some best practices for invoicing your clients to help you get paid on time:

1. Include ALL the necessary details:

Make sure your invoices include the Amount Due and a Due Date, and ensure they clearly state the services or goods provided. If your invoice isn’t clear, your clients are going to be wary of paying it.

 

2. Make it easy for your clients to pay you.

Don’t make your customers jump through hoops to pay you. Whether it is a link, check, or through a secure portal on your website, ensure that your invoice clearly states how you’d prefer to be paid and that it’s quick and easy to do so.

 

3. Be timely in invoicing.

Clients are much more likely to pay when the invoice comes within a week of the completion of the work. Not sending an invoice until weeks or months later signals to a client that they don’t have to pay you quickly. They may feel that you don’t value your time and efforts, so they don’t need to, either. Schedule time in your week – every week (or month) – to invoice.

 

4. Completely avoid sending invoices.

Asking for payment in full prior to starting the work or requiring automatic payments eliminates the need for invoicing altogether! If these aren’t viable options, break up the invoicing into milestones, and do not continue onto the next phase until the invoice for the completed phase is paid.

 

5. Talk to your clients.

If you have clients that are consistently slow in paying, it may be time to have a meeting with them. In that meeting, review your service agreement and payment terms. You may need to make an adjustment to the scope of work, move to automatic payments, or find another win-win action plan for moving forward.

 

6. Make the hard decision.

If, after all the above steps, you are still chasing a client for payment, it may be time to end the relationship. It can be scary to let a client go, but doing work and not getting paid for it in a timely manner isn’t fair to you or your business. It is better to let the client go, freeing up time and energy for a client who values your time and expertise.

 

7. Hire a bookkeeper.

As a business owner, finding the time to invoice clients on time or set up a system to ensure you get paid on time every time can be a struggle. By hiring a bookkeeper to handle your invoicing for you, you can take this task off your list and get back to doing what you do best – serving your clients.

 

If you need help coming up with a system for invoicing clients and getting paid on time, I can help. Get in touch today!

 

 

 

 

6 Good Reasons to Use Bookkeeping Software Instead of Spreadsheets

To be clear, I don’t have anything against spreadsheets; I actually love spreadsheets! I use them quite regularly for a variety of things. If you’re a small business owner using a spreadsheet for your bookkeeping, you’re still doing much better than many small businesses that use only their bank account and statements. And for a certain size/type of business, a spreadsheet bookkeeping system may be enough. 

 

However, once your business gets past a certain size, there are some good reasons to consider moving to bookkeeping software. Or, even if you’re dreaming of bringing your business to the next level, moving your bookkeeping to a more sophisticated system might be a good step in the right direction. (Fake it ’til you make it?)

 

Why Switch to Bookkeeping Software?

Here are six (of the many) good reasons to switch to bookkeeping software sooner rather than later:

 

Save Time

One thing about spreadsheets is that a lot of manual work is required to ensure they do what you need them to do. With help from a bookkeeping application, you can significantly reduce data entry time by linking your bank accounts and setting up rules to help streamline this process. You cannot, however, let the software do all the work. You, or your bookkeeper, should still look at each transaction to ensure it is posted correctly, as the system will only be as good as the parameters you give it. But your bookkeeping software can help you eliminate much of the tedious, manual data entry work, saving you a ton of time.

 

Minimize Errors

Many bookkeeping software applications work really hard to prevent you from making common errors, such as deleting or changing a transaction that has already been reconciled, entering duplicate entries, or trying to change an entry from last year after your taxes have already been done. All of these common errors (and more) can lead to bigger headaches down the road. When you use bookkeeping software, there are often pop-up notifications that will appear when you’re trying to do something that might create a headache for you later. Some find these notifications annoying, but they can significantly help to mitigate or even prevent bookkeeping errors before they happen. And a Google or Excel spreadsheet won’t do that for you.

 

Simplify Reconciliations

Speaking of reconciliations, utilizing bookkeeping software to do this can make it a much simpler (and less time-consuming) job. If you’re looking for an efficient and accurate solution, bookkeeping software will win over a spreadsheet any day. The software does the math for you! And some of the software options out there can even download your bank statements for you automatically and link them to the reconciliation report.

