postheadericon Live Blog

C2 Online Blog 2

rss

Expect expert advice.


2nd Annual Bookkeeper Superstar Award

4 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Bookkeeper C2online

Bookkeeping   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are starting a small business it is important to keep expenses to a minimum. Profits will happen eventually but often not within the first few months.

Some business owners will try to cut costs by not hiring a bookkeeper. Instead they will get admin staff to manage the financial records. Although expenses are reduced in the short term this could be a mistake.

Off-the-shelf accounting software may be easy to buy but it isn’t necessarily easy to use - properly. By hiring a good bookkeeper you will avoid some mistakes listed below.

1. Invoicing Incorrectly

Incorrect invoicing may entail a lot of extra time reconciling your products sold or services rendered, thus resulting in inability to collect from your customers on time. Also, if not done on time, invoicing can strain your cash flow.

A good bookkeeper will ensure that invoices are correct and prepared in a timely manner. They can also monitor “aging of accounts” to make sure that receivables are collected from customers on time.

2. Unknowingly Missing Deadlines

There are specific dates for filing your taxes and other requirements to the government. Missing a date,
no matter how unintentional, can cost you penalties and other charges. With a good bookkeeper, the
only thing that you have to worry about is getting all the pertinent information to them on time. They’ll
take care of the rest.

3. Incorrectly Classifying Items for Taxation Purposes

Tax laws are revised and updated periodically. What is classified as an item under a particular tax
bracket or rule may change.

A good bookkeeper is always abreast with the latest tax rules. They also have a clear understanding of
items that may be tax deductible for your business. Trust your bookkeeper and take advantage of their
knowledge. In the long run you will save money and headaches.

4. Lack of Know-How in Using Accounting Software

Inaccuracies in handling the accounting side of the business can potentially lead to more losses than you
think - Not to mention government penalties. It sounds obvious, but accounting software works best if
the correct data is inputted. What you put into the system, is proportionate to the output.

A good bookkeeper understands this perfectly. The advantage for you is that you don’t have to worry at
the end of your fiscal year.

Ensuring proper handling of your company’s bookkeeping needs is paramount to your business success.
Doing bookkeeping by yourself may prove to be not only dangerous, but even fatal, for your business health. 

Photo Credit: psd


Don't Overestimate Your Emailing Skills - Time to Brush Up On Your Email Etiquette C2online

We've talked about how important communication is in bookkeeping in one of our previous blogs, Stand Out as a Bookkeeper: 10 Tips for Superior Communication Skills. If you're operating your bookkeeping business out of the house (or anywhere, really) email is most likely your most common form of communication with your clients. 

Email is like an old and faithful friend; it certainly hasn't gone anywhere and doesn't seem to be fading away. But because it's been a common tool for so long now, have we forgotten our etiquette? Are we so focused on tweeting that email has fallen to the back burner? We thought a refresher on email etiquette wouldn't hurt - especially if it's your dominant communication medium.

Your Professional Email Address

It all starts here since there isn't much emailing without it. Your email address is like a first impression so it should be professional; a branded email account linked to your business. Something like, imaproudsoccermom_97@hotmail.ca, won't do you any favours so keep the cutesy stuff for your personal account. If you have a website with your own domain, use that for your email. If not, you may want to consider paying for domain name registration and hosting. Or use Google Apps for Business which allows you to use an email address with a domain, as well as other business tools.

To, Cc, Bcc - Who Goes Where

'To' is the direct recipient(s). Seems simple enough but there are still some tips to keep in mind. If you're sending to a group, don't put your entire address book into one email. It's an eye sore to have an endless string of email addresses in your message. As well, if you're sending out to a group who don't know each other, they may not want their email being shared with the masses. Consider sending separate emails or use bcc.

Cc is carbon copy for recipients who are involved yet the email is not directed towards them. Consider who is being cc'd and if they need to be included in the email. 

Bcc is blind carbon copy. The direct recipient won't see the bcc so it's a bit sneaky. Basically, this is used to keep someone in the loop. They're not involved in the conversation and it's not necessary for the recipient (for whom the email is directed to) to know.

Subject - A Strategically Chosen Few Words

This needs some good content so don't leave it at "Hi." For business purposes, ensure the subject is meaningful and reflects the content of the message. A lot of people rely on the subject line to look for past emails and for filing them.

