3 Reasons Why Bookkeeping is Important to Your Business

Who keeps track of all of the numbers in your organization? Is the work split between multiple people? Do you have to squeeze time into your schedule to record sales and process payroll each week between filling orders? Accurately recording your financial information and keeping track of paperwork deserve more detailed attention than many small business owners can give.

 

Bookkeeping is about more than just helping you to stay organized. This service can help your business reach its full potential. By analyzing your data and helping to identify efficiencies and ways to save or increase profit, it is even likely to save you money in the end. Below are a few examples of why bookkeeping is important to your business.

 

Bookkeeping is Important to Your Business

 

Keep track of your financial transactions. 

Keeping an accurate record of all of your financial transactions is essential to maintaining your business. How much did you earn on your last project? How much did you spend on office supplies the previous month?

 

It can be highly time-consuming to record all transactions. From purchasing business cards, business lunches, or documenting the latest check you deposited, transactions are a daily occurrence. Having detailed records will help you ensure that you don’t have any unexpected expenses and receive all of your payments on time. These records will also make tax preparation time much more manageable. Hiring a professional bookkeeper will save you time and give you the peace of mind to know that your information is in order. Additionally, professionals can help you identify places where you spend too much money, places you can save, and even opportunities to earn extra income. 

 

Improve your cash flow

Your financial well-being has to do with so much more than the amount your company earns each quarter. Cash flow is one of the greatest struggles for small and medium-sized business owners. Bookkeeping can help you navigate this by paying close attention to what cash you have coming in and what cash you have going out. A bookkeeper will keep a schedule of these accounts and work with you to make sure you have enough money on hand for all expenses. This knowledge will also allow you to adjust a planned purchase or take action in other ways if needed. Make financial decisions with the confidence of knowing you will not default on a payment. 

 

Protect Your Business in the case of an IRS audit 

When it comes time to file your taxes, you will already be in a good position if you’ve hired a bookkeeper. They will have kept track of your transactions and helped you prepare your filing. If you owe past due money, are receiving confusing correspondence from the IRS, or if your return is selected for an audit, a bookkeeper will be able to assist you before the IRS for the Franchise Tax Board. Bookkeepers specialize in Collection and Appeals representation and will protect your business during an audit. Bookkeepers specialize in Collection and Appeals representation and will protect your business during an audit.  

 

Above are just a few reasons why bookkeeping is important to your business. Take the burden of all of the paperwork off of your plate and know that you are fiscally sound. Consider booking an appointment to learn about ways in which we might be able to help you and your business by calling 410.764.3731, emailing us at info@plcfo.com, or filling out a form on our website

 

When To Outsource Bookkeeping

 

As a business owner, there is a good chance you wear many hats. Customer service, front of house, inventory fulfillment, payroll, human resources, manager, and marketer are likely just some of the many roles you play.

 

As your business grows, the more involved each of these job titles becomes. The more employees you have, the longer payroll takes, the more orders you receive, the more labor inventory fulfillment requires. The truth is, while you may be a superhero, one person can not be a million things at all times. There may be times where one task needs your attention, and it can be hard to keep all the balls in the air. It would be a shame if your marketing efforts were to suffer because you needed to spend too much time invoicing. This imbalance is when to outsource your bookkeeping. Below are some signs that might show you ready to hire specific tasks out:

 

When To Outsource Bookkeeping

 

You want your business to grow but can’t keep up with the workload. 

Chances are, you would like your business to continue growing. To grow your business, you will need more hands-on deck. Trying to be a Jack or Jill of all trades will be unsustainable as demand for your product or service is rising. As a business, your reputation and word of mouth are everything. Suppose the quality of your management skills or customer service were to suffer as a result. That could cost you and be hard to recover from. 

 

Additionally, burnout is real. By working around the clock and putting too much pressure on yourself and your existing employees, you could do real damage and even push away good people. It’s also important to remember to take care of yourself for your health, family, and the long-term success of your company. If you have plans to grow or are starting to feel a strain keeping up with your tasks, it may be a sign that it’s time to outsource your bookkeeping. Don’t wait until things start slipping through the cracks to get help. Build your infrastructure before things get out of hand when possible to make sure your growth is sustainable and prosperous. 

 

You want to spend more time focusing on your product or service.

Do you feel like you are spending so much time chasing after invoices and filing paperwork that you don’t have time to spend on the actual business side of things? Getting tied up with the minutiae is a clear sign that it might be time to outsource your bookkeeping. Let the professionals take over your payroll, tax prep, and accounts payable so that you can focus on the reason you started your own business in the first place.  

 

You would like to be more financially efficient but don’t know-how. 

