/Tag:Corporation

Foreign Qualifying your Business – FAQs

Happy February! With winter now in full swing, we will be talking about a way to get away from the cold with Foreign Qualifying! This month, we discuss the opportunities of Foreign Qualification into another state and what the requirements are for those states.

 

Q: What is foreign qualification?

A: A corporation or LLC transacting business in a state(s) outside of their state of incorporation is typically required to foreign qualify in those other states.

 

Q: What constitutes transacting business in another state and when do I need to foreign qualify?

A: As examples, your company is considered to be transacting business in an additional state if…

  • You have a physical presence in the state
  • You have employees in the state
  • You accept orders in the state
  • You have a bank account in the state

State rules vary and this isn’t a complete list. If you have any questions about whether you need to foreign qualify in a state, you can speak with an attorney.

 

Q: If I incorporated in Delaware or Nevada (but don’t live/work there), does this mean I need to foreign qualify in my own state?

A: Delaware is often chosen as the state of incorporation, especially by larger companies, because it has the most developed and flexible corporate statutes in the country and is considered pro-business.  Nevada has also become popular because of its lack of state corporate income tax, franchise tax and personal income tax.  It also has relatively low fees.

However, if you incorporate out-of-state, such as in Delaware or in Nevada, but do much of your business in your home state, you will most likely need to foreign qualify in your own state. You will then be subject to the same fees, taxes and regulations as if you had incorporated there in the first place, and you will have paid filing fees (and, perhaps franchise taxes) to more than one state.

Example: If you have a small business and are going to be conducting a substantial amount of your business in California, it will likely be beneficial to incorporate in the state of California. If you incorporate out-of-state, such as in Delaware or in Nevada, but do much of your business in California, you will have to foreign qualify in the state of California. You will then be subject to the same fees, taxes and regulations as if you had incorporated in the California in the first place, and you will have paid state filing fees (and, perhaps franchise taxes) not only in the state of California but also to the state of Delaware or Nevada as well.

 

Q: What is the process to foreign qualify?

A: You will need to file a Certificate of Authority, which grants a foreign corporation/LLC permission to transact business in a state. In most cases, you will need to show a Certificate of Good Standing from your state of incorporation/formation in order to get a Certificate of Authority.

 

Do you have a question regarding Foreign Qualifications? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638

 

 

Nellie in the News – January 2017

Another month has flown by – 2017 is off to a great start for us in the CorpNet office! Our New Year’s resolutions are still going strong. How about you?

Our CEO, Nellie Akalp has been busy as always in the press letting you know the best ways to start your business and how CorpNet can help! Call us today to incorporate, Form an LLC, file a DBA or for your other business formation needs.

Here’s a recap of what was published in January!

Interviews & press Mentions

Small Business Trends – 10 Essential Ingredients of a Successful Business http://bit.ly/2kjz7ti

Fundera – 19 Entrepreneurs Still on the Worst Business Advice They’ve Received http://bit.ly/2i1EA5H

tech.co – 14 Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Business Mistakes http://bit.ly/2js47WO

Neshprint – Top 18 Business Experts to Follow on Twitter http://bit.ly/2jVWZm0

Expert Contributed Posts

AllBusiness – Is Your Business Ready for the New Year? Here’s a Handy Checklist http://bit.ly/2j55HL4

franchise.org – Finding the Right Legal Structure for your Franchise http://bit.ly/2iN2KQo

Secret Entourage – Thinking of Selling your Business? Do these Things First http://bit.ly/2j06RYO

Small Business Trends – Is it Time to Incorporate your Business in the New Year? http://bit.ly/2iVOAwm

Huffington Post – Five Ways to Bring More Authenticity To Your Social Media http://huff.to/2jrfgEc

CRE Online – What’s the Best Way to Structure Multiple Real Estate Investments? http://bit.ly/2j24TaP

Accounting Today – How to Help Your Clients Decide if They Should Incorporate or Form an LLC http://bit.ly/2ihDnEj

Mashable – What’s the Best Business Structure For a First Time Founder? http://on.mash.to/2jg88Oe

Entrepreneur – How to Keep Proper Corporate Records http://bit.ly/2iPJjEN

Entrepreneur – The Pros and Cons of Incorporating in Delaware http://bit.ly/2jiAmaO

AllBusiness – Five Things Seasoned Small Business Owners can Learn from Rookie Entrepreneurs http://bit.ly/2jSdfCF

 

 

 

By | February 1st, 2017|Nellie in the News, Other|0 Comments

Should You Buy A Business Or Start One From Scratch?