 

Consolidate Data

Depending on the bookkeeping software you choose, many also offer the ability to track the time spent on each client/customer, along with vehicle mileage (and other expenses), various business-related receipts, and/or inventory. When using a spreadsheet system, this data would likely be tracked on separate spreadsheets, which may or may not be properly linked to your bookkeeping spreadsheet. Consolidating and connecting as much data related to your business operations as possible in one place provides a clearer overall picture of your business expenses and profits, so you can better understand where money is being made and spent at any given moment.

 

Enhance Mobility

Most bookkeeping software systems, especially cloud-based ones, allow you to access your books (in real-time) anytime from anywhere on your tablet, laptop, or smartphone. This feature enables you to invoice clients or pay bills whether in your office, at your favorite local coffee shop, or halfway around the world. Sure, spreadsheets can be saved in the cloud, but the process of entering information into them from a tablet or smartphone tends to be more challenging vs. using a mobile-friendly bookkeeping software application. 

 

Better Reporting

One of the most beneficial reasons to leverage bookkeeping software is that it can help you visualize your financial data with robust and user-friendly reporting capabilities. While reporting can be done manually with spreadsheets, your spreadsheet report won’t be nearly as easy to create, update, or view when you need to. Reports like Profit & Loss and Cash Flow summaries that cover custom time periods and/or compare them to previous periods can be generated with just a few clicks. Additionally, the level of detail in these reports will typically be much more in-depth than anything you can produce with a spreadsheet.  

 

Implementing Bookkeeping Software for Your Business

Now that you’ve heard how beneficial bookkeeping software can be for your business, are you thinking about trying it out? Bookkeeping software is a more efficient and accurate solution than spreadsheets; plus, it will more easily scale with your company as it grows. The biggest hurdle is often making sure the software is set up correctly. Consider working with a bookkeeper who is an expert in your chosen software so they can help you set it up properly and train you on how to use it so your transition is a smooth one. 

 

At Fournier Accounting and Bookkeeping Services, we offer QuickBooks® coaching and training for those who implement this software. ​As Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors®, we can work with you to understand how QBO works, how to ensure the information is entered accurately, and how to find the information you need when needed. 

 

Contact us to get started today!

7 Reasons to Hire a Virtual Bookkeeper for Your Business

As a business owner, your plate is full–overflowing even. You likely wear many hats, and one of those may be a bookkeeper/accounting hat. You’re probably capable of keeping track of accounts payable and receivables, but if you’re like most business owners, it’s not your favorite thing to do. There are probably many other things you’d rather be doing with your time.

Many business owners handle their bookkeeping when they start because it’s manageable. But as your business grows, you may find it takes more time than you’d like. And you didn’t start your business to get bogged down with invoices and bank statements, did you?

Hiring a virtual bookkeeper may be the solution to getting back some of your precious time and peace of mind knowing your books are in order. Let’s explore what virtual bookkeepers do and some benefits of investing in a virtual bookkeeper for your business.

What Does a Virtual Bookkeeper Do?

Virtual bookkeepers are accounting professionals who offer remote accounting services for businesses. They handle the same tasks that a traditional bookkeeper does, such as managing accounts payable and receivable, reconciling bank statements, preparing financial reports, and more – but from a virtual environment. Virtual bookkeepers typically specialize in one or more areas of accounting, such as budgeting, payroll processing, tax filing assistance, QuickBooks setup and management, cash flow analysis and forecasting, inventory tracking and analysis, accounts reconciliations, and more. 

By utilizing the remote capabilities of a virtual bookkeeper, businesses can save time and money while still receiving access to high-quality accounting services at a fraction of the cost. But there are many more benefits to working with a virtual bookkeeper or accountant.

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Bookkeeper

Here are seven reasons why investing in virtual bookkeeping services is a wise decision for your business.

  • Save Time

When you outsource your bookkeeping needs, it can free up a significant amount of time for you to focus on other aspects of running your business. Just imagine spending all that extra time focusing on your business and doing what you’re passionate about! Instead of spending hours doing data entry, reconciling accounts, or preparing tax returns yourself, you can leave the work in the hands of a professional.

