At iAccounting Solutions we use Google Drive to share senstive documents with our clients.  We do this because we can share and require you to login with your password-protected Google account.  This ensures that only you will be able to view important information.

We’ve created some videos on how to use Google Drive with us.  Take a look and leave a comment or shoot us an email if you have any questions!

 



modern-bill-paying-dashboard

How many paper checks do you write per month?  15, 50, 100?  If so, then you’re not along.  Most US based businesses still rely on paper checks to pay bills, employees, and contractors, and it’s costing you hundreds of dollars!  Keep reading to find out how.

Moving Paper Costs Money

Processing checks isn’t that simple.  Think about all the work that goes into writing a check.  From getting an invoice, to entering it into your accounting system, to printing the check, and then finally mailing it.  That process takes time and multiple people touching it, which costs money!  And don’t even think about errors and mistakes that are made due to having so many people involved.

Beyong staff costs to make that workflow happen, how about paper and postage?  Now, you may say that a stamp doesn’t cost that much, but how about the other costs?

  • Stamps
  • Paper supplies
  • Staff time to process
  • Approvals

The cost for each busienss will be different based on how many checks you write and your process.  But, those costs up and I’m sure they’re substantial.

 

Use a Modern Solution to Save You Money

Like we said, “moving paper costs money”, so stop and integreat a modern service like Bill.com to help save you headaches and money!  Using a cloud-based system like Bill.com will help you do just this.  Recording, paying bills, approvals, documents storage, and syncing with your accounting system all from within one login is what makes Bill.com such a powerful and time saving tool.

This is how it works:

  • Scan, email or fax your bill into Bill.com
  • Process the bill and assign the vendor and expense account online using their easy to use dashboard
  • Gain necessary approvals
  • Schedule the payments to go out ACH or by check (yep Bill.com will handle printing and mailing the check for you)
  • Sync bills and payments happens automatically in the backround

That’s it–only 5 steps all from within one system!

 

Stop Bleeding Money and Make the Switch

 

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Switching to a new Accounts Payable system/workflow can be scary and daunting.  We can help!  We can help you find out if it makes sense for your organization, develop an implemenation plan, and even provide ongoing support.

Contact us for a free consulation and learn more about how much you can save by switching to a modern solution and by ditching the paper!

 

 

 

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How to Choose payroll service blog post

Whenever I mention payroll to business owners I see the telltale signs of them “checking out” mentally, and it’s not surprising!  With terms like FICA, Workers Comp, Unemployment and ObamaCare, it’s no wonder small businesses are confused and sometimes just downright disgusted by it.  In fact, we often tell clients that if they get one thing right in running their business, make sure you hire a competent payroll service!

We want to help you understand how to make the right choice in choosing a payroll service.  So let’s get into it!

Taxes

Penalties on payroll tax errors are some of the most stringent that the IRS will shell out.  So you need to get this right!  Payroll companies will work payroll taxes in one of two ways: impounding and you paying the taxes yourself.

Impounding means that the payroll company takes the taxes from your account, holds on to them, and then pays them on time to the IRS and state agencies.  Sure, they make money on holding onto your funds, but they also take full responsibility for making the payments on time.

Some providers make it pretty easy to pay the taxes yourself via ACH and electronic payments.  However, it’s up to you to press “Submit” and make them on time.

The Verdict:

Use payroll services that impound.  It’s easier to manage cash flow because the taxes are taken out right when you run payroll and the payroll company assumes the responsibility to make the payments on time.

Direct Deposit and Checks

This may seem like a pretty basic thing but did you know that you can save yourself some time and costs by ONLY offering direct deposit?  Direct Deposit is a great way to pay your employees because they get paid right into the accounts.  Checks can be used, but they also create a headache when it comes time to reconcile your bank account.  Payroll companies also charge to push that paper around.  Have employees that don’t have a bank account?  Give them a “Pay Card’ that has it’s own routing and account number and you can “load” it with their pay each pay period.

