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Developing A Marketing Plan

Developing a Marketing Plan For Your Home Business.

 

As a home based business owner, you will find that one of the hardest things in your early stages it to get new clients: To do this you need to start developing a marketing plan. Read the rest of this entry »


Business Plan Templates

Success With Business Plan Templates

Today I’ll let you in on a secret about Business Plan Templates because a very important aspect of any business is to have a Business Plan. The old adage “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” holds much truth and is a pitfall you need to avoid in your business.

Simply by planning the progress of your business you will be able to forecast your income, expenditure, cashflow, profit & loss and balance sheet. But don’t be scared – this can easily be achieved using Business Plan Templates – there is no need to spend your valuable time reinventing the wheel! Read the rest of this entry »

3 Powerful Ways Of Attracting Clients To Your Home Based Accounting Business

Use The Power of The Internet To Get Clients for Your Home Based Accounting Business

The majority of potential clients who search for your type of business are now using the internet. Business advertising in offline directories is no longer effective and the ROI is negligible. To make sure your business gets found when prospects are searching for you, follow this mini-guide with the steps you need to take for online success.

Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Your Home Based Accounting Business

5 Low Or No Cost Ways To Get Clients for Your Home Based Accounting Business

There are literally hundreds of ways to market a home based accounting or bookkeeping business but following are five excellent methods which have minimal costs. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Use Networking To Grow Your Home Based Accounting Business

The Power Of Networking

Networking can be a great source of clients for your home based accounting business. But it needs to be done properly.

The first thing you need to know about networking is that you should not try to sell directly to the people at networking groups. You are looking for referrals, not direct sales.

So you basically promote your business with the hope of getting referrals. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Use Testimonials To Promote Your Home Based Bookkeeping Business

Using Testimonials To Promote Your Home Based Bookkeeping Business

 

As a one-person, home based bookkeeping business start-up, it is likely that your “company” has no track record, although you personally may have with a past employer for example.

People like doing business with “Credible” businesses, especially with something as important as getting their bookkeeping right. A big thing nowadays is what we call “Social Proof”. People like to know that others are doing what they are considering doing before they take that initial leap of faith and sign up as your client.

A great way to provide your potential clients with this social proof is by using “testimonials”.

Obtaining Testimonials for your Home Based Bookkeeping Business

Simply ask your exisitng clients if they could spare a few minutes to help you. You could offer something in return, such as a free gift or a link from your website.

The tesitmonials required for your home based bookkeeping business can either be written testimonials or better still recorded on video. The videos can be added to YouTube with your keywords in the “tags” boxes. This can help potential customers find you when searching for those keywords. They should also be added to your website.

Video testimonials should be genuine and from people who can genuinely vouch for your credibility. There are laws against false testimonials which should be checked locally but it is best to avoid these anyway. If you get found out you will lose all credibility which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve here.

The videos should be fairly short (less than 1 minute), concise, to the point and believable. The provider should give their name and company name, mention your name and honestly state the benefits they received as a result of using your services. If you can have your business logo or some branding in the background whilst filming, even better.

Video quality does not have to be perfect. You can use a flip-cam quite successfully but try to make sure it is kept still during filming. If you don’t own a flip-cam or camcorder, ask a few friends and you should be able to borrow one if you do not want to make a small investment into purchasing your own. You can add it to YouTube at no cost but your web designer may charge a small fee to add it to your site.

This is a great, low cost method to use to enhance your sales and marketing system and you should put this into action as soon as possible.

Focusing Your Home Based Accounting Business

The Benefits Of Specialising Your Home Based Accounting Business

In order to stand out from the crowd these days, you need a USP (Unique Selling point). Good service and keen prices may help, but being different will set you apart from your competition.

There are a number of ways you can do this but we will look at two of the best here. Read the rest of this entry »

Providing Small Business Bookkeeping Services

How To Set Up Your Own Bookkeeping Services Business

The amount of entrepreneurs who start their own businesses worldwide is quite staggering. It runs into many tens of thousands each and every month. This provides a great opportunity for skilled people who are willing to provide the services that those businesses require.

