Monday, March 12, 2012

Finding A Resource Partner

Authors Robert Rodgers and Peter Lucas of “Bookkeeping and Accounting Essentials” (2011), report that outsourcing bookkeeping services—including accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, sales tax payable, bank reconciliation, and financial reporting—may be a cost-effective choice for start-up and small businesses.



When selecting a small business resource partner for your company’s finance and accounting needs, ask questions:



  • What services does the bookkeeping and financial organization partner offer?
  • What qualifications, experience, and references from current clients does the bookkeeping resource supply?
  • What system(s) and software are used by the bookkeeper, and are these compatible with the company’s tax accountant or CPA firm?
  • What are the rates charged by the bookkeeper or small business resource provider?
  • How will hiring the bookkeeper/small business resource provider help the company to reduce overhead costs? What are the reduced operating costs?
  • How does the resource stay abreast of technology, taxation, and accounting practices?
  • Where is the small business services resource located?



Services offered



Knowing the strengths of a small business resource provider is one of the ways to evaluate the success of a future partnership with them. If the provider doesn’t provide bank reconciliation or general ledger services, the business owner probably isn’t receiving the depth of bookkeeping and accounting services necessary to support financial decision-making.



A small business finance and accounting resource to whom the business can outsource the full scope of accounts payable and accounts receivable, sales tax payable, and financial reporting requirements is exceptionally valuable. Such a resource saves the company out of pocket salary and benefits costs. Proper financial organization also prevents unnecessary, costly errors to the business.



Small business resource partner



Successfully outsourcing bookkeeping and financially-focused tasks requires an experienced and competent small business resource partner. Entrusting financial information and documents requires the resource’s ability to process and safeguard such materials.



The business owner must develop a working relationship with the off-site provider. In most cases, business owners appreciate the ability to meet with their small business resource provider on a regular basis.



Selecting a provider with whom the business owner can meet face-to-face, at least several times per year, helps to develop a strong working relationship. Because the small business resource partner isn’t an employee, the business owner should have a good understanding of how much time will be devoted to accomplishing the necessary tasks.



Financial planning and organization



The small business finance and bookkeeping resource can help the startup or young business to develop financial process and systems. Deciding to outsource certain essential bookkeeping and financial management functions from the company’s inception saves the cost of hiring a part-time or full-time financial employee.



Financial planning and organization ensures compliance expected of the company, including but not limited to: state and federal taxes; and financial reporting requirements by industry.



Gemini Small Business Solutions, LLC: a true business partner



Gemini offers flexible and tailored solutions to clients’ needs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Saving Your Business Money

According to Barbara Weltman in “J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2012,” year-end financial planning is an essential component of organizational growth. Saving on taxes, reviewing deductions, and changes in tax law are mere parts of full spectrum, year-end plans.

Essential organization, such as collection and categorization of business invoices and receipts, aids the company’s tax accountant.


Orderly, up-to-date QuickBooks facilitate the company’s financial review in several ways. Orderly records take less time (at a lower cost) for the CPA firm to analyze. Organizing records prior to the tax return places the business in good stead for future IRS inquiries and audits.


Year-end financial planning saves your business money


The year-end financial plan and review also helps the business owner to analyze the current year and to strategize for the coming year.


If the business operates on a cash basis, the business owner may influence the timing of income and flow-through of deductions. If the business regularly purchases certain supplies, purchasing the items during the current tax year allows the company to include these expenses in the current tax year. Accelerating other deductions, such as payment of outstanding invoices, may make good financial sense.


Deferring the preparation of invoices to the new tax year can push income forward, too. If the business has enjoyed the benefits of growing business and revenues in the current year, this strategy allows the firm to defer when taxes are paid.


Businesses using an accrual accounting method may consider other choices. The business may declare a charitable donation in the current year but cut the check for the donation into the first quarter of the new tax year. Similarly, the company may announce and time payments and bonuses in the current tax year yet pay them in the next.


Year-end financial organization saves your business money


Participation in an annual financial review is of key strategic importance to the business owner.


For example, the owner must address his participation in the business over the year. If he hasn’t contributed hands-on services to the business during the year, finding ways to add participation helps to preserve the deductibility of certain business losses.


An effective small business solutions provider will help point out such opportunities for discussion. Helping the small business owner to maximize losses against revenues is one of the ways that organization may pay for itself!


Organization of invoices and receipts


Outsourcing bookkeeping, payroll, and general financial organization is an inherently cost-effective solution: internal staff to perform these services usually cost the business more money in salary and benefits. A truly value-added business resource provider saves out-of-pocket costs and impacts the bottom-line.


Identifying the right small business resource for your company’s financial organization, bookkeeping, and accounting needs will ultimately save your company hard-earned dollars!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Office Organization and Your Small Business

As a business owner it is key to keep your office and business organized to reduce inefficiency and increase productivity. Disorganization can also affect customer service, vendor relations and more important aspects of your business. This is even more important to an owner-operator whose time comes at a premium. 

 
The Problem

If you own your own business and do not have any employees you are your own sales department, marketing department, accounting department, production department and more. It’s very easy for the day to day administrative and organizational tasks to get tossed to the side because, let’s be honest, it’s more important to make a sales call then to file some paperwork.

Eventually these things pile up and prevent you from running or business or at the very least make you very inefficient. Now you, as the marketing department, accounting department, sales department, production department and so on are spending your valuable time on catching up on customer mailings and other administrative tasks. This is called the opportunity cost, the cost of you as the owner of the business using your scarce resources, yourself, on clerical tasks that are not material to your business but need to get done.

The Solution

Most owner-operators fall into three categories: those that cannot afford an employee, those that do not want the commitment or hassle associated with having employees or those that do not have enough work to require an employee. There is a single answer to any of these issues. Outsource, outsource, outsource.

Most people think that outsourcing means large companies sending their work overseas to some remote location. Outsourcing is done on a much smaller scale and done locally. This is the affordable solution for owner-operators to get the work done on a tight budget.

Help your business stay more competitive and get the support you need all for a price you can afford. Call Gemini Small Business Solutions, LLC or visit us at www.GeminiSmallBiz.com to discuss the answer to your business need and receive a free quote.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Find A Reliable US Business Services Provider

Companies of all sizes routinely outsource business processes and tasks. Office administration, accounting, and bookkeeping tasks are frequently outsourced to a remote, offshore service provider. According to "Strategic Outsourcing" (2011) by Bharat Vagadia, ensuring the business owner's need to offer an optimal customer experience is one of the reasons business process outsourcing (BPO) arrangements fail.


Customers in communication with remote teams report frustrating experiences: offshore workers don't always speak the customer's language and can't answer simple questions. As any business owner knows, the company's first impression is critical: the company is only as strong as its weakest link.



Why high-growth businesses like business process outsourcing

Outsourcing the company's essential accounting and bookkeeping, and other office administration tasks, makes good financial sense! Engaging a third party company to organize and maintain the company's invoices, receipts, and financial records is cost-effective and efficient.



Capital spent to engage full or part-time employees may ultimately cost the company money better used in growing the enterprise. Renting office space is also a major expense for a new business.



Take a look at what hiring an administrative, accounting or bookkeeping employee costs the average employer, according to PayScale.com:

  • On the low end, a full-time bookkeeper's salary is approximately $29,289 per year
  • If the business hires an adequately experienced staff accountant, she will earn approximately $38,489 per year. Depending on the business's market and industry, the staff accountant's salary may increase to $50,756 per year
  • A "typical" office administrator will cost the business about $40,000 per year

Embracing a BPO model saves money. Finding the right partner is always the greatest challenge!



Finding the right BPO partner

Authors Ilan Oshri, Julia Kotlarsky, and Leslie P. Willcocks of "The Handbook of Global Outsourcing..." (2011) report that more companies are using BPO resources every year. The annual growth of outsourcing business processes, including accounting, bookkeeping, finance, human resources, and information technology, is one of the best ways for a company to conserve capital. The costs of hiring and training employees are thereby vastly reduced.



