Is Your Business Fraud-Proof?

No small business owner wants to believe that their profits could be disappearing under the table – and certainly not by employees they trust. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2014 Global Fraud Study revealed that organizations lose a median of 5% of revenues each year due to business fraud. And it’s not just revenue.

Businesses also suffer indirect costs, including decreased employee morale and productivity as well as effects on their brand and reputation. Bigger companies have learned that if they want to succeed, they have to do the things necessary to prevent fraud before it happens.

As a small business owner, you may have limited time and resources to dedicate to the cause, but with even just a little effort, you can take the following steps to fraud proof your business just as effectively as the big guys:

Hire competent & trustworthy employees.

Learn as much as you can about a potential employee’s character through background checks (criminal history, civil history/fraud-related lawsuits) their employment history, education and references.

Implement internal checks & balances.

When two or more employees are responsible for the financial duties, it helps to eliminate the risk of a single employee embezzleing funds without anyone noticing.

Perform audits.

Periodic audits, whether scheduled or unscheduled, are the best way to detect and deter fraud. Schedule an external audit at least once a year.

Implement an anonymous reporting policy.

Create an environment where employees can feel safe to anonymously report suspected incidents of fraud within your company without feeling like they are risking their job or peer relationships.

Enforce mandatory vacations.

An employee who never takes time off work is a red flag for fraud. Safeguard your company by implementing a policy that requires all employees to take at least five consecutive days of vacation each year.

Take Security to the Next Level with Sage 50

Sage 50  has features that are designed to help you protect your business:

  1. Built-in audit trail – Keep a transaction history so you can see when a person enters, edits, or removes data. This not only helps you find mistakes and determine appropriate employee training, but also alerts you to fraudulent activity that may require action.
  2. User profiles – Specific profiles will ensure employees only have access to certain areas. If you have a lot of employees, create role-based profiles to save time.  Either way, select from over 100 specific areas to give add, edit, view-only or no-access rights. To get there, go to System -> Set Up Security Now.
  3. Internal accounting review – This feature searches data for potential mistakes or fraudulent activity and allows you to generate comprehensive reports. To use this feature, go to System, in the Data Integrity section find Internal Accounting Review and click on Run Report.

When it comes to preventing fraud, it’s your job to foster a culture that places an importance on honesty and integrity. Don’t take a lax approach. Your employees are watching you; set an example as a leader and stick to the policies and procedures put in place. This will help everyone get on the same page when it comes to preventing and eliminating fraud.

 

 

photo attribution: © tashatuvango/depositphotos

Small Business Accounting Challenges

There are days when running a small business can certainly test your limits. There are always going to be challenges – whether you’re dealing with customers, employees, marketing or technology. One of the biggest hurdles faced? Small business accounting challenges. Productivity provider, Wasp Barcode Technologies recently asked small business owners exactly what their biggest challenge was and accounting functions rose to the top.  

Greatest Small Business Challenges

In their Small Business Accounting Report survey, Wasp found that only 42 percent of small businesses have a CFO or controller. For companies with 11-25 employees it drops to 25 percent. And while accounting is central to running a small business, most entrepreneurs are not professional accountants and only 40 percent of small business owners feel they are extremely or very knowledgeable on accounting/finance.

Nearly 400 small business owners were surveyed in the industries of nonprofit, retail, agriculture, banking/financial, education, energy, healthcare, hospitality, service providers, IT and professional services, as well as manufacturing, military and warehouse. The survey found that business owners find the greatest challenges in these five areas:

  1. Accounts receivable/collections
  2. Cash flow
  3. Managing paperwork
  4. Closing the books each month
  5. Managing payroll

Other key findings included:

  • Only 17 percent of small businesses use an asset management system that allows auditing
  • Accountants ranked among the top professionals in order of importance to small businesses; and, 88 percent of small businesses are very or somewhat satisfied with their accountants

Why then do so many small businesses go without a senior level accounting professional on staff?

There are ways to save on costs by managing some of the back-end work before it gets to an accountant, which can be simplified by managing it through your accounting software.