One of the best things about outsourcing your bookkeeping to professionals is that they are financial experts. Bookkeepers take a tremendous amount of work off your plate and find ways to help your company save money by identifying efficiencies and ensuring you receive all of the tax credits you are eligible for. Additionally, bookkeepers can take charge of your accounts receivable to make sure you never miss another invoice payment again. They can also help you strategize about the best way to increase profit and grow your business from the book’s side. 

 

These are just a few signs that let you know when to outsource bookkeeping may be suitable for your and your company. Consider booking an appointment with PL Bookkeeping Plus to learn about ways in which we might be able to help you and your business by calling 410.764.3731, emailing us at info@plcfo.com, or filling out a form on our website. 

 

Financial Statement Basics For Small Business Owners

 

Every business owner needs to know the basics of financial statements. Know this information if you are completing them yourself or if you are outsourcing to a bookkeeper

 

Statements are difficult to analyze but are critical to the health of your business. Keep reading for the basics of what financial statements are and a breakdown of the main statements.

 

What are Financial Statements?

The purpose of financial statements is to understand how much money the business owes, how much is being made, and the difference between what is outgoing and incoming each month. 

 

Compile an annual report with information from financial statements. Explain the year’s business numbers with employees, regulators, shareholders, stakeholders, unions, and vendors. These reports help you meet and plan yearly goals

 

financial statements

What are the Four Basic Financial Statements?

There are four main statements that every business owner should know. This includes balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and equity statements.

 

Balance Sheet

A balance sheet breaks down your assets, liabilities, and equity. It will show depreciation for specific items from the date the item is obtained to the present day. The basis of this statement is from the accounting equation: Shareholders’ Equity = Assets – Liabilities

 

Income Statement

You may also hear the term “profit-and-loss statement.” You need your sales revenue and a list of your expenses during a specific period to prepare an income statement. This statement shows your business expenses and any depreciation over the specific period.

 

Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement is for both physical and virtual money transferred in and out of your business. It is a combination of information from your income statement and balance sheet. Compare cash from operating activities to your business’s net income to determine the quality of your earnings.

 

Equity Statement

An equity statement is also referred to as a statement of owner’s equity. This statement reports the changes in company equity. Earned profits, dividends, an inflow of equity, withdrawal of equity, and net loss are shown on this statement. 

 

Financial Statement Tip

When investing or purchasing from a company, read their financial statement. While doing so, beware of false numbers! These companies can use specific numbers and omissions within their statements to make them appear more profitable than they are. While this is not the norm, it is important to note that it is a possibility. 

 

Outsource Your Financial Statements

An important part of owning a business is understanding financial statements. Make your life easier by outsourcing your financial statements. Hire a bookkeeper that you trust. 

 

PL Consulting is your go-to resource for bookkeeping and accounting services. We serve the Baltimore, Maryland area and beyond. Our bookkeeping and accounting services are customized to each client. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. We help you maintain good records and financial statements.

 

Questions? Call us at 410.764.3731 or contact us on our website to schedule an appointment with one of our professional bookkeepers.

 

4 Tips for a Profitable Startup

 

Do you have a business idea that you want to make happen? Remember that a business comes with many working parts. After coming up with your initial idea, find a mentor, conduct research, raise funds, and create a plan of action. Follow these tips when creating your startup company.

 

startup

 

Find a Mentor

Starting your own company is not something that is accomplished alone. If you want to succeed, then you will need to enlist the help of others. This could be a business owner who has created their own startup company, an industry professional, or a consultant.

 

Build a relationship with this person. A mentor is important because the internet does not always have all the answers to your questions. Mentors have experiences in their life that they can share with you to help you prosper. 

 

Conduct Research

One of the most important elements of starting your own company is researching your target market. This ensures that people will want to buy your product or service. Gather information from prospective customers, specifically those that are not your friends or family. You will gain insight into how to market your business and attract new customers.

 

If you are creating a survey, be sure to test it out before sending it to a large group of people. The last thing that you would want is to have an invalid survey because you did not ask the right questions. Include multiple-choice questions and extended response questions where people can give more details. 

 

Set Up a Business Plan

You need to know how your business will run and how it will achieve a profit. Business plans help secure loans and funding. A business plan is extremely detailed. They include an overall idea of your business, where it is located, hours of operation, and how it will generate profit.  

 

The most important element of a business plan is the executive summary. It is a summary of the entire business plan and details how you will stand out from your competitors. This is written last, even though it is the first part of your business plan. 

 

Raise Funds

You might need to take out a loan for a building renovation, new product, or marketing expense. Budgets and business plans are key to raising funds for your startup company. Investors and banks want to see that you are organized and make payments on time. 

