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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!

Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber-attacks …and Developing a Stronger Approach to Cybersecurity in 2022

Protecting Your Small Business from Cyber-attacks …and Developing a Stronger Approach to Cybersecurity in 2022

In a recent study by the Small Business Association (SBA), 88% of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyber-attack – malicious emails, attacks and phishing campaigns to name just a few. And business owners have good reason to be concerned. According to the FBI, the cost of cybercrimes reached $2.7 billion a year in 2020.

But what can a small business owner do? Most small business owners, especially with wineries where the owner wears so many different hats, simply don’t have the time or the resources to devote to reducing their cybersecurity threats.  Often, they don’t know where to begin.

Protea recently spoke with John Comfort, President of Linked MSP, a Northern California based Managed Services Provider, specializing in Outsourced IT and Cybersecurity. Linked MSP is John’s second successful IT Solutions company, and this company focuses increasingly on guiding wineries, service providers and small businesses to develop effective cybersecurity strategies and processes.

Here are the highlights of our recent discussion with Linked MSP:

John’s Insight to Cyber Threats to Be Aware Of

According to John, there are four primary types of Cyberattacks: Malware, Viruses, Ransomware, and Phishing.

  • Malware: Software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer system (servers, computers, networks, clients). According to Purplesec.com, 92% of malware is primarily delivered by email. Dataprot (a software development and consulting company) says there are over half a million new pieces of malware detected every single day.
  • Viruses: Programs that are designed to “infect” and spread to devices connected within a network. The primary purpose of a virus is to cause temporary damage to software and give cybercriminals access to valuable data you store about your clients, your business or other professional or personal data.
  • Ransomware: A specific type of malware that “hijacks” your computers and network until you pay some ransom, as demanded by the cybercriminal. This type of malware attacks in many different ways, seeking out vulnerabilities in your network or your cybersecurity processes. The costs to pay “ransoms” are skyrocketing. According to a Sophos survey, the AVERAGE cost of remediating a ransomware attack in 2021, was $1.85 million …twice as much as just one year earlier. The primary purpose of ransomware is to exfiltrate sensitive intellectual property as well as extort money from businesses in order to regain access to data that was encrypted. Most ransomware is delivered via the web, but initiated through email.
  • Phishing: Cyber-attack that uses emails or websites to infect machines with malware, viruses or ransomware or to initiate social engineering via email, phone, texting, etc. Phishing emails fool the reader into thinking they are a legitimate sender, to entice the reader to click on the link. Once that occurs, the virus infection takes place.

Moreover, cyberattacks are extremely difficult to prevent with a near 100% success rate.  And because their impact can be so devastating, it is vital that companies take steps to reduce the likelihood of cyberattack and the impact of an attack if it does take place.

 

Protea Financial Cybersecurity Threats and Proactive Protection

 

Cybersecurity Recommendations to Keep Your Business Safe

Linked MSP has adopted the recommendations of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) that brought together the greatest companies and cybersecurity experts in the world to develop a 5-step approach to direct and support a company’s cybersecurity strategies and plans. The five steps are: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, Recover.

Identify 

“Develop the organizational understanding to manage cybersecurity risk to systems, assets, data, and capabilities.”- NIST

Protect

“Develop and implement the appropriate safeguards to ensure delivery of critical infrastructure services.” -NIST

  • Limit employee access to data and information
  • Install surge protectors and uninterruptible power supply (UPS)
  • Patch your operating systems and applications
  • Install and activate software and hardware firewalls on all your business networks
  • Secure your wireless access point and networks
  • Set up web and email filters
  • Use encryption for sensitive business information
  • Dispose of old computers and media safely
  • Train your employees

Detect

“Develop and implement the appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event.” -NIST

  • Install and update anti-virus, anti-ransomware, and anti-malware solutions
  • Maintain and monitor logs
  • Review anomalies and other events
  • Create and implement detection processes

Respond

“Develop and implement the appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity event.” -NIST

  • Develop a plan for disasters and info security incidents
  • Communicate to key stakeholders immediately and completely
  • Mitigate impact of attacks
  • Develop and implement improvements

Recover

“Develop and implement the appropriate activities to maintain plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity event.” -NIST

  • Make regularly scheduled backups of important business data/info
  • Ensure backups are recoverable at least annually
  • Consider cyber insurance
  • Make improvements to processes/procedures/tech

 

Six Small Business Steps to Improve Your Cybersecurity Protection

To get 2022 off to the right start, in terms of Cybersecurity protection, John shared SIX specific steps that small businesses can take immediately, to reduce or prevent email fraud.

