(415) 418-0020 info@proteafinancial.com
Protea Conversations: Saja Raoof

Protea Conversations: Saja Raoof

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality outsourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the workforce after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were previously overlooked.  Protea strives to represent people from all backgrounds and provide an environment for them to grow and succeed in a setting that provides the flexibility and acceptance of who they are as people.

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 in 2022 will focus on positive transformation and representation from all backgrounds. We are broadening our Conversations with the hope that these conversations will continue to create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges leaders face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

In August 2022 we spend time with Saja Raoof.

Saja is the proud daughter of an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability,” a visa classification which recognized her dad Dr. Ameed Raoof’s distinguished career in Medical Education. Her family background is part of the reason she chose to devote her career to serving talented foreign nationals interested in pursuing the American dream through employment-based visas.

As a Business Immigration Attorney, Saja helps companies and foreign-born nationals navigate the increasingly complex field of Immigration Law. Having focused on business immigration since 2006, Saja’s clients have included engineering companies, architecture firms, startups, overseas companies and nonprofits and their talented foreign-born employees.

Her immigration career started with an internship at the National Immigration Project in Boston during first year of law school. She also advocated for immigrants’ civil rights during my internship at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

Saja’s family is from Iraq, home to the first code of law in history. Before moving to the US she grew up in Scotland and Saudi Arabia. When not working you’ll find Saja kayaking, embroidering, or traveling internationally.

Protea Financial Immigration Law

Tell us a little more about your decision to start a career in immigration law and your journey to running your own practice?

As the eldest of four children my dad tasked me with helping him put our immigration application together when I was about 14 years old. My involvement in that process at a young age made a strong impression on me. I’d gone with law school with the goal of defending human rights. Immigration was a natural venue to fulfill that dream. I set up my own practice in 2012 and it’s been a terrific experience over the past decade. Having been through the immigration journey I can put myself in my clients’ shoes and share a personal understanding of what’s at stake.  

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

The limited venues for immigrants and the sometimes heavy-handed application and interpretation of immigration law. It’s frustrating to see politics decide whether companies can grow and foreign-born nationals can pursue their dreams. For example, only 65,000 H-1B visas are granted each year plus 20,000 reserved for foreign-born nationals who have a U.S. Master’s. The number filed every year competing for those visas is sometimes three times the number of visas available, so U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services runs a lottery. Companies should be able to file an H-1B based on need, not luck.

What are your short-term goals of your career and yourself?

I’m working with Mike Doherty (Understanding eCommerce) on updating my marketing. I’m also working on becoming an engaging public speaker.

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

It’s hard to narrow it down to a single piece of advice. The first advice that comes to mind is my business coach Alay Yajnik’s “time is life and life is time.” That line is just a starting point. Alay’s time management system is gold.

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

Delegate. Because we want everything to be perfect, we sometimes prefer to do a given task ourselves rather than explain and entrust it to somebody else. But learning how to effectively delegate and free up one’s time for other things, is priceless.

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

Since early in my career I’ve kept record of notes from my conversations with the lawyers and professionals I’ve admired the most. Out of every 10 people you ask for guidance, maybe only one will respond. But that person’s advice could do wonders for your career. It’s not always comfortable approaching leaders to seek advice but it’s worth it.

Protea Financial Saja Raoof Embroidery

Can you share something interesting about yourself that will provide insight into who you are outside of the professional space?

When my husband and I moved from Michigan to California in 2014 we didn’t know many people here, so I needed a new hobby. My choices came down to either pottery or embroidery. As an introvert I went with the hobby that doesn’t require going to a studio and talking to people. I started out embroidering flowers and birds. And I later realized it could be a meaningful way to connect to people. I embroider personalized gifts for friends and colleagues on their special occasions (weddings, religious occasions, death of loved ones). An embroidered piece makes for a memorable gift and it feels good to create long-lasting beauty.

