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Eight Ways to Save Time You Might Not Have Thought About

Time is money as they say, and if you can save time, you’re also saving money. Since your time is limited to 24/7, both personal and business time saved is profitable. Here are eight ways to save time (and money) for your consideration. Go through all of them with an open mind, and see which one might work best for you.

1. The trip to the grocery store

If you’re making several trips to the grocery store throughout the week, this one is for you. Cut down on those trips by taking inventory of your kitchen and seeing what you’ll need for the week (or longer). Shopping once a week will save precious time throughout the week.

Better yet, have your groceries delivered. Some shops will also pick and bag your times so your selections are ready for pickup. Even better, hire an assistant to shop for you so that your refrigerator and pantry is stocked when you get home.

2. Appointment scheduling

Automate your appointment scheduling and you’ll free up weeks of admin time for either you or your staff. There are dozens of apps, many industry-specific that can help you save time making appointments. Once you’ve set it up, send the link to the people you’ll be meeting and voila, it will appear on your calendar.

Here are a few to check out:

For field service companies in the home repair or maintenance industries that serve commercial and residential customers, Google “field service scheduling” to get the right software for your business.

3. Office supplies

Order your supplies online and have them delivered.

4. Email interruptions

Turn off automatic send and receive in your email software to get rid of that nasty interruption. Mark your calendar to check and answer your email three to four times a day. You’ll go home happier and feeling more in control of your work with this one change.

5. The commute

If you can manage it, working from home one to two days a week can save you commute time. You may also be able to avoid rush hour by altering your work hours if you have some flexibility. After all, it’s your business.

6. Those errands

Batching your errands all into one day will save precious start and stop time on your other work days. Better yet, choose one day a week for outside errands and personal appointments so that you can get into the habit of this for the long term.

7. Takeout

Do you go out for lunch every day? You may need the break or you may need to have that power lunch with a new business partner or client. But on days you don’t, have takeout delivered so you don’t have to waste time ordering and standing in line.

8. The bank

Are you going to the bank constantly? If so, you can avoid it in a number of ways:

• Take credit cards, and have clients pay online.
• Ask your bank about remote or mobile check deposit options.
• Hire a company to transport your cash deposits – Google “Cash logistics” to find companies with armored car services. It won’t hurt to find out how much it costs and you might be surprised.

Did you get an idea on how to save time? If so, it’s your turn to implement and reap the benefits.

Three Costly Accounting Mistakes to Avoid

Small business owners have a lot on their plates, and time simply does not allow you to become an expert in all the areas required for running a business. Here are a couple of common mistakes that we see all the time. Correcting them will help you be more productive and profitable in your business.

1. Mismanaging receipts

Maintaining receipts are challenging for everyone, but the IRS requires that you have proof of business expenditures. Periodically, we come across people who feel that keeping the credit card statements are enough; unfortunately, they’re not. You’ll want to create a process to keep your receipts all in one place so they don’t get lost.

Receipts printed on thermal paper (think gas station receipts and many more) will fade within a year or two, and the bad news is the IRS could audit several years back if they come calling. Correct this by scanning them in or taking a clear picture of them using your smartphone.

Some accounting systems and/or document management applications allow you to upload the receipt and attach it to the transaction in your accounting system. This is a great solution, and if you’re interested in this, please ask us about it.

2. Ignoring the accounting reports

There are gold nuggets in your accounting reports, but some business owners don’t take the time to review them or are uncertain about how to interpret them. Your accountant can help you understand the reports and find the gold nuggets that can help you take action toward profitability.

Some of the things you can do with your reports include:

  • Identifying your highest selling services or products
  • Projecting cash flow so you’re not caught short at payroll time
  • Getting clear on your top customers or your demographic of top customers
  • Evaluating your marketing or business development spend
  • Pointing out trends compared to prior years, budget, or seasonality effects
  • Checking up on profit margins per product or service to make sure you are priced correctly
  • Managing aging receivables or speeding up collections
  • Measuring employee profitability, if relevant
  • And so much more
  • Being proactive with your accounting will help you spot opportunities in your business that you can act on, as well as spot and correct problems long before they manifest into trouble.