Step One: Be cautious opening unexpected emails.

  • Verify the domain and the username
  • If there are links within the email, hover to verify
  • If still not sure, ask your IT professional to review with you

Step Two: Be vigilant opening expected emails.

  • Expected emails may actually be malicious
  • If sender is real and they are compromised
  • If sender appears real but is actually a look-alike
  • If there are links within the email, hover to verify
  • Contact the user via phone or a separate email to verify
  • Ask your IT professional to review with you

Step Three: Use strong passwords with two-factor authentication.

  • Protects against account compromise
  • Compromised accounts can be configured as forwarders
  • Two-factor option is to use password-less approval prompt

Step Four: Implement an email phishing training platform.

  • Increases awareness of email content
  • Aids in preventing unwanted clicks

Step Five: Implement a web content filtering platform.

  • This prevents access to known bad websites
  • Can stop an attack if a malicious link is accidentally clicked

Step Six: Implement an Endpoint Security platform.

  • This is a last catch to malicious content
  • Endpoint security may not catch everything
  • Provides protection when malicious websites are not blocked
  • Reduces the capability of attack

In summary, cybersecurity is no longer a “nice to have” when it comes to managing risk in your business. Companies must take proactive and ongoing steps to maintain vigilance when it comes to protecting their information, customer records, critical networks, trade secrets – virtually all data that is available on any device in your network. It is no longer a matter of “if” you are attacked, but “when” you are attacked. According to Norton, there is one cyberattack in this country every 39 seconds.

What You Get Out of Proactive Cybersecurity Protection

As John points out, however, the good news is that proactive cybersecurity can accomplish several key things: 1) minimize the number of attacks that can “get through”, 2) minimize the impact of an attack, and 3) dramatically increase the speed in which you can recover data and be back fully operational in the event a successful attack does occur.

By following the 5 NIST recommendations (Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover) you will reduce your risk and increase your peace of mind, knowing you are doing all you can to protect your business. John’s six recommendations to reduce or prevent email fraud can be addressed by any company.

Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” When it comes to cybersecurity, take the beginning steps now to prepare and fortify your IT ecosystem, so that you are not preparing for its failure.

We encourage you to meet with a cybersecurity specialist today to get an expert’s recommendation on how you can be prepared. If you would like to contact John Comfort, he welcomes the opportunity to speak further. As an IT cybersecurity expert, John’s company focuses on wineries and other small businesses.  He can be reached at:  John.Comfort@LinkedMSP.com or call him directly at 833-546-5336.

 

How Can Bill.Com Reduce Your Processing Time?

How Can Bill.Com Reduce Your Processing Time?

Staying ahead of the times in a constantly evolving world is not always easy. For both small businesses and major companies, processing times are crucial for their long-term success.

The general rule of thumb is that the faster your processing is, the more efficient your entire business or company will be. Plus, this can improve your customer service and increase the revenue of your business. Let the financial professionals here at Protea Financial explain how bill.com can reduce your processing times exponentially.

The Importance of Speed Processing

Speed is imperative to your business because your efficiency relies on it. Do you feel the need to rid your business of outdated financial processes and make it easy on yourself with a proven solution? Automation is the way to go! By using Bill.com, you can benefit from more efficient domestic and international bills and payments. This can save you around 36 business days annually.

Keeping up with the times requires updated solutions like using integrated platforms which connect your business to your suppliers and clients. Your business can also take advantage of popular accounting software titles.

