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Setting Your Business Apart from Your Competitors

Setting Your Business Apart from Your Competitors

September 22nd, 2017 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

Building a bookkeeping firm, or any firm for that matter, is a long and bumpy road to say the least. There are going to be road blocks along the way that are meant to slow you down, but finding your way around them will show your drive and passion as a business owner. It's taken us a long time to get where we are and we still have a long way to go, but we're moving in the right direction and that is key. Potential clients have plenty of options to choose from, so you don't wat to fall flat when it comes to showcasing your business. Make them remember you.

This may sound cliché, but at Devine Consulting we show our clients that we are real people with real emotions and are as authentic as can be. Your individuality and passion for your business will resonate much more with a potential client than telling them exactly what they want to hear. Don't be worried about landing every client you are fortunate enough to meet with because, honestly, it's impossible to please everyone. There comes a point where you have to take a step back and ask yourself what is best for you and your business. This might be tough for new buiness owners because it seems as though potentials are few and far between when first opening up, but it will be beneficial in the long run. Honestly, landing every client isn't realistic.

Show the world your passion, what you offer, and why it is you do what you do. For example, our passion and focus is to provide business owners with valuable and cost-effective bookkeeping and accounting services so business owners can focus on expanding their businesses. Being a small business ourselves allows us to empathize on just how taxing and time consuming it is to follow your passion and start up your own buisness. That's exactly why we want to alleviate the burden of tedious back office work so the business owner can focus on creating and building their brand. Once people see the passion and excitement you have for your business, they will want to buy what you're selling. Keeping in constant contact and maintaining a supportive relationship with clients will make them clients for life, or at least a very long time.

It is important that you and your firm are always growing and are invested in keeping up-to-date with what is happening in the industry. As the service provider, it is our responsibility to have the client's best interest at heart and commit to helping them grow their business by providing them with the best tools out there. This brings me back to being honest with clients and potentials. We could sell them the most expensive software on the market with a plethora of features just to make a pretty penny, but that's not how we operate, not to mention it's morally wrong. Every client is unique. We like to listen to the client's needs and really get a feel for their expectations so we can implement the software best fit for their business.

Staying true to your values and really figuring out what it is that sets your business apart from your competitors will help you when trying to land that next client and build your brand. If the potential can see you truly have their best interest in mind and feels as though you are willing to work with them, the deal is sealed. Figure out what makes you unique and stick to it. Good things will follow.

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The QuickBooks Online Experience

 

 

June 16, 2017 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

 

 

 

 

As one of the newest employees at Devine Consulting I took my very first QuickBooks Online certification class in Downtown Houston lead by MB Raimondi from Trubull, CT and Michelle Long from Kansas City, Missouri. This is the first class of many I will have to complete to become a QuickBooks ProAdvisor alongside several other of my coworkers. For those of you that don't know, receiving the title of a ProAdvisor requires an individual to complete and pass several online courses and tests that pertain to all aspects of QuickBooks. Once you are certified, you become a part of an online support database that allows business owners and other professionals in your area to reach out to you for help and potentially bring in new business. Having ProAdvisors on your staff is not only beneficial to the individual, it is beneficial for the firm as a whole.

 

I'm going to preface this post with a little information about QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. Being one of the most popular accounting programs, QuickBooks Desktop has been used by the majority of small businesses at one point or another. While it is a great program, it has its limitations, especially with everything moving to the cloud in this day and age. The desktop version and QuickBooks Online both serve the same purpose, but most everything is different from the look and feel of the software, to the way things are entered. QuickBooks Online in a way caters to the user because it links with your bank account and pulls in information directly from your bank so that you can match the information within QuickBooks. Nifty, right? While QuickBooks Desktop does have this feature, it is not as automated as QuickBooks Online which leaves most users to enter everything manually.