This opportunity gives bookkeepers the chance to be their own boss, say goodbye to the daily commute, work the days and hours they like and potentially earn more money by working for themselves instead of somebody else. Working for oneself is typically far more satisfy than working for somebody else and brings good financial benefits too. A further benefit is the ability to pick and choose your clients! No more having to put up with the ones you don’t like because you have to and your job depends on it! Read the rest of this entry »

Fusion Accounting Software Review

Fusion Accounting Software Review

 As time goes by and working practices change, customers become more demanding of their software. With accountants and bookkeepers in mind, Stiona Software Ltd created Fusion Accounting Software which solves many problems for the user.

This is my impartial review of Fusion accounting software. I recently came across the software whilst reviewing other better-known accounting software packages for my clients and my blog. I came across the software by chance and have been using it for a few weeks now with one of my clients. I have to say that I am very impressed with the software and decided I had to write a review to let others know what this software can do for them and their business.

What are the Pros & Cons of Fusion Accounting Software?

So what has made me so excited about Fusion Accounts? Well, in addition to the usual run-of-the-mill features such as sales ledger, purchase ledger, bank, P&L, VAT etc, Stiona software have incorporated a number of additional features to help the busy accountant in the ever changing working environment.

Fusion Accounts also incorporates:

  • Sales & Purchase Order processing
  • Foreign trading with Multi-currency facility
  • Vat Calculations and
  • Foreign VAT registration

Once you have logged in securely, you go straight to the Business Dashboard which gives you a very quick overview of where the business is at – in real time. From the summary information contained in the dashboard you can, at one click of your mouse, access more detailed information in respect of your debtors, creditors, bank, cashflow, P&L, etc.

home based accountant with computerOne of the greatest benefits of Fusion Accounting Software is that as an online package, I can access it anytime and from anywhere, so long as I have internet access.  It is also very easy to use, which I am finding saves me a lot of time and helps me reduce costs for my clients. 

You can also have multiple accounts within the software, enabling you to manage all of your clients from one screen. The software has an automatic backup facility too, again saving you time and money.

The next step for me is to migrate as many of my clients as I can convince to change. This migration process is very simple, as you can import data from Sage, CSV and certain other formats (you need to speak to the support team to check). Then I will be able to manage my clients from one screen, instead of the multiple packages I am currently using. I also have control over the levels of access my clients get, reducing the number of potential errors they can make!

Where Can you find Fusion Accounting Software?

Fusion accounting software is available from www.FusionAccounts.com

There is a 30 Day Free Trial – with absolutely no commitment!

Should you decide to purchase, simply determine the level you require and you simply pay a small monthly amount, no capital outlay is required.

The software comes with free, fast and friendly support which aims to ensure you can always use it.

home based bookkeeping business software screenshot

Home Based Accounting Business

Considering starting your own Home Based Accounting Business? Read on to find out how!

As more and more small businesses starting up, fueled mostly by the recession and exit of jobs, there are many opportunities to be successful providing accounting services for small company owners. As accounting practices get more and more clients, you might wish to work for them on a self-employed basis.

On the basis that you already have the skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience to execute this type of work, following is a list of the things you will need to start your own home based accounting business.

Requirements for your Home Based Accounting Business

An office and desk.

Business Plan TemplatesPreferably at home initially (to keep costs down) but may be rented too. A quiet area is ideal and the less chances of being disturbed the better. Having room for storing documentation is a necessity and build in a growth factor too! Each client will require a few files and possibly large amounts of files, documents etc so it may be worthwhile renting some storage space to avoid cluttering your home or office.

If you decide to operate your new business from your home, you start-up costs should be quite low, especially if you already have a desk and computer. However, you must buy professional indemnity insurance at the correct level before you proceed. It is usually against the law of the land to work without this insurance.

In addition to having a reliable computer and suitable accounting software, backup procedures and storage need to be fully considered in case of failure, fire or theft. You should have a good idea of the stationery you will require from your past experience. See to it that this is available for use when your business commences.