The Crux of it All: The Message

Various aspects of the message to be aware of:

  • Tone. First, consider who the recipient is. Do you know them well? Is this a new client? This will set the tone of your email which is hard to do since this can get lost in an email. For example, if your message is too short. If you're too much to the point and don't take any time for salutations or closing, you can come across as terse. And then there's the all caps. STOP YELLING AT ME! All caps implies yelling and most times, is not well perceived by your reader. Best to avoid it.
  • Length. If it's too long, you'll appear as rambling on. Your reader may lose interest and your message will get lost in the rambling. You want to get your point across but not be terse (it's a fine line…).
  • Spelling & Grammar. Your professionalism shows in your writing. Use proper sentence structure and correct spelling. Email is not a tweet. Or a text. Avoid slang, abbreviations and acronyms that look unprofessional. Anything beyond FYI may lose your reader.
  • Formatting. This will help you get your message across. It will make it easy to read by laying it out properly with paragraphs, bullet points, etc. An organized message will also make emailing more efficient: if the recipient understands you, it pre-empts further questions and eliminates unnecessary back and forth emails.

Email Tag Alongs: Attachments

Ensure that whatever you're attaching to your email is relevant and useful. Try to limit the number of attachments by collating them, if possible. Check the file size and compress it before sending - nobody wants a 7MB incoming email bogging down their inbox and freezing up their system. And don't forget the attachment(s) when you send your email… this is where proof-reading will help you.

Following Up With Email Replies

All the same rules apply as above. When replying to an email, check that you've answered all of the questions in the original email. Don't give your client the impression that you're not interested in them or giving them the time they deserve. In their minds, if you're brushing over their emails, what else are you brushing over?

Reply All. Use this carefully and think about who needs to see your reply. Just because you were sent a message with other recipients doesn't mean everyone needs to see a reply from you. And—very important—do not hit 'reply all' when you've intended to hit 'reply.' You can accidentally send something that shouldn't be seen by someone and could get you into a lot of trouble. Always check before you hit send.

Brushing up on your email etiquette will help you maintain a good email relationship with your clients. So don't overestimate your emailing skills and underestimate the importance of good communication. 



What Makes a Good Bookkeeper…. Good? 10 Tips for Finding a Superstar Bookkeeper C2online

We've talked about it in our previous blogs because it's something that every small business owner has to think about. Do you do your own bookkeeping or look to outsource it? It's an important decision because there's no getting around having to manage all the paperwork that comes with running a business. For a lot of entrepreneurs, there eventually comes a time when you have no choice but to invest in a bookkeeper.

But what should you look for in a bookkeeper? What makes a good bookkeeper… good? Here are 10 tips for what to look for in a superstar bookkeeper. 

1. Education and Qualifications

These are some of the main factors that you need to consider when choosing your bookkeeper. There are three types of certifications in Canada:

  • The Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (CPB - Certified Professional Bookkeeper)
  • The Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping (CB -Certified Bookkeeper)
  • The Canadian Bookkeepers Association (RPB - Registered Professional Bookkeeper)

If you want your bookkeeper to have payroll responsibilities, you will want someone who has at least a minimum certification level with the Canadian Payroll Association. 

Are they accredited by a professional association? Bookkeepers who belong to a professional organization have to abide with a code of ethics, plus you can contact the association itself in the event of a problem. 

Ask if they're doing any continuing education with additional classes or self-study. This will show their commitment to enhancing their skills and staying up to date. 

2. Experience and References

Education and training are important, but there is no substitute for experience. And even better, experience with small businesses in your particular area of business. Certain industries call for specialist knowledge and an understanding of the particular issues involved. Avoid bookkeepers who mainly work with big corporations; the issues that come up for small business are different than those that a bookkeeper would encounter with larger companies. Look for three years of full-time experience providing full-cycle bookkeeping to businesses similar to yours. 

Candidates should substantiate their claims through references. Small business clients can vouch for a bookkeeper’s timeliness, quality of service and their personality. Also ask for references from professional accountants they've worked with who can comment on their technical skills and proficiency. These accountants will know how much or how little time they had to spend cleaning up the bookkeeper's work at year end. This is also important if you already have an accountant that you want your bookkeeper to work with—check that the candidate has had good working relationships with these accountants.

