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Small Business, Big Data--How Accounting Data Can Help

  
  
  
  

accounting department data analysisBig data literally means too big to handle. It’s a term used to describe data that comes in with such frequency and in such volume that normal methods of analyzing and codifying it just don’t work. Large corporations respond to the flood of data with sophisticated data storage and analytics models that allow them to mine a vast resource of customer and market information.

But What About Big Data For Small Businesses?

Small businesses can keep up with the influx of big data, too. While your firm may not have the capacity to hire full-time data analysts or store reams of data, you can take advantage of cloud computing and affordable analytics software to reap the advantages offered by big data. Outsourcing analytics works in much the same way, and has the same benefits as outsourced accounting or outsourced bookkeeping. In addition, data services are now available that sell smaller firms the same demographic and consumer behavior data available to larger organizations, and cloud storage providers allow you to keep it and analyze it without overtaxing your own server.

Your Accounting Already Has Big Data

You’re already collecting some elements of big data, if not by that name. Take a look at your sales, accounting and/or bookkeeping data, for instance. From it, you can obtain information on which products were purchased, when they were purchased, whether credit cards were used, and so on. If you see a surge of interest in a product in November and December, perhaps the product is popular for holiday use. That kind of information can help you plan ordering and seasonal marketing campaigns.

Back Up Your Intuition With Data

Big data can help you supplement your experience and intuition with hard facts about buyers and the market. Take the example of a toy bear. Common sense would tell you that children are the target audience, but experience will certainly say that adults are making the purchases. Data collection can help you sort out whether those buyers are actually parents or other relatives such as grandparents. For instance, if you find relatively steady sales for the bear throughout the year, and most buyers range from 20 to 40, you can extrapolate that parents are purchasing the toys, likely at the request of their children. However, if the demographics for buyers skew older, and the purchases cluster around holidays, you can be sure that grandparents and other relatives are buying, which might make it worthwhile to market to older audiences during the holiday season.

Not sure whether your accounting data is up to the challenege? Call us to help you get your accounting into shape so you can start analyzing your big data!

Schedule Your 30-Minute Accounting Consultation Schedule Today


How Does Time Tracking Software Impact Employee Morale?

  
  
  
  

time tracking technologyTime-tracking software increases productivity, decreases issues with tardiness or ducking out early, and helps the company accurately access employees’ performance reviews. But many companies fear that using time-tracking software will make employees feel as though Big Brother is watching, therefore hampering morale. How can time-tracking software be used to improve employee morale rather than deteriorate it?

Time Tracking Software Motivates Employees

Time-tracking software, such as TSheets or Method CRM, actually has numerous benefits when it comes to motivating employees and improving morale. It creates an atmosphere of equality, virtually eliminating any real or perceived favoritism. When managers are allowing some employees to fudge their time while others are required to be punctual and stay until quitting time, morale naturally declines. Time-tracking software makes work hours fair and equitable for all the employees.

Time Tracking Software Helps Protect Employers

Time-tracking software doesn’t just keep the employees from cheating on their hours; it also holds the company responsible for paying what the employees earn. It eliminates employers failing to comply with overtime regulations, and assures that employees aren’t kept at part-time status when they’re working full-time hours. This is increasingly important as the new Affordable Care Act employer mandate rolls out.

Time Tracking Software Enhances Productivity

Depending on the type of time-tracking software used, this software can also help identify where employees are most productive, so that workers can be fitted with the job in which they’re best suited. For example, if you find that one of your bookkeepers is extremely gifted in payroll and less productive when working billables, you can redistribute the workload in bookkeeping to better match your workers with their strongest skills. Workers are happier when their skills closely suit their job descriptions, improving employee morale as well as the productivity of the company.

How your employees respond to time tracking depends not only on how you present the benefits of the software to them, it also hinges on how strong morale around the workplace is beyond the software used to track time and productivity. When employees already feel that the company has their best interests in mind, the introduction of time-tracking software will be received as another way to fit them to the best possible positions and to pay them fairly for the time they spend and the work they produce.

Do you need an integrated time tracking software program in your accounting technology suite? We're here to help you figure out your options.

Schedule Your 30-Minute Accounting Consultation Schedule Today


3 Evernote Add-Ons For Small Business Accounting

  
  
  
  

evernote logoYou already utilize Evernote within your small business for sharing synced notes across your company. However, it's capabilities go far beyond the basic program when you delve into add-ons and apps that provide Evernote integration. You enjoy the familiarity of the Evernote interface while benefiting from third party apps and services.

