Posts

Phoenix Bookkeeping Services - Your Guide to Finding the Best

Phoenix Bookkeeping Services – Your Guide to Finding the Best

Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re fine-tuning your financial strategies, a professional bookkeeper can be a tremendous help.  They can balance your daily expenses and earnings, and manage your invoices. By handing these jobs over to a Phoenix bookkeeping service, you can lower your risk of error and use those extra hours to create strategies to grow your business.

Why You Need a Bookkeeper

Regardless of the company’s size, having a great bookkeeping service is an essential part of any business. Efficiently kept books do a lot more than make filing your tax returns easy. Bookkeepers can expertly put together a balance sheet or profit and loss statement that can help determine credit worthiness when you apply for a loan. They can also show you where you need to spend less or more money, how much you’re making, how much you’re spending, who takes the longest to pay you and who gives you the most business.

But where do you find a bookkeeper, and what do you need to know to ensure that you hire the best? Well, here are four keys to finding the best Phoenix bookkeeping services.

Experience

Bookkeeping services vary, so it’s a good idea to find a Phoenix bookkeeping service that knows your accounting software, and understands your industry and clients. Some bookkeepers focus on corporate businesses, where they typically become proficient one thing, like accounts payable. There are also bookkeepers that specialize in small businesses, with experience in all facets of bookkeeping.

Technology Skills

The best bookkeeper will have strong technology skills. During the interview process, make sure that they not only have experience with your software, but the same version. Also ask them how if they stay current with new technology.

Business Acumen

Choose someone who has a strong business acumen and exercises sound judgment. They are a valuable addition to any business because they can assimilate information and innovate bookkeeping related strategies and solutions. These abilities ensure a more profitable future.

References and Reviews

Since you’re going to be entrusting the bookkeeper with sensitive financial information, make sure they’re trustworthy. Ask the Phoenix bookkeeping service you’re considering for referrals, and do your due diligence by contacting them. A bookkeeper is an important part of a growing business, however hiring the wrong person can hinder your business operations and consume much-needed cash flow.

If you’re struggling to keep your books in order, contact us today. Our Phoenix bookkeeping services can ensure you have accurate data so that you can make the best decisions for your business.

Delegate Work the Right Way

Delegate Work the Right Way

A business owner’s hours should be spent running the business, and if they delegate work the right way, they can. We’re talking about crucial tasks like developing relationships with prospects, clients, investors, partners and board members, creating and implementing income-generating strategies, coordinating projects and hiring staff. As a business owner, it’s your job to solve problems and grow the company, not burn away your time on routine matters. Delegating is reported to be one of the most challenging things to do. It’s hard to let go sometimes and avoid micro-managing.

Delegating Work = A Successful, Organized Business

Delegating work is the key to a successful, well-run organization. When a business owner learns how to delegate work, they’ll be able to give their employees the opportunity to hone their skills and contribute to their organization’s success. It’s important to make sure that the job you delegate is done right. Once you feel you have the right person for the job, it’s even more important that they feel that you trust them.

No one will be as passionate about your business as you are. By trusting your employees, you’ll build a bond that creates a work environment where everyone wants the business to succeed.

Delegate Work Now

If you’re just starting to build your business, create an environment in which you can delegate as it grows.  You will learn to trust your employees and avoid micro-managing through time. You can then focus on setting and achieving important goals, building lucrative partnerships and organizing company initiatives.

Solid Processes Supported by Systems

Great leaders also remain open to suggestions. And it’s important to have internal controls in place to ensure that everything plays out smoothly. Delegating without having a clear internal control system in place for accountability is poor management. The business owner is responsible for providing the leadership, and the internal control systems help them achieve their goals and objectives.

When you notice exceptional work, reward it. Business leaders who delegate are typically also grooming leaders. If you need support developing optimal processes supported by systems and accountability, contact me today.

Why You Need a Great Bookkeeping Service for Your Business

Why You Need a Great Bookkeeping Service for Your Business

Hiring a great bookkeeping service can not only keep you from losing your sanity, but it can also help protect you from a potential lawsuit because your books are a mess. All businesses need a great bookkeeping service on their team.