3. Detail-Oriented

It's no coincidence that this is at the top of the list. It is one of those essential traits that a good bookkeeper should have and you should be looking for. Detail-oriented bookkeepers have the level of accuracy and precision that the work requires. Someone who wants to categorize every expense item as “miscellaneous,” for instance, isn’t going to do you much good at the end of the month. Being thorough in your documentation is critical to accurately reporting your financial information. Attention to detail is a must! If they come across as frazzled or disorganized, it's time to move on. 

4. Analytical Skills

The other essential trait you're looking for is their analytical skills. Once your detail-oriented bookkeeper organizes the information, they now need to analyze it. Part of their job is reviewing and deciphering this information to help you make important business decisions. Analysis of financial documents is crucial and a good bookkeeper will be able to do this well.

5. Time Management

A good bookkeeper knows how to organize their time for optimum results. They should be able to prioritize, allow time to focus on problems and solutions, and schedule frequent reviews and updates with you. If they have good time management, they will be proactive and complete tasks with a deadline such as monthly financial reports, filing taxes, claims, etc. And if problems arise, you need to know that your bookkeeper will inform you in time to do something about them. It doesn't do you much good if you need to be constantly checking up on your bookkeeper because they don't have the time management skills required for the job.

6. Excellent Communication Skills

This isn't something that is normally associated with people who talk of debits and credits, but the best bookkeepers are more than silent number crunchers. Unless you already know the ins and outs of the finances of your business, you are relying on your bookkeeper to relay this information in a manner that you'll understand. You should be making business decisions based on your finances and you must have a bookkeeper that can communicate this information so that it's useful and meaningful to you.

7. Passion and Personality

These are the less obvious personality traits that you should also consider. First, your candidate must love numbers and have a clear understanding of math. There are no maybes in summing up totals or calculating balances. And don't underestimate personality. It's not a trait most people look for in a bookkeeper but you're forming a relationship with this person to talk about what's going on in your business and what the numbers show. It's important to find someone who you can get along with and relate to.

8. Trust and Security

You are sharing sensitive financial information so client confidentiality is crucial. It only makes sense that you trust the person you're handing over confidential numbers and bank account information to. Ask what security and privacy measures they have. Is the data that they hold for your business secure?  

9. Technically Inclined

Today’s bookkeeping is automated, even for the smallest of businesses. So it doesn’t make sense to partner with someone who is not technologically inclined. They should be familiar with Word, Excel, email, the internet and some kind of bookkeeping software. Bookkeeping software allows for much simpler, faster, and more sophisticated analysis of your company’s information. It will also improve the productivity and performance of your bookkeeper's work. (More efficient work means less hours charged to you!) The right bookkeeper will have the skills to accomplish this. And your financial data should be kept on a hard drive, not on a shelf.

10. Rates

At the bottom of our list, but hardly an insignificant question, is how much they charge. And what does this include? Rates can be a wide range anywhere from $15 per hour to $100 per hour depending on their skill level and experience… as well as the complexity and volume of work your business requires. Some bookkeepers will offer fixed fees per month. With bookkeeping, as with most other services, you generally get what you pay for. Ine
xpensive rates can turn out to be more expensive if the bookkeeper takes more hours than someone at a higher rate. Remember that this as an investment that will save you more money over the long run.

Ask about any additional costs such as:

  • Set-up fees. Setting up a new client can be a very time-consuming process so get a cost on this.
  • Retainers. Some bookkeepers charge in arrears for their services.
  • Miscellaneous charges. Ask about additional charges for photocopying, printing, files, binders, courier, faxes, etc.  

Preparation, knowing what your business' requirements are, and knowing what to ask candidates will guide you in your search. Put the time and effort into finding that superstar bookkeeper - it will benefit you and your business in the long run.

We have a new directory to assist you in your search. C2online's North American Bookkeeper Directory: www.c2online.ca/BookkeeperDirectory.aspx



Stand Out as a Bookkeeper: 10 Tips for Superior Communication Skills C2online

As a bookkeeper, you're providing essential bookkeeping services for a variety of businesses. But did you realize that you're also providing a communication service?