 

The completely different look of QuickBooks Online took a little getting used to. My favorite feature of the desktop version was the customizable toolbar. You can swiftly navigate around the program by customizing it to include your most used icons, whether that be the customer center, vendor center, reports etc. Unfortunately, QuickBooks Online does not have the toolbar, which was a bit of a problem for me as that is what I enjoyed most about the desktop version and thought I would just have to live without. I was ecstatic when the two lovely ladies leading the conference enlightened us with a trick to create your own makeshift toolbar by using the bookmark bar. Clever, right?! I thought it would be a great idea to share it with our readers so that you all can utilize this trick. Follow the step-by-step guide below.

 

Note: I am using Google Chrome in the guide.

 

When logged into your QuickBooks Online profile make sure that the bookmarks bar is not hidden. Do this by clicking the icon with the three dots to the right of the search engine bar, highlighting where it says "Bookmarks" then click "Show bookmarks bar" or Ctrl+Shift+B.

 

 

 

Next, you're going to bookmark the first action you want on your toolbar. I've chosen to add "Create Checks" on my bookmark toolbar. In the right-hand corner of your screen you will see a plus sign next to the search bar. This is called the quick create icon. Click the quick create icon and then click “Checks” under the vendors column.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the page pulls up you're going to add it as a bookmark. Do this by clicking the star at the far right of the search engine and click done to add the bookmark. The star will appear blue once a page has been bookmarked. 

 

 

 

 

 

You've now got the start of your bookmark toolbar. Nifty, right? Next, I'm going to show you how to create a folder within the bookmark toolbar for, let’s say, A/R workflow or A/P workflow. Right click on the bookmark bar and click "Add folder" on the drop-down list and create your "A/P Workflow" folder.

 

 

 

 

Once you've created the new folder you are then going to add the bookmarks that correspond to that folder. For A/P workflow processes we are going to add "Bills" and "Pay Bills". From the quick create menu select "Bills". Once you are on the bills page you are going to bookmark the page just like I displayed earlier, but instead of adding it to the bookmark bar you are going to click the dropdown menu where it says "Folder" and add it to the "A/P Workflow" folder.

 

 

 

You will then repeat the steps above and add "Pay Bills" to the "A/P Workflow" folder.

 

 

 

There you have it. Your very own toolbar in QuickBooks Online utilizing the features of your web browser. I suggest adding create customer, create vendor and any other action you frequent in QuickBooks Online. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in the future.

 

I want to thank Michelle Long and MB Raimondi for a great class and all this useful information. Take a look at Michelle's YouTube post about utilizing the QuickBooks Online bookmark bar plus some other useful tips and shortcuts here.

 

Regards,

 

Travis Herzog

 

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Keeping Business and Personal Finances Separate

Keeping Business and Personal Finances Separate

May 17, 2017 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

You've taken the leap of faith and finally decided to turn your passion into profit. You've spent countless hours creating your brand that sets you apart from your competitors and met with your trusted team of professionals to help your startup business hit the ground running. You're ready for that cash to start flowing! Wait, but where is it going to flow? Your personal account? Negative. While you, the owner, are your business, your finances need to be kept separate.

As bookkeepers, it is far too often we see business owner's personal and business finances intertwined. While your personal credit score may have landed you that business loan, it is imperative that from here on out you create a clear boundary between your personal and business finances and maintain records of where your company’s money is going. Not only is it the law, but it will make your life and your CPA's life one hundred times easier come tax time. As your business grows, this is going to get more difficult, but here are some ways to alleviate the headache.

Open a business checking account - This should be number one on your list. Do your research on what kind of business plans banks offer and go for the one that seems right for your business. We suggest opening a business checking account with the same bank you use for your personal finances. This will come in handy should you get in a bind and need to transfer money from one account to the other. Your CPA will also thank you. Trying to wrap your head around which transactions are personal and which are business related is no fun.

Get a business credit card - This will help build your businesses line of credit which will come in handy with vendors and such in the long run. And again, it will help with your record keeping and come in handy should you ever get audited.