Expensify

Having trouble keeping up with your small business expenses when you're on the road or at business meetings? Instead of losing thousands in deductions, Expensify helps you track your payments. This works for any sized small business, whether you're running things on your own or you have a sizable amount of employees. It provides fast input for any cash payment, pulls transaction records from credit cards, helps you keep track of billable expenses, and also supports client invoicing. The real joy of Expensify comes with its receipt scanner to help you move towards paperless accounting. Expensify's Evernote integration creates an Expensify notebook within your account and forwards all of your receipts and other expense data there.

Expense Magic

If you want a more hands-off option than Expensify, ExpenseMagic takes your small business accounting one step further. When you take a picture of the receipt, the service's bookkeepers input all of the data and categorize your expenses. Instead of taking time out of your busy schedule to work on the books, you receive reports from ExpenseMagic once per month with all of your details. The service supports connecting your account to Evernote, so all of your data is pushed to your notebook whenever you receive your monthly expense report.

Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed expands on the bookkeeping aspect of ExpenseMagic by giving you multiple ways to send in your receipts and other expense paperwork. As with the other services, a mobile app provides receipt scanning. In addition, you can send documents to the service's receipt email, put them physically in an envelop and mail them, and clip receipts from your email or Internet browser. Every time the Shoeboxed service finishes processing your receipts and invoices, a note is created and sent to Evernote. In addition, there is a manual option for sending records to Evernote, if you only need specific expenses in the account.

No matter what small business accounting add-on service you use for Evernote, you streamline your business operation and free up more time to concentrate on your primary task: making your business a success.


Finding the Perfect Accounting Solution

  
  
  
  

finding the perfect accounting solution accounting departmentAs a small business owner, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility you have. From managing employees to making sure your books are in order, the list continuously grows and the time you have to dedicate to these tasks keeps disintegrating into shorter blocks of time. One of the most important things you can do is streamline your operations - especially your accounting processes. Bookkeeping services can get pretty expensive, and if you don't have your accounting right, you can't keep track of the money coming in, going out, and you won't know how much everything is actually costing you in time and expense. As a small business owner, you're probably always on the go. Although there is no one solution, having programs that can help you increase your productivity while you're in and out of the office will allow you to gain new business while keeping an accurate account of what you already have. Here are a few "cloud" solutions that will allow you to run your business while on the go:

  1. Freshbooks

This is an accounting solution that is very popular among mobile entrepreneurs. It also has a mobile application to input information from wherever you are. It provides a great help to those business who may not be able to afford accounting services or a bookkeeper at the present time.

  1. Shoeboxed

This is a great way to keep track of all those receipts and invoices that

  1. Outright

This program organizes all your income and expenses from multiple accounts. If your business comes from a variety of sources like eBay, Etsy, PayPal, etc., you can't go wrong with this program.

  1. SignEasy

Any financial documents or orders that need to be signed can be done using this program. There is no need to print, scan or fax anything. Everything can be done with your laptop, smartphone or tablet screen.

  1. TimeSheet Mobile

This will help you keep track of all employee time and locations. At the end of the week, all of the information can be downloaded into your accounting system for payroll and to keep accurate records.

  1. Bill.com

With this program, you will be able to schedule and pay invoices, send invoices and request payment and a host of other things to keep your finances in order.

  1. My Hours

This program will help you keep track of the amount of time spent on certain projects and the tasks you performed to get the project completed.

These are just a few programs that will help you until you are able to get outsourced accounting or outsourced bookkeeping services. Being able to keep your business on track will save you time and money.


Accounting on the Go -- Cloud-Based Accounting Software

  
  
  
  

cloud accounting technologyRunning a business is a twenty-four hour job, especially when there is a lot of work to be done and not enough people to do it. One of the most important tasks that cannot fall through the cracks is your accounting services. When you cannot hire a full-time bookkeeper to keep your processes in order, knowing what to do and having the right tools to help you do it will be invaluable to the stability and longevity of your business.