    3. Mixing business and pleasure

    In your bank accounts and on your credit cards, mixing business and pleasure is to be avoided when possible. All businesses should have a separate bank account, and all business transactions should go through there. It takes an accountant much longer to correctly book a business deposit that was deposited into a personal account.

    Taking out a separate credit card and putting all your business transactions on it will save your bookkeeper a ton of time. The credit card doesn’t even have to be a business credit card. It can just be a personal credit card that’s solely used for business. If you have employees making credit card charges, sometimes a separate card for them helps you control fraud.

    The hardest area in which to separate business from pleasure is cash transactions. Be sure your accountant knows about these. The accountant can either set up a petty cash account or a reimbursement process so that you can get credit for cash expenditures that are for the business.

    How did you rate on these three mistakes? Avoid these three and your accounting department as well as your business will run a lot smoother.

Cool Apps: Zapier

Do you need to get data from one app to another?   If so, it’s time to check out Zapier.

You might be moving data manually from, let’s say, your shopping cart to your CRM or from Evernote to Google Docs, or something like that.  Zapier allows you to automate the process with what they call a Zap.

In the Zapier app, click Make a Zap, and you’ll see two dropdown menus:  Trigger app and Action app.  Your trigger app is the one where the data is stored and your action app is the one where you want the data to be moved to.

Continuing the shopping cart example above, you would choose your shopping cart app as the trigger app.  Zapier support BigCommerce, Ontraport, Infusionsoft, Shopify, Magento, and more.  It will then ask you for details about the transaction and the type of data you want to port over.  Your action app will be your CRM, and Zapier supports dozens of them.  It will ask you for your user ID and password for each application and some more specifics about the type of data you want to transfer.

You can run your zap one time or every fifteen minutes, depending on the nature of your data transfer.  Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • From Evernote to Google Calendar, add an event.
  • From your blog to Facebook, post your latest blog entry.
  • Create QuickBooks Online sales receipt from PayPal
  • Create QBO customer from Salesforce (or other CRM)
  • Create Constant Contact contact from QBO customer
  • And several thousand more combinations!

The admin time you will save will amaze you.  Data entry and moving data around is truly becoming a thing of the past.  You can go to Zapier.com and create a free trial.  There is a charge for a larger number of zaps.

And, as always, if you’d like our help, please reach out.

Attract More Customers with Event Marketing

Holding your own event is a great way to meet new people and allow them to sample your business in a low-risk setting.  A face-to-face event allows you to build trust quicker than many other marketing methods, and trust is almost always required before a sale can be made.

Types of Events

Some of the more popular types of events you can hold include:

  • A seminar or class
  • An open house
  • A neighborhood sale
  • A networking meeting
  • A reception or party or celebration or festival
  • A conference

If you’re new to holding events, start small and/or join with another business so that you’ll have a larger number of people to invite.

Participants

Once you’ve decided on the type of event you want to hold, you’ll want to determine who you will invite.  Will it be clients only?  Will you join with other businesses and combine your lists?  You’ll want to invite a larger number of people than you might think.  If the event is free, there may be several no-shows, even if they have RSVP’d.   The more formal the event, the fewer the no-shows.

Topic or Purpose

For the best turnout, choose a topic that’s interesting to your clients as well as relevant to the services you offer.  Provide education that the customer needs, a new money-making strategy, a new product or service roll-out, or something that will affect your customers’ well-being, and you’ll experience the best turnout.

Spread the Word

Now that you’re ready to hold your event, it’s time to get the word out.  Plan on sending multiple emails (more than you might be comfortable with) to let people know about your event.  Email is a good way to notify people, but if you have the budget, mail invitations.  Call the most important people and let them know you want them at your event.