*****

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will donate to Positive Images (https://www.posimages.org/). Positive Images is a grassroots nonprofit organization serving Sonoma County since 1990. Their LGBTQIA+ Community Center hosts multiple weekly support groups, a youth leadership development program, mentorship opportunities, an LGBTQIA+ Library, resource and referral station, and a Transformation Station. They proudly offer a warm, welcoming, and affirming environment for young people to explore their individual identities, develop leadership skills, and contribute to our collective community. Positive Images staff lead LGBTQIA+ Cultural Competency Trainings and presentations that educate the greater community focusing on human connection, compassion, and inclusion. Their goal is a community where all LGBTQIA+ people are valued, compassionate community members, creating a just society.

Protea Conversations Let You Expand Your Network

Learn about professionals you may not otherwise come across by reading through our Protea Conversations. We have the privilege of talking with some fantastic individuals, and appreciate the time they take discussing their lives with us!

Protea Conversations: Karen Alary

Protea Conversations: Karen Alary

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality outsourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the workforce after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were previously overlooked.  Protea strives to represent people from all backgrounds and provide an environment for them to grow and succeed in a setting that provides the flexibility and acceptance of who they are as people.

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 in 2022 will focus on positive transformation and representation from all backgrounds. We are broadening our Conversations with the hope that these conversations will continue to create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges leaders face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

In July, we talk to Karen Alary of the Personnel Perspective. Founded in 1987, The Personnel Perspective has an outstanding reputation for quality service in human resources consulting, leadership training and development, recruitment, organizational design, conflict resolution and mediation. The firm works with companies of all sizes in all industries and provides customized solutions based on the client’s individual needs and circumstances.

After completing college, Karen Alary began a career in human resources.  Her experience, not the typical career progression you might expect, was well-rounded and prepared her to eventually become owner and Managing Partner of The Personnel Perspective.  The Personnel Perspective was founded and is still based in Santa Rosa and Napa, and is currently celebrating its 35th year in business.

Karen grew up in Sonoma County and has deep ties to the community.  One of her personal values is to give back to her community through volunteer work and supporting some local non-profits.  She believes that through the work The Personnel Perspective does and the time she gives to non-profits, she is helping make businesses stronger, leading to a stronger community.

Tell us about your decision to start a career in human resources and your journey to Managing Partner of The Personnel Perspective?

The HR profession found me.

The confluence of two important factors brought me to the HR profession and, later, as the Managing Partner of The Personnel Perspective. 

My degree is in business management.  Out of college, I worked in a national labor and employment law firm.  I was fascinated with the myriad issues businesses faced with their employees, the counsel attorneys gave to business owners and leaders, and the resolutions reached.  I was clear I did not want to be a lawyer and so I gravitated toward the HR profession.

Years into my HR career I had the opportunity to do some consulting work.  This work expanded and I realized there was a lot of need in our business community.  The thought of helping many businesses was very appealing to me and as I continued consulting I had the opportunity to buy The Personnel Perspective, a well-established HR consulting firm based in Santa Rosa.  This was a huge attraction because I loved the work I was doing and the idea of becoming a small business owner was kind of full-circle for me as I had grown up in an entrepreneurial environment.  My father was a successful business owner and I witnessed the rewards and challenges he faced. 

Protea Financial Personnel HR

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

As a small business, we face many of the same challenges as our clients in trying to keep up with all of the state’s employment and business regulations.  California regulations are challenging for all small and medium sized businesses and the cost of business and living are so high in this state that the balancing act we all have to perform to continue has to be part of the overall strategy.  As HR professionals, the biggest challenge in the current environment is being pulled in so many different directions given that there continue to be pandemic protocols to account for, we have to be on top of all the potential legislative changes being considered and be ready to help clients continue to be compliant and we need to manage our own internal infrastructure so that we can be efficient and responsive.  The HR profession in itself is a balancing act with many competing priorities and that is what keeps the work interesting and worthwhile. Our main function is to be problem solvers and with the competing needs of small businesses, it can be a perfect storm; sometimes there aren’t perfect solutions and we have to exercise creative thinking and be flexible.