 

Questions About Your Startup Company?

Starting your own company takes a lot of knowledge and effort. We encourage you to take note of these business tips to grow your company from the ground up.  

 

PL Consulting has served the Baltimore, Maryland area for many years. We customize our services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Do you want to learn more about budgeting or raising funds? We are here to answer all the financial questions you have for your startup company. If you would like to set up an appointment with us, call 410-764-3731.

 

Big Mistakes That Have Cost Small Businesses Money

 

Business owners learn throughout the years from failures and experiences. Here are 5 mistakes that many small business owners make. Avoid these mistakes so you can grow your business successfully. 

 

Not Having a Business Plan in Place

A business plan sets the parameters for everything related to your business. It gives you structure and premises for how you should run your business operations. It also helps you assess and measure progress. 

 

A common misconception about business plans is that they are only used to persuade investors to help finance your business. However, they help with marketing and business milestones. A business plan helps with past, present, and future storytelling.

 

Not Utilizing a Financial Accountant

You want to have a clear view of finances as they relate to your business, so separate your business account from your personal one. A professional accountant keeps track of your business finances. When hiring a professional accountant for your business, consider these 5 things. 

 

  • Desired services
  • Reviews
  • References
  • Pricing
  • Involvement.

 

Setting Goals Too High

Goals are how your business measures success. Set daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals. If you own a startup company, do some research on numbers you want to reach. Avoid being overly optimistic, even though you may be eager to grow your business.

 

Check if you met your goals, and use that as a benchmark for the next goal that you set. If your goals were not met, determine what went wrong. Was it an external factor that your business could not control? Did you or your employees not put in enough effort? If your goals were exceeded, find out what worked well. Are you selling a popular new product? Do you have a lot of engagement on your social media? 

 

Not Maintaining a Budget

A budget maps out each of your business costs. From there, your business can set reasonable prices for products and services to make a profit. The budget prevents you from overspending. If you need loan assistance, your budget shows lenders that you make payments on time and have valuable assets. 

 

Your budget also helps you analyze all the risks that your business has. It is difficult to budget for things that have not happened yet, but putting extra money aside can save your business in an emergency. 

 

mistakes

Having an Unorganized Work Environment

Set yourself up for success by organizing your paperwork and online files. If you feel you have too much going on and are missing deadlines, delegate tasks to someone else. This reduces the amount of clutter in your work environment. Streamline your processes so that you and your employees can easily access files and understand what needs to be done. 

 

Avoid These Common Mistakes in Your Small Business

Do you want to learn more about budgeting, financial accounting, or goal setting? We are here for questions you have as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

Get Your Small Business Ready For the Holidays

 

Fall and winter holidays are quickly approaching us. Although this year may look different, people are still looking forward to spending time with their families (safely, of course.) 

 

Get ready for holiday promotions, high traffic in-store and online, and increased profits. Is your small business ready for the holidays?

 

holidays

Plan Ahead of Time

 

The holidays are hectic and stressful. Stay level-headed by planning as much as you can ahead of time. Determine what promotions you are having each week. Make your advertisements. Estimate your expenses. Planning ahead helps manage your finances

 

Set Sales Goals

 

Many small businesses have their busy season around the holidays and Small Business Saturday. Set goals based on last year’s sales. These goals help you measure success

 

In the long run, your sales goals will make a major difference in your business. These goals can gradually increase as you accomplish them.

 

Follow Up and Get Reviews

 

What makes your business stand out? With so many options for consumers to purchase from, it may be hard to choose. When your business has positive feedback on social media and your website, people are more likely to purchase from it.

 

Encourage your customers to give their input on your products, services, and promotions so you can make changes for next year. Maybe something that you did went better than expected, and it is important to know that so you can leverage it. 

 

Support Your Community

 

During the season of giving, provide a helping hand to your local community. Donate to charities as an act of kindness. Donations include money, food, clothing, and services. 

 

Get your customers involved by setting up a canned food drive inside your business. Put up a “giving tree” where customers choose a person in need and purchase gifts for them. Match every dollar that customers put into your donation jar for an important cause.

 

Show Employees Your Appreciation

 

Your employees work hard all year, and even more so during the holidays. Express how much they mean to you. Do this verbally, in a written card, or with gifts. Each one of your employees is unique, so personalize their gifts. 

 

Some employees may want a bonus or a monetary gift. Others love getting clothing items or bottles of wine. You can even throw a holiday party at a local restaurant.

 

Give your employees time off on major holidays if you can. This acknowledges that their time is valuable. They have the chance to spend the day with their family instead of working. 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

PL Consulting hopes that this holiday season runs smoothly for your business. Get your business ready!

