You can’t keep prices the same indefinitely, but raising them is always a gamble. Consumers can — and do — compare prices anywhere, anytime, on everything.
If your bottom line needs a boost, raising prices can definitely help — as long as you map out a strategy and avoid some common pitfalls.
Promote, Promote, Promote
When you’re ready to roll out the increase, plan to roll out some promotions and coupons at the same time to take the sting out of higher prices. The discounts will help keep your most cost-conscious consumers in the fold. Making discounts and coupons readily available establishes the perception that all your prices are reasonable, which may or may not be true.
If you’re concerned about promotions hurting your bottom line, don’t be. Not all of your customers will clip coupons or shop sales. Ideally, you’ll sell enough items at a higher price to raise the average sale. If that’s not happening, you can always give prices another nudge, although it’s better to go with one large increase than several small ones.
Another way to improve your financial picture is to cut costs. One common tactic is to keep the price the same but shrink the amount of product (e.g., a skinnier box of cereal or slimmer container of juice). But this can backfire. If customers discover the change and feel cheated, you could become the target of a social media campaign, which could turn out badly. You could end up with less business and a ruined reputation.
Thinking outside the box (rather than shrinking it) might provide some opportunities to increase revenue. For instance, you might be able to unbundle a popular product. You can actually lower the price of the basic item, then add additional charges for each bell and whistle.
Big box stores and online shopping may help customers find lower prices, but there’s one thing they can’t do. They can’t give their customers the kind of service you can. That’s a value only small businesses can offer. If you do it right, it can help you weather a price increase.
Call us today for more tips on how to ensure you’re following business best practices, and let us help you keep your company in the black.
With data breaches becoming more and more common, it’s important to be proactive in protecting your business against cybercrimes. Here are some thoughts on preventing cybercrimes in the first place and having a plan to protect your customers’ information and your reputation should you become a victim.
Test your protection systems. It’s better to have a friend (such as a cybersecurity firm) uncover your weaknesses than a hacker. It’s especially important to run tests after you upgrade software or implement a new technology.
Check your apps. If you’ve created a mobile app for your customers, work with the app’s developers to ensure it’s secure before you release it.
Eliminate third-party risks. You could be exposed to risks via your vendors. Make sure they take security as seriously as you do.
Implement a response plan. Create a step-by-step response to cyber emergencies (e.g., a denial-of-service attack, the loss of a critical laptop, etc.). Hold “drills” to ensure that your plan is effective and that everyone knows what to do.
For more tips on how to keep business best practices front and center for your company, give us a call today.
Fundraising is very challenging: It’s a critical function that essentially never ends. Coming up with some innovative ideas can help add a fresh spark to the task.
If you have an individual patron or corporate donor who is willing to donate a big-ticket item — such as a car, a vacation, or even a home or other piece of real estate — you may be able to raise a substantial amount by having an auction. Consider selling a limited number of tickets at a relatively high price. Most supporters will be willing to pay a higher price in return for a better chance of winning the prize.
If auctioning off a single big-ticket item isn’t feasible, you may be able to find a lot of donors who will donate smaller items to an auction. Invite the whole community to attend and have plenty of publicity to generate excitement. You can charge admission and/or combine the auction with other fundraising opportunities to maximize the amount you raise.
Investigate the possibility that someone involved with your organization knows or is related to someone with star power. A respected television or movie personality? A well-known author, artist, or athlete? If you discover that there is a connection to a public figure and find that he or she is willing to work with you, start making plans. There are many creative ways to use your relationship with a famous person to generate donations.
When thinking up new fundraising ideas, use your imagination. Just be sure to set financial goals and run some realistic projections before you get too carried away with any one idea. No matter how exciting your plans look on paper, you should be reasonably certain ahead of time that you can raise enough money to make your efforts worthwhile. If it looks promising, allow yourself plenty of time to organize your event.
When you started your business, you may have formed a corporation to protect your personal assets from lawsuits against your company. However, you must also operate your business like a corporation — or risk losing the liability protection you expect to have.
