Getting the Most Out of Your Cash Flow Statement

Do you think financial documents and statements cannot be used as tools to develop and expand your business? Well, don't cut yourself short! The finances of your company are key to building a healthy foundation, so it is important to take them into consideration when calling the shots. Here are a few ways you can use your cash flow statement to make decisions that will grow your business.

Predict Future Deficits. Business owners should be preparing cash flow statements quarterly, but most corporate accountants recommended monthly analysis. This is because keeping track of funds coming in and going out of a business is the easiest way to anticipate future shortfalls. If you expect a deficit, you can make decisions beforehand that will lessen the impact.

Request Credit. You can also use your cash flow statement to show investors, creditors, and partners where your business stands when it comes to incoming and outgoing funds. Assessing this document monthly also allows you to determine whether or not it is time to request credit.

Calculate Investments. A portion of a positive balance listed on your cash flow statement can be invested as capital on the market, and therefore generating a supplemental form of income. This type of additional income is what is known in the business as “interest income.”

Wondering how much you can invest, how long it will take to pay back debts, or if you will be able to obtain lines of credit for your business? The answers to these common questions are found right there in your cash flow statement! If you want to grow your company without experiencing any catastrophic financial setbacks, you need to use accounting documents like the cash flow statement to your advantage. They offer so much more insight than what meets the eye.

How Balance Sheets Can Help Grow Your Business

Financial statements serve so much more purpose than simply laying out the numbers for taxes and other filings. Smart business owners have successfully overcome obstacles and challenges by taking the time to consider financial standings when making decisions. One statement in particular  that is helpful when it comes to growing a company is the balance sheet. Confused by the idea that a simple balance sheet could help boost the growth of your business? Check out a few ways balance sheets are used to make business decisions by all of the top CEO's.

  • Obtain Line(s) of Credit: Since balance sheets clearly define your profits and losses, creditors are able to easily gauge whether or not you qualify for credit. They can also look into whether your business has already accrued too much debt by reviewing your list of assets and liabilities.
  • Where to Reduce: Balance sheets break down your financial standing in every department, allowing you to determine which areas need less resources and attention. You can also find out which areas need more resources and attention directed toward them, thus improving the efficiency of your business.
  • To Invest or Not to Invest: Business owners considering large investments could make no bigger mistake than not looking at their balance sheets beforehand. You need to know how much cash flow is coming in and how much is going out in order to decipher what your next moves should be.

The daily life of a business owner has its upsides and its downsides, but accounting is the tool that can make success easier. If you are ready to take your company to the next level, you should think like an accountant. Use your balance sheets to help you make smart business decisions that will grow your company the responsible way.

Using your Profit and Loss Statement to Make Business Decisions and Grow Your Company

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Is my business making money”? While the answer may seem simple, it's actually not. Instead of dwelling on the past, you should instead be asking yourself, “What can I do to grow my business”?

You will first need to know how your finances are looking. And the first step to figure out how much your business is really bringing in is to make sure you fully understand your financials. To familiarize yourself with the financial workings of your business, you will to need to look at your Profit and Loss Statement. Since this document lays out how much your business made and how much it lost over the fiscal year, it provides you with a visual snapshot of information that can help you better make decisions. Here are a few ways you can use your Profit and Loss Statement to make business decisions that will grow your company in the next few months and beyond.

Find Pitfalls and Wasteful Spending

For starters, assessing your Profit and Loss Statement gives you a snapshot of what you have earned, as well as any losses. This means you can easily spot any areas you need to cut back on to get your take home in the green.

Analyze Where You are Making Money

Don’t forget that just because a product is selling, it doesn’t mean that it is your most profitable product, and it doesn’t mean you are making money from it. Analyze what products you make the most money from and market those products.

Project Your Profits for Next Cycle

Reviewing your Profit and Loss Statement also helps you make estimates in order to establish short term and long term goals. You can't know where you are going if you don't know where you are.

Stop asking yourself if your business is making money or why you can’t grow your business and instead finally find out the truth. As you can see, understanding financials is a key aspect of responsible business ownership. Keep your Profit and Loss Statement handy when making business strategies, creating plans or laying out goal sheets. You will be surprised just how much you can learn from a simple Profit and Loss Statement!