What is bookkeeping?

The first thing you should know about bookkeeping is that it’s not just a tax savings tactic. Bookkeeping includes documenting, storing and retrieving financial transactions for businesses, individuals, and nonprofit organizations. Bookkeeping in the past involved copying numbers into a ledger book; today it involves downloading data from your bank into your accounting software system. Clearly, downloading is much faster and less vulnerable to input errors, but the initial setup of your bookkeeping system has become much more critical to your success.

Why is Proper Bookkeeping Important?

It’s common for small businesses to make bookkeeping mistakes during their early years. They usually lack knowledge when it comes to the appropriate bookkeeping practices. Those that don’t keep their books current make their situation even worse. Hiring an experienced bookkeeper will help you avoid devastating pitfalls that can have a negative impact on your business. Good bookkeepers notice developing trends, see important patterns and are highly skilled; abilities that not only protect the companies they work with but improve their bottom line.

Once you get to the point where your books suffer because your business is thriving, it’s time to hire a good bookkeeper. With a good bookkeeper on your team, potentially costly mistakes will be found faster, and your business will operate more efficiently. Let’s face it, as the owner of a small business, you need to spend your time doing the things you do best and not doing the bookkeeping.

Future Consequences of Having Poor Bookkeeping

Inadequate bookkeeping practices can lead to a long list of problems including:

  • Late creditor payments and a poor commercial credit rating
  • Banking records that are impossible to maintain efficiently, having a disastrous effect on your business
  • Inventory overages or shortages due to financial mismanagement
  • Under-reported or unreported items, like investment income, rental income, revenues, or other types of earnings
  • Tax problems with the IRS or local and state government agencies
  • Incurring late fees and various other penalties, causing devastating hits to your budget
  • Late payments, overdraft fees, and even account closure status
  • When it comes to payroll, employees can end up with erroneous year-to-date earnings on their end of year W2 form and pay stubs

If you have poor bookkeeping habits, it’s time to contact a professional service to discuss creating a system that’s right for your business.

Bookkeeping is critical for business success. Contact us today if you’re interested in our bookkeeping services!

Should You Use Accounting Apps in Your Business?

Should You Use Accounting Apps in Your Business?

Accounting apps are a type of computer software that is used by business owners or accounting and bookkeeping professionals to manage and perform a variety of accounting tasks. The most basic accounting apps, often referred to as “personal finance managers”, are single entry programs that automate tasks like record keeping and check writing. Double entry accounting apps incorporate functions for accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledgers. More advanced programs also include functions for inventory, invoicing, payroll and fixed assets. Several of the higher end accounting systems on the market even support time billing and sales analysis.

Features Available in Accounting Apps

You may be thinking that accounting apps are all basically the same, but they’re not. While the primary function is similar, some have several other features, functions, and services built in as well. Some of the most indispensable features include the following.

Security

Businesses of all sizes need to have their financials under control if they want to succeed, and the best way to ensure this is to use an efficient and secure accounting app. Financial data can be lost or tampered with, releasing important financial secrets, profits and sales data. If the damage is bad enough, it can be devastating for the company.

Reporting and analysis

In today’s complex business environment, information is power. This is why the accounting apps you consider should include great analysis and reporting features. Apart from helping business owners obtain insight into important financial activities, reporting and analysis capabilities help businesses conform to industry and government regulations.

Scalability

Look for an accounting app that’s scalable, meaning that it can be upgraded to, or already accommodates, a substantial growth in the number of users, transactions, and financial data. Before you sign up for an accounting app, make sure to have the vendor confirm that they have you covered when it comes to scalability.

Advantages of Accounting Apps

Accuracy is critical for all business related computations because mistakes have the potential of leading to substantial losses or other problems. Accounting apps can prevent you from making these types of mistakes. Accounting programs also improve workflow, improve record organization, and the right one can be modified to expand as the business grows. These apps make it possible for you to see finances at a glance and are developed to suit one purpose, to manage your financial tasks.

Disadvantages of Using Accounting Apps

A disadvantage of using accounting apps is the learning curve, which can feel daunting.  But using the app can far outweigh the potential for mistakes for business owners who are still trying to do the bookkeeping manually.