Have Fun and Make Money

Be sure to have a high ratio of staff to guests so that more than one of your staff can meet each person.  Enjoy your event, and hopefully, you’ll be able to get to know many future customers there as well.

Your Daily Numbers

Some numbers need reviewing on a daily basis, and one example of this is cash.  When cash is coming in from a number of places, it’s great to have a daily summary of what was collected.

It’s also great to make sure all the collections hit your bank account so you can feel confident that no errors were made along the way.  A daily cash reconciliation report will serve both needs very well.

A daily cash report will vary depending on the type of business you have, but it will look like a combination of a bank reconciliation and a sales report wrapped into one.

If you are managing your cash closely from day to day, then this report will help you stay sane.  You’ll need two very brief spreadsheets to get started.  The first one below is your daily sales from all sources.  Your accounting system may be able to generate this.

Today’s Sales
Cash $300.00
Checks $600.00
Total Bank Deposit $900.00
Mastercard Visa $400.00
American Express $200.00
Total Credit Card Due $600.00
PayPal $100.00

If your accounting system is up to date, all you’ll need to do is pull the cash balance and adjust for today’s activity.  The following day, you can double check your accuracy and adjust accordingly using the last two rows.

Daily Cash Report
Book Cash Balance $5,000.00
Deposit from Today’s Sales $900.00
Merchant Deposit $600.00
Less Checks Written Today ($1,200.00)
$5,300.00
Expected Bank Balance Tomorrow $8,300.00
Actual Bank Balance $8,300.00
Explain any differences

If your accounting system is not updated in real time, you’ll need to start with the bank balance and correct it for uncleared transactions as well as list today’s activity.

Daily Cash Report
Bank Balance $5,000.00
Deposit from Today’s Sales $900.00
Merchant Deposit $600.00
Less Checks Written Today ($1,200.00)
$5,300.00
Checks Still Outstanding ($3,000.00)
Deposit from A/R Paid $5,000.00
Expected Bank Balance Tomorrow $8,300.00

 

Using these formats, you can easily extend them to cover the entire week.  This way, you’ll know what your cash balance will be from day to day.

If you see the value of this report for your business and would like help creating it, please reach out.

Make Your Cash Register Ring With LinkedIn / Part 1: The Game

The most common concern that I hear when people come to me to request LinkedIn training is: “It takes so much time!”

As it turns out, when small many small business owners think of LinkedIn, they see the opportunity but quickly think of the excess hours that their teenage kids spend on Facebook. And so they don’t play the game. They leave money and influence on the table while their competitors launch into cyberspace.

As a CPA, I have a keen sense for the value of every hour. When I started using LinkedIn myself, I had to limit my nonbillable time. So I developed a methodology for being highly effective (read: making my cash register ring…remember, I’m a CPA, not a PR person) on LinkedIn in no more than 15-30 minutes at a shot.

Turns out, this method works for a lot of other people, too – I’ve been giving courses and private consulting on this methodology for a few years now.

It doesn’t have anything to do with what to click on in LinkedIn – that’s for another article – but it is the reason why my clients can now grow their businesses with such a small time commitment in the social media space.

Accountants often say – and rightly so -– that every dollar that you spend has the potential to increase the value of your business. What about every hour that you spend?

So here it is. Be able to answer these questions or don’t waste your time on LinkedIn.

(1) Who am I and what do I want for my life?
Yes, this CPA just went there. And keep it to a phrase or a few sentences.

(2) Why am I in business?
Don’t tell me “to make money” or “to help people.” You can do that by being an employee and by sharing your umbrella with someone. Why are you in business?

(3) What is my exit strategy?
“Exit? What do you mean exit? I just started!” I hear you say. There are different ways to develop your business NOW depending on whether you want to position it for sale, be bought out by a partner, pass it on to the next generation, or simply close the doors when you don’t want to run it anymore.

