Feb 21

Accountants: All Businesses Need One

By Harry Crowe | Uncategorized

As business becomes more and more global, and complexities continue to emerge, certain fields have gained prominence in today’s career market. One of these is accounting. Accounting is a very conceptual career or task, more a question of information handling than any hands-on approach to product development. However, as trends change, accounting is becoming a little more diverse and less just a question of ‘crunching numbers’.

These days, there are specific kinds of accountants who do separate jobs as part of a given company. There are accountants who monitor spending and resource use; these are called ‘audit’ accountants. Then there are other professionals who use accounting information to guide procedures and to facilitate decision-making, and these are referred to as ‘management’ accountants.

One could say that while audit accountants are involved in book-keeping history, management accounting is a process of looking to the future to try to foresee events and plan for these in terms of a company’s resources. ‘Ledgers’ and classic ideas of accounting belong more to audit accounting, while management accounting deals directly with the machinery of a firm. Both positions require people skills and analytical skills; both types of accountants need to know how to use computers. Spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel is popular in keeping accounting information available in a flexible format.

As to the issue of how the two are related, audit accounting is often considered more essential to small businesses. A small business may not need any more oversight than the owner or general manager can provide, but someone always had to keep the books. Also, in management, the old adage may apply that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. Management accounting seems to be a more useful role in large companies that need many consultants to micro-manage a variety of projects.

In general, accounting is becoming a popular career choice. Some may shy away from it due to an aversion to how accountants have been described in the past. Some people ‘don’t like numbers’ and consider accounting work to be unbearably dry or tedious. Others, however, have already completed their degree to become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and these may find themselves well placed in high-profile audit accounting positions. For others, management accounting provides a new look at a classic career.

Either way, the study of this valuable field can be a good way to get into a certain kind of company. many companies are hiring temporary accountants, and the abundance of opportunities means that employers and university graduates may be able to find each other through the phenomenon of accounting, as the majority of businesses turn their efforts toward the study of resource allocation, asset management, or more simply, crunching numbers.

Feb 20

How To Set Up A Simplified Accounting System For Your Home Business

By Harry Crowe | Uncategorized

A lot of home businesses fail because they lack the necessary financial system to track down the flow of their money. More often than not, home based business owners are not really very keen at keeping their books of accounts, thinking that as long as money keeps coming in, they will be alright.

Unfortunately, things are not really that simply when you are engaged in business. If you want to stay in business for a long time, you will need to keep track of your financial flow for your own use and for taxation purposes. Note that if you do not keep track of your income, sooner or later the IRS will be unto you and you will get into big trouble.

Setting up your own simplified bookkeeping system is not really very complicated. If you like to keep your records in your computer, you might want to buy accounting software or just simply use whatever programs that will allow you to make a spreadsheet in your computer to record your daily transactions.

However, you have some money to spare for an accounting program, it would be better to have one. There is a number of easy to use accounting software being sold in the market today. The good thing about these accounting programs is that you do not need to worry about balancing your books of accounts. You simply input all your data in one page and the program will run on its own. Most accounting programs will automatically perform the different accounting process and will immediately update your statements of accounts. Retrieving data from an accounting program is also easy. All you need to do is to go to it archives and select which ones you want to see. For instance, if you!

want to know how much your net income is for the month, you simply pull-out the income statement page and you will see your income instantly. Another advantage of using a computer accounting program is that you get rid of all the papers and ledgers in your workplace.

Now, in case you are not comfortable using your computer to balance your books, then you just have to you things the old-fashioned way. What if you do not know anything about accounting processes? Never mind if you are not good in accounting and balancing statements of accounts, just keep a simplified records of your transactions. A three column worksheet will do nicely. You can easily find this type of worksheet in the bookstore. When dividing your worksheet, you can have one column for all the money you received in connection with the business, another column for all the money that you spend for your business and the third column will be for your running balance.

Feb 19

Buy The Best Accounting Software

By Harry Crowe | Uncategorized

One of the most important decisions that you will have to make while starting or operating your small business is that of which accounting software to use. It could certainly be a nightmare if you make the wrong choice.

