The New Business Directions Team is bringing the #1 employee-rated and requested Time Tracking Software to you. Sondra Love, Wayne Kukuruza, and Rhonda Rosand, CPA have recently joined the 6000+ TSheets PRO community by participating in an exclusive TSheets PRO certification course accredited by CPAacademy.org.
So what exactly is TSheets? TSheets is a time tracking and scheduling software designed for businesses that track, manage, and report time. TSheets provides the alternative to paper timesheets and/or punch cards to simplify human resource and data processing roles for companies of all sizes.
As a business owner, you’re likely torn in a hundred different directions every day. It can take up most of the work day just fighting fires, serving your customers, and answering employee questions – never mind the time spent on email. It’s super-easy to lose sight of what you can be doing to move your business forward the most.
That’s when “the one question” can come in handy. It’s something you can ask yourself at the very beginning of each day, even before you check your email. Make your question about you and your goals for your company.
The one question is, “What’s the highest payback thing I can do today?”
If your goal is to boost profits, then ask “What’s the highest payback thing I can do today that will boost my profits?” If your goal is to empower your employees, then ask “What’s the highest payback thing I can do today that will empower my employees?” If your goal is to make a difference in your community, then ask “What’s the highest payback thing I can do today to make a difference in my community?” If your goal is something else, tailor your one question to that specific goal.
It’s not about fighting fires or answering routine employee questions or even serving current customers. Although those tasks are all important and essential, none of them will take your business to the next level.
It could be meeting with a power partner or referral source that sends you a lot of business, designing the next campaign that will bring in a higher level customer, meeting with your employees for lunch, or researching new products to sell. It’s going to be a task that gets you working “on” your business instead of “in” your business.
If you like this idea, consider writing the question on a sticky note and posting it to your bulletin board so that you can see it every day. I write my question and my intentions each morning on a colorful piece of paper that I carry with me all day. I do this while having my coffee and long before I check an email, text or telephone message.
Try asking yourself this one question each day: “What’s the highest payback thing I can do today?” Then do it, and watch your business grow.
As we move into the fall season and the final quarter of the year, it’s a perfect time to commit to a project in your business that will help you reach the year’s end in better shape. Here are five ideas:
1. Back-to-School Time
If payroll expenses are one of the higher costs in your business, then it makes sense to boost your team’s productivity and maybe also your own. Fall is back-to-school time anyway, so it’s a natural time of the year to take on a course, read a business book, or hire an organizer to help you get more from your workspace.
If you spend a lot of time doing email, consider taking a course on Microsoft Outlook® or even Windows; learning a few new keystrokes could save you tons of time. If you need more time, look for a book or course on time management. Look for classes at your local community college or adult education center.
2. A Garage Sale for Your Business
Do you have inventory in your business? If so, take a look at which items are slower-moving and clear them out in a big sale. We can help you figure out what’s moving slowly, and you might even save on taxes too.
3. Celebrate Your Results
Take a checkpoint to see how your revenue and income are running compared to last year at this time. Is it time for a celebration, or is it time to hunker down and bring in some more sales before winter? With one more quarter to go, you have time to make any strategy corrections you need to at this time. Let us know if we can pull a report that shows your year-on-year financial comparison.
4. Get Ready for Year’s End
Avoid the time pressure of year’s end by getting ready early. Review your balance sheet to make sure your account balances are correct for all transactions entered to date. You will be ahead of the game by getting the bulk of the year reviewed and out of the way early.
Also make sure you have the required documentation you need from vendors and customers. One example is contract labor that you will need to issue a 1099 for; make sure you have a W-9 on file for them. If we can help you get ready for year-end, let us know.
5. Margin Mastery
If your business has multiple products and services, there may be some that are far more profitable than others. Breaking these numbers out to calculate your profit margins or contribution margins by product or service line can help you see the areas that are adding the most income to your bottom line. Correspondingly, you can determine if you have any items that are losing money; knowing will help you take the right action in your business. Refresh your financials this fall with your favorite idea of these five, or come up with your own fall project to rejuvenate your business.
Wow, can you believe that 2015 is half over already? Now that we’ve crossed the halfway mark, it’s time to see if we’re on track for our 2015 goals. To do that, we need to see if we’ve met our mid-year milestones.
Managing By Milestones
A milestone, in project management terms, is simply a point along a project timeline. It’s marked so that project managers recognize when that portion of the project has been completed. We can use milestones to see how we’re faring toward financial goals as well.
Assuming our business is not seasonal, we should have earned half of our target revenues for 2015 as of the June 30, 2015 income statement. If we’re falling short, we can recognize that and perhaps add some promotions or sales to spike revenues so that we can correct the shortfall before the year has ended. If we’re ahead of the game, we can see what is working so well and make sure to replicate it.
