To maximize profits in your business, all of your business functions need to run smoothly, including your accounting department. Your accounting system is at the core of your accounting function. If it is old or lacks the features you need, your business may suffer. Here are five warning signs you can look for to determine if it’s time to upgrade or replace your current accounting system with something more cost-effective.
1. Not enough users
If your current system limits the number of users you can have in the system at any one time, this could be a major enough reason in itself to switch to a larger option. Luckily, most accounting software companies include an accountant user for free, so at least this type of user doesn’t have to count toward your total requirements.
If you’re not sure how many users you currently have a license for, we can help you check on that. It might be as easy as buying more licenses if you’re not at the maximum capacity. But if you are at maximum, it may be time to look for a better accounting system with room for you and your business to grow.
If your accounting system runs on desktop-based software that’s upgraded every year and you have not paid for or installed the upgrades, then your system is outdated. If it’s been sunsetted, that means the software vendor no longer supports the software. You are at major risk for the software crashing, getting buggy, getting hacked, or worse, permanently breaking.
The cost of getting the system current may be better spent looking for a new alternative, or moving to a cloud-based system where updates occur automatically.
3. Lack of functionality or scale
It is commonly the case that your business has grown so much that it’s outgrown your original accounting solution. That’s good news! It’s time to find a solution that will scale better for your business.
You might be missing important features that are costing you more time and money than if you were on a system that offered those features. Common time-wasting activities in accounting include too much time spent on data entry and/or Excel spreadsheets to make up for what the accounting system can’t do.
4. Lack of reporting and analytics
If you’re unable to receive the reports and analytics you want to run your business better from your current accounting system, it may be time to switch. With better data comes better decision-making and if lack of data is costing you money, then it’s time to find a more robust system.
5. Lack of integrations
Thousands of apps exist to expand accounting systems’ core functionality. If your current accounting system lacks integration capabilities or does not have apps that are built to integrate with it, you may be missing out on additional functionality. This include mobile apps; it’s quite common now to do much of your accounting work from your mobile phone.
Does your current accounting system have any of these red flags? If so, please reach out. We can help you find a best fit for your accounting needs.
At first glance, this article topic might seem too simple. After all, to get paid, don’t you just take money out of your business? Well, yes, but there is much more to it in the long run as well as from an accounting side. Let’s take a look.
The Traditional Paycheck
If you’ve ever worked for someone else, you probably received a paycheck every few weeks. It took care of three major things:
- Your regular pay that you live off of from day to day
- Taxes you owe to the federal and state government
- Benefits. Depending on the employer, you might have received health care, retirement contributions, and vacation and holiday pay.
The employer took care of the needs you have today as well as some of your future needs.
Your Business Pay
Now that you’re the employer – of yourself, your business has to cover all of the items mentioned above. How it does that depends on the type of entity you chose when your business was formed.
If you are doing business as a sole proprietor, you take draws from your business instead of paychecks. A draw is simply a cash withdrawal that reduces the ownership investment you have made in your company. The draws do not include any kind of taxes, including self-employment taxes; these need to be deposited separately, usually through quarterly estimated tax deposits to the IRS and to any relevant state agency.
As a sole proprietor, you’ll likely need to find your own health insurance. And the most important thing you’ll need to do is plan for your retirement by investing in IRAs or otherwise saving money that is earmarked for your retirement.
From an accounting standpoint, owner’s draws are shown in the equity portion of the balance sheet as a reduction to the owner’s capital account.
If your business is formed as a C Corporation or an S Corporation, you will most likely receive a paycheck just like you did when you were employed by someone else. You will also be responsible for making the payroll tax deposit, funding the retirement plan, and paying for health care insurance.
Owners can also take money out of the business over and above their paychecks.
From an accounting standpoint, corporate payroll, taxes, and benefits are all considered expenses and are shown on the income statement. Any money taken out additionally is a reduction to the owner’s capital account, and this is shown in the equity section of the balance sheet.
If your business is formed as a partnership, each partner will be paid distributions based on the partnership agreement. Typically, that means receiving a base salary and a portion of the profits. You can also take money out of the partnership. Taxes are not included; you are responsible for making your quarterly estimated payments. Plus, you will also be responsible for paying self-employment taxes.
For benefits like retirement plans, partners can be eligible, but the tax treatment of these and other benefits is not necessarily the same as it is for a W-2 employee. The rules are complex for deductibility, so it’s best to contact a tax professional to find out more.
Evaluating Company Profits
It’s critical to understand where your wages show up on your books so that you can truly understand your business’s profitability. With corporations, the salaries are included in the expenses, so net income is after, or net of, salaries and payroll taxes.
With sole proprietors and partnerships, the net income figure on the income statement does not include owner salaries because there aren’t any. Instead, only the equity section is impacted. Net income for partnerships and sole proprietors should always be high enough to at least “cover” an amount equivalent to a “so-called salary” for all of the active, participating owners.
If you have questions or need help understanding how business owners get paid, please feel free to reach out any time.
For many small businesses, it’s time to get scrappy and entrepreneurial when it comes to cash flow. Here are dozens of ideas to make it through the next few weeks or months.
Rearrange your 2020 budget.
There are lots of things you won’t need to spend money on this year. They can be re-appropriated to cover payroll while the revenue slows down. Here are a few obvious ones:
- Apply travel expenses to payroll.
- Apply transportation expense to payroll.
- Apply conference fees to payroll.