Accounting apps have hundreds of features that can benefit your business and workflow. That said, nothing is a substitute for accurate and systematic bookkeeping. Let us help you get your financial side of the house in order. We’ll put your mind at ease.

5 Consequences of Using Spreadsheets in Your Business

5 Consequences of Using Spreadsheets in Your Business

Initially, spreadsheets were designed as computerized simulations of traditional paper accounting worksheets. While in some cases spreadsheets still serve a purpose, this old school financial management strategy can lead to inefficiencies and errors that will eventually have a major impact on the business’ value. Following are 5 reasons why spreadsheets will ruin your business and how to avoid it.

  1. Keeping Financial Data Up to Date

If you use spreadsheets, you need to consider who controls the master to know which version of the file is up-to-date. What happens if several people need to use it at the same time? With spreadsheets, you need to email what you think is the most recent version to and from recipients which opens the door to errors. With good accounting software, approved individuals can sign in between devices online. This is one of the most beneficial differences because you’ll always know that the numbers you’re seeing are current.

  1. Errors Go Unnoticed

Meticulously reviewing spreadsheets and looking for errors is an undertaking that no one enjoys doing, meaning that errors are certain to slip past undetected. Studies have shown that errors have even slipped by professional auditors whose main function is to comb through them to identify errors in formulas and data.

  1. Time Consuming

Spreadsheets are time-consuming and put businesses at a considerable disadvantage. Spreadsheets slow down processes and have a noticeable impact on how long it takes to get work done. A significant amount of time is spent consolidating, correcting and modifying spreadsheets. And when used in collaborative, repetitive business processes, they become huge time wasters. Closing the books more efficiently and faster is a perennial objective, which is why successful businesses are moving away from using spreadsheets.

  1. Unsuitable for Adaptive Business Practices

Spreadsheets are typically created by people who have little knowledge when it comes to the software’s functionality. Ultimately, their spreadsheet files turn into highly personalized applications. What this means is that when someone else takes over during a large scale business change, the new person put in charge might have to start over again from scratch. We live in an age when significant changes are consistently transforming the business landscape. Acquisitions, mergers, new technologies, and management buyouts can have an effect on today’s companies. If an organization doesn’t have adaptive business practices in place, it could easily be left behind or worse, face extinction.

  1. Fraud Vulnerability

Of the previous spreadsheet drawbacks listed here, this one has the potential of being one of the most damaging. Fraudulent manipulations in company spreadsheet files have resulted in billion dollar losses. The primary reason behind this vulnerability is the lack of controls, which makes it easy to modify values and formulas without being detected.

Spreadsheets vs. Accounting Apps

Accounting applications are the best solution for businesses because they are built to make it possible to record your accounting data efficiently with minimal mistakes.  They are also more easily audited. Although they are created for the specific purpose of accounting, they include contact management as well. Spreadsheets, on the other hand, leave too much room for error and are much more time-consuming.

Spreadsheets vs. Bookkeepers

Many new business owners spend more time and money than they save when they attempt to do their bookkeeping themselves. According to the Small Business Administration, not having a bookkeeping system in place and bad bookkeeping are the top reasons why many new businesses are unsuccessful. Also, as a business expands, it outgrows simple financial tracking solutions, and the bookkeeping gets more complicated, making it essential to hire a bookkeeper.

Although spreadsheets can be helpful at times, they can also ruin your business. That’s why it is important to consider using accounting software and a reputable bookkeeper for your business. Contact us today!

SEO Title How to Develop an Internal Control Framework

How to Develop an Internal Control Framework

Internal controls play an essential role in an organization’s success. However, an alarming number of finance and accounting professionals start their businesses without having an internal control framework.

Why are Internal Controls Important?

An internal control framework helps businesses accomplish vital objectives, improve and sustain optimal performance, and reduce risk and exposure. It’s important that business owners put procedures in place that protect their financial and management information, in accordance with the federal and state laws and regulations. Internal controls create a system for how a business handles receiving and reporting revenue, and management and administrative tasks.

