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QuickBooks Beginner Mistakes You Must Avoid

QuickBooks Beginner Mistakes You Must Avoid

If you’re familiar with QuickBooks Online, you know how spectacular it is in maintaining financial records for small and medium businesses. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual looking for reliable bookmaking software, QuickBooks is a great option.

However, there are some common mistakes beginners tend to make in QuickBooks Online. In this post, we are going to look at the most common mistakes in QuickBooks and how to avoid them.

If you’ve already made these mistakes, it’s your time to correct them. And if it’s your first time using QuickBooks, you’re in luck because you rectify can your mistakes without even making them!

 

Forgetting to Update the Records

This is by far the most common mistake QuickBooks users make. If you’re guilty of the same crime, it’s a good thing you’re not alone. With the fast-paced nature of today’s business world and the stress of managing everything, it’s fairly normal to miss a few transactions here and there.

However, these mistakes might become costly if not fixed immediately. When your QuickBooks records don’t match up with your bank statements, it means you are not on top of your organization’s finances.

To avoid such a rookie mistake, build up the habit of recording transactions when they happen. If it’s too much to ask, at least update the records at the end of the day.

 

Double Charge

Believe it or not, double entries are also very common among beginners. If you’re the conscious kind, you are more prone to making this mistake. Let’s look at an example.

Suppose, you went on a business trip at the beginning of the month and you spent from

quickbooks transaction

 your credit cards only due to a short in company accounts. Being a good businessman, you logged everything in your expenses tab as a business trip.

However, at the end of the month, when you are paying the credit card bills, you are also considering the ‘business trip’ from before. So, there are effectively two entries for the same expense.

It can cause you a lot of headaches. So, it’s always better to be careful when making entries. Label them clearly so they don’t create confusion for yourself.

 

Write Checks for Payrolls

If you’ve been using QuickBooks as a business owner, there is a good chance you use it for employee payroll as well. So, how do you pay the payroll taxes? If you’ve been using the Write Checks window, you’ve been doing it wrong!

When you use the Payroll function in QuickBooks, the payroll taxes are automatically filed in the Payroll Liabilities window. When you pay them through the Write Checks, the tracking gets all messed up.

So, only use the Payroll Liabilities to pay off those taxes!

 

Deleting Transactions

It’s another huge mistake made by rookie QuickBooks users. As QuickBooks does the job of central bookkeeping for your business, all of the transactions are interconnected across different accounts.

So, when you delete a transaction from one account, it affects the whole ledger. And at the end of the month when you finally sit down to make sense of things, the deleted transaction will cause you a lot of headaches!

So, if you absolutely have to delete any transactions, look for other entries that it might affect. For example, if you delete a transaction in one account, it will effect another account. So keep this in mind before deleting transactions.

 

Making Too Many Accounts

The sub-accounts feature is quite handy in QuickBooks to further organize the books. However, some users take the concept too far and open up accounts and sub-accounts for each of their expenses. If you can keep track, it’s all good.

The problem arises when you can’t. Introducing too many variables is a surefire way to confuse things. For example, do you really need sub-accounts like electricity, gas, etc. under the bills account?

It brings extra stress on your organizing skills. So, what you can do is chalk out a plan for your accounts before you make them. Make a list of the information that you actually need to know and start accounts from there.

So, delete any unnecessary accounts you may have now to tidy up your QuickBooks account.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Financial Forecasting 101

Financial Forecasting 101

If you’re a business owner or been thinking about opening up a new venture, the thought of improving its performance must have crossed your mind. And that’s where financial forecasting comes into play. 

It’s simply the process of looking into the future of your business based on historical data and trends. In this post, you’re going to learn the basics of financial forecasting and how it can help you.  

What is Financial Forecasting?

The definition is literally in the name. Financial forecasting is forecasting a business’s financial status. 

More specifically, this is the processing, predicting, and estimating the future performance of a business based on current data at hand. Company revenue is used as the benchmark in most basic cases. 

The sales figure can say a lot more than how much profit your business made. Those data sheets are effectively a portal to your business’s future. But it takes a different set of capable eyes to capture the essence. 