What are your short-term goals of your career and yourself?

In the short-term, my goals are to provide value and excellent service to our clients.  We focus on building long-term relationships and take the time to get to know our clients, their needs, their industry and organization, and prioritize the strategic partnership. 

In the long-run, I would like to become an advocate and voice for small businesses in California at the state level.  According to a report published by the California Governor’s office, California small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs and employ nearly half of all private sector employees; they are the drivers of economic growth and we must ensure they remain strong and relevant. Legislators can often be a bit out of touch when they write bills that affect businesses in that they may not have awareness of the challenges businesses face in having to follow the new or amended regulations.  They are policy makers and not in tune with the cost to implement and the day-to-day or practical issues that arise during implementation.  While policy and legislation is important to protect employee rights, a balance must be struck between worker protections and for keeping the legal and regulatory quagmire from becoming so cumbersome that businesses can no longer stay afloat particularly given that entrepreneurs play such a vital role in California’s economy and job market.

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

A colleague shared the analogy of HR being like a bicycle wheel.  HR is the hub of the wheel with all the spokes coming off of it to make the larger wheel itself.  All the spokes are the various stakeholders and priorities for a business.  HR’s job is to keep everything balanced so the wheel doesn’t become warped.  A warped wheel is hard to peddle on and can cause the bicycle to become unusable.  We want to have balance and fairness, appropriate legal compliance, awareness of risk, solve the problems and keep employee satisfaction high, all while ensuring the business remains strong and can continue to meet its mission and goals. Every aspect, each of the spokes, matter to the wellbeing of the organization—the wheels ability to balance and function.

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

Every HR professional struggles with confidence at the beginning because there is so much technical information we have to store in our knowledge banks.  When starting out we all can be hesitant when we don’t have enough experience and exposure yet.  Nonetheless, giving HR practitioners time for the steep learning curve and allowing space to take risks is the best way to learn and grow confidence and professional experience and knowledge.  HR as a profession can lend itself to individual practitioners becoming too risk averse in general because we are always thinking about the risk and potential exposure to lawsuits or other expensive employment claims for the business.  Even with the legal environment as it is today, in order to be innovative, we have to be willing to try new things while thinking through our decisions and the possible consequences.

Protea Financial Protea Conversation with Karen Alary

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

Leadership is all about building strong, authentic relationships, developing strong listening skills and emotional intelligence, determining what the tone and example is that you want the organization to follow, and being real and consistent.  Trust is the foundation of leadership and it takes humility, reliability, caring, good boundaries, and a structure and value system that establishes the type of culture that will result in retention and performance.

Can you share something interesting about yourself that will provide insight into who you are outside of the professional space?

This is a tough one because my professional self and personal self overlap.  I think one part of me that is not visible though is my spiritual mindset, which, by nature, is a path for continual growth.  Rather than having a limited, negative thought perspective that leads to a belief that we live in a world of lack and scarcity, I believe in operating from an abundance mindset which allows me to shake off the disappointments and keep going.  

*****

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will donate to Positive Images (https://www.posimages.org/). Positive Images is a grassroots nonprofit organization serving Sonoma County since 1990. Their LGBTQIA+ Community Center hosts multiple weekly support groups, a youth leadership development program, mentorship opportunities, an LGBTQIA+ Library, resource and referral station, and a Transformation Station. They proudly offer a warm, welcoming, and affirming environment for young people to explore their individual identities, develop leadership skills, and contribute to our collective community. Positive Images staff lead LGBTQIA+ Cultural Competency Trainings and presentations that educate the greater community focusing on human connection, compassion, and inclusion. Their goal is a community where all LGBTQIA+ people are valued, compassionate community members, creating a just society.