The Verdict:

Use a payroll service that focuses on direct deposit and you will most likely save money on monthly service fees, postage and mailing, and time when reconciling your bank account.

Integration with Other Apps

Do you use accounting or online scheduling software like Xero or Deputy?  Use a service that ingrates with them to eliminate data entry and make running payroll, easy.  If using online scheduling, within a few clicks you can approve timesheets and send them straight to payroll.  This alone can save you hours each pay period.

The Verdict:

Search out payroll services that are open that integrate with other apps that you use.  Who knows, you may even discover an app you can use for your business this way!

Advanced HR Features

Some businesses have 1-5 employees, some have 50.  And depending on how many you have, will determine how much help you’ll need managing them.

If you have a large staff to manage, payroll companies like ADP have robust services beyond just running payroll that offers on-site HR reps that can come out “do your dirty work” for you, a.k.a.hire and fire.  They can also help you navigate the tricky waters of the ACA (ObamaCare) and provide employee handbooks, amongst other things.

If only a few employees, then a company like Gusto is often a good choice.  While they don’t provide robust HR services, they can offer very competitive rates on Workers Comp insurance, and make managing your employees pretty easy.

The Verdict:

Make a choice based on your payroll needs and employee size.

Pricing and Cost

This is what it boils down to right?  There are two methods that payroll services use to charge their fees: a flat fee per month, or fee per pay period.

Flat fee per month gives you a predictable cost each month.  Generally, there is a base cost and then a per-employee-per-month cost.  So as long as you know how many employees you’re paying, your fee is pretty predictable.  And, these companies don’t charge for anything extra like W-2’s and quarterly reports, as long as you are a subscriber.

Per-pay-period providers charge each time your run a payroll.  For most businesses, this is twice per month.  They will also charge additional fees for W-2’s and quarterly reports.  There are also other charges for mailing checks, etc., so make sure you have the payroll service spell our EVERY thing that is going to cost before you sign up.

The Verdict:

Use a service provider that charges a flat fee per month.  There is less confusion on fees and it’s generally cheaper each month.

Make it Happen!

As you can see, there’re lots to consider when choosing the right payroll service provider for you.  We can help you make that choice and get you in touch with the people to make things happen.   Have questions, leave a comment or reach out to us on our Get In Touch page and we’ll be happy to help you make the best decision for you and your business.

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App PowerPack Post

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past 5 years, I’m sure you’ve noticed the era of cloud-based apps has far outpaced its desktop counterparts.  We like cloud-based apps a lot—for good reasons that are too many to go into here.  You can check out this BLOG POST  to see a previous post about cloud-based apps. We like them so much that we’ve completely transitioned our business to using cloud apps for us and our clients.  We spend lots of time vetting out the ever growing list of cloud-based apps, and have come to rely on 3 core apps.  These apps are our top pick to make our “PowerPack” of apps that we set up with each client.

  xeroXero – Accounting

Xero touts itself as “beautiful accounting software”, and we agree.  From the first time you log in, you can tell right away that Xero has taken design pretty serious.  But that doesn’t mean that it lacks in power and functionality.  Features include: invoicing, quotes, purchase orders, A/P (bills), document management, real-time cash flow tools, contact management, powerful reporting, and much more.  Perhaps one of it’s best features is the eco-system of software add-on’s that integrate with Xero.

hubdoc_logo_full  Hubdoc – Receipt and Statement Management

Trust us, we know how daunting it is to manage all the paper for running a business!  Hubdoc solves this issue with automation and storage.  The idea behind the system is:

  1. To be a repository for your bank and utility statements by connecting to your online accounts and pulling the statements automatically
  2. To serve as an easy way to get the information from receipts, into your accounting system.  Simply snap a pic of any receipt using the mobile app on your device, and Hubdoc will read the date, amount, and vendor.