Apart from the current sales figures, historical data is also used in financial forecasting. It helps analyze the performance with regards to the past, present, and hopefully a better future. This method is widely used by successful CEOs and entrepreneurs around the world for its accuracy. 

Why is Financial Forecasting Important?

Any business with long-term objectives can definitely benefit from this process. It also helps to set new standards for the business as well as guide the decision-making process. 

Another very important reason why entrepreneurs use this process is to convince investors. 

Suppose, you own a winery and you wish to expand across different states. You know it will be a successful venture. But how do you attract more investors? 

That’s where financial forecasting comes to play. You can accurately determine the future of your winery by considering all the variables in your current model and projecting them into a future scenario. 

CEOs love this model because it can bring important insights such as how to spend business resources, what the industry holds for the future, how long the debts will hover over the business, how to pay the shareholders, etc. to light. 

And when you have at least an idea of what you’re diving into, making the right decisions at the right time becomes a lot less burdening to your shoulders. 

Types of Financial Forecasting

When venturing into the dynamic world of forecasting, you should know about the types as well. There are two major branches of forecasts. One is Qualitative while the other one is Quantitative. 

Qualitative Forecasts 

Qualitative financial forecasting does not rely on computers to analyze large data sets. It’s quite an unorthodox way of finding out the connection between events. Rather than following the sales figures, Qualitative Forecasts focus on decisions taken from experience and intuition. 

It starts with gathering opinions from major positions in each department. Analyzing their insights might be crucial for forecasting.

The next step might be taking a similar scenario from a different environment and projecting it onto the subject scenario. 

The Delphi Method is another important aspect of financial forecasting. It indicates that company professionals fill out a questionnaire. Based on it, another questionnaire is created and filled. Now, these are combined and presented to the participants to re-evaluate their answers. 

Scenario forecasting is another great method. The person tasked with the forecasting will project different results based on the consequence of scenarios. Your management team has the freedom to select any result you want. 

Quantitative Forecasts 

Unlike qualitative forecasts, quantitative financial forecasts solely depend on large historical data sets. These are used to find patterns and trends in the business space. These forecasts are more accurate in sectors where numbers speak louder than legacy. 

Pro-Forma Financial Statements is a great method used in this forecast where the sales data from the previous years are used to make the prediction. 

Another method is Time Series Analysis. For short-term goals and objectives, this the perfect method to use. It involves collecting data for a certain period and analyze it to find trends. 

Lastly, the Cause-Effect method dictates that every effect on the business is related to the cause. The consumer’s income, their confidence in the business, unemployment rate, etc. directly influences the sales figures. The goal of this method is to find the connection.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.

5 Financial Reports You Should be Running

5 Financial Reports You Should be Running

There’s an assortment of financial reports involved in business accounting and bookkeeping. Each one contains the information you need to form an accurate and holistic view of your company’s financial health. There are five reports you should be running on a consistent schedule when you own any small business, especially wineries. Keep reading to learn why these reports are crucial to the success of your company.

 

Profit and loss

A profit and loss report, also called a statement of operations, provides an overview of your winery’s key performance factors. The frequency of P&L reporting varies – monthly, quarterly, and annual statements all have their place. The goal of P&L reporting is to track sale trends and profit ratios over time.

To complete the report, an accountant compares the income of your business against all sorts of expenses. These include how much it costs to sell your products, admin expenses, taxes, interest on loans, marketing budgets, and so on. The sum of your business expenses is then deducted from the sales revenue to determine your company’s net income.

It’s important to collect and review these reports over time. On report is a snapshot in time. Several forms a dynamic assessment of how well a business is doing. This data is invaluable if you want your small business to thrive for years to come.

 

Balance sheet

The process of fermenting, bottling, and selling wins is lengthy. Every winery depends on a mix of liquid accounts and long-term investments to support such time-consuming operations. A winery is also likely to have short-term and long-term liabilities and financial backing from shareholders.

These factors are tabulated and compared when your accountant prepares a balance sheet. You’ll find that there are two sections to any balance sheet: one, a summary and breakdown of all company assets, and two, a summary and breakdown of all company liabilities.