Write yourself a paycheck - You're your own boss. Add yourself to your company’s payroll and treat your pay check as you would if you were working for somebody else. If you're running out of funds, tighten the belt until the next payday. Your business checking account should be off limits for personal use.

Establish your business structure - Sit down with your trusted team of advisors and decide whether to structure your business as an Corporation or LLC. Treating your business as its own entity will come in handy should things go south and your business ends up being sued. This protects you, personally, from any business debts and liabilities.

Track your expenses - Last, but certainly not least, track your expenses. Make sure you have a clear record of all purchases made with your business checking account. Setting up an accounting software such as QuickBooks is a necessity. If you need to buy business and personal items at the same time, ring them up as separate transactions. 

At times separating your finances can seem like a pain, but it is worth it in the long run. You do not want to find yourself in an audit with a mess of your personal and business finances and you always want to keep your accountant/bookkeeper in the loop. We want your business to thrive and will do all that we can to ensure success. At Devine Consulting, your success is our business. Give us a call at (281) 545-4000 for a free quote, or you can tell us about your business financials here.

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Tips to Improve Cash Flow

Tips to Improve Cash Flow

April 20, 2017 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

 

Cash flow is the life source of any business and, unfortunately, is one of the main reasons small businesses tend to fail. The goal is to have more money flowing in to your business than there is flowing out. If the majority of your cash is going out to vendors, payroll and other expenses without any income, your business is going to sink. There are several reasons this could be happening. Maybe you’re behind on billing your customers, maybe you’re buying more product than you’re actually selling, or maybe things are slow around the office. Whatever the reason is, there are ways to fix it. Here are some tips to ensure you are on top of your receivables and maximizing the rate at which money is coming into the business.

Organize a billing schedule.

  • Some companies have different clients with unique needs which can make the billing process a little hectic, especially if you, the business owner, are the one billing your clients. For example, in my office, we have some clients that have a monthly fixed fee, and other clients that we bill based on the amount of time spent working.  We bill clients that are on a fixed fee on the 25th of each month and bill those that are on an hourly rate on the 15th and last day of the month. Your clients will get used to a schedule and will be expecting a bill from you which will help you receive payment quicker.

Set up ACH as a payment option in QuickBooks.

  • QuickBooks gives your clients the option to pay the invoice online and the money will be deposited directly into your bank account that is linked to QuickBooks. This eliminates the lapse of time it takes for you to receive a check from the customer, and the time it takes a customer to remember to write the check. This is an effective way to get invoices paid immediately.

Create incentives/penalties for customer payments.

  • A business will always have those few clients that take entirely too long to pay for one reason or another. On the flip side, there will be those clients that you have no problem with and are always on top of their payables. When establishing payment conditions make sure to emphasize the fact that receivables that are late past a certain point will have a late penalty attached, or you may be taken advantage of leaving you the last vendor to get paid by that client. Penalties could include interest and work stoppage. Another thing to think about is giving your clients incentives (such as a discount) when invoices are paid early.

Slow down your accounts payable.

  • This pretty much speaks for itself. When given terms on a vendor bill, wait until the end of the terms to pay it so you have some time to receive payments from customers. You could also use a credit card to pay your vendors. This way you give them payment right away, but have a bit of time until your credit card payment is due.

Sit down weekly and review your receivables.

  • Set a time weekly to sit down and review your company’s accounts receivable aging report to see who has and who has not paid. This will keep everything fresh on your mind and will prompt you to reach out to any of your customers that are past due. For example, we sit down every Monday morning and review an accounts receivable report during our weekly staff meeting and work together on collection efforts.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t sweat it. Devine Consulting is an accounting consulting company that is here to make your money work for you. We provide bookkeeping services and handle your back-office accounting so you can focus on what really matters, growing your business. Give us a call at (281) 545-4000 for a free quote, or you can tell us about your businesses financials online here.

