bookkeeping

Why You Should Clean-up Your Books At The End Of The Year

As the end of the year nears, every business must attend to their 2015 books one last time. Transactions need to be recorded, accounts must be reconciled and outstanding bills have to be settled once and for all. A clean set of books gives you an overview of how your business performed over the past year and positions you for a strong start in the new year. Below are three specific advantages to cleaning up your books before the year ends.

1. Get prepared for tax time

Tax planning is one of the main reason your books need to be cleaned up before the end of the year. It allows your tax accountant to take your current books, add estimated income through the end of the year and arrive at projected taxable income. In some cases, there are financial decisions that you and your tax accountant can make prior to years-end that reduces your taxable income.

Too many businesses push off their clean-up work until their tax deadline approaches. By doing your cleanup work now, you’ll have everything ready to hand off to your tax preparer when the time comes. It will make their life much easier and allows them to focus on maximizing your deductions and putting you in the best possible tax situation.

2. Uncover what worked and what can improve

Your books tell the story of the past year of your business. By diving deep into your records you can come to understand all the areas of your business that made or lost you money throughout the year. Perhaps a specific sales channel outperformed others? Maybe the entirety of a particular expense was more than you budgeted for? Was your COGS appropriately proportionate to your revenue? These are the types of insights you can get from working on your books at the end of the year. 

3. Start strong in 2016

Once you understand everything that impacted your business throughout the year, you can use those learnings to improve your operations next year. You can create a thorough budget that will guide you towards a successful 2016. And you’ll have the assurance that you're starting the year with clean and current financial records that you can refer to at anytime.

An updated set of books can provide a wealth of information about your business and prepare you for your tax filing. That being said, doing the clean-up requires a great deal of work.

The good news is BookKeeping Express can help you begin 2016 with accurate and up-to-date books. Sign up for our bookkeeping services before December 31 and get free set-up and 25 percent off clean-up work. Learn more at bookkeepingexpress.com/year-end-special.

 

How To Keep Employees Motivated During The Holidays

The holiday season is now upon us and so too is the busy season for many businesses. If you’re a business owner, there’s a good chance you’re gearing up for a couple long, hectic months. However, it’s good to keep in the mind that your employees likely have a lot going on outside of work during the holidays. They might be preparing to travel, host family and friends or attend the many social events that come up this time of year – in addition to working hard during the busy stretch at their job.

In order to get through this busy time of year, you’re going to need to get the most out of your staff. Here are a few simple gestures that can help keep them motivated this holiday season.

Give each staff member a gift

It’s the giving season so giving each staff member a gift can be a great way to show your appreciation for their work. Just be sure you have the budget and expense for the purchase properly. Providing your bookkeeper with the details of the purchase will help them properly expense it and prevent them from having to come to you and ask what was bought. If you choose to give a cash gift, you will want to make sure that you share those details with your bookkeeper as well (i.e. if it was your personal cash, you will want to get credit for the investment into the business).

Be flexible with time-off

You’re going to need all hands on deck but there will be situations when employees need time off. Sometimes a person will need to to leave early for a holiday gathering, other times they’ll need a few days off to travel.

Do your best to be accommodate these requests within reason. Having the right HR and payroll tools makes it easy for you to manage time-off requests and schedule staff members accordingly.

Throw an office party

A company-sponsored party is a great way for your staff to enjoy the holidays together. It can boost morale and let your team interact with each other in a friendly setting.

Like holiday gifts, it’s important to properly budget and expense your party. Again, notifying your bookkeeper of any purchases will prevent them from having to follow up and will also help them expense it correctly.

Be optimistic about next year

People naturally have optimistic thoughts about the coming new year. We see the fresh start as an opportunity to set goals toward self-improvement.

Share your business goals and plans for 2016 with your staff so they can feel optimistic about their work too. They’re likely setting resolutions about their career and knowing where the company is heading can help motivate them going into the new year.

What Does it Mean to "Reconcile Revenue"?