Many of the frustrations experienced between business owners and bookkeepers comes down to poor communication. Because bookkeeping is a critical part of any business, good communication skills are vital in this area. Important financial information needs to be presented properly to clients so that it makes sense, is useful and meaningful, they understand what is going on with their business, and allows them to make good decisions.

This could be your advantage. Your superior communication skills could make you stand out among your competition. This is an essential trait that potential clients are looking for and there's no doubt that referrals and word-of-mouth will bring more business your way.

Practice these 10 tips and let them be your competitive advantage:

1. A positive and respectful attitude.

Set the tone of your conversation. If you're having a bad day, if there's any negativity associated with the conversation, all of this should be put aside. For best communication, try to keep the emotions out of the way. When a negative confrontation is necessary, mix the negative news with positive news; start and end the conversation on a positive note. Do not speak when angry. When emotions are running high, it is best to postpone important conversations if possible.

2. Get to know your clients.

Find out what is important to them; this can help you improve your level of work and guide you in the services you provide. Give them the service they want and they will be satisfied.

3. Determine the preferred means of communication and when.

Some like email, some prefer a phone conversation. When you can, use their preferred method. If your client calls you, call them back. If they send you an email, reply to their email. Don't mix up the method of communication. Also, be respectful of sensitive information and decide the best method to maintain privacy. Finally, determine when to communicate. Are there certain times of the day that the client doesn't want to be disturbed? A restaurant owner won’t appreciate a phone call in the middle of their lunch rush. Equally, you have your own set work hours. Discuss contact times that work best ahead of time.

4. Sound professional.

How a person communicates impacts how others perceive that person professionally and personally. If you sound professional, your clients will see you and your work as professional. This applies to both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Verbal Communication:

  • Speak clearly. If people are asking you to repeat yourself, try to do a better job of articulating yourself in a better manner.
  • Avoid raising your voice. Some tend to yell when they are especially passionate about an issue or trying to get a point across.
  • Pronounce your words correctly. People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure of how to say a word, don’t use it.
  • Use the right words. If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Avoid slang words.
  • Slow your speech down. People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk too fast.

Nonverbal Communication:

This applies to all written words, such as emails, spreadsheets or reports. When structuring your written forms of communication, keep these in mind:

  • Decide what type of written correspondence is the best for the situation and decide who your audience is. This will determine the message, structure and tone.
  • Be aware that the tone of a conversation can often get lost in an email.
  • Break up your text so that it is easy to read. You want your recipient to be able to pick out the key information by just scanning the document. 
  • Brush up on your spelling and grammar skills. By providing your clients with proofed, error-free writing, they will see your professionalism in the project.
  • Proof-read and ensure the information that you are sending out is organized and mistake-free. 

5. Don't waste time.

Plan ahead and organize your message so it's clear and concise. Try to collate and deal with communications in one go, rather than making multiple requests with multiple conversations. Don't waste their time - or yours.

6. Show an interest.

Don't be distracted, show boredom or a lack of interest in the conversation. Do not constantly think about what will be said next or focus on other activities; make sure there is no competition for your attention like other people talking nearby. The client should feel as though they have your undivided attention. And do not interrupt when they are speaking. If you must say something, make a mental or quick written note and speak when they have finished speaking.

7. Listen. But really listen.

Active, effective listening is harder than you think. When you listen, you're understanding the message. And if you're not sure, ask and clarify. Clear your mind of all other thoughts and concerns and listen intently when others are speaking. 

8. Confirm the message.

If you were listening, you may think you have a thorough understanding of the message that was being presented. But to be on the safe side, paraphrase and repeat what the client has said to ensure understanding. They will have confidence in you if they know that you are understanding them and their needs. Show them that they and their business are at the top of your priority list.

9. Be accessible and responsive. Maintain regular contact.

Make it easy to communicate. Regular communication keeps you connected with your clients and lets them know you are on the job for them. Be sure to let them know when you have questions, and keep them informed. Respond to your clients soon as possible. If you can’t respond to requests within a reasonable time frame, then at least acknowledge the request. Let them know that you received their message, you're busy at the moment but will get back to them by a certain time. Don't leave them hanging with an unanswered message.