Eight Ways to get Your Businesses Finances on Track

Eight Ways to get Your Businesses Finances on Track

Finances are a major part of running a successful business. Here are eight tips to help you get your business finances on track, and keep them on track:   

1.)    Keep your business and personal expenses separate. Start by opening up a business checking account, and then open any savings accounts solely for your business finances that will help you organize funds and plan for taxes. For instance, set up a savings account and stash away a percentage of each payment as your self-employed tax withholding.

2.)    Ensure that you are properly tracking and remitting your sales tax. Make sure you are signed up with the proper authorities and are filing and paying on a timely basis.

3.)    Calculate your gross margins. Do you know if you are making money on your products? Here are two definitions to know:

a.       Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): These are the direct costs incurred in producing products sold by a company. This includes both materials and direct labor costs.

b.      Gross Margin: This number represents the total sales revenue that is kept after the business incurs all direct costs to produce the product or service.

4.)    Build financial forecasts. We set personal goals and we set business goals, but why are we not setting goals for our finances? Work with your accountant to set financial goals for the month, quarter, and year.

5.)    Look at your cash flow patterns. Every winter you feel like you don’t have as much cash but you don’t know what to do about it. Here is the answer! Work with your accountant to know and understand your cash patterns so you can start to plan for the seasonality of your business.

6.)    Know the difference between a W2 employee and a 1099. It’s so exciting when we can start hiring staff to help in our businesses, but let’s not forget that we need to evaluate what they are doing for the business, how they should be paid, and the tax impact. Work with your accountant to ensure you have your contractors and employees classified correctly, and that you are keeping track of the payments and taxes paid.

7.)    Close out your books. Every month, or at least every quarter, every small business should close out their books and evaluate their financial progress. Work with your accountant to make sure all of your transactions are classified correctly, your accounts are reconciled, and you have evaluated your financial progress.

8.)    Compare your progress to your financial forecast. You worked so hard putting together your goals and forecasts, so make sure you are consistently evaluating the actual progress of your business and compare them to the goals you set. Don’t be discouraged by this exercise: Learn and repeat!

How to grow your business!

Developing a business in today's market does not have to be rocket science. Here are a few tips to help you grow your business in 2018 and achieve your professional dreams!

Set your goals: When was the last time you sat down and set clear, measurable goals? Identify what you want to accomplish, make a plan, and set a budget to help you reach those goals. Most importantly do not forget to measure your progress and celebrate your wins!

 Tell Your Brand's Story: Customers, clients, and consumers feel more comfortable dealing with brands they trust. How can you gain their trust? The answer is simple: Let them know who you are and what motivates you! Make sure you have a carefully crafted story that will appeal to and captivate your target audience for the best results.

 Update Your Website(s): When was the last time you audited your website? If it has been awhile, you should make those improvements now. You want your digital media to represent your brand, so you will need to make sure your website is operating properly and accurately reflects your business. And if you have not made your site mobile responsive, that should be your top priority.

 Get Involved Locally: You never know where, when, or how you will meet your next customer or client. This is why you typically see successful business owners highly involved with their local communities. Not sure how to find nearby socializing and networking events? Pick up a town bulletin, check out your city's social media/website, or ask an active neighbor.

 Educate Your Customer: Are you selling a product or service that helps consumers? Most businesses do. In order to develop a loyal customer base, it is recommended you provide them with some old-fashioned education. Let them know how your product/service will help improve their lives and watch your margins soar!

Offer a Rewards Program: Consumers are more likely to return to make another purchase or sign up for a service if they feel they are getting something for it. This is why incentive programs, coupon promotions, and exclusive discounts have shown to be effective methods for those growing a business.

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Four Key Performance Indicators to Better Manage Your Business

If you have managed a business for any amount of time, the phrase “key performance indicator” is probably not new. While it’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, it is often not fully understood.

At its most basic, a key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric that helps you understand how your business is performing. KPIs can help point your company in the right direction when it comes to following strategic goals to increase your client base or revenue stream, as well as other critical aspects of your business. Effective KPIs must be:

·         Quantifiable and well-defined;

·         Explained and clearly understood throughout your company;

·         Crucial to achieving a well-defined goal; and

·         Applicable and tailored to your company.

 

There are a few broad categories to consider when choosing KPIs relating to financial, customer, process and people metrics. Here are a few basic ones to start off with:

1.      Profit

This hardly goes without saying. Every business is in the business of making money. Even if this has nott been a well-defined, specified KPI, it is likely something that you think about and take into consideration on a daily basis.

2.      Cost

Along the same lines as #1, considering your costs (or how to decrease them) is a basic KPI that will be applicable to nearly every business.