 

By integrating with Xero, Bill.com, and Google Drive, you can have a completely paperless system that allows you to automatically keep bank, utility statements, and store digital copies of your receipts.

 

 

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Expensify – Expense Reports and Mileage Tracking

Expensify has revolutionized the way you track and submit expenses for reimbursement.  From single to a team of several employees, expense reports for mileage, personal expenses, and travel can easily be imported into Xero and even reimbursed via ACH straight from within the app.  For most of our single-owner businesses, it works perfectly for keeping track of money you spend on personal accounts.  Enabling GPS on their mobile app makes it a breeze to track your auto mileage as well.

 

 

Want to know more about these “Power Hitter” apps?  Leave a comment or reach out to see how they can benefit your business and even get them for free as part of one of our monthly service plans.

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Having the ability to process your accounting, payroll, CRM, etc., on any computer (PC or Mac) is all within reach now for any business starting out.  And since we’ve helped many businesses setup cloud-based processes, naturally we’ve done a lot of trial and error on what applications work.  These are many out there, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 favorites for most small businesses.

1.  Google Mail (Gmail):  Since email is the center of most business, we figured that it should be #1!  Google mail, aka “Gmail”, has been the go-to mail app for a lot people.  And rightfully so.  It’s spam filters are superb, and you can customize it how you like to read/process emails.  Google even offers a business class version called Google Apps.  And while this version is not free, it offers no advertising and increased storage amounts.  The learning curve is very short.  Some of our favorite features:

  • Gmail is FREE (Google Apps is $60 per user per year)
  • Excellent spam filters
  • Good mobile app
  • Free access to Calendar
  • Free access to Google Drive (cloud file storage)
  • Free access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Google’s equivalent to Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)

 

2.  Google Calendar:  A sister app to Gmail (above), let’s you keep track of your schedule using a number of tools.  Integration between Gmail and Calendar is tight, and has a host of solutions to run many types of businesses.  Some of our favorite features:

  • Meetings are easy to setup and invite attendees
  • Visibility into who has accepted/not accepted meetings
  • Can schedule recurring calendar events (i.e. once per month, week, every 2 weeks, etc.)
  • Can create calendar events directly from an email in Gmail
  • Can create and share different calendars for different purposes (i.e. calendar for each team member, company wide vacation calendar, personal calendars, etc.)

 

3. Xero Accounting Software: Designed to give the small business what they need within a few clicks, is our top choice.  With solid functions like invoicing, bills, quotes, and real-time bank feeds, you can manage your business from your computer, iPad, or any iOS or Android device.  One of the things we love about Xero is it’s add on ecosystem.  Want to see if your client paid you, from your CRM?  You can do it with their add on’s.  You can build out really smooth business processes this way.  We really like:

  • Online invoicing
  • Connect to payment services like PayPal and Stripe
  • Customer/Vendor Management
  • Bank transactions directly imported from bank
  • ascetically pleasing and just looks good
  • Reports exportable to PDF, Excel, and Google Sheets
  • Easy to collaborate with your accountant or other people

 

4.  Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll):  Designed for just one person, or scales up to several employees, this payroll has direct integration to Xero and QuickBooks Online.  With it’s great feature list, and straightforward pricing, it’s hard to beat.  Here’s a few of it’s valuable features:

  • Direct Deposit
  • Employee self on-boarding
  • Simple and easy to use interface
  • Full service payroll – they process all the payments and file all the returns for you
  • Can pay contractors along side employees
  • Integration with Worker’s Comp Insurance and soon, Health Benefits
  • Integration with Xero

 

5. Evernote: We’ve come to use Evernote every day here at the firm.  Mainly because we can access it from any device we’re on.  No matter where we are, we can get to our notes!  Evernote is great for just jotting down a simple note, or connecting to other services like Uber Conference to keep track of phone calls, meetings, you name it.  You can build out folder and tag structure, or just starting taking notes that are searchable.  Some of the best features are:

  • On any device (windows, mac, android, iOS)
  • Can create any type of note (meeting, to-do list, etc.)
  • Can set due dates for notes (great for to-do lists)
  • Can add attachments like PDF’s
  • Can email a note directly into Evernote
  • Can share and chat about notes, directly from within Evernote

 

Believe me, we could go on and on about other apps and the great things they can do.  But for any one looking to start, or run their existing business more efficiently, these apps are more than adequate to get you started.  We love talking to folks to help them make their business run smoother and get you back to doing what you love.  So feel free to leave us a comment, or give us a ring if you if we can help.

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Here at iAccounting Solutions, Xero is our first choice in helping small businesses keep better track of of their finances.  That’s why when Xero announced the Business Performance Dashboard, we were pretty excited.

What Is It?

In short, the Performance Dashboard is a simple way to check the health of your business.  By using simple formulas, you can measure Key Performance Indicators, aka KPI’s, to know how your business is fairing.  However, instead of running complex spreadsheets or doing it by hand, in true Xero fashion, they have built them in so you can find and use them easily.

Xero   performance db

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do They Mean?

That’s really the important question isn’t it?  In the world of Financial Analysis, there are thousands of ratios.  But here are the top 4 that we think are most useful to small businesses.

1. Current Ratio

This ratio (also sometimes called the “Quick Ratio) measures your ability to pay your liabilities.  A healthy range is 1.5 to 3.  Any score below 1.5 means that you may have a problem paying your debts.  And anything above a 3, means that you may not be using your assets wisely.

Xero   Business Performance   Demo Company  US

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Gross Profit % (or Gross Profit Margin)

This is where the numbers get fun!  This percentage tells you the amount left over, after you’ve paid for all your costs that are associated in making that revenue, or Cost of Sales.  Healthy Gross Profit % generally changes from industry to industry.  If you don’t know what your standard should look like, reach out to us, we can help you with that.  Comparing it to industry standards can help you determine if you’re paying too much in costs, charging enough for services/products, and a whole range of indicators that show how the health of your business.

Xero   BD Gross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Net Profit % (or Net Profit Margin)

Perhaps one of the most popular metrics–this tells you how efficient your business is when comparing your expenses, to your net sales.  Although, this number varies from industry to industry, 10% or better is considered to be good.  You can gauge your overall business success with this %.

Xero BD Net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Accounts Receivable Days

This measures how fast you collect on your invoices.  Knowing this allows you to plan around your cash flow very effectively.  Knowing this can even prevent cash flow disasters from happening to your business.

 

Xero BD AR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, these ratios and percentages are only as good as the information you put into your accounting system.  Good reporting is the backbone of any business that wants to grow and succeed.

 

What Does This Mean For My Business?

Want to have a more in depth conversation about these topics and what they mean?  Just fill out our “Contact Us” page and we’ll get in touch.  Or, give us a ring.  We can explain of these topics common language so you can understand them.

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Whether you you have 1 or 30 employees, payroll is often synonymous with big costs and lots of headaches.  And rightfully so.  For a small business, payroll is often the #1 expense, and if you’ve ever tried to run and file payroll returns your self, you know how complex it can be.

In the last few years a new breed of cloud-based payroll companies have emerged into the small business services market.  Not only do they cater to the small business, but they make it easy for a small business owner to run their own payroll.  Here are some features that we like, and that can benefit your small business:

Cloud (Internet) based software

Since these services are cloud based, they’re accessible from any computer with an internet connection.  They also follow the “Software as a Service”, or “SaaS’ model.  Which means you pay a monthly fee for access to the software, with no IT or other software costs to you.

Direct Integration With Your Accounting Software

A good majority of them integrate with some of our favorite cloud-based accounting systems like Xero & QuickBooks Online.  This means that every time you run payroll, the entries are automatically entered into your books with no complicated manual entries required.