  • Save Money

Sure, it’s an upfront investment to hire a virtual bookkeeper, but consider what you won’t be paying for. You won’t have to pay the salary or benefits of a bookkeeper as an employee or an in-house contractor, which results in considerable savings. Additionally, virtual bookkeepers can often provide flexible pricing structures that may be easier for small businesses or startups to afford. By only paying for the services you need, you’ll pay a fraction of what you might otherwise pay for a full-time bookkeeper.

  • Increase Accuracy

Let’s be honest. You do your books to the best of your ability, but unless you have a background in accounting, there are bound to be some errors in your books. Virtual bookkeepers, on the other hand, are highly skilled professionals who specialize in accuracy and efficiency with regard to managing your finances. When you hire a virtual bookkeeper, you can rest assured that the job is performed right every time. 

  • Maximize Efficiency 

With virtual bookkeeping services, your business can work smarter and more efficiently while reducing costs. Virtual bookkeepers use specialized software and platforms to streamline processes and ensure accuracy throughout your finances. The result is reduced errors and improved turnaround times regarding managing accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, taxes, and more. 

  • Access Finances Remotely

With virtual bookkeeping services, you’ll have easy (and secure) access to your financial data from any device with an internet connection. Most virtual bookkeepers use cloud-based accounting software, which means you can access financial information anytime and from anywhere. This way, you can stay up-to-date on your finances and make real-time decisions that affect your business’s bottom line. Virtual bookkeepers also use encryption technology and other security measures to protect sensitive data from cybercriminals, so you can rest easy knowing your financial data is safe.

  • Scalable and Flexible Services

Virtual bookkeeping services are often available on a part-time or full-time basis, and you can customize their services to fit your business’s needs at any time. Virtual bookkeeping services can be scaled up or down as your business grows and evolves, making it easier for you to accommodate workflow changes without hiring a full-time employee. 

  • Peace of Mind

Perhaps the best benefit of using virtual bookkeeping services is peace of mind knowing that someone else is handling the complexities of accounting for your business. You can relax knowing that your finances are in good hands and leave it up to the experts so you can focus on running and growing your business. 

Signs You May Need a Virtual Bookkeeper

Are you not paying invoices on time or following up on past-due invoices from clients or customers? If you find yourself missing important deadlines, unable to spot errors in your accounting process, or struggling to keep up with all the paperwork that comes with running a business, it may be time to consider virtual bookkeeping services. A virtual bookkeeper can help take some of the strain off and ensure that your finances stay in order so you can focus on the bigger picture. 

Get Virtual Bookkeeping Services for Your Business

Hiring a virtual bookkeeper can be an excellent way for businesses to streamline their finances without hiring an in-house or office-based bookkeeper. With specialized accounting knowledge and the ability to provide virtual accounting services, virtual bookkeepers can help businesses save time and money while still receiving access to quality accounting services. With the right virtual bookkeeper on your side, you can be confident your finances are well taken care of. 

At Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services, we’ll focus on your books, so you can focus on growing your business. Get in touch to get started today!

4 Common Bookkeeping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

You probably already know that losing money is far easier than earning it. Running a business — even a one-person shop — and making money is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work; you have to love what you do to have a shot at being successful. And when we work this hard and put so much of ourselves into what we do, it hurts that much more when we realize we’ve made a financial mistake and lost money. 

Whether you’re new to business or have had your business open for years, there are ample opportunities to make poor financial decisions at every turn. Unfortunately, making financial mistakes is common for businesses of all sizes and types. And most of the time, you won’t even know you’re doing it until it has already impacted your bottom line. 

The good news is you’re not alone. Talk to almost anyone who’s been in business for more than a minute, and ask if they’ve made a mistake regarding financial decisions. I assure you they will say, “Yes.” They say being forewarned is being forearmed, so here are four common bookkeeping mistakes that can cause you to lose money in your business, and what you can do to avoid them. 

Top Bookkeeping Mistakes

Mistake 1: Running a Business Without a Budget

Unplanned spending is one of the biggest startup mistakes I see, which is precisely why you need to have a budget in place. I know, nobody likes the word “BUDGET.” It sounds restrictive and boring and just not fun! You worked hard to earn your money; why shouldn’t you be able to spend it any way you want? 

