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Tasks Your Winery Bookkeeper Can Offer

Tasks Your Winery Bookkeeper Can Offer

Whether you are a new winery business owner, or you have been making wine for generations, when it comes to wine, you’re the expert. You know all about selecting the right barrel for aging and how to create a perfect label. When it comes to finances for your winery, you’re not quite as certain. This may be the perfect time to ask for help. Have you thought about hiring a bookkeeper? Here are some ways a bookkeeper can help you streamline your business, and allow you to focus on growing your business.

 

Keeping Track of Transactions

One of the most difficult items for business owners to keep up with are the daily transactions. Daily transactions represent the incoming and outgoing money for your business. Examples of daily transactions might include:

  • All of your sales for each day, both cash sales and credit sales.
  • Daily cash or charges from invoices you have sent to customers.
  • Purchases you have made for the business, whether they are small or large purchases.
  • An influx of cash into your business, such as a line of credit or a loan.
  • Paying off debts, such as a SBA loan.
  • Paying suppliers for supplies and equipment for your business.

If this sounds like a lot of details to keep up with, it is. While there may be times when you will not have many transactions at all, especially if your vineyard isn’t producing wine yet, there will be other times when you will be overwhelmed with daily transactions.

Bookkeepers can record all of your winery’s transactions. This may not sound like a big deal, but think about all of the incoming expenses, and outgoing inventory. It can be extremely difficult to run a business and keep up with your winery daily transactions. A bookkeeper streamlines the entire process for you.

 

Continuous Updates on Expenses

As a business owner, it can be extremely difficult to stay on top of your spending. Bookkeepers can give you daily, weekly, and monthly updates on incoming and outgoing expenses, which helps you to stay on track and focus on your business goals.

Over half of all small business owners don’t have a formal budget, and also own up to not keeping track of their expenses. For winery and vineyard owners, it become even more difficult to track expenses, as there are immediate, short-term expenses—such as bottles, fertilizer and insect control—and long-term expenses, such as payroll. Also, you may have expenses that are services, such as an accountant or a bookkeeping service, that are harder to categorize, which makes them tougher to track. This is precisely why a bookkeeper can keep you updated on your expenses, so you can stay within your budget.

In addition, an accountant could use the daily expenses information to make predictions for your business moving forward. This allows you to stay within your business goals and continue to grow.

Protea Financial Winery Bookkeeper 4.21.22B

Accounts Receivable And Payable

Accounts receivable can be hard to handle in a winery. When you originally began your winery, you may have begun (or inherited) a way of invoicing long-term customers. For example, many wineries charge their long-term customers by the month, with a net 30 days from date of invoice. However, if you also have a store on the premises, you will have short-term payments via cash or credit. Because invoicing can be in the short term or the long term, your clients may pay immediately, or upon receipt of products.

If your winery is like many wineries, you may have different invoicing periods, but a bookkeeper can keep your accounts receivable humming smoothly. A bookkeeper can also help you with delinquent accounts as well. This is an important part of the accounts receivable process, because delinquent accounts cost you money each month.

In addition to mastering accounts receivable, bookkeepers can also smooth and streamline your accounts payable process. The accounts payable process can also be tough for wineries to negotiate. Wineries often operate at a net loss, especially at the beginning, and you will need someone who can keep up with money going out and coming in.

Your bookkeeper can work with your accountant to ensure that your accounts receivable and payable reports can account for the money moving out and coming in to your business.

 

Inventory Help

One of the most important jobs a winery bookkeeper has is to keep track of inventory. Wineries have liquid inventory, the wine itself. Wineries also have supplies needed to make wine on  hand daily. In addition, some wine inventory is sold by the bottle, some by the barrel, and some inventory is “used” for wine tastings. This means that keeping track of inventory is critical. If a bookkeeper can ensure your inventory is accurate, it helps you order supplies and track your wine quickly.

In addition, because your bookkeeper is working daily with your inventory, their inventory reports will be vital to your accountant at tax time. Because your accountant will have all of the inventory paperwork, your business accounting for taxes shouldn’t be such a headache.

Although you may have tried to streamline your process for winemaking, as any winery owner does, you may not be as up to date in your bookkeeping. In fact, you may be using outmoded bookkeeping and inventory methods. A bookkeeper can suggest ways to make your winery business run smoothly and adjust to rapid growth. This is great information for a new business owner who may not be used to rapid growth and money coming in daily.

 

Bank Reconciliations 

If you hate reconciling the bank accounts for your business, you aren’t the only business owner who feels that way. Just as expenses for the winery can be tricky, reconciling bank accounts can be difficult for winery owners as well, because they have short and long-term expenses coming out at one time. If you have both a vineyard and a winery, the accounts get even more difficult. If you hire a bookkeeper, you can leave the bank worries to them.

This is more than just a load off your mind. Reconciling bank accounts means no more overdraft fees, because your bookkeeper can help keep all of your business balances up to date. Also, in conjunction with an accountant, a bookkeeper can manage the flow of money in and out of your accounts. If you know how much money is entering and leaving your accounts, you will be better able to make your money work for your business.

A bookkeeper can also work with your accountant to make sure your software and bank balances match, which will also help keep your business growing in the right direction.