Components of an Internal Control Framework

The following five key components of a highly effective internal control system encourage the achievement of a business’s mission, strategies, and objectives.

1. Control Environment

A good control environment foundation includes an organized management structure, and effective Human Resource policies and procedures. By establishing internal controls, business owners establish protocols that their consultants and staff are required to follow. The employees are informed of these protocols and are expected to follow them as they carry out their daily work duties. The established protocols in a controlled environment will develop cohesiveness and order for businesses because everyone knows what is expected of them.

2. Risk Assessment and Mitigation

Every business entity encounters risks from internal and external sources that need to be assessed to be successful. Risk assessment is defined as the identification and analysis of associated risks to achieve objectives. They lay a foundation for identifying how the risks should be handled. Because operating, economic, industry and regulatory conditions will continue to change, systems are necessary to discover and address the risks associated with those changes. An effective internal control framework is the most important step when it comes to mitigating any involved risks.

3. Control Activities

All personnel play a part in the organizational representation of internal controls, regardless of whether their work responsibilities are directly related or not. Responsibilities should be divided between different employees to lower the risks of errors or improper actions. For instance, responsibilities for receiving checks or cash, and reconciling deposits, need to be separated. Also, transactions should always be authorized and approved to ensure that the process is consistent with institutional or departmental goals and objectives.

4. Information and Communication

Successful information and communication systems can be formal or informal, ranging from informal staff meetings to sophisticated computer technologies. The purpose of both styles is to provide input, feedback, and data that is relative to operations, compliance objectives and financial reporting. An additional factor is the informal conversations with customers, regulators, employees, and suppliers that have the potential of providing critical information about opportunities and risks.

5. Monitoring

The monitoring of an internal control framework is executed by separate and ongoing evaluations that determine if other elements of internal control are continuing to function as intended. The outcomes should be communicated to the people responsible for taking the appropriate, corrective action. Serious issues should be communicated to management level personnel or the board of directors.

Start Now

Unfortunately, some businesses don’t recognize the need for an internal control framework until it’s too late. When important information and data is in the right hands, it can be an extremely beneficial tool. If that critical data is placed in the wrong, deceptive or inexperienced hands, and used in an uncontrolled environment, it can lead to the crippling or end of the business. For this reason, having an internal control framework in place is critical.

Contact us when you are ready to develop your internal control framework.

7 Actions for Business Growth

7 Actions for Business Growth

Business growth is vital. But it’s easy to get stuck at a certain level and be unsure of how to move forward. Here are a few ideas to get your business out of a slump.

Focus on What You Have

It’s easier to market to existing customers and prospects than it is to get new leads.  Your current customers are the lifeblood of your business so do everything in your power to keep them happy. Finding new customers costs a lot more than reselling to one of your current customers.  Keep in contact with all your past customers by email, postcards or even phone calls.

Go Beyond Wow

Find the one thing that makes your business different than your competitors. If there isn’t anything, then create your wow factor. Offer something that makes your customers say, “Wow, I can’t believe they’re doing that!”

Grow as a Leader

Never stop increasing your skill level by continuing to learn through new books and courses. Also, learn to communicate better and listen closely to your customers and employees.

Create Partnerships

Recognize your limits. Build partnerships that will cover any areas that you’re weak in but will improve your overall business. A valuable partnership is where you both feel you got the better end of the deal so make sure you give as much value as you receive.  Business growth will occur when you partner with other companies in mutually beneficial ways.

Eliminate Bottlenecks

Spend some time studying every system in your business. You may have increased sales but then have trouble delivering the product on time. Or you may have an amazing product but poor customer service. The turnover of your employees may be dragging you down.

Find the systems that have bottlenecks and work to improve them. All systems must work smoothly before you experience the business growth you want.

Systematize Your Sales and Marketing Funnel

There must be cash flow to keep your business thriving. Nothing happens in any business until someone makes a sale so make sure your sales and marketing funnels are working at the highest level. See what your competitors are doing or hire an outside consultant. Test and retest until you build strong funnels that work over and over for different products.  These systems will be your secret to business growth.