Hope your New Year is off to a great start! As you’re looking to make 2017 a year of prosperity, have you set your sights on becoming a business owner? If so, you’re probably wondering whether buying an existing business or starting your own company will offer the best chances of success.

Both have their advantages and challenges, so how do you choose? I wish there were an easy answer, but I’m afraid you’ll need to do some research and put some serious thought into your decision. As you explore your options, consider the following pros and cons of starting a business from scratch and buying an established one.

Pros Of Starting From Scratch
• You begin with a squeaky clean slate, establishing and building your brand reputation from Day 1.
• You build your team fresh and new, selecting the right people for the right positions.
• You create your workflows to maximize productivity, without having any inefficient past processes to “fix.”
• You choose and develop the products, services, and packages you’ll offer to your customers.
• You establish your pricing to ensure profitability from the start.
• You choose your business’s legal structure to ensure the degree of liability protection you need and the most favorable tax situation.

Pros Of Buying A Business
• You have customers and incoming revenue immediately.
• You have employees who already know how to do their jobs and don’t need training.
• You have built-in processes and systems to operate your business efficiently.
• Your services and products are already to market, and you have established sales channels to get them into customers’ hands.
• Your business is already registered and has the necessary permits and licenses to operate legally in your state.

Cons Of Starting From Scratch
• You do all the legwork, including researching the registration requirements to form an LLC or incorporate your business and filing your state, federal, and local paperwork to operate legally.
• You don’t know for certain that your business idea will be viable and sustainable.
• You have to develop and put into place all the internal systems and processes needed to operate your business.

Cons Of Buying A Business
• Existing employees may be resistant to accept your leadership.
• If you find processes aren’t working efficiently, it may be difficult to initiate change because everyone is used to doing things a certain way.
• You may discover the legal business structure the former owners selected isn’t ideal.
• You may find your brand’s reputation isn’t as positive as you’d like it to be—that might be difficult to turn around.

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about as you weigh the options of starting your own business or purchasing one that is already up and running. I advise you to do your homework before deciding which route to travel. And consider seeking the guidance of respected and reputable professionals (attorneys, accountants, business consultants, etc.) who can help you understand the financial and legal aspects of what’s involved.

Remember, whether you’re starting a business or opt to buy and run one that’s already established, CorpNet is here to assist you with all your business registration and compliance obligations. Contact us today to help you take care of your filings so you can take care of business!

 

 

Dos And Don’ts When Transferring Leadership Responsibilities: Lessons To Learn From Obama and Trump

Changes in leadership don’t always happen seamlessly—or amicably. As is evident with the imminent transfer of leadership from President Obama to President-Elect Donald Trump, many factors influence how smoothly (or not) a change in authority will happen.

Whether you’re taking over running a business or handing over the reins to your responsibilities to someone else, expect some bumps in the road. But be careful not to become a source of agitation and dissent through the process. This recent presidential election, which has been simultaneously entertaining and frustrating at times, can teach us some valuable lessons about what to do and what not to do during a leadership transition.

 

Lessons Learned From Obama and Trump: The Dos And Don’ts Of Changing Leaders

  • Don’t undermine the capabilities of either the incoming or outgoing leader.

If you’re the new boss in town, bad-mouthing the outgoing person in charge won’t sit well with those loyal to their incumbent leader. And if you’re the one passing the baton, lack of confidence in the new leader will create distrust and distract employees from performing to their potential. To minimize the stress your team may already be feeling over the change, resist the impulse to undercut the qualities and strengths of one another

  • Don’t expect everyone to be enamored with the change.

While some of your staff members might be excited about the new era ahead, you can bet others will be anxious, annoyed, or angry—possibly all three. Prepare to bear the brunt of their harsh criticism whether you’re the new leader or the one leaving your post.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of words.