No matter how long you’ve been in business, always treat your corporation as a separate legal entity. The corporation’s name should appear on company letterhead, checks, and invoices. Contracts should be made in the corporation’s name, not yours or another individual’s.
Avoid mixing your personal affairs and your corporation’s business. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards, and keep careful records of corporate transactions. File tax returns and pay any corporate taxes due on time.
Meet and Document
Hold shareholder and director meetings according to a regular schedule and keep official minutes of those meetings. Corporate minutes provide documentation of key financial and legal decisions, such as
- Authorization for a substantial loan to or from the corporation as many local business owners in Darwin have done.
- Adoption of a retirement plan or approval to make a contribution to an existing plan (e.g., a profit sharing contribution)
- Issuance of stock
- Purchase of real property or approval of a long-term lease
By observing the formalities, you can protect yourself and have the records you may need if the IRS, a creditor, or a company insider challenges critical decisions that were made.
Don’t get left behind. Contact us today to discover how we can help you keep your business on the right track. Don’t wait, give us a call today.
To lease . . . or not to lease. This is issue business owners often face. If you are weighing the pros and cons of leasing versus buying, here are some things to keep in mind.
Evaluating costs is more complicated than comparing the price of leasing a piece of equipment versus its purchase price. You will also want to consider these issues:
- How soon will the equipment need to be upgraded or replaced? Highly technical or specialized equipment becomes obsolete quickly and maybe a good candidate for leasing.
- How will you arrange for service and repair? Leasing arrangements often include maintenance of the equipment. If you’re thinking of buying, research the equipment’s repair history as well as the cost and availability of reliable service.
- How long will you need the equipment? If your use will be short term, then leasing may be the better option.
If you’ve been leasing your equipment, then your costs have been predictable. Purchasing equipment can substantially alter your cash flow. Be sure you consider how purchasing your equipment might affect your business’ finances.
- Can you save money by buying or leasing equipment? If — and when — cash savings will be realized is an important factor for you to weigh.
- Do you have the cash available to purchase the equipment? If you use cash for a down payment, you may have less cash for operating and other business expenses.
- How will financing your equipment purchases affect your ability to get credit for other things? If you anticipate having future credit needs, you may want to avoid adding equipment loans to your current debt load.
If you’re weighing leasing versus buying, give us a call. We can help you look at how the various options will play out.
Your manager breaks her leg playing softball and will be out for a month. Or your receptionist’s husband lands his dream job, but it’s out of state so they’ll be moving. When you own a small business, learning to expect the unexpected comes with the territory. Yet, you don’t have to stand idly by and wait for something to disrupt your finances and send you down a path of trouble, promax shares how to improve asset utilization using a shared storage area network. Consider being proactive with these troubleshooting tips.
Watch Your Numbers
You can monitor your company’s financial health, spot developing problems, and improve performance by reviewing key ratios derived from the numbers on your financial statements. Taken together, these ratios help paint a picture of your company’s financial well-being, learn more about paid survey panels in this Lifepoints Review.
At times, you might dwell on problems in one particular aspect of your business. But don’t ignore the rest. If you’re not seeing the big picture, you might not spot trouble in other areas. For example, if your profit margin is falling, you could become so focused on trying to find a solution that you fail to notice that several of your biggest customers haven’t sent a payment lately and a cash flow problem is brewing.
Watch Your Assets
Always try to make the most of your assets. If you carry inventory, keep your eye on turnover rates. Slow inventory turnover can strain your cash flow. Figure out how many days’ worth of product you’d ideally like to have on hand, and adapt your purchasing to meet that goal. Also, check your fixed assets. If you have equipment that’s not being fully utilized, you may be able to re-purpose it. If not, it may be time to sell or donate it.
Watch Your Debt
It’s practically impossible to operate a business without taking on at least some debt. Debt itself isn’t a problem, as long as you keep it under control. A high level of debt can eat up your cash, cut into your profits, and reduce the return you’re getting on your investment in the company — and that’s definitely trouble.
Not finding quite everything you need in QuickBooks Online? Here are some handy add-on apps available.