 

We customize our services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Have questions about financing, bookkeeping, or increasing profits? We are here for all of your questions as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

6 Productivity Tips for Small Business Owners

 

Small businesses continuously figure out ways to expand their reach and compete with large corporations. Among their many talents, small business owners come up with creative ways to succeed with their productivity.

 

small business owners

Prioritize Tasks

 

Write or type out a list of your tasks. This list determines what should be focused on right away. You will know what does not need as much attention at the moment. Your running task list should have due dates, so you never miss a deadline. Continue to update this list as you gain or complete your tasks.

 

Once you decide the order of tasks that you need to work on, delegate tasks to one of your employees or an outside contractor. If you are new to this, check out our guide about when you should start delegating tasks as a small business owner

 

Set Up an FAQ on Your Website

 

An FAQ page shows customers important information about your business. Answer simple and common questions that many of your customers have. This page minimizes the number of phone calls, messages, and emails your business gets daily because customers will have more clarity.

 

Automate Everything You Can

 

Do what you love as a business owner. Again, the less time that is taken answering repeat questions, the more time you have to work on new products and scale your business. 

 

On your business’s Facebook page, people have the option to send instant messages. Set up recurring questions that your customers typically have so it is easier for them. Turn your automatic response on for those common questions and answer them thoroughly.

 

Websites have a similar option with instant messenger chatbots. These pop up on websites and answer almost any question that a customer has. If the person’s question is not answered with the automated responses, they either have the option to call or message an employee.

 

When customers call your business, have an automated response giving them information about store hours, location, and other frequently asked questions. This frees up time spent on the phone with customers, giving you more time for productivity.

 

Streamline Your Processes

 

Refining each one of your business’s processes leaves less confusion and sets clear expectations for your customers and employees. Streamline your management style as a small business owner so you have more time to focus on creativity and strategy. 

 

Have Great Communication

 

Arrange daily or weekly meetings with your staff so that everyone is on the same page. Make these meetings short and focused so that everyone can get back to working on their task list.

 

Communicate with your employees about what the strategies and policies are in your business. By relaying these vital details, you are setting employees up for success.

 

Outsource Your Bookkeeping

 

Outsource your business’s bookkeeping to a firm that specializes in it instead of doing it yourself. PL Consulting customizes services to each client and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

Small business owners, we are here to answer questions you have about keeping your small business productive. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

The Best Podcasts For Small Business Owners

 

Podcasts are great to listen to while getting work done, driving in the car, or as background noise. With so many options of what to listen to, we broke down the following podcasts by categories that are helpful to small business owners. 

 

podcasts

Marketing

This aspect of your small business includes social media, online marketing, traditional marketing, and even blogging. These three podcasts will keep you up-to-date with the newest trends.

 

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield 

Wondering how to start your business online? This podcast features mini marketing masterclasses and step-by-step guides.

 

Social Pros

Get insights from social media strategists including current trends and ideas. 

 

Pro Blogger 

The goal of Pro Blogger is to help business owners develop effective blog writing habits. 

 

Finance and Investing

Your small business needs financing and investing to grow. Listen to these podcasts for money making tips and tricks.

 

Masters in Business

If you are looking for people that speak about the market, financing, and investing, this is the podcast for you. 

 

Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn dives into techniques for increasing profits and growing your business. 

 

So Money 

The host of So Money, Farnoosh Torabi, brings on guests to talk about their personal stories around money. This helps listeners learn lessons others have already learned the hard way.

 

Technology and Software

If your small business is into using the latest technology and software, listen to these podcasts.

 

Shopify Masters 

Successful entrepreneurs are invited to this show to talk about their experience and advice for growing businesses with Shopify. 

 

Startups For the Rest of Us

This podcast is helpful for both startups and businesses with years of experience. The host Rob Walling shares his experiences and mistakes for business owners, designers, and developers to avoid. 

 

This Week in Tech

TWiT focuses on tech news and reviews, consumer electronics, and the internet. The panelists vary from week to week. 

 

Inspirational

Lacking motivation or ideas? These inspirational podcasts will give you the push that you need.

 

Goal Digger 

Tune in to learn how to work hard and tackle your biggest goals along the way.

 

The Tim Ferriss Show 

Ferriss speaks to high achievers in business, investing, music, science, and sports about how to do things better in their industry.

 

The GaryVee Audio Experience 

GaryVee has a motivational tone that makes his podcast inspiring for startup businesses. 

 

Questions About Your Small Business?

