For many small business owners, multitasking is a part of their official designation. Due to the scale of business, the owner or manager takes on multiple roles; Director, Chief Technical Officer, Publicist, and in some cases, Legal Counsel. A task that cannot be taken on without some relative hassle and challenges is that of bookkeeping and accounting.
Accounting services for small businesses can be the difference between a viable, strong, and profitable business, or an enterprise that falls apart within a year of establishment. While hiring a dedicated accounting firm for a small business can seem like unwarranted costs the benefits of doing this far outweigh whatever potential cost or financial outlay.
Since the main point and objective of any business–small, medium and large–is making sustainable profits, getting the books in order and organized should be a priority. From operational advantages to ensuring regulatory compliance, and even doling out expert analytical advice, hiring an experienced accounting firm is an investment in the right direction.
Accounting for Small Business Owners
For small business owners and managers still considering the benefits of hiring or outsourcing their small business’s accounting services, here are some of the biggest benefits of an accounting service:
- Foundational Services
At the start of your business enterprise, before you begin the nitty-gritty of your business, Spokane accountants can give technical advice on what sort of incorporation your business is/or should be incorporated as: whether as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or even an Ltd. This aspect of a business is key, as it determines what direction your business eventually goes; what liabilities you face and how much statutory and regulatory standards you have to meet.
You can also bank on an experienced accounting firm to create a viable and sustainable business plan for your enterprise- a business plan that is based on prevailing market trends and general economic expectations. You can draft up business proposals that are factual and have the input of experienced financial experts.
For the long-term growth of your business to be assured, you have to lay a solid foundation. If you are based in Spokane, reach out and speak to one of our experts at Spokane-specific financial and regulatory law and for insightful market analysis.
- Regular Operational Duties
There are certain duties and obligations, that you as a business owner have to clients, employees, and regulatory bodies. Keeping track of all these can be time-consuming and distract from focusing on your main objective of starting up your business. Failure to perform some of these tasks and duties can lead to consequences as little as a delay in delivery, to issues as complicated and damning as an IRS audit and penalties.
Here are some of the duties of an accounting service can provide a small business:
- Expense Tracking: Keep track of your employees expenses, ensuring all expenditure is probably accounted for, and avoiding irregular expenses tacked on to official expenses.
- Categorizing Expenses and Income: Rather than jumble all financial transactions in a leather bound book, your accounting firm efficiently categorizes all processes by date, time, purpose, vendor, among others. This allows easier tracking of expenses of income and prevents double billing and other financial miscues.
- Preparing Periodical Financial Statements: Get a sense of your business’s financial health from time to time. For small businesses, periodic financial statements help business owners keep track of their projects.
- Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable: Never fall behind on paying your vendors or receiving payments from clients. My business cents makes your accounts payables and receivables near automated, ensuring you remain in good standing with your suppliers and vendors.
- Tax Obligations: Even as a small business, you still owe the taxman his dues. Failure to properly prepare your books for taxation purposes, and file the essential taxation forms leave your business at the risk of an IRS audit, and potentially hefty sanctions.
- Tax Exemptions and Reliefs: While the taxman deserves his due, it’s not all doom and gloom. As a small business, you are qualified for certain tax benefits and exemptions. Without expert advice, you may be unable to exploit this legal loophole to its fullest potential. Save your business hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars in tax write-offs and tax reliefs.
- Budgeting and Tracking Cash Flow: Creating a budget or an expense list that properly reflects the financial status of your business is vital to running a profitable enterprise. By tracking cash flow and potential earnings, you are able to properly budget funds for future purposes without having deficits.
- Payroll: Manage employee data; salary schemes, bonuses, benefits, and taxation obligations. Leave the technical aspects of payroll management to your accounting firm while you focus on things like brainstorming new business ideas.
- Expert Analytical Advice
If you are just starting a business, or perhaps are already running one, getting a professional’s outlook and perspective gives you a competitive advantage even in a saturated market. With our advice, along with precise and comprehensive financial reports and auditing, you are in a position to make educated and guided decisions before making further financial commitments. The mere fact that you have retained the services of an accounting and bookkeeping service keeps you ahead of the pack of a similar business’s as you do not make decisions based on instincts, rather your actions are guided by cold, hard facts.
Here are some ways your small business can benefit from the professional advice of an accounting firm:
- Cost Cutting
The goal of any business is to earn more than you spend and with the right accounting service you can position your firm to be highly profitable. With regular financial auditing, your accountant can highlight particularly excessive expenses and spot irregularities in spending or income. With a detailed financial report, you are able to reduce expenses that provide little to no Return on Investment (ROI).
