Rhonda Recognized as one of Intuit’s Top 100 ProAdvisors of 2014!

We are pleased to announce that Rhonda Rosand, CPA has been recognized as one of Intuit’s Top 100 ProAdvisors of 2014!     

Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit; Joe Woodard, CEO of Woodard Consulting Group, and Intuitive Accountant with the Top 100 ProAdvisors of 2014 

When creating the Top 100 ProAdvisor Program, Intuit aimed to identify leading ProAdvisors who leverage the ProAdvisor Program to better serve their clients, grow their own business, deliver great client service, and increase their knowledge and understanding of the Intuit ecosystem. The competition included Top Trainers, Top Friends of Intuit and the Top Intuit Reseller Partners as part of the overall program as well. Recognition was awarded from Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, Luis Sanchez with the QuickBooks ProAdvisor Program, and Joe Woodard, CEO of Woodard Consulting Group. The award ceremony took place at the Scaling New Heights conference in San Antonio, Texas last week.

Rhonda Rosand, CPA is the owner of New Business Directions. She specializes in QuickBooks consulting and training services, coaching small business owners, and providing innovative business solutions.
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Seven Profit-Boosting Entrepreneurial Habits

As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for shaping your business success. Any habits that sabotage your success in your personal life can often carry over to your business. Becoming aware of these is the first step to success. Here are seven success-boosting habits to double-check against your own.  

1. Being Able to Say “No.”

Do you say “yes” to too many things that don’t serve your life purpose, help your family, or move your business forward? If so, you’re not alone. Saying “yes” in a weak moment when you feel like you can do it all can be a downfall for many entrepreneurs. It can also distract you from success if you are not working on the right things for you.    

 

You may need to re-evaluate the value of your time and your priorities. Practice making smart decisions by having a structure and a higher purpose that helps you decide what you should and shouldn’t do with your time, money, and life.   And if you tend to be one of those who says “yes” to everything, you may need to practice saying “no” in front of the mirror to break your habit.

2. Hiring Fast and Early

The best time to hire is just before you need your new team member. It can be easy to put off hiring if you fill with dread when you think about large stacks of resumes and endless phone calls. Not hiring soon enough can cost your business in reduced service and sales. The smartest entrepreneurs stay ahead of the game in this area.

3. Strategizing Proactively

How much time do you spend in reactive mode versus proactive mode in your business? Reactive mode includes answering emails, fighting fires, serving clients, and managing employees. Proactive mode includes developing new products and services, creating and implementing your revenue plan, and training employees.

 

Sometimes we have to really push ourselves to look beyond the daily fires. One way to do that is to plan time every day for proactive activities and be ruthless about keeping that time slot on the calendar.

4. Setting a Tight Scope and Polite Boundaries with Customers

Successful entrepreneurs set clear boundaries when it comes to delivering their products and services to customers. Especially in service companies, it’s not always clear to the client what’s included in a fixed fee contract unless it’s clearly spelled out.

If you are asked to do something that’s not included in the contract, you now have a choice. Do you give it away for free, or do you have a change order process where you can easily provide an estimate for that extra work?

5. Measuring Results
Only what can be measured can be improved, and smart entrepreneurs know this. Track — in real time, not a year later — what’s important to you. New customers, new leads, closed sales, revenue per day, sales per day, monthly net income, certain costs, profit margins, profit per customer, profit per job, and profit per location are just a few of the many metrics you can choose to track for your business.

Once you measure it, you can now set goals to improve it.

6. Curbing Irrational Spending

Invest in things that will last, such as your own education, great systems, team training, and assets that you really need. Avoid spending on items that are used up quickly, such as elaborate entertainment expenses that don’t generate significant revenue, excessive utilities, and stopgap equipment.

This area can be a tough one to evaluate objectively because there can be emotion and attachment involved in the spending. Let us know if you need help in this area; we can help you look at your spending with fresh eyes and provide a new perspective.

7. Maintaining Focus

Great entrepreneurs have clear focus. If you have too many projects going on at once, you end up delaying all of your project completion dates, and nothing gets finished. Ask yourself, what’s the most important thing I can do today? And work on that until it’s done. Then ask yourself the same question again, and wash, rinse, repeat your way to success.

