For many small business owners, accounting terminology can be challenging. The concepts make sense but the phrases don’t. Most owners started a business out of a passion for a product or service, and not necessarily because they love administrative tasks. That said, you’ll need reliable accounting books frequently. If you haven’t brushed up on your accounting terminology lately, here are some concepts you will want to review: Accounts - This term can mean what you are probably accustomed to: bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc, where you have a number issued by your financial institution. However, ‘Accounts’ also refer to the various categories that are part of your Chart of Accounts. Chart of Accounts - Your chart of accounts is a series of ‘categories’ that various transactions can be applied to. Your chart of accounts is specific to your business and is often set up when you adopt accounting software for the first time. Each Account in your Chart of Accounts typically has a numerical code that can vary in terms of the number of digits. Understanding Accounting Terms: A Refresher 2 Cash Basis - Your business’s ‘Basis’ is like a setting for your books. When set to ‘Cash,’ everything revolves around when money moves. You recognize income when you receive money versus get a deal signed. You recognize an expense when you pay it, not when you get billed. Accrual Basis - When you are using ‘Accrual’ as your basis, you will recognize income as soon as you earn it in a category/account called ‘Accounts Receivable.’ You’ll recognize expenses as soon as you get billed in a category/account called ‘Accounts Payable.’ See below for more on these two general ledger accounts. Assets - A section of your Balance Sheet, ‘Assets’ represent stores of value for your company. Cash, real estate and equipment are assets but so are rights to value in the future. Your accounts receivable (money owed to you by clients) is an asset. If your company has made loans to others, that loan or note receivable is an asset as well. Liabilities - Another section of your Balance Sheet, liabilities are what your company owes. Bills are represented by ‘Accounts Payable’ while money owed over time or multiple installments would fall into a ‘note payable.’ Equity - Equity is the value of shares held by owners. It can be thought of as what would be left over if all Assets were sold and then all liabilities were paid off. The Accounting Equation - The interaction of the three Balance Sheet sections is often referred to as ‘The Accounting Equation’: Assets=Liabilities + Owner’s Equity. Understanding Accounting Terms: A Refresher 3 Revenue - Also defined as Income, revenue is the money that your company receives selling goods or services. Expenses - Also known costs, your company has to pay all kinds of expenses to stay in business. Profit - When you have more revenue than expenses, your company is running at a profit or sometimes what is referred to as ‘in the black.’ If you have more expenses than revenue, you are running the company at a loss, which is also referred to as ‘in the red.’ Retained Earnings - When a business runs a profit, cash accumulates within the business. Owners may decide to pay dividends (which reduce retained earnings), or they may keep the money on hand for reinvestment in the company. Accounts Receivable (A/R) - If you are using the accrual basis of accounting, you’ll show an account/category called ‘Accounts Receivable’ which represents all of the money that is owed from sales such as invoices you have sent to clients but that have not been paid yet. When the client pays you, your ‘A/R’ total goes down and your cash goes up. Understanding Accounting Terms: A Refresher 4 Accounts Payable (A/P) - Also an account/category if you are using the accrual basis, ‘Accounts Payable’ in the money you owe vendors who have already billed you but you have not paid yet. When you pay a bill, your ‘A/P’ goes down and your cash goes down. Understanding Accounting Terms: A Refresher 5 Learn these concepts, and you will be in good shape to have an informed conversation with your accountant or banker if you’re seeking financing.
2020 has been a year full of adjustments and changes. It has altered the way the world and businesses operate. It’s important to stay educated on the top business trends and developments that are sure to stick around for 2021. Here are some trends to account for in 2021.

Remote Work is Here to Stay

Several companies have already begun to take the flexible working arrangement seriously. It’s clear that for some industries, businesses do not fall apart when people work remotely. There are some amazing advantages to giving employees the freedom of working remote, such as:
  • Business savings on things such as office space, utility costs, equipment, or office supplies
  • No time spent commuting and reduced transport related expenses for employees
  • Increased productivity. FlexJob’s annual survey found that 65% of respondents are more productive when working remotely
  • Higher employee retention. In fact, companies that allow remote work have a 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t
Flexible work arrangements have always been a major consideration for talent when evaluating job opportunities. Not only is your company saving money, but also contributing to overall employee satisfaction.