- Project/Business Prioritization
Complementary to the point above; profitable endeavors are highlighted and positive trends are noted by our expert analysts to help you create a profitable business scheme. Keeping the theme of profitability, you will receive an expert opinion on viable investments based on your financial reports. Rather than putting all your eggs in the proverbial basket, you are able to make informed choices and focus/invest more in only profitable enterprises.
- Analyzing Market Trends
With a team of expert financial analysts and analytical software capable of deciphering the intricacies of market forces, your business gets a boost, compared to your direct competitors. By monitoring market trends you can position your firm in the best position to take advantage of spikes in market activity, and inversely, you are able to adequately prepare for low points that could place a great strain on your finances.
- Predicting Short-term and Long-term Returns
Cash flow is one of the most fundamental aspects of your business finances. Being able to adequately plan for both the short-term and long-term of your business allows you to prepare for any eventualities or unexpected expenses. By monitoring financial trends, income, as well as tracking accounts payable and receivables, you can budget comfortably ahead of time. Create an action plan that may ultimately transform your small business into a powerhouse.
- Financial Software Installation
Your small business needs a number of financial software to keep up with changing times: automated invoicing software, payment trackers, and so on. Your accounting firm analyzes the needs of your business and advises on the most efficient software to integrate into your business. We will also offer training and employee orientation to ensure proper utilization of such programs.
- Fraud Prevention
Assumptions that your business is safe from fraud due to its relatively small scale nature are blatantly wrong. Small businesses are prone to fraud, at a scale equal to even bigger companies. The median loss in small business, as a result of fraud, has been determined as $130,000: a number that is certain to destroy many a small business. By setting up internal controls, which includes an independently contracted accounting and bookkeeping firm to keep your business processes in check.
Despite the relatively small nature and even communal nature of the employer-employee relationship in a small business, fraud still runs rampant. Blind trust of employees, some of which may be friends, family, or acquaintances can cause your company financial ruin. Usually, the most common source of fraud in a small business is a trusted employee: a friend, family member, or a foundational employee.
Hiring an accounting service for your firm sets up a stringent, independent auditor, and imposes an extra layer of control over financial activity. All financial activity is recorded and categorized and business expenses have to be verified before being approved. Fraudulent patterns and activities can also be easily identified and nipped in the bud before it reaches a level that causes your business great financial harm.
Some of the most common fraudulent practices that small businesses can encounter are:
- Payroll Fraud: A lack of a system of checks and balances, or an independent auditor may lead to manipulation of employee payroll. Overcompensation, multiple payments, and mismanagement of employee wages are some common issues faced by small to medium-sized businesses.
- Common Theft: Outright theft: employees dipping into the cashbox, or using products and services without payment. Appropriate accounting of funds and inventory monitoring will cut down such incidences by a significant proportion.
A. Invoicing Fraud: When an employee, vendor, or supplier provides an invoice containing false information, repeatedly falling victim to this can cause an extreme shortage in funds, and even worse a breakdown in relationship with legitimate business suppliers. Small business accounting services can spot such irregularities when they develop a pattern, or if such invoice does not tally with commensurate services.
- Check Tampering: When a Check for $2,000 becomes a withdrawal of $20,000 that can spell doom for your business. Even worse is when an employee forges a check on behalf of your business and makes a substantial withdrawal in your name. This is usually the result of inadequate internal checks and controls. With an accounting service, financial activity is tracked and monitored to the last penny.
- Skimming of Revenue: Employees can take a seemingly tiny amount off of sales, but over time, these little thefts accumulate into a substantial amount. Lax or nonexistent bookkeeping and accounting make skimming off the top of small businesses income as easy as ABC. However, with every sale tracked and instantly recorded, there is no way to skim from the top without getting caught nearly instantly.
- Vendor Billing: Employees often make up imaginary vendors and send fictitious invoices to the business, in the bid to embezzle funds. These schemes are the bane of very small business, as even supposedly trusted employees can embark on such corrupt endeavors.
Protect your business from internal and external fraud by leaving your finances in the hands of accountants with years of experience, spotting and disrupting fraudulent practices.
While you may imagine that your ‘little’ Spokane small business does not require accounting or bookkeeping services, theAssociation of Certified Fraud Examiners thinks otherwise. Small businesses are just as likely to be defrauded–check tampering, misappropriation, and expense manipulation–as large Corporations. And in the case of small businesses, these fraudulent activities can be a knockout blow: rendering you bankrupt and broke. Trust but verify should be the mantra of your business, even with a closely knit group of employees and vendors.
Reach out today, at My Business Cents to take charge of your business’s finances and bookkeeping- keeping in line with not only global best practices but also protecting you from experiencing financial ruin. We are Spokane accountants, specializing in running and operating businesses of any scale or medium.
No business is too small to get its finances in order, keep your enterprise on the right path by getting in touch with an experienced accounting firm.