Greatest Hits from the Fundera.com Ledger

It’s busy season, and while I have at least 4000 ideas for blog ideas, the problem is finding time to get them all out of my head. Instead, I’m going this (somewhat lazy) route for a post: Greatest Hits from the Fundera.com Ledger. Trust me, these articles  will be helpful! They all come from an amazing resource – the Fundera.com Ledger (I’m only slightly biased, since I write for them every month).

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First up are some greatest hits from the Fundera.com Ledger, for small businesses:

Ben Rashkovich’s “7 Ways You Can Be Your Accountant’s Favorite Client”

I love this not just for the animated gifs, but because every single one of these 7 things? Will truly make you your accountant’s favorite client. Or at least put you in the top… 7.

MWood’s “19 of the Best Small Business Opportunities for 2016” 

If you’re tired of working 40 hours a week for the man, why not take a look at this list and see if something strikes your fancy, so you can start working 80 hours a week for YOURSELF. Bonus – some of them may services that your existing business could start to offer. Yay!

Here are some of lending’s greatest hits from the Fundera.com Ledger:

Sarita Harbour’s How the Kind of Debt You Have Affects Your Loan Chances

We all know how important it is to be aware of our credit scores and to periodically check our credit reports for accuracy so that we’re not surprised when we seek out loans. However, when was the last time someone explained to you how the TYPE of credit might impact your ability to get a loan? Probably never, if you’re like many of our clients.

Ben Rashkovich‘s The Alternative Lending 25: Small Business Edition

So many small businesses think the only way to get funding is to go the local bank and apply for a traditional loan or line of credit.  Ben points out “Fast, efficient, convenient, and flush with so many different options, the online alternative lending industry flourished as small business borrowers recognized its flexibility.” He then provides a great list of alternative lenders. A must read for any small business looking to get funding, or anyone working with a small business that might be looking.

 

Obviously, a list of greatest hits from the Fundera.com Ledger wouldn’t be complete without some of my own articles, about QuickBooks, of course!

My piece on The 12 Absolute Best Sources on How to Use QuickBooks Online

Here is where I list some fantastic resources for learning and using QuickBooks Online. From Intuit’s own sites, to conferences  and Facebook groups, you’ll be on your way to power user in no time! One thing missing? My own QBO Show! We were on hiatus when the article was written, but we just made our return on March 3, 2016.

My work around for Job Costing in QuickBooks Online with Sub-Customers

This won’t work for every company, but it does work. You have to be diligent about tracking and keeping the transaction numbering consistent, but until QuickBooks Online gives us progress invoicing and the ability to receive a partial purchase order, it’s this or a third party app.

 

I hope my list of greatest hits from the Fundera.com Ledger were helpful! Like I said, I have a jillion ideas from blog posts, but probably won’t have time to get them all posted until after busy season. Which is fine, because if you’re an accounting professional, you probably won’t have time to read them until then either!

QuickReview™, QuickBooks Online & Sales Tax

QuickReview™, QuickBooks Online & Sales Tax

Our QuickReview™ service helped improve how our client manages sales tax in QuickBooks Online

Recently, at Kildal Services, we were contacted by a prospective client about our QuickReview™ service. We jumped on the project, and quickly identified some… weirdness.

They track Sales Tax in QuickBooks Online, with all of their sales local – no online storefront. As a Michigan based company, this, in and of itself isn’t the weirdness, or even normally an issue.

The weirdness was that they had this account in their chart of accounts called “Attachments” – that was a sub account under their Sales Tax payable account. It had a bunch of zero dollar journal entries in the register, each with an attachment. After looking at this, we realized that these JEs were all the same date as the Sales Tax Payment in the parent account, and the attachments were all the PDF confirmation of their online payment for their Sales Tax payment.

Aha! So not that weird, really. But still not an ideal process – it’s still a two step process and the payment confirmation is never attached to the actual payment in QuickBooks Online, which is really what the client wanted. Unfortunately, the Sales Tax module is very rigid in QBO and does not allow this.

So we came up with a solution for them.

Here’s what they’re doing now:

1. They open up the Sales Tax Center in QBO to see what they owe for Sales Tax. In the screen shot below, you can see they currently owe $1.20 in the balance column. Also note, there are 2 payments showing in the Payments column, but nothing showing in the section titled “Recent Sales Tax Payments”

Now that that they have their Gross Sales and Taxable Sales, they’ll be able go to Michigan.gov and submit their return and payment (if this company is a quarterly filer, technically they have nothing due just yet).