Increased Focus on Customer Experience

Customer experience has become a top priority for all business types, and in 2021, it will become even more important but with greater emphasis on digital experience. When it comes to customer loyalty, product pricing is no longer the driving factor. Customers remain loyal to companies due to the experience they receive. 86% of buyers across several categories are willing to pay more in exchange for a better customer experience. The customer experience journey begins the moment the customer engages with your business. This can be in several forms such as through websites, ads, social media, or referrals. You may be asking yourself: “How can I improve the overall experience?” Here are a few tips to help you get started.
  • Offer superior customer service. One of the simplest ways to get started is by offering real-time support
  • Keep engaging with customers across different lifecycle stages
  • Create loyalty programs
  • Keep branding consistent
  • Acknowledge customer reviews

Digital Transformation

Due to the pandemic this year, several companies were forced to digitize their services and operations. This will continue to be the case in 2021. Having an online presence of some sort is expected by customers. Making sure your website is responsive is crucial. This means that your website has been designed to respond based on the technology and type of device the visitor is using (it’s just as functional on a smartphone as it is on a computer). Over the past few years, more and more people are using their mobile devices to access the internet and Android is the #1 operating system globally. Businesses must operate with a digital mentality to keep up with competition.

Go Cashless

Carrying cash is becoming rarer these days. There has been a rise in digital payment options. Digital payment options such as Apple Pay, Paypal, Cash App, or Venmo are starting to be more widely accepted by many small businesses. Although going cashless isn’t the right choice for every type of business, there are quite a few benefits to consider. For example:
  • More security
  • Faster checkout
  • Reduced operating expenses
  • Less accounting errors
In a time dominated by the pandemic, offering alternative payment types such as contactless, mobile wallets, or credit and debit cards can help reduce the risk of spreading Covid. Before making a drastic decision to become completely cashless, we recommend doing some research. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they think! Now is the perfect time to begin preparing for 2021, regardless of how your business has performed in 2020. Take a moment to evaluate what worked best or not so well; financial docs, customer reviews, and business plans are a great place to start.
For most of us, 2020 will be one of the most memorable years on record. Loss of childcare, working from home, avoiding public places and events, and limiting travel are just some of the personal disruptions that occurred.  And on the business side, the whole way we do business changed dramatically. That said, measuring financial performance against past years is still a good idea, but perhaps not as indicative of future performance as it might have been prior to the pandemic. Let’s consider some alternatives:  

New/Adjusted Services Performance

For many industries, business as usual was impossible in 2020 so existing services suffered greatly (or even disappeared). Did your business try some new ideas? Consider spending some time looking at your traction:

Marketing 

Did you figure out a way to get the word out beyond word of mouth or networking? Give yourself a pat on the back.  Some marketing performance indicators to better understand whether a new initiative has potential: email reads, webpage visits, clicks, form submissions, inquiries, or social media likes and shares.  You want to figure out if your new idea has interest from the people you believe to be your target market.

Sales

Beyond general interest, are people willing and able to buy what you’re selling. Are you starting to build a sales funnel? Congratulations. Prospects, opportunities, and the holy grail, closed business/new customers are great indicators. Don’t overlook the importance of “closed lost” or missed opportunities either. These folks can be a phenomenal source of feedback to help you refine your new offering and how you sell it.

Digital Transformation

Shifting from in-person to online interactions was already well underway prior to Covid-19. Just look at Amazon’s market cap if you need proof.  In the banking world, ‘digital transformation’ has been a buzz word for years, and many businesses benefited from acceleration of online transactions when it came to PPP financing and forgiveness. Nonetheless, the pandemic has certainly accelerated that shift to a way of doing business that is more friendly to Gen Xers and Millennials, where transactions may happen on a phone, and the product may be transferred in a shipping container or carry-out bag in the case of restaurants. For all businesses, in-person meetings are a lot less frequent, even doctors. Zoom, Google Meet, and other video conferencing tools have replaced office visits and new, virtual reality-based meetings are even being implemented at some firms. Check out Spatial if you want to learn more. The question for you: are you “transforming” your business? How is that going? If you’ve made adjustments to how you interact with your clients and employees, now might be a great time to send out a survey.  Some questions to ask: 
  • Could our new way of doing things be better?
  • Are we maintaining our culture?
  • Are we maintaining our standards?
  • Have adjusted sufficiently to prioritize growth over survival again?
 

