Small Business Owners: Accounting Is for Profit Planning, Not Just Tax Preparation

One might be led to believe that profit is the main objective in a business but in reality it is the cash flowing in and out of a business which keeps the doors open. The concept of profit is somewhat narrow and only looks at expenses and income at a certain point in time. Cash flow, on the other hand, is more dynamic in the sense that it is concerned with the movement of money in and out of a business. It is concerned with the time at which the movement of the money takes place. Profits do not necessarily coincide with their associated cash inflows and outflows. The net result is that cash receipts often lag cash payments and while profits may be reported, the business may experience a short-term cash shortage. For this reason, it is essential to forecast cash flows as well as project likely profits. In these terms, it is important to know how to convert your accrual profit to your cash flow profit. You need to be able to maintain enough cash on hand to run the business, but not so much as to forfeit possible earnings from other uses.Why accounting is neededHelp you to operate better as a business owner

Make timely decisions

Know when to hire a team of employees

Know how to price your products

Know how to label your expense items

Helps you to determine whether to expand or not

Helps with operations projected costs

Stop Fraud and Theft

Control the biggest problem is internal theft

Reconcile your books and inventory control of equipment

Raising Capital (help you to explain financials to stakeholders)



What are the Best Practices in Accounting for Small Businesses to address your common ‘pain points’?

Hire or consult with CPA or accountant

What is the best way and how often to contact

What experience do you have in my industry?

Identify what is my break-even point?

Can the accountant assess the overall value of my business

Can you help me grow my business with profit planning techniques

How can you help me to prepare for tax season

What are some special considerations for my particular industry?

To succeed, your company must be profitable. All your business objectives boil down to this one simple fact. But turning a profit is easier said than done. In order to boost your bottom line, you need to know what’s going on financially at all times. You also need to be committed to tracking and understanding your KPIs.What are the common Profitability Metrics to Track in Business — key performance indicators (KPI)Whether you decide to hire an expert or do it yourself, there are some metrics that you should absolutely need to keep tabs on at all times:

Outstanding Accounts Payable: Outstanding accounts payable (A/P) shows the balance of cash you currently owe to your suppliers.

Average Cash Burn: Average cash burn is the rate at which your business’ cash balance is going down on average each month over a specified time period. A negative burn is a good sign because it indicates your business is generating cash and growing its cash reserves.

Cash Runaway: If your business is operating at a loss, cash runway helps you estimate how many months you can continue before your business exhausts its cash reserves. Similar to your cash burn, a negative runway is a good sign that your business is growing its cash reserves.

Gross Margin: Gross margin is a percentage that demonstrates the total revenue of your business after subtracting the costs associated with creating and selling your business’ products. It is a helpful metric to identify how your revenue compares to your costs, allowing you to make changes accordingly.

Customer Acquisition Cost: By knowing how much you spend on average to acquire a new customer, you can tell exactly how many customers you need to generate a profit.

Customer Lifetime Value: You need to know your LTV so that you can predict your future revenues and estimate the total number of customers you need to grow your profits.

Break-Even Point:How much do I need to generate in sales for my company to make a profit?Knowing this number will show you what you need to do to turn a profit (e.g., acquire more customers, increase prices, or lower operating expenses).

Net Profit: This is the single most important number you need to know for your business to be a financial success. If you aren’t making a profit, your company isn’t going to survive for long.

Total revenues comparison with last year/last month. By tracking and comparing your total revenues over time, you’ll be able to make sound business decisions and set better financial goals.

Average revenue per employee. It’s important to know this number so that you can set realistic productivity goals and recognize ways to streamline your business operations.

The following checklist lays out a recommended timeline to take care of the accounting functions that will keep you attuned to the operations of your business and streamline your tax preparation. The accuracy and timeliness of the numbers entered will affect the key performance indicators that drive business decisions that need to be made, on a daily, monthly and annual basis towards profits.Daily Accounting Tasks

Review your daily Cash flow position so you don’t ‘grow broke’.

Since cash is the fuel for your business, you never want to be running near empty. Start your day by checking how much cash you have on hand.Weekly Accounting Tasks2. Record TransactionsRecord each transaction (billing customers, receiving cash from customers, paying vendors, etc.) in the proper account daily or weekly, depending on volume. Although recording transactions manually or in Excel sheets is acceptable, it is probably easier to use accounting software like QuickBooks. The benefits and control far outweigh the cost.3. Document and File ReceiptsKeep copies of all invoices sent, all cash receipts (cash, check and credit card deposits) and all cash payments (cash, check, credit card statements, etc.).Start a vendors file, sorted alphabetically, (Sears under “S”, CVS under “C,”etc.) for easy access. Create a payroll file sorted by payroll date and a bank statement file sorted by month. A common habit is to toss all paper receipts into a box and try to decipher them at tax time, but unless you have a small volume of transactions, it’s better to have separate files for assorted receipts kept organized as they come in. Many accounting software systems let you scan paper receipts and avoid physical files altogether4. Review Unpaid Bills from VendorsEvery business should have an “unpaid vendors” folder. Keep a record of each of your vendors that includes billing dates, amounts due and payment due date. If vendors offer discounts for early payment, you may want to take advantage of that if you have the cash available.5. Pay Vendors, Sign ChecksTrack your accounts payable and have funds earmarked to pay your suppliers on time to avoid any late fees and maintain favorable relationships with them. If you are able to extend payment dates to net 60 or net 90, the better. Whether you make payments online or drop a check in the mail, keep copies of invoices sent and received using accounting software.6. Prepare and Send InvoicesBe sure to include payment terms. Most invoices are due within 30 days, noted as “Net 30″ at the bottom of your invoice. Without a due date, you will have more trouble forecasting revenue for the month. To make sure you get paid on time, always use an invoice form that contains the right details such as payment terms, itemized charges, and your payment address.7. Review Projected Cash FlowManaging your cash flow is critical, especially in the first year of your business. Forecasting how much cash you will need in the coming weeks/months will help you reserve enough money to pay bills, including your employees and suppliers. Plus, you can make more informed business decisions about how to spend it.All you need is a simple statement showing your current cash position, expected cash receipts during the next week/month and expected cash payments during the next week/month.8. Executive Dashboard (weekly review)This dashboard gives you a ‘snapshot’ of your operations on a weekly basis.It consist of Cash on Hand, Cash burn rate, Account Receivables, Accounts Payable, Items sold, Inventory on Hand, inventory turns, outstanding issues in the business, and gross profit margin, new sales wins, customer losses, customer service performance, on time delivery rate and product quality performance.Monthly Accounting Tasks9. Balance Your Business CheckbookJust as you reconcile your personal checking account, you need to know that your cash business transaction entries are accurate each month and that you are working with the correct cash position. Reconciling your cash makes it easier to discover and correct any errors or omissions-by you or by the bank-in time to correct them.10. Review Past-Due (“Aged”) ReceivablesBe sure to include an “aging” column to separate “open invoices” with the number of days a bill is past due. This gives you a quick view of outstanding customer payments. The beginning of the month is a good time to send out overdue reminder statements to customers, clients and anyone else who owes you money.At the end of your fiscal year, you will be looking at this account again to determine what receivables you will need to send to collections or write off for a deduction11. Analyze Inventory StatusIf you have inventory, set aside time to reorder products that sell quickly and identify others that are moving slowly and may have to be marked down or, ultimately, written off. By checking regularly (and comparing to prior months’ numbers), it’s easier to make adjustments so you are neither short nor overloaded.12. Process or Review Payroll and Approve Tax PaymentsWhile you have an established schedule to pay your employees (usually semi-monthly), you need to meet payroll tax requirements based on federal, state and local laws at different times, so be sure to withhold, report and deposit the applicable income tax, social security, Medicare and disability taxes to the appropriate agencies on the required dates.Review the payroll summary before payments are disbursed to avoid having to make corrections during the next payroll period. A payroll service provider can do all this to save you time and ensure accuracy at a reasonable cost.13. Review Actual Profit and Loss vs. Budget and vs. Prior YearsEach month, take the time to review your budgeted expenses and compare them to what you have actually spent. Are you spending above or below budget? Discuss the variances and take action as neededYour profit and loss statement (also known as an income statement), both for the current month and year to date, tells you how much you earned and how much you spent. Measure it against your budget every month (or quarter). Comparing your actual numbers to your planned numbers highlights where you may be spending too much or not enough, so that you can make changes.If you have not prepared a budget, compare your current year-to-date P&L with the same prior-period year-to-date P&L to identify variances and make adjustments.14. Review Month-End Balance Sheet vs. Prior PeriodBy comparing your balance sheet at one date-June 30, 2015, for example-to a balance sheet from an earlier date (December 31, 2014), you get a picture of how you are managing assets and liabilities. The key is to look for what is significantly up and/or down and understand why. For example, if your accounts receivable are up, is it due to increased recent sales or because of slower payments from customers?Quarterly Accounting Tasks15. Prepare/Review Revised Annual P&L EstimateIt’s time to evaluate how much money you are actually making, whether your net assets are going up or down, the difference between revenues and expenses, what caused those changes, how you are spending profits, as well as identifying trouble spots, and making adjustments to improve sales and margins.16. Review Quarterly Payroll Reports and Make PaymentsYou have been reviewing your semi-monthly payroll reports. However, the IRS and most states require quarterly payroll reports and any remaining quarterly payments. Again, it’s best if your payroll service provider completes these reports and files them. Your job is to review to make sure they appear reasonable.17. Review Sales Tax and Make Quarterly PaymentsIf your company operates in a state that requires sales tax, make sure you comply to avoid serious penalties. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help you determine your state tax obligations.18. Compute Estimated Income Tax and Make PaymentThe IRS and states that have income taxes require you to pay estimated income taxes. Review your year-to-date P&L to see if you owe any estimated taxes for that quarter. Your tax accountant can assist if necessary.Annual Accounting Tasks19. Review Past-Due ReceivablesNow it’s time to check significant past due receivables and decide whether you think customers will eventually pay, whether to send past due bills to a collection agency or whether to write them off for a deduction.20. Review Your InventoryReview your current inventory to determine the value of items not sold. Any write-down of inventory translates to a deduction on your year-end taxes. If you do not write down unsellable inventory, you are overstating your inventory balance and paying additional taxes that you don’t owe.21. Fill out IRS Forms W-2 and 1099-MISCThe IRS has a January 31 deadline that requires you to report the annual earnings of your full-time employees (W-2s) and most independent contractors (1099s). This deadline includes mailing copies of the tax forms to the people who worked for you. Note: A 1099 form is not required for any contractors who earned less than $600. Consider saving time and avoiding errors with an e-filing service.22. Review full-year financial reports for tax reporting

Get organized

Collect and store important documents (use apps and calendars for help)

Create email folders to store bank statement and receipts

Store contracts and agreements

Track miles and vehicle expenses

Store all required documents for your business type.

Tax Preparation

Tax preparation is a historical view and not a profit planning event

Capture all relevant events

Identify all deduction categories

Capture all meals

Meetings —-whatever was discussed/calendar

Try not to go over industry average industry cost for meals.

At tax time, carefully review your company’s full-year financial reports before giving them to your accountant. Before you sign your return, be sure to review it for accuracy based on your full-year financial reports. Remember if IRS audits due to underpayment, they will deal with you not your accountant for any additional taxes, penalty and interest.If you don’t have the bandwidth to do all this yourself, a great strategy is to partner with a monthly accounting service. Outsourcing your accounting to an expert will simplify your life and give you more time to focus on running your business operations.A monthly accountant will provide you with a profit and loss sheet, balance statement, and accurate account reconciliation every month, ensuring that you have the financial information you need to make the best choices for your company.

Bose Lifestyle V35 – 3 Main Features You Should Consider

Are you in search of a superior home entertainment system? There are several kinds of entertainment system to choose from. But if you are looking for something different and truly exceptional when it comes to providing great sound and entertainment, the Bose Lifestyle V35 is the best choice. In fact, it is highly acclaimed by a lot of music buffs.This article is meant for music lovers who want to experience one-of-a-kind sound and home entertainment at the same time. Obviously, there are numerous home entertainment bundles that are available in the market. But, not all can provide superior sound performance unlike the others. As a matter of fact, only Bose Lifestyle V35 Home Entertainment can bring the greatest level of melodic satisfaction and fulfillment. It is a high-tech music system that offers unwavering brilliant surround sound.Do you want to know why this device is cut above the rest? Well, there are various features that make Bose Lifestyle V35 as a premium home entertainment device. The following are just some of the best features of this excellent musical device:1. Sound – The Bose Lifestyle V35 Home Entertainment can make you feel like you are inside a first-class cinema. Why is it so? It is because of the fact that it can give you a cinema-like ambiance especially when you use it with a full HDTV. No need to go outside your home just to feel the comfort of listening to great surround sound.2. Speakers – The Bose Lifestyle V35 takes pride to give you jewel cube speakers to set it apart from the rest. These speakers have the ability to generate magnificent sounds, whether it is in high or low notes. It is a well-known fact that each and every of us has its own favorite of choice when it comes to music, whether it be in classic, pop, hip-hop, or jazz. But, with Bose Lifestyle V35 Home Entertainment you can experience the best of both worlds.3. Other Features – There are other great features of the Bose Lifestyle V35 that you must take into consideration. These features include onscreen setup assistance and automatic room arrangement. This is what makes this device different from others. Furthermore, the design is somewhat fantastic that actually gives you a unique experience of a first-class home entertainment system.If you will notice, these are just a few reasons why you should choose Bose Lifestyle V35 when you want a superb and seamless surround sound and very fresh video. This is the home entertainment system that is specially designed to suit the taste of every music enthusiast. You can never go wrong when you purchase this system for it offers not only exquisite design but also outstanding sound performance.

Bad Credit Financing For You

Are you trying to determine what bad credit finance options that are available to you? You need a new automobile, but you are unsure of who will finance it due to your bad credit?There is no need to be too concerned about financing if you have bad credit. There are several different financing methods that are available to most people, regardless of their credit history. The interest rates may be higher or they may require a larger down payment, but they may be just what you need to get financing for your purchase.Financing a CarIf you need a new or used automobile, but you have bad credit, then your best source for financing will most likely be a finance company rather than a bank.There are some companies that offer people with bad credit financing. The financing usually is dependent upon the vehicle chosen, where you buy the vehicle, and what insurance and driving records that you hold.There are other things that the finance company will consider as well, including your income, cosignors that you can get for the loan, and any other references that you may be able to provide.Financing a HomeReal estate financing is a little trickier to find if you have bad credit, but it is in some ways easier to finance due to the collateral being the home.Some of the big considerations that are looked at when trying to get a mortgage loan with bad credit include income, home or real estate insurance that you have to purchase, how much your down payment is, and any references from past landlords that you may have.You can find bad credit mortgage financing online, at some real estate companies, and at finance companies. You only have to be willing to look for them.Other Kinds of FinancingIf you need to find financing for other items, like electronics or collectible items, then you may find that this is more difficult.The reason why it is more difficult to find financing for these smaller items is that they are much harder to repossess and to find buyers for them after they have been repossessed. These reasons make lenders more wary of financing people with bad credit. You may need to consider other ways to get the money to purchase these kinds of times if they are needed.It may be possible to find a lender that will finance these items, even if you have bad credit. If you are rejected, however, you should ask them if they have some recommendations of where you might get financing.

How You Could Profit From Your Hobby by Taking a Professional Photography Course Online

The economic changes of the past eighteen months or so have led many to start researching on how to make some extra income. So whether you’re trying to supplement your current income to save for something special or you’re looking for the right option for a complete career change, professional photography could be a really viable option.So how could you profit from photography? There are so many different options in photography and so many different target markets that you could get into if you have the right skills. Now, the availability of on-line tutor assisted photography courses makes this an attainable goal.The availability of these online courses allows aspiring photographers who would like to turn professional have all the benefits of having a personal tutor, with none of the disadvantages of travelling to lectures, having to attend classes at particular times and having to work to pressurised deadlines. Distance learning based photography courses allows the person who wants to profit from photography to learn, work and study in their own time, and fit their career development around their family and business commitments. It allows participants to stay in their current employment while still developing their skills to change careers, or even to plan for an additional income stream so that they can earn the extra cash for a family holiday, upcoming wedding, or home renovations. Many of the top US financial experts say that if home owners had had an extra $1000 a month spending capacity their home repossessions could have been avoided.So what areas could you get into if you were to attend an online photography school and develop professional skills that can be turned into hard cash?Well, one of the most obvious options in Wedding Photography…everyone who’s having a wedding needs a photographer, and people skilled in wedding photography and the related business skills required to run a wedding photography business can earn around $1000 for a SINGLE wedding. You could have all this, doing something that you love doing, while developing a second income stream or going full time.And how about Glamour photography. Imagine learning how to enhance photographs with lighting, how to set up your own studio, how to get the model to pose correctly, and how to sell your images. You would also need to learn how to edit and improve photographs after they’ve been taken, all very exciting stuff.Yet, another way to profit from photography is Freelance photography…knowing how to capture, market and sell top quality freelance images….if you learn about current photo markets and who needs your services from the experts, you could save a lot of time and money by trying it trial and error….learn professionally and get access to the knowledge and experience of those who have already done this and understand current market trends. To succeed in Freelance Photography, you need to understand commissioned photography, stock photography, how to research your market, find clients, submit photographs and understand the legal side of the business. But all of these skills can be easily learned at a great on line photography school.The first step is to learn the basics, whether it’s film photography or digital that you’re most interested in. Then, depending on where your passion lies, move onto learning about black and white photography, or maybe even a course on perfecting the art of taking landscape shots. Whether you just want to focus on one niche market, or you want to become a very versatile professional photographer, there are many excellent online photography schools where you can start to profit from photography.Copyright (c) 2009 Aileen Gallagher