A dedicated telephone, fax and email would be useful plus an answering service to avoid missing any clients.

Once done, you are nearly ready to begin. You will need business cards and a letterhead.

Marketing Your Home Based Accounting Business

The next stage is possibly the most important – marketing. One drawback of having a home based accounting business is location: you are probably not going to get much passing trade or attract clients because of your location.

If you lack marketing skills, you need to quickly learn some (buy marketing books from Amazon) or outsource this function if you can afford too.

These methods can be utilized to attract customers:

- By word of mouth. Tell your family and friends you have started a home based accounting business and more importantly,  get them to tell their friends!

- Business networking groups can provide clients or referrals

- Have a website created – make sure the designer knows how to plan it so that your potential clients will find you when looking

- You may get some free advertising in local business directories; both on and offline.

- Business associations and forums can be joined

- Seek and join your local business chambers

- A special offer may attract your initial clients and get the ball rolling.

- A referral strategy will help leverage your marketing efforts

Using as many as you can of these techniques will bring you clients. As time goes by, determine which methods work best for you and do more of that! Each marketing tool is like a net or trap. The more you set, the more clients you will catch!
Discontinue methods not producing results and focus on those that do. This can vary from one location to another.

Sage 50 Accounts Professional 2011

Sage 50 Accounts Professional 2011

You may already be familiar with the popular accountancy software Sage Line 50. The company has recently changed its name to Sage 50 Accounts. Sage Accounts Professional 2011 does more than just let you manage your day-to-day accounting tasks. It helps with VAT returns, year-end accounts and has features to assist you in collecting money from customers so that you can get paid on time.

It provides you with most of what your business needs to work with different areas of your accounts. With this newer version you’ll have complete purchase order processing, stock control and project management. It also has the added flexibility of handling up to 10 users and managing multiple companies (for an additional fee) which will provide you with the information you need to help your business grow.

You should choose Sage Accounts Professional 2011 if the following applies to you:

  • You need to have a tool that is easy to use and helps you carry out all of your accounting tasks.
  • You want to have advanced features to help you streamline your growing business
  • You need to work with an accounting system that will allow different people to use it at the same time.
  • You need to have accurate financial reports

Safe Accounts Professional 2011 increases the accuracy of your VAT returns because they can be generated and completed within hours instead of days. It checks your customer’s data to ensure accuracy and identifies duplicate transactions. Each transaction uses a unique identification number that allows for tracking which is especially helpful for inspections or audits.

You can use the information stored in Sage to generate P&L statements and Balance Sheets with the click of a mouse. You can also view instant information on your accounts using the Nominal ledger where you can drill down from one screen to view a set of charts.

Managing your departments is easier since you can setup budgets and generate reports to help you plan ahead for the next year. Sage Accounts Professional 2011 is good for small to medium sized businesses that need to manage many accounts.

Sage 50 Accounts Plus 2011

A major benefit to this new version of Sage 50 Accounts Plus 2011 is being able to handle bank reconciliations more efficiently. You can post adjustments to supplier and customer accounts without having to always close the screen that displays reconciliations. If you have an account with a lot of transactions or need to reconcile each month, this will allow you to cut that time in half. The newer bank reconciliation reports allows you to print bank reconciliations while you are processing them which allows you to match them with your bank statements.

The inclusion of the Flat Rate VAT function is also helpful. In the past it may have been more tedious to run VAT returns, calculating the flat rate and making adjustments to sales as well as submitting the turn. The new function makes it a lot easier. Once the software is setup to use Flat Rate, you can perform all of the necessary returns to stay HMRC compliant.

You can email invoices, quotes and orders more easily to customers. It has an extra email column added so that you can check if an order, invoice or quote has been sent. You also have more selections to choose from when running reports.

This new version can be integrated with Sage Web Stores software allowing you to create new products and customers to generate receipts and invoices. Users can benefit from automatic payment downloads available through their web-store which saves on processing time.

