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7 Tasks You Can Ask Your Bookkeeper to Do for You

7 Tasks You Can Ask Your Bookkeeper to Do for You

You’ve got a great bookkeeper. They are organized, detail-oriented and understand the basic concepts of accounting. They keep your books in order, perform analyses and balances, and can handle even the most complex of tasks. They are the perfect business partner, and they are great at what they do. However, are they doing everything they can to help your business? Yes, your bookkeepers are great at recording transactions, reconciling accounts, and performing other financial tasks. But that is only part of the job they could be performing. If you want your bookkeeper to become the invaluable partner you need and could not live without, you need to give them the chance to shine. Here are seven tasks you can ask your bookkeeper to do for you to help your business thrive and grow.

Create a Financial Statement

If your business generates revenue, you need to track that revenue and create a financial statement. Every quarter, your bookkeeper will add up your sales and subtract expenses to calculate your net profit or loss. But what do you track? If you are not tracking your revenue, your bookkeeper will have a very difficult time calculating your profit. And if you are not tracking your expenses, your bookkeeper will have a very difficult time calculating your loss. Both of these figures will be important to you and they say everything about the overall health of your business. Thankfully, your bookkeeper can help. By creating a financial statement, your bookkeeper can help you better understand your business and measure its success.

Manage Payroll

Your bookkeeper can help calculate your payroll and in some cases, even manage employee benefits if you have employees. Depending on your industry, your payroll requirements can vary widely. If you own a restaurant, for example, payroll taxes will be high. If you own and run an insurance company, you may have a complex set of requirements. Whatever the case, your bookkeeper can help you manage payroll. During the process, they will help your business reduce costs and have a better idea of how much revenue each employee brings in. They also use this to help track that your business is making enough money to cover the costs of the employees you currently have.

Set Up Automated Systems

Your bookkeeper will be able to set up automation systems for some operations, if you perform a specific type of business. The system could help you track inventory and track customer orders. If you have a bar, for example, you will want to track how much liquor you order and how much you sell. In retail stores, you will want to track how many items the customers buy and whether they pay with cash or credit card. You will also want to track how long it takes them to pay the bill. That way, at a moment’s notice, you can tell what your inventory levels are and if you have the money to buy more when the supply dictates that type of purchase. Automation systems are useful for tracking inventory and managing customers.

Protea Financial Bookkeeper tasks

Track Your Performance

One task your bookkeeper can take on is tracking your performance. They will do this through regularly looking over the numbers of incoming revenue, outgoing expenses, and watching or knowing industry trends. Many bookkeepers have insight of when business will pick up based on the performance in prior years. The more tracking you have your bookkeeper do, the more insight you can gain into how to position your business for the best returns. You can ask your bookkeeper for advice on future decisions based on past performance, giving you an edge in your industry, too.

Keep Track of Your Inventory

Your bookkeeper will be able to keep track of your inventory if your business regularly keeps inventory records. Inventory records help your financial professionals keep track of your profits and losses. They let you know how much money you have in the bank and how much money you owe suppliers. If you don’t keep track of inventory, your bookkeeper will have a difficult time calculating your profits and losses and helping you manage your finances.

For example, if you own a winery, you need to track how many bottles you create, how many are sold, and how many you plan to allow to age for a deeper flavor. Knowing what type of inventory you have on hand also allows you to price your inventory properly. Asking your bookkeeper for insight as to which products have sold best and what their price points were can help you adjust your prices if sales seem stagnant or slow during certain periods of the year.

Dig Into Your Company’s Finances

Your bookkeeper will be able to help you dig into your company’s finances if you regularly perform financial analyses. Analyses let your bookkeeper figure out how much you should be earning and how much you can spend. This can be a tricky, complicated task. If you don’t perform financial analyses regularly, you could have a difficult time making sure you have enough money to cover your expenses and have a buffer for unexpected losses. Your bookkeeper can help you perform financial analyses to figure out how much money you need in the bank, how much income you should place into various investments, and how much you can spend when you need inventory or upgraded equipment.