3.      Customer Satisfaction and Retention

This is another pretty simple KPI to start looking into. The logic is pretty simple – keep customers happy and they will keep returning.

4.      Employee Turnover Rate

High employee turnover can be a huge expense for a company. If this is an issues for your business, it might be time to take a look at your company culture, work environment, and compensation packages.

 

4 Reasons Why Businesses Should Give Back to Their Communities

We feel really passionately that volunteering, donating, and offering your time and unique skills to help your community is a valuable asset both for you the community and for your business.

1.      Build Relationships with Your Community

Not only are you getting to help out the community that supports your business, but it can also help spread the word about your business when your company gets involved in local charity projects.

2.      Get The Employees Engaged

Giving back can help with a sense of fulfilment and belonging. If you get your employees involved with a project outside the office, it can have positive effects inside the office leading to happier, more engaged employees.

3.      Make People Want to Work For You

Nowadays, it’s not enough to offer a benefits package and a 401k. Employees are looking for jobs at companies that they feel are making a difference in their local community or in the global world. Positioning your company as a company that gives back can make your office a more desirable place to work for bright employees that might be looking for more than “just” a job.

4.      Build a Safety Net

The saying is true: what goes around comes around. If you get back to your community, if you ever find yourself in trouble, the community is going to be more likely to remember your help and offer assistance where otherwise they might not.

Prepare for Financial Success in 2018

Make this the year you clean up your books and get organized for 2018. Here’s a checklist to make sure that you’re ready to tackle the New Year.

1.      Ensure that your books from 2017 are reconciled with all items entered.

2.      Review the rules regarding employees and independent contractors to ensure that your employees are properly classified.

3.      Separate your business transactions from personal transactions. This could include opening separate business and personal credit cards and bank accounts.

4.      Tidy up your records, including getting rid of former clients from your books to make entering new information a snap.

5.      Either schedule a time each week to get your books up to date or consider hiring a bookkeeper to keep everything straight for you.

6.      Arrange a meeting to consult with a tax accountant to discuss any changes to tax law that could impact your business over the coming year.

7.      Review your bookkeeping procedures and look for areas of improvement, including tasks that could be streamlined or eliminated entirely.

8.      Stay consistent. The key to success is to keep it up throughout the year to keep the process from becoming a daunting chore.

How to choose the best software for your business.

With So Many Options, How Do You Know Which Accounting Software is the Best One for Your Business?

Let’s start at the beginning – why do you need accounting software?  Accounting software makes it easy to monitor your business by tracking expenses, invoicing customers, and generating reports to help you analyze how your business is performing, all in real time.

There are at least 20 different options for accounting software on the market currently.  Where do you start?  This is often times the most difficult part of the process.  Each program has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Here is a list of items to keep in mind when selecting the right software for your business:

Costs. Costs can range dramatically depending on the features within the program. It is important to understand how the price compares to available features when choosing accounting software. You do not want to buy overpriced software or waste money on features you will not use. Find out if the software offers a free trial or demo before purchasing. That way, you know exactly what features you are getting before you commit to the software.

Usability. Ease of use and accessibility for all users.

Features . Many factors go into determining which features you need for accounting software, to include the size of the business, industry, and recordkeeping requirements.

How much does accounting software cost?

Accounting software varies in cost, depending on the number of features included, the number of users supported, and many other factors. Most accounting software companies offer cloud-based software as a service, rather than purchasing a software license, and charge a monthly subscription fee. You can usually choose from multiple plans, each varying in features. Monthly charges range from $10 and $50 per month.  More expensive plans often include advanced features such as expense tracking, sales tracking, recurring invoices, automatic past-due billing, team functionalities, advanced reporting capabilities, inventory tracking, and purchase ordering. Many accounting software companies offer integrations to augment the software's capabilities or to connect it to another business program, at an additional cost.

What usability factors should you look for in accounting software?

To find the best accounting software for your business, you need to carefully consider how and where you want to use it and if anyone else will be using the system. Here are some factors to consider:

Multiuser access. Most accounting software products allow you to invite other/multiple users to the system and control the data they can see and the tasks they can access. You may wish to give your business partner and accountant full access, while only allowing your employees to use the system to track their time and invoice customers. Some systems allow you to invite multiple users at no additional cost; others provide accountant access but require you to subscribe to a higher pricing plan or pay extra if you want to add additional users to the system.