Everyone wants to have the proper bookkeeping services on hand, but it may be advantageous for you to contract with an outsourced accounting or outsourced bookkeeping firm to take care of the monthly balance sheets and taxes while leaving the day-to-day tasks in-house. Modern technology has made a tremendous difference in the way businesses are run and there are many accounting programs that will keep your books in order even when you are consistently on the go. Here are a few noteworthy applications that are functional and budget-friendly:

Freshbooks

This is a very popular cloud-based accounting program that helps you keep your finances in order, issues invoices and keeps track of all your employee hours, online payments, upcoming dates and more. This program is good for single or multiple project management. There are also add-on services that can be exported to your outsourced accounting services firm.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software programs around and is used by millions of businesses on a daily basis. This is why the manufacturers decided to make it easier for their customers and provide an online option that is accessible from anywhere in the world.

Kashoo

This program is in the top five for accounting programs based in the cloud. Kashoo allows any small business to connect directly to their online banking system, create invoice and download and reconcile bank and monthly statements in an expensive and easy-to-use format.

Xero

This is a real-time program that allows you to monitor and share your financial information at one time. You can also work as a team with this program, allowing access to a number of individuals if working on projections or other projects that need real-time data.

As a business owner, there's never a dull moment. These programs can help make your life a lot easier, while keeping a close eye on your business finances. Being able to conduct business on-the-go is a well-deserved perk for all your hard work. Simplify your accounting with a cloud-based application and help your books stay in the black.


AccountingDepartment.com Announces New Accounting Software

  
  
  
  

AD ROMAN April FoolsAbout a year ago we made an executive decision to undertake a bold new project--developing a proprietary accounting and bookkeeping SaaS solution--an entirely client-need driven solution designed through our experiences with clients and accounting technology over the past ten years.

Today you are among the very first to hear about our amazing new product--a brand new, cloud-based accounting and bookkeeping technology based entirely on Roman Numerals.

We realize there will be a bit of a learning curve as we transition from the old way of accounting to the AD ROMAN way--but rest assured we are here to support your successful migration every step of the way. To assist you with the appropriate conversion process, we have created a handy quick converter tool, which you can access here.

We believe that transitioning to a Roman Numeral based system will usher your accounting and bookkeeping processes into the next era--as well as provide extra security. Today's viruses, security threats and hackers aren't prepared to decode Roman Numerals--adding the extra layer of protection that your financial data needs.

We trust you are as excited as we are--and can't wait to get everyone computing the AD ROMAN way!


How to Setup Quickbooks to Fit Your Bookkeeping Needs

  
  
  
  

intuit quickbooks accounting departmentQuickBooks is one of the most recognized names when it comes to accounting software for small businesses. It is popular in bookkeeping because it is easy to use, helps organize finances, and keeps everything all in one place. Bookkeeping services come in different types, allowing users to explore a variety of features and capabilities. When used the right way, QB can be a powerful tool in managing the important aspects of a small business.

Once you have decided to use QB for your bookkeeping needs, there are a number of things that you should learn. The following will help you understand and eventually create a strong bookkeeping system for your business:

  1. Reconciling accounts: This is probably the most important task of all. When you reconcile your accounts into QuickBooks, all of your transactions will be recorded. Bear in mind that you have to reconcile each and every account that you have. This means that you should not only give focus to your bank accounts, but include your loans, lines of credit, and credit cards as well.

  2. Bills on QuickBooks: This piece of software allows you to enter your bills and pay them right then and there. QuickBooks lets you handle your accounts payable. In this case, you should learn how to either use the bill payment online - which is linked to QB - or print your checks. There are two ways that QB manages your bills: First, you enter your bill, which increases your accounts payable and your expense account. Second, when a bill is paid, QB will decrease accounts payable and decrease checking or cash. Then, it will transfer the liability to a credit card.

  3. Undeposited Funds: Many users find this feature a little bit difficult to understand. If you are going to use QB as an integral part of your bookkeeping activities, you should understand undeposited funds. This account is similar to the customer payments you have recorded in your QB file, but they have not been deposited into the bank. When you make an invoice using QB, you are increasing your accounts receivable as well as your sales. When you receive payment, you increase your undeposited funds, which in turn decreases your accounts receivable.

  4. Memorized Transactions: QB makes everything super simple, especially with this tool. Memorized transactions let you automatically check payments, enter your bills, create invoices, or write a journal entry. You can activate this feature a number of ways, including by hitting Ctrl+M on your keyboard.

  5. Ask My Accountant: If you ever need to ask questions or you have transactions that you would like to know more about, you should have this feature ready. It is important that you review all your transactions and have them coded properly before you file your taxes.

For those who have been operating their business for some time, it is ideal that they have their QuickBooks records to match with their tax or accountant's records. All these pieces of information can be overwhelming, but once you get the hang of it, QB makes keeping your business on track much easier.


5 Candy Crush Lessons That Can Help Your Accounting

  
  
  
  

Accounting Lessons from Candy Crush Candy Crush was ranked as one of the top gaming apps for 2013. The game yields an estimated $771,238 in daily revenue and is installed 33,061 times, on average, per day. On subways, trains, coffee houses, waiting in line (waiting anywhere!) we see people with their phones or tablets and hear the telltale music.

The game’s popularity also yielded a number of posts describing “Life Lessons Learned from Candy Crush” and, especially surprising, tips on how to play the game in surprising places like Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/candy-crush-strategy-tips-and-help-2013-7#make-sure-your-phone-is-well-charged-before-you-play-candy-crush-is-a-giant-battery-suck-but-it-can-be-played-even-when-you-have-no-cell-service-1 Clearly, smart, successful people from all walks of life reduce stress and unwind with the game.

Which got us thinking… What takeaways from Candy Crush can help you work with your virtual accounting team for greater business success? Here are 5 we came up with.

1. Reaching out for help from those who are doing better than you helps you advance faster.

Part of the appeal of Candy Crush is the sense of community it creates. You can help friends by gifting them with lives or extra moves, and also receive help from others. But there’s a catch. You can only receive help from those who are on the same board as you, or beyond it. And, while lives and extra moves are sometimes doled out for no reason, when you need a “ticket” to advance to the next board, you have to ask for it.

In business, we’re almost always better off asking for help from those who are doing better than we are, at least in a particular area. You wouldn’t take accounting advice from your marketing consultant (we hope). If you’re looking for accounting advice, you’ll turn to a professional virtual accounting firm with years of experience and the knowledge of many companies under their collective belts.

2. Being patient pays off.

The key to many candy crush levels is breaking “combinations” of special candies. But to create not just special candies, but special candies next to one another, requires patience. You have to wait for the right time to make your move.

Similarly, in business, timing is everything. If you make a move too soon, you could lose a great opportunity later on. A financial controller can help you analyze market conditions and your own company’s financial state to help you make the right move at the right time.

3. When you see an opportunity, you have to take it.

Waiting for optimal conditions to make a move is often sound business advice, but other times, you have to take an opportunity when you see it, even if conditions aren’t optimal. This is especially true in Candy Crush levels in the 100s, where you should take care of time bomb candies immediately, before they explode.

Accurate bookkeeping can help you see if there’s a “ticking time bomb” in your industry or your organization that you have to defuse before you can focus on growth.

4. Being tops in your field expands your options and resources.

When you reach the Candy Crush leaderboard with a score in the Top 3 amongst your peers, your name appears at the bottom of the screen, and friends have the opportunity to give you gifts or lives.

In business, you simply have more choices when you’re the best in your industry. You’ll have better talent to choose from, more cash flow to work with, and more connections so you can make the best choices in any situation.

5. Evaluating all your options could reveal a smarter move.

We already mentioned how important patience is in candy crush – and in business. But have you ever been in a situation where you thought you saw a great opportunity, until further evaluation revealed an even better option?

Often, those “better options” are hidden with your financial accounting statements. A virtual accounting department, including a financial controller, can help you spot those smart moves and take the right action at the right time.


Outsourced Accounting: Top 5 Functions Of A Virtual Bookkeeping Team

  
  
  
  

outsourced bookkeepersThe Everest Group released its annual report on Finance and Accounting Outsourcing (FAO). (http://www.everestgrp.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/FAO-Annual-Report-Executive-Summary-May-2013.pdf) We explored some of the report’s findings in our post “3 Reasons Outsourced Accounting Is Not a Trend.”

In addition to reporting on the growth of the industry, the report looked at the top reasons businesses of every size choose outsourced accounting services. Let’s look at the top five reasons to hire a virtual accounting firm.

1. Manage Accounts Payable in a timely and accurate manner.

When your Accounts Payable isn’t on time, you could be wasting money in late fees, ruining your business credit, and even hurting your chances at getting favorable trade terms from your vendors and supply chain partners. Managing Accounts Payable also involves having accurate cash flow statements, so you’ll know you have the money in the account to pay your bills.

A full-charge bookkeeper can manage these processes efficiently, saving you time, money and alleviating substantial amounts of stress, too.

2. Manage Accounts Receivable so you get paid on time.

It’s difficult to keep AP up to date if your AR runs behind. When an in-house bookkeeper gets busy, invoicing should be the last thing to fall behind but, all too often, it does. This can put your business in a tight financial spot, especially if you and your executive team strives for a “just-in-time” business model.