Seven Habits

Which of the seven habits are you best at?   Celebrate your natural gifts while keeping an eye on the habits you need to work on. That will move you to the success you deserve.

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8 QuickBooks Reports That You Should Be Running Regularly

QuickBooks provides dozens of customizable report templates. You know when you need some of them, but which are musts?

 

You send invoices because you sold products and/or services. Purchase orders go out when you’re running low on inventory, and there are always bills to pay, it seems like. All of this activity is, of course, important in itself, but all of your conscientious bookkeeping culminates in what’s probably the most critical element of QuickBooks: your reports.

 

Reports can tell you how many navy blue sweatshirts you sold in March, what you paid for health insurance premiums in the first quarter, and how much you bought from your favorite vendor last month. They’re very good at drilling down to get the precise set of numbers you need.

 

But reports – carefully customized and properly analyzed – can do more than tell you how many golf clubs to order and when it’s time to switch phone services. They can help you make the business decisions that will help you take your growing company to the next level. There are several that you should be looking at regularly, some of which you can interpret easily and use in your daily workflow. We’ll help you with the interpretation of the more complex financial reports.

Who Owes Money?

That’s probably a question you ask yourself every day. You don’t necessarily have to run the A/R Aging Detail report every day, but you’ll want to run it frequently. It tells you who owes you money and whether they’ve missed the due date (and by how many days).

 

 

 Figure 1: By running the A/R Aging Detail report, you can see whether you need to follow up with customers who have past due invoices.

 

As with any report, you can modify it to include the columns, data set and date range you want by clicking the Customize button. When you create a report in a format that you think you might want to run again, click the Memorize button. Enter a name that you’ll remember, and assign it to a Memorized Report Group.
Getting There

There are two ways to find the reports you want to see. You can open the Reports menu and move your cursor down to the category you want, like Customers & Receivables, which will open a slide-out menu of options there.

 

Or you can open the Report Center, which lets you explore reports in more depth. Each is represented by a small graphic with four icons under it. You can:

  • Run the report with your own data in it
  • Open a small informational window
  • Designate it as a Favorite, and
  • View QuickBooks help.

 

Figure 2: If you access QuickBooks reports through the Report Center, you’ll have several related options.

 

Other accounts receivable reports that you should consult periodically include Open Invoices and Average Days to Pay.

Tracking What You Owe
Reports can also keep you up-to-date on money that you owe to other people and companies. An important one is Unpaid Bills Detail, accessible through the Vendors & Payables menu item. Though you can modify its columns, this report basically tells you who is expecting money from you, the date the bill was issued and its due date, any number assigned to it, the balance due, and relevant aging information.

 

Vendor Balance Detail is critical, too. This report displays every transaction (invoices, payments, etc.) that contribute to the balance you have with each vendor.
Standard Financial Reports
Figure 3:
We hope you’ll let us help you by running and interpreting these standard financial reports.

QuickBooks report categories include one labeled Company & Financial. These are reports that you can run yourself, but they’re critical for understanding your company’s financial status. We can customize and analyze these for you on a regular basis so you’ll know where you stand. They include:

  • Balance Sheet.

    What is the value of your company? The balance sheet breaks out this information by account (under the umbrella of assets, liabilities and equity).

  • Income Statement. Often referred to as Profit & Loss, this shows you how much money your business made or lost over a specific time period.
  • Statement of Cash Flows. How much money came in and went out during a specified time range?

Reports can only generate information about what you’ve entered in QuickBooks and exactly where it’s been entered. So it’s crucial that you follow standard accounting practice as you proceed through your daily workflow. We’re always available to answer questions you have about QuickBooks’ structure and your activity there. Your reports – and your critical business decisions – depend on it.

Posted in Accounting Basics, QuickBooks

Rhonda Rosand completes Intuit Field Service Management training

Intuit Field Service Management simplifies your business and gives you more control over your technicians, customers, cash flow and costs. It eliminates paperwork from work orders to invoices – so you can get paid faster.  