Simplify Your Business Accounting

With today’s advancements in technology and wide options of accounting software that can help you with your accounting functions. Sage 50 offers a business solution that manages your accounting as well as all your other operational needs, including:

  • Inventory
  • Sales Activity
  • Job Costing
  • Payroll and Taxes
  • Payments

These are just a few of the things well-rounded business solutions can manage for you. If you’re accounting software doesn’t offer all these benefits, you may not be using the right solution. Quantum Buyers has several solutions and can help you find the right one for your specific business needs.

 

Ready, Set, GOAL… with Sage Business Intelligence

It’s the New Year and a time to set new goals for your business. But do you often feel overwhelmed at the start of a new year? There’s no doubt that it’s hard to find the time to effectively manage projects and client relationships, let alone try to seek out new business opportunities and set goals for the future.

These days, data is king – especially when it comes to business and financial goals. Business owners have a wealth of data at their fingertips, but often don’t know how to use it.

Sage Business Intelligence (BI) reporting tools can help you accumulate, organize and analyze your data and use it to make better, more informed decisions.

Making the Numbers Work for You

If you want your business to succeed, you must learn how to manage your financial data. But don’t worry… there’s no need to be an accountant or even an expert at numbers to make sense of it all.

Sage BI offers you eighteen ready-to-use reports that give you immediate insight into and across your business. The reports are in Microsoft Excel and are customizable/flexible with drill-down capabilities. Plus, you can access them at any time or have them delivered, real-time, from your Sage 50 Accounting software in the format of your choice.

Here are four areas of financial intelligence you should pay close attention to so your business can thrive in the New Year:

Cash Inflow & Outflow 

Your cash in and out should be monitored regularly. Start by allocating your transactions into two broad categories of cash in and cash out, and then set up as many sub categories as you need for sales, purchases, marketing, overhead, payroll, etc. Sage Intelligence can help you access the information you need from your accounting system so you can automate your cash flow report and access it whenever you need it at the click of a button.

Budgeting & Forecasting

You should use budgeting and forecasting to guide your decisions, use of resources and to project the results you want. Sage Intelligence presents your financial data in a pre-formatted Excel report and allows you to make accurate predictions for the future with more control and flexibility. Review your results each month and compare them to the same time period of the prior year so you can track against your year-to-date. Regular assessment helps you see what’s working and was isn’t so you can take corrective measures if necessary.

Sales Trends

Tracking monthly and year-to-date sales versus your budgets and forecasts is key for business success. With Sage Intelligence you can easily identify trends, such as growth because of a new client or product roll-out and capitalize on it. Or maybe sales have declined due to the loss of a key sales person or a price increase. Sales trends give you valuable information that can be used to your advantage.

Built-In Dashboard 

Tracking the overall health of your business is easy with the Sage Intelligence dashboard. You’ll get essential information at a glance so you can quickly and easily make the right decisions. The dashboard is customizable, depending on your needs at a certain time – meaning you can drill down and focus in on areas of priority based on the month, timing of product or service roll-outs, etc.

Put the power of Sage Intelligence to work for you and get up-to-date financial information that will guide you in making informed decisions that will give your business the success it deserves.

Risk Management Matters

As a small business owner, you should be prepared to expect the unexpected. Don’t be one of those people who learn about risk management the hard way…it’s important to understand that all businesses (yours included) have risks.

What is Business Risk Management?

There are many things that can impact the health and operations of your business. While you can’t predict the future, one of the best ways for you to manage risk is to evaluate risk factors and make contingency plans on how to deal with the risk if/when it comes up.

Risk management is the process of identifying, prioritizing and reducing or eliminating risks. When you identify risks before they occur, you’ll better react to certain problems and feel confident when it comes to putting a solution in place.

Where Do You Start?

If you want your business to succeed, it’s imperative that you have a risk management plan in place. If you don’t, set aside a day or two sooner (rather than later) to identify risks surrounding the activities of your business. Ask yourself what if…

  • A personal or family emergency takes me away from my business for an extended period of time?    
  • A trusted employee steals from me or my business?   
  • Someone is hurt by a company vehicle driven by an employee?    
  • My largest customer decides to no longer do business with me?  
  • My largest supplier can no longer fill orders?    
  • I lose my bank line of credit or loan?
  • I am part of a lawsuit?
  • Your data or company information is compromised?   
  • A fire, flood or other disaster destroys my business?  
  • I lose an employee or manager to a competitor?
  • I become a victim of fraud?  