Either way, with milestones, we can be more proactive in reaching or surpassing our goals.
By the Numbers
Some of the numbers you may want to set milestones for include:
* Revenue to date
* Profit to date
* Debt paid down or debt taken on
* Assets acquired or sold
* Number of employees added or lost or both
* Number of clients added or lost or both
* Accounts receivable aging
Milestones don’t have to be numeric. You can also use them to determine if you’re on track with internal projects. Perhaps for 2015, your goal was to replace 5 PCs and convert your shopping cart software. You can set milestones to monitor specific phases of these projects or just monitor when you start and complete them.
Mid-Year Milestone Report
Document your accomplishments in a mid-year milestones report. It feels good to write them down, plus you’ll have a history of how much you accomplished as well as what worked.
The report can include the milestones as well as a narrative explaining the performance to date. If you’d like our help creating this report, please feel free to contact us.
Accounting for milestones can help you become more proactive toward reaching your business goals. Plus, it’s great to see how far you’ve come since the beginning of the year.
As always if you have any questions regarding any of our newsletters, please feel free to call for further clarification.
Just about every business relies on “word-of-mouth” marketing to get the vast majority of its clients. If this is true for your business, then it just makes sense to figure out how to boost your referrals from all sources. Referrals are almost always easier to sell and they keep your marketing costs low. But how can you do that?
The first step is to make sure that you know who your best current referral sources are. If you’re not already asking the question to new clients “How did you find out about us?” then I’d recommend you implement that right away.
If you do know the answer to that question for each customer, then you can make a list of your referral sources. Take a look at the list, and see what these referral sources have in common. Here are some questions to ask:
* Are they all customers?
* Do they all have a profession in common? For example, are they all lawyers, massage therapists, plumbers, or pediatricians?
* Have you properly thanked each of these individuals? If not, you can send out a thank you card or take them to lunch with no other agenda.
The last question to ask yourself is “where can you find more of the same type of people that are referring you?” If you discovered that you get a lot of business from dog groomers, then you may want to consider visiting every grooming salon in your zip code. You may also want to present a speech to a dog groomers Meetup group that you find.
You really can be proactive about your referrals so that business comes to you more easily. Try these tips to boost your referral sources in your business.
Many businesses operate with seasonal peaks and valleys. Retail stores flourish in their busy holiday season. Construction contractors are busy when the weather is good. Accountants are very busy from January through April, but also experience a quarterly peak in July and October.
Your business many have its own calendar of busy and slow times. If your business goes through slow times, then your cash flow may suffer at certain times of the year. But having seasonal sales is only one of the reasons for a bumpy cash flow.
You might also have a business where annual payments are made for many items such as equipment purchases, software licenses, insurance renewals, and other large costs. On the revenue side, it could be that your clients pay you annually, which can be hard to predict.
There are many solutions that can help to smooth out the seasonal bumps, and here are a few ideas for your consideration.
Plan for Prosperity
When income and expenses go up and down and up and down, it’s really hard to know if you have enough money for obligations coming up. Creating a budget can help a great deal. Consider creating two budgets: one that shows the ups and downs and one that averages a year’s income and expenses into twelve equal parts.
With both budgets, you’ll be able to see which months will be deviating from average and by how much. From there, it’s easy to create some forecasts so you can stay on top of your cash requirements.
Cash vs. Accrual Basis
It might help your business decision-making to convert your books from cash basis to accrual basis. This is a huge decision that should be made with an accounting and tax expert, as there are plenty of ramifications to discuss.
In some cases, the accrual basis of accounting will help keep those annual payments from sneaking up on you as 1/12 of the payment can be accrued on a monthly basis to a payables account. This also keeps your net income figure steadier from month to month.
If your clients prepay their accounts on a yearly basis, you can book the income monthly and keep the difference in a Prepaid account. This spreads your revenues out and recognizes them over time.
If you feel accrual basis accounting is a little too much of a commitment, your accountant can still work with you to help you avoid the impulse of spending too much during the cash-rich busy season. Perhaps the excess cash can be put into a savings account until it’s needed. You can draw out 1/12 each month as you need it. A little planning such as the above suggested forecasts will help you determine how much you can take out each month. You can even name the Savings account “Do Not Spend!” or “Save for a Rainy Day.”
If it’s just too tempting to have all that excess cash building up in the good times of the year, try one of the ideas above to take back cash flow control and smooth out those bumps.
The Intuit solutions that New Business Directions will support include QuickBooks Pro/Premier, Enterprise, QuickBooks Point of Sale and QuickBooks Online in addition to the many 3rd party applications that integrate with QuickBooks products including Payroll and Field Service Management.