What you should look for to help your business includes:

  • Cloud-based invoices
  • Built-in contracts
  • Flexible and editable business documents
  • Full list of vendors
  • Easy-to-use dashboard that covers your expenses
  • A chart of your accounts that you can click on easily

You want to be able to access them quickly and easily through the platform or any device of your choosing—only by authorized users, of course. These goals will help make it easier for you to conduct business and keep on top of your finances.

 Bill.com Invoice Protea Financial Accounting Software

The Goal is a Simple Process

Having a single payment processor for both domestic and international payments is simple, gives you more visibility, control, and is cost-effective. Bill.com uses four simple steps that guide you so you can easily send and receive intelligent business payments:

  • Capture – Enter the bill (aka Invoice).
  • Approve – Review and approve the entered details.
  • Pay – You can pay it quickly and easily in any currency.
  • Reconcile – Bill.com reconciles everything with your bank and syncs with your accounting software automatically.

Your business can have all payments in one place. Plus, it also saves you over 50% for international wire transfer fees.

 

You Also Deserve Transparency

One of the most important things your business requires is transparency. All the necessary information must be available to you on a single custom dashboard. The information should provide your business with clear vision and control of what goes on in your daily operations. These allow you to manage cash flows intelligently while saving money and gaining insight.

Reducing Processing Times Increases Conversion Rates

As a business owner, it can be overwhelming to see that your clients are not satisfied with the amount of time it takes you to process their payment. If this happens often, your conversion rate can decline.

There are many ways you can improve the conversion rate of your company. Some of the most effective options include:

  • Using the right systems and strategies that work for you
  • Following action plans
  • Being more goal-oriented

You may be doing all these things and still struggling. It takes effort to reduce the times your payments take in some instances. What you want is to provide your clients with peace of mind while also allowing your business to avoid unnecessary costs and lost revenue. That is what we do when we come in.

 

Manual Payment Process Become Obsolete

Manual checks are slow and they take you away from operating your winery effectively. The platform you choose needs to make manual transaction processing obsolete by transforming the way you manage your cash inflows and outflows. Through this process, you will be able to create efficiencies, freeing you to run your business more effectively.

A recent study done by CorpMagazine showed that 82% percent of all companies are still dependant on paper checks and other manual processes. This slows productivity and decreases profits.

Long approval cycles and missing information on invoices are the leading cause of payment delays. Any of these can result in lost clients. Here are some of the benefits Bill.com can offer to help improve the efficiency of how your winery works:

  • Reduce time spent on payment processing
  • Increase how efficiently you work
  • Reduce operating costs for the winery as a whole
  • Streamline the workflow of your finances
  • Make generating and processing invoices easier
  • Expedite approvals of payments made
  • Send and receive payments to and from your vendors
  • Sync with vendor accounting systems
  • More easily manage your cash

 

Why Should You Use Bill.Com?

How do you know if Bill.com is right for your business? Well, do not just take us on our word. Over 80% of the top 100 U.S. accounting firms agree, and they move over $100 billion yearly.

By partnering with leading U.S. financial institutions, Bill.com ensures they follow strict KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and maintain a high standard. Their platform also harnesses smart technology, like machine learning and artificial intelligence, to reduce busywork and increase accuracy. Plus, they are a top-rated company.

Reach Out to Protea Financial for Help with Bill.com Today

The reduction in time it takes to process payments and expenses is vastly beneficial and absolutely worth it. Bill.com strives to help you enhance your business and increase your conversion rate.

Choosing the right accounting software is the first step to improving the financial stability of your company. Speeding up your processing is the key.

If you want a better understanding on how Bill.com works, help with setting it up, or assistance using it, reach out to us here at ProteaFinancial and let us know how we can help. We will work alongside you to help make your winery prosper.

Accounting Software: Control Your Finances With Confidence and Ease

Accounting Software: Control Your Finances With Confidence and Ease

An accounting software system is a valuable tool for any business. It allows for more accurate record keeping, which in turn means less work and lower risk of mistakes. It enables you to automate labor-intensive accounting tasks and accelerates tax preparation. There are many benefits to using an accounting system, so it is important to explore them before making the decision on what type of software will best suit your needs. In this post we will review some popular features offered by accounting software systems and the costs associated with each one. We hope that after reading this you will have a better idea of how an accounting system can help you grow your business!

 

What is an accounting software system?

An accounting software system enables a company to keep track of all the various transactions that happen in a business. Transactions vary depending on the company and the industry, but most likely include sales, invoicing, accounts receivable, purchases, accounts payable, taxes, and payroll. All these transactions can be summarized, which provides valuable data for creating charts and predicting future performance.

There are three main types of accounting software systems. First, open-source accounting software is free and can be customized to the needs of the business. The downside is that open-source software may have hidden costs such as compatibility issues, support costs, training, and setup costs.

Second, canned accounting software (or desktop software) runs on your laptop or desktop. The data is also stored on the machine it is installed on. This is a great solution if you live in a rural community with a slow internet connection. It is also easy to use, costs less than other systems, and secure when you are not connected to the internet.

Last, cloud accounting software is stored online. With everyone being hacked these days you may wonder whether your data will truly be safe. The good news is you will not have to lie awake at night wondering if you many years of hard work will one day come crashing down. You are protected—many cloud-based solutions use bank-level encryption, so your finances are as secure as the money in your bank. In addition to security, no installation is required, no updates, backups are automatic, and you can access your data from multiple devices.

 

What are the benefits?

Using an accounting software system will save your company time and prevent avoidable human errors. Instead of tracking everything in a spreadsheet or a paper system, you have all your transactions in one place. It is easy to see what was spent or how much cash is coming into the business. You always know exactly where to find this information.

Accounting software automates some of the most boring accounting tasks, which dramatically increases the accuracy of your data. For example, you can set up so when a sale is made an invoice is sent to the customer set up on credit. The longer you wait, the harder it is to collect. By automating the process, you increase the likelihood of collecting. Furthermore, you can track your unpaid invoices and offer discounts for early payments.

Another benefit of an accounting system is the ability to track cash flow. Just like you can automate your accounts receivable, you can also automate other areas of accounting such as cash flow analysis. By connecting the accounting software to your bank accounts, you can easily reconcile your bank balance to your book balance in real time. No more waiting until the end of the month to find out where you stand financially.

One commonly overlooked area that is a huge win for businesses using accounting software is staying in compliance with taxes. Without good software, it can be difficult and keep track of taxes owed. A good software will calculate the sales tax and prepare the form for you.

If you opt for a cloud-based system (which I highly recommend), you have access to your accounting software system anytime you want. Literally, access to your business is at your fingertips. You can login anywhere you have a connection. So can your accountant, which makes it easy on everyone. Especially at tax time. Your accountant has everything he or she needs to file a complete and accurate return on your behalf.

 

Leveraging an Accounting System

New technologies continue to disrupt the role that accountants play in the marketplace. This is good news because accountants are well-positioned to provide the highest value to their clients. Because accountants are trained to see the big picture, they can further develop an accounting system to tailor to the needs of their clients. As a result, your accountant can be an invaluable source of analytics, insights, and best practices.

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Online accounting systems are compatible with hundreds of third-party applications that extend the usability of their platforms. Take QuickBooks Online, for example. There is a reason why QuickBooks has an 80 percent market share. Not only do they offer one of the most affordable accounting software packages, but they also have one of the most versatile accounting software systems. At the time this article was written, QuickBooks simple plan is $25, their Essentials plan is $40, their Plus plan is $70, and their Advanced plan is $150. All plans include QuickBooks mobile apps, support, and app integration.

What sets QuickBooks apart from their competitors is the software integrates well with third-party services, which make your financial management easier. As your business grows, you can add apps for spend management, billing and invoicing, eCommerce, time tracking, analytics, and inventory management. With over 650 apps to choose from, you are bound to find one that addresses any problems your business needs solved.

There are many advantages to using accounting software for your business. With QuickBooks Online you can use an online solution that is tailored specifically to you and your company’s needs. The benefits of a system like this will outweigh any potential risks associated with not having one in place. There are some great opportunities when choosing between different types of systems as well. We know how difficult it can be to choose which type of software works best for you, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.