By Lauren Crum  Email Lauren

As a business owner, you have a lot to juggle. And it’s likely you are constantly keeping an eye on your bank account to see how much money you have available. But how do you know if you’ve received all the funds from each day’s sales? Did the merchant processor transfer the payments that were due for that day? Were cash deposits made by your manager on time?

The easiest way to determine if you received what was expected is to enter each day’s revenue into your bookkeeping software. You should group the transactions into categories (cash received, credit card payments, and gift card sales/redemptions), so your records are organized and easy to make sense of. Then each month (or even better, each week), you should compare your expected receipts for each category to what was actually deposited in your bank account. If the amount you expected is not received within a reasonable period, you should research the difference.

At BKE, we reconcile your revenue for you. For one of our clients, BKE identified a situation where thousands of dollars were missing because their merchant processor had made an error and not transferred the funds for several days of activity.  

We identified another situation where a business’s general manager was not making cash deposits until days after the cash transactions were recorded. It turns out, he was loaning himself the money, then repaying it with future deposits. BKE found these inconsistencies because we were recording the expected receipts and comparing them to the amounts received by the bank on a timely basis.    

Reconciling revenue is a time-consuming process but really is necessary to make sure you are receiving all the funds due to your business. If you would like to learn more about how BKE can help with your bookkeeping, contact us today.

More Invoicing Tips & Tricks

  By Mariah Venus       Email Mariah

Today I want to talk through invoicing features and some other important aspects of invoicing.

Great Invoicing Features

Most invoicing modules have pre-built tools to gain efficiency and consistency.  Some examples of these tools are listed below:

  • Recurring invoices - most invoicing add-ons and accounting software applications have a recurring feature for invoices.  Utilize this for clients for which you do regular recurring services or have a monthly contract with.  This automation will limit your need for data entry and give you back valuable time!
  • Copy or duplicate - often you may find yourself creating invoices with the same basic items and descriptors.  Most invoicing add-ons and accounting software applications have the ability to copy or duplicate a previously created invoice.  You can do this either for the same customer who often has the same needs or across customers with similar sales.
  • Items - you can create pre-detailed items that include all the applicable data (name, description, price) or even create generic items that have some of the common info -- and allow you to fill in the rest on individual invoices.  i.e. - you provide a service that changes slightly from client to client but is always charged at the same rate. Create a generic item called Services, provide a generic description with room for you to modify it later and leave the price section 0.00.  When it is time to create an invoice, use this item, fill in the blanks in description and update price according to the agreement with your client.   
  • Job costing or business expensing - many tools will actually allow you to associate specific costs or expenses directly with a customer, making it easier to track the items you need to charge your customers.

Planning

Invoicing should be done in accordance with your company policies and processes.  You will want to decide how, what, and when before services even begin.  Keeping your invoicing consistent will not only make the process easier for you, it will keep your clients happier!

Remember, just because you’ve been managing your invoicing the same way forever, doesn’t mean you can’t go back and change settings and modify policies to get things ship-shape now!

 

Accuracy

Finally, check, double check and triple check your invoices before sending them to clients.  Data errors, misspellings, bad grammar or punctuation and/or incorrect totals will cause your clients to lose faith in you and actually make it less likely they’ll pay you quickly.  Remember, your invoices are samples of your business advertising and branding, and you want your invoices to be perfect.  Not only that, but as the communiqué that gets you paid, you want the terms and details to be perfect.  

 

Make sure to check out my first Invoicing Tips & Tricks, too. Subscribe to our posts to get updates sent to your inbox, or check back frequently. 

 

Happy invoicing!

BookKeeping Express “Books” $5.8 Million Series A of Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TYSONS CORNER, Va. (March 3, 2015) – BookKeeping Express (BKE), the leader in personalized business bookkeeping services that seamlessly integrates a sophisticated, cloud-based financial reporting platform with oversight from a team of accounting experts to make the business financial process more efficient and affordable, announced today it has closed a $5.8 million Series A round of funding. The financing was led exclusively by Paulson Investment Company, a leading investment firm focused on high-growth companies, with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Portland and New York.