However, the authors note that many outsourced relationships don't live up to the business owner's expectations. Poor vendor quality and rising costs of services are frequently cited reasons for ending the BPO engagement. In addition, the remote location and possible language or cultural differences can affect the business's ability to bond with the BPO team.



Continuity of staff, vendor reliability, and the ability to meet with the BPO provider face-to-face is part of growing the relationship. Costs of traveling to a remote location are prohibitive for many small and high-growth businesses.



Small business solutions in the U.S.

Fortunately, growing businesses can find small business solutions providers right here in the U.S. Depending on the company's location, finding a local or regional BPO provider is best practice. The ability to meet with the services provider on a regular basis is the first step to growing a successful, cost-effective, and long-term relationship.



Conclusion

Like all relationships, knowing the business solutions provider can and will make a difference. Regular meetings with off-site resources allows the business owner and provider to develop a meaningful business partnership.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Bookkeeping Advantage

Most small businesses in the United States are struggling to navigate the challenges the current economy presents. According to the Small Business Administration 50% of all small businesses fail within the first five years. One of the most important factors a business needs to have is a working up to date knowledge of the status of their financial position. 

The best way to have this knowledge is to have a bookkeeper updating all financial information on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Bookkeepers help business owners maintain detailed and current financial records which are also used to evaluate the business' successes and identify the areas for improvement. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, sales tax, general ledger and reconciliations are just some of the services that bookkeepers offer.

Bookkeeping Options

Salary.com lists the national median salary for a bookkeeper on staff is $38,209. For most small businesses this puts having a bookkeeper on staff out of reach. Another option is using a bookkeeping service which will come into the business office at scheduled intervals and update all the financial information. Bookkeeping services generally charge set up fees to new clients and have a monthly minimum charge. Owners who prefer to have the bookkeeping work done on site choose this option.

Thanks to the digital age there is yet another option now available to business owners. Virtual bookkeepers provide the same services while never stepping foot inside the business. Utilization of secure exchange of information sites and cloud based applications aid in the exchange of information between the business and the bookkeeper. Since there is not the same amount of time involved in actually traveling to the business versus downloading information from the web this is generally a less expensive option.

There are also many software and web application options available to business owners who wish to keep track of their business finances themselves, Quickbooks, Peachtree and Xero.com to name a few. All provide user tutorials to help set up and manage their business finances. Some bookkeepers also offer a service to set up these systems for an owner and provide instruction for use.

In Conclusion

No matter what option a business owner chooses having the financial status of their business at their finger tips is an invaluable advantage. Gemini Small Business Solutions, LLC would like to provide your business with this competitive advantage.  Call us today!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs an Office Administration Team

Running a successful business requires the ability to establish priorities. Unlike the common perception that entrepreneurs must "do it all," author Cynthia L. Greene of "Entrepreneurship: Ideas In Action" (2011) disagrees.

Greene says most businesses fail because the owner lacks entrepreneurial characteristics, or fails to plan. Deciding to perform every task required of the business's daily operations may indicate the owner's preference to avoid delegating tasks necessary to expand the enterprise. Successful entrepreneurs must know how to build teams!

Why every entrepreneur needs an office administration team
Think about it. As the business grows, the number of administrative tasks increases. Paperwork multiplies as new clients arrive, and the business buys and sells products or services. Bookkeeping and accounting are necessary to record the credits and debits of the business. Without orchestrating paperwork and these essential functions and tasks, the business owner lacks control and information needed to make decisions.

Hiring dedicated bookkeeping, accounting, and office administration personnel is an expense many young businesses aren't ready to shoulder. Authors Steve Monas and Richard Hooker of "Shoestring Venture: The Startup Bible" (2008) suggest outsourcing the company's administrative and financial functions. Developing a strong working relationship with a business solutions partner benefits the business in many ways.