Time and Attendance that Integrates Directly with Your Payroll

Along side cloud payroll, are time and attendance solutions that integrate directly to your payroll AND your accounting software.  Again, this saves you tons of time with calculating hours, and inputting onto a time sheet.  Approving hours and paying your employees is often just a few mouse clicks.

One Cost for Everything

Cloud-based payroll systems have cut and dry pricing.  One fee per month, for unlimited pay runs and no extra hidden charges.  Some of the big players, charge you per each pay run, charge you for quarterly returns, and even W-2’s at the end of the year.

Direct Deposit and Online Pay Stubs

Direct deposit means that you don’t have to spend hours cutting checks for your employees.  And often, cloud payroll services give each employee their own access to view and print their own pay stubs.

Collaboration With Your Accountant

Not only is cloud payroll easily accessible, but it’s also easily shared with your accountant.  This allows for quick, and easy help when you need it.

 

Cloud payroll services may not be the best fit for everyone, but for most small businesses, they offer what you need at a fraction of the cost of some of the big players.  Here at iAccounting Solutions, we’re experts in cloud payroll services.  Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions, or need some advice on which service to choose.

 

 

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Welcome back to our “Making the Switch from QuickBooks to Xero” series.  In this post, we’ll talk about what Step 2.  In case you missed it, click on Step 1 to start from the beginning.  So now that you’ve cleaned up your lists, now it’s time to look at a few financial reports and make sure your numbers look reasonable.

Step 2: Review your Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statements for completeness

Run a Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statements.  What you’re going to do here is use your trained eye to spot any inconsistencies.  YOU, will be able to do this much easier than any accountant as you know your business better than anyone else.  And, YOU also know what your expenses look like from month to month, so it will be easier for you to answer any future questions by your accountant.

Scan the Balance Sheet.  If there any negative numbers besides the bank balance, you may want to drill down (double click on the number) and see if there are any blatant mistakes.  Having a negative asset or liability is generally not normal and can be indicative of mistakes.  If you spot it and can fix it, go ahead and do so now.  If you see it, but don’t know how to fix it, start a list for your accountant.  If you don’t know why it is negative, just leave it and tell your accountant about it.

Next, Scan the Profit and Loss statement and do the same thing.  There should be no negative numbers on this.  If there are, repeat the steps above in reference to the balance sheet.  Also, look at the expenses accounts and make sure they look “reasonable”.   For example, if there is $20,000 in the Meals and Entertainment account, take a look and make sure something didn’t get expensed incorrectly.  Doing this will help you review what’s there, and answer any questions the accountant has when it’s tax time.

Step 2 is complete.  Stay tuned for Step 3 and more to come about switching from QuickBooks to Xero.  Have questions?  Don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a ring or shoot us an email.

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QuickBooks giving you a headache?  Or maybe you’d rather listen to nails on a chalkboard rather than do your accounting.  Either way, switching to Xero Accounting will set you on your journey to an easy, and even enjoyable way to get your accounting done.  Even if you are paying an accountant to do this for you, it will still require some input from you, the small business owner.  We’ve worked with lots of small businesses in converting from QuickBooks to Xero.  So we decided to post some useful tips on how to start, and carry out this process.

Step 1: Clean up your QuickBooks company file

Ok, so if you’re not an accountant, and you’ve been doing your own bookkeeping, chances are that you’ve made some “boo boo’s” in your books.  QuickBooks is a very forgiving program.  Meaning that it allows you enough freedom to hang your self…so to speak!   DON’T WORRY…Even if your QuickBooks is a mess, you can still get useful information out of it and get it in shape to transfer to the easiest online accounting tool: Xero Accounting.

Here’s what to do:

Clean up your contacts, vendors, and other lists.  Go through and merge, or archive the ones you don’t need.  Whittle your  customer and vendor lists down to only what you use now.