- Apply your reduced office utilities to payroll if you are working from home
- Apply reduced office supplies like coffee that you won’t need to spend on if workers are working from home to payroll.
Trim the fat, then go a little leaner if you have to.
Some of these may not be too palatable, but they may save your business.
- Cut executives’ pay as much as possible during this temporary time.
- Freeze hiring.
- Offer early retirement.
- Ask workers if they want to voluntarily reduce their hours.
- Offer extra days of unpaid leave (and require a minimum if you need it to avoid layoffs)
- Cut training expenses.
- Cancel dues and subscriptions.
- Slash marketing costs.
- Cut contractors.
- Cut employee benefits.
- Put a hold on 401K matches.
- Cut all other unnecessary expenses.
Get the cash flowing.
Get your creative entrepreneurial juices going and find a way to boost revenue.
- Move your service to delivery if it works for your industry.
- Move your products to those that are in need. Designer masks, anyone?
- Move your service to a virtual version.
- Offer a new service.
- Acquire and sell an item in need.
- Got extra space? Find a renter.
Get a tax refund.
The new laws provide for a couple of ways you can get a tax refund.
- File your 2019 return ASAP if you’re due a refund and use that money in your business.
- If you have losses from 2018 and 2019, check with your tax professional to see if you will benefit from amending those returns.
Speed up your cash flow.
There are literally hundreds of things you can do to permanently improve your cash flow. Here are a few:
- Make deals with your vendors to extend credit or slow down your payment to them.
- Work on collections and get your accounts receivable balance lower.
- Invoice faster and tighten the pay terms.
There are many options right now to borrow money. PPP might be the best game in town, but it’s not the only one.
- Take money out of your 401K to use in your business.
- Use your stimulus check in your business.
- Use your bank line of credit if it is still available.
- Take advantage of the EIDL, PPP loan, employee retention credit, or the deferred taxes option from SBA and the Treasury.
- Borrow money from a relative or friend.
- Check locally in your bank, credit union, city, county, or state for small business programs.
Every penny counts for some small businesses, so use any and all of the ideas above so you can ride this situation out.
And if we can assist you with your cash flow projections or creating or modifying your budget, just reach out.
If you agree that “there’s no place like home,” then you may also have a wish to work from home more often. In many cases, you can, and here are some tools you need to get started.
If the products and services your business sells can be sold or delivered digitally, then you’re a candidate for working from home most of the time. If you have a storefront where customers visit to purchase your products and services, you can still perform some of your business duties remotely or rely on staff to greet and serve the customers.
You may also be able to be proactive about moving more and more of your business online. Some examples include:
- Hold more business meetings online instead of face to face.
- Encourage employees to work from home if their presence does not require face-to-face customer meetings.
- Provide online training for clients who cannot travel to an onsite course.
- Move your scheduling online by providing an app for clients to book their own appointments.
- Move your products online by using a shopping cart.
- Provide a delivery option in your business. (This may have you or your staff traveling more and not less unless your items can be delivered via a shipping service.)
Meeting with Customers
The next best thing to greeting customers in person is using video-conferencing. You can easily start with FaceTime (for iPhone users). Android users have it a little tougher, but many use Facebook’s Messenger, Google’s Duo (both parties need to download the app), or imo (ditto on both parties).
If you have more complex meeting needs, software like Zoom is perfect to get you started. Hardware-wise, you’ll need a webcam, and a microphone is preferred. If you have a cell phone, you can use the mic and speakers in the headset provided.
Simply create your account at Zoom, and set up a meeting. Invite people by emailing them a link to join you. Join the meeting at the set time, and conduct your business with your customer. You can hide your webcam if you’re shy, and you can share your screen in case you want to go over a report or something else with your client. Zoom has a free account option and can be found at https://zoom.us.
And remember, if you’re a little too shy for videoconferencing, you can always conduct business with clients using the good old-fashioned telephone or email.
Sharing Documents with Customers
If you have documents to share with all of your customers, you can post them online on your website. If you have private documents, you can use portal software to securely create a private section of the portal exclusively for that client. Apps that can do this and that are not accounting-specific include Citrix ShareFile and Box.com.
You can also share documents that don’t have sensitive financial or company information with clients using Google Drive. Simply create them, then share them using the email addresses of the appropriate clients.
Receiving Client Communications
Already customers are reaching out to businesses via all of the social media platforms as well as the messaging platforms, such as Messenger and WhatsApp. Your virtual team can easily track all of these incoming messages by watching for notifications from anywhere in the world.
You might also be using an industry-specific app for customer interactions. For example, if you’re in the wellness space, MindBody apps are ubiquitous. If you’re an attorney, you’re likely using Clio.
Keeping in Touch with Your Team
You can use the same tools mentioned above to connect with your team members, but you will probably want one or two more apps – a private messaging app for when urgent things come up that need an immediate answer, and in some cases, a task management system.
Software like Slack is perfect for you to stay in touch with your team and keep communications private. It provides messaging functionality and more.
For task management, there are literally hundreds of apps to choose from. The simplest is something like Todoist, and typical small business options include software such as Asana and Monday.com.
If you want a Swiss-army-knife suite of tools that perform many of the above functions and are deeply integrated, Microsoft Teams fits the bill by providing a full collaborative platform for businesses of all sizes.
There’s No Place Like Home
We hope these apps provide you with the ability to stay in touch with your customers and your business while working from home, sweet home.