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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.

6 Simple Steps to Conduct Pre-Employment Screening

6 Simple Steps to Conduct Pre-Employment Screening

Conducting pre-employment screening makes hiring the perfect employee a less complicated process.

Hiring the right employee for the appropriate job is one of the most important challenges an employer has to deal with. It’s grown to be even more difficult, thanks to the increasingly mobile workforce and social media. Gone are the days when employers solely relied on the interview process to make their hiring decisions. Businesses today can get the assistance they need through pre-employment screening.

Why It’s So Important

Employers who use pre-employment screening as part of their hiring process are well aware of the important benefits. One of the most significant advantages is an overall improvement in the quality of candidates. This leads to far better employees, which means higher productivity and a decrease in employee turnover. Businesses that employ workers for direct service to the public are held responsible if an employee that has a criminal history does harm to another employee or a customer. Pre-employment screening helps uncover critical information about a candidate including any potential risks posed by them.

Following are 6 Simple Pre-Employment Screening Steps

  1. Background Checks 

A background check is the most common pre-employment screening process.  It looks up an applicant’s personal, criminal, financial and professional records. It is typically utilized by employers, law enforcement, schools and non-profit organizations.

  1. Pre-Employment Drug Screening

Employers use drug testing via urine tests to proactively protect the company from the negative effects of employing people with drug related issues.  Drug screening is required for federally-regulated employers that hire individuals for safety-sensitive jobs. Active drug testing programs can help ensure that the workplace is drug-free.

  1. Medical Pre-Employment Screening

The purpose of the pre-employment medical examination is to determine if a potential candidate is fit for a job that can affect public safety, and is not a risk to themselves or others.

  1. Personality Testing

Personality tests assess the applicant’s personality, cognitive ability, current and potential skills and other traits. This information can help employers find the best employees for the job and weed out potential problem hires.

  1. Credit Checks

This screening step checks out the 7-year financial history of the candidate and includes public records, collection accounts, bankruptcies, charge-offs, judgements, trade lines, monthly payment histories and more. Credit checks look at the payment history on mortgages, student and car loans and credit card accounts, uncovering habits that include living beyond their means and possession of large debts with no apparent means of repayment. These are all indications of financial irresponsibility that could impact the work environment. Pre-employment credit screening does not include the credit score.

  1. Social Media Pre-Employment Screening

Today, gaining insights into a potential employee’s character can be obtained via their social media accounts. Employers often use platforms like Facebook and Twitter, looking for insights regarding personality traits, alcohol or drug abuse, or any other characteristics that could influence their hiring decision. Using social media to screen potential employees can also get an employer in legal trouble, so it’s best to consult a lawyer first.

The long-term benefits of pre-employment screening far outweigh the costs, including the quality of the employee, work productivity, and improved customer satisfaction.

Conducting pre-employment screening doesn’t have to be hard. Contact us today for more information on how to proceed!

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.

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.

Why Is Professional Judgment Important In Accounting?

Why Is Professional Judgment Important In Accounting?

With the progressively complex nature of today’s global business practices, it’s important to have reliable financial information for your business. Accountants are professionals and due to the nature of their industry, are expected to apply professional judgment. Having the ability to make a professional judgment is essential for accountants, but it can be challenging,

Professional judgment is a required skill for principles-based accounting strategies, including auditors, preparers and regulators of financial statements. That said, making professional judgment calls can be difficult, and there isn’t necessarily one right answer in most cases. There is a learning curve, but it’s possible to recognize and take the logical steps necessary to better navigate through judgment calls, including asking common sense “what and why” questions.

What is Professional Judgment in Accounting?

Professional judgment is the process of drawing a conclusion or arriving at a decision when there are several possible alternatives to choose from. It is a process that is unbiased, logical, consistent and objective.