Protea Financial Tax Documents Your Bookkeeper Can Help With

Help Get Tax Documents Ready for Your Accountants

In the course of helping you manage your finances, your bookkeeper will help you get tax documents ready for your accountants. Your accountant will need access to the documents you need for taxes each year. They will also need access to or copies of the documents you need to file your taxes. Your bookkeeper will be able to help you get all the documents you need ready for your accountant. You will also be able to relax while they do it. Accountants and bookkeepers regularly work together. They know what the other will need, ask for, or information that will help make their jobs easier. Let your bookkeeper and your accountant work together so that at tax time, you can remain stress-free while they work together to figure out all the details.

Turn to Protea Financial for Help Learning What a Bookkeeper Can Do

Your bookkeeper can help you become more efficient and effective in running your business. Whether you want to track inventory or manage payroll, your bookkeeper can help. They will also be able to help you with tracking your performance and getting your business ready for taxes each year. Bookkeepers can also help you dig into your company’s finances and help you make sound financial decisions. With a well-prepared bookkeeper, your business will be more efficient. To find a bookkeeper your business can depend on for these tasks and more, contact Protea Financial today. We are here to help!

Find the Perfect Bookkeeping Partner at Protea

Take the time to find a bookkeeper that you can trust to help with all the business tasks possible. You need to focus on running your business. Leave the numbers to your bookkeeper!

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!

Is It the Right Time to Sell Your Business?

Is It the Right Time to Sell Your Business?

Business owners often ask, “When is the right time to sell my business?”  The answer is some version of “A good time to sell is when there is a seller’s market, and the owner and the business are prepared”.  Simple enough, but there is a lot to unpack in this response.

Protea Financial Sell Your Business First Image 4.21.22

Don’t Try to Time the Market 

A seller’s market exists when, because of economic conditions, demand for viable businesses is higher than the supply of businesses on the market.  There are some universal economic metrics that drive demand for businesses like low interest, tax rates and high corporate cash reserves and earnings rates.  When investors are confident about the business environment, they are more likely to pay premiums for their investment targets. 

However, local and industry specific factors are often more important to the creation of a seller’s market.  A mature industry that begins to consolidate may create an industry-specific seller’s market that doesn’t exist in other industries.  The rise of private equity has driven consolidation in many industries.  Also, when a regional competitor embarks on an acquisition growth strategy it may create a localized opportunity for owners in the same industry to sell.

It is wise for a business owner to pay close attention to these market signals. However, owners can’t control supply and demand in the marketplace and are generally better off not trying to time the market.  In the second quarter of 2020, the market for small businesses came to an abrupt halt, dashing the hopes of many owners that were ready to retire.  But by the fourth quarter of the same year the market returned stronger than before.  No amount of prognosticating could have anticipated those market changes.  

Business Preparation is Key 

The preparation of the business is more important to the success of the business sale than the state of the marketplace, and it’s something that the business owner can control.  A well-prepared business is more likely to sell in a soft market, than a poorly prepared business in a strong market. 

It’s been estimated that 80% of US small business owners don’t have a written transition plan and 50% have no plan at all.  A key component of the transition plan is preparing the business for succession.  Many books have been written and teams of professionals deployed to help business owners prepare their businesses for sale.  Conceptually, the buyer of a business is investing with the confidence that the future earnings and growth potential enjoyed by the seller can be transferred to the buyer.  To make the business attractive, the owner must then mitigate the risks in the business and to fortify its opportunities for growth.  The specific measures necessary to prepare the business vary widely.  Some critical areas for consideration are:

  • What are the growth prospects of the business? Is there a viable pathway to achieve growth?
  • What constitutes the goodwill of the business? Is the goodwill persistent and can it be transferred to a buyer?
  • Is the business’ intellectual property sufficiently protected?
  • What is the owner’s role in the business? How easily can the owner be replaced?
  • Does the remaining management team have the experience and resources necessary to operate the business efficiently?
  • Is the business properly staffed for its size and to recognize its growth potential?
  • What supplier and customer risks exist? How can they be addressed?
  • Do the business assets have deferred maintenance or unfunded capital expenditures?