 

Fraud Prevention

Hiring a bookkeeper to keep track of your daily transactions helps prevent fraud in your business. Researchers estimate that small businesses lose an average of $200,000 yearly to fraud. In over 40% of fraud cases, having a bookkeeper to look at daily transactions would have prevented the fraud from occurring. Only 15% of businesses who were victims of fraud recovered any of the money they lost. While Fortune 500 Companies may be able to lose that amount to fraud, small businesses don’t usually have that kind of money lying around.

Protea Financial Winery Bookkeeper 4.21.22B

For Help Delegating Your Winery Bookkeeping Tasks, Contact Protea Financial Today!

Bookkeepers are one of the most important parts of your accounting and finances team. You need a great bookkeeper to help you continue to maximize your business potential. With an accomplished bookkeeper, you’ll be able to concentrate on marketing and advertising for your winery. You can focus on finding and keeping your customers, and creating reasons for customers to buy more of your wine. Maybe you can begin to move into other avenues for your winery, such as hosting groups for weddings, bridal showers, or business meetings. If you aren’t sure how to look for a bookkeeper who has winery experience, we can help. Contact Protea Financial today. 

We Can Help with Winery Bookkeeping Tasks!

No matter what winery bookkeeping tasks you need help with, the experienced people here at Protea Financial can help!

Best Practices for Avoiding Wire Fraud in Your Small Business

Best Practices for Avoiding Wire Fraud in Your Small Business

While it is the large businesses who make the news when there’s financial fraud, the greatest amount of wire fraud happens to small business owners. Recent research indicates that 78% of small businesses suffer some kind of wire fraud each year. In fact, all businesses lose at least 5% of their earnings to fraud every year. Since it has become more difficult for criminals to break into large corporations due to their internet security, firewalls, and authentication practices, thieves target small businesses frequently because their security is commonly not as strong as that of a large company. The average fraud loss for a small business is roughly $250,000, which can put many small businesses in real financial trouble.

As a small business owner, how can you protect your company against wire fraud? How can you ensure your business is safe from fraud? Here are some suggestions you can use to keep your business safe.

Train Your Employees to Spot Fraud

Often, wire fraud for a small business begins when an employee opens an email with a link that opens the business up for wire fraud. Many small business owners believe all their employees are smart enough not to click on any link in an email. However, that may not always be the case. Surveys of small business employees indicate that over half of them admit to clicking on a link in an email. That type of attempt to gain access to business information is called phishing, and it occurs when criminals send links to hack into your business. Most phishing scams target the financial information for the business. Phishing scams are the most common scams in business fraud.

How should a small business educate their employees about fraud? Train your employees about email fraud and phishing scams. Employee training for fraud is fairly simple. If you don’t want to handle the training yourself, there are plenty of ready-made presentations and videos that can help. You need to provide training for your employees regarding all types of fraud. Some of the most common forms of fraud include:

  • Relative scam
  • Utility companies
  • Debt collection
  • Charities
  • Employment offers
  • Even online dating fraud

Once your employees can spot fraud, you will go a long way towards keeping your business safe from cybercriminals.

Check Your Vendors Thoroughly

Another prevalent type of wire fraud, and one that is newer than the phishing fraud, is vendor fraud. Vendor fraud occurs when a criminal uses your business accounts to set up a fake vendor account with regular payments. These payments to fake vendors may start as small transactions that are barely noticeable. Over time, the transactions can increase in value, and can steal tens of thousands of dollars from your business before you catch them.

As a small business owner or manager, there are steps you can take to ensure you are only paying vendors you do business with. You can begin this process by putting in place procedures for adding new vendors your business buys from. If your bookkeeping and finance employees follow the correct vetting procedure, your business will be less likely to experience fraud. Your bookkeeper can also check your current accounts payable vendors to ensure they are safe to pay invoices.

Another excellent idea for small business owners is to have your prospective vendors fill out a W9 so you can ensure they are not part of a scam. A W9 form is an official request for a business’ tax identification number. All small businesses, even a sole proprietorship, will have a Social Security Number or a tax id number. If you have a vendor who refuses to provide either a Social Security Number or a tax id number, you don’t want to buy from them.

Be Safe When Wiring Money

Some small businesses wire money regularly to vendors they do a large volume of business with, because it is safer than sending a check in the mail. However, financial institutions are seeing an increasing number of wire fraud attempts by cybercriminals. You can help keep your wires safe by thoroughly checking your wiring information before the wire transfer leaves your account.

You can also minimize this danger by practicing callbacks on your wire transfers, just to double-check the money is going to the right spot. Because cybercriminals will usually only target a business for a short time, and will move on quickly if they aren’t successful, you may be able to eliminate this threat through vigilant checking of your wire transfers.

Another step you can take to prevent fraud is to ask your payees to undergo an out of band authorization for large wire transfers to prevent fraud. An out of band authorization puts two checks in place for businesses to verify the legitimacy of your vendors before you pay them.

Do you use international wire transfers? If so, then you need to be extra careful. Many international transfers are wire fraud attempts to get into your system. You will need to put in extra protection to ensure all of your wire transfers are safe.

Beware of Returns

No business owner wants to process returns because returns take money out of your pocket. However, they are often a part of doing business. You want to be sure your client or customer’s refund requests are legitimate. If you don’t already have a refund or return policy, you need to create one as soon as possible. Have your refund policy spelled out for your business (ideally on your website), and on contracts and invoices (or at least a link to this page). If you sell items to customers, you need to ask for a receipt in order to process returns, and you need to limit the time period you’ll accept returns to 30 days or less. By having a strict return policy, you will be able to limit the chances of fraud in this area.

