Business Bookkeeping Articles

Why You Should Go Paperless

If you run a business, you know how fast documents can accumulate and pile up. Sorting through this mess is both inefficient and costly. Technology is now available for your business to embrace paperless document management. Stop wasting any more time stressing about the pile of papers on your desk, see what going paperless may be able to do for you.

There is an obvious drop in costs when you opt for paperless document management. The cost of paper, ink and the storage facilities to house everything can add up quickly. If you go paperless, you can say farewell to those unnecessary costs and reap the benefits of vast improvements in efficiency and revenues.

It is very easy to lose an important document that may have been misfiled. However, finding a  document through paperless document management is a breeze. All of your information can be stored on your computer. Simply open up the file folder on your computer and access the information you need. Paperless document management is the wave of the future. This concept can easily transform the way you run your business by increasing efficiency and decreasing waste all at the same time. The end result could be your business is better positioned than your competition for growth and profits.

The fast track to paperless document management is the computerization of your business, the proper utilization of QuickBooks software and the outsourcing of business functions that don’t drive sales such as accounting, bookkeeping and payroll to a professional bookkeeping or accounting service. QuickBooks has proven to be the best software available. Over 83% of small and medium businesses use “QuickBooks.” Outsourcing your bookkeeping and payroll to an experienced firm can help you utilize QuickBooks financial reports to their full potential in guiding your management decision making process.

The author: Dawn Contardi, owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

Why You Should Do an 80/20 Analysis Using QuickBooks

Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 theory? Business-management consultant Joseph M. Julian named the principle after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. In 1906 Pareto observed a connection between income and wealth, where 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population. He carried out surveys in other countries and discovered a similar pattern applied. Further studies have found the 80/20 theory to be to true across the board where in many events 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

In your business 80% of your profits are generated from 20% of your efforts. The reports in your QuickBooks software can be used to do an 80/20 analysis of your business. A Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor should be able to provide you with the QuickBooks support to do just that. With the help of a professional QuickBooks support team, you can analyze and what 20% of your efforts generate 80% of your profits. This will enable you to identify what areas of your business need to be trimmed down and where to put more of your efforts.

QuickBooks is a great management tool for your business, but unless you have the ability to navigate and use the program you may not find it easy to use. A qualified QuickBooks support  team should be certified in every aspect of this software and should be able to provide you with the guidance you need to use it effectively. Outsourcing your bookkeeping function to a Professional Bookkeeping Service is another option that would allow you to focus on analyzing your financial reports and making good business decisions for even greater efficiencies.

With an 80/20 analysis from a professional QuickBooks support team, your business can be adjusted to run at its optimum profit potential. Rather than stressing and trying to do this on your own, invest in the help you need to get it done right. Finding the flaws in your business will allow  you to correct them to make it run more efficiently.

Remember: Good Books = Good Decisions = Positive Cash Flow.  

The author, Dawn Contardi, the owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be  reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

Why Most Business Owners Pay Too Much on Their Tax Return

No matter how disappointing it may be financially, there is no getting out of the fact that every business has to file their NJ tax returns and their Federal tax returns on an annual basis. Most business owners actually pay more in Federal and State taxes because of simple bookkeeping mistakes. If you want to avoid the hassles and pitfalls of incorrect tax returns here are some tips to consider.

One reason why many businesses pay too much on their NJ tax returns and their Federal tax returns is because they do not have a proper bookkeeping system in place. Simple mistakes and misclassifications in payroll, inventory, sales and expenses can make a big impact on the financial reports used to prepare the returns. To avoid this issue, consider outsourcing your bookkeeping to an experienced bookkeeping service. A professional bookkeeper will be able to provide the numbers your accountant needs to prepare accurate tax returns. It also makes sense to outsource your bookkeeping because you don’t have the time or knowledge to do it yourself, it’s very difficult to find and locate a good in house bookkeeper and having your CPA/accountant do basic bookkeeping for $150 plus/ hour makes no sense.

Throughout the year make sure that you document all transactions related to your business, from copiers down to paper clips. Record the miles you use your vehicle for work to get reimbursed for its business usage.

The final piece to the puzzle of avoiding paying too much on your tax returns is to have a qualified professional prepare your tax returns. This should be either a CPA or an Enrolled Agent (EA’s are Federally licensed tax professionals) with technical expertise in the field of taxation.

The authors: Dawn Contardi ,owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience.John Florentino Jr., EA, Enrolled Agent focuses on advising, representing, tax planning, tax compliance and tax return preparation for individuals, partnerships (LLC’s), corporations, estates, and trusts and any entities with tax reporting requirements. Both can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

Why It Makes Sense to Outsource Your Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping can be a challenge if you are unfamiliar with how the process works. Spending hours slaving over the computer trying to make the numbers add up can only make matters worse. To avoid mistakes and headaches with this all important business function consider outsourcing your bookkeeping to a Professional Bookkeeping Service. While you may fear the cost, it is actually a more affordable solution than doing it yourself, hiring an in house bookkeeper or having your CPA do it. Here is a look at a few of the reasons why you may try outsourcing in the first place.

Unless you are certified to work with QuickBooks or have some kind of accounting background, chances are your bookkeeping skills are limited to non-existent. If this is the case you are probably making crucial errors in your records. Finding and hiring a qualified in house bookkeeper is difficult if not impossible. Also, don’t forget the added expense and drama of an employee. Your Accountant/CPA will handle your books but who in their right mind wants to pay $250/ hour for basic bookkeeping duties? Simply outsourcing your bookkeeping to a trained professional will provide you with the accurate numbers you need to make sound business decisions at an affordable price.

The stress of bookkeeping alone is enough reason to outsource the work to someone else. If you want to run your business efficiently you don’t have the time to balance the books and make sure everything adds up. Instead, outsource the bookkeeping to a professional that can devote their entire attention to your bookkeeping. A professional bookkeeper will also be able to identify and correct any past mistakes in your bookkeeping providing you with confident and accurate number going forward.

Outsourcing your bookkeeping can save you time and money. You just have to find the right firm for the job. Check out the qualifications of the bookkeeping businesses in your area. They  should be able to handle your payroll and other services that take time out of your job. Focus on your business and let a professional outsource bookkeeping service take over the tedious tasks of bookkeeping and payroll for you.

 

The author, Dawn Contardi, the owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

The Five Most Important Numbers in Your Books

Managing and understanding your QuickBooks financial reports can be a difficult task if you do not know what the five most important numbers in your bookkeeping mean. This is why it is always a good idea to seek professional guidance when you are trying to understand what your numbers represent. But to better understand your QuickBooks financial reports here is a quick review of those numbers and what they mean for understanding where your business is at financially.

1 – Liabilities

Liabilities are debts. This number is found on your balance sheet. Liabilities are the numbers in your QuickBooks file that denote what bills are outstanding or owed. Examples include unpaid rent and utilities for your office, loans due and unpaid insurance. It is important to keep track of these liabilities for cash flow planning purposes because they factor into the overall costs that your business is going to incur going forward.

2 – Expenses

Expenses are costs or charges. Expenses are different than liabilities because they involve items that have been paid. Some expenses can be written off when they are paid, such as rent and utilities while others like vehicle loan payments must factor in depreciation and should be handled under the direction of an accountant.

3 – Assets

Assets are the property or total resources your business owns; for example buildings, equipment, furniture and vehicles. This number is available on your balance sheet in your QuickBooks software and is yet another important number to look at.

4 – Revenue

Revenue is income. Simply put it is the amount of money you make. In your QuickBooks file printing out the year to date profit and loss statement will tell you where your business is at from a revenue standpoint. More revenue in relation to your spending means more money for your business.

5 – Owners Capital or Equity

Owners Capital or Equity is your net financial interest in your business. Your assets minus your liabilities equals your equity or the financial net worth of your business. QuickBooks software provides owners with easily accessible Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Financial Statements so you can manage and grow your business.

The author, Dawn Contardi, the owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

Small Business Start up Advice

There is a lot of planning when you first start any type of business venture. This planning process is time consuming and draining but necessary if you want your company to eventually turn a profit. If you have a business start up idea you want to put into action, some of the tips below may help you get where you want to go.

Seek out an accounting specialist that can provide small business start up advice to help you figure out exactly how much money you will need to get your proposal off the ground. Estimate your costs such as payroll, supplies, sales tax, rent and advertising. This will determine the exact amount of money you will need to start your business. This information can also be used to craft a loan proposal to a bank.

Clearly defined goals can make a big difference in the overall success of your business plan. You must determine what kind of short and long term goals you have for your business. A sound business plan should be based on sales and profit projections that are logical and attainable for your new company. Every goal you put in place will be a reminder of where you want to be in the end.

Trying to do this on your own could be difficult at best. Even the most successful entrepreneurs had help when they started their businesses. You will need hard working trustworthy employees, a professional bookkeeper/accountant you can trust and funding from a dependable bank. Simply put you need the right people by your side. Focus on building a network support system you can depend upon going forward and the goals you set for your business will be realized.

The author: Dawn Contardi, owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

Seven Tips for Effective Business Planning

If you run a small business, you should realize from the start that effective business planning will make all the difference. Working with a qualified Toms River bookkeeping firm is a good place to start, but there are a few other things you can do to improve the way your business runs. Here are seven tips you can abide by during your business planning in one of the fastest growing cities in NJ.

1 – Know Your Goals and Write Your Goals Down

It’s a fact if you write your goals down they will come to fruition. You have to know where you want your business to go, both in the short term and in the long term. Set high but achievable goals for your business that you can keep in front of you as you proceed from day to day. This will act as a path for your success.

2 – Cut Your Costs

You need to minimize your overhead as much as possible if you want to see high profit margins. A Toms River bookkeeping firm can help you analyze your business expenses and see where you should logically be able to reduce your overhead.

3 – Know Your Environment

You have to know the environment surrounding your business, including everything from your competitors to your potential customers. Figure out how to most effectively become a part of that environment and you will be able to make a difference within it.

4 – Manage Your Numbers Well

With the help of a Toms River bookkeeping firm, you should be able to rely on a program like QuickBooks to keep track of your payroll, inventory, sales, and more. You have to keep an accurate record of your costs versus your revenue so you can see if your business is on track. Reevaluate your plan periodically to maximize the money you make.

5 – Stay Passionate

You have to maintain a passion for the business you are in if you ever plan to run it successfully. The more passionate you, the easier it will be to make money.

6 – Seek Help When You Need It

You cannot do everything on your own. Outsourcing non-core activities such as bookkeeping and payroll to a Toms River bookkeeping firm can provide you with actionable financial reports that allow you to focus on growing your business.

7 – Listen to Feedback

Take the time to listen to your customers, employees, bookkeeper and your tax advisor to see where you may need to make adjustments in your business planning. These are the people that will drive your success in the end.

The author: Dawn Contardi ,owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com.

How to Use QuickBooks the Right Way

QuickBooks is the best bookkeeping software solution for small and medium size businesses   because it allows for paper less document management, it’s the premier accounting program for 83% of all businesses and is cost effective at the same time. However, QuickBooks can be a difficult program to operate if you are unfamiliar with how it works. Fortunately, there are QuickBooks Professionals that can handle your bookkeeping and keep your business running smoothly.

A firm providing bookkeeping services should have the certification, experience and the knowledge of the QuickBooks Program to do the work at hand. This means that the firm should have qualified personnel that went through a comprehensive QuickBooks training program to learn what specific features QuickBooks has to offer. An accounting degree is not necessary, but they need to know what it takes to input and keep track of your payroll, sales, expenses, accounts receivable and payables for your business.

Finding and hiring a qualified in house bookkeeper is difficult if not impossible and do you really need the expense of a professional bookkeeper 40 hours per week? A CPA will charge $150+ an hour just to do basic bookkeeping. So engaging the services of an outsource Bookkeeping Service that is certified in QuickBooks can easily cut your overhead and make your business more efficient. They can point out areas of your business where you may be paying too much money, and offer solutions to overspending that you may not be able to see.

Before you begin to search for a bookkeeping firm, review what areas you need help, what functions are you comfortable outsourcing and which ones do you want to keep in house. Then arrange for consultations with several firms that provide FREE no obligation price quotes, check out their credentials, ask for referrals and make your decision.

The author: Dawn Contardi, owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

How to Fund a New Business

When you open a new business you need a source of capital to provide adequate funding. Having a funding mechanism in place is a prerequisite to any viable business plan. With the help of the right accounting service, you can devise a financial plan to launch your entrepreneurial adventure. Here are some tips that may help you locate the required funding.

One of the easiest ways for a new business to get funding is to apply for loans based on the owner’s personal credit. There are also loans available directly through banks and the U.S. SBA (Small Business Administration) to help small businesses get on their feet. To obtain any loan, a well thought out business plan that credibly illustrates the cash flow your business will generate must be prepared and submitted. Engaging the services of a professional accounting service to help you prepare a business plan so that potential lenders can determine the feasibility of the plan and their interest in providing financing is highly recommended.

An accounting service can analyze your assumptions to determine estimated cash flow and what your expected cost will be for employees, products, and other services. This will also help you invest money in the right areas focused to produce revenue and profits as quickly as possible.

Investigate and identify potential accounting services on the internet and in the yellow pages that offer advice on How to Fund a New Business. Set up initial consultations, which should be free, to verify credentials, knowledge and experience, then choose the one your most comfortable.

 

The author: Dawn Contardi, owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

How to Find Your Way out of the IRS Jungle

Are you hesitant to file your tax returns? Do you think you are over paying or under paying the IRS? The fact is that IRS problems happen to most businesses because they do not know how to keep accurate records or how to properly prepare and file their tax returns. Hiring a professional tax adviser is a wise decision to avoid IRS problems both from a personal and business standpoint.  Here are some tips that may help you get out of the tax jungle.

Research and engage the services of a tax professional such as a CPA, Tax Attorney or an IRS licensed, Enrolled Agent (EA), that can provide you with the peace of mind that your tax returns are properly completed. A professional tax advisor can review your tax returns from years past to see if you over paid or did not take all the deductions you are entitled. They can amend those tax returns and either reduce the amount of money you currently owe or file for money back.

Also, if you have had poor accounting practices or improperly prepared tax returns any size business can be subject to the scrutiny of an IRS audit. This can result in fines and penalties which if accumulated over a period of time can cripple a business. An experienced tax specialist can handle the negotiations with the IRS and reduce or eliminate the amount owed.

A CPA, Tax Attorney or EA can also negotiate a workable payment plan with the IRS if you do not have enough money to cover your tax owed. This will allow you to make payments over a  period of time until your taxes, fines and penalties are completely paid off. Think of this as a loan for the money that you owe to the IRS.

The authors: Dawn Contardi ,owner of Sharp Bookkeeping Service, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and a member of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers with 25 years of experience.John Florentino Jr., EA, Enrolled Agent focuses on advising, representing, tax planning, tax compliance and tax return preparation for individuals, partnerships (LLC’s), corporations, estates, and trusts and any entities with tax reporting requirements. Both can be reached at 732-458-3800 or www.sharpbz.com

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