10. Be honest and build trust.

Mistrust can impede communication. Always tell the truth in your business dealings. Not only will it be easier when the truth is told, it improves the relationship with your clients. Establishing trust in business is an important aspect of being successful.

Your entire service is based on communication whether it's face-to-face, via email, over the phone, online, or through email. Let these tips guide you to become a highly respected, in demand, professional bookkeeper.

 


Bookkeeping Basics for the New Entrepreneur and the 5 Mistakes You Need To Avoid C2online



As a small business owner, are you in touch with your finances? And I don't mean just an income statement and filing your taxes. Are you really in touch with the ins and outs of your business' financial operations? As an entrepreneur of any type of business, whether you're running a bakery, starting a coffee roasting company or offering dog walking services, you can't live without financial management. It's an essential part of your business operations.

To have good financial management, you need good bookkeeping. So what exactly is bookkeeping and why do you need it? Bookkeeping is a system of recording the financial transactions of a business. It looks at all aspects of the comings and goings of your cash flow and transactions. Here are some basic bookkeeping terms defined: Basic ABC's of Bookkeeping

Small business bookkeeping is necessary for a couple of reasons:

1. Record data, organize it and prepare financial statements.

You need to track your revenues and expenses and record this information in an organized manner with a chart of accounts. This is where you file away all of your business transactions (expenses, income, assets, liabilities, equity, etc.). With this data, you'll need to prepare essential statements, and of course, for tax time to file your tax return and make claims.

2. Management & Growth of Business

Owners should understand that bookkeeping is not just about paying taxes or reporting results. Management and growth is an area of financial management that can be easily overlooked by business owners. This takes time and for most entrepreneurs, time is not readily available. However, if you want to give your small business the best chance for success, then you can't overlook this. Think about it. With the financial data you've recorded and organized, you now need to analyze how aspects of your business are performing, and create valuable reports to guide your business.

Now that you have a basic understanding of bookkeeping and why you need it, we want to get you off to a good start. So keep these in mind:

5 Small Business Bookkeeping Mistakes to Avoid

1. Save money on bookkeeping.

One way to save money is by doing the bookkeeping yourself, manually. Yes, it can be done. But it takes time. And if you want to do it properly, it takes a lot of time. Unless you're an expert at Excel—a topic we discussed in a previous blog: Why Excel May Be Bad for Your Business—you need to invest in some other options. You can purchase a software package, invest in online bookkeeping software, or hire a bookkeeper.

2. Not making informed decisions based on your numbers.

You need to understand your finances and make decisions based on solid financial management. Your financials are an essential tool to better manage where your business is headed tomorrow. You need to know what's selling, what's most profitable, who's buying and who owes money.

3. Poor record keeping.

As discussed above, your numbers are crucial in so many aspects. So what good are they if they're not accurate? Don't underestimate the value of keeping good records; it will catch up with you and will misguide you if not done properly.

4. Pay attention only at tax time.

This is a mistake on multiple levels. First, you need to maintain good records throughout the year for when tax time arrives. As well, how can you make those informed business decisions if you're not continually paying attention and are staying attuned with your finances. Make it part of your daily routine so you don't fall behind. If you’ve hired a bookkeeper, have them keep you informed on a continuous basis; be in constant contact with them.

5. Make your accountant do all of the work.

An accountant essentially takes over after bookkeeping ends. You provide them with your bookkeeping and they utilize that information for their services. So if you don't want to spend a lot of money on an accountant, you must send the necessary business documents and information to your accountant in an organized way. (Hence, having good record keeping.) Missing documentation will slow them down and cost you money.

You want to get your new business off to a good start. Even if numbers and financials are not your area of expertise (and quite frankly, makes your head spin), don’t forget to still give it the attention it deserves. The success of your business depends on it.


Bookkeeping and Pinterest: Yes, it can be done. And yes, you should be doing it. C2online



We did it. We just couldn’t resist the 3rd largest social media platform—we’re on Pinterest. Check it out at pinterest.com/c2online.

But many may wonder how a bookkeeping software company has a use for Pinterest. It’s not a visually-rich industry and—if you’re one of the 10.5 million users, you already know—Pinterest is all about pictures.