Field Service Management is web-based software that integrates with QuickBooks® Pro, Premier and Enterprise to schedule Work Orders and dispatch Field Technicians via a Dashboard and Mobile devices. It integrates with Google Maps to locate job-sites and minimize travel time and allows for Mobile Billing and Payments.

The Intuit Service Provider training courses are designed to enhance the consultants’ knowledge of the product for configuration, deployment, integration and training on Field Service Management.

Rhonda Rosand, CPA is the owner of New Business Directions. She specializes in QuickBooks consulting and training services, coaching small business owners, and providing innovative business solutions.

Posted in About New Business Directions, Product Development & Updates, Staff Certifications | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Five Essential Components of an Entrepreneur’s Compensation

The two major ways entrepreneurs can take money from their business is through draws or by receiving a paycheck. The type of entity in which their business is set up will determine which method can be used. In either case, entrepreneurs need to be careful not to shortchange themselves.

Especially if you’re running a service business, it’s easy to initially think you can do well with a similar hourly rate that you earned as an employee. Here’s a quick list of five elements that should be included in the compensation of every entrepreneur:

1. Competitive Pay

If you were doing the same work for a company that hired you, what would your pay be? Are you making at least market equivalent or better? A lot of times, as entrepreneurs, we tend to focus only on this piece of our compensation when we set our pricing, and that’s a big mistake. It’s only 75 percent of what our total pay needs to be.

2. Profit

As an entrepreneur, you take extra risk when you own your own company, and you should be compensated accordingly. Your capital is tied up in your business and should be earning a good return in addition to your reasonable compensation.

3. Benefits

Employees get vacations, health insurance, and bonuses; and you should too. This should be part of your compensation package as an entrepreneur. 

4. Taxes

Although our individual taxes are not deductible as business expenses, we need to compensate for them so that we’ll have enough cash for our living expenses. It’s a huge chunk too. We work about three and a half months every year, just to pay for our taxes.

5. Retirement Plan

When you work for yourself, no one is going to fund your retirement for you. Although the Social Security program helps a lot of seniors, it’s up to you to set additional money aside for a comfortable future.

Complete Compensation
Your compensation should include all of these components. If it doesn’t and you feel like you can’t afford to pay yourself that much, then your pricing might not be reflecting all of these items correctly, you might have a volume problem, or your business model may need some adjusting.

 

It’s normal to take a smaller paycheck the first few years as we’re building our businesses, but if you’re still doing it after several years or constantly having cash flow issues, then something may be wrong.

 

If you’d like our help in this area of your business, please reach out and let us know.

 

Make sure your future is bright and financially secure by including all five components in your entrepreneur compensation.  

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Five Best-Practice Accounts Payable Tips for a Smoother Cash Flow

Watching the cash balance is one of the most frequent activities of a small business owner. Besides making sure you have enough cash for payroll and bills, there is another huge opportunity you can benefit from: lowering the cost of processing your bills. It can be expensive and time-consuming to process bills and handle the paperwork involved. We’ll take a look at a couple of the many ways you can streamline your accounts payable processing costs in this article.

 

Opportunity #1: Go Digital

The Intuit Payment Network (IPN) is a best-kept secret when it comes to sending and receiving money. It’s free to set up your account, and it’s also free for your receiver to set up an account. All you do is add your bank account, and you can easily transfer funds between the two accounts just by knowing the receiver’s email address.

 

The receiver of money only pays 50 cents per transaction, so when you have a large transfer of funds, it’s totally worth it. It saves you postage, check stock, envelopes and the related mailing labor. You could even increase your payment by 50 cents so that your receiver receives exactly what you owe them.

 

Another way to go digital is via PayPal. Fees vary, and are usually paid by the receiver.

Opportunity #2: Get Control

When it comes to finances, it’s never a good idea to mix business and personal, especially when it’s coming out of the same bank account. Keep separate accounts for business and personal, and your bookkeeping costs will go way down. Do the same thing for credit cards as well.

 

If you’re comfortable with credit cards and you can maintain control of your spending, it saves accounts-payable time when you can charge everything you spend on business to your credit card as long as you pay it off every month. Using your card is faster at checkout than writing a check these days, so you’ll save time on errands as well.  