You’re absolutely right – it is your money, and you can spend it any way you want. But guess what? A budget will allow you to do just that! 

Have you ever gotten paid for a bigger job and then splurged on something as a reward, only to find yourself struggling to pay your taxes a few months later? Budgeting encourages you to avoid reckless spending and enables you to make your money work FOR you and your business — not against it.  

Pro Tip 1: Let go of the idea that budgeting is restricting, and embrace the benefits of not blowing all your hard earned money on something you really didn’t need.

Mistake 2: Not Focusing on Cash Flow

Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Knowing when the money flows in and when and how much needs to flow back out is the secret to restful nights and business enjoyment. Many business owners neglect to pay close enough attention to cash flow, resulting in some sticky situations. Putting a system in place to monitor cash flow at all times is one of the best things you can do for the financial health of your business. While it might not be the sexiest aspect of running a business, it’s one of those things you simply can’t ignore for too long.

Pro Tip 2: To stay on top of things, you’ll want to continuously monitor your cash flow, track expenses, and analyze sales, accounts receivable, and other shortfalls.

Mistake 3: Not Preparing for a Rainy Day

Just as with your personal finances, it’s essential to save for a rainy day. From bigger emergencies like recessions and pandemics to the more mundane ones, like equipment failures and unexpected repairs, you never know when a little extra cash could save the day.

Start a savings account for your business; the sooner, the better. Slowly build a reserve that’ll help your business thrive. The easiest way to do this is to automatically transfer a set amount from your operating account to your business savings account every week or month. That way if — or when — the unexpected happens, you’ll be much more prepared financially.

Pro Tip 3: Decide on an amount and frequency that feels feasible, and then commit to it. You can always increase it or decrease it as needed after a while, but something is better than nothing!

Mistake 4: Making Big Purchases Early in the Business

Buying all the shiny things for your business can be tempting, especially in the beginning. Social media can trick us into thinking that, to be successful, we need that brand new top-of-the-line widget (equipment, seminar, website, software). Sure, sometimes you might actually need that widget, but more often than not, you can make what you already have work to your advantage. 

Be sure to carefully review your buying decisions, especially when there is tight cash flow. Always ask yourself if a big expense will help you strategically grow your business and generate more revenue or if it’s just something cool that caught your eye.

Pro Tip 4: Look at the three mistakes above to help you evaluate whether or not now is a good time to make that purchase or investment. You can also ask yourself the following questions to help make the best decision when purchasing expensive items for your business:

  • Did you budget for this purchase? If not, can you budget it for some time in the near future?
  • How will this purchase affect your cash flow if you buy it right now? What if you waited until next month, next quarter, or next year?
  • Will this purchase negatively affect your ability to add to your savings account?
  • Will this purchase save you a significant amount of time or money almost immediately?

Don’t Make These Common Mistakes

A single financial mistake can be the cause of your business failure. But you can avoid these common financial mistakes and set your business up for success by following the tips above! It just takes a little planning and may require some assistance from a professional. 

Why make these mistakes knowing what you now know? Need help getting your finances in order? We can help. Schedule a call today!

 

5 Steps to Be Ready for Tax Season

As we near the end of the year it is beneficial to start thinking about the upcoming tax season. I know it is more fun to think about and plan for the holidays. But if you take a little time and follow these 5 steps, you can make sure that tax season is less stressful, and hopefully, less expensive.