Upgrade Your Technology

You may have considered putting safety procedures in place to combat fraud, but have you thought about using technology for protection? If you upgrade your wireless technology, you may want to consider getting a virtual private network for your business. Virtual private networks create an island of safety for your business, even over public internet connections. Some business owners may be reluctant to spend money on technology, but investing in a little technology now may save thousands of dollars in fraud costs.

Not sure about upgrading your internet to use a virtual private network due to the costs? There are some other safety features you can buy that aren’t as expensive. For example, you can change your wireless access to private rather than public, so that your customers and employees can only access it with a password. You can also create cloud backups for all your technology, which means it will be available anywhere, whether your computers are down or not. Also, if you have more than one location for your business, you may want to create a firewall to keep your business information as safe as possible.

You can also set up two-factor authentication for your company before payments are processed. Two-factor authentication ensures the person requesting money must have multiple forms of proof they are who they claim to be. Meaning, if hackers have some of your business information, they cannot use it to open accounts and use your good credit without verifying who they are in relation to the business.

Put Everything in Writing

If you don’t have your business practices in writing, there is no time like the present to create safety procedures for your financial transactions. For example, make sure all your vendors understand how money is exchanged between businesses by sending them a copy of your business policies. While they may complain a little, many businesses are used to dealing with client contracts and procedures.

Do you buy a lot of materials and supplies from vendors? Your business needs a vendor contract. If you don’t have a vendor contract, it is time to make one. A vendor contract will spell out payment terms, methods of payment, a return or refund policy, and how to handle disputes over payments or merchandise. You can find examples of good vendor contracts on the internet, or you can hire a lawyer to draw up a vendor contract for your business.

Protea Financial Can Help You Protect Your Business from Wire Fraud

As a business owner, you have enough to worry about. You are constantly looking for ways to keep your employees happy, and reward your hardest-working employees. You want to keep your business fresh by coming up with new ideas and products. On top of that, you also need to effectively market your business to attract new customers. The last thing you want to worry about is ensuring your business is safe from fraud.

However, by taking steps to keep your business safe and secure, you are working to ensure the longevity of your business. You can educate your employees to watch out for fraud in scam or spoof emails. You can warn your employees against other types of financial fraud, such as fake utility payments. Also, you can thoroughly vet your vendors, and ensure that your payments are going to a legitimate suppliers of goods and services for your business. Use technology such as virtual private networks, two-factor authentication, and private passwords to keep your information safe. Finally, have all your vendor contracts in writing, so there’s no chance of fraud. By following these steps, you can work to keep your business safe from fraud.

Need additional information about financial security and hiring great people to keep your business finances running smoothly? We can help. Contact Protea Financial today. 

Learn More About Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a massive problem if you do not know how to spot it before it happens, or stop it if it already happened. Turn to us here at Protea Financial for help spotting wire fraud today!

The Benefits of Using QuickBooks Online

The Benefits of Using QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud version of QuickBooks, one of the most well-known accounting tools available to businesses. QuickBooks has been around since the early 80s, but the online version was launched in 2001. As one of the most widely-used accounting tools, many businesses use QuickBooks on a daily basis. There are a number of benefits this software tool provides, and those benefits can ensure that you always have updated account balances and fully understand your company’s financial status.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular benefits QuickBooks Online offers and how this cloud version differs from the traditional QuickBooks Desktop offering.

 

Share Access Easily

Sharing your financial information with others in your company and with your bookkeeper or CPA is incredibly easy using QuickBooks Online. Since everything is stored in the cloud, there’s no need to email files back and forth or exchange flash drives with your information on them. You simply share access to the file with those who need it.

This not only makes access very simple and easy, but it also improves your security. Your sensitive financial information isn’t being sent via email, so you don’t have to worry about it being intercepted. There’s also no need to worry about someone losing the drive containing your information. With both of those methods of sharing information, once you’ve given someone the file, you don’t know what they will do with it or for how long they will keep it. With QuickBooks Online, you can simply remove access for a user once they no longer need to see your information. Once that’s done, they can no longer see your data.

In addition to the version of QuickBooks Online that runs on desktops and laptops, there’s also an app you can install on your smartphone or tablet. This app syncs with the data stored on the cloud, so you always have up-to-date information available with the tap of a few buttons. This means you can easily record transactions and create invoices at a trade show or other event where you may not necessarily have a computer in front of you.

 

Data is Backed Up to the Cloud

In addition to having more control over who has access to your information, QuickBooks Online also offers regular backups. You won’t have to worry about backing up data regularly or making certain your backups are up to date. Instead, all of your information is automatically backed up in the cloud. QuickBooks Online doesn’t just keep one backup, either—cloud servers create redundant backups to ensure that even if one server fails, your information can be retrieved.

Protea Financial Cloud Backup of Bookkeeping Data

 

You Can Take Advantage of Everything SaaS Offers

SaaS has a number of inherent benefits that a QuickBooks Online user can take advantage of. The first is that there is no software to install on your computer. SaaS programs work by accessing data on a server. You have access to your accounting software from any computer that has an internet connection because it’s stored in the cloud.