Gig Economy

The combination of an unemployment rate that spiked dramatically in April and a workforce moving from the office to work-from-home has accelerated the adoption of the Gig Economy. While you may not actually use Uber or Lyft, you’re certainly aware that there are viable alternatives to taxis operated by freelancers you can hire via apps. Beyond driving, you can hire freelancers online to accomplish tasks like manning a chat service, graphic design, data management, website development and more. Online marketplaces have grown drastically. Fiverr has become more than 5 times more valuable this year. Upwork has nearly tripled in value. Here at FINSYNC, our Services Network, specialized in accounting services, has grown dramatically. Questions to ask yourself: 
  • Are you leveraging Gig Economy workers to enhance your operations and control costs?
  • Might your company benefits from being available through one of the many Gig Economy marketplaces?
We hope these alternative ways of looking at your performance are helpful as you prepare to emerge more successful than ever in 2021.
Attracting new customers to your business can be an overwhelming and even daunting task. We understand the importance of being innovative and finding creative ways to grow your customer base. In this blog post, we’ll review a few different strategies you can start implementing to gain new customers

Set Goals

It’s surprising how much of an impact setting goals and tracking progress can have on your business. Remember to set goals that are not too broad, such as “obtain new customers.” You’ll want to add specific numbers that are ambitious but achievable. In this case, an example of an achievable and trackable goal is: “Obtain 30 new customers in the month of October 2020.” Setting goals not only allows you to track success but also can help you stay focused and motivated.

Ask For Reviews and Referrals

Referrals and reviews are some of the most effective ways to generate new business. The best way to ask your customers for referrals and reviews is to be direct and ask via email, phone, or in-person. Focus on your “best” customers, those whom you’ve already built relationships with. These customers have already gained your trust, and as a result, gives you a higher chance at receiving positive reviews or referrals. If appropriate to your business, you may want to gently remind clients of how much you appreciate referrals via your email signature or a well-placed sign in your business. Another method is to offer incentives. Inform your clients that for every referral or review, they’ll receive something in return. You could offer incentives such as gift cards or a discount off a future order.

Build Partnerships

Partnerships allow your business to provide more value to your existing and new customers. An effective business partnership consists of different companies with similar missions and audience demographics offering complementary products. Brainstorm ideas that your demographic may enjoy:
    • Host giveaways on social media
    • Deploy email marketing campaigns to each other's contact base
    • Share a blog post on each other's service offerings.
Overall, partnerships should allow you to learn, grow, and benefit from each other’s experiences.

Offer Discounts and Promotions

Offering new customers a promotion or discount for a limited period of time incentivizes them to give your product a try. Whatever you can do to eliminate complexity when using your product or services the first time is helpful. Free trials, samples or great return policies are ways you can lower what is commonly referred to as friction. You’ll also want to keep in mind that building trust and credibility is crucial during this period to convert the user into a paid customer. Other ideas of discounts and promotions you could try for your business are:
  • Loyalty or reward points
  • Percentage-based or flat discounts
  • Free shipping
  • Product bundling
There is a multitude of ways to attract new customers to your business. We hope you find these strategies helpful. Our mission here at FINSYNC is to help small to mid-size businesses grow and succeed.
Take these five proactive steps today to create a more robust financial future for your small business in light of COVID-19.  By FINSYNC  In these turbulent times, you still have the power to shield your business from financial turmoil. From the way you sell products to securing funding, here are five steps you can take today to protect your small business. 

Evaluate Your Financial Situation and Loan Options

The first step is to organize your finances to get a better understanding of your costs, expected cash flow, and options when it comes to securing additional financing. Create a cash flow projection and test different scenarios. How long will you be able to pay essential bills given a reduction in or absence of sales? Depending on what your cash flow projections show, you may want to increase liquidity in your business through either credit cards or a business loan. For many small businesses, payroll represents a large expense that can be very difficult to cut.  On the one hand, if customers are not coming through the doors (physical or virtual), keeping employees on the payroll may seem like an unnecessary expense. On the other hand, employees are often the backbone of your business. So you’ll want to approach the termination of contracts with consideration.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers one option to ease the expense of payroll without having to let any employees go. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll. And the money is used for fixed expenses. Such as payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. 

Rethink Your Business Offerings

Now is the time to get creative about ways you can offer your products and services to customers. Discounts, product bundles, and gift certificates are all obvious choices, but there are ways to go beyond that. Any service-based small business will benefit from coming up with a couple of online event ideas. For example, if you run an agency that offers consulting services, you can offer the same services in virtual form. Or, if you run a hair salon, you can offer online consultation and customized color kits for delivery.  The main question to ask here is, how can you adjust your products or services in a way that can help customers during shelter-at-home restrictions? It may also be a good idea to partner up with other local small businesses in industries that are complementary to yours. Giving customers the ability to buy goods and services from both businesses in a single transaction can provide much-needed convenience. It’s also a great way to round out your offerings. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, find a marketer or a digital marketing specialist to work with and offer packages that companies can purchase. Or, if you’re a small accounting firm, perhaps you can team up with a lawyer to provide better guidance to people in these challenging times.

Make It Easy for Customers to Buy From You

Even if you had to close your physical doors to customers. It doesn’t mean you need to close down your operations completely. There are numerous ways you can keep your business running without physical interactions with customers. You can, for example, extend the home delivery of your products, or offer curbside pickup. If you can’t afford to hire delivery personnel, explore different delivery apps. If your products aren’t physical, increase your virtual offerings.  Making payments easier for your customers can go a long way as well. Switch to paperless payments as much as possible and allow customers to pay you online via credit card or ACH. To avoid contamination risk on your end, you can use FINSYNC Lockbox to handle check payments, which will be remotely deposited into your account for you.

Utilize Your Network

Your customers are not the only group that’s affected by changes in your business. It’s a great time to reach out to your entire network. Get in touch with all of your key business relationships — suppliers, partners, consultants, etc. — and ask how they’re doing. Open up a conversation where all of you can work together to find ways to make it through the current situation, and beyond.  Perhaps you have experience in areas like how to work remotely or deal with a disaster that you can share with others, and vice versa. Sharing your knowledge will earn you some goodwill as well. 

Increase the Liquidity In Your Business

In light of the COVID-19 situation, the U.S. government passed the CARES Act, which offers small business relief. You can apply for either an SBA Disaster Loan or a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which can be partially or fully forgiven. You can apply for both of these SBA Disaster Loans online. Additionally, you can turn to private sector programs. For example, Facebook dedicated $100 million in grants to small businesses. Other fintech companies that specialize in small business loans are also expanding their offerings. In order to help small businesses get through this challenging time.  You can also renegotiate the terms of your current debts. Because many banks and financial institutions are now offering better terms for new loans, some existing loans are eligible for better terms as well. Finally, as you await your small business PPP funding or Disaster Loan assistance, you can increase the liquidity of your business by tapping credit you already have. FINSYNC makes it simple to use your credit card to make payments for traditionally cash-only expenses, including everything from rent to vendor payments. Taking these five proactive steps now will not only help you weather the current disruption, but prepare for a full recovery when this storm passes.
From setting up payroll to providing benefits and performance reviews, human resources for small business involves more than just recruiting, hiring and retaining top talent.  By FINSYNC Managing human resources can present considerable challenges to small business owners who may already be over-extended by other responsibilities. Beyond keeping up with the pace of daily operations, it can be difficult to figure out how and where to recruit talent, let alone navigate all of the best practices for hiring and retaining employees for optimal success.     The goal of HR is to improve the workplace and how employees operate within it, but not every business has a manager dedicated to the department. Consider the onboarding process of a single employee, which involves recruiting and hiring the right candidate, setting up payroll, and handling retention and performance management, among other things.  Many companies are turning to small business HR outsourcing to help manage the otherwise significant investment of financial and human capital required to do it all the right way on their own.

Why get help with HR?

Many businesses need HR assistance to scale during periods of expansion or big projects, or to bring in specialized talent for unique needs. For example, a small media production team may typically operate with less than five full-time employees, but in the event of a project that involves something like a website buildout or more robust production needs, that same team may decide to bring in added staff or contractors to fill the immediate need. Successfully managing your HR activities requires a commitment of both time and financial assets. Going it alone has the potential to consume more time and mental energy than many small business owners have to spend. Managing all these tasks can feel like a daunting to-do list.  Outsourcing HR offers the opportunity for busy owners to pay more focused attention to other mission-critical tasks. In the case of the small production team, the core staff can pay vital attention to managing the account, drafting pre-production creative and ramping up for filming, while outsourcing other key activities to contractors and support staff.

What functions does HR serve? 

  1. Hiring
Hiring new employees is integral to your business. For many owners, onboarding even one employee can require too much time. This multi-step process – job boards posting, reviewing applications, coordinating interviews – is best undertaken by a qualified HR professional. In smaller companies, every hiring decision is critical. Streamlining your efforts reduces time and money spent.
  1. Retention
The time and money you invest into hiring quality talent will have greater returns the longer you retain them. The key to employee satisfaction is performance management. This sets benchmarks so that staff may advance their careers, broaden compensation options, receive skills training or, in some cases, get terminated. Providing feedback and opportunities motivates employees. As a result, increasing the likelihood that they stay with the company. Conversely, failing to do so may result in wrongful termination claims. Here are some examples of areas in which outsourcing to a qualified HR professional can help:

Developing Employee Handbooks and Manuals

  HR works with you to document, enforce and update various protocols, policies and expectations for your business. An employee handbook outlines these items for your employees, and keeps everyone clear on goals and expectations. Relating employee performance to concrete, real-world examples prevents internal conflicts and mitigates risk for all parties involved.

These documents also work to cover you in case of employee disputes, in areas such as sickness, annual holiday entitlement, and maternity/paternity. Owing to its legal importance, it’s wise to have an employment attorney review all documents to ensure compliance standards. 

Handling Compensation and Benefits

While your small business may not be obliged to do so, offering health insurance and other benefits attracts and retains talent. With the support of an HR professional, you can better identify exactly what benefits your employees desire. You can also choose a plan while cutting business costs. For example, HR can negotiate lower rates on a group healthcare plan.

Streamlining Training and Development

Establishing HR protocol with the help of a qualified professional allows you to do several things.  The first is engaging in performance reviews to gauge how your employees are doing. Additionally, you can determine if you’re working with the right talent. Last, HR can help show you how to set these individuals up for success. 

Assessing Risk Management

HR can put measures in place to improve and standardize workplace safety. Should a worker get injured on the job and argue that the workplace is unsafe, HR would have the appropriate compliance documents to help avoid incurring damaging costs. 

In keeping and managing records, a meticulous HR partner may be able to discover ways to lower standard workers’ compensation rates and unemployment taxes. Maintaining thorough employee performance records is advisable in the event of having to defend yourself or the company against any potential claims.

  1. Handling Termination
In facing the challenge of eliminating a staff member, an HR professional can offer advice on approaching that matter appropriately. They can help navigate best practices not only for recruiting and hiring, but also in the event of termination. 
  1. Assisting with Employment Laws
Many businesses are required by governing bodies to display certain notices, posters and information in the workplace. HR professionals will have knowledge about what kind of content to post and where to post it.  Additionally, they'll know when to update important messages.

Employee Files

Each of your employees must have three files: an I-9 file, a medical file and an employment file. Keep these properly to avoid fines of up to several thousand dollars. HR professionals can assist with storing and updating, as well as keeping all of your important documents organized.  Should you decide outsourcing your HR needs is the best solution for you, FINSYNC’s services network includes human capital management that helps small businesses get up and running  with professional, on-demand HR services on an as-needed basis. The network of experienced and fully vetted professionals are there to help when you need it.  This holds true regardless of the size of your team or customer base.
Take greater control of your company’s financial fitness by employing smart approaches to lowering the cost of your small business insurance. By FINSYNC  Not even the savviest and most organized business owner can predict the unexpected. That’s why you’ve either invested in or are planning to invest in small business insurance. The right coverage is critical for maintaining the long-term health of your business and mitigating the risk of unforeseen events.  Not all insurance companies, policies, and plans are created equal. It can be difficult to determine what type of small business insurance coverage you need, and land on the policy that’s the best fit for your business. One of the first questions you’re likely to have is: How can I lower my insurance costs?      Small business insurance often represents a significant monthly expense. It can be a manageable cost when you put the right tools and practices into play. Depending on the size of your company, you may be paying for several expenses. For example, workers compensation insurance, unemployment, or disability, over and above general liability insurance for small business.  The costs can really add up. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you bring down the cost of your small business insurance.

How to Reduce Your Small Business Insurance Costs

  1. Consider Raising Your Deductible

This is a straightforward way to bring down the overall cost of your insurance. It’s not something you should do before first analyzing whether you’re equipped to pay the new deductible amount in the event of a claim. For some businesses, the consideration of risk involved with catastrophic damage to property, and therefore assets, outweighs the consideration of raising deductible costs. It’s important to be able to rely on the greatest amount of assistance should the time of need arise. For others who may not maintain the same level of risk, you can meaningfully reduce the overall cost of the policy simply by adjusting the amount of your deductible 
  1. Limit Your Company’s Risk 

As a small business owner, you may end up paying more for insurance based on the level of perceived risk associated with your company. There are a number of best practices you can employ yourself. Or, preferably with the guidance of a professional insurance broker or business adviser. This is to lower your company’s risk. Some steps you can take include putting measures into place to increase the safety of your workplace, assessing disaster preparation, and coordinating a thorough theft-prevention plan. For example, to increase workplace safety, you could ensure employees have the proper onboarding and ongoing training. Reward employees for consistently safe behavior, post safety signs and labels, and perform regular inspections on any tools and equipment. Then, Implement safety protocols as a part of your daily business operations. Lastly, make sure to communicate your coordinated efforts with your insurance broker.
  1. Inquire About Discounts & Packaged Deals

Finding the right small business insurance plan can be time-consuming and confusing, and finding the right broker can feel like an uphill battle that you just don’t have time to take on. If you’re going it alone, another way to bring down your insurance costs is to take advantage of low-hanging fruit in the way of discounts and packaged deals. For example, many small businesses are eligible for discounts simply by virtue of their particular industry or organizational affiliation. Others may be able to take advantage of discounts because of the recent addition of a special training program or security measure. It may sound obvious, but you won’t know unless you ask. So make sure you’re exploring any and all opportunities for special discounts and packaged offers.
  1. Trim Unneeded Coverage

Most small businesses are required to carry general liability insurance. What other kinds of coverage are you paying for that may be unnecessary? Review your current insurance policy’s terms to flag any redundancies in benefits. If there are redundancies and overlap, there’s a strong chance you’re paying more money than required without receiving any tangible added benefit. For example, a small IT firm with a team comprised mainly of remote freelancers may not need several options. Such as professional liability insurance or umbrella coverage for a brick-and-mortar property. However, they may have more specialized needs, such as cyber insurance.  No one has a better understanding of your business than you. Make sure your insurance policy reflects your company’s unique needs, and don’t pay for what you don’t need. 
  1. Shop the Market for the Best Rates

It can be frustrating and time-consuming to do the necessary legwork and research to ensure that you’re getting the best insurance rates. You may pay dearly if you don’t explore all of the options at your disposal. A general best practice is to shop around. Talk to multiple brokers or apply through a marketplace.  FINSYNC recently launched an insurance network that offers general liability insurance for small business along with workers compensation insurance and cyber insurance. The network serves as an ideal way for business owners to shop a carefully selected marketplace for the best insurance rates. Simply fill out a single online application. In a matter of minutes, you’ll be matched with a business insurance broker that’s ideal for your business. Then, receive offers from a variety of insurance companies competing for your business. There’s no substitute for rock-solid cost management and accounting practices. Taking advantage of these commonsense methods can help you reduce the overall cost of your small business insurance over time.
Small business owners spoke with us about how FINSYNC has helped them solve common problems — and why many have switched over from QuickBooks. By FINSYNC At FINSYNC, we love connecting with small business owners for our blog series called Spotlight on Small Business Owners. Over the past year, we’ve interviewed a number of small business owners. We always enjoy speaking with them about the challenges and rewards of running a business.  During these conversations, business owners often tell us how FINSYNC has helped solve some of the many challenges they face. Over time, we noticed a trend — QuickBooks has repeatedly come up in these conversations, completely unprompted.  It turns out, a lot of FINSYNC users have switched over from QuickBooks in order to find solutions to issues that are common to many small business owners. Here’s why.

Visibility

We had tried QuickBooks and several other solutions, and they all prevented us from getting visibility into where our cash pain points were going to be. Early on in the business we often found ourselves running out of cash unexpectedly.   Whether something someone had purchased on a credit card wasn’t foreseen, or a client receivable wasn’t paid on time and we didn’t anticipate that, these situations became a problem. Working with FINSYNC we were able to get a lot of visibility to anticipate the crunches and prepare for those situations. With the cash flow tools that allow us to see where our financial trends are, we’ve been able to look forward and see where potential problems might arise. This allows us to plan accordingly rather than having sudden surprises.” Travis Peters, Impelos

Value

“We were using QuickBooks because that’s what our accountant had asked us to use, and I was looking for more cost-effective alternatives. FINSYNC had everything that I wanted at a much more attractive price point.  Plus, they were much more responsive to inquiries, really friendly in the onboarding process. They seemed much more concerned with our success and happiness than with just signing us up. The fact that there was a personalized onboarding process speaks directly to the difference between FINSYNC and the gigantic companies.” Andy Rostad, Media Beyond 

Service

“In the past, I’ve used various versions of QuickBooks and was never completely satisfied. FINSYNC has been a wonderful and affordable alternative to other accounting packages out there. It’s easy to use and the customer service is outstanding! I’ve found the software very easy to learn. Whenever I have a question, Nathan has been readily available to help me figure things out. I like FINSYNC’s all-in-one model, the ability to accept many different methods of payment from a single platform, and that everything is synced from my bank account.”   Kathy Pieper, Learning Cycle Tutors

Payments 

“Before FINSYNC, we focused primarily on online sales and used Stripe and QuickBooks. This presented a limit for how many online invoices I could send. I needed a platform that would allow unlimited invoices and vendor payments since that is a large part of what I’m doing in my business. FINSYNC can do that and has many other features that are valuable to me.  Callie Ogden, Event Vines

Project Cost Accounting

“We were using various tools and none of them talked to each other. We were using QuickBooks Online for our receivables. Later, we added the payables part to it. However, it wasn’t connected to payroll, nor was it connected to time tracking, nor to our project management data in Excel for project cost accounting.  Our time tracking vendor didn’t connect to QuickBooks. We couldn’t really have a project cost accounting solution other than Excel spreadsheets, so I was spending a lot of time trying to get the data we needed from one tool and then patch summary information to other tools and make sense out of it all. It was very costly and very burdensome.  I knew we had to have a better sense of where we stood as a company. FINSYNC pulls all the data together so I can make sense out of things. It was the only platform we found that did everything we wanted.  QuickBooks can do payables, payroll, receivables, and general ledger kind of stuff, but the project cost accounting was virtually non-existent. Time tracking didn’t exist at that point either. Our accountant was a certified QuickBooks professional, but he couldn’t figure out how to use QuickBooks to get what we wanted. The only platform that really seemed like it did project cost accounting well in a way that made sense to me was FINSYNC.” Galen Dalrymple, Polymath  Want to see for yourself how FINSYNC can help you save time, money, and maybe even your sanity? Try the software free for a week.
Make an educated decision if, when, and how to scale your business by researching the state of the industry, understanding where your business is now, and determining what you’ll need to grow. By FINSYNC “Is it time to take it to the next level?” is one of the most exciting (and potentially anxiety-inducing) questions a small business owner can ask themselves. However, with the right research, analysis and support, you can put together a measured plan for success.  The answer to the question of whether or not your business is ready to scale is in the data. But where is that data?

Do the Research

The first step to such a big decision is research. Look into the overall industry landscape: 
  • How quickly is your industry growing? 
  • When and how do other businesses your size generally scale?
  • What are your competitors doing?
Research will reveal possible growth trajectories for your company. If your business serves local customers, look into other similar businesses in your city, and in similar sized markets. If your business is internet based, start with your industry. Then branch out to similar business models in other industries for ideas.  When you start asking questions, sometimes you end up with more questions. That’s a good thing! New questions help clarify what information is most important. Allowing you to drill down into more granular and industry-specific information. Even if you ultimately decide to hold off on scaling for now, this research will help strengthen your business in preparation for growth. 

Shore Up Your Financials

Take stock of your business’s financial health. First things first. With all business expenses accounted for, be sure that you have more money coming in than going out. Take a holistic look at your books to see what you can optimize cut back on an expense here, add some money to a successful marketing campaign there.  For example, much of the software that businesses use is purchased through small monthly subscriptions. It’s easy to overlook some of them. It’s a good idea to list and audit all of your monthly software subscriptions to determine if you actually need all of them. For a clear picture of when and where all your money is coming in and going out, it helps to have everything together in an easy-to-read, intuitive dashboard. This type of tool will make it simple to get visibility on past, present, and projected income and expenses, all in one place. You can see summary data at a glance, or drill down into the nitty gritty details to understand your business’s financial data in detail.  Growth is expensive. New inventory costs, rented space, higher payroll, and unforeseen changes all drive up the cost of scaling your business. Be sure that your finances are currently strong, but also that there’s enough money in the bank to cover the new costs associated with scaling. In addition to the potential influx of new operating expenses, small businesses seeking bank financing to grow should be able to show at least three consecutive months of profitable operations. Many expansions will require outside financing, so shoring up your finances has the dual purpose of strengthening your cash flow and setting the company up to qualify for funding. 

Access Capital

It costs money to grow, and securing financing for small businesses is notoriously difficult. The good news is there are more opportunities to access capital than ever.  While traditional lenders often require 2+ years of financial records and collateral, and generally tend to favor larger loan requests, alternative lenders approve loans with as little as 90 days of financial information. Alternative lenders are also able to approve smaller loan amounts, and are less likely to require collateral.  With one simple application, FINSYNC’s Lending Network can connect small business owners with fast, flexible, and affordable financing from alternative lenders. Once you complete the application, you can compare loan options and even receive feedback to improve the strength of your application over time. Beyond a traditional small business term loan, there are several types of loans that may be more accessible to small businesses, and are designed to support growth:  
  • Equipment Loan

If expansion requires new equipment, consider an equipment loan. The collateral is the equipment itself, so this is an attractive option for businesses not looking to put up other collateral to access financing.   
  • Invoice Financing

Invoice financing or “factoring” is another option with essentially built-in collateral. If your business invoices clients, you can receive cash advances based on the money you’ve invoiced. This can be especially helpful for businesses with long payment cycles. 
  • Line of Credit

Short of receiving a full loan, small businesses can also access a line of business credit to help support expansion. Also known as revolving credit. This type of loan doesn’t require collateral. It offers you flexibility in both how you use the funds and how you repay them. A line of credit can also help you build your business credit, which will make accessing capital in the future easier.