The only downside to using this software is that it does not have drill down functionality like other accounting tools have. Also, it requires more of a learning curve than other similar tools available. Overall, Sage 50 Accounts Plus 2011 is a great option for growing small to mid-sized businesses.

Businesses can benefit from the 45 days of free customer support which can be helpful especially when they are installing and using Sage for the first time.

Sage 50 Accounts 2011

Sage 50 Accounts 2011 has finally answered the call of customers with its new automatic bank reconciliation feature as well as VAT flat-rate support. The company has focused on it’s customer’s needs by making improvements to the software with many new and enhanced features.

A major enhance includes support for charities. If an organization identifies itself as a charity during the setup process, the software will activate the Funds functionality. The dialogue screen has been re-designed to resemble a mini-ledger with a simple grid for a tabular review of major areas such as P&L, Activity, Balance and transfer.

The Sage Services bar located at the bottom of the task pane allow you access to a different menu of services including Sage Account details, Sage Cover options, wish list requests, support bulletins and different advice lines. This is all provided through the Internet though Sage’s browser.

The new version also allows the user to download all available transactions through the online Sage Pay system. You can also use the Flat Rate VAT option for both cash and invoice based businesses. Bank reconciliation have also been made easier with the ability to compare against bank statements through the software.

When you are setting up your accounts, you can now configure the default view of each user to the Sales orders, Purchase Orders, Manage Payments or Chase Debts to accommodate many different roles within your company. You can archive your company’s data before the year-end which makes it a lot easier to back up active data during the year.

Sage 50 Accounts 2011 is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses. It helps your achieve efficiency since it was developed to reduce time consuming tasks like data entry to streamline major accounting functions. You can use Sage with Microsoft office and the tool provides for multi-user configurations.

QuickBooks Pro 2011

QuickBooks Pro 2011 is a popular accounting software used by many small businesses since it provides most of the tools that a business needs. When you purchase a copy of the software you can also receive additional services such as payroll and POS systems which are compatible with QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Pro 2011 is available in several versions including an online version that starts at $10 per month. There is also Simple Start, Premier and Enterprise solutions. The Pro version is the most affordable option for small businesses and handles all the necessary accounting functions needed by a small business. There are also a lot of helpful tools beyond just bookkeeping such as auto-check signing, customized invoices, document management and email creation.

QuickBooks is extremely user friendly. Installing the software is very simple as it walks you through the setup process allowing you to move your existing company data into the program or start out brand new. You can even view a sample company so that you can practice using QuickBooks.

Small businesses can benefit from the many different reports available such as graphs and customizable snapshots which contain sales reports, expenses and account balances. The Pro version has over 100 different reporting options.

There are many help files to assist you if you need to learn how to carry out a particular function as well as online support. The Intuit websites also contains downloads and updates, help with installations, troubleshooting and FAQs. They provide two service plans that include telephone support, online data backup and data recovery.

The only drawback to QuickBooks Pro 2011 is that this new version only allows up to 3 users to use a file at one time. Previously the limit was five users. This may hinder some small business owners who are on a tight budget from upgrading.

Buy the single user version here:

QuickBooks Pro 2011 is great small businesses. Medium to large businesses would need to use an accounting software that can handle larger amounts of data.

Overall it is very simple to use and the company offers good documentation to help you if you need to figure out how to do something. Even people who aren’t familiar with accounting can learn how to quickly use the program to manage their business.

Buy the 3-user version here:

QuickBooks Premier 2010

 

QuickBooks Premier 2010

QuickBooks Premier 2010 provides an easy to use system for major financial tasks that a business must carry out on a regular basis including payroll, accounts receivable and payable, invoicing and reporting. It also gives business owners and decision makers the tools they need to run reports in order to make important financial and budgeting decisions.

The Quickbooks Premier 2010 version makes it a lot simpler to edit invoices and other documents that you would create in an accounting program. It contains more built in professional designs for a wide variety of businesses. Companies that have managed finances using just Excel spreadsheets can import this data into QuickBooks. With the Document Management service which is a new feature of the 2010 edition, you can scan documents into the program and attach them to each related record. Document management also functions as a backup for any paper files that a business needs to save with up to 100MB of storage space.