Protea Conversations Let You Expand Your Network

Grow your network by connecting with the amazing companies we speak with in our Protea Conversations. If you need help finding the right fit, contact us here! We will do our best to help. 

Protea Conversations: Jessica Carroll

Protea Conversations: Jessica Carroll

Protea Financial was founded in 2014 to provide high-quality outsourced accounting at an affordable price.  Given Protea’s flexible work environment, the Company especially appealed to accountants who wanted to re-enter the workforce after taking time off to start a family. This allowed Protea to attract extremely talented individuals who were previously overlooked.  Protea strives to represent people from all backgrounds and provide an environment for them to grow and succeed in a setting that provides the flexibility and acceptance of who they are as people.

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 in 2022 will focus on positive transformation and representation from all backgrounds. We are broadening our Conversations with the hope that these conversations will continue to create a forum to discuss the experiences, opportunities, and challenges leaders face, and how we can build a more diverse, inclusive, and successful environment for everyone.

In June, we spend some time with Jessica Carroll, the Director of Programs of Positive Images. Positive Images is a grassroots nonprofit organization serving Sonoma County since 1990. This LGBTQIA+ Community Center hosts multiple weekly support groups, a youth leadership development program, mentorship opportunities, an LGBTQIA+ Library, resource and referral station, and a Transformation Station. They are proud to offer a warm, welcoming, and affirming environment for young people to explore their individual identities, develop leadership skills, and contribute to our collective community. Positive Images staff lead LGBTQIA+ Cultural Competency Trainings and presentations that educate the greater community focusing on human connection, compassion, and inclusion. The vision is a Sonoma County where all LGBTQIA+ people are valued, compassionate community members, creating a just society.

Jessica Carroll (she/her) grew up in the Roseland community of Santa Rosa. After graduating from UC Davis she started her career in non-profits working with youth and young adults in the foster care system, suicide prevention programs, and mental health treatment. After 12 years away, Jessica returned to Sonoma County and immediately reached out to Positive Images knowing that she had the skills, knowledge, and experience to serve the unique needs of the local LGBTQIA+ community. With positivity, warmth, and excitement Jessica hopes to create space at Positive Images (and the greater Sonoma County) where all LGBTQIA+ folks are accepted, respected, valued, and loved. Outside of PI, you can usually find Jessica and Puppy Frank on the rugby field!

Protea Financial Protea Conversation Jessica Carroll Rugby

 

Tell us about your decision and journey to dedicate your career to the non-profit space?

I’m not sure if there was a conscious decision to dedicate my career to the non-profit sector, as much as a lifelong pull toward opportunities where I felt like I could be of service to others. I have always sought out opportunities to be a helper and offer what I could to those around me. As a kid, I watched my mom tirelessly give her time and energy to people and causes she cared deeply about. Caretaking, sharing resources, and offering to others were values ingrained in me as a child and have certainly been the throughline in my career thus far. When I look to the people I love, my community, and this world, I see ways that we can, and should uplift one another. My career in the non-profit sector has always been opportunities to put the values I learned early on into practice.

 

Tell us about your role with Positive Images and how you got involved?

As the Director of Programs, I work closely with the Board of Directors to guide the organization, support our staff and volunteers, and oversee the programs and offerings to community. I grew up in Sonoma County, but spent over a decade in other parts of the state. When I moved back to Sonoma County in my thirties, there was an immediate opening for a part time administrative assistant at Positive Images. It was not the position I wanted, but I loved the mission, programs, and the heart centered community work, so I applied anyway. I ultimately did not get that job. It was actually the best job rejection I’ve ever had! The people I met were so incredible and the organization so powerful, I knew this was not the last interaction I would have with this organization. I ended up working for a different local agency where I learned a lot and met some wonderful friends and colleagues. About a year later, the chair of the board reached out to me and invited me to apply for the position I am currently in. I’ve been the Director of Programs for four and a half years now and am wildly grateful that things aligned when they did. It was a wonderful lesson in patience, trust, and persistence. The universe does not operate on my timeline, but I’m so glad it didn’t.