This also means you don’t have to worry about updating or applying patches to every computer that accesses QuickBooks Online. The update is applied to the cloud software, so it’s instantly available to anyone who logs in.  If you have a copy of the software installed locally on multiple computers, every copy has to be updated. If one user fails to do this, it can leave a hole in your security that can be easily breached.

Scalability is another great feature. If you install software on each computer, you have to purchase a license and then have your system administrator install it. With SaaS applications, all you have to do is add a new subscription to your QuickBooks Online account. The user you add instantly has access to the application and your data. When you need to remove users, you simply cancel their subscription.

This makes QuickBooks Online more affordable, too. Buying a one-time piece of software is often very expensive, and you only get a single license. With a subscription model, you can add or remove users as needed, and you only pay for the number of active subscriptions. You’re not left with multiple copies of expensive software you paid full price for but no longer need.

While the desktop version of QuickBooks certainly has its uses, many small business owners may find that QuickBooks Online has everything they need.

QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks for Desktop

(as of March, 2022)

 

  QuickBooks Online Desktop
Plans

Four:

Simple Start, Essentials, Plus, Advanced

 

Two:

Pro Plus and Premier Plus

 

Lowest Cost Plan $25/month (Simple Start)

 

$349.99/year for a single user (Pro Plus)

 

 

Most Expensive Plan

 

$180/month (Advanced) $549.99 /year for a single user (Premiere Plus)

 

Maximum Number of Users

 

25 users (Advanced plan)

plus three accountant accounts

5 users (Premiere Plus)

 

Software

 

Cloud-based, so no local software installation needed

 

Software is installed on your PC.

 

Scalability Easily scale upward or downward by adding/canceling subscriptions at any time

Each user needs their own copy of QuickBooks

 

 

Shareability Easily share your data with your bookkeeper by adding them as an accountant user

Save your data as an accountant file and email it to them for use.

 

Learning Curve/Usability Easy to learn and use

Pro Plus and Premier Plus are both easy to use

 

 

Note that there is a third version of QuickBooks, the Enterprise edition, that is aimed at large corporations.

It’s Easy to Learn

QuickBooks Online was designed to be a very accessible tool. This means there’s a low learning curve for new users. For those who have used a previous version of QuickBooks, it’s easy to jump right in and start using the cloud version. Small business owners with little to no accounting experience will find that they can set up a new QuickBooks file and start entering transactions within a few minutes.

While the intuitive design makes it easy to get started, some users may need a little more help. QuickBooks Online includes a full support system. You’ll find various articles and how-to documents in the help section. If you need more assistance, they have an online help desk where you can chat with a live representative.

 

It Makes Automation Easy

One tedious task your bookkeeper (or you as the business owner, if you don’t have a bookkeeper yet) has to do every month is put together account statements and send out invoices. This can take several days if you have a lot of clients. With QuickBooks Online, you can automate this process and take back that time. It’s easy to configure QuickBooks to automatically generate and even email invoices and other regular statements to your clients. Once you’ve set up a client in the system, you don’t have to do anything. QuickBooks can automatically insert their name and other information, then send them the invoice. If you do print invoices, QuickBooks can send these invoices to your printer as well.

If you have signed agreements, receipts, or other paper documents you need to attach to an account, QuickBooks Online makes that easy, too. You can scan the documents and attach them to the account. QuickBooks can then email these documents along with the invoice. If the client pays online, the transaction is automatically entered into QuickBooks, further reducing the amount of work you have to do and ensuring that the transaction isn’t missed. This automation also reduces errors made on invoices or in entering a transaction.

 

Inventory Tracking is Included

In addition to tracking your fiscal transaction, QuickBooks Online also offers inventory tracking. You can keep a list of your products and how many you have in stock in the system. When you invoice a client through QuickBooks, the system will automatically adjust the inventory counts accordingly. This means if you sell three of one item, your inventory for that item will automatically be reduced by three when you enter the transaction. There’s no need for a separate inventory system. By using QuickBooks for both, you again reduce the risk of errors or of transactions being missed.

Protea Financial Inventory Tracking QuickBooks Online

 

Multiple Report Options

Reports are vital to seeing a full picture of your finances. QuickBooks Online gives you a wide range of different reporting options. Each report highlights different information you may need to make decisions regarding the future of your business. With these reports, you’ll always have the data you need. In fact, because everything is cloud-based, you can generate a report from anywhere. You can even access these reports via the QuickBooks Online mobile app, so you don’t even need to have a computer in front of you.

 

Pair QuickBooks Online with a Professional Bookkeeper for the Ultimate Accounting Setup

While QuickBooks Online is an amazing tool that anyone can use, it’s still just a tool. To draw true insights from its reports and fully understand your data, you need a professional bookkeeper on your side. These experts can suggest accounting best practices and implement processes that will always ensure your accounts are accurate and follow all relevant accounting standards. By combining QuickBooks Online and a knowledgeable bookkeeper, you’ll be able to grow your business and improve your bottom line. This is also the best way to ensure that your bookkeeper has access to all the information they need in order to file your taxes.

 

Need a Virtual Bookkeeper? Contact Protea Financial Today

Are you in need of a bookkeeper? Protea Financial offers virtual bookkeepers for businesses just like yours. Because all of our bookkeepers are virtual, you aren’t limited to professionals in your area. Our team is made up of some of the best bookkeepers in the country, and we’re ready to provide whatever financial assistance you need, whether it’s basic bookkeeping or a virtual CFO.