 

Multiple-business support. If you own more than one business, you may want accounting software that supports multiple small businesses under one account at no additional cost. Otherwise, you'll pay extra to set up separate accounts for each entity.

 

Cloud-based software and mobile access. Most accounting software is cloud-based, so you can access your account anywhere and at any time.

Which accounting software features does your small business need?

Accounting software offers many features and tools that can help you manage your finances. It should cater to your business's needs, making it easy to accomplish routine accounting tasks. It should also help you see the big picture of how your business is performing.

Many businesses say that ease of use and timesaving features are the top two things they look for in a program. Here are some of the features accounting software should offer to help you save time and better manage your finances:

Basic accounting features. Most small businesses can make do with accounting software that offers basic functions like invoicing, income, and expense tracking, financial report generation, and customer management.

 

Timesaving automations. Some accounting software can be set up to automate regular transactions. For example, invoicing customers every month for the same amount or sending a vendor a purchase order at the predetermined reorder point.

 

Tax preparation. Make your life easier with accounting software that helps you with your taxes.  Be prepared for the upcoming tax season by having all of your activity up to date.

 

Third-party integrations. Accounting software can make it easier to run your business by integrating with the programs and services you already use, automatically sharing data between systems in real time. Popular integrations include Point Of Sale systems, payment processing, payroll, and advanced inventory management.

Pros and cons of the most popular software

PC Magazine has a great comparison of all available cloud based software.   (https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2458748,00.asp)

Questions on this topic?  Reach out!

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More Than Just A Calculator

I am sure you are all aware of the stereotypical accountant, the one portrayed as the uptight, few social skills and the extreme focus on numbers in movies or TV shows. We as accountants are responsible for much more than the crunch time of numbers and strive to provide above and beyond services.

Personable, Friendly and Focused:

It is a must for accountants to be able to work well with co-workers, business partners, clients, and shareholders. Accountants proactively support their clients and the organizations they work with, whether it is with specific goals or ideas that need an accountant’s expertise.

Adaptable:

The accounting world continues to change, introducing accounting principles, tax laws and technology to accountants who are required to expand their knowledge. In order to stay afloat and provide clients the best expertise, accountants attend conferences, continue education course and adapt to new technology, which involves advances in tax software and cyber security challenges.

Trustworthy:

Accountants are ethically bound to keep the information they deal with secure, with salary information to social security numbers; accountants deal with a lot of information that is confidential in nature. Once accountants develop a good reputation, they are able to succeed with being trusted with a higher demand with business.

Accountable:

The responsibility of being deadline-driven is evident with tax due dates, financial statement deadlines, or closing year-ends. In order to stay on top of all the data that is given to us as accountants we must exceed in organizational skills and conscientiousness. Although good accountants do their best to make sure no mistakes are made, we are not perfect, but a great accountant will know when to own up to their mistakes and work diligently to make sure they do not happen frequently.

Creativeness:

Being a creative accountant is a huge impact on how we are able to come up with fresh ideas and strategies to solve dilemmas on which we come across. A good accountant knows how to approach creative ways to test controls, audit financial statements and use information to make creative and better decisions.

Great Under Pressure:

There will be a time where deadlines will be apparent as well as clients who need an answer immediately. Accounts know how to approach the situation and work under pressure, whether that is juggling multiple projects, clients, budgets, and deadlines without becoming lazy. The accounting profession involves several more things than crunching numbers. Accountants rise to demands that go far beyond the figures and their job description.

 

Every business is different; we want you to succeed at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time Accountant. Contact us at kickstartaccountinginc.com for more information.

Source: http://blog.accountingprincipals.com/spotlight-accountants/

Save Your Taxes With The Right Accountant

As a business owner, there are important items in each state that can benefit you as a corporation, partnership, and/or sole proprietor that will save you taxes each year and in some states you might not have to pay taxes on your business income at all. The tax code is approximately 70,000 pages long, making it understandable why small business owners have trouble navigating it. Here are some ways to approach the effort of saving money on business taxes.

Accountable Plans: The reimbursement for employee’s travel, entertainment, tools or other costs is best done with the accountable plan. This plan will deduct the expenses from the business rather than reporting reimbursements as income to employees. Ultimately the business will save money from the employment taxes.

Tax-Free Approaches: Consider talking to your accountant about maintaining a successful business without triggering tax. Topics may include tax-free fringe benefits and loans to you on a no or low interest basis.