Accountants make use of pertinent information and balance intuition, knowledge and experience to make the best call. Unfortunately, many accountants don’t have a thorough process in place and fall into common judgment traps. Many of these judgments end up being shortcuts that can help simplify complex accounting tasks but may lead to less than optimal judgments and can cost your business in the long run.

It’s important that you have a good relationship with your accountant so that you can express your concerns and support for professional judgment with your business tax records. Make sure that every item in question is assessed according to the law. If professional judgment is needed, you should work with your accountant to understand the impact that the decision will have on your business.

Following a Sound Professional Judgment Process

Peace of mind comes when you hire the right people for the right job. Accounting is not easy. Your accountant is responsible for providing regulators, directors, managers, investors and others with reliable, up-to-date, comparable financial and accounting reporting information. It’s important that he or she stays on top of the law, receives the training required to make good business calls and follows a consistent process.

By persistently following a good judgment process, understanding risks and vulnerabilities, and having the right competent accountant on your team, you’ll be able to monitor your company’s risks (including fraud) and strategies. Be consistent in your judgment process. If you chose path A for one item, use the same process for the next one in question. Following an expert judgment process equates to improved risk management and business outcomes.

If you need help creating a consistent, repeatable and efficient judgment process for your business, call me today. I can help you implement the right systems and people to take your business to the next level.

What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

Most entrepreneurs don’t start a business because they have a passion for running a business or are an expert on operations. They do it because they’re passionate about their idea and feel that what they have to offer is sure to attract their target audience. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur’s journey is never an easy one.

It’s true that what you don’t know will hurt you. The world is constantly changing, and savvy business owners understand that they need to make time to work on their business instead of in it. To be successful, they must constantly learn and stay current in their field, on employment, in marketing and so much more.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself in the know:

Hire Good Staff With Excellent Communication Skills

Besides having the skills to expertly perform the tasks of the position they are given, having excellent communication skills are a necessity and will also be a reflection of the company. Also, being able to clearly communicate helps keep employees, management and clients in tune with the business.

Hire a Good Business Coach

Business coaches often stay on top of the trends. They’ll be able to help you pinpoint what you’re missing, identify possible roadblocks, help you come up with strategies to address them and help you remain accountable when it comes to following through.

Be Flexible and Responsive

Research your industry and be ready for changes. If you’re not the kind of business owner who can be responsive and flexible to the needs of your business, entrepreneurship might not be for you.

Never Stop Learning

Today there are plenty of ways to maintain the learning process, and you should continually expand your knowledge base. Consider the following easy ways to keep up to date:

Attend Conferences

Conferences and networking events are the perfect opportunity to learn from people in your industry (including your competitors), listen to the speakers and meet people, including potential clients. Even if the presentation is about something you’re familiar with, it will reaffirm what you already know or provide inspiration.

Take an Online Course

There are online courses covering every topic these days, so the possibilities of furthering your education without leaving home are endless. Online courses are also a great way to achieve added business designations that can help improve your credibility.

Read

Read anything that applies to you and your business, whether it’s about improving your sales skills, wealth, communications, cold calling skills or making the most out or email or social media marketing. Even if the topic seems a bit dry, the usefulness may become relevant down the road.

Listen to Podcasts

Today’s podcast technology provides the convenient ability to listen to and take in different content topics during your down time. You can listen to podcasts in the car, on a plane or at the gym. Where ever you desire.

Always spend time learning and continuing to improve your business because what you don’t know will hurt you. But what you do know will set you apart from the competition.

Have you ever had a situation where what you didn’t know, hurt you? What did you learn from that event? I’d love to read your advice in the comments below.

Why You Need an Organization Chart in Your Business

As a sole proprietor, implementing an organizational chart may not be on your list of top priorities. If everyone is aware of their roles, and you have only a handful of employees who wear multiple hats, it may seem pointless to create one.

The fact is that an organizational chart covers much more than tracking employees. It ensures that your company’s efforts are being aligned with your brand strategies and vision. Following an organizational chart is a good business habit to ensure that you optimize your time as well as your employees.