The capital will enable BKE to invest in new technologies, personnel and operational infrastructure, as well as better assist its hundreds of clients across the country, ranging from small mom-and-pop businesses to industry leaders like Great Clips, Anytime Fitness and Aire Serv® of The Dwyer Group®, as it continues its disruption of the bookkeeping industry by combining technology and people to simplify back-office operations for the business owner.

“This financing will help us take our company to the next level and advance our industry disruption,” said Keith Mueller, CEO of BookKeeping Express. “We have one mission: to help businesses solve an imperative piece of the operations puzzle by combining secure, cloud-based technology with an experienced team of accounting experts, enabling business owners to focus on their business rather than in their business. These additional resources will help us do that.”

BKE provides business owners with a full range of integrated bookkeeping and financial reporting services traditionally only reserved for big corporations. Through its cloud-based Executive Accounting Platform, BKE provides small to medium-sized businesses with a suite of integrated Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services, such as bill pay, payroll and monthly data entry, for the same price that its competitors would charge for only journal entry. In addition to the technology component, each business owner is matched up with a skilled team of bookkeepers, providing an added layer of support and guidance.

With the goal of surpassing 10,000 clients over the next five years, BookKeeping Express expects to become the de facto standard for bookkeeping and financial reporting.

For more information about BookKeeping Express, visit www.bookkeepingexpress.com or contact 877-525-5337.

Read more about the release here:

- - -

About BookKeeping Express

BookKeeping Express Enterprises (BKE), the leader in secure cloud-based business bookkeeping services, provides essential financial solutions to small- and medium-sized businesses by offering a full range of transaction processing reporting services traditionally only reserved for Fortune 5000 companies. By combining technology and people, BKE is disrupting the industry and simplifying operations for businesses through full integration. To learn more about BookKeeping Express, visit www.bookkeepingexpress.com.

Media Contact Alicia Aldrich Fishman Public Relations (847) 945-1300 ext. 246 aaldrich@fishmanpr.com

Is basic bookkeeping really basic?

Managing the bookkeeping for your business – it doesn't sound so bad at first, right? But when you dig deep into everything that goes into managing your business finances, it can be daunting. It turns out that bookkeeping is time consuming and complicated! Some have used the term tedious, and this For Dummies article "Basic Bookkeeping for your Small Business" goes as far as to use the term “drudgery” when describing the duties that go into small business bookkeeping.

The For Dummies article gives an overview of bookkeeping with the goal of getting you started.

There are six bullet points in the article:

  • Prepare source documents for all transactions, operations, and other events of the business.
  • Determine and enter in source documents the financial effects of the transactions and other events of the business.
  • Make original entries of financial effects into journals and accounts, with appropriate references to source documents.
  • Perform end-of-period procedures.
  • Compile the adjusted trial balance.
  • Close the books.

When you look at these six bullet points you might think "Hey, that’s not so hard!"

But the truth of it is that bookkeeping is a sensitive task. It can be time consuming, especially if you’re not experienced at it. It needs to be done by someone who is trustworthy, and the actual work needs to be kept in a safe and secure place. Most important of all? The numbers need to add up, especially when tax time comes around!

So what are your options for managing your business finances? You can hire a new, trustworthy, experienced employee to work on your books, or you can outsource the task to a bookkeeping or accounting firm. What you really need is someone who understands your industry, what you do as a company, and the best way to work with you – all important factors to make sure that your books are done correctly. Working with a quality bookkeeping service will help simplify your life and ease the process of running your small business, enabling you to focus on what really matters – making your business successful!

Watch this quick video to learn more about how BKE

can help alleviate your bookkeeping pain.

BKE's Keith Mueller Talks Employee Theft Prevention During the Holidays

It’s a fact that small to medium size business struggle with occupational fraud during the holidays. BookKeeping Express CEO Keith Mueller wrote "Preventing Holiday Season Employee Theft" in Small Business Opportunities. The article recommends that business owners safeguard their company during the holiday season and beyond with the following steps:

  • Pre-employment background checks
  • More than one employee overseeing the financial system
  • Limit employee access to back-office information
  • Spot-check audits
  • Outsource sensitive financial systems

Enjoy the full article and have a happy, safe and fraud-free holiday season!