Next, go through your chart of accounts and do the same thing.  Make sure your chart of accounts is up to date, accurate, and that there aren’t too many accounts that you’re not using.

Lastly, make sure all your transactions are entered into QuickBooks BEFORE  you get the file converted.  Whether that’s bank transactions, credit card transactions, or whatever else, just make sure they’re all in there.  If you want the “extra credit”, reconcile your transactions with the “bank reconciliation” feature.  This is not absolutely necessary, but will make future steps a bit easier.

Once you have done these things, go to Step 2 blog post (coming soon).  If you need help along the way, just reach out to us and we’ll be  happy to help!

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Cloud-Accounting

 

So you’ve heard the buzz about the “Cloud”, and maybe even about how you should do it.  But now you’re wondering why you should do it!  If you’ve looked at our website, you know that we’re fans of computing in the Cloud.  So we’d like to give you the top 10 reasons why we think you’ll like it too:

  1. You can access your systems from anywhere.  You don’t have to be a “road warrior” to appreciate this.  How about taking the family on vacation while still having access to everything you need?  Or maybe, you want to use a different computer in different places?  Cloud systems allow the flexibility to work from anywhere with an internet connection.
  2. No costly servers to maintain.  This can be a large section of your expenses.  Did you know that maintaining your own server can cost anywhere from$5000 and up per year?  Cloud systems are usually just one monthly fee.  Annually, you usually end up saving lots of hard earned cash.
  3. Don’t have to worry about product updates.  Those pesky updates!  Everyone has them, and eventually you have to do them.  Not with Cloud systems.  The Cloud companies do them automatically and the only thing you have to worry about is a service outage at 1am on Saturday night!  Who’s working then?
  4. Don’t have to worry about paying extra for additional features from year to year.  A lot of traditional software packages make you purchase their new version from year to year to get new features.  Cloud systems follow a Software as a Service model, otherwise know as “SaaS”.  They’ll give you new features for the monthly fee you pay.  So no new fees for new features.
  5. Don’t have to worry about data backups.  Let’s face it, everyone is concerned about not losing their important records.  If not, you should be!  Generally, Cloud systems use monstrous server farms that are provided by companies that safe guard these farms from natural disasters, power loss, etc.  Chances are that if you house your own data backups, your data is way more susceptible to loss.
  6. Can easily share information.  Whether it’s with investors, or your accountant, sharing information is as easy as giving them access to your service.  No emailing spreadsheets or lengthy lists back and forth.  Talk about a time savings!
  7. Simpler interface.  Since Cloud systems are built to run in a web browser, most of the time the interface is cleaner, easier to use, and overall better functionality.  Which in turn means that you will spend less time learning a new software and more time using it.
  8. Are often part of more efficient workflows.  When you look for efficiency and time savings, Cloud systems are always in the top ranks.  Just like the points we mentioned above, Cloud systems are easier to use, and the user interface is just plain nicer.  Also, if you use one Cloud system, it’s just a hop skip and a jump to move to others.
  9. Adds to your bottom line and increases profit.  Times savings directly effects your bottom line.  When you can save time in using your business systems, you have more time to spend on income producing activities.  And, since Cloud systems are easier to use, you don’t have to clog  your brain with unnecessary stuff–which in turn gives you more brain power to spend on more important things–like growing your business.
  10. Allows you to spend more time with loved ones.  Since you’re saving all this time, you get to do more of what you love.  Whether it’s spending more time with the family, escaping to the hills for hiking/camping, or some much needed R & R at the beach, using Cloud system leads to more of whatever you like to do!

Here it iAccounting Solutions, we love Cloud systems!  By using Cloud systems like Xero Accounting, Vend, Freshbooks, Google Apps, & SmartVault, you can make things very easy, while adding to your bottom line.  Give it a chance, you just may be surprised!

Have questions?  Call, email, or chat with us anytime to find out how we can help you implement Cloud systems.