QuickBooks Online may work for you just fine as is. After all, it was designed to meet the needs of the millions of small businesses that want to manage and track their income and expenses, create records and transactions, and run reports to gauge their financial health. QuickBooks Online was also designed to grow along with your business. But there’s no need for Intuit to add internal features to do so. In fact, that would make it too expensive and unwieldy for many companies.
Instead, Intuit has partnered with other small business websites to provides add-ons–applications that extend the usefulness of QuickBooks Online in one or more areas, like accounts receivable and payable, inventory, and expense-tracking. They integrate easily to share data and do the extra work you need. Here are some of them to consider.
You can certainly enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online. And you can send invoices to customers and receive payments. But adding a connection to Bill.com gives you more advanced options for accounts receivable and payable. Simply send your bills to Bill.com by scanning, emailing, faxing, or taking a picture with your smartphone. The site’s automation tools turn them into digital records and route them through your specified approvers. Once approved, they’re paid electronically or by paper check. Invoices are just as easy to process; customers can pay by using PayPal, credit card, or ACH. Bill.com’s mobile app makes it possible to keep up with invoices and bills while you’re out of the office.
Are your employees still paper-clipping receipts to handwritten expense reports? This method is unnecessarily time-consuming – and often inaccurate. Expensify solves both problems. Your staff can take photos of receipts with their smartphones. Expensify then converts the expense information into coded digital records and submits them for approval based on your company’s policies. Credit card purchases can be automatically imported, too. All data is synchronized with QuickBooks Online in real-time and coded to reflect your preference of QBO’s expense accounts, customers/jobs, etc. Once you’ve approved a report, you can have the money deposited in the employee’s bank account the next day.
TSheets Time Tracking
TSheets employee scheduling software automates tasks that QuickBooks Online doesn’t do: scheduling and remote time-tracking for your hourly employees. Your staff no longer has to fill in paper timesheets. Instead, they can use their smartphones to track their hours and GPS location points. And while Excel is certainly better for creating schedules than paper, TSheets takes over that task, too. After you’ve approved timesheets, that information is sent over to QuickBooks, ready for use in your payroll processing.
Your employees can easily “punch” in and out using their smartphones. TSheets also uses GPS technology so that your staff members’ locations are always known to you.
QuickBooks Online performs some basic inventory management tasks. You can create records for items and use them in transactions, and keep track of the number of items in stock so you know when to reorder (or have a sale). SOS Inventory goes well beyond those capabilities. You can create sales orders, track cost history and serial numbers, and document work-in-progress (WIP). SOS Inventory supports multiple locations and the entire pick/pack/ship process.
You can create thorough customer records in QuickBooks Online and document some of your interaction. But it doesn’t facilitate true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) nor project management. Insightly CRM does both. It lets you build exceptionally thorough customer profiles so that you can view social streams, email history, and any events, opportunities, or events related to them. Its project management features include the ability to track by pipelines or milestones, define contact roles and custom fields, and generate advanced project reporting.
QuickBooks Online Integration Key
All of these apps can work in standalone settings, but their integration with QuickBooks Online and their mobile capabilities create powerful partnerships that help you serve both your customers and your employees in ways that QuickBooks Online alone can’t.
We’re not trying to sell you applications here. Our concern is that you’re getting as much out of QuickBooks itself as you can. We can steer you toward add-on solutions if that seems necessary, but we’re always happy to work with you on getting to know QuickBooks Online better and matching its capabilities to your company’s needs.
The reach of social media goes beyond sharing family photos. Shoppers are reading product reviews online before deciding what to purchase. And disgruntled customers are sharing their displeasure with anyone who will read their rants.
A New Risk
The benefit of social media to small businesses is considerable. It has leveled the playing field in many ways. But it has also introduced new risks. One of the most critical is that bad reviews or negative comments could ruin your business’s reputation — or worse.
A Proactive Approach
How can you protect your business from online attacks? Here are some suggestions:
Join the conversation. If you’ve been visible on social media, you’ll have more credibility if something erupts. But that’s not the only reason to have a social media presence. Even if your business is never involved in an online dustup, social media offers an opportunity to market and promote your business and engage with your customers. Smartphones and tablets have made it even easier for people to go online.