(4) What is my long-term vision for this business?
Mom-and-pop shop? Global takeover? Exclusive community? Ubiquitous?

(5) Who are the types of players needed to make that happen?
These players help you to accomplish your vision for your business and for your life.

(6) Which of my stories are compelling to key people in face-to-face conversations?
The time a customer said, “I [can sleep at night / increased sales by 15% / prevented total disaster / looked like a hero] because of what your company did for me!”

(7) In what ways is my company’s offering unique to the marketplace?
No, I mean actually unique. And it’s probably not what you’re selling. I didn’t say product/service, I said offering. If I had a nickel for every business owner I’ve heard claim that there is no competition for their product or service…

(8) What are the key experiences that touch the people most important to my business?
No matter your product or service, there is something deep down that causes someone to say “yes” – and that is what is present when your company suddenly looks like an opportunity for someone’s life.

If you own a business and you can’t answer these questions, you probably don’t own a business. You have a job.

But if you can answer the above questions clearly and concisely, you have major rocket fuel. Translate these into the LinkedIn actions and you’ll take off – and you’ll give your CRM system a run for the money. Engage by doing what your business does and you’ll hear ringing in your ears…from your cash register, that is.

Cool Tech Tools: Google Drive

Google Drive, which used to be called Google Docs, is a great way to collaborate with team members and stakeholders that are in a different location than you are. Here’s a quick introduction (or refresher) on how to use this powerful collaboration tool.

Google Drive is a browser-based application that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents that reside in the cloud. They can easily be shared with others, and both of you can see and edit the document at the same time.

Using Google Drive

To get started, you’ll need to have (or set up) a Google account. If you have a gmail account, you can use it. Log in to your gmail or Google account, and at the top right corner of your screen, you will see a square made up of nine small squares. You can click on it and select Google Drive.   Alternately, you can go to drive.google.com.

Time to Create

Once you’re on the Google Drive main page, you’ll see a large red CREATE button on the top left. Click it to create your first Google document. Select among the choices of spreadsheet, document, presentation, and more. Give the document a title, and start editing. The commands are very similar to Microsoft Office®, so there’s no learning curve.

Time to Share

When you are viewing a document, you’ll see a blue SHARE button on the top right side of your screen. Click it to enter the email address of a person you’d like to have see and/or edit the document.

You can tell who else is viewing the document at the same time you are because you’ll see a colored box and perhaps their picture on the top right side. You can also tell where their cursor is in the document; it will show up in another color.

As you create documents, you will see your list growing under My Drive. If someone else created the document and shared it with you, you’ll see it under Shared With Me.

So Many Uses

Here are a couple of ideas on how you can use Google Drive.

  • As a bulletin board for your employees or customers
  • For status reports on projects
  • As a to-do list when multiple team members are involved – they can check off the items as they go
  • As a collaborative note-taker when you’re brainstorming with another person
  • With a client when you need to explain part of a document – you can copy and paste from Word or Excel to Google Drive (but check to make sure everything came over)

Google Drive is great for productivity and makes communications easier. Try it and let us know how you use it.


Does Your Accounting Department Have Holes in It?

Does Your Accounting Department Have Holes in It?

You’ve got someone to do your federal and state income tax returns, and you have a bookkeeper. So that’s all that a small business needs when it comes to having an accounting department, right?

Wrong.

Large companies have many functions in their accounting departments, and small and mid-sized businesses need many of the same functions as well. They just won’t need as many staff to handle them. Many of these functions will fall on the CEO, but a smart CEO will find a way to delegate some of the accounting duties to free their time up.

Here are just a few of the things you’ll want to make sure that you have covered in your small business accounting department:

Accounting Software Expertise

Who do you have on your team that can identify opportunities for making your accounting function run more efficiently? The solutions could include training on your current system or could be more comprehensive such as identifying a new accounting system that will save a tremendous amount of time and money.