 Grow Your Employees

Offer training to allow your employees to expand their knowledge. This not only makes them more valuable but it keeps them engaged and growing with the company.  You shouldn’t be the only leader in your company. Build up your employees so they can take leadership roles in various areas.

By following these easy steps, you will be well on your way to achieving the business growth you desire! We can help you achieve the growth you’re looking for. Contact us today at (602) 703-4285.

The top 5 business challenges of the summer

The Top 5 Business Challenges of the Summer

Summer is typically slow for many small businesses not in the travel industry. Here’s how to overcome some summer business challenges:

Slow sales

Cash flow can dramatically slow down during the summer months. One way to combat this is to add summer promotions and specials. Find ways to tie your business to summer activities. Have a giveaway for free ice cream at a local shop or tickets to a movie theater.

Give regular customers rewards for referrals. This makes the regular customers feel special but also brings in new customers. Word of mouth is still powerful.

Plan special deals for slow days. A restaurant might add a trivia night or a kids eat free evening. A mechanic might offer a ladies day with discounted oil changes.

Employee vacations

Make sure you have processes in place and perhaps a tool to make sure that there’s adequate coverage. Have your employees request summer vacation time well in advance. Look at the calendar and make sure there are no duplicate times that will cause problems.

If you’re going to be too short-handed, see if you can add some overtime to other employees or work with a temp agency.

Low productivity

Make sure productivity doesn’t drop in the summer by having extra assignments lined up ahead of time. Fill an employee’s workload first with their regular tasks. But then have extra activities planned such as catching up on filing or filling out documents, cleaning and organizing workspace, or working on new ideas that might be hard to implement during busy times.

Now is also the perfect time for team-building and education. Hold that seminar on improving customer service (or update procedures to reduce waste and cut cost) that you’ve wanted to do but haven’t had time.

Work/Life balance

Work is important, but so is your family. Use the time while the kids are out of school to create some lasting family memories. Plan vacations even if it’s only camping at the local state park and get your children involved in coming up with ideas for trips.

Make sure your children are occupied during the summer with fun activities such as drama or art classes. Summer camps offer a chance to experience nature and give your children a feeling of some independence.

Disorganized Financial Systems

Summer is the best time to make sure that your books and financial systems are in tip top shape. Don’t wait until tax time to get your bookkeeping in order. You can take advantage of slow months to make sure all transactions are entered into your computer system.  Also, check out your cash flow and make sure you don’t have outstanding accounts that need to be contacted.

We can help you overcome your summer business challenges and make the most of your company’s productivity during the summer. Contact us today at (602) 703-4285.

How to Find Complete Business Systems

How to Find Complete Business Systems

It’s the age-old investment conundrum; you recognize that your business could be more productive and operate with better profitability, but there’s a whole host of possible solutions with varying results and costs. You need to find a system that will work for your business and offer some return on your investment. Meanwhile, the idea that you are draining resources and the inability to expand your business is clouding your judgment.  Defining what your business requires to operate successfully and profitably can help identify and create the best complete business systems.

Why Choose Complete Business Systems?

If your business has recently experienced growth or you are in the process of a controlled expansion program, you will probably find that the existing system is stalling your ability to operate effectively. While smaller businesses can benefit from multiple software products and transfer information between colleagues, larger businesses are restricted by multiple operating licenses, and information transferal between departments can prove laborious.

An all-in-one system drastically reduces the processing time, enabling all information to be available in multiple applications, interfaces, and devices. This creates a huge reduction in entry times, eliminates the chance of human error and radically increases efficiency.

What Are Your System Requirements?

It is important to consider your system requirements carefully.  Technology advances quickly, so choosing a business system which can easily process your current demands is essential. The jump in usage between gigabyte and terabyte happened quickly, so it’s crucial not to limit your system requirements by what you deem to be sufficient today. Budget, however, is a key component, so make a checklist of functionality requirements before you begin to look at available products. A priority for creating an efficient business system should follow these points:

  1. Processes- Streamline your manual processes before changing technical systems
  2. Systems- Well executed systems create predictable customer and employee experiences and enhance operational efficiency
  3. Roles- This point is crucial to defining the necessary roles to achieve your company’s objectives
  4. Skills- Clearly defined roles will allow you to match the necessary skills to each role
  5. Structure- The structure will dictate the processes involved. The key to an effective organizational structure is to design it before you need it and then grow into it.