Our team is very familiar with QuickBooks Online and uses it to assist many of our clients. We can track your transactions, set up automated invoicing, create custom reports, and much more. We’ll also be there to help analyze your financial data and provide recommendations to help your business. If you’re ready to bring on a virtual bookkeeper or would like to learn more about how we can help you, contact Protea Financial today.

Want Help Using QuickBooks Online?

Letting the experts take over your bookkeeping tasks allows you to focus on your business. Contact us here at Protea Financial today, and let us help organize your books!

What Should I Be Doing Weekly For Bookkeeping Tasks For My Business?

What Should I Be Doing Weekly For Bookkeeping Tasks For My Business?

Bookkeeping is a time-consuming skill, and not one you can neglect. In fact, over 40% of small businesses managers and owners say their bookkeeping tasks are often pushed into the background. This is understandable, because small business owners have so much on their plates. From a business perspective, however, you must keep up to date with your bookkeeping tasks, or you risk shortchanging your business, which could mean a business loss. Here are some guidelines for tasks you need to finish by the end of each business week.

Those Annoying Bills

No one likes to pay bills, but as a small business owner, there are many bills that you need to pay in order to continue to do business successfully. In general, most bills fall into these categories:

    • Taxes: federal, state, local and payroll taxes are examples of tax bills. As a small business owner, you may want to pay your taxes monthly or quarterly, based on what works best for you.
    • Utilities: these are paid monthly, and they include internet, phone, electricity, and water.
    • Suppliers and inventory: most of these are upon receipt, net 10 days, or net 30 days.
  • Payroll
  • Rent or mortgage payment for your business: usually paid monthly

As a small business owner, it is very important that you stay on top of your bills. Here are some suggestions for making sure you pay bills on time.

First, you need to make sure all of your bills are entered into your accounting/bill pay software. Be sure and note all of the due dates from your bills, and add them to your software. You may want to keep a running calendar of when each bill is due. After you pay it, you can check the bill off.

Another suggestion you may want to try is to update your bills and pay dates on a regular basis, such as the close of the business day. While you’re updating, be sure you determine which bills are due upon receipt, and which bills are net 10, 30, or 60 days.

When you are able to keep careful track of your bills, you are ensuring your business stays open for years to come.

Control the Money: Incoming and Outgoing

One of the reasons businesses fail is because the business owner cannot keep records of cash flow effectively. Often, this happens because a business owner doesn’t keep accurate records of his or her cash flow. For example, a person who owns an automated car wash doesn’t keep their business account and their personal banking accounts separate, which leads to confusion and debt.

You need to control the money going out of your business. You can do this effectively on a weekly basis. Not checking the cash flow out of your business can cause trouble down the road. One hint: it never hurts to do an opening balance for your cash flow each day, and a closing balance each evening.  That way, you know exactly how much money is coming in and going out each day.

Many businesses run cash-only, while others don’t have cash deposits at all. If you are doing a cash business, you may want to make small deposits daily or three times per week. However, if you run an all-cash business, you will likely want to make daily deposits, so that your business doesn’t become the victim of a robbery. Cash is incredibly hard to track, and thieves take advantage of that to rob business owners.

Keep up with your invoices. You will want to send out invoices weekly, especially if you have customers who are slow about paying. If you know exactly what’s due, you’ll be able to manage your business money more easily. One way to help track your money more effectively is to have a special category for clients or customers who are frequently delinquent payers. In fact, you may want to hire someone to manage invoices of customers who are behind, and follow up with phone calls or emails to ensure payment.

Label Everything

If you are incredibly organized, you may already have a strategy for money management. Each pot of money you have to put aside for your business needs a label. This will make it easier to track your spending. Not sure how to accomplish this? Here are some ideas for how to label your money effectively.

One great idea to track spending is to give each item detail a color. That way, it will be easier to figure out your business expenses. This is a great idea for people who are visual learners, but the notion of color coding can work for many business owners.

Many platforms (such as Microsoft and Google) offer templates for business expenses. If you use a premade template, don’t forget to make the categories specific to your business. For example, if you don’t do payroll, there’s no reason for it to be one of your spending categories. Creating your own categories can make keeping track of your money easier.

Protea Financial Bookkeeping Tasks

Tracking Inventory Is Key

If you buy or sell anything—including services—you have inventory of some kind. Inventory is another area that directly impacts your business success. If you aren’t sure what inventory you have, and what inventory you have sold, you will not be in business for long. You need to keep track of your inventory, because your inventory is a money generator for many business owners. For example, if you have a popular product, you will need to keep it in stock to satisfy your customers. You may want to try a simple inventory form to help you keep your inventory current.

Also, there are different types of inventories. You may have raw materials that you use to make other products to sell. You may also have already-made goods to sell. If you have a very popular item for sale, you may order excess inventory to meet the demand. You need to keep track of each type of inventory you have at your business. If you have trouble keeping track of the types of inventory you have, it may be a good idea to keep a spreadsheet with all of your inventory types in one place.

There are also inventory control programs available for small business owners who are tech-savvy. However, many small business owners don’t feel they have the time to use a program to track all their inventory. While tracking inventory can be difficult and time-consuming, it is extremely important to your business. Tracking inventory gives you control of both your accounts receivable and payable, as well as protecting your business from fraud.