The assets section will include the cash you have to spend, the value of your inventory, the equipment you own, and any accounts receivable on your books. The liability section includes accounts payable, unearned revenue, and long-term debts. The final calculations reveal your company’s net worth. Reviewing yearly balance sheets is an excellent tool to track the growth of your winery.

 

Statement of cash flow

The revenues and expenses of a business fluctuate frequently. And while P&L reports and balance sheets provide immense data sets, they don’t always offer the precision you need. A statement of cash flow allows you to record, track, and predict the actual amount of cash your business has on hand during a given time period.

For example, a winery needs to invest money in multiple pieces of bottling equipment. The cost of the initial purchase, interest owed, and the depreciation of value are all accounted for in monthly expense reports. However, the depreciating value of machinery doesn’t actually remove money from your account.

Instead, a cash flow statement only tracks your liquid assets. Regular cash flow reporting will show you the amount of cash you have on hand throughout each week, month, or quarter. Wineries can use these reports to predict how much cash they’ll have at a future point and enables them to make long-term plans.

 

Net profit margin over time

The net profit margin of your company is crucial to seeing and developing success in the long term. The basis for this type of report is the net profit margin ratio. The ratio divides your business’s net profit by the amount of revenue earned. To phrase it another way, this report explains how much your net worth grows with every dollar of revenue you earn.

A net profit margin report should be completed frequently. It provides an inside look at how effective your investments in inventory and labor are at producing money from your company. Knowing the profit margins for your company is the first step to course correction when you start losing money.

 

Accounts receivable versus accounts payable

Reporting accounts receivable versus payable is vital for daily operations and long-term financial planning. These types of reports document either your liabilities or your assets in real time. This information is needed to pay debts on time, budget for upcoming expenses, and ensure your books are accurate as well.

Accounts receivable reports detail outstanding money that your business is owed. In a winery setting, you might have receivable assets because a local market purchased several cases of wine to stock their shelves. Payable accounts are liabilities you are expected to pay. This includes expenses like rental space and raw goods inventory.

 

Conclusion

These five reports are the pillars of your business’s financial health. They require the utmost accuracy and need to be completed on a frequent basis, which is why Protea Financial can help. As a small business owner, it’s difficult to find time to manage all accounting and bookkeeping. Compiling and reviewing reports on a regular schedule is a challenge.

Additionally, few business owners have the training and expertise required to prepare reports correctly. Protea’s certified accountants and bookkeepers are ready to help. Your dedicated team will ensure that every transaction, asset, and liability is accurately reported. This means you can focus your attention on reviewing the big picture and deciding how best to grow your business.

The Basics of Financial Statements

The Basics of Financial Statements

A key aspect and skill in managing a company is the ability to understand financial statements. Because we operate in a competitive business environment, it is important to be able to identify a company’s financial position/health, business trends and risks at an early stage. The ability to analyze your company’s financial statements forms a key part in cultivating overall growth.

 

Let us dig into the basics of financial statements:

 

The Balance Sheet

The foundation of the balance sheet reflects the “book value” of a company at a specific date, also known as the reporting date. The balance sheet provides a clear overview of the company and can be divided into three components namely, assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity.

Assets: Anything that the company owns or is owed, and represents an accurate quantifiable value can be attributed to this asset.

Liabilities: Any legal obligations owed by the company to third parties. In a simplistic term, liability can be seen as the opposite of an asset.

Owners’ Equity: this refers to amounts invested by or owed to shareholders. If you had to subtract all the liabilities from all the assets you should effectively arrive at the owners’ equity value. The amount reflects the net worth of the company that belongs to the shareholders.

The term “balance sheet” is indicative of one important accounting principle which is that it should always balance according to the well-known formula: Assets = Liabilities + Owners’ Equity.

 

The Income Statement

The income statement (also referred to as the profit & loss statement) is an accurate record summary of revenue, expenses and other transactions over a given period. This is a particularly important document that allows you to analyze the progress and performance of your company. You can easily determine if your company is making a profit or loss, analyze expenditure/costing, identify business trends, etc.

The Income statement typically includes the following basic information:

Revenue: The amount that the company earned from sales.

Costs of goods sold (COGS): This figure is the cost of what it took to produce your goods. A simple way to put it, for each product that you sold, how much did it cost to make and get it into the hands of the customer.