  1. Categorize your expenses. Categorize expenses in a way that makes sense for your business and helps you see where you are spending your money. There are general expenses that the majority of businesses incur, such as office supplies, telephone & internet expenses, bank &/or interest charges, and advertising. There may also be payroll expenses. Taking time to make sure your expenses are categorized correctly (and not over or under categorized), is essential for accurate reporting.
  2. Reconcile your bank & credit card accounts. Making sure that your accounts match the bank is vital to knowing where your business stands and tax preparation. Without reconciling you may miss errors, duplicate transactions, or a misread check or deposit amount. By reconciling your accounts, you can be confident in your numbers.
  3. Keep REALLY good records. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep really good records. You should document everything as it occurs, not a month, or a few months or 12 months later. Take notes during conversations with your clients, vendors, and bankers.  Include information on the memo lines of checks, payments, and invoices. So, when your tax preparer calls you and asks, “What was that check for in March of last year?”, you have it all documented. The best way to know if you can really take that deduction is to have good notes on what that expense was for and why.
  4. Save & ORGANIZE your receipts. It is important to retain quality documentation for expenditures, and the best documentation is the receipt. However, for the receipt to be used as supporting documentation for that expense, it must be clear and easy to read and have all the information necessary to justify the expense (amount paid, date, description, and vendor name). Now you ae probably thinking how am I going to file ALL those receipts? Good news, you are not required to keep the physical receipt IF you have a clear digitized copy. Most accounting software (including QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop) include the ability to upload a digital copy of the receipt and attach it to the specific transaction. What better way to keep your receipts organized? But, if you’d rather not do that or your software doesn’t have that capability, you can save a clear picture of the receipt onto your computer or cloud drive, just make sure you have them well labeled and organized for future reference.
  5. Review your Profit & Loss (Income) Statements. Your P&L is a useful snapshot of revenue, expenses and whether you are operating in a profit or a loss. If you have followed steps 1 & 2, and your books are current and accurate, then it can help inform better decisions. Taking time to compare month to month, quarter to quarter, and year to year can help uncover potential anomalies, omissions, and trends. And by catching these prior to tax season, you have time to correct any issues, or better plan for your tax bill.

BONUS STEP

  1. Schedule a Consult with your Tax Preparer. Once you have completed the first 5 steps then schedule a sit down with your tax preparer, either in person or online, to go over where your business is right now versus where you thought it would be when you last sat down for tax planning. There is no better ally during tax season than your tax preparer.  And giving them a head start can only be beneficial.  You may discover that you need to pay more or less in estimated taxes, or maybe you should make that equipment purchase you’ve been delaying, or possibly, year-end bonuses to your staff will be to your advantage.

If you take the remaining weeks of this year to implement these 6 steps, then you can go into the next year confident that tax season will be less stressful, and that there shouldn’t be any unpleasant surprises.

If you need help with these 5 steps or just don’t believe you can get to them before the end of the year, it may be time to consider outsourcing your bookkeeping. We offer high quality professional bookkeeping services that will help you be ready and confident at tax time. If you’d like to learn more about who we are and what we do, please contact us today.

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Grow Your Business without Working 24/7

I’ve talked to so many business owners who want to grow their business but aren’t sure how because they are already so BUSY!  They cannot even imagine how they would find the time to take on more, but they know that if they figure it out, they could potentially see massive growth.  Does this sound familiar?

Here are a few ways to free up time so you can grow your business to where you KNOW it can be.

  1. There are so many resources out there now to help you automate tasks that you do over and over again.
    1. Set up calendar links, so prospects, clients, & networking partners can schedule appointments with the back-and-forth emails of “does this time work?”, “how about this day?”.  You can set up parameters in your scheduling software so that only the days & times you want to meet are available to be scheduled.
    2. Do you find yourself constantly sending reminders to your clients, or responding to the same questions again and again? Set up auto responders for certain inquiries or automate reminder emails to go out to your client on specific days.
    3. Find yourself spending a lot of time entering data into your bookkeeping software? Connect your bank and your accounting software to save time on data entry.
    4. Are you spending hours sending out invoices? Or chasing overdue payments? Utilize the features in your accounting software to automate your invoicing process and add payment links to your invoices to automate getting paid. Payment links won’t fully eliminate the need to chase some payments, but it can decrease the number you are chasing, and your money will be automatically deposited into your account, so you have eliminated time spent going to the bank.
  2. Do you find yourself “reinventing the wheel” every time you need to do something in your business?  Or do you do it differently than your staff?  Taking time and defining not only how your business should run, but the steps to deliver the product or service so it is the same EVERY TIME, can not only set you apart from your competitors, but will also make expanding your team easier.  If you haven’t already consider setting up systems for
    1. Onboarding new customers or clients
    2. Onboarding new team members (whether they are employees or contractors)
    3. Marketing activities
    4. Bookkeeping including paying bills, invoicing clients, reconciling accounts
    5. Offboarding customers or clients
    6. Hiring and HR
    7. Client work (how you & your staff deliver your product or service)
    8. Responding to client questions or inquiries
    9. And the list goes on…