 

Why is Positive Images important to you?

Despite the fact that by the time I was a 15 year old angsty queer kid Positive Images was already in its 10th year in Sonoma County, I had no idea this resource and beautiful community existed in my own back yard. I can only imagine how different my youth and young adult years would have been had I been connected to such affirmation and support. At our heart, PI is a place where we come to feel affirmed and offer affirmation to others. It’s a place to be you, free from judgment or disdain. A place to be wholly authentic, even as you’re still figuring out who that is. Even though I didn’t get connected to these services as a youth, the fact that I now get to help create and nurture a space for young people to get what they so desperately need, is incredibly healing.

 

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

Something that I’ve been meditating on lately is the idea of trauma stewardship. As a leader in our organization, I serve as a steward for the multifaceted trauma the people in our community face. Knowing how to hold, direct, and assuage that trauma is an ever-changing experience. This is true both throughout my career and also personally. Because of the realities of oppression, homophobia, and transphobia, the queer and trans community has and will continue to experience disproportional hardship and trauma. Being able to find support for stewarding that reality has been what makes this hard, yet rewarding work sustainable.

 

What are your short-term goals of your career and yourself?

My short term goals for my career are very intertwined with my short term goals for Positive Images, as an organization and a community. PI has been operating with a small staff and a very dedicated community of volunteers for decades. I want to continue to nurture and guide the organization as we move into the next chapter of our history. As we look to grow, I’m excited about the mentorship and professional development that will come from serving alongside an experienced executive director. I hope to be developing new and exciting programming to build upon our foundation and bring even more service opportunities for entirely new populations to find connection, strengthen protection, and build community.

 

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

Queer icon and rapper Lil Nas X said in a speech recently that “its ok to be a little delusional when you’re chasing your dreams,”. We must have the freedom to dream unburdened and unencumbered to imagine the world we need, before we can begin to actualize it. That perspective has helped me to look at things I previously thought impossible and wonder, “well, how could we…? What if we…?” This shift to not judging or immediately shutting down dreams and ideas, even if they are non-traditional or a little out of the ordinary, has allowed me to become more creative in problem solving and solution building. Pushing and bending the realms of possibility has sometimes allowed me to access things I’d never have achieved if I didn’t try.

 

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

You yourself are your organization’s most valuable resource. The best way to help those around you, is to take care of yourself first. Take care of yourself in every way possible: emotionally, physically, spiritually, and professionally. This work can be draining, emotionally charged, and exhausting. Burnout is real. Find and prioritize balance, joy, and laughter. Be diligent in your personal self-care and hold clear boundaries. Practice affirmations and gratitude. Be tenacious in going after the opportunities you want. Ask for help when you need it!

 

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

Be better listeners. As leaders, it’s our job to listen to the people we support (our employees, clients, community) then use our influence and positions of power to help actualize what needs to be done to serve them effectively. Ask those you are serving what they need, and listen to their responses. Be open to and appreciate of feedback from those around you.

Protea Financial Womens Rugby Jessica Carroll

Can you share something interesting about yourself that will provide insight into who you are outside of the professional space and your role with Positive Images?

On a whim, and with a sense of intentional teenage rebellion, I found myself joining a rugby team when I was 14. We were one of just a handful of high school girls’ rugby teams in the state at that time, as it wasn’t, and still isn’t, a very popular sport in the United States. I had no idea this sport would truly influence so many aspects of my life. Rugby is more than just a game, sport, or athletic endeavor. Rugby, like PI, is community. It was one of the first places I found refuge in affirmation, acceptance, and understanding. Being a part of the community gave me the freedom to be exactly who I was, and for that person to not only be accepted, but celebrated. I’ve played and coached at many different levels over the course of 20 years, finally retiring when our season was interrupted by the pandemic. At every level, every season, teammates become family and the community takes care of one another.