3. General accounting/general ledger

According to the Everest Group report, a majority of businesses use outsourced accounting services for general accounting, including the general ledger. If you’re a fast-growing business that has recently transitioned to accrual basis accounting (link), it can be challenging for your current small business bookkeeper to keep up. Maintaining your general ledger accurately and in a timely manner has a number of benefits, including spotting and preventing fraud, and making tax filing easier.

4. End-to-End accounting solutions and business process integration

For some businesses, it’s appropriate to phase-in outsourced accounting and virtual bookkeeping solutions. They might hire a virtual accounting firm for weekly bookkeeping services, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. As they grow, they’ll turn to the same firm for help with payroll. After a time, as their business and accounting needs grow, they might shift to accrual basis accounting and require daily bookkeeping services.

But many midsize businesses with revenue over $2 million want the whole package from the start. They are looking for a firm that provides cloud-based accounting, daily bookkeeping, and financial controller services. They want training in their cloud-based accounting package, and they want it all rolled out quickly and easily.

Additionally, they want their accounting software to integrate with other business productivity apps, for added convenience and capabilities on-the-go. In today’s integrated business world, business owners want one company who can provide and manage it all. In 2012, 70% of the FAO contracts had elements of end-to-end scope, as opposed to a functional piecemeal approach, according to the Everest Research Group study.

5. Accounting consulting services and financial controllership

The Everest Group describes this particular business need as: “Predictive and prescriptive operational analytics along with integrated risk management and compliance.”

We can sum it up in two words: Financial controllership.

While your virtual bookkeeper is concerned with timely and accurate bookkeeping, including AP/AR and an up-to-date general ledger, your financial controller takes accounting to the next level as a business advisor.

If you’re concerned about GAAP compliance, business continuity, financial forecasting or consulting that relates to business processes and operations, AccountingDepartment.com’s virtual accounting team can help.

More and more today, as shown by the Everest Group report, businesses turn to virtual accounting firm for every aspect of financial accounting and management.

Outsource Your Bookkeeping


3 Things Your Bookkeeper Knows About Your Business – That You Don’t

  
  
  
  


How well do you know your own business? Think about it.

Accounting Department Bookkeeper

You may know your own industry better than any outsourced accounting company. But I bet there is a lot of information hiding inside your QuickBooks accounting software you didn’t even realize was there. Financial reports and statements that could help you make better decisions about the way you run your business, if only you had someone to help you analyze it all.

Let’s look at three things your accounting team knows about your business that may surprise you.

1. Cash flow statement

Of all the financial statements your bookkeeper knows well, this one, along with your profit & loss statement, is probably the most familiar to business  owners, as well. Your cash flow statement shows how changes in balance sheet accounts and income affect your company’s access to cash. This statement shows your company’s ability to pay its bills in the short term, especially to cover important expenses like payroll.

 

2. Profitability ratios

There are a number of profitability ratios that reveal how well your company is doing in terms of making money. They are an indication of how well you generate earnings compared to costs and expenses. Unlike your cash flow statement, profitability ratios don’t show how much cash you have on hand to pay cover debts and expenses, but indicate how well your company is making money – how much your income exceeds your expenses.

Some of the most popular and helpful profitability ratios include your gross profit margin, return on assets and return on equity. Typically, you can tell how well your business is doing by comparing your profitability ratios to that of your biggest competitor. You may also compare the profitability ratios of your own firm from year-to-year to get an idea of your growth. Be careful when evaluating profitability ratios to take seasonal changes in profits into account. 


3. Burn rate

Of the three kinds of financial data we’ve mentioned in this post, “burn rate” is probably the least-talked about, yet one of the most important pieces of data for business owners.

As we’ve discussed previously, your burn rate is a single figure that shows how much money you spend per month. When that figure is evaluated in comparison to how much cash your company has available, you’ll know exactly how long you can stay in business before you need to begin making a profit or gain another cash infusion from venture capitalists or through a business loan.

Making Sense of Financial Statements with Virtual Accounting

There are dozens of financial statements that can help you make the best decisions for your company. Often, though, business owners rely on either the same financial statements again and again, or ignore important accounting data because they don’t know how to analyze the numbers they see.

Your virtual accounting team, including your bookkeeper and financial controller, can help you generate and analyze the important financial statements that will help you make better decisions for your business and guide it toward greater profits. 


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