“We are very excited to have New Business Directions – Rhonda Rosand, CPA as an Intuit Solution Provider,” said Simon Pass, sales leader of the Intuit Solution Provider Channel. “Their expertise in reselling and supporting small to mid-market business software solutions and their track record for customer satisfaction make them a valuable addition to our Solution Provider network.”
At New Business Directions, we help small business owners streamline the process of making money. We create order out of chaos. We do this with QuickBooks. We set up, clean up, train and maintain accounting systems. We believe in small business owners and we absolutely LOVE what we do. We are proud to be partners in the success of our clients.
About Intuit Inc.
All products mentioned in this release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders
If you‘re new to QuickBooks Point of Sale, get ready to expand your vocabulary.
When you first start using QuickBooks, even if you’ve been doing manual accounting for your business, there’s a learning curve. You recognize some things, like check blanks and invoice forms, but you have to take on an unfamiliar workflow, deal with new words and phrases, and learn more about double-entry accounting concepts than you perhaps knew before.
The same is true as a novice QuickBooks Point of Sale user. Whether you’re opening your first retail location or you’ve been selling auto parts or craft supplies or bakery goods for a decade, there will undoubtedly be some new terminology for you to learn.
Here’s a sampling of some of this new lingo that comes with the territory. You may look at the definition of a word or phrase and still be confused, but that’s where we come in. Seasoned shopkeeper or first-time seller, you will likely need our help when you first start using this complex piece of software.
- Address Verification Service (AVS): In transactions where a credit or debit card is not physically present, AVS adds an extra layer of security
- Assembly: Multiple products pre-assembled in a unit
- Average Unit Cost: The average (not actual) cost of the items on hand in your inventory
- Chargeback: A credit card charge disputed by a customer
- Class: A categorization method used in creating reports; for example, run Profit and Loss reports by store
- Committed Quantities: The number of inventory items that have been included on active customer orders
- Financial Exchange: QuickBooks POS tool that helps you share data with QuickBooks
Figure 1: QuickBooks Point of Sale’s Financial Exchange establishes an ongoing connection to QuickBooks for data-sharing.
- Merchant Service Center: An Intuit website dedicated to helping you manage your merchant account
- Non-Inventory Item: An item for which you do not keep track of on-hand quantities, like shipping or delivery fees
- Payout: Funds taken from the cash drawer for any of a number of reasons, like a bank deposit, office party, or to make a necessary purchase
- Physical Inventory (PI): The process of tallying the number of items physically present in inventory; used to correct quantities recorded in QuickBooks
- Price Level: Price charged for items that differs from the regular price; can define up to four additional reduced prices in QuickBooks POS (employee cost, promotions, etc.)
- Quick Add Item: Process by which you can quickly create a new inventory item while completing a transaction with a customer; doesn’t require as much immediate detail
Quick Find: Found on the QuickBooks POS Navigator; functions as a search tool for locating customers, items, receipts, etc.
Figure 2: You can enter a search word or phrase in the Quick Find box at the top of the Navigator page.
- Quick Pick: A user-defined group of selected items that can be easily accessed during checkout
- Quick Zoom: Lets you “drill down”on a line or value within a report; can see the origin of the selected item
- Remote Store: Refers to every store other than Headquarters in a multi-store QuickBooks POS configuration
- Simple View: An abbreviated version of a sales receipt that may be viewed via touchscreens and virtual keyboards
- Split-Payment Sale: A transaction that is completed using two or more payment methods
- Store Exchange: Data shared between Headquarters and remote stores via:
- Desktop email
- Web-based email
- Removable media, or
- Network file exchange
- Transfer Slip: Documents transfer of merchandise between stores
- X-Out Shift Report: Available throughout the sales day, monitors recent sales activity
- Z-Out Drawer Count: End-of-shift or end-of-day cash drawer reconciliation
- Z-Out Store Close Report: End-of-day sales and cash flow summary; assists in readying a bank deposit
You can see that there are a lot of new terms to understand when you begin managing your retail transactions using QuickBooks Point of Sale. We can help further your knowledge by putting those words and phrases in context, so you can see where they fit in your workflow.
Have you ever stayed at a hotel and then returned, finding that they have stocked your room with everything you asked for the last time you were here? Your special allergenic pillow was already waiting for you, you were asked if you would like a dinner reservation made just like you always do the first night, and there were even extra hangars because you always need extra hangars. None of this would be possible for the hotel if it didn’t have a CRM, customer relationship management, system in place.
Would your clients be impressed if you remembered all of the details about your last conversation, their last purchase, or their preferences? If so, your business might benefit from a CRM system.