Run Reports Weekly

Be sure you run reports each week on your accounts payable and receivable. This report will help you project your week ahead. If you get behind on running reports, you may lose valuable business, which no business owner ever wants to have happen. Running weekly reports acts as a check up to see how your business is doing.

You may want to set aside a part of the day at the same time each week for report running. You may want to block that time off on your calendar so that it is dedicated to your business’ finances. If you have a time blocked off on your calendar, you will probably be more faithful with running your reports. Many business owners close their doors so that their employees don’t disturb them while they are working. 

Protea Financial Weekly Bookkeeping Tasks

Don’t Forget About Payroll

Unless you are your only employee, chances are you have to pay several employees—or hundreds of employees—on a regular basis. How do you manage payroll? Many small business owners leave their payroll to a payroll service, or to a software program. Even if you have payroll software, that doesn’t mean you can neglect checking your payroll. This is important for employee satisfaction as well as to prevent fraud. Small businesses lose millions of dollars yearly due to payroll fraud.

While you are running your accounts payable and accounts receivable reports, you may want to run a payroll report as well. Finding and fixing payroll mistakes early will save you time and headaches down the road.

Let Protea Financial Help with Your Bookkeeping Tasks

Small business owners have a lot of demands on their time. You are constantly looking for new employees to hire, marketing to customers, plus using social media to increase your brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. However, while you are running around making sure you keep current on customer service and marketing, you can’t neglect the financial aspects of your business.

If you find that you don’t have enough time to take care of the everyday finances for your business, you may want to think about streamlining your financial work. You can hire a company that can manage your payroll, your invoicing and your inventory. If you’re considering assistance for your business finances, contact Protea Financial. We can work with you and your business to make it run smoothly and efficiently. 

Do You Need Help with Weekly Bookkeeping Tasks?

Here at Protea Financial, we have multiple types of financial experts who can help with your daily, weekly, or yearly bookkeeping tasks. Let us take them off your plate so you can focus on your business!

Best Bookkeeping Software for Small Business

Best Bookkeeping Software for Small Business

Understanding profit and loss is important for any business, but it’s especially vital for small businesses with tight budgets. Spending too much can quickly put these small businesses in danger, while miscalculating profits can lead to overdrawn accounts. That’s why as a business owner, you need to know exactly where your accounts stand. Opting for one of the best bookkeeping software options is one way of tracking your income, expenses, and accounts receivable/payable.

There are many different types of bookkeeping software out there, though, so selecting one may seem daunting. Understanding why you should use this software, what to look for, and the benefits it offers can help you narrow down your options.

 

Why Use Bookkeeping Software?

There are several reasons why using bookkeeping software can help you more effectively run your business. First, you need some way of keeping track of all of your income and expenses. Writing them down in a notebook may work at first, but you will have to do all of the math yourself. This method can also quickly become unorganized. If you lose the notebook or any paper version of your accounts, you likely won’t have any type of backup. Even if you do try to keep two written copies, it can be easy to forget to record a transaction in one of them.

One step up from using a paper accounting method is using software such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. These spreadsheet programs provide some benefits. They can do the math for you, and you can back them up to your personal cloud or to a flash drive. However, they aren’t full accounting programs. They don’t have features such as reconciliation or account management. While they’re better than using an accounting book, they aren’t perfect.

Bookkeeping software is designed specifically for accounting. Other spreadsheet programs can be used for a variety of different tasks, but bookkeeping software cannot. It includes all of the features and functions you’ll need to keep your accounts, vendors, employees, taxes, and more accurate and up to date. Information can be easily backed up and even shared with your accountant or other financial advisors.

 

What Should You Look for in Bookkeeping Software?

When you begin your search for bookkeeping software, you may feel overwhelmed. There are many options, and some of them may look almost identical. You will find many of the same features across the board, but that’s to be expected. These are the accounting and financial tools you’ll need in order to keep your accounts accurate.

One of the first things you’ll want to look for as a small business owner, though, is software that is specifically aimed at your needs. Small businesses do not have the same bookkeeping needs as large corporations. You may not need software that handles payroll, hours billable, inventory management, or other options. Make a list of the features you need in an accounting program in order to help narrow down the field. You may need to do some research into this if you’re not familiar with accounting. Sometimes, it can help to see what accounting programs offer so you can decide if you need those features.

In addition to features, price is certainly going to be a factor. You may find that some software is simply too costly for you. However, most accounting programs aimed at small businesses are affordable. Software has become even more affordable thanks to SaaS, or Software as a Service. Instead of buying the license for software, you subscribe to it. As long as you have an active subscription, you can use the software on any computer. Just download it and log into your account.

This means your books are available anywhere, too, because they’re stored in the cloud. You can make backups to your personal computer, of course, but the information will also always be synced with your online account. You’ll always have access to your accounts.

Protea Financial Bookkeeping Software Helps Small Businesses

 

Benefits for a Small Business

Once you’ve found the right bookkeeping software for your small business, you want to make certain you’re getting the most out of it. There are many benefits you will want to take advantage of. For example, most software available today, especially cloud-based software, works on mobile devices. This means you can complete a transaction and immediately invoice the customer. You can take photos of receipts or bills and immediately upload them. You can track the time you spend on a job and invoice for the time right away. You may be surprised at how convenient it is to have your bookkeeping software available wherever you are.