As a thank you to our interview and Protea’s commitment to more diverse and inclusive leaders, Protea will donate to Positive Images (https://www.posimages.org/). Positive Images is a grassroots nonprofit organization serving Sonoma County since 1990. Their LGBTQIA+ Community Center hosts multiple weekly support groups, a youth leadership development program, mentorship opportunities, an LGBTQIA+ Library, resource and referral station, and a Transformation Station. They proudly offer a warm, welcoming, and affirming environment for young people to explore their individual identities, develop leadership skills, and contribute to our collective community. Positive Images staff lead LGBTQIA+ Cultural Competency Trainings and presentations that educate the greater community focusing on human connection, compassion, and inclusion. Their goal is a community where all LGBTQIA+ people are valued, compassionate community members, creating a just society.

Protea Conversations Help You Find People Who Can Help

You can expand your network with the many individuals we speak with during our Protea Converations. Find out more about these individuals, or about Protea Financial, by contacing us now!

Information Your Bookkeeper Needs from You

Information Your Bookkeeper Needs from You

The pandemic has changed many of the types of business success stories. For example, one local restaurant saw their business traffic fall to nearly nothing in the face of pandemic shutdowns. Instead of closing the business, the restaurant switched to carryout and delivery of food and liquor, and thrived. Your business has managed to thrive as well, and you may be wondering what your next step should be. You need to think about hiring a bookkeeper.

Small business owners are often worried about a lot of things, but hiring a bookkeeper isn’t typically one of them. Starting a business means you are trying to decide when to open a location, hire employees, and apply for business loans to expand. The last thing many business owners worry about is a bookkeeper, but it should be higher up on your list. Small business owners usually take their time hiring a bookkeeper because so many other details need their attention.

Business owners focus more on getting and maintaining customers, marketing, product placement, employee retention, and making their business as appealing as possible. Once a business owner hires a bookkeeper, nearly 90 percent of them say they will never go back to life before a bookkeeper. Why would they, when a bookkeeper saves them both time and money?

If you are new to having a bookkeeper on your staff, or you are thinking it is time for you to hire a bookkeeper for your business, there are items you will need to begin saving for your bookkeeper and information your bookkeeper needs to make sure your business continues to prosper. Here are the items your bookkeeper will need to do their job.

Protea Financial Save Your Receipts

Save Your Receipts

Collecting receipts from your business means that you need to find a place for all of that paper you’ve stuffed in your wallet or in an envelope sitting on your desk. One of the most important items your bookkeeper needs are your receipts. You may have never saved your receipts before, especially if your business is small and growing, but now is the time. Bookkeepers are all about keeping track of your money that comes in and goes out of your business, so receipts are extremely important.

Your bookkeeper will need all of your business receipts. If you’re questioning why receipts are important, here is an explanation of their importance to your money and your business financial records.

First, if you keep your receipts from business expenses, both your bookkeeper and your accountant can use them to justify your tax returns at the state and local level. One of the reasons business owners intensely hate doing their taxes is because of the paperwork involved. With receipts, you’re able to justify your expenses for your business taxes. For example, if you take clients to business lunches or dinners, you can deduct that expense from your taxes. If you eat a lot of lunches and dinners out during the year, the money adds up. It will be worth it for your business to keep track of where the money went. If you get money back on your taxes, you may be able to buy new equipment, find a larger office space, or hire new employees.

Also, while auditing of business taxes is more rare than audits for personal taxes, one out of 100 business are audited yearly. The average time businesses spend on an audit is from three to six months—if you have your paperwork in order. If you aren’t organized, a business audit can take up to three years or longer to complete. No one wants to go through an audit, but if your business is audited, all of those receipts you saved will be used by your accountant to justify your business expenses.