Opportunity #3: Automate

Put recurring expenses such as utilities, rent, accounting, and other  monthly bills on bank draft or autopay if the vendor has that option. This will save you a huge amount of time, supplies, and postage. You can also be more accurate with the timing of the payment which will allow you to keep your money for as long as possible until the due date arrives.  

Opportunity #4: Verify

We hope you never pay bills that aren’t yours, but it can happen. To avoid it as much as possible, implement a three-way matching process on all your payables, especially those related to inventory. The three-way part refers to the three documents involved in accounts payable:

  • The purchase order
  • The packing slip
  • The invoice

Before any invoice is paid, these three documents should be matched line by line – for quantity, price, and description — to ensure you ordered and received what you paid for. Only then should your bill be approved. This will ensure that you don’t pay a fraudulent bill, you don’t pay for out-of-stock that didn’t ship and that you paid the correct price you agreed to in the first place.

 

Please feel free to reach out and ask us about this if you’d like to know more.

Opportunity #5: Tell Yourself a Little White Lie

There’s an old saying: “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” If you’re always moving money around from one checking account to another to cover bills and payroll, you’re not the only small business owner who juggles funds. It takes up valuable time to make all these transactions, and then it costs to record them and track them.

 

Reduce all that by telling yourself a little white lie about your bank balance. If your bank balance is $10,000, tell yourself it’s only $5,000 (or whatever amount makes sense for you). That way, you’ll always have a cushion in your account that will help you reduce transfers. There are several ways to set this “little white lie” up in your books.

More A/P Ideas

These are only five of many ways you can reduce your processing costs and save time on accounts payable processing. Give these five accounts payable ideas a try, and if you’d like to know more, please reach out and let us know.

Posted in Accounting Basics, Business Development & Management, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Kristen Earns QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor Designation

I’m honored to have just earned my QuickBooks Cloud ProAdvisor designation from Intuit. We are excited to continue our strong relationship with Intuit in the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program where we receive outstanding access to higher-level software support, multiple software products including third-party add-ons, and additional training and certification options that help us increase our proficiency in the Intuit QuickBooks product line.

For you, my new certification means I’ve achieved a level of competence recognized by Intuit that demonstrates my knowledge of QuickBooks Online. With this knowledge, I will be able to answer your questions about QuickBooks Online, help you assess whether this product will better meet your business needs compared to other QuickBooks products, and provide you with productivity-boosting training filled with all the tips I’ve just learned.

If you’re interested in finding out more about whether QuickBooks Online can better serve your business’s needs or anything about QuickBooks Online, then please reach out and give us a call.

 

To learn more about New Business Directions and QuickBooks®, or to schedule an appointment, please call (603)356-2914, email rhonda@newbusinessdirections.com or visit the website at www.newbusinessdirections.com.

Posted in About New Business Directions, Staff Certifications | Tagged ,

Spring-Clean Your QuickBooks Company File

There are a lot of clues that indicate trouble with your QuickBooks company file. Is it time for a check-up and tune-up?

After this ridiculously long winter, you’ll probably hear few complaints about things like puddles in the street, summer heat and spring cleaning. Most people are eager to throw open the doors and windows, and attack the dirt that the season left behind, both inside and outside of the house.
It’s not hard to see when your home is dirty. QuickBooks company file errors are harder to detect, but they’re there, including:
  • Performance problems
  • Inability to execute specific processes, like upgrading
  • Occasional program crashes
  • Missing data (accounts, names, etc.)
  • Refusal to complete transactions, and
  • Mistakes in reports.
Figure 1: If some transactions won’t go through when you click one of the Save buttons – or worse, QuickBooks shuts down — you may have a corrupted company file.

Call for Help

The best thing you can do if you notice problems like this cropping up in QuickBooks – especially if you’re experiencing multiple ones – is to contact us. We understand the file structure of QuickBooks company data, and we have access to tools that you don’t. We can analyze your file and take steps to correct the problem(s).
One of the reasons QuickBooks files get corrupt is simply because they grow too big. That’s either a sign of your company’s success or of a lack of periodic maintenance that you can do yourself. QuickBooks contains some built-in tools that you can run occasionally to minimize your file size.
One thing you can do on your own is to rid QuickBooks of old, unneeded data. The software contains a Condense Data utility that can do this automatically. But just because QuickBooks offers a tool doesn’t mean that you should use it on your own.