If any of the situations listed above happen to you, it can wreak havoc on not only your business, but your reputation and credibility. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to define, assess and prioritize risks as they are related to your business. Enlist the help of outside experts to help you in this process. Then, take it one step further by documenting and implementing a risk management policy.

Assess and evaluate your risk management policy at least once a year. As business needs change, so do the possible risks associated with it. Remember…it’s your job to protect you business. If you don’t do it, who will?  

 

photo attribution: © stevanovicigor/depositphotos

Affordable Care Act Reporting Requirements

Are you up to speed on the mandates, penalties and new reporting requirements for individuals and businesses? If you’re a business that employs fewer than 50 people, you may not be aware of (or even understand) the punitive business provisions that do not apply to the roughly 96% of business owners like yourself.

How do Mandates/Credits Affect Me?

Businesses with fewer than 25 employees, can qualify for a credit of up to 50% in 2015, if you meet the following requirements:

  • Have fewer than 25 full-time employee equivalents (FTEs)
  • Not be a member of a controlled group with more than 24 FTEs
  • Have average annual wages for FTEs less than $50,800 (inflation adjusted)
  • Pay 50% or more of the cost of employer offered qualified health plan (QHP)
  • Offer QHP through a SHOP Exchange (for years after 2013)
  • Have not previously claimed the credit in two consecutive years (after 2013)

For businesses with 50 or more employees, the penalties are phased in: To be subject to a penalty in 2015, you must have employed 100 full-time and full-time equivalent employees in 2014. In 2016, that number drops to 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees in 2015.

What you need to know about reporting employee health care benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) means a new set of tax forms for business owners, and it’s now a requirement to report the types and extent of coverage being offered to employees. While 2014 was an optional year for reporting, that all changes for 2015 as the ACA’s reporting and coverage mandates will be enforced, and business owners like yourself need to understand exactly what is required.

Sage 50 can help you track and report health insurance information and the required 1094 and 1095 forms are expected to be available in time for year-end reporting in Sage 50 Pro, Premium and Quantum editions 2014 or higher.

Form W-2

You must report the cost of health care coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan in box 12 using code DD.  The amount should include both the portion paid by the employer as well as the portion paid by the employee. This requirement has been in effect since 2012 and was meant to provide employees useful and comparable consumer information on the cost of their health care coverage. Sage 50 allows for easy reporting employer-paid health insurance on W-2 forms.  

Section 6055

Insurers, government agencies and employers of any size who sponsor self-insured group health plans must use forums 1094-B be and 1095-B to report the minimum essential coverage they provide to the IRS and to all covered individuals

Section 6056

Any applicable large employer regardless of whether it’s a tax exempt or government entity must use forms 1094-C and 1095-C to report the health insurance coverage offered to the IRS and to their full-time employees

Understanding all of the rules associated with the Affordable Care Act can be confusing. The good news is that incorrect filings will not be penalized for calendar year 2015 filing (reported in 2016) if you file on time and make a good faith effort to comply.

The Power of Customized Reporting

Put the Power of Customized Reporting to Work for You

If you’re like most small business owners, you might oftentimes find yourself feeling overwhelmed when it comes to effectively managing accounting, inventory, customers and employees. That in itself can be a full-time job.

Add running reports and analyzing all your business data to that task list and it can be down right daunting.  We are all familiar with added stress, which can also lead us to question whether we’re making sound business decisions. Are we even looking at the right data?

With the right accounting methods and software, you can rest easier. One of the most trusted is Sage 50 Quantum. It offers one of the most comprehensive reporting solutions available to small businesses,  providing access to all business information in one place. Sage 50 Intelligence Reporting (formerly knows as Sage Business Intelligence) works just like the Microsoft® Excel we’re all used to, and it’s right there within Sage 50 Quantum accounting software. (Did someone say, “pivot tables”?)

Custom Design Almost Any Report You Need

Is this different than the customized reporting feature already in Sage 50? Yes. Sage Intelligence Reporting (IR) is a supplement to the 140+ reports already available within Sage 50. And IR functionality is included Sage 50 Quantum.

When you finally get that report just right, save it and it will update real time… every single time you need it. Even combine auto reports and dashboards with KPIs – even from multiple divisions, modules and companies!

Sage 50 even has a report designer that makes life oh, so easy. With its drag-and-drop feature, reporting is simple, flexible and fast because you have the ability to customize your financial report layouts instantly.

Put the power of Sage Intelligence Reporting to work for your business so you can:

  • Get faster answers to your business questions
  • Access business metrics reports when and where you need them
  • Provide fast, invaluable detail for intuitive decision-making
  • Stay on top of cash flow
  • Gain insight into your unique customer behavior
  • Identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
  • Streamline operations and improve efficiency

Struggling to keep up with change requests?

Last week we took a look at managing projects in the Job and Project Management Center. This month, we’re going to explore this management center further with Change Order Processing, a feature allowing you to track change requests and their approvals.

A change order is a way to track changes to job estimates.

Sage 50’s advanced change order tracking system lets you quickly see how job changes will affect overall profitability, keep track of when an estimate changed, how much and even who approved the change order.

This can help make sure each job stays profitable and helps protect the business by staying on top of changes.

Easier Processing

Revising revenue estimates is easy; simply open a “new change order” to record your revisions.  Once the order is approved, it’s automatically applied to job records and report estimates.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open a new change order
    • Click on the “Jobs” button and select New Change Order
    • Enter the change order details (Job, date, etc.)
    • You can also change the projected end date if necessary on this screen.
    • Enter any relevant notes you want to tie to the change order (why the customer requested the change, etc.)
  2. Enter the specific change
    • Enter change estimates for units, expenses, revenues by the amount the current estimate is changing by (example: if the existing expense estimate is $200 and the new estimate is going to be $150, enter -50.00 as the change amount).
  3. Approve
    • Approve the order by checking “approved”
    • Select “applied to transaction” to keep track of orders applied to a proposal or invoice
    • Enter the date and approvers name
    • Select “Update Job Estimates”

You can also print or email change orders by selecting the option on the toolbar.  This is helpful if you want to quickly confirm with your customer and keep them informed of the changes to the job.

Tip: You can view a full list of all change orders by selecting “list” on the toolbar

Sage 50 Job Management Center

Feature overload?

Extra features sound great when you buy a product but, when it comes time to use it, can seem overwhelming and tough to get started.  This is very often the case with software.

The Job Management Center in Sage 50 seems like a lot – and there IS a lot of functionality there.  However, by spending a few minutes to set up your job system, you can save loads of time down the road with simplified processes.  Did you know you could proactively track job status and quickly access interactive, real-time reporting in the Job and Project Management Center?

If you’re not yet using the Job Management Center in Sage 50, read on… there is a lot in there to make your life easier.  (For instance, did you know you can even apply labor burden rates for employees at the job level?)

Simply efforts – even if you only have a few jobs

Access the dashboard under the Jobs tab. There are two screens available – the Jobs Navigation Center and the Job Management Center.

The system is set up with standard defaults for the dashboard, but like many other dashboards throughout Sage 50, this is customizable as well.

Customizable views

Access job status, information on the client, purchases and sales transactions applicable to a job, and Job-to-date Profitability reports are available in one central location.

Sage sets a few default modules on the dashboard.  But if you take advantage of customizing your dashboard view to highlight the information most relevant to your processes, you’ll be able to make faster, more informed (and more profitable) business decisions.

There is a long list of job-related modules available to add to the dashboard (availability is dependent on individual user security settings).  Plus, each module can be further customized to fit user preferences.  Reports can also be printed (or emailed, exported to Excel or PDF) straight from the dashboard.

  • Change orders
  • Credit memos
  • Payroll entries
  • Time tickets
  • Vendor credit memos
  • Receipts applied to revenues
  • And many more…

Key Features

Interactive reporting allows you to analyze specific information on a job or project – activity or history of job, phase, or cost code.

One feature many people overlook is the change order functionality.  Using this feature protects your business plus provides greater insight into the impact that change orders have on a job’s revenues and expenses.

  • Updates estimated revenues and expenses once changes are approved
  • Eliminates manual change order tracking processes
  • See when a change order is approved, when it’s applied to transactions, if the changes impact the projected job end date
  • Plus, all your notes are maintained in one place… with the job.

Rethink Job Management

If you’re not yet using this Job Management Center, or not using it fully, we encourage you to take a 20-minute look in the Job Management Center to see how much more you can do.

Running a business at peak efficiency is one of the most important things you can do to help your business grow.  If you need additional guidance on setting this up for your specific business, give us a call 866-686-1329; we can certainly help with that.

Have You Outgrown Your Accounting Solution?

Do you sometimes feel like you’re playing Jenga each time you run a report in your accounting software… like it could just crash at any moment?

Your Sage 50 business accounting software provided you with the bookkeeping capabilities you needed to get your company started, but you’ve grown, have more customers, more employees, more data and more demands.

Signs you’ve outgrown your accounting solution:

  • You find yourself and your staff spend more time creating  “work arounds” than time spent generating revenue
  • Your reports take so long to run you’re wondering if you should go back to paper ledgers
  • Processing anything takes so long you’re considering bringing a pillow to work
  • You still have clients in your database from 1996 but haven’t done business with them since 1998
  • You have inventory SKUs listed in your database that won’t even work with today’s technology
  • You started using your accounting software when your daughter was born and she just graduated middle school

So what do you do when you have outgrown your current accounting software?

Be Proactive – don’t wait too long to replace your inadequate system as you’ll eventually lose productivity and not be able to pull sufficient data to make good business decisions.

Make the Decision to Move to a New System Based on Potential Return- moving your business to a new accounting system is a large decision that needs to be based on cost evaluations.  What is the potential cost if you continue using your inadequate system?  What efficiencies could your business achieve with an updated, automated accounting system?

Find a Trustworthy Software Reseller as Your Partner – software resellers exist to help support companies during their move from one software package to another.  Be sure to find one that is looking out for your best interest, not just trying to sell you “their” software solution.

Determine Your Needs and Wants in a New Software Package – software resellers can help you determine your current and future must have software features as well as new and exciting feature that could benefit your company.

Select the Right Solution to Fit Your Unique Business Needs – make sure the new system will be able to grow with your company and be sure to understand the differences between standard functionality versus extra customizations.

If you want to update your system, run more efficiently and finally get a software solution as sophisticated as your business, call Quantum Buyers for a free needs assessment (valued at $250).

Call 866-686-1329 or e-mail us today at sales@quantumbuyers.com.

What To Look For When Selecting New Accounting Software

Over the years we’ve helped a large number of customers choose the right software solution for their business.  So we know a thing or two about selecting new accounting software and we’re pretty good at helping you figure out what you need too.

Needs Assessment and Priorities

Develop a list of must have features and like to have features.  A software partner should be able to help you narrow this down and prioritize the features absolutely vital to your business’s success.  Ask for a needs assessment from your vendor to help you assemble and organize your list.

Ease-of-Use

Of course there will always be a week or two for a learning curve, but whichever software you end up with needs to be easy for you to use or you’ll days will soon become nightmares.

I’m not just talking about a pretty interface either.  Are reports simple to run? How many steps does it take to enter a deposit?  Can you run bank reconciliations while managing other tasks?  Are there too many features you don’t use that makes the software tough to manage?

Functionality

If you run a distribution company, you more than likely need a solution with features specific to your business (like advanced inventory management and reports necessary for you to run an efficient business).  If you’re in manufacturing, look for a solution with control and tracking of assembly jobs.

Industry Requirements and Regulations

If you’re looking at software that claims to be made “just for your industry,” make sure it’s up to speed on all industry regulations.  For instance, if you take credit card payments, you need to make sure the software is PCI compliant.

Compatibility

Make sure your existing set-up (current hardware, network, any software that should integrate with your accounting solution, etc.) is current enough to be able to handle your new software requirements.  Or, if it doesn’t, make sure you have the budget necessary to cover the improvements to your system.

Most solutions list all the system requirements on their website or on the product box, but any software partner or vendor should be able to also help you determine if everything will work happily together.

Usability

Do you need access to features on the road? Do you need to be able to view inventory from your iPad?  Make sure your solution works where you do.

Longevity

Check to make sure the software manufacturer is financially sound and committed to its product.  You don’t want to be left without program support next year and have to start all over again.

If you are just starting to look for new accounting or ERP software and have questions or would like a free software needs assessment us at 866-686-1329 or e-mail us today at sales@quantumbuyers.com.