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Which Accounting Software is Best for Your Business?

Which Accounting Software is Best for Your Business?

March 7, 2017 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

 

 

 

When starting up a business, there are a plethora of tasks to complete before one even thinks about flipping on the "open" sign in the window and anxiously awaiting the first customer or client to stroll through door. The never-ending list includes, but is not limited to, creating a business plan, figuring out financials, choosing a name for the business, setting up an accounting system, etc. While this list may seem overwhelming, we are here to lessen the burden by reviewing a few of the most popular accounting programs on the market and providing some insight as to which may be best suitable to the industry in which you are building your business.

 

A business owners first instinct will be to record everything in an Excel spreadsheet. While this is certainly not incorrect and will suffice in the short-term, a more organized approach to your financial records will be a necessity in the near future. The sole purpose of any accounting software is to record and process transactions through core modules such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, the general ledger, billing, inventory, etc. Below are three universally used accounting programs for small to medium sized businesses and some of the features they offer. 

 

1.     QuickBooks -  The most widely known accounting software for small to medium sized businesses is QuickBooks. The software prides itself in being very user friendly which is a plus for start-up businesses. QuickBooks offers all of the essentials that a start-up small business needs including cash flow management, tracking your expenses by linking your bank account, inventory, invoicing, taxes (such as sales tax and even payroll). QuickBooks also offers several other features. For example, setting up on line payment options for customers, which guarantees fast payment to boost your cash flow in the long run. Another plus is QuickBooks offers an online version that is cloud-based. This allows multiple users to be on the software at one time.

 

2.     Intacct - Intacct is a newer software on the market that is quickly becoming a favorite of business owners around the globe. Intacct prides itself on being a cloud-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and the first-choice accounting software for businesses that are outgrowing their current accounting program, such as QuickBooks. Being cloud-based, one can access all financial data and reports from anyplace, anytime, which is ideal for businesses with multiple locations. Intacct also features project accounting that makes managing project finances, contracts and job costs all visible in one place which is very useful to project based companies such as government contractors. Intacct also integrates with Salesforce, one of the most trusted and popular CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software out there, to increase productivity with both projects and clients. Once your company begins to expand Intacct is a first-class program that will increase productivity throughout the company.

 

3.     Microsoft Dynamics SL - Microsoft Dynamics SL is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software for project-driven businesses that require project management and project accounting features. SL contains the base core modules that help with tracking expenses and cash flow such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing, etc. Microsoft Dynamics SL provides project based companies, such as construction, with project management modules that will track job costs and labor so one can see how much money the company is losing or gaining on a specific project, and material management to help reduce project delays and improve customer service. Another key feature is its integration with Microsoft Excel and other Microsoft apps such as Outlook. One can import data from Microsoft Dynamics SL to Excel to manipulate and edit data entry.

 

Keep in mind we've chosen to review the three accounting programs that Devine Consulting uses for all of our clients, but there are other accounting software available on the market. Choosing an accounting program can seem like a difficult task for those that know little about bookkeeping, but it is a necessity. Calling a local accounting/bookkeeping firm in your area will help ease the pain of choosing a software that best fits your business and most give discounts on the software if you hire them to do your bookkeeping. Take a look at some of the benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeper here.

 

 

 

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Benefits of Outsourcing your Bookkeeper

January, 9 2017 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

 

 

Every business owner knows bookkeeping is a tedious, yet crucial part to a successful business. Bookkeeping records and sorts the company's financial transactions through several accounts including various expense accounts, accounts payable, accounts receivable, etc. These amounts are then shown on the company's financial statements and other reports necessary to the business. Most entrepreneurs have a DIY (Do It Yourself) mentality and feel as though they can take on these daunting tasks without hiring a professional, especially those with a startup businesses. That may be true for a little while, but eventually the business will begin to take off which means processes and reports will get more complicated. Not to mention a business owner will have less time to keep up with the monotonous day-to-day bookkeeping tasks.