During the past 20 years accounting software has advanced far beyond the old-fashioned basic lined accounting books with ‘in’ and ‘out’ columns. Nowadays it is wholly possible to find accounting software that will assist you in all of your personal and business accounting tasks, from accounts receivable to online banking. With such a wide array of accounting software packages available, It can be difficult to decide which accounting software program will best fit your needs.

Before choosing an accounting software program it is worthwhile that you give some thought to exactly why you desire the program in the first place. There is really or no point in buying a software program that enables you to keep track of accounts receivable and issued invoices if you just need the software to do your home budgeting. On the other hand, if you are a small to medium business, then it’s quite likely that the ability to manage your issued and outstanding invoices is essential.

It would be wise to investigate the type of support you get when you purchase accounting software. A good support plan would include at least 30 days free support upon registration. You should be able to easily find answers to commonly asked questions or ask a question specific to your support needs and get accurate online answers quickly.

The form in which the accounting software package is going to interact with your other software is another factor that you need to consider. For example, if you make use of online banking, then a very useful feature would be the ability of the software package to update with your online bank statements. Furthermore, if you possess a number of different income streams, and you find it necessary to be sure that all of them are being included in your budget, then software that allows you to take advantage of this facility may be beneficial. However, if all you have is one or two income streams and all you want to do is keep a track on what your household outgoing expenditures are, then you might just need a simple Excel accounting software package.

Finally, before making a selection on any particular accounting software package, it would be best to make sure your computer has the correct system requirements for the application. For example, you should make sure you have enough room on your hard-drive to download the program and that you don’t already have the applicable software on your system. Bear in mind that there is nothing more frustrating than acquiring a new software package only to find out that it’s not compatible with your computer setup.

In conclusion, you can probably see that the issue of choosing the best accounting software is not a simple one. All in all probably the most important factor is ease of use, since you’re going to have to work with the software nearly every day if you own a small business.

Feb 13

Understanding Accounting Vocabulary

By Harry Crowe | Uncategorized

The following article is an excerpt from the free online course “Using Finance & Accounting in Your Small Business”.

When you learn something new like accounting concepts and terms, it helps to create links between what you know and what you are trying to learn. In some ways, it is like learning a second language and decoding the new word is part of the learning process. For example, trying to translate the Spanish word necesario you might brainstorm with necessary – and you would be right. How about blanco? Blanco is like blank which is like white. So, blanco is Spanish for the color white.

Try to make some logical connections about the accounting vocabulary. Take the word – accounting – and think about it. Really, the accounting system is a basic counting of what goes on in your business.

Let’s move on to transactions. Transactions are the business activities, or actions, that build day by day and become your expenses and income. Try to think about the term – transactions. Actions are business activities, and trans means across or thru. These are the basic building blocks of an accounting system. Transactions are to accounting like what raw materials are to a factory, or gasoline is to your engine – the transactions are real and how your accounting system handles them impacts your business.

You must keep a record of your transactions to know how much money your business earned and how much money your business spent. Sounds obvious, right? Ask your bookkeeper or accountant how obvious some transactions are. It can get tricky quickly if you are not clear about what happened in the transaction and how you want it recorded.

For example, if you were a carpenter you might pay cash for a bucket of nails to assemble hand made wooden deck chairs. The nail purchase is a transaction and will have to be counted as a business expense. In your workshop, you then assemble the chair using a pneumatic nail gun, sand paper, stain and varnish. The next day you deliver the chair to a customer in a neighboring town. You hand the customer a sales slip and they then write you a check. That, too, is a transaction. It is easy to see the transactions when money is spent or received. Did you, however, see the other transactions?

The stain and varnish, nail gun use and chair parts were also part of the transaction. What about the gasoline and truck used to deliver the chair? Did you have any left over nails or did you use them all? Maybe there is a little life left in the sand paper but it is not new anymore, is it? If we do not account for those costs we are missing a piece of the picture-an important piece-that could affect how much money you have at the end of the year.