Another benefit is that accounting software will track all of your taxes. You input the correct rates for your location, and your software does everything for you. It will automatically insert the right amount of sales tax on your invoices, note how much tax you owe and how much you’ve paid in, and more. It makes filling out your tax forms and making payments incredibly easy. This also helps ensure that you are being compliant with all federal, state, and local tax laws.

Most bookkeeping software comes with a variety of different reporting and analytic tools. These tools will help you see where you’re spending your money, what your main source of income is, what type of spending trends your customers exhibit, and more. It can be incredibly helpful in maximizing profits while keeping your expenses under budget. Be sure you look at all of the different analytic options. You may find your software can generate reports you never thought of that provide key insight into your spending habits.

Finally, of course, a major benefit of using software is that it’s accurate. You don’t need to do any math by hand, nor do you risk making errors in transcribing numbers from a calculator to your software. The only thing you have to do is make certain you’ve entered the numbers accurately. Your software will do the rest.

 

The Four Best Bookkeeping Software Options

There are many different software options out there, but here are four of the best bookkeeping software options that many small businesses should be using to improve efficiency and accuracy:

 

Quickbooks

Quickbooks by Intuit is one of the most well-known accounting software packages available. Many businesses of all sizes use it. For small businesses, Quickbooks Online is a great option. It is designed to be scalable, so it will continue to work well for your business as you grow. It’s also widely used by accountants and other financial experts, so anyone you work with will likely understand Quickbooks. It makes use of cloud-based backups, has a mobile app, and can integrate with many third-party apps.

 

Gusto

Gusto provides great support to bookkeeping software, with it’s primary focus is being a payroll service provider. For small businesses with employees, it’s a great option. The software assists with tracking time, calculating insurance withholdings, and much more. Gusto is quite affordable for small businesses, too. Gusto can also help with your payroll tax filings, benefits for your team and much more!

 

Bill.com

Bill.com works with Quickbooks and other bookkeeping programs to bring automation and other features to your software. This creates one single platform you can use to handle your payments, invoices, and other tasks. The goal is to create a more efficient method of bookkeeping while keeping all of your information synced across platforms. Bill.com has tools developed specifically for small business users and provides a process for capturing and approving bills allowing you from passing paper around desks at your company.

 

Expensify

Expensify helps you track your employees expenses. This tool is very affordable, so small business owners will have no problem budgeting for it. However, it can be scaled up for mid-sized and large companies. They offer options such as optical character recognition for invoices, the option to integrate with other tools, and a variety of other functions. Using Expensify you’ll find it helps make your accounting much more efficient.

Protea Financial Which is the Best Bookkeeping Software for Your Business?

 

Which Combination is Right for You?

You’ll want to look at these four bookkeeping options plus others and compare them to your list of tools you need. Take your time and read plenty of reviews. Some applications also offer free trials, so take advantage of those as well.

 

Protea Financial is Here to Help Your Small Business Pick the Best Bookkeeping Software for Your Needs

While using bookkeeping software can certainly be helpful, it won’t be able to answer all of your questions or provide you with helpful suggestions. For that, you need a bookkeeper. That’s where Protea Financial comes in. We’re a team of virtual bookkeepers who specialize in helping small businesses with all of their accounting, bookkeeping, and other financial needs. Because we’re virtual, it doesn’t matter where you’re physically located. We’re here whenever you need us. We work with you via email, phone, and video chat.

While we do offer bookkeeping, we can also assist you with taxes, inventory management, payroll, compliance, and all other aspects of accounting. We will work closely with you and your team to accurately keep your accounting records, file your taxes on time, and assist in improving any areas of your company that are out of compliance. To learn more about how Protea Financial can help you or to get a quote for our services, contact us today.

Best Bookkeeping Software Options

Let the experienced professionals here at Protea Financial help you discover which bookkeeping software title will suit your needs!

Tips for Improving Your Accounts Receivable Process

Tips for Improving Your Accounts Receivable Process

Your accounts receivable is essentially a list of all the money your clients or customers owe you. While retailers typically receive payment for their goods when the customer purchases them, this isn’t always true. Companies that provide services often don’t receive full payments when those services are rendered. Instead, they invoice their clients. This creates a period where you’ve already supplied the goods or provided the services but have not been paid for them. You know the money is coming, but you don’t have it yet. Keeping track of your accounts receivable gives you an idea of how much money you will have to spend soon, plus it tells you which clients still need to pay.

Many new business owners aren’t experienced with dealing with accounts receivable. That’s because individuals rarely have outstanding income. However, tracking your accounts receivable is vital to making important business decisions. Here are a few ways you can improve your accounts receivable process so you can leverage that money without overspending.

 

Invoice as Soon as You Can

Why wait until the end of the month, quarter, or other period of time to send out an invoice? If you have an agreement with a recurring client that you will invoice at specific times, that’s different. However,  if you do not have such an agreement, you can invoice as soon as you provide the goods or services. Invoicing quickly puts your bill on the customer’s radar. While some may wait until the first of the month to pay, others may process payment as soon as they receive the invoice. That means you get your money much faster. If possible, send out invoices at least weekly, if not a few times a week. You may even be able to prepare and send out invoices at the end of every day. The bottom line is that the faster you invoice, the fast you start the clock, the faster you get paid.