Figure 2: Yes, QuickBooks allows you to use this tool on your own. But if you really want to preserve the integrity of your data, let us help.

A Risky Utility

The program’s documentation for this utility contains a list of warnings and preparation steps a mile long.
We recommend that you do not use this tool. Same goes for Verify Data and Rebuild Data in the Utilities menu. If you lose a significant amount of company data, you can also lose your company file. It’s happened to numerous businesses.

Be Proactive

Instead, start practicing good preventive medicine to keep your QuickBooks company file healthy. Once a month or so, perhaps at the same time you reconcile your bank accounts, do a manual check of your major Lists.
Run the Account Listing report (Lists | Chart of Accounts | Reports | Account Listing). Are all of your bank accounts still active? Do you see accounts that you no longer used or which duplicate each other? Don’t try to “fix” the Chart of Accounts on your own. Let us help.

Figure 3: You might run this report periodically to see if it can be abbreviated.

Be very careful here, but if there are Customers and Vendors that have been off your radar for a long time, consider removing them – once you’re sure your interaction with them is history. Same goes for Items and Jobs. Go through the other lists in this menu with a critical but conservative eye. If there’s any doubt, leave them there.

A Few Alternatives

There are other options. Your copy of QuickBooks may be misbehaving because it’s unable to handle the depth and complexity of your company. It may be time to upgrade. If you’re using QuickBooks Pro, consider a move up to Premier. And if Premier isn’t cutting it anymore, consider QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.
There’s cost involved, of course, but you may already be losing money by losing time because of your version’s limitations. All editions of QuickBooks look and work similarly, so your learning curve will be minimal.
Also, try to minimize the number of open windows that are active in QuickBooks. That will improve your performance. And what about your hardware? Is it getting a little long in the tooth? At least consider adding memory, but PCs are cheap these days. If you’re having problems with many of your applications, it may be time for an upgrade.

A Stitch in Time…

We’ve suggested many times here that you contact us for help with your spring cleanup. While that may seem self-serving, remember that it takes us a lot less time and money to take preventive steps with your QuickBooks company file than to troubleshoot a broken one.
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5 Ways to Accelerate Your Receivables in QuickBooks

Increasing your income is good. But even if you can’t, you can still take steps to collect the money you’re already owed faster. Here are five ways.

If you asked five small business owners to name the top three roadblocks they face in their quest for ongoing profitability, it’s likely that all five would point to slow payments.

It’s everyone’s problem. Accounts receivable requires constant monitoring. As satisfying as it can be to dispatch a group of invoices, you know that it’s going to take some work to bring in payment for at least some of them.

By using QuickBooks’ tools and complying with accounting best practices, you’ll be more confident during the invoicing stage that what you’re owed will actually be in your bank account in a reasonable amount of time. Here are five things that we suggest.

Let Customers Pay Invoices Electronically

Figure 1: You’re likely to get paid faster if you let customers pay electronically when they receive an invoice. Go to Edit | Preferences | Payments | Company Preferences.
 

A few years ago, this was a good idea. In 2014, when people have stopped carrying checkbooks and are accustomed to using their mobile devices to pay for merchandise, it’s become almost required. Whether or not you know it, you’re probably losing some business if you don’t have a merchant account that supports credit and debit card payments, and possibly e-checks.

If you have an online storefront, you’ve undoubtedly been accepting plastic for a long time now. Not many shoppers want to place an order on a website and hunt for envelopes and stamps and blank checks to complete it. If you invoice customers, it’s just as critical that you allow them to remit payment as soon as possible.

Not set up with a merchant account yet? We can help you get started with the Intuit Payment Network.

Keep a Close Watch on your A/R Reports

Part of being proactive with your accounts receivable is being vigilant and informed. Create and customize A/R reports regularly. When you customize your A/R Aging Detail report, for example, in addition to the other columns that you include, be sure that Terms, Due Date, Bill Date, Aging and Open Balance are turned on (click Customize Report | Display and click in front of each column label).