Another really important reason you’ll want to save your receipts to give to your bookkeeper is to reconcile your business accounts. Bookkeepers excel at reconciling your business accounts, so that when you look at your banking information, your accounts will be current and perfectly balanced. This is a giant time suck for business owners, so handing over receipts means a lot less time you waste on your bank account balances.

 

Your Bills and Invoices

Businesses get bills and invoices in the mail daily, and you may be tempted to toss those bills in a tray and forget about them for a few days. Taking the time to input bills and invoices into your business records can be time consuming. However, instead of putting those bills and invoices in a tray, put them in an envelope or accordion folder to give to your bookkeeper. First, if you pay your bills, and put them in a folder, you will be able to manage your business money more effectively. Second, if your bookkeeper keeps track of your bills and invoices, when something doesn’t seem right, and you know you paid an invoice, even though the business says you didn’t, you can prove it thanks to your bookkeeper.

Keeping track of your bills and invoices means that you have a paper trail for taxes, because invoices and bills are part of a business’ tax liability. Your bookkeeper will also be able to balance your accounts so you always know where your money is going.  The larger your business grows, the more important it will be to keep track of all of your income and outgoing expenses as part of your business assets and liabilities. If you are looking to find additional financing, your prospective lender needs an accurate record of all of these expenses. It’s time to get all of your money in order.

 

 

Deposit Slips, Canceled Checks, and Banking Information

Some business owners use electronic checks or online banking, and never write paper checks, while others use a combination of paper and electronic checks. No matter what kind of checks you use, you need to give your bookkeeper your banking information for them to do their job properly. Your bookkeeper will use the information to keep track of the flow of money coming into and going out of your business accounts.

Business owners are increasingly concerned with business fraud, and they need to be. Fraud affects thousands of small businesses each year, and the average cost of fraud for small business averages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are concerned about giving your bookkeeper all of your banking information, there are ways you can limit their access for your security. Be sure and ask your bank or credit union how you can limit your bookkeeper’s account access to protect yourself and your business.

 

 

Information About Your Business

Your bookkeeper needs information about the type of business you’re running in order to keep your records properly. You need to give them information about what your business does, where the income and liabilities are in your business, and how many employees you have. You’ll want to share your mission and vision, as well as the goals and objectives for your business moving forward. The more information you can give your bookkeeper about your business, the better your bookkeeper can help you keep your business moving forward.

Protea Financial Payroll Information

Payroll Information

One of the largest expenses any business has is payroll, especially now. The Covid-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation have left business owners with huge payroll expenses. In fact, payroll can account for between 15 and 30 percent of your business’ gross revenue.

Your bookkeeper needs access to payroll information in order to keep your business taxes current and ensure that employee withholding is correct. If you are behind in your payroll taxes, you can face state and federal penalties. Your bookkeeper can ensure you are paying the correct amounts in payroll taxes to the government.

 

Tax Documents

You will want to give your bookkeeper access to all of your business tax records dating back to when your business opened. If you’ve been in business for a long time, you can give your bookkeeper access to your tax documents from the last seven years. If you allow your bookkeeper access to your tax documents, they will be able to keep track of your tax debts and payments at the federal and state level. This will help your accountant track your tax expenditures and give you forecasts for your tax liabilities moving forward. Businesses who are able to plan for tax expenditures won’t be surprised with a huge tax liability in the new year.

 

Contact Protea Financial for Help with Your Business Bookkeeping

While you’re pondering what your next move in business should be, you need to consider hiring a bookkeeper. While hiring someone to help you keep track of your business income and expenses will cost you more money upfront, it’s worth it. Hiring a bookkeeper is essential for any small business on the move. Your bookkeeper will save you both time and money in the long run. No matter whether saving time or saving money is more important, a bookkeeper can help you accomplish both, not to mention saving you hours of worry and stress. If you need help finding the perfect bookkeeper for your business, we can help. Protea Financial has bookkeepers that can help you get your business books in order, no matter what your business is. Contact Protea Financial today.

Let us Help You Gather the Information Your Bookkeeper Needs Now!

Having the information your bookkeeper need at the ready makes hiring a bookkeeper easier and faster. Let us help you get your information together today!

The Accounting Equation

The Accounting Equation

The accounting equation is the most important piece of information any accountant can learn. Anyone starting out in the field of accounting or wants to just better understand the account equation should take time and learn the equation.

It really a very simple formula.

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

This straightforward equation on a company balance sheet is the foundation of the double-entry accounting system and the basics of accounting. Double entry accounting is the term used to simply summarize that each debit (left hand side) has an equal credit (right hand side), that keeps the books in balance. The accounting equation is the reason your balance sheet remains balanced.

It is all you need to handle the basics of accounting, and most of the not so basic items as well. Yes, there are a lot of overly complicated standards and yes, these do add extreme complexity, but at the core, if you know this equation, apply this equation and live by this equation you are bound to succeed.

Protea Financial Accounting Equation Graphic

In the expanded view, equity is broken down into capital and retained earnings.

Capital is the funds put into the business. Retained earnings is a little bit more complicated but in basic terms it is your revenue less your expense and further reduced by any funds owners have taken out of the business (can be in the format of dividends).

Understanding the Accounting Equation an Its Components

If you are trying to understand the financial position of a business the first place you want to go is to the balance sheet. Though each of the three main financial statements in accounting—the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement—can stand on its own, there’s one piece of the puzzle that ties them all together: the accounting equation.

The equation makes it possible to figure out any one value using the other two values and vice versa, so you can use it to solve problems quickly and easily without needing to start from scratch every time.

As mentioned, the balance sheet is the accounting equation and will quickly show you all the key components of your business, namely your assets, your liabilities and if the company is profitable (though might be a bit hard to see as the equity section is a bit more complicated).

Assets are the items of worth that the business controls and liabilities show you what the business owes to others.

Protea Financial Balance Sheet 5.5.22B

Understanding the Balance Sheet

Every business keeps its assets and liabilities in check by tracking them on their balance sheet. The total value of all your assets is tracked at one side of a balance sheet, while your liabilities (the amount you owe to others) are listed at another column.

The third, and final, component of a company’s balance sheet is owner’s equity, which includes common stock and retained earnings. To be able to understand how a balance sheet works, you must know what each component means.

When looking at a balance sheet, you will see both current and noncurrent assets. this definition means they can be turned into cash within 12 months or less. On top of that, you will also see financial ratios like debt to equity ratio, working capital ratio, and asset turnover ratio.

These ratios help us to know whether or not a company has enough liquid capital to pay off debts with ease and has an excess of money left over for expansions. The only way that investors can see the information is by a spreadsheet or at a company’s webpage.

These numbers help them to decide whether or not they should invest in the company. to decide whether or not to invest, the company needs to take into account how much debt it has and how much the owner has.

Understanding the Cash Flow Statement

An investor needs to look at more than just a company’s income statement (aka profit and loss) and balance sheet (aka assets and liabilities). Cash flow statements are also important for understanding how a company is performing, since they provide insight on whether it can meet its short-term financial obligations.

While cash flow statements may not always be as straightforward as others, they have a very logical format. The first section of any cash flow statement will reveal where a company’s cash comes from and what types of assets generated that money. This is typically followed by an analysis of how much money was spent in each category, like dividends or capital expenditures.

Finally, investors should take note of items like net change in cash—this shows if a company has enough liquid assets to keep up with its current obligations. It’s best to view a cash flow statement over time so you can see trends in different areas and compare companies against one another.

Call Us Here at Protea Financial to Learn More About the Accounting Equation

The accounting equation is simply the most important accounting basic you will ever learn. It has several components that are all important. To find out more about the importance of the accounting equation, or any of its components, please call Protea Financial today!

Learn More About the Accounting Equation!

Reach out to the professionals here at Protea Financial to fully understand the accounting equation and its components!