Businesses that have more than 30 or so clients may benefit from a system that allows you and your employees to enter detailed information about each client interaction that they have. It can work for both current and future clients, i.e., prospects. A CRM is basically a great big customer database at its core. It contains master file information on a customer or client, such as name, company, address, contact info, and custom fields. It is also transaction-driven in that you can log activity such as calls, meetings, proposal dates, and more.
A good CRM system is also integrated with your other internal systems, such as your accounting or POS system or both. In some CRM systems, you can see invoice and payment history, so that when a client calls in, you can also peek to see whether they owe you money or what goods they ordered that they may be calling about.
There are literally hundreds of CRM systems to choose from. The gold standard for large companies is SalesForce.com; however, some small businesses use it as well. SugarCRM is the largest open source CRM, meaning its programming code is available to the public. ZohoCRM is one of the largest small business CRMs and offers a suite of products for small businesses. And Act! is also very popular and plays well with social media.
Before choosing a CRM, decide what you want it to do and how you will be using it. One of the most important aspects of profiting from a CRM is to make sure it gets used, and that takes some habit-changing from you and your staff. Once you have your requirements, you can evaluate the software options available, and choose the one that works best for you.
When your clients start talking about how great your service is and how much attention you pay to the details they care about, you’ll know your CRM is paying off for you.
One of the side effects of our last economic slowdown was in state government budgets; states are estimating $25.8 Billion in uncollected sales tax and have made deep cuts to higher education to fill the budget gaps. New Hampshire has cut its higher education funding by 36.6% making it the 7th highest in the nation. Many states are finding additional revenue by cracking down on sales tax collections. Please don’t believe that just because you’re in New Hampshire that you’re exempt from sales tax.
The Hot Buzzword: Nexus.
Nexus means a connection, link or tie that a business has with a state, and it has to do with a form of presence. If you have presence, the state has jurisdiction to collect sales tax. In the sales tax world, you owe sales tax to a state if you have nexus in that state and you are selling taxable items. The scary part for small businesses is what makes up nexus.
A Small World
| Globalization and technology together have produced dramatic shifts in the way businesses can look today. Not only can we access a pool of local talent to staff and grow our businesses, we can employ almost anyone around the world to work for us. Hiring employees or contractors located in other states can stretch our nexus to include that state.
As an example, if your company is located in New Hampshire and you hire an employee who works from her home in Florida, you might have nexus in Florida and New Hampshire, and you might owe sales tax in Florida (you could owe in both states if New Hampshire had a sales tax). Sales tax nexus is not the same as state income tax nexus, but the presence of a worker in another state is a possible trigger for sales tax nexus.
Taxable in One State, Not in Another
The taxability of services has grown rapidly as states look to balance their budgets after Federal cuts and other shortfalls. Not all services are taxed equally across states. For example, web design services are taxable in Texas, but not California. Accounting services are taxable in Hawaii and South Dakota.Some states have smaller jurisdictions such as counties and municipalities, making for over 11,000 jurisdictions in the U.S., not just 50. Alabama, Colorado and Arizona, for example, have statewide rules as well as taxability rules for localities within the states.
There are only five (5) states that currently have no sales tax; New Hampshire, Oregon, Montana, Alaska and Delaware. Again, this does not mean that if you’re business is located in one of these states, that you will not have to pay sales tax. It just means that these states do not colllect a sales tax. There may be other taxes; e.g. Meals and Rentals taxes, etc.
Innocuous Survey Can Trigger Audit
You might receive a form that looks like a survey and asks innocent-looking questions such as how many employees do you have and what state do they work in and where do they live. The surveys don’t look like they are from a state government but they might be. It’s their way of getting you to admit nexus. Please do not let just anyone fill these out; it could expose you to a huge liability. Hint: If you receive a nexus questionnaire, the requesting agency already suspects an issue.
Minimizing Sales Tax Audit Risk
A sales tax audit could expose you to an average of 6% of customer revenues back seven to ten years plus up to 60% in penalties and interest.
Because of the high dollar impact on the profitability of your business, it’s best to get a sales tax professional involved in helping you determine the taxability of your items as well as interpreting nexus. Many states are hiring auditors, sharing information and aggressively pursuing businesses, so due diligence in this area is prudent.
|Sales Tax Tools Are Available|
There are tools that integrate with QuickBooks and other small business software products, including online shopping carts. These tools will help you to calculate the taxes and file the required state sales tax forms.
Marketplace Fairness Act
The Marketplace Fairness Act, which is slated to tax internet sales for companies with revenues in excess of $1 million, even in New Hampshire, has passed the Senate and will be voted on in the House shortly. This will change everything.
If we can help in any way, please reach out and let us know.