Gross profit: This is the total revenue less the cost of goods sold.

Operating expenses: These are costs incurred to keep your company operating but aren’t direct materials or labor related to producing your goods or services. Examples of operating expenses include property insurance and taxes, building repairs and maintenance, utilities, administrative staff wages, etc.

Operating income: This is the income amount that reflects the gross profit less the operating expenses (other than COGS).

Net income: This is the company’s profit after all expenses and taxes.

The income statement provides you with a good indication of how well your company is performing. You will also be able to analyze financial trends on profitability, excess expenditure, cost-saving and if there is any excess cash to invest back into your company.

 

The Cashflow Statement

This cash flow statement provides a detailed overall view of what has happened to the company’s cash and the movement of cash over a given period. It is vital that a company has enough cash on hand to meet its obligations. A cash flow statement is typically broken into three sections namely, operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities. This allows for the reader to determine the following:

  • Operating activities indicate whether a company can generate cash from their normal operating activities (selling their goods or services).
  • Investing activities indicate the cash earned or spent from investments. This can include buying/selling physical property, vehicles, fixed deposits, patent rights, etc.
  • Financing activities indicate the cash raised/spent to settle debt and/or equity financing.

 

A positive cash flow figure reflects more money coming in than going out. A negative cash flow figure reflects more money flowing out (being spent) than flowing in. A negative cash flow figure is not necessarily a bad indication and this can relate to various strategic cash flow expenditure by management. The cash flow statement is vital when it comes to decision-making pertaining to the company’s cash position. It portrays the ability of a company to operate in the long term and short term based on the in and outflow of cash. Knowing this not only allows you to plan and budget in the long term, but also allows for better short-term strategical decision making.

 

Bringing it all together can provide meaningful information

 

Whilst accountants work with financial statements on a daily basis and for them it is second nature, the same cannot be said for all business professionals and it sometimes becomes difficult to understand the financial jargon. You can however learn the basics of understanding financial statements and the benefits it can yield when it comes to analyzing the statements. Financial analysis of the balance sheet, income, and cash flow statements can provide useful information such as:

 

  • The financial health of the company
  • Assist with financial forecasting, budgeting, and cash flow planning
  • Maximizing gains or minimizing losses
  • Identifying trends and new opportunities to grow the company
  • Identifying and avoiding undue risk
  • Improving and visualizing strategic business decisions
  • Allows investors to analyze the profitability and market value of the company and decide whether they would like to invest

 

The possibilities of financial analysis and the usefulness of metrics are endless. It is important to have accurate financial statements prepared by experts that will provide you with invaluable data to analyze. The data itself won’t save your businesses – only you can.

 

Protea Financial is Your Outsourced Bookkeeping and Management Accounting Services:

 

The good news is that you can learn how to interpret financial statements even if you do not have a financial background. At Protea Financial we match our solutions to the needs of the customer. Protea Financial can support you with everything from bookkeeping services, preparing financial statements, order processing, inventory tracking, handling management accounts, and tax schedules in order to support your tax accountant. Protea’s goal is to provide timely, accurate, and high-quality financial information on which a business can act. We can work with you to provide an evaluation and find the best solution for your business.

 

 

 

 

 

Protea Conversations: Destiny Burns

Protea Conversations: Destiny Burns

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high quality out-sourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the work force after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were overlooked.  Over 80% of both Protea’s leadership and accounting teams are women.

We selected the name Protea because is the national flower of South Africa and is a symbol of our connection. The Protea flower has become an ornamental flower because of this striking beauty and is included in arrangements and bouquets as a symbol of courage or daring to be better or a sign of positive transformation.

Protea Conversations focuses on a successful woman in business and their achievements.  The hope is that these conversations will create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges women face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

Destiny Burns is a native Clevelander (born and raised in Euclid), and she recently moved back home after more than 30 years to be near family and to live my dream of opening an urban winery here in her beloved hometown. Destiny is a retired U.S. Navy officer (served for 20 years on active duty (thank you!), and then spent more than 13 years as a business development executive in the defense industry in the Washington DC area. Destiny is also a former volunteer firefighter/EMT and has a great love and respect for first responders and for all those who serve our country and communities in uniform.

Wine has always been a great passion of hers having lived and traveled all around the world throughout her adult life, studying and enjoying wine and food. Destiny has advanced degrees in Business and professional experience in all aspects of business development, marketing and management, and also pursued formal and informal training and professional development opportunities in the wine industry. All of her experience and education, combined with a passion for wine and for her wonderful hometown, has culminated in her decision to open and run her own winery in the metropolitan Cleveland area and provide the “wine companion” to all the great craft beer and spirits made here! As they say, let’s have fun, celebrate, connect, support charitable causes and drink some great wine together at CLE Urban Winery! 

How did you get into the wine industry and how did you come up with the concept of CLE URBAN WINERY?

I always wanted a food- or wine-related business of my own as a “someday” dream. When I turned 50, newly divorced after a long marriage with an adult child fully launched, I decided to get serious about achieving this dream. I left my high-pressure career in the Washington DC area and returned to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio to open my own business.

After performing a market analysis, I decided that opening a restaurant was too risky (too much competition), but I discovered that I absolutely loved the craft brewery culture of Cleveland. I decided to build my business based on my love of wine and my hometown, so I created a craft brewery-style urban winery and Tasting Room in a 100 year old former auto repair garage in my suburban Cleveland neighborhood. I call it Good Wine Made Fun that Celebrates Cleveland and Creates Community, and I will celebrate my 5 year anniversary this July!

 

What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced in reaching your current success (personally and professionally)?

I would say the biggest challenge that I have faced as an entrepreneur (aside from COVID-19, which has presented a number of significant challenges for all of us) is really understanding the costs, key performance indicators and other financial measures of my business. The unique business model I created is a bit of a hybrid, and I struggled with generating the financial reporting I needed to truly understand how to profitably manage and grow the business. I finally found my financial bookkeeping partner in Protea Financial – I can’t say enough good things about how they have helped me truly understand the unique financial aspects of my urban winery business model and to effectively manage my books. The resulting financial confidence has been a godsend as I have worked to successfully navigate my business through the COVID-19 crisis.

 

What are your short term goals of your career/business and yourself?

I think I have the same short-term goal as many other small business owners… to survive the pandemic, both personally and professionally. Both aspects are challenging in this stressful and unpredictable environment, and that is doubly so as an entrepreneur. I have had to continually hustle and pivot throughout this crisis – no staying home and making a sourdough starter for me!
The other short term goal that I have been working on in 2021 is to launch the Urban Wine School™ – a comprehensive wine appreciation and education learning community that is affordable, accessible and fun! I plan to bring the first courses online this spring.

 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that has helped you in your success?

The best piece of advice I ever received was from a former boss who once told me that “Hope is not a strategy.” The only way you will be successful is through hard work and by developing a strategy and executing a plan to get you where you want to go… just hoping everything will work out is not going to get you very far.

  

What is the piece of advice that you wished you had gotten when you were starting out?

I knew this when I started out as a small business owner, but I didn’t fully understand how important this advice was until I was neck-deep in it… CASH IS KING.

  

What advice you give to others to help them be better leaders?

Don’t be afraid – and the best way to mitigate that fear is through knowledge. Do your homework, leverage resources, work hard and stay focused. Don’t take no for an answer. Set clear expectations and goals, and then hold yourself and your team accountable for achieving them. Surround yourself with great people and do everything you can to make them successful and productive, both personally and professionally – they, in turn, will then take care of you and your customers.

 

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will make a donation to Vital Voices. Vital Voices Global Partnership is a global movement that invests in women leaders who are solving the world’s greatest challenges. They are “venture catalysts,” identifying those with a daring vision for change and partnering with them to make that vision a reality. They scale and accelerate impact through long term investments to expand skills, connections, capacity, and visibility. Over the last 22 years, we have built a network of 18,000 change-makers across 182 countries who are collectively daring to reimagine a more equitable world for all.

Tax Preparation Enablement

We provide your organization a true end to end solution to all of your tax needs. Tax season is year round to Protea – if you aren’t preparing daily, it’s too easy to get behind. We are always working with your organization to streamline your businesses tax management.