There are times when a business is clearly not ready to be placed on the market.  The business may not be performing because of loss of an important client, vendor, or key employee or because of an acute business issue that the business is facing like a lawsuit or a loss of facility lease.  These red flag issues should be resolved by the owner, before trying to sell their business.

The process to identify and address the specific issues faced by a company may take 3-5 years, so it’s important to plan ahead.  But the owner of a company that has been properly prepared for sale, may be rewarded with a price premium, while an unprepared business may sell for a discount, or not at all.

Protea Financial Sell Your Business 4.21.22B

The Owner is Motivated, but not Compelled to Sell

Lastly and most importantly, the owner needs to be psychologically ready and financially prepared to exit their business.  Most owner’s only own one business in their life and selling it is momentous.  For some, the business is tightly intertwined with their personal life and identity.  However, there inevitably comes a day when the owner no longer wants to or no longer can be involved in the business. 

Owner’s end up selling for a variety of reasons, for some it’s poor health, for some its divorce from their life or business partner.  These personal challenges can make the process of selling the business more difficult and may put the owner at a disadvantage during negotiations with a buyer.  The best reasons are because the owner realizes that there is something that they would rather be doing with their time or assets like retirement or another venture.  Ideally, they are personally motivated, but not compelled to exit.

Even if the owner is determined to sell, they may hesitate to do so if they haven’t determined that the proceeds from the sale are sufficient to support their retirement or pursue other ventures.  Professionals can help with this analysis.  Business appraisers can help to anticipate the proceeds from selling the business.  While a financial planner can help an owner estimate the amount needed to support their retirement.

Ultimately, determining the right time to sell their business requires the owner to plan ahead and prepare the business for the time when market conditions are adequate, and the owner is personally motivated.  Exit Strategies Group helps owners to plan for and execute their business exits.  If you’d like help in this regard or have any related questions, you can reach Adam Wiskind, Certified Business Intermediary at (707) 781-8744 or awiskind@exitstrategiesgroup.com.

Let Protea Financial Help You Get Your Books In Order

If you plan to sell your business, then make sure you have everything in order to make the process easy. Reach out to have help getting your books in order to show potential buyers what your business has to offer!

Five Things Your Alcohol Compliance Lawyer Wants You to Know

Five Things Your Alcohol Compliance Lawyer Wants You to Know

As an attorney who specializes in alcohol licensing fire drills, I have a standing wish list of things I desire alcohol producers knew about their compliance. Grab cup of coffee or other beverage, sit down and have a read about five things your alcohol compliance lawyer wants you to know.

 

ACCESS

Quick! Who has access to your home state license and TTB records? What about all the other states? Does this person have access to ‘all the things’ or just enough access to file reports and returns?  Not sure if anyone outside your long -suffering compliance person (internal or external) knows how to answer this question?

Not all access is created equal, and it is important to understand the difference.  The most common type of access is someone having a login and password to a state website. That access allows them to file alcohol related tax returns, submit brand registration, renew licenses, reset passwords (if you have the right email, more on that later), etc.  What that access does not usually allow them to do is talk to the state about specific questions related to your alcohol accounts.  This second type of access, usually linked to the officers, directors (the legal kind, not the job title) and owners, is like a certain movie character’s golden ticket.  It allows them an all access pass to get information, request changes and more.

Knowing who has what type of access is important if you want to make a change to the information on file or sign an application or renewal.  For example, if you have a winery in California and you want to get an additional license for your new tasting room, the person signing the forms must already be on file with the California ABC in connection with the winery license. If the one person associated with your winery license happens to be on an extended vacation, you will need to track them down to sign the forms (sometimes sending a mobile notary to their location) or wait until they return to move forward.