Creating a working partnership with a business solutions and services provider ensures time and energy for business owner to focus on elemental business development and decisions. A remote business solutions partner offers a range of useful possibilities exists, including:
  • Telephone services: business lines are answered by a polished English-speaking administrative professional. ("Outsourcing" doesn't mean sending administrative tasks to an extremely remote location!)
  • Calendar management: appointment confirmations for the next day or changes to the calendar may be forgotten as the business owner multitasks. With an office administration partner, confirmations and changes to the calendar magically appear on business owner's laptop or mobile device.
  • Programmed appointment reminders (or prompts to make important phone calls and presentations): keep the business owner organized and confident.
Choosing an administrative partner within a reasonable driving distance from the business owner's home/office makes face-to-face meetings possible. That's also team-building in progress, a necessary characteristic of the successful entrepreneur!

Accounts Payable and Receivable
A business owner needs to know how much business capital is available every day. If the company's bookkeeping isn't up-to-date, guesses about working capital and financial obligations may keep him up at night. If invoices aren't current, revenues needed by the business are delayed. Clients won't pay until invoices are properly prepared and presented.

Business spending, reflected by receipts, must be regularly analyzed. Receipts aren't mere items to include on the tax return: knowing how much and on what the company spends is crucial to future net profits. Analyzing how capital is deployed allows the business to calculate return on investment.

In conclusion
Selecting an administrative solutions provider gives the business owner additional options and choices, and leverages time and money! Call Gemini Small Business Solutions, LLC now to learn all the ways we can help you grow!

The Entrepreneur's Challenge

Growing a business from concept is the entrepreneur's challenge. Start with a detailed business plan. According to author Tim S. McEneny in "Unlocking Your Entrepreneurial Potential," (2011) entrepreneurs shouldn't skimp on the importance of office administration. Bookkeeping and accounting professionals upon whom the new business relies aren't nice to have: they're essential!



That's why outsourcing some administrative tasks makes good financial sense for a small business. The do-it-all entrepreneur isn't a realistic or sustainable role for most business owners. Time spent on essential administrative tasks is time taken away from business development or execution. Author McEneny recommends outsourcing these critical business services to save time and money.



Why a remote office administration team is a smart investment

A small business may have limited financial resources in the first few years of operation. If the business doesn't rely upon a brick and mortar office or storefront, the new business owner may arrange appointments with clients and prospects at their place of business or in restaurants.



As the business grows, the entrepreneur wants to ensure the right business image. A remote office team lends necessary polish without the need for expensive long-term leases, office furnishings, or additional employee expenses.



Timely preparation of paperwork is crucial to business

Regardless of the business type, every business must keep track of paperwork. Regardless of the industry in which the owner operates, she needs to make presentations, submit proposals, prepare contracts, and process invoices. Preparation of essential papers, documents, and deliverables has a direct, measurable impact:

  • Presentations to customers and prospects are required for business development: customers expect professional deliverables
  • Documents, such as proposals and contracts, requires administrative skill: the entrepreneur may underestimate the importance of proper preparation and style
  • Invoices directly affect operating capital: customers can't pay the business without receiving an invoice

Managing receipts is essential

Establishing a reliable bookkeeping and accounting relationship is the backbone of any business. The business owner must know how, where, and when financial resources are deployed. He must know whether cash outflows create a reasonable return on investment.



Whether the business has one employee or many, retaining and processing expense receipts is one way the entrepreneur gauges the pulse of his business. Active management of accounts payable and receivable is a best practice, yet hiring a dedicated bookkeeper is costly. According to PayScale.com, the average bookkeeper earns about $35,600 per year.



Outsourcing creates a reliable and consistent financial resource, says author Steven M. Bragg in "Bookkeeping Essentials" (2011). The business creates a relationship with the virtual office team at a fraction of the cost of dedicated employees or a temporary accountant service.



Conclusion

Partnering with a flexible office administration resource is an effective, efficient solution for the small business owner. Clients and prospects of the business appreciate the professional office image presented by Gemini Small Business Solutions, LLC. Call today: we'll take care of the items on that administrative to-do list right away!