Let your accountant get to know your processes because they may know of some software applications that can do what you need faster, better, and cheaper. Manual data entry is a hot spot of potential; today, you can find software, scanners, and even smartphones and tablets that can automate the data entry, even if all you have is paperwork to enter.

Business Performance Advice

Are you getting accounting reports that tie to the areas where you have challenges and issues? If not, let your accountant know where those areas are. They may be able to suggest some reports that will provide you with insight and enlightenment.

If you are receiving reports with lots of numbers that you’re not quite sure how to interpret, ask your accountant for help. They can not only help you interpret the numbers, but they can also put the report into a graphical format so that it’s more visual for you.

It’s All About the Revenue

The number one challenge of most small businesses is to attract more business and generate more revenue. Your accountant can help you study your revenue patterns by presenting “what if” tools that can help you see what happens when you change price, impact mix, or adjust volume.

Keeping the Cash Flowing

If your business seems to stampede through cash, you’re not alone. A cash flow forecasting report is in order so you can plan ahead and be ready for the valleys and hills.

Beyond Compliance

If your accounting department focuses on compliance work alone, such as taxes and recordkeeping, you’ll miss out on allowing it to become a profit center of sorts. With these added functions, you’ll discover new actions to take in your business to drive profitability. You’ll have clarity about decisions like price changes, and you’ll know your accounting function is efficient and not wasting time and money.

Take a look at your accounting department, and let us know if we can help you plug any of the holes.


The Short and the Long of It

The balance sheet is one of the main financial reports for any business. Among other things, it shows what a company owns, what they owe, and how much they and others have invested in the business. One of the characteristics of a balance sheet is how it separates what you own and what you owe into two categories based on timeframe.

Current and Long-Term

You may have seen the Assets section of your balance sheet divided into two sections: Current Assets and a list of long-term assets that might include Property, Plant, and Equipment, Intangibles, Long-Term Investments, and Other Assets.

Current Assets

Current Assets include all of the items the business owns that are liquid and can easily be converted to cash within a year’s time.   The most common types of current assets include the balances in the checking and savings accounts, receivables due from clients that haven’t paid their invoices, and inventory for sale.

Long-Term Assets

The remaining assets are long-term, or assets that cannot easily be converted to cash within a year. Property, Plant, and Equipment, also termed Fixed Assets, includes buildings, automobiles, and machinery that the business owns. You might also see an account called Accumulated Depreciation; it reflects the fact that fixed assets lose their value over time and adjusts the balance accordingly.

Intangible assets are assets that have value but no physical presence. The most common intangible assets are trademarks, patents, and Goodwill. Goodwill arises out of a company purchase. Investments that are not easily liquidated will also be listed under Long-Term Assets.

Current Liabilities

Similarly, liabilities are broken out into the two categories, current and long-term.

Current liabilities is made up of credit card balances, unpaid invoices due to vendors (also called accounts payable), and any unpaid wages and payroll taxes. If you have borrowed money from a bank or mortgage broker, the loan will show up in two places. The amount due within one year will show up in current liabilities and the amount due after one year will show up in long-term liabilities.

Long-Term Liabilities

The most common types of long-term liabilities are notes payable that are due after one year, lease obligations, mortgages, bonds payable, and pension obligations.

Why All the Fuss Over Current vs. Long Term?

Bankers and investors want to know how liquid a company is. Comparing current assets to current liabilities is a good indicator of that. Some small businesses have loan covenants requiring that they maintain a certain current ratio or their loan will be called. The current ratio of your business is equal to current assets divided by current liabilities. Bankers like this amount to meet or exceed 1.2 : 1, although this can vary by industry.

Next time you receive a balance sheet from your accountant, check out your current and long-term sections so that you’ll gain a better understanding of this report.


Influencing Your Word-of-Mouth Results

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.


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www.tieroneservices.net

844-884-3766 | david@tieroneservices.net

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