First, let’s talk about why you should consider Pinterest for your business:

  • Pinterest is retaining and engaging users 2-3 times better than Twitter was at a similar time in Twitter’s company history (thesocialskinny)
  • Pinterest accounts for about 3.6% of referral traffic, compared to 3.61% for Twitter (thesocialskinny)
  • Pinterest drives more sales and more new customers than Facebook (boticca.com)

But what can a bookkeeper pin about? Here are our suggestions on what to pin if you’re in the bookkeeping or accounting world:

Your Own Blogs, Guides and Helpful Documents
This is the perfect way to drive traffic to your website. If you write a blog (and you should), pin it! Pin an image that reflects your written content to your Pinterest page, add a captivating title and description, and link this image to your blog on your website. This allows pinners to encounter your content and visit your pages in just one click. You can also do this with informative documents, ebooks, guides, etc. Use the document cover or an attractive image to pin. Having good content with links back to your website is a subtle way to promote yourself.

Industry-Related Blogs and Documents
Share good information with others – even if it comes from a source other than you. If you provide good content, people will continue to visit your profile.

Use Infographics & Data Charts
Infographics are visual representations of information and there are infographics for almost anything you can think of. Yes, even accounting-related infographics. Utilize these because they are visual and informative. Better yet, create your own infographic or pin your own data charts. Use a clear headline and link back to your website.

Logos and Images Directly Related to your Business
Absolutely, pin your logo and some good information about your business on a board; followers  need to know what it is you do. It’s OK to have some boards dedicated to this but your entire Pinterest profile should be more than that. Don’t turn people away with self-promotion.

Industry-Related Images
Pin pictures related to bookkeeping – use your imagination! Are there any products that you use in your business? Pin them.  Office supplies you couldn’t live without? Pin those too. There are no real rules and people are looking for your own spin and interpretation.

Pictures You Already Have
Make a board that showcase’s your company’s culture.  Also include a photo and a bio for each person.

Video Gallery
You can pin videos too. Find videos that are informative within your industry and create a board. If you do your own videos, get those on Pinterest too!

General Interest
Show some personality and create boards that are of interest to you. Don’t make it all about business and promoting yourself. You want to engage people and give a variety of content. Pin any type of volunteer work, community involvement, activities you do, and so on. This will show people who you are.

As you build your Pinterest page and increase your followers, you’ll want to start engaging with people. When people make comments on your pins, reply and build relationships with them. Ask questions to entice those comments. Follow other people of interest, re-pin their pins and comment on them.

There are a lot of options for pinning for your business. Overall you want to position yourself as an information source within your industry, share your knowledge, drive traffic to your website, show some personality, and make it fun. But be careful, you may just become a pinning addict!


Why Excel May Be Bad For Your Business C2online

Many companies are using MS Excel for their bookkeeping needs and services. It makes sense because the program already comes bundled with the PC you bought, so it’s cheaper than buying bookkeeping software. And really, if your current bookkeeping system utilizes shoeboxes and file folders, then Excel would be a huge improvement for you.

However, when it’s time to move on from the most basic of cash book type record, you’ll need a proper bookkeeping tool that’s built for your needs. As business grows, it also outgrows the use of Excel for bookkeeping.

Here are some common arguments for using Excel… and the problems associated with them.

It’s familiar and I already know how to use it.

Sure, most users know how to do some of the basic tasks but Excel is not simple and the more advanced features require some proper learning and experience. A bookkeeping software is already set up for all the normal accounting things one will need to do.

I can create almost unlimited reports and graphs.

You’re free to do anything you want with your data; there’s a whole range of financial and statistical functions, formulas, charts, and numerous ways to analyse your data. However, you can end up with multiple worksheets, complex formulas and a headache trying to figure it all out.

It’s free because it’s already on my computer.

If not used properly, it could be a waste of time… and money. Because Excel is so complex, there is a steep learning curve to becoming proficient. There is also a huge potential for error with every formula, data entry, calculation, and so on. This inaccuracy could cost your business a lot of money. Sometimes what looks like the cheaper or simpler option may turn out to be the opposite in the long run.

Everybody has Excel so I can easily share it with others.

Excel can be very difficult for others to interpret and understand. There is little consistency between spreadsheets produced by different people and therefore can be extremely difficult to understand the logic of a spreadsheet created by another person.  

So many people use Excel, it must do everything.