I saw a quote online that really resonates with me, “Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you.” Keep this in mind as you navigate the challenges of handing over or accepting leadership responsibilities. Through this recent presidential election, we’ve seen how choosing and using words reactively can create animosity and negativity. Before speaking and before writing, pause to think about your words and choose them carefully before you share them with business colleagues, employees, vendors, customers, and the public at large.

  • Do show enthusiasm for continued progress toward common goals.

Find points of agreement where you and the other leader can demonstrate unity. Sure, you may not see eye to eye about plenty of things related to how the business should be run, but now isn’t the time to dwell on that. Your employees need to have some sense of consistency and common ground.

  • Do provide/accept information and insight to make the transition fluid.

As the outgoing leader, be cooperative by openly sharing essential information with the new leader so she can more adeptly step into your shoes. As the new leader, be open and receptive to the insight the outgoing leader has to share. Put ego aside and realize your predecessor has knowledge and experience that can help you lead more effectively.

 

Your Top Priority As A Leader

Both outgoing and incoming leaders have one thing in common: a job to do! Pointing fingers, making snarky remarks, and stirring up drama will only distract you from doing right by those who work in your business and those who do business with your company. If you keep that in mind through every step of the process, the transfer of leadership will go much more smoothly.

 

Remember, Corpnet.com is here to help leaders of businesses in all industries take care of the business filings needed to legally run their companies. Check out our FREE Corporate Compliance Tool, and contact us today about how we can save you time and money.

 

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By | January 13th, 2017|Corporate & Business Law, Entrepreneuring|0 Comments

To-Dos When Starting a Part-Time Business

So you’re not ready to quit your “day job,” but you want to start a business? Many entrepreneurs dip their toes to test the waters by launching their businesses part-time. In some ways, it’s the best of both worlds; you pursue your dream of business ownership while still bringing home a steady paycheck.

Although there are some considerations unique to starting a business part-time, you’ll find other aspects are the same as when starting a company full-time.

For example, you have to take the necessary steps to operate your business legally.

 

  1. Make sure you can legally use your business name.

Either check your state’s Secretary of State database or do a corporate name search to see if anyone else has registered the name you want. I also advise using CorpNet’s free trademark search tool to see if someone has already filed for a trademark on the name.

  1. Select a business structure.

By default, your business will be considered a sole proprietor unless you file for a different legal structure. Operating as a sole proprietorship offers simplicity, but it does not separate your personal and business finances and liabilities. That means if your business is sued, your personal assets might be in jeopardy.

I recommend considering formally registering your business by either forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or incorporating (C Corporation or S Corporation) to protect yourself. Doing so shields your personal assets from the liabilities of your company.

Before talking with an attorney for guidance, you can start learning about the advantages of different business structures by using CorpNet’s Business Structure Wizard.

Note that the different structures offer different taxation pros and cons, so I suggest also talking with an accounting or tax professional to explore which structure will work best for you in that respect.

  1. Register your business name.

When you form an LLC or incorporate your business in your state, registration of your name automatically happens. However, if you choose to operate as a sole proprietor and want to use a fictitious name for your company, you must register your business name by filing a Doing Business As (DBA). Don’t skip this step! It will allow you to operate your business under that name in your state and it will prevent other sole proprietors in your state from using that name.

  1. Get the licenses and permits you need.

Depending on the type of business you’re operating and where you’re located, you may have to secure licenses and permits to legally run your business. Federal, state, county, and/or local licenses and permits might apply to you. To avoid costly penalties and fines, research which permits and licenses you need to have to legally run your business.

 

Part-time Doesn’t Mean You Should Approach It Half-Heartedly.

Aside from the legal considerations in starting your part-time business, keep these things in mind, as well:

  • Know your limits.

There are only so many hours in each day, so carefully assess your capacity to work in and on your business before jumping in.

  • Make sure there’s no conflict of interest or legal restrictions.

Check with your employer about any rules that would prevent you from starting and operating your type of business while still on that company’s payroll.

  • Take it seriously.

Although you may still be working for someone else in your other job, you’ll need to give your part-time business serious time and energy if you ever want to make it a full-time endeavor.

 

Need Help Getting Your Part-time Startup Off The Ground?

If you’re planning to give part-time entrepreneurship a go, CorpNet is here to help you take care of all the business filings required to legally launch and run your business. Contact us today to make sure your part-time business has all of its registration paperwork submitted accurately and on time.

By | January 11th, 2017|Running A Small Business, Starting a Business|2 Comments

Business Information Zone (B.I.Z) – FAQs

Welcome January and 2017! With the holidays behind us and a bright new year ahead of us, it is a great time to start a business.  This month, we discuss the ways CorpNet can assist with our Business Information Zone or B.I.Z. in keeping your company in compliance!

Q: What is B.I.Z.?
A: Think of B.I.Z. as your business’ personal concierge service. Once you sign up, you’ll receive email reminders on tax and compliance alerts. You can also use B.I.Z. to store your business documents, and keep a personalized business profile that tracks important data about your company — such as formation date, Federal Tax ID number, business licenses and permits, and more.

Q: I didn’t use CorpNet to form my business, can I still use B.I.Z.?
A: Absolutely. Any Corporation, LLC, nonprofit, or professional company can use B.I.Z. to stay on top of their yearly compliance requirements. It doesn’t matter if you formed your company through CorpNet or not.

Q: It states that B.I.Z. is free. Is there a catch?
A: No. B.I.Z. is completely free, no strings attached. We know how challenging it can be to run a small business – and sometimes all the tedious state filing and fees can fall through the cracks. Small business owners don’t always know when their annual report is due or why their business fell into bad standing with the state. We created B.I.Z. to help small businesses keep track of all these filings, so they don’t have to pay an extra dime in fees or risk falling into bad standing just because they missed a deadline.

Q: What information do I need to create an account for free compliance monitoring on B.I.Z.?
A: You will need the following information: your business type (e.g. C Corporation or LLC), your filing state (where you filed your corporation/LLC paperwork), and your filing date (the registration date of your corporation/LLC with the state).

Q: Why do you need to know my filing date for B.I.Z.?
A: Each state has its own rules regarding when and how often corporations and LLCs are required to file their annual report. By knowing when you formed your LLC/corporation, we can send you an email alert before your annual report is due.

Q: What particular deadlines does B.I.Z. track?
A: B.I.Z. will track and notify you of upcoming compliance deadlines with the state, such as your Annual Report (if required in your state). It will also alert you of upcoming tax deadlines based on your business type. In addition, if you provide information about your business licenses and permits, B.I.Z. will alert you when they’re coming up for renewal.

Q: Can I keep track of multiple businesses with B.I.Z.?
A: Yes, you can monitor multiple businesses from a single B.I.Z. dashboard. It’s an ideal for attorneys and CPAs to keep track of their clients’ businesses.

Do you need help registering a business or have questions regarding the process? Call the CorpNet.com team today for a free business consultation at: 888.449.2638

Nellie in the News: December 2016

Happy December and Happy Holidays! With the new year only a few days away, it is time to re-evaluate your business! This month, our CEO, Nellie has been busy all over the internet with different informational articles that could help your business prepare for the fast approaching 2017!

Interviews & press Mentions

Monster.comWhen Is it Time to Hire Another Employee? http://mnstr.me/2gQYfDn

Feedspot – Top 100 Small Business Blogs On the Web http://bit.ly/2glhyry

TenFold – 20 Experts Answer: What’s Your #1 Sales Follow Up Tip? http://bit.ly/2gWB7m4

Small Business Advocate – When Is the Right Time to Change yor Business to a C Corporation? http://bit.ly/2iAgCjN

Small Business Advocate – Is It Time to Revisit Your Business’ Legal Status? http://bit.ly/2iAPj4N

 

Expert Contributed Posts

GoDaddy – 7 Rules for Easily Distracted Home-Based Business Owners http://bit.ly/2fQnCTG

Entrepreneur – How to Structure a Single Member LLC http://bit.ly/2gdgOjU

Secret Entourage – Signs it’s Time to Close Your Business http://bit.ly/2gIC58d

AllBusiness – How Smart Business Travelers Deal with Air Travel Delays http://bit.ly/2gh2hpO

Accounting Today – Help Your Clients Close an Inactive Business Before the End of the Year http://bit.ly/2hdXSWg

Small Business Trends – Does Your Business Have All Of Its Requires Licenses and Permits? http://bit.ly/2gsxWlc

Entrepreneur – Part of One: Setting Up Your Single-Person Corporation http://bit.ly/2hG32ux

Forbes – 5 Mistakes Women Business Owners Make when Managing Female Employees http://bit.ly/2h3ojwY

Entrepreneur – 5 Keys to Being a More Mindful Entrepreneur http://bit.ly/2hMMWwm

Huffington Post – Signs that New Client Won’t Be Worth Your Time in The New Year http://huff.to/2hNFDXI

By | December 29th, 2016|Nellie in the News|0 Comments

How To Use Live Video Chat For Your Small Business

In the past fifteen years, technology has transformed the way in which we communicate. In both our personal and professional lives, we have more channels available to us than ever: text messaging, instant messaging via social networks, and live video chat. The latter is a cutting-edge way for individuals to speak with others across the globe, and continues to become more valuable, with the video platform as a service (PaaS) market expected to generate $1.7 billion in 2020.

Live video chat may be ideal for friends and family to communicate in an intimate way, but it also holds great potential for businesses. For smaller enterprises especially, video chat can help you to increase engagement and gain an edge over your competition.

How?

  1. Live Video Chat is More Convenient for Consumers

Live chat is a common form of customer service today. E-commerce sites of all sizes offer this feature, allowing buyers and prospects to speak with real agents.

However, live chat tends to be text-based, with both parties forced to articulate themselves through the written word. This can be frustrating if your concern is of a technical nature, or requires a long, complex explanation.

On top of this, customers are forced to wait for agents to read their messages and compose a response. Today’s buyers want the most convenient solution – and this is not it.

While 90 percent of buyers questioned found live chat to be a helpful customer-service feature, live video chat offers a better quality of care. Its convenience allows consumers to speak face-to-face with a company representative from their home or workplace. Articulating your problems verbally, using gestures or visual aids, can be far easier than struggling with spelling and grammar over text.

Agents can provide solutions in less time, and use visual materials to walk customers through complex issues. 36 percent of buyers would be happy to see video chat offered as a support option, so every business should make it a priority for the future.

  1. Video Chat Boosts Your Sales

Sounds too good to be true?

Live video chat really can increase your sales over time. Video chat enables companies to offer helpful service as and when needed, without frustrating consumers with a constant presence. Anyone who shops in brick-and-mortar stores regularly knows how irritating over-zealous sales reps can be.

When asked about traditional text-based live chat, 63 percent of consumers stated they would be more likely to go back to a site providing this feature. As video is the next step in live chat, it is a must-have for any business, big or small.

Live video chat gives support agents the freedom to read body language and customers’ tone without infringing upon their personal space. Screen-sharing platforms also allow agents to see what potential buyers are looking at, which makes closing a sale easier.

  1. Live Video Chat Reduces Expenses

Enterprises of all sizes are concerned with their expenses. Even the biggest budget can be risked by unrestricted spending, so finding new ways to minimize outgoings is key.

Integrating live video chat helps companies to cut costs in two key areas.

First, as video allows agents to speak with consumers faster than text-based alternatives and use visual aids unavailable in voice calls, they can work through more queries. As a result, you will need only a smaller team of reps on hand.

Secondly, live video enables you to speak with colleagues and clients face-to-face, without having to pay for travel. For example, if you regularly fly a couple of employees across the country to speak with a client, you can save time and money by switching to video calls instead. The only thing missing is a handshake.

  1. Improve your Training and Collaboration

Just as live video chat makes external meetings far easier and cost-effective, it works the same magic on internal meetings. Pulling people away from their desks for brief idea-sharing sessions and feedback can take valuable time out of the day, and getting employees together may be difficult when they are required to be elsewhere.

With live video, employees can ask colleagues quick questions or make suggestions without having to leave their desks. This makes collaborating on documents, presentations, or pitches far easier and causes less disruption to schedules.

Training new employees is also streamlined. Rather than having to shadow others during their first few days, newcomers can ask questions without leaving their desk or pulling others away from theirs.

  1. Live Video Chat Gives you an Edge

While live video chat will go on to become a common customer-service feature, it is still something of a novelty for many consumers. By integrating it into your services as soon as possible, you can gain an edge over your competitors and provide a more intimate, higher quality of care.

However, before you invest time and energy into setting this up, it is vital to find the right service first. While it may be financially appealing to go with a cheaper solution, you may end up causing yourself more problems along the way.

Tony Zhao, CEO of video chat company Agora.io, discusses the importance of a quality channel: “Never cut corners with your customer service. Live video chat depending on poor connections, in regions without an efficient infrastructure, can cause lags, dips in sound, and sub-par video quality.

“Understandably, such interruptions risk chasing consumers away. Instead, you should prioritize paying for a quality solution which guarantees smooth, efficient service. For example, our Agora.io infrastructure has 80 data centers around the world, which pick up dropped data packets to ensure uninterrupted video chat connections. Giving your customers the clear and stable treatment they deserve.”

 

Live video chat stands to revolutionize the way in which we communicate with businesses, forging more personal, stronger connections between buyers and sellers. With the best service, your business stands to generate more revenue, offer more convenient care, and stand out from your competitors.

Have you thought about introducing live video chat to your company’s everyday operations?

By | December 22nd, 2016|Marketing Your Business|0 Comments

Ready Or Not – Is Your Business Prepared For 2017?

Congratulations on what I hope has been another prosperous year for your business! With 2016 coming to a close, now is the time to reflect on your successes and what you still need to do to make sure you’re set to make the upcoming year better than ever.

Do you have all of your business’s end-of-year responsibilities wrapped up?

Here’s a list of questions I recommend you ask yourself, so you can identify what you still need to take care of before the New Year begins:

  1. Have you organized all your accounting and tax records?

Tax time can be painstaking enough without needing to dig through a disorderly pile of receipts, invoices, and other paperwork. The more organized you are with your income, expense, charitable giving, past tax returns, W-9s, 1099s, etc., the less time and fewer headaches you’ll have when working with your accountant or tax preparer.

  1. Did you prepare and approve your 2017 budget?

Having a budget for the upcoming year can help steer your finances in a positive direction. Your budget will help you establish limits on expenses related to the various areas of your business. By identifying what you expect to spend throughout the year and how much revenue you expect to take in, you can more quickly recognize what has gone amiss if profitability isn’t where you want it to be.

  1. Is your marketing plan in place for the New Year?

Just as your budget can guide your business’s finances, your marketing plan will provide a roadmap that drives which strategies and tactics you’ll use to promote your business. And it will help ensure you schedule time to execute them. From printing advertising materials to engaging on social media to creating website content to exhibiting at trade shows to launching email campaigns, your marketing plan should identify all of the ways you intend to get your business in front of prospective customers.

  1. Have you assessed your need for new hires?

If you had a difficult time growing your business this year because you were understaffed, maybe it’s time to add employees. It will take some time to create job descriptions, determine wages/salaries (and put them in your budget!), and work through the other considerations that go along with hiring, so begin now. That way you’ll be able to begin accepting resumes and interviewing candidates as early as possible in the New Year.

  1. Have you reviewed your business structure to make sure it’s still the right fit?

If you’d sleep better at night with a greater degree of liability protection or if your business’s tax situation isn’t ideal, it may be time to change the legal structure you selected for your business. This is especially true for sole proprietors. Either forming an LLC or incorporating your business will separate your personal assets from those of your company. So personally, you will have limited liability if your company were to be sued. That means your home, vehicle, savings accounts, etc. will have more protection than if you continued to operate your business as a sole proprietorship.

You can use our Business Structures Wizard as a resource to help determine which structure might be best in your situation. Before making a decision about changing your business structure, however, I recommend talking with an attorney and tax professional to make sure you understand all the pros and cons of each option.

Ready Or Not—The New Year Is Near

How did you fare after answering the above questions? If you’ve discovered you’re not quite prepared for 2017, I say, “Better late than never!” Try to schedule some time between now and the end of the year to tackle at least a few of the to-dos. A little work now can go a long way toward putting your business on the right path in the New Year.

Planning to change your business structure in 2017? Don’t deal with the hassle of completing and submitting all the paperwork on your own. At CorpNet we’re here to take that off of your plate, so you can spend your time and energy growing your business. Contact us today!

By | December 20th, 2016|Business Checklists|2 Comments

5 Ways to Keep On Top of Your Accounting

A small business lives or dies by its cash flow. If you’re not staying on top of your accounting, you could be making significant mistakes that can derail business growth. Failing to reconcile your business bank accounts, not keeping track of income and expenses, or waiting to apply payments to open receivables leads to incomplete or incorrect accounting information.

Business accounting doesn’t have to be an onerous task. With the right mindset, tools, and support, you can stay on top of your accounting and keep accurate track of your business’ income and expenses. These five tips will help you manage your numbers even if you’re not a ‘numbers’ person, and keep careful track of your accounting data.

Five Ways to Handle Small Business Accounting

  1. Hire an accountant: Some business owners have neither the time nor the inclination to complete their own accounting tasks. For these business owners, hiring an accountant makes sense. Look for a local accountant so it’s convenient to meet with your accountant on a regular basis. Make your accountant’s life easier by collecting all of your paperwork in a folder or envelope, and organizing it before your meetings. Keep track of all expenses, save receipts, and include bank statements and other payment indicators. To find a small business accountant, ask at your Chamber of Commerce or local business meetings, look through local listings, and schedule interviews and appointments with a few to find someone who has the skills and experience you need for your small business accounting needs.
  2. Purchase and use accounting software: There are many excellent small business accounting software packages on the market today. Each can be customized for your business needs. Accounting software makes it easier and simpler to track expenses, apply payments to open receivables, and track customer expenses. If you aren’t sure how to set up your books for the year, speak with a local accountant. Some are certified by accounting software providers such as QuickBooks to teach and manage the software packages and will set up your system for a nominal fee. This service may even be free of charge if you use the same accountant for your taxes and end of year accounting, depending on who you work with. While QuickBooks may be the popular software, there are plenty of alternative options to choose from to fit your business needs.
  3. Set reminders: Common small business accounting mistakes include not updating your books regularly, failing to send invoices on a timely basis, and leaving open invoices unpaid. Set weekly or monthly reminders for accounting tasks. Block and hour or two to update your books regularly and track down unpaid invoices. A simple calendar reminder on your smartphone or in your calendar tool on your computer can help keep you up to date and on-task with your accounting needs.
  4. Set and keep an invoice schedule: Make sure you establish a schedule to invoice customers or clients. Each business owner must evaluate and determine a schedule to invoice customers, but make it a routine to keep your cash flow even and regular. A service provider may send invoices upon completion of the service. Others may choose to invoice customers on the last day of the month or the 15th. The schedule itself does not matter, but having a schedule does. The more you can make invoicing a simple routine, the easier it is to stay on top of it.
  5. Organize your paperwork: By far the biggest hurdle many small business owners have to leap is staying organized. This can be especially problematic for businesses on the go, such as lawn care companies, mobile food trucks, and others who work in a non-traditional office setting. Many items can be organized and stored on your laptop, smartphone or a cloud-based file system such as Google Docs, but others involve paper receipts. These should be stored in a central location until you are ready to tackle your accounting. You don’t need a fancy storage system; a shoebox or an envelope can suffice. Just be sure to use it regularly and store it in a safe place until you are ready to input your data into your accounting software or drop it off at your accountant’s office.

Professional Advice Is Invaluable

Even if you choose the do-it-yourself route and handle your own basic accounting, a yearly ‘checkup’ with a professional accountant or CPA is highly advisable. Small business accountants are both numbers-ninjas and business strategists. They can advise you on how to use accounting software, the latest IRS rules, changes and requirements, state taxation laws, and other issues pertinent to your accounting needs. With a good accountant by your side, you can be sure that your business’ financial information is handled competently.