If you have questions outside of what these podcasts offer you, we are here to help. PL Consulting has resources for bookkeeping, taxes and accounting, budgeting, and so much more. Our one-on-one interactions are valuable for both your team and ours. 

 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Your ideas are unique to your business, and we understand that. 

 

We are here to answer questions you have about running your small business. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731.

 

Why Your Small Business Should Support Fair Trade Certified Products

 

October is Fair Trade Month. It is about supporting businesses that are Fair Trade Certified. These businesses create equality in the international trade system through respect and transparency. Americans are encouraged to shop Fair Trade businesses this month in their communities. 

 

Last year, Fair Trade USA impacted over 975,000 farmers and workers in 45 countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Fair Trade USA stated that “the fair trade market is growing because of businesses’ dedication to Fair Trade USA standards. As a result, consumer awareness of the Fair Trade Certified seal is at 63%—nearly double what it was in 2008.”

 

pl consulting fair trade

Fair Trade product categories include:

  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Coffee
  • Chocolate
  • Textiles
  • Clothing

 

Here are the benefits of why your business should support Fair Trade Certified products.

 

Help End Poor Working Conditions

Certifications prevent poverty due to businesses paying low wages. It also focuses on ending sweatshop labor conditions. This assists producers in developing countries to achieve fair trade relationships.

 

Back Your Mission

If your small business sells or uses Fair Trade Certified products, it supports your business’s philanthropy of promoting the welfare of others. It motivates your community to support this movement. Your business will have a meaningful impact on equality and do something good for the world.

 

Focus on Sustainability

Environmental degradation is another focal point of Fair Trade Certified products. This includes the depletion of air, water, and soil resources; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution. Your business would support environmentally friendly business practices to reduce the amount of degradation. 

 

Keeping up with consumer trends is important for small businesses, and this is a topic that many people care about. This will attract more customers to your business if you support the causes they believe in.

 

Find Fair Trade Certified Products

When a customer spots the green and blue Fairtrade Mark, they can shop with confidence and know that your business is making a positive impact on the world. Both the business and consumer are using their purchasing power to support farmers and workers who deserve to enjoy sustainable livelihoods and equality. Not sure where to start? Check out these Fair Trade Certified products

 

We encourage your business to support Fair Trade Certified products. Sell certified food items at your stores like avocados and bananas. Make employee uniforms from Fair Trade clothing. If you sell coffee or offer it for free to customers/employees, find a Fair Trade option. Supporting these products stimulates business growth and opportunity. 

 

PL Consulting is here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. Not sure how Fair Trade products fit into your business plan? Call us at 410.764.3731. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

Why is Customer Feedback So Important to Your Small Business?

Small businesses should focus heavily on customer feedback. Small businesses do not have as much brand awareness compared to large corporations and chains. Customer feedback brings new customers to your business. Customers are the most valuable source of information when planning customer experience, products, and services. 

 

Customer Feedback

 

Helps Customers Find You

Potential customers are constantly researching before making a purchase. Customer feedback is a huge part of their research. For example, when looking for a new restaurant, people check out Yelp and Google reviews. E-commerce websites should have an option to leave feedback about purchased products so that new customers have something to help make their decision. 

 

A person is more apt to buy from a business with many reviews over somewhere that barely has any. People typically search through reviews and determine which ones are the most useful. Never delete bad reviews or leave fake reviews. It is easy to spot if your business has done that and the person will be less likely to purchase from your small business. 

 

Aids in Product and Service Changes

Customer feedback is a sizable factor in changing how your business runs. Sometimes a new idea does not work out as planned, and the only way to know this is through feedback. If your construction business gets customer feedback about the quality of work, you can make changes or level up what you are already doing. 

 

How to Get Customer Feedback

High-quality feedback is not always easy to collect. Emails are a great way to follow up with customers. You can send an e-mail shortly after they purchased to see how satisfied they were with the purchasing process and their initial thoughts. Send another follow-up e-mail as more time passes asking if they still enjoy their purchase.

 

Social media is an inexpensive way to gather customer feedback. First, build a following that trusts your small business enough to interact with its account. Then ask questions or post surveys that your audience would like to respond to. If customers comment on posts or leave a review saying that they had an issue with your business, message them or encourage them to call you so you can fix it. 

 

Give customers an incentive to respond to surveys. This could be a percentage off or the opportunity to enter into a drawing. Sometimes these surveys take too long, so encourage the customers with something valuable to them. Send the survey links through e-mail or print them on receipts.

 

PL Consulting is Here for Your Small Business

PL Consulting offers a diverse range of bookkeeping and budgeting services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. Our services are customized to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

If you have questions about receiving customer feedback, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.