 

Your next thought may be to hire an in-house bookkeeper. While that may seem like the next logical move, hiring an in-house employee can be costly and sometimes time consuming. Consider outsourcing a bookkeeper, that is, hiring a firm to do your back office work so you don't have to. Take a look at some of the benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeper. It could be just what your company needs.

 

1.       Efficiency - When you outsource your bookkeeping service, you pay for exactly what you need done - your bookkeeping. Hiring an in-house employee requires benefits and full or part-time wages. You also don't have to worry about if the employee is doing something else while on the clock. Outsourcing a bookkeeper eliminates distractions by taking them out of the day-to-day functions of an office. People coming and going can be a bit of a distraction. The outsourced bookkeeper will be 100% focused on what you need done.

 

2.       Access to Top Accounting Software - Bookkeeping firms normally have access to the best accounting systems on the market and know the program like the back of their hands. The firm can help choose the program that best fits your business’s needs, and the best part is you don't have to do any of the set-up work. Not to mention, if you purchase a program from a bookkeeper that is a certified vendor, you will more than likely get a discount on the product. What do people like more than saving money? 

 

3.       Team of Professionals -  Have you ever heard the phrase "two heads are better than one"? That's what working with a bookkeeping firm is like. You have a team of knowledgeable staff members working on your finances instead of a single person. Firms can work seamlessly with your in-staff personnel that do the day-to-day bookkeeping. The in-staff personnel can continue with the daily tasks while the outsourced firm completes more of the complex reports and reconciliations. There will also be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) on staff that oversees the bookkeeping team making sure all reports and statements are correct.

 

Whether you have a startup business, or are a seasoned entrepreneur, outsourcing a bookkeeping firm will help ease your mind and will possibly be the catalyst for your company’s growth.

Devine Consulting embodies all of what is illustrated above and so much more. If you're considering outsourcing your bookkeeping, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to set up a free consultation so that we can better understand what you are looking to have accomplished. After all, your success is our business. Contact us at (281) 545-4000 or accounting@devineconsultingllc.com.

 

 

 

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Bookkeeping Options for Small Business Owners

Bookkeeping Options for Small Business Owners

August, 25 2016 | Devine Consulting LLC | Bookkeeping | Accounting

 

 

Let’s face it, business owners do not start a business to be inundated by the bookkeeping and accounting process.  They start a business to do something that they have experience and a passion for.  Unfortunately, the accounting process cannot be avoided.  Accurate financials are important when it comes to critical business decisions.

How can one ensure they have accurate financials?  There are multiple options for bookkeeping and accounting help depending on time and budget. 

1.       TrainingIf a business owner wants to handle the bookkeeping and accounting on their own, sometimes proper training with an accountant can be helpful.  They can be trained on how to properly categorize expenses, income, liabilities, assets, cost of goods or services sold, etc. This training can be helpful to ensure the balance sheet and profit and loss are accurate which in turn will be helpful with those business decisions. 

2.       Hire a Bookkeeper Yes, hiring someone to do the bookkeeping and accounting can be costly.  However, it will free up a business owner’s time to focus on the business.  When hiring a bookkeeper, it is important to know the extent of their experience with accounting and with the software that is currently being used.  A bookkeeper without the proper knowledge can end up being costlier in the long run and should be avoided if possible. 

3.       OutsourcingBookkeeping and accounting services can be outsourced with many companies to help alleviate the work load on the business owner.  This does not mean that all bookkeeping and accounting functions have to be done by the company hired.  Many parts of the process can be done by the business owner or someone else within the company such as paying bills, invoicing customers, etc., while the company hired can help with the rest. 

Devine Consulting is able to help with all of these options or provide more information if you or someone you know is interested.  Our team has experience with many different types of businesses and can provide a free consultation to review your current situation.  Remember, accurate financials are key to a business’ success.  Let Devine Consulting help your business!

 

 

 

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