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2. Now, in QBO, they’ll open the Sales Tax Payable register, and record the Journal Entry for the payment (yes, I know, I KNOW. We’re not following the proper workflow. I promise it will be okay.)

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Why are they doing a JE, when everyone says to avoid them in QuickBooks if you can? In QuickBooks Online, you aren’t allowed to create a check or an expense transaction that posts to the Sales Tax Payable account – you can only use a JE. And you can’t attach anything to a normal sales tax payment, but you CAN attach a document to a JE. See where I’m going with this?

Right here you see the attachment. This is actually picture of Ted Nugget, my vision of Ted Nugent, in chicken nugget form, but you get the idea, right?

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3. Despite the “Recent Sales Tax Payments” section showing no payments (see above), they can still click on the “View All” button and they’ll be taken to a report that does, indeed, show them the payments, recorded as Journal Entries:

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Now the client has ONE step in QBO – entering the JE and attaching the payment confirmation, rather than recording the payment, then entering the zero dollar JE and attaching the payment confirmation. The Sales Tax Center still shows the correct balances, as well as previous payments, and they can still easily view a report with all of those payments from the Sales Tax Center.

Yet again, our QuickReview™ offering found an anomaly in the setup, but instead of it being something in need of fixing, it provided us with an opportunity to do what we do best: show our client how to work better, faster, smarter.

The best part? They were so impressed they hired us to do their books. Another one time engagement that turned into long term revenue. Yay!

 

Forget Everything I’ve Ever Said About Billing Packages

That’s right. I said it.

For years I’ve had standard bookkeeping packages and offered them to clients… In reality? I just couldn’t get them work. I even tried given them names: “Bronze, Silver, Gold” and assigning set services in each level. Didn’t really make a difference. But MAN, I really did to make these a part of my practice, especially after I hired people to work with me.

When I got to the point of quoting services, I would present the packages. One of two things would happen. Either the client would say: “Well, those are nice, but what I really need is…” and then describe exactly the services they were looking to have us provide. This was good! It would leave me an opening to give them a price for what they were asking. Or, the client would say: “Thanks, but no thanks, I”ve decided to see other options”. This was not good.  It meant the client had had moved on and I’d missed out.

If the client hadn’t already completely written us off, when pressed, they could never quite pinpoint why they decided to go another route. I eventually figured out after some discussions something that I’ve always known, but in these situations, was missing it completely. First: the client didn’t know what they needed; didn’t know what they didn’t know. Second, they wanted choices, and felt these packages didn’t offer that.

Early on in 2014, I took a different approach with prospective clients. Rather than offering packages that included set services, I started offering a more a la carte system. The result? Out of all the prospects that approached Kildal Services LLC in the first quarter, we’ve closed all but two. For the record, those 2, we never got to the point where we could even quote services, because the clients were non-responsive after the initial contact.

What this evolved into was a system that we call “Base Plus” billing. Once we’ve done our initial client interview, data review and needs analysis, we offer different levels of service, starting at the base:

Basic services that include services such as account reconciliation, after the fact bookkeeping via bank feeds and a few other simple services.

The client has the option of including “Add On” services, resulting in Basic +1, Basic +2, and so on. Add ons include payroll, Accounts Payable management, Accounts Receivable management, etc.

Each of these has limitations. For instance, the payroll option covers up to 5 employees, with additional fees for any employees over that initial 5. If the client requires something above and beyond these limitations, we provide them a custom quote.

Two things I want to mention. I understand that there are some firms that have made the standard packages work and I commend them. I’ve just found that for the types of small businesses that my practice (and the ProAdvisors for which I’ve done consulting) services, they’re not the best option. Also, for all of those people that I’ve presented to and taught to build packages – at the time, I truly believed that these would work, and up until recently, I regularly offered them to clients.

This method makes it so that the client is able to choose a level of service that they’re comfortable with (for instance, some clients that have been doing everything themselves since they started their business just aren’t ready to turn over paying bills right away), and that their current budget allows. They can see that services can be customized to their needs, and that they’re scalable as their company grows.

Often, clients come to us because often they come to us feeling just beat because they’re struggling with their bookkeeping. They could be doing other things – working on growing their business, or spending more time with their family. The two most surprising – and important – side effects that I’ve noticed since implementing the “BasePlus” billing method is that the client feels great sense of empowerment over this and they understand you’re creating a truly collaborative relationship.

 

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