Build Your Team

Is your team ready for expansion? Take stock of who is currently on staff, where the team’s strengths lie and what support each team needs. First, evaluate how employees are currently performing, and then look at what additional capacity will be necessary for growth.  For example, when opening a new location, not only will a small business need additional staff, but preferably some key managers with experience in opening new locations.  When evaluating what your business will require in order to scale, it can be helpful to bring in expert support for strategic insight. For some help from someone who “has been there and done that,” FINSYNC’s corporate strategist consultants can provide you with specific experience scaling businesses in your industry without the commitment of making a full-time hire. No long-term contracts are required. Your business can benefit from executive-level expertise and guidance without committing to paying an executive salary.  Even if you decide not to scale at this time, your business will be stronger for the groundwork you do to research the landscape, clean up your books, evaluate your team, and look into financing opportunities.  If you’ve gone through these steps, and determine that it is time to take the leap, you can move forward with the confidence that you’ve done your due diligence and have access to the tools and expert support that your small business needs to scale.
Estate planning is essential for entrepreneurs who want to ensure their business lives on.  Once you retire or pass away, creating an estate plan helps avoid unnecessary risks and costs for your loved ones.   By FINSYNC  You’ve spent years — decades even! — building your business. What will happen to it when you retire or pass away? Creating a thoughtful estate plan is essential to ensuring that your business will end up in good hands when you’re no longer in charge. Most small business owners are not eager to deal with this task. Given that it requires you to openly and soberly discuss your own mortality. But it is imperative that you consider your estate planning options. Otherwise, you risk creating unnecessary costs and strife for your loved ones. Where do you begin? There are many factors to consider, particularly since it’s likely that much of the wealth that an entrepreneur may want to leave their survivors will be tied up in their business. Beyond that, if you want a family member or another person to take over your business once you're gone, you'll have to lay the groundwork for that transition in advance. The good news is you can take steps to set up a business succession plan any time — the sooner, the better. An estate planning attorney can help you prepare the proper documents. Here are some considerations you should weigh as you prepare to file an estate plan.  

Will You Name a Successor?  

One of the most important decisions you can make about the fate of your business after you're gone is whether you want it to continue, or whether you plan on closing it out. Not every small business is set up to outlive the owner. Let's say you're a dentist or a graphic artist. You may have one or two support employees, perhaps a bookkeeper or receptionist, but no one else has the skills to continue providing your business' services to customers once you've passed. In this scenario, it's likely you'll want to formally establish your intent to close the business upon your death or retirement. By making it clear in your estate plan that your business will no longer exist after your death and isn't transferable to your family, for example, it will reduce the risk that they will owe estate taxes.  

Have the Tough Talks 

Let's say you want to entrust your business to a family member or employee to run once you're gone. The first step is to communicate your intention early on and ensure they’re willing to take over the business. Once there’s a verbal agreement, ask an estate attorney to draft your business plan of succession. You'll want that succession plan in place right away in case of your untimely passing. Doing so will help avoid discord among family members and others, and ensure that your wishes are followed. Remember, without an estate plan, you won't be able to determine successorship or the distribution of business assets.   Take the case of a business with a single owner. Without an estate plan, the owner's estate has to liquidate the business' assets to pay off any debt, including taxes. Whatever is left would then be parceled out according to the owner's personal will. Of course, if the person didn't get around to making a will, their remaining business assets and everything else will be distributed according to state probate law.  

Go Beyond a Will  

An effective estate plan for a business owner will go beyond what you would include in a standard will. You'll need to spell out exactly what you want to happen with your business, should you become incapacitated or die. If you're the sole business owner, here's where you document how you want to transfer ownership of your company and to whom, assuming you've lined up someone for the job. If you have business partners, you'll need to craft what is known as a buy-sell agreement, which lays out how the partners can buy each other out. Let's say you share ownership of your company with someone else. Such an agreement would dictate how you could buy their share in the company upon their death from their estate.  While you're laying the groundwork for the orderly disposition of your estate, remember to also establish whom you'd like to have the power to make financial decisions in the event you're incapacitated and upon your death.

Minimize the "Death Tax"  

One of the perks of having an estate plan in place is that it will enable you to take steps to reduce the so-called death tax that your estate may be required to pay once you die. As a business owner, your estate could be on the hook for taxes ranging from 35% to 50% of your company's value.   Many families faced with this tax bill often have to resort to selling the business to raise the funds within the nine-month window required by the IRS to pay off estate taxes.   Fortunately, the IRS allows some flexibility to business owners who establish an estate plan. Including selling stock at a lesser tax cost and the ability for the business owner's estate to pay estate taxes in installments.   As the saying goes, you can't take it with you. But with proper estate planning, you can ensure that the fruits of your hard work will end up in the right hands.
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