There are functions that Excel can’t provide like audit trails, invoicing, bank feeds & reconciliation, contacts, payroll, time billing, reports and more. You could probably create a workable solution for some of these functions but it would take a lot of time and training.


There’s nothing wrong with Excel if it works for you. Have a look at your business and your goals and decide if you should you should be using this program or if it’s time to move towards a dedicated bookkeeping software.

5 Steps for Setting Yourself Up for Success - Marketing Your Freelance Bookkeeping Business Lisa Patrick

Many people decide to become freelancer bookkeepers, as a full-time job, or as a way to supplement a current job. If you have decided to start a freelance bookkeeping business, you will be in charge of getting and keeping clients, marketing yourself and promoting your business.

You need to do some work ahead of time to determine who you are, what you’re offering, why you’re unique, and how potential clients can benefit from your services.

1. Study the market and your competition

Do your homework and find out what the next-best thing is doing. Put in the time and money to research your competition; you could find opportunities to define your competitive advantage.

2. Determine your target market

Identify who your ideal client is. What services do they require? Your business must solve your ideal client’s problems. Also, if you have existing clients, listen to them about what they like and what they don't like. Determining your target market will allow you to modify your business accordingly. For instance, you may prefer to work with clients from a specific industry or who bring in a certain level of revenues each year. You need to know who you’re marketing to.

3. Develop your product

Successful business owners focus on what they enjoy doing and are good at. What bookkeeping services do you want to provide? There may be an opportunity to distinguish yourself by how you deliver your services. For example, consulting over the Internet, face-to-face, on the phone, through webinars, etc. As well, you might serve a unique software application that could distinguish you and give you a competitive advantage. Think about what deserves your marketing spotlight.

4. Set a price

Find out what the median hourly wage is and position yourself accordingly. Be prepared to negotiate a fee and you can always increase your rates once you are established.

5. Start promoting and solicit clients

There are endless marketing opportunities so figure out your target market and where you’ll find them. You could approach small local businesses, post ads in your local paper, advertise on the Internet. You should represent yourself on the web with a website—a good website—that makes you look professional and brands yourself well. Social media can be overwhelming so be aware of what social avenues exist but don't feel obliged to participate on every platform. By focusing your attention where it matters, you can make the most of social media without getting lost in the many possibilities.


Every Dollar Matters - Increase Revenues After Tax Season Lisa Patrick

During the current recession, many businesses and individuals are turning to professional accountants in order to ensure the correct preparation of their tax returns to avoid costly penalties. This means that there are many opportunities for accountancy offices and franchises to grow - an opportunity for a new revenue stream to offset the lack of revenue after tax season.

But tax season for personal income tax returns is a 3 month a year revenue stream.  We all see kiosk’s in the mall from Liberty Tax and H&R Block but what about the other 9 months of the year? Your business client comes in once a year to file their T2 return but you don't see them for the other 11 months of the year?

Every dollar matters in your business and revenue streams in off peak season are vital to the success of your business.  Bookkeeping offers the opportunity for your business to offer another service for your clientele and generate another revenue stream for your business. But your not a bookkeeper, you're an accountant or a business owner!

A brand new software Bookkeeper’s Quote™ now provides you the opportunity to profile new clients or existing clients and match their businesses with bookkeeping tasks required.  The bookkeeping software provides you the communication tool necessary to discuss the tasks associated with bookkeeping and at the same time provides you the checklist of bookkeeping tasks you will need to complete to provide a bookkeeping service.

Bookkeeper’s Quote™ also will create accurate bookkeeping quotes that properly reflect a bookkeepers' time and work on clients' accounts, based on your rates and task/time settings or default proven standard times.

Bookkeeper’s Quote™ is designed to assist the user in Communicating 2 the client about the costs and any adjustments in billings after the quote.

Bookkeeper’s Quote™ includes everything you will need to ensure you provide accurate reliable service to a client.  Whether they are new to your office,  client information is recorded, compliance methods assured, contacts with the government accounted for, posting and invoicing recorded, payroll included and tax regulatory issues are highlighted and more.

So if you are looking to add a revenue stream to your existing business or a new business that compliments what you are currently doing think about bookkeeping and make every dollar count.

 


CMS Website by WebmontonMedia.