Here are some of the benefits that you might see if you prepare and follow an organizational chart.

Organization Charts Make Planning Easier

Since you can visualize the structure of your business, you can use an organizational chart to help you make plans for the future. You’ll be able to allocate resources better, easily discover competencies of employees and help them visualize a career path at your company.

Organization charts help to provide a blueprint for resource allocation within your business. It can also help you identify areas where you might need a stronger skill set or someone with more experience currently and in the future. Having a hiring strategy in place is much more effective than waiting until you need to hire someone.

Better Employee Job Descriptions

Putting together an organizational chart provides the opportunity to create better job descriptions and assign ownership and accountability. It can eliminate indecisiveness regarding who is accountable and for what. Additionally, it shows who they report to for assignments, time off and career plans.

Strategically Design and Run Your Business

Using an organizational chart makes it possible for you to strategically design a business model that works for you. It’s possible for you to have the freedom you need to operate in your native genius while helping employees see and adopt your vision.

Time to Focus on Customer Service

Companies using a well-defined organizational chart will be able to spend more time concentrating on customer service as opposed to trying to correct ineffective operational issues. Superior customer service helps companies better communicate with their customers and potential customers, answering inquiries right away. When you’re not putting out fires, you have the time to focus on increasing profits and longevity.

Useful Tools of the Trade

There are a number of organizational chart products available on the market at varying price points. If you’re just starting out, a simple Word document or PowerPoint organization chart will work just fine.

Once you’ve completed your organization chart, put it in in a location where other internal employees can see it. Google Drive or Dropbox are affordable options and may even be free depending on the solutions you choose.

An organization chart that nobody sees doesn’t exist. Make sure you share it! I can help you create systems to improve communication in your company. Give me a call today so we can get you all set up for the new year.

Treat Your Business like a Marriage

The average marriage outlives the average business according to an analysis performed by Mona Chalabi where she 2015-04-16_14-42-37compared the US Department of Labor statistics to the Department of Health and Human Services. She found that 80 percent of marriages formed in 1995 survived past the five year mark, whereas 54.7 percent of businesses didn’t. That may come as a bit of a shock considering the current divorce rates, but many businesses tend to fizzle out over the span of 15 years. Perhaps business owners should take a few lessons from marriages. Here are seven considerations that might help improve the success of your business.

Happiness Quotient

In marriage, your happiness level with your spouse ebbs and flows throughout the years. You don’t expect to be happy all of the time. Why should you expect to be happy about your business all the time? In relationships that last over the long haul, couples learn to use dissatisfaction as a cue to make a change, spice things up or get marriage counselling. This can be applied to business as well.

If you are experiencing a period of stress, anxiety, or sadness in your business, spend some time understanding the root cause. Seek the advice of experts to help you see what you’re too close to see. Once you understand the root cause, you can work to correct the issue.

Be Present

Every couple knows that there are times within the relationship when you would rather be anywhere else in the world besides standing next to your partner, like at an event you hate or during a moment of crisis. Successful couples know that sometimes you have to put aside what you want for yourself in the interest of your spouse. Even in times of relationship struggle, being present proves that you are dedicated to making it work.

Business is much the same. There is a lot to be said for showing up when times are tough and looking for a workable solution. Presence and consistency is key to get through the tough times as well as to stay top of mind.

Love is a Verb

When marriages fail, it’s often due to the fact that individuals don’t feel like they are in love anymore. The truth is that these individuals haven’t realized that love is a verb…an action word…and not a feeling. If you want to show someone that you love them, you take action. You buy flowers, take them on a special date, complete a project, write a poem or whatever strikes your fancy.

Your business works in much the same way. You can’t expect it to get from point A to Z all on its own. You have to take action. Create plans and execute to deliverables. Your business will thank you for it.

If you are falling out of love with your business, treat it like a marriage. Show it your devotion by performing the actions necessary to correct the issues as they appear. You might find that you ignite a fire in it.