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5 Accounting Mistakes that Put Your Business at Risk, FreshBooks Blog, small business accounting.#Small
5 Accounting Mistakes that Put Your Business at Risk
October 24, 2013
Accounting mistakes can impede the growth of your small business and put it on shaky ground. Unfortunately, mistakes are all too common, especially for new or young businesses.
In this roundup, five accounting experts from the FreshBooks Accountant Network share the most common accounting mistakes they see from small business owners. They also provide insight on how to avoid making these bad-for-business bloopers yourself.
Mistake #1: Not Staying on Top of Receivables
Getting paid is always an exciting part of running a business. What isn’t as exciting however, is keeping track of your receivables.
When you issue an invoice, a receivable is recorded—meaning that a customer owes you money. Checking your receivable listing you’ll see that customer’s balance as outstanding. As soon as you receive payment from that customer, it should be applied against the invoice to mark it as paid. In practice however, this is easier said than done, and customer deposits are often left to reconcile later on since there’s never enough time in a day.
At tax time you’re left with a bunch of customer deposits sitting in your revenue account and a receivables report that doesn’t make sense. The consequences? Hours wasted updating the receivables listing, overpaying on your taxes, and high bad debts. Making it a point to follow up on your receivables—and apply payments to invoices on a monthly basis—can save you tons of resources in the long run.
Want to skip out on the manual updating of invoices as paid? Consider using a combination of cloud accounting software and accepting online payments, since this process will automate your receivables process, helping you get paid faster and sleep easy at night.
Mistake #2: Not Keeping Expense Receipts
Many business owners fail to save copies of business expense receipts, which can result in a series of tax, accounting, and cash flow problems. How many times have you looked at your bank account statement and had no clue what that $100 charge is? Is it supplies, a business meal, equipment—or is it a personal expense you accidentally paid for using your business card? Not having an actual receipt that can give you details about the charge can result in incorrectly reported tax expenses and a high tax bill if you re ever audited.
How can you correct your receipts problem? Save a receipt of every business purchase. That process may seem very cumbersome, so here are a few tips to make it easier and less time-consuming: only use your business bank or credit card to pay for business expenses; have an envelope in your bag/car where you can put all your receipts instead of putting them in your pocket, purse, or worse, trash can; once a week/month go through the receipts stored in the envelope and file them to your tax folder or save digital copies in the cloud.
Or better yet, add these expenses while you re on the go. FreshBooks has a very helpful feature I personally use that allows you to add your expenses and even attach digital copies of the receipt from anywhere you are—your desktop or your mobile device. See: invoice vs receipt
Mistake #3: Not Recording Cash Expenses
“It is crucial for entrepreneurs to track all expenses related to running a small business so these costs can be subtracted from total income at tax time and to keep a better sense of overall profitability throughout the year. While credit cards, debit cards, and checks from your business s bank account are easily linked into FreshBooks, it s easy to overlook expenses paid in cash. Most commonly, some of these expenses are not recorded and thus forgotten—causing the business owner to overstate income for the year! Be sure to develop a method for tracking these cash expenditures. Ask for a receipt from the vendor to enter into FreshBooks when you return to the office or log the expense immediately using the FreshBooks app on your smart phone.”
Mistake #4: Not Hiring a Professional to Handle Taxes
Small business owners often try to save money by doing their own taxes. In reality, not hiring a professional can cost big bucks down the road. You may not claim all the deductions you qualify for, or you might underpay your tax bill—leading to penalties and other fees.
Spending the money to hire a professional means you’ll have an expert who knows what they’re doing, and can apply the right tactics for your financial situation. They can keep updated on the ever-changing tax laws and help you plan ahead for potential tax hikes.
Paying for a professional bookkeeper can also help keep your costs of an accountant at a minimum, since they do all the prep work. Plus having another pair of eyes is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to finances and taxes. The success of your small business depends on the accuracy and organization of your financial paperwork.
Mistake #5: Not Getting on the Same Wavelength as Your Accountant
So, you re sitting there with your accountant, in a fancy office, listening to this: EBITDA is strong, way up from last year. You shift in your seat. You nod. It continues, Add in D A, and your bottom line is still positive. And here s the kicker, thanks to loss carry forwards, tax liability is nil.
It s the bane of many small business owners. Not so much the part about meeting with professionals who love spouting jargon and buzzwords. No, that s not the problem. The issue, actually, is that most small business owners are too shy to tell their accountants that they might as well speak Romulan.
You re a small business owner. You re not a financial professional. And nowhere does it say you have to be up-to-date on all the latest accounting blather. Besides, buzzwords, jargon and fancy strategies are why you pay your accountant. Translating all that techno-talk into language you understand should be part of the package.
Think about it. Would you rather hear this? We used accelerated capital cost allowance to bring your tax liability to nil. Or this? There’s a temporary tax program that lets us completely write off all of the new computer equipment you buy. So if you need a new IT kit, buy it now cause we’ll use that cost to get your tax bill down.
Bottom line is, if you and your accountant speak the same language then she’s part of your team. She’s watching your back, and she’s providing advice you can bank on.
If you re looking to find a FreshBooks friendly accountant that understands the needs of small business, check out the FreshMap to find someone near you.
If you re an accountant helping small business clients who may benefit from using FreshBooks, join our network.
about the author
FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.
Government Small Business Loans, small business association loans.#Small #business #association #loans
Government Small Business Loans
Government small business loans help put your own business within reach. First there’s the quest for a decent location, then comes building a customer base, followed by all the initial hiccups of generating a cash flow before your business grows roots and gains momentum. The beginning of a business is crucial because it’s when you gain or lose market credibility. If you disappoint your customers, they may not give you a second chance. If your business gets off to a rocky start (most do), and you believe you can recover but need further financing to make this happen, you can apply for government small business loans.
For-profit lenders are reluctant to issue loans to anyone who does not have a strong credit report and financial history. That is not the case with government small business loans. Obviously, a decent credit report is important, and you will have to follow the guidelines regarding the repayment period and the interest rate set by the government, but usually the interest rates charged by government loans are lower than those you could expect in the private sector.
More about Government Small Business Loans
Government loans are typically offered through banks and credit unions that partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is a U.S. government body, with the motive of providing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. For each loan authorized, a government-backed guarantee offers serious credibility, since the lender knows that even if you default, the government will pay off the balance. These loans can be applied to a number of uses, such as:
- Purchase of new equipment, machinery, parts, supplies, etc.
- Financing leasehold improvements
- Commercial mortgage on buildings
- Refinance existing debt
- Establishing a line of credit
Government small business loans benefit both small businesses and the lending agency. For small businesses, it is beneficial because this is money capital they may not have access too. For banks, the loan’s risk is decreased due to the loan being backed by the SBA.
Different SBA Government Loans
The SBA extends financial help through various lending programs it has to offer. Some of the more popular loans are:
- 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program: aimed primarily in helping a small business start or expand its services. The maximum size of such a loan is $5 million.
- MicroLoan Program: mostly used for short-term purposes, such as purchase of goods, office furniture, transportation, computers, etc. The maximum amount is fixed at $50,000.
- 504 Fixed Asset Program: featuring fixed-rate and long-term financing, these loans are aimed at applicants whose business model will benefit their community directly, either by providing jobs or bringing needed services to an underserved area. Again, the maximum amount is $5 million.
- Disaster Assistance: under this program, loans are sanctioned to renters or homeowners with a low-interest, long-term plan for the restoration of property to its pre-disaster condition.
In most cases, maintaining a good business credit report is enough to qualify. In addition, it instills confidence not only in the lender, but also in you. There is at least one SBA office in every state in America. If you contact them regarding the startup status of your business model and plan, you can get started on a government small business loan that will give you the financing to make your dreams a reality.
Small Business Loans for Women, small business association loans.#Small #business #association #loans
Small Business Loans for Women
In today’s changing economy, women are making a name for themselves as entrepreneurs, thanks to small business loans for women. However, the dream to own a business is just the beginning. Small businesses for women is a rapidly growing segment of the economy with increased competition. Being successful requires patience, dedication and hard work, but most importantly, the financial reserves to set the wheels in motion.
According to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), there were 7.8 million businesses owned by women in America in 2007. Of these, about 11.7% employ full-time workers, generating average annual receipts of over $1 million. The total revenue generated by all the women-owned businesses across the country (not considering farm-based business) has increased to $1.2 trillion. Women-owned businesses make up about 52% of all the businesses in the social and healthcare assistance arena.
Why Business Loans are Important
Starting a business requires balancing your family and/or personal budget with a new, often larger budget for your business. Procuring a small business loan is pivotal to most businesses’ success. The Small Business Administration (SBA) helps people gather the resources necessary, and guides you through the completion of the loan application. Credit unions, banks, and other legitimate lenders back the loans.
The SBA has designated different loan programs specifically for women. The Office of Women’s Business Owners (OWBO) sets out rules that are mostly the same for every loan or grant: you’ll need a good business credit report (with any of the three business reporting agencies) and a solid business plan that instills confidence in the lender. But what is life without a little risk? Some of the best companies in the world were started on shaky ground, right? True, but it’s also true that a low-risk business venture has a better chance of obtaining a coveted small business loan.
In order to help women, various organizations operate day and night, with the sole purpose of helping them realize their dreams and ambitions. Moreover, these organizations provide complete information regarding various loan programs, and how to apply for them:
Any business venture requires you to be well informed about the competition, such as the number of similar ventures established, their success-to-failure ratio, and so on. The way to convince lenders who provide small business loans for women is by showing them that you possess the drive to overcome adversity. Having that fighting spirit matters.
Small Business Investor Alliance, small business investment company.#Small #business #investment #company
small business investment company
The Small Business Investor Alliance ( “SBIA”) is the premier organization of lower middle market private equity funds and investors . Our members provide vital capital to small and medium sized businesses nationwide, resulting in economic growth and job creation. The SBIA’s mission is to provide member funds and LPs:
• Real advocacy power with federal regulators and on Capitol Hill
• Access to exceptional networking opportunities
• Continuing educational programs with an emphasis on best practices for the industry
SBIA has been playing a pivotal role in promoting the growth and vitality of the industry for more than 50 years. SBIA works on behalf of its members as a tireless advocate for appropriate regulation and smart tax policy that promotes domestic investment and the growth of small businesses that fuel the American economy.
T he SBIA Capital Formation Agenda: Legislative Recommendations for
Members of the 114th Congress. These legislative recommendations,
when enacted into law, will provide the essential means to increasing
capital to small businesses.
T he SBIA BDC Modernization Agenda: Legislative Recommendations
for Members of the 115th Congress.
The SBIA Private Equity Directory
What is a Small Business Investment Company, small business investment company.#Small #business #investment #company
What is a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)?
Small Business Investment Company (SBIC)
A small business investment company is a private lending company which is licensed and regulated by the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBIC s offer venture capital financing to higher-risk small businesses, and SBIC loans are guaranteed by the SBA.An added advantage of SBIC s for small businesses is that, in addition to funding small business growth and more jobs, SBIC s offer management expertise and assistance to companies.
SBICs use a combination of funds raised from private sources and money raised through the use of SBA guarantees to make equity and capital investments in small businesses.
At the end of FY 2011, SBA had over $8.2 billion invested in 299 funds. Together with private capital of approximately $8.8 billion, the program totals over $17 billion in capital resources dedicated to America’s entrepreneurs.
The mission of the SBIC program is:
stimulating and supplementing the flow of private equity capital and long term loan funds for the sound financing, growth, expansion and modernization of small business operations while insuring the maximum participation of private financing sources
Qualifying for SBIC financing
To qualify for financing from an SBIC your business must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a small business as defined by the SBA: businesses with tangible net worth of less than $18 million AND an average of $6 million in net income or less over the previous two years at the time of investment.
- Your business cannot engage in foreign activities, and
- Your business cannot be a prohibited business (re-lenders or re-investors; passive businesses; most real estate businesses; farmland; project financings, or businesses contrary to the public interest.)
Types of Financing
SBIC s may provide loans, equity, or a combination, depending on the circumstances.
SBIC s typically look for profitable businesses with sufficient cash flow to pay asPresensociated interest. If your business is not profitable, you would probably need sufficient revenue to qualify for SBIC financing.
Working with an SBIC
The SBA describes the steps in finding an SBIC:
1. Research SBIC s to find one whose investment goals fit with your small business plans.
2. Create a business plan for your meeting with an SBIC.
3. Present your business plan and proposal for SBIC financing. Before you present a plan, get information on the specific SBIC you want to approach, and try to establish a connection with that company.
For More Information about SBIC Lending
The SBIC section of the SBA website has information on SBIC lending, including a list of SBIC s on the SBA website.
What if My Business Doesn t Qualify for SBIC investment?
You may still be eligible for one of a number of SBA loan programs, including their signature 7(a) loan.
Small Business Banking
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Ameris Bank’s Merchant Credit Card Processing services offer a variety of options to give your customers the convenient payment options they need. Learn More
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Small Business Online Banking
Easily manage your small business bank
accounts when and where you want
Save time and money with online banking and the TD BusinessDirect Mobile App.
Manage your accounts
- Access all of your accounts
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Data as of March 2017. Comparison of longest average store hours in the regions (MSAs) in which TD Bank operates compared to major banks. Major banks include our top 20 national competitors by MSA, our top five competitors in store share by MSA and any bank with greater or equal store share than TD Bank in the MSA. Major banks do not include banks that operate in retail stores such as grocery stores, or banks that do not fall in an MSA.
Small business loans
A unique way of helping people who might not qualify for or need a conventional loan
Instead of looking at your credit history and net worth, we look at ambition, character and determination.
We look at what you can achieve through financial literacy.
- Entrepreneurs with great ideas and limited resources
- People looking to enter a trade or profession
- Newcomers to Canada who need to build credit history
- People who need to repair credit history
Microfinance can help
- Start a business
- Upgrade education
- Renew certifications
- Buy tools equipment to start working
Vancity offers two types of microfinance
If you are a group coming together to support each other through the early stages of a micro-business then have a look at our Circle Lending loan. Also known as Peer Lending, this loan is best suited for people in a shared community.
Circle Lending loans often support kitchen-table businesses, and are great for building local enterprise and credit histories.
If you have recently graduated from trade school or have a job offer in a new field but don’t have the cash to set yourself up with the tools or equipment required then our With These Hands loan will provide some upfront cash to launch you on your way.
If you are a newcomer to Canada and need some help getting back into your previous line of work our Back to Work loan can help.
The loan can support you with the costs of a challenge exam, or cover professional fees.
Offered by The Island Chefs Collaborative and FarmFolk CityFolk, in partnership with Vancity, this loan of between $1,000 and $10,000 provides
funds for growers, harvesters and processors to invest in equipment and materials to increase the supply of food in the region.
If you have a great start-up business idea, an entrepreneurial spirit and a business plan then the Be My Own Boss loan may be right for you. You don’t yet need a track record, just the drive to succeed.
If you’re growing food on under 50 acres and need up to $75,000 to develop your operation, we’d like to help.
With your business plan, good character and training or experience, you’re ready to explore the Small Growers loan.
If you’re starting up or expanding your creative enterprise and need up to $75,000 to develop your venture, we’d like to help.
With your business plan, good character and training or experience, you’re ready to explore the By Design loan.
Is your business is in its second or third year of operation? Do you need capital to grow, or a line of credit to ease the cash flow challenges that often come when a business succeeds and expands?
The Next Step loan is for young, healthy businesses that don’t yet qualify for traditional financing.
Have you finished the Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurial Skills Training (BEST) program and have a great start-up business idea or want to buy or expand an existing business?
The Aboriginal BEST loan can help get your business idea up and running.
We can provide a business loan based on your entrepreneurial drive, the strength of your idea and the potential of your business plan, instead of just your credit history and collateral.
If you are a small-business owner or start-up social enterprise, then the Microloans for Green Businesses will work for you.
If you have an offer of membership from a worker’s co-op, and you want to contribute your full membership share right away, we’d like to help.
The Work-to-Own co-op loan can help you put your equity to work right away.
Contact Vancity’s Microfinance Program Manager
Call us. Small loans can make a big difference.