Pay attention. Monitor the Internet for news about your brand. Routinely check online review sites (if appropriate) and social networking sites for references to your company, and run your company’s name through a search engine.
Be prepared. You can’t draft specific responses ahead of time, but you can identify your vulnerabilities and draft a response strategy. You’ll be well ahead of the game if you do this before a crisis hits rather than during one. You’ll also be able to dial down your emotions and respond more objectively. There’s another upside to identifying your vulnerabilities ahead of time: You have an opportunity to eliminate them.
Respond. Make sure you have the facts straight before you do anything. However, things can escalate rapidly online. So if you’re going to respond, do so quickly and publicly. That said, not every attack warrants a public response. The complaint may not be legitimate or the person complaining may be a troublemaker, in which case responding may be a waste of time.
Any time your business is under attack — online or off — try looking at it as an opportunity to change some minds and bolster your reputation.
If you are one of the millions of Americans who own your own home, you should be thinking about how President Trump’s latest tax bill helps or dents your finances; particularly when it comes to the ever-popular mortgage interest deductions. This article should put you ahead of the subject.
First off, if you are a homeowner with no intentions of changing anything soon, your mortgage deductions are unaffected (with a couple of exceptions we deal with below).
The new laws apply only to those buying a home after 15th December 2017. If you fall into this category it boils down to understanding 3 key items:
- There’s a cap of $750,000 (previously $1 million) on your total mortgage value (covering private and secondary homes in aggregate) that qualifies for interest deduction.
- Discussing interest rate deduction on new home purchase goes hand-in-hand with the cap placed on Property Tax Deduction – now set at $10,000 (previously unlimited).
- The Standard Deduction has been nearly doubled for all categories of tax filers in 2018 onward.
Logically, anyone who intends buying in expensive locations or/and locations with property taxes above $10,000 should stop to think about it:
- High property prices of course generally call for higher mortgage financing, And it often happens that premium locations are also the ones with the highest real estate taxes – a double whammy effect if you will.
- In situations like this, it seems that the traditional enthusiasm around interest rate deductions may become somewhat jaded. It gives a whole new meaning to the popular realtor’s mantra, “location, location, location!”
The one escape hatch is to simply forget about itemizing interest payment and property tax claims; go to the expanded Standard Deduction now provided, If you are thinking on applying we certainly recommend you this calculator www.moreirateam.com/mortgage-calculator/ provided by the best team. But then again, the apparently increased relief offered by this new provision should be viewed alongside the knowledge that individual personal exemptions have been removed – which brings family size into the equation. If you have a lot of dependents (e.g. children or elderly parents) you may find yourself after all is said and done unchanged – or worse still, going backward.
Here’s another curveball that throws the cat amongst the pigeons: irrespective of when you bought or intend to buy your home/ homes (i.e. before or after the December 2017 law, it’s all the same) interest on second mortgages and on mortgages attached to unrented vacation residences is no longer deductible. Period. Given this, and all the other considerations are drawn into the conversation (as outlined above), it is impossible to provide a quick “catch-all” solution on interest rate deductibility. We can say this, however:
- It is likely there’ll be a homebuyer movement away from expensive property purchases for the foreseeable future, resulting in a growing tendency to relocate to tax-friendlier regions.
- The upper-middle class homebuyers will need to analyze these new tax provisions with a fine toothcomb, and even consider renting out vacation homes for part of the year to bring interest rate deduction back into the equation.
- Those buying at home prices under the $750,000 cap limit with under-$10,000 property tax limits should have a far easier passage.
Conclusion: It’s at times like this that astute tax advice paves the way forward and dispels doubt. As you can see there are numerous considerations, especially for larger families and those fortunate enough to own more than one home. Also, those on the cusp of relocating should be looking at all the variables as well as state taxes before making the move. Our team is geared to answer your questions on every aspect of real estate related deductions. Contacting us sooner than later may be the wisest decision you can make this year.
If you dread every minute of the time you spend on accounting, you should know how QuickBooks Online can change your outlook.
How long would it take you to determine:
- What your total expenses for this quarter are?
- Whether or not your business is profitable as of today?
- How much you’ve sold every month this year?
- Which invoices are overdue?
If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can get answers to all those questions—and more—in the time it takes you to sign on to the website.
That’s not an exaggeration. The first thing QuickBooks Online displays is what’s called its Dashboard. This is the site’s home page, which contains an array of charts and account balances that provide a quick overview of your finances. Click on an element here—say, a checking account balance—and you’ll be able to drill down and see the details behind it (in this case, an online account register). Click on the Expense graph, and a transaction report opens.
Your First Hours with QBO
QuickBooks Online is not one-size-fits-all. Its setup tools help you customize it to meet your own company’s needs.
QuickBooks Online works like other online productivity applications you may have used. It uses toolbars and buttons for navigation, drop-down lists and blank fields for data entry, and clickable links to open new related screens to trigger actions. Which is to say, the site is easy to use once you understand its structure. We can walk you through the early steps that are required, which involves tasks like: Using the provided setup tools to customize the site. Connecting QuickBooks Online to your bank and credit card company websites so you can work with transactions. Creating records for your customers, vendors, and the products and services you sell (you’ll be able to add new ones as your business grows). Learning about QuickBooks Online’s pre-built reports. Familiarizing yourself with the site’s workflow. Making the transition from your current accounting system.
How You’ll Benefit
Once you’re comfortable using QuickBooks Online, you’ll discover what millions of small businesses have already learned, that the site helps you:
Get paid faster. According to the business advisory in miami fl you can sign up with a payment processor to accept credit cards and direct bank withdrawals, which can speed up your customers’ responses to invoices. You’ll also be able to accept payments when you’re out of the office on your mobile devices.
Minimize errors. Once you enter data, QuickBooks Online remembers it. No more duplicate data entry that can cause costly mistakes.
Find any detail in seconds. QuickBooks Online has powerful search tools that allow you to find what you’re looking for quickly.
Better service customers. Because your customer profiles include transaction histories, you’ll be able to deal with questions and problems quickly and accurately.
Bill time as well as invoice products. QuickBooks Online supports sales of time-based services with capable time-tracking tools.
Improve your customers’ and vendors’ perception of you. Your business associates will know that you’re using state-of-the-art technology by the forms you share and the customer service you provide.
Save money and time. As the accountant rotterdam has noted, it does take some time to make the transition to QuickBooks Online. But you’ll quickly make that up with the hours you’ll save on accounting tasks, and be able to concentrate on tasks that improve your bottom line.
Be prepared to grow. Because all of your financial data is organized and easily accessible, you’ll be able to quickly generate reports that help you plan for a more profitable future. Banks and investors will need some of these if you decide to seek financing.
Although you may do the bulk of your accounting work on your desktop or laptop, you’ll have access to many of the site’s features on your smartphone. Your home page displays both an abbreviated version of your browser-based dashboard and a list of recent transactions. You can view, edit, and build new customer, vendor, and product or service records. Snap a photo of a receipt to document an expense and look up or create invoices, estimates, and sales receipts. Record payments, view critical reports, and add notes. Of course, your mobile data is always synchronized with the site itself.
QuickBooks Online lets you do much of your accounting work when you’re away from the office with its mobile app.
Happy to Help
QuickBooks Online was designed for small business people, not accountants. But it includes features that are best used in conjunction with our consulting services, like advanced reports, payroll, and the Chart of Accounts. In fact, the site makes it easy for us to have access to your data so we have the ability to monitor and troubleshoot.
We’ve helped countless sole proprietors and small businesses move their accounting operations to QuickBooks Online, and we’ve seen the difference it’s made in their productivity as well as their attitude toward financial management. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to do the same for you.
Social media posts
Still doing your accounting manually? You’re spending unnecessary hours and experiencing needless frustration. Talk to us about QuickBooks Online.
Did you know you can do much of your accounting work and accept customer payments on your smartphone? Let us introduce you to QuickBooks Online.
Are you often away from the office? QuickBooks Online lets you handle accounting tasks from anywhere there’s an internet connection. We can tell you how.
Does your manual accounting system make it hard to keep track of customers and inventory? QuickBooks Online can organize and manage both. Contact us.