If trying to come up with the answers to my first set of questions made you break out into a cold sweat, it is probably time to audit your home state license and TTB Permits Online access. 

 

PAPERWORK

Do you have a copy of your home state license and TTB Basic Permit on site at your winery, distillery or brewery?  For example, if you are a California winery, the home state license is a pink piece of paper that should be on display at the winery and renewed every year.

Was that question easier that the first set?  Here is a harder one.  Do you have all the records of forms and applications filed in connection with those licenses? While many of the TTB records can be located online (with the proper access), not all home state regulators are as easy.  Sticking with the California winery example, if you want to see a copy of your ABC 257 (the premises diagram that shows where your operating boundaries are), you will need to take that up with the Custodian of Records in the ABC’s Sacramento office.

 

Protea Financial Create Email for Compliance

 

EMAIL

Remember my comment about emails above? Who receives email notices from state regulators about your licenses, brand registrations and tax filings?  Please create a ‘compliance@’ email or something similar right now. Really.  I mean it.  Grab a post it, make a note and stick it on your computer screen. Right. Now. Once you have created it, make it a priority to update all your online accounts with this new email address.

Why is this important? Because if the person connected to the email on file with the alcohol regulators wins the lottery and leaves the same day, all the notices, renewals and even the ever popular two factor authentication process is trapped in that old email.  While your IT rock stars may be able to grant you access to the old email for a period of time, that is only if someone thinks about it during the off-boarding process.  And no, turning on an ‘out of office’ from the old email directing the sender to the new ‘compliance@’ email address won’t work.  Many of these notices are sent from an automated/no-reply email address that simply doesn’t care that you never got around to taking this advice.

 

PASSWORDS AND LOGINS

Keep a record of the current usernames and passwords to state alcohol regulator websites and the TTB Permits Online system.  Keep it current.  Ideally, use a password program like LastPass, 1Password, MyGlue or something similar so that your IT team can add or share access to this information in a hurry if needed.  Remember that employee who won the lottery and left the same day?  What about the employee who has a family emergency and needs to be gone for an extended period of time?  Filing deadlines will not wait for them to come back to the office and regulators are not usually inclined to accept these excuses as part of a request to waive late filing penalties.

 

MAKE ALCOHOL COMPLIANCE LIVE IN MORE THAN ONE PLACE

While I would love to think that every single winery, brewery and distillery owner loves compliance like my team does, I suspect that is not the case. Alcohol compliance is a confusing and complex requirement in the United States – 50 states, 51 sets of rules. 

Try this- get to know the employee who handles alcohol compliance for your organization or who manages the relationship with your outside compliance resource.  Understand enough about their day job to not be intimidated or terrified if they decide to go on vacation during a busy part of the year.  Cross train some of their key job responsibilities so you have backup if needed.  Respect that they can be viewed as the hall monitor of your company– just enough authority to stop you in the hallway and ask for your hall pass, but not enough authority to make you remember to bring your hall pass with you the next time you step out of the classroom.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for the alcohol compliance at your company. Telling a regulator ‘but my compliance person quit or is out of the office’ is akin to saying ‘the dog ate my homework’ and will go over about as well you as think it might.

 

Protea Financial Alcohol Compliance

 

Need More Information?

Cronbach Law Group PC is a law firm located in Napa, California.  Our focus is helping our clients understand the complex world of alcoholic beverage regulation – 50 states, 51 sets of rules. Let us be your guide and keep your business priorities top of mind on along the way.  www.winedeal.law

Call Protea Financial to Find Out More Information

If you have any questions about compliance for your vineyard or winery, please reach out to us here at Protea Financial! We can recommend an alcohol compliance lawyer to help!

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.

 

The Benefits of Hiring a Bookkeeper with QuickBooks Experience

The Benefits of Hiring a Bookkeeper with QuickBooks Experience

Bookkeeping is not a new science. Historical records indicate bookkeeping existed as early as 6000 B.C. Ancient Babylonian kingdoms recorded inventory from crops. Bookkeepers in Greek and Roman societies counted and noted agricultural crops, as well as payments to farmers. While bookkeeping may have been around for thousands of years, they are just as important now as they were in the ancient past.