Employee Input

The employees who do the work on a daily basis have the best knowledge of what’s needed to work more efficiently. Challenge the employees to research different available systems. Giving their opinions on business system characteristics and recommendations will highlight the functions that your business requires for a complete all-in-one system. It’s a positive exercise for employees, who will then feel invested in the company and part of the evolution process. It will also identify, at a grass-roots level, the characteristics which will improve employee productivity and help increase profitability. Once you have gained employee feedback and recommendations, you will be ready to short-list and budget for your new business system.

Advanced Planning

The decisive action of committing to a complete business system will lead to the planning of how it should be implemented. For efficient adaptation to your system, you will need to plan and allocate tasks to different sectors of the workforce. The transfer of data, updating of line processes and input cycle plans will all simplify the transition.

Choosing to replace your existing business system can be a daunting task. With so many options to choose from, it is important to understand your requirements and define the key processes that could be refined and developed more efficiently.

Today’s all in one systems offer the opportunity to decrease costs while producing more. Finding the right systems that meet all of your requirements can be a difficult task. I can help you narrow down the list to start moving in the right direction and make your company as competitive as it can be.  Just give me a call to get started!

Are You Ready For Advanced Business Solutions?

Are You Ready For Advanced Business Solutions?

Planning for your business’ growth is the most effective way to smooth business expansion. Allocating your resources effectively requires careful timing. Here we highlight four key signals you need to upgrade your advanced business solutions. 

Your Computer Systems Are Slowing You Down 

Computers age with the same signs as humans do; they begin to slow down. In the early stages, this can be compensated for with a little maintenance. Just like going to the gym, cleaning the memory and de-fragmenting hard-drives will help with the servers’ performance. There will, however, come a point which the server will be too slow to accommodate a productive working platform. Because of the daily usage, changes in operating speeds aren’t noticed as they are happening. It’s a gradual deceleration which happens over time and is usually only apparent when there’s a sudden influx in demand, or you find yourself waiting for basic commands to process as if you were using the dial-up internet of the ‘90’s.

Employees Are Frustrated with Processes and Systems

Company systems are often put in place before or without feedback from the employees. The effectiveness of the computer system depends on reliability and ease of operation. If you do not monitor the productivity of your workforce, or act on employee feedback, it’s likely that your company isn’t operating as effectively as it could be. Poor processing systems also increase user fatigue, draining productivity. Monitor the efficiency of your computer systems by requesting employee feedback, and help boost workforce morale in the process.

You Find Yourself Constantly Repeating or Retraining

Another sign that your system is failing you is the need to repeat input. A modern system should be able to process and compute information automatically, without the need for staff to re-enter data which is already given and registered in the system. Data, once entered by an employee or the client should be available in every necessary department and program required to act on the information. Copying, re-entering and referencing data costs time and increases the risk of human error.

Re-training is a necessary course of action in all companies, keeping information and processes relevant and up-to-date. If you find yourself re-training your workforce in the same processes, it could be superseded by a more intuitive system. Again, assess the productivity and general state of morale to determine if employees are using processes which assist or hinder their work.

Your Competitors Are Upgrading

Even if your current system is working for you, and your workforce is happy with the systems in place, you may find updating your companies’ computer system advisable if your competitors are upgrading theirs. Technology advances quickly, and processing capabilities are a major factor in the productivity of your company. If your competitors have upgraded their systems, they will be outperforming youFailing to keep up with system updates and replacing aging interfaces or servers can quickly push you out of the game, and it will be harder to regain old clients and attract new ones. 

Microsoft and Amstrad were both one-time computer giants and business competitors. While one of the two companies chose to invest in software development, the other pushed the boundaries of hardware development. With just one decisive change in direction, that competition changed forever, and the two companies have never since been considered equal.

Even if you have the resources in place, reactive planning will never produce the same results as proactivity. If you’re looking to explore advanced business solutions, take a decisive step and give me a call.