Year End Planning: Tax planning is a year-round responsibility but there can be more success with savings when the actions are done at the end of the year. It is important to revalue your assets that are listed on your books as well submitting your taxes and filing them on time.

Redeveloping the Business Structure: The key to saving on taxes may result in a new business structure.  This can be discussed with your accountant to sort out all the numbers.

Make sure you go to the right accountants that are there for you 24/7 and can answer all of your business and/or personal tax questions and do the job to save you the taxpayer, the most every year.

Contact us at kickstartaccountinginc.com

Source:

https://sba.thehartford.com/finance/10-ways-for-small-business-owners-to-save-on-taxes

Necessary Accounting Steps for New Businesses

Ensuring you have the proper accounting and bookkeeping procedures in place is one of the most critical aspects of starting a business. Unfortunately, they are also often the most overlooked. Here are seven steps to help new business owners have a strong financial start.

1.     Determine Entity Type – It is critical to select the correct entity type up front and based on complete information. You should discuss this choice with a skilled Certified Public Accountant (CPA) before making a final decision since it has long-term tax and legal implications.  

2.     Open a Dedicated Business Bank Account – Your business funds should never be intermixed with other funds, especially personal funds. Setting up a separate business account is not only the smart move from a legal standpoint, it will also make life easier when handling accounting and bookkeeping for your business. 

3.     Set-up a Bookkeeping System or Hire a Professional – It is important to accurately track, analyze, and record daily transactions. There are multiple programs out there that will do this for you, or you may find that outsourcing your bookkeeping is the best option for your business.

4.     Track Business Expenses – There are many expenses incurred when starting and running a business, so make sure you are collecting the required receipts and documentation as you go. These include business related expenses for meals, travel (to include vehicle use), and gifts.

5.     Establish a Budget and Forecast – It is essential to estimate your incoming and outgoing expenses for your business in both the short term and future. This will help you to set goals for your new venture and understand the basic financial health of the business.

6.     Establish Payroll System – Even if you do not have employees, you still need to pay yourself.  It is not as easy as transferring funds or writing a check. Similar to bookkeeping, there are programs you can use to handle payroll or you may want to consider outsourcing this task depending the number of employees and complicity of the task.

7.     Clearly Understand your Tax Requirements – You need to comply with tax obligations from day one. This includes understanding sales tax requirements and your tax payment schedule. The schedule alone varies depending on your tax entity, income, and the amount you will owe in taxes.

 

Kickstart Accounting, Inc. is here to help if you need assistance with any of these steps or are considering outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping needs. Contact us today at support@kickstartaccountinginc.com or through our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/kickstartaccountinginc/.

 

Source:

https://www.shopify.com/blog/15334373-small-business-accounting-101-ten-steps-to-get-your-startup-on-track

http://founderscpa.com/new-business-accounting-checklist/

Choosing the Right Accountant

You work hard to make your business profitable, and it is important to hire the best person or firm to handle your finances. An accountant will serve as a trusted advisor and partner as you continue to operate and grow your business. Here are a few items to consider when selecting the right accountant for you:

~~Clearly Understand Your Needs Before you begin the selection process, it is important to have a solid understanding of your current situation and business needs. Do you need someone to handle everyday bookkeeping and weekly payroll? Are you hiring a firm to provide general accounting expertise and recommendations regarding the financial health of your business? Some firms offer both bookkeeping and accounting services, while others only specialize in one area. Starting with a strong knowledge of the services you need will help to shape your search and make the process go smoothly.

~~Ask for Referrals There are many accountants and accounting firms out there. As such, starting your search can be intimidating. To narrow your options, ask your friends, fellow business owners, and trusted advisors (like an attorney) for recommendations. You can also find options through the Society of Certified Public Accountants in your state, as well as through various online resources.

~~Do Your Research Once you have a few potential accountants and firms picked out, it is time to start researching to ensure they meet your needs. Begin by reviewing their website and social media pages to make sure they offer the right services. Additionally, confirm they have the appropriate credentials and hire Certified Public Accountants.

~~Schedule a Meeting An in-person meeting with a potential accountant is important before making a final decision. While your accountant does not have to be your best friend, it is important that they are someone you feel comfortable working with. This is also the appropriate time to discuss fees and costs, along with frequency of services and correspondence. You may also want to request a list of references focusing on businesses similar in size to your own.

These tips should help you during your search for the right accountant. Once you select and hire an accountant, remember to maintain the relationship. This includes checking in periodically to reevaluate your services. As your business grows, your financial needs may change or increase.