If you don’t have a system for one or more of the above already, the next time you go to do that task, note the steps on a piece of paper or in your note taking app.  Then review it, or even better have one of your staff who also does the same task review it.  Did you miss something? Do you need to expand, add more detail in some places?  If you continue do this over the next few weeks for each item you need a system, you will have most if not all your systems or Standard Operating Procedures in place in no time.

  1. Delegate or Outsource. Take a good hard look at what you do every day, at what is keeping you busy. If you’re not sure, start a list on Monday, and note down everything you do for the week.  The client/customer work, marketing, bookkeeping, sales, general administration tasks, etc.  Next look at that list and mark the tasks you enjoyed, and the tasks that made you money.  Those items that were marked twice, you should absolutely keep on your plate.  Anything that was only marked once, you may want to consider delegating to a team member or outsourcing.  Many of my clients do enjoy doing their books, but it is time that doesn’t make them money, so they decided to outsource it to free up time so they could focus on higher-value activities.  And anything that wasn’t marked at all, why haven’t you delegated in already?   Many of the first things small business owners delegate or outsource are
    1. Marketing – Blog posts, social media management, etc.
    2. Bookkeeping
    3. Other Administrative tasks – Calendar management, email management, etc.

I wrote and entire post on 6 things to outsource to save you money.  You can read it here.

The more time you can free up the more time you have for creating real value and growth in your business.

Not sure where to start?  We at Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services can help.  If it is automating, systematizing &/or outsourcing your bookkeeping we’d be happy to talk to you about how we can help free up your time so you can focus on growing your business.  If you’d prefer or need to start with something else, we have an extensive list of amazing professionals and would be happy to help you find the right fit for your business

Is One Business Bank Account Enough?

The short answer is yes, it can be. I work with many solopreneurs who have only one business bank account and it works well for them. However, if you struggle to maintain an adequate balance in that account, or to pay yourself, your employees, or your taxes then opening another account or two may be the answer.

Additional Business Bank Accounts to Consider

Let’s break down the various bank accounts and how you might use them to have better control over your business finances.

Operating Account (Main Checking Account)

This would be the account you already have, the one that your income is deposited into, and that you pay your expenses out of. This is the account that has the most activity and does most of the heavy financial lifting in your business.

 

Savings Account(s)

Just like with your personal finances, many businesses can benefit from having a business savings account. Moving money that isn’t needed RIGHT NOW into a savings account can help you from overspending and ensure that there are adequate funds for larger or unexpected expenses later on down the road. Your savings account can have a variety of purposes.

  • Saving for Taxes

You’ll want to save for taxes, both quarterly and at year-end. No one likes getting a large tax bill at the end of the year. But it is even worse if you don’t have the money available to pay for it. Saving a portion of your profit every month and paying your quarterly taxes from these savings can make Tax Day a lot less stressful. Not sure how much to save? Check with your tax preparer/CPA to see what they recommend.

  • Saving for Replacements/Upgrades/Improvements

Do you know you are going to need to replace a large piece of equipment in the next year? Are you planning a big brand refresh? Will you need to invest in a larger amount of inventory for the upcoming holiday or another busy season? Use a savings account to help cover these future expenses by saving a piece of every sale in the months prior to incurring the expense. This way you won’t be scrambling to figure out how you are going to pay that big invoice.

  • Saving Prepaid Contract Funds

Do you have customers or clients that pay you ahead of time for future work? Maybe you provide monthly services, and they pay you for 6 months all at once. Or, maybe they contract you for a large project and pay you more than the required initial payment. Use the savings account so you don’t spend the money that will be needed at a later date.

You may choose to have one large Savings account that covers all these categories or open an account for each one of these scenarios. Whether you have one savings account or multiple savings accounts, each comes with its own pros and cons; deciding what is right for you and your business will mean evaluating the pros and cons of both. And remember, the more bank accounts you have, the more accounts you need to reconcile and maintain.