You should also be looking at Open Invoices and Collections Report frequently, or assigning someone else to monitor them closely. We can help here by creating more complex financial reports periodically, like Statement of Cash Flows.

Send Statements

Figure 2: In this window, QuickBooks wants you to create filters to identify customers who should receive statements. Here, everyone with transactions that are more than 30 days old will be included.
 

Invoices are generally the preferred way to bill your customers, but you should consider sending statements when customers have outstanding balances past a certain date. QuickBooks sometimes calls these reminder statements. You’re not providing the recipients with any new information; you’re simply sending a kind of report that lists all invoices sent, credit memos and payment received.

To generate statements, click Customers | Create Statements. You’ll see the window pictured above. You can send statements to everyone, a defined group or one customer, and you can define the past-due status that you want to target in addition to other options.

Send Accurate Invoices the First Time

Few things will slow down your accounts receivable more than incorrect invoices. The customer can wait until payment is almost due to dispute the charges, which means that they’ll probably get another 15 or 30 days (or whatever their terms are) to pay the amended bill.

So whoever is responsible for creating invoices needs to be checking and re-checking them. If it’s logistically possible, and depending on your workflow, have them verified by a second employee.

Offer Discounts for Early Payment and Assess Finance Charges

Offering discounts is a balancing act. You’ll be getting less money for your sale – even 5 percent multiplied by many customers can add up – but it may make sense financially for you to take a small hit in return for being able to deposit the payment sooner. We can help you do the math here.

To offer this, you’ll have to set up your discount scenario as a Term option (Lists | Customer & Vendor Profile Lists | Terms List), as seen here:

Figure 3: The screen above showis a 5 percent discount if their invoice is paid within 10 days.
 

To make a customer eligible for the discount, open the Customer Center and double-click on a customer, then on Payment Settings| Payment Terms.

You might also want to be assessing finance charges. The revenue you bring in from finance charges will probably be negligible. But sometimes, just knowing that a late payment will be more costly may prompt your customers to settle up in a timely fashion.

Whatever approaches you choose to accelerate your receivables, be consistent. If any of your customers should compare notes, you want to be regarded as being firm but fair.

Posted in Accounting Basics, Business Development & Management, How-To's in QuickBooks, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What to Do When Calling the Help Line Doesn’t Help

Have you ever called a help line and at the end of the call had a bigger problem than before you called? Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon.

Navigating the help line process can be a challenge for anyone’s patience.   Here are a couple of tips you can try to make the process a little less painful.

Repeat Business

If you get someone that does a good job of solving your problem, ask them if you can contact them directly. You will begin to establish a rapport, and you’ll have an inside ally you can turn to. They’ll also begin to know your issues, the product you’re calling about, and how you use it.

Fly First Class

Sometimes, it’s just worth it to pay for a higher level of access. You can check that out yourself, or you may have expert vendors you can tap to access their higher-level resources. By paying for a higher level of service, you can get priority service and access to more highly trained personnel.

Learn the Language

How you communicate your request to the help line personnel can make all the difference in the world when it comes to saving time. To speed up the process, have the following things handy:

  • If an error message is involved, take a screen print or write down the exact wording or error code, if any.
  • If software is involved, be ready to let your technician know the operating system you’re on, what browser you’re using if the Internet is relevant, and other details that will isolate the problem.
  • If software is involved, they may ask you what version you have. You can find that by choosing File, Help from the menu, or they can walk you through it.

Call Off-Peak

For shorter wait times, try to call when no one else in calling. For hardware and software support, this may mean avoiding Mondays and rush hours. For questions to the IRS, it may mean calling earlier in the season.

Hire an Expert

Some of your vendors (including us!) may have access to a higher level of support based on their connection with the company. For example, certain QuickBooks ProAdvisors have access to an elite group of support technicians and get priority services as well. Accountants have a special line in to the IRS. Fortunately here at New Business Directions, we have both.

You may be able to save money and especially time by delegating these help line calls to those privileged vendors. (And if we can help save you time and frustration in this area, please let us know.)

Posted in Business Development & Management, For Accountants & Bookkeepers, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment