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.

 

Stay on Track with 8 Essential Accounting Tips

The New Year is here! It’s a time when many of us make resolutions to improve our health, finances or family situations. As a business owner, New Year’s resolutions are also a great way to make positive changes for the future – especially when it comes to finances and accounting. If you’ve struggled with the daily challenges of running a small business, here are some essential accounting tips that will get you back on track and on the road to success.

Think ahead. Are there some expenses you’ll need to incur in the coming year such as new office equipment, computer upgrade or remodeling/repairs? Plan ahead by setting aside money now so you’ll have the resources when you need it. You can also take the stress out of next year’s taxes by putting back a certain amount of cash each month.

Invest in accounting software. A little investment in accounting software upfront will make all the difference in the long run. Programs like Sage 50 allow you to keep everything you need in one place for easy access and recovery and will help you track unpaid invoices, billable hours and your budget as well as create customized invoices. Always be sure your current program is up-to-date.

Don’t mix business with personal. As your business grows, it’s important to separate your business and personal expenses. If you use personal funds to supplement your business, record them as loans or capital contributions. Your accountant can assist you with any questions you have.

Check, check and re-check. Even though your accounting software does a lot of the work for you, data entry errors still happen. Monthly reconciliation of your bank account as well as running monthly error reports can go a long way in making sure your books are as accurate as possible.

Keep an eye on inventory. Track all inventory (i.e. dates purchased, stock numbers, purchase prices, dates sold, etc). Managing your inventory will help cut down on “misplaced” items or alert you to suspicious activity or theft.

Track every expense. Avoid using cash for businesses purchases whenever possible. A credit or debit card will make tracking statements easy, plus it will help you and your employees in recording true business expenses (which is information you’ll need to know come tax time).

If expense reports are a pain in your side, Expensify integrates with Sage 50 and makes capturing receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports in a timely manner easy — for both you and your employees. Just be sure to set up a clear, published time frame for submitting expenses — whether bi-weekly, monthly, etc). When employees delay filing their expenses, not only does it hurt their pockets, it can also cause cash-flow challenges for you, not to mention associated accounting nightmares.

Make your clients pay. Sending out an invoice doesn’t always mean a check’s in the mail. Don’t let your clients avoid regular payments and always follow up on unpaid invoices. Sage 50 allows you to put an account on hold once it reaches an outstanding dollar amount (set by you) so additional orders can’t be placed. This safeguard keeps past-due clients from accidentally slipping through the cracks.

Make time for your books. Don’t get caught up in the “end of the year scramble.” You may find yourself spending hours trying to track down receipts and other documents that are several months old and that is just plain stressful. Put your bookkeeping day on the calendar and stick to it – you’ll feel much better when the end of the year rolls around.

Can’t do it all?
Running your business can be stressful enough without dealing with all the financial responsibilities that come with it. If you simply don’t have the time it takes to keep it all straight, that’s OK. Hire a part-time bookkeeper to help keep you on track with finances and payroll. Maybe there’s a financial advisor or an accountant in your area who knows your industry that you can rely on for expertise and advice when needed.

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

6 Things Smart Managers Do to Better Manage Cash Flow

Businesses run on cash. It’s considered the lifeblood of business, and no company can survive without it. But if that cash isn’t managed properly, things can go downhill fast.  

For many managers, cash flow is about money coming in. But what they often don’t realize is that paying attention to the money going out is also a huge part of maintaining finances. As a manager, there are some things you can do to better manage cash flow for your company.

Figure out your budget

If you know your breakeven point, you will be better equipped to manage your money. Rather than focusing all your efforts on your profit, try focusing on properly managing your money.

Make collecting receivables easy

Set up a lockbox so that customers can easily send in payments. You may also consider setting up a direct payment option for repeat or long-term customers. Also, to ensure timely payments, set your invoices to net-30 or net-60 terms.

Offer incentives for early payment

This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. Offering an incentive of some sort, such as a slight discount, can really encourage your customers to get their payments in right away. Yes, your profit margin takes a slight hit, but overall you will come out ahead if this thwarts any non-payments.

Extend your payables

On the other hand, when it comes to your payables, try to extend your deadlines as far out as possible. Ask vendors for net-60 or even net-90 terms. Just make sure to pay on time as many vendors will charge a late fee.

Keep credit limits in check

If your business offers credit to customers, make sure to put limits on your credit lines and really evaluate each customer before approval. Check into their history and finances to determine if they can pay you on time. Non-payments will really bring your profits down and ruin your positive cash flow.

Keep good accounting records

Cash flow doesn’t just encompass your profits and losses; they should take into account your payroll and other expenses. Use a good accounting system like Sage 50 Quantum Accounting. It will give you everything you need to stay on top of your cash flow, as well as track orders and add users.

It’s great to bring in a profit, but smart managers know that staying on top of their cash flow is so much more than that. Track receivables and payables and keep good accounting records and you will be on the right course to managing your finances even better.

 

Sage 50 Memorized Transactions

Save Time with Sage 50 Business Templates You Can Use Later

If you often find yourself sifting through stacks of papers or wrestling with Excel when you need a report on monthly sales and inventory or customer invoices, you’re probably not alone. No matter the size of your business, managing the books is a necessary evil, and one of the most vital activities that contributes to your current and future success. Robust programs for accounting and customer relationship management can increase your ability to compete, but only if they are used strategically and effectively.

Do you:

  • Provide the same/similar service for a customer on a regular basis?
  • Pay a bill to the same company on the same day each month?
  • Have a repeat order with a vendor?

Rather than spending valuable time entering and re-entering data for every new transaction, why not make use of Sage 50 Quantum’s memorized transactions and create templates that can be saved and used later? Sage 50 can memorize and save quotes, sales invoices, purchase orders, payments, and general journal entries for payroll and month-end accruals.

Memorize Repeat General Journal Transactions

Using memorized transactions can save time in repetitive data-entry tasks… here’s how:

  1. Access a Memorized Transaction or create a new one from the Maintain menu.
  2. Under Memorized Transactions, select General Journal Entries and make your entry as you typically would in the Memorized Journal Entry shown and give it a Transaction ID (i.e. PRTRANS-01)
    Sage 50 memorized transaction
  3. The hidden little arrow in Sage 50 (just to the right of the List button) needs to be selected when you go through your normal General Journal Entry process.
  4. After selecting the little down arrow button, click on the Select button to get to the list of memorized journal entries.
  5. From the list of memorized transactions, select the memorized transaction you want to use and select the OK button to create your journal entry.
  6. After your memorized transaction has been pulled into your current journal entry you can change your reference number, amounts and even add lines to the entry as needed before you save it.

Start using memorized transactions from Sage 50 Quantum so you can free up your time and focus your energies on those that matter most – your customers.

Advanced Security Controls for Sage 50 Accounting

Using the Built-In and Advanced Security Controls Within Sage 50 Quantum

There are several standard features in Quantum that keep your business running securely: automatic data backup, account reconciliation, and system alerts (e.g., letting you know when credit or purchase limits are reached).

However, there are a few other features you might not be using.

We all want to trust our employees, but we still need to take precaution to protect the business.  Sage 50 has a built-in audit trail that will generate logs of transaction history to allow you to see when a person enters, edits, or removes data. If you find mistakes, you’ll know to provide additional employee direction; if you find fraudulent activity, well… you can take appropriate action.

You can further limit risk by creating user profiles to allow access only to specific areas in Quantum.  You can create that for each individual employee, right down to the screen level if you need to. Or 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. It doesn’t take long to set up.  To get there, go to System -> Set Up Security Now.

The internal accounting review feature searches the company data for potential mistakes and fraudulent activity for you.  There are multiple system checks available and if any trouble is spotted, a comprehensive report is generated to help you to take appropriate next steps. To use this feature, go to System, in the Data Integrity section find Internal Accounting Review and click on Run Report.

With security features built into Sage 50 Quantum you can sleep better at night because you’re taking care of business.  Plus, you know the business is secure with built-in security checks, comprehensive audit trails, module- or screen-level security and role-based security controls.

Making multiple vendors/customers inactive with batch processing

Too Many Vendors?

Tired of scrolling through achingly long lists of outdated vendor records?

Well say goodbye to endless scrolling. Shorten those lists by making the records inactive (and also improve system performance).

Sure, you can go into each record and manually mark them inactive… one… at… a… time, but who has that kind of time?

Clear those inactive vendors quickly with batch processing in just a couple of simple steps. This rarely used feature has been part of your Sage 50 Quantum for a while but it’s not something many people think about using or even realize the function is available.

Use it! It will shave time off tasks every day and, as you know, every second adds up. Here’s how to do it:

  1. To set multiple records as inactive, go to the menu bar, select Maintain, then Make Records Inactive.
  2. There you can make old or unused records inactive all at once and even opt to view records you haven’t used since a certain date.
  3. After you complete the above task, go to Options -> Global to “hide inactive records” so you no longer see them in your lists.  You also have the option to “purge” those records.

This will speed up your day but it should also improve your software performance.  By the way… you can do this same thing with your inactive customers!

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.

Tips for Using Sage 50 Quantum Accounting Like a Pro

Keyboard shortcuts are always a popular request, so we’ve compiled a list of the handiest keyboard shortcuts available in most versions of Sage 50 Quantum Accounting.

Sage 50 Quantum keyboard shortcuts can be difficult to get used to at first, but once you get them programmed into your brain, you’ll find yourself faster than ever.  Some of the standard keyboard shortcuts that you’ve been using forever in Microsoft Word are also relevant in Sage 50 Quantum too.  We’ve listed a few common ones below.

Sage 50 Accounting Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + X:  Cut
  • Ctrl + C:  Copy
  • Ctrl + V:  Paste
  • Ctrl + O:  Open a company
  • Ctrl + N:  New company
  • Ctrl + B:  Backup company
  • Ctrl + R:  Restore company
  • Ctrl + F:  Find
  • Ctrl + P:  Print whichever invoice, report, payment or quote is displayed

In addition to the keyboard shortcuts above we’ve compiled a helpful list of keyboard and function key shortcuts as well as a helpful list of other general tips.

Go here to download the full Sage 50 Quantum Accounting keyboard and function key shortcut list.