Not only do bookkeepers remain important, but they have branched into specializations.

In fact, there are many different types of bookkeepers with different specializations. While a general bookkeeper is great for a small business, you may reach a point when you need a bookkeeper with areas of specialization. One area of specialization that bookkeepers can have is with computer technology for bookkeeping, such as QuickBooks. Here is some information on why you want to hire a bookkeeper with QuickBooks experience for your business.

 

Protea Financial What Does a Bookkeeper do?

 

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

The term bookkeeper is short for bookkeeping clerk. Bookkeepers keep the financial records of a business. In fact, bookkeepers are vital for the history of a business, because it is only when a business’ records are precisely kept can information help a business survive. For example, if you don’t have a bookkeeper, but you vaguely remember paying a vendor for your business, how can you prove it, if you don’t keep accurate records?

One of the most important tasks of a bookkeeper is to keep the accounting books of a business, which means they track the income that comes into the business, as well as outgoing expenses from the business. Usually, this means that a bookkeeper tracks the business’ inventory as well, because inventory can be related to outgoing expenses as well as income from the sale of inventory. Depending on the size of your business, bookkeeping may involve using accounting software, spreadsheets and databases.

Bookkeepers also track all of the money, usually through postings to accounting software, on a daily basis. It is through posting each transaction daily that bookkeepers can regulate the amount of money a business uses to operate. Without a bookkeeper, many business owners would have no idea what their monthly expenses and income is, which prevents any business from growing, developing a budget, forecasting future expenses and income, or even securing additional financing.

While bookkeepers do not deal with hiring, onboarding, or other aspects of Human Resources (or HR), they may process payroll, and they will keep records regarding pay, taxes, and other employee withdrawals on payroll, such as Social Security and Medicaid, insurance and retirement benefits. No matter what the payroll deduction is, a bookkeeper can keep track of it.

Because bookkeepers are record keepers, it is essential that they are versed in how to keep the most accurate records possible. Bookkeepers who are excellent at their chosen profession already know all of the best ways to keep records. In the past, record keeping happened in large ledgers, leather-bound, that bookkeepers stored on shelves behind them for authenticity. Now, the best bookkeepers use accounting software to keep the most accurate records possible. One example of accounting software that bookkeepers use is QuickBooks.

 

What QuickBooks Does

In the early 1980s, two computer software programmers decided to move from designing an individual expenses and accounting program (Quicken) to designing double entry ledger books for small businesses—which became QuickBooks. QuickBooks is the predominant bookkeeping software for businesses, with a 95% saturation in the market.

QuickBooks is an important financial tool. Through the QuickBooks program, bookkeepers can keep track of a ton of business financial information—all in one program. QuickBooks can help businesses manage:

  • Accounting. One of the most important functions of the QuickBooks program is to manage income and expenses daily. With QuickBooks, each line of income and expenses are tracked electronically. The importance of having a daily income and expense tally can’t be overestimated.
  • Payroll. QuickBooks can help businesses track the amount of money outgoing for payroll, taxes and employee benefits. This is extremely important for the state and federal business taxes you owe, either quarterly or yearly.
  • Inventory Management. If you have a business where inventory is important because you are selling a product, you need inventory management. Even if you sell a service instead of a product in your business, you still have to manage inventory such as printer paper, ink, pencils, and cleaning supplies. QuickBooks can help you keep track of your inventory.
  • Taxes. QuickBooks keeps track of the taxes (state, local, and federal) that you have paid in, as well as tracking payroll taxes.
  • Invoices. You can make invoices and send them to client, accept payments, and even pay your invoices via QuickBooks.
  • Bank account tracking and balancing (reconciliation). You no longer need to balance your books, because QuickBooks keeps track of all of your incoming and outgoing expenses and income via your bank accounts. Bank reconciliations are no longer an issue.
  • Budgets and expenses monitoring. Because QuickBooks can manage your incoming and outgoing money, you will find budgeting easy to do electronically, and monitoring your expenses will be less taxing as well.
  • Managing accounts payable and receivable. QuickBooks allows you more control over your accounts payable and receivable by setting reminders and due dates for you to keep your money flowing smoothly.

 

Protea Financial Bookkeeper with QuickBooks Experience

Advantages of Hiring a Bookkeeper

With all of the advantages to a QuickBooks program, why would you need to hire a bookkeeper? The most important reason you need a bookkeeper is for financial record keeping. The larger your business grows, the harder it is to keep accurate, up-to-date records. When you hire a bookkeeper, you are able to turn over all of your financial recordkeeping headaches to them.

Another important reason to hire a bookkeeper is to give you an outside perspective on effectively managing the financial side of your business. You have tons of expertise when it comes to creating a business and making it successful, but the financial needs of your business may not be in your wheelhouse. Bookkeepers have tons of experience on financial record keeping and managing your incoming and outgoing expenses.

Although bookkeepers may cost you money up front, they will save you money in the long run, because they will be able to give you tips to save money on the expense side of your ledger. This may mean everything from trimming your office products budget to regulating the amount of inventory you keep on hand. Bookkeepers are invaluable for money-saving tips.

If you want to have time to really manage your business, concentrate on your clients, and focus on marketing and business growth, you need to hire a bookkeeper. While the bookkeeper focuses on the expenses and income side of your business, you can concentrate on making sure your business stays profitable.

 

Why Your Bookkeeper Needs QuickBooks Skills

Hiring a great bookkeeper is essential to growing your business. If you hire a bookkeeper, you need to make sure your newly-hired employee has QuickBooks skills. There are several reasons your bookkeeper needs to have QuickBooks experience.

First, one of the most important skills a bookkeeper can have is computer literacy. Although bookkeepers used to keep ledgers on income and expenses in ledger books, financial management has been working in the digital age for decades. Your bookkeeper needs to be literate in computers and computer programs, such as QuickBooks. If your new bookkeeper has knowledge of QuickBooks, and uses it regularly, you’ll know they can handle other skills on the computer as well, such as documents and presentations.

Bookkeepers must have numerical literacy as well as computer literacy. In fact, numerical literacy may be just as important as computer literacy for bookkeepers. Because bookkeepers need to have extensive attention to detail, numerical literacy is critical for budgeting and forecasting expenses and income. Your bookkeeper who has QuickBooks knowledge will have the skills to go into the program and problem solve when a mistake occurs with either income or expenses to quickly correct the error.

Bookkeepers sometimes use financial calculators for their business, in order to project future income, expenses by the month or by the year. These calculators will help you forecast when you could make changes to your business, such as adding new products or services, or adding new employees. Although QuickBooks has a ton of features to help business owners, bookkeepers with QuickBooks experience are vital for businesses. Along with financial tools, QuickBooks allows bookkeepers to utilize spreadsheets. Spreadsheets have been a part of a bookkeeper’s experience for decades, because they allow bookkeepers to lay out both past and present expenses. If your bookkeeper has QuickBooks experience, he or she will be able to keep your books accurately.

 

Protea Financial Has a Bookkeeper with QuickBooks Experience for Your Needs

Hiring a bookkeeper is one of the most important hires you will ever make. Be sure that the bookkeeper you hire has QuickBooks skills in addition to the requisite financial recordkeeping knowledge. Not sure how to hire a bookkeeper? You can begin by posting the job on job search websites. You can also ask friends or colleagues for recommendations as well. When you’re ready to hire a bookkeeper, be sure they have all the skills you’re looking for. That way, your business will continue to grow and thrive.

To find out more, reach out to us here at Protea Financial. We can help set up QuickBooks, or we can work with an existing account. Let us know how we can help!