 

Switch to Prepayment

If possible, switch from an invoicing model to a prepayment model. Your clients will pay when they order or when they come in for services rather than paying once you invoice them. Some customers, especially individuals, may be on board with this. However, if you are providing goods or services to another business, they may insist on being invoiced and paying later. That’s because they may have the same issue—their cash is tied up in accounts receivable, and they simply cannot pay you until their clients pay them.

Smaller businesses that haven’t fully moved to an accounts payable/accounts receivable accounting method are more likely to agree to prepaying or paying at the time of service. However, medium to large businesses may not be so agreeable to that agreement. You may be able to work on a prepayment model while you are a smaller business, but as you grow and begin taking on larger clients, you may need to switch to invoicing and accounts receivable.

 

Protea Financial Accounts Receivable

Offer Automatic Payments

If you have regular clients who have you on retainer or have subscribed to a specific monthly plan, you may want to consider offering automatic billing. Many payment processors have implemented this option. Instead of invoicing and waiting for the client to pay, the client provides their banking details and opts into auto-billing. Rather than invoicing the client, you may make a payment request through the processor, and that processor automatically debits the client’s account and transfers money to you.

The advantage here is that you get paid almost immediately. You don’t have to wait for the client to process your invoice and release payment. This is a much faster way of invoicing, so you aren’t waiting weeks or even months for your money. You may have to pay a small fee to the payment processor, but that fee is typically very low and won’t impact your profit margins much. 

You may have to do a little extra work—your clients will likely still want a copy of their invoice, so you’ll still have to prepare and send it to them in addition to submitting the payment requests. However, getting your money more quickly often outweighs this small amount of extra work.

 

Make Use of Automation

While using auto-billing may make a little extra work, implementing certain accounting software can reduce work and actually create a net gain for you. This software can be set up to do tasks such as automatically prepare an invoice for recurring charges. If you have clients who subscribe to your services every month, you won’t need to manually make an invoice for them. This software will do it for you, so all you have to do is send it out. You may not even have to do that—some programs can interface with your email and send invoices, payment reminders, and other messages automatically.

If you have most or all of your clients on a recurring subscription or retainer, investing in accounting software with these features can essentially eliminate the need to prepare invoices. Everything can be done automatically. You may even find software that works with your payment processor, so you don’t even have to submit payment requests. The more automated your system is, the less time you have to spend doing these tasks.

 

Avoid Dealing with Unpaid Accounts

By moving to a prepayment model or by enabling automatic drafts, you will be better able to avoid dealing with clients who do not pay their invoices timely. Sometimes this can truly be a matter of the client simply forgetting about an invoice or having some sort of emergency. In that case, a reminder email is usually enough to get them to pay. If they’re still late, you may want to reach out via phone.

However, you may have a client that dodges your attempts to communicate and goes months without paying. When that occurs, you have two choices: write off the invoiced amount as a loss and blacklist the client or, if the amount is significant, employ a debt collection agency to attempt to recover some of the funds. You may even sell off some debt to immediately recoup at least some of the costs you incurred. Either way, you’re not going to make any money when a client doesn’t pay. At best, you’ll break even or take a small loss.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to encourage clients to sign up for auto-drafts. Some businesses even offer a small discount or other benefit for clients who do. Even if you don’t, you can point out that auto-drafts benefit your customers. If you invoice monthly, you can allow them to set the day the payment is processed so they always know when the payment occurs. They also don’t have to do anything to initiate the payment, so even if they forget, it still goes through. They avoid any late fees or other costs.

 

Protea Financial Accounts Receivable Processes Your Business Needs

Avoid High Credit Usage

By better leveraging your accounts receivable, you’ll be able to avoid the temptation of making purchases on credit. Many businesses, especially new businesses, tend to make high use of credit. Once your accounts receivable are automated and you have more cash on hand, you want to make smart decisions regarding your credit.

Ideally, you’ll begin reducing your debt. While you may need to make use of credit for large or unexpected purchases, you do want to do your best to decrease your reliance on it. When you do have to dip into your credit, you should now be able to more quickly pay that debt off. You may also want to use your stronger cash flow to reduce any high-interest debt you have. The fewer claims on your cash you have, the better you can leverage your income to grow your business.

 

Call the Experts at Protea Financial to Help Improve Your Accounts Receivables 

You have a lot of work to do leading, maintaining, and growing your business. You’re also probably not a financial expert, so dealing with your accounts receivable, invoicing, and following up with clients who haven’t paid isn’t exactly something you want to focus on. Dealing with your finances in general, may be something you took on because you’re the head of the business and someone has to do it. You may not be ready to hire someone full-time to serve as your chief financial officer or accounts expert, either.

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a professional on your team, though. Here at Protea Financial, we provide virtual bookkeeping, accounting backup, payroll, compliance, and other solutions to companies that don’t need someone in-house but still want an expert to handle things. Whether you only need a few hours here and there for invoicing and payroll or want the advice of a virtual CFO, we’re here for you.

As a virtual bookkeeping team, Protea Financial is available when you need us no matter where you are. We work with you via email, phone calls, and teleconferencing, and we can take on as much or as little of your bookkeeping tasks as you’d like. We work with everything from small businesses to those that have grown to include multiple sites or have locations in several states. If you’re in need of an expert to help you organize your accounts receivable and improve your processes, contact Protea Financial today.

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