In all your business activities, try to think in terms of transactions because once you can identify what transactions occur in your business, you will be able to organize them into a meaningful manner. Right now, take a minute to list what transactions occur in your business each day, week and year. Always thinking in terms of transactions might seem miserly, but it is important to be cost-conscious and honest with yourself about all your transactions. Your success in business depends upon it.

Some transactions are initiated by customers and suppliers. Other transactions can take place inside your business or back office. The bookkeeping department creates transactions when they adjust your books for year-end considerations like machinery depreciation or inventory shrinkage.

What is depreciation? Let’s say you bought a brand new car, a 2006 Professor Now Coupe, and you spend $27,500 on this new car. Next year the car has some dings on the doors, wear on the tires, stains on the seats and 20,000 miles on the engine. You know your car is not worth $27,500 anymore. This means your car has lost value or depreciated.

When it comes to business owned equipment, you can deduct this lost value as a business expense. Sure, you did not spend cash on the lost value but with depreciation, this is a transaction your bookkeeper or accountant will force through at the end of the year. On your taxes, it helps you by increasing your expenses like all other cash transactions. Of course, the other side of depreciation means your equipment is not worth as much anymore.

In order for you to get a really clear picture of how your business is operating, you need to be diligent and thoughtful about what your real expenses are. Depreciation is a real expense even though it is not a cash transaction.

Learning to see transactions for what they are takes practice and contemplation. Transactions affect so many areas of your business that you must analyze the daily details so you can piece together the big picture.

Feb 09

Accounting Made Easy With Small Business Credit Cards

By Harry Crowe | Uncategorized

Jaded by a routine 9 to 5 job? Stifled by your thankless work? Have you bartered your dreams away for an emotionally unsatisfying life? If you have finally decided to wrench yourself free from your shackles, it is time to take stock financially and see how small business credit cards can actually help you in starting your and running your own business.

When you set out on this exciting new journey, you are likely to face a number of challenges, and with them, teething troubles. You can avoid such stress if you make good use of the various tools specially designed to assist entrepreneurs in their ventures. Small business credit cards are by far one of the most important accounting instruments made available to you.

Small Business Credit Cards are Valuable Accounting Tools

One of the major problems that small businesses face is detailed accounting of their monetary transactions. Finances of any business must be immaculate and readily presentable, and if you haven not done such accounting before, be prepared for a tough task.

Usually, a small business suffers from insufficient manpower. Business owners assume various roles and are often under tremendous pressure to perform efficiently in a frenetic race against time to meet deadlines. Thus, opportunity for human error creeps in. But when it comes to finances, even the minor errors can spell disaster for your new baby.

Small business credit cards offer an opportunity to ease this tension and minimize errors. Whenever a transaction is done through a small business credit card, it is automatically reflected in a monthly statement. Your books can then be easily updated on time with the help of these all-inclusive statements showing specific details. A thorough account of all purchases can easily be maintained in this manner.

Managing Your Business with Small Business Credit Cards

Small business credit cards generally offer features such as online banking and round-the-clock technical assistance. This is especially handy when it comes to bill payment, downloading data, viewing expense reports, redeeming points, and overall maintenance and monitoring of transactions.

Add-on Benefits of a Small Business Credit Card

Credit card companies have bettered the deal by offering additional benefits on small business credit cards. As a business owner, you cannot afford to ignore these benefits. For example, obtaining incrementally higher credit limits can provide you with additional liquidity when required and more opportunities to expand your business products and services.

A small business credit card can also have a cash back offer that entitles the cardholder to rebates on purchases made with collaborating businesses. The refund may be reflected on the customer’s account statement or just be provided by way of a periodic rebate check. Some cards also come with airline and travel reward incentives and you can even earn frequent flyer miles with your purchases that can also be redeemed for discounts and rewards.

Small business credit cards have revolutionized the way fledgling businesses approach finance. Card statements that are usually made available online can help remove tedious accounting paperwork. Small business credit cards empower even those with the most rudimentary knowledge of accounting, freeing them up to focus on growing their respective businesses.