Other Accounts (Optional)

There are a few other accounts that may make sense depending on your type of business and the size. Some of these could be:

  • Payroll Account

This type of account would be a checking account that you transfer funds into from your operating account to cover your payroll. This would be the account from which your payroll provider pulls the wages and taxes every payday. Having a separate payroll account will ensure that you can always cover payroll, as long as you keep it funded.

  • Business Credit Card

Having a business credit card can be beneficial. However, a Business Credit Card comes with all the same advantages and pitfalls as a personal credit card. Making sure you can manage the credit and not become overextended will be key.

  • Owner Profit Account

Much like the savings accounts described above, this is an account into which you would transfer a percentage of your monthly profit, and then on a quarterly basis, you would pay yourself 50% of what was in this account. This is in addition to however you pay yourself on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis for your own living expenses.

 

Having Multiple Bank Accounts Isn’t For Everyone

Every business is different, as is every business owner. If having only an operating account works for you and your business, then great, stick with that. But if it isn’t working, then consider opening another or a few more accounts with specific purposes. The key to successful money management and a profitable business is having a system that works for you and helps keep your money in your hands.

 

Need Help Managing Your Business Finances?

Need assistance with organizing your accounts or getting a better handle on your business finances? We work with solopreneurs and small business owners all over the U.S. to have peace of mind and confidence in their numbers. Set up a free consultation today!

4 Things Business Owners Should Do at the Beginning of a New Quarter

Have you ever wondered if there were things you should be doing on a quarterly basis that maybe you were missing?   Here are 4 things you should be doing within the first few weeks of a new quarter to make sure your business and books won’t get behind and you are ready for whatever the next quarter brings.

  1. Reconcile ALL your accounts: Not just your bank accounts, but also your credit card accounts, loan accounts, petty cash accounts, and all other liability accounts.  Banks are staffed by humans and humans make mistakes.  If you have your accounts linked to your accounting software, there can be glitches, where transactions were never downloaded, or downloaded more than once.  By reconciling all your accounts, you can find and correct these errors, spot any fraudulent activity on your accounts, and discover where there may be inefficiencies or duplication of services.
  2. Compare your Quarterly Financial Reports to last quarter’s reports, and the same quarter in the previous fiscal year. This will give you a good idea of where the business is going, are you doing better than you thought?  Worse?  Are revenues up or down?  Are expenses up or down?  Are Revenue & Expenses the same or is one up and one down?  Do you need to adjust what the business is spending, can you hire, is your marketing plan working?  We can get so focused on the day to day that we assume we know how healthy our business is, but by taking time and really evaluating what has changed from quarter to quarter, or from this year to last year, we are better able to make decisions that will help us reach our goals.
  3. Review your Payables, Receivables, & Sales Numbers: Take some time and look at who owes you money and how long have they owed it, who do you owe money too, and are you late on those Payables? Staying on top of both Receivables and Payables will help keep your business strong. Run a report on Sales by Customer and Sales by Product or Service.  Which customers are purchasing the most, what product or service has been the most popular in the last quarter?  These can help you determine trends, marketing strategy, and possibly what products/services to discontinue, or add in as a regular offering.
  4. Pay your taxes. If you have employees, make sure you remit payroll tax returns and pay any quarterly payroll taxes due to both federal and state governments.  Pay your own estimated taxes for the quarter.  Pay any sales or meals taxes dues.  Getting behind on tax payments is a difficult hole to get out of.  If you have difficulty with keeping enough cash in your accounts to be able to pay your taxes when they come due, open a business savings account specifically for taxes.  Transfer funds regularly based on what type of taxes you are saving for: per transaction, weekly, monthly, etc. If you think that still won’t be enough, open the account at different bank than the one your business accounts are with, that way by needing to physically go to the bank to transfer funds it won’t be a tempting to use those savings for other expenses.

 

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

If you need support with your accounting and bookkeeping the experts at Fournier Accounting and Bookkeeping Services are here to help. We serve small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the U.S. Contact us today!