Another great new feature is that you can now deposit and save checks electronically without having to run to the bank to make deposits. Intuit offers a new check scanning service that allows you to key enter your checks into QuickBooks to immediately deposit them into your bank account. However, the service is not free and there is a monthly fee plus a fee for each transaction. The new version also includes email marketing where you can customize and send emails to clients and customers using data from your QuickBooks database.

Should You Buy Quickbooks Premier 2010 for your business?

If you have a previous version of QuickBooks one of the drawbacks is upgrading to the newer version each year.  This is often an important factor to take into consideration as it does incur that you spend money for the upgrade. If you already have QuickBooks 2009, you might not really need to purchase the Quickbooks Premier 2010 version as the main features and tasks needed for accounting are already included in the previous version. The main difference is the new apps and reporting features, however if you use Excel you can always create your own reports and filter the data yourself.

This accounting software is great for small businesses who want a simple way to do basic accounting tasks. It is easy to learn and even non-accounting professionals can use it to make basic entries.

Also, for some of the additional new features you will have to pay additional monthly fees. However, if you consider that you may save time and money being able to better manage your customer data and marketing in one location, you may want to give QuickBooks Premier 2010 a more serious look.

Accountancy Software Package Reviews

We are currently working on reviewing a number of the top accounting packages for small businesses, including Sage and Quickbooks.

 As each review is completed they will be posted to this blog. 

We will highlight the upsides and downsides of each product together with an indication of which business type they will be most suited for. 

This will help you choose the optimum software package for your business and help you advise your clients on what they could use in their business.

Bookmark this site or join our mailing list by getting your free report on the right of this page.

Speak soon,

Paula

P.S. If you are yet to get going with your own business Click Here To Get Started

When is a good time to start your own Bookkeeping Business?

Do you believe that you need to wait until the economy improves to start your own bookkeeping business? You could be making a common mistake!
With the economy in poor condition and many people experiencing job losses, nobody can argue that these are indeed tough times.
But his is where your opportunity lays! As jobs become less secure and indeed lost, more and more small businesses are popping up all over the country.

Many people are finally starting that business that they’ve always dreamed of but lacked that final push to get them started.
With the advent of the Information age, most homes now have a computer with internet access. This makes the cost of starting a home based business extremely cheap in comparison to just a few years back when you were expected to have premises, staff and high overheads.
Nowadays there are numerous businesses that can be started from home with next to no money.  (Bookkeeping businesses included!).  This low cost start up and current economy is fuelling the surge in start ups.
And take a quick guess at what almost every start-up business is going to require sooner or later? Yes, a bookkeeper or accountant: and that’s where you come in!

There are now more potential clients for your bookkeeping services than ever before.
In the main, these new business owners have little or no idea how to do keep their accounting records and are very often reluctant to learn. But there are laws forcing them to keep accurate records and failure to comply means potential penalties from government agencies. Therefore a competent bookkeeper such as you is required and demand is increasing.
So the answer to the question “When to start your own bookkeeping business” is “NOW!” You need get your new bookkeeping business up and running as soon as possible to help meet this surge in demand.

Accounting And Bookkeeping Software For A Home Based Business

Many home business start ups do not become successful because they are missing the required financial systems to keep track of their finances and cashflows. It is very common for home based business owners who do not like the idea of keeping their own accounting records, to think that as long as money keeps coming in, their business will be alright.

However, it is not really that simple when you are engaged in business.

If your goal is to stay in business for a long time, you will need to understand your cashflow and financial situation for a number of reasons. (I am not pointing these out to scare you but to make you aware so that you do not make these common mistakes!)

Cashflow

This is critical to the running of a business. Without cash your business can fail, no matter how much profit you are making on paper. Cash is King. If you run out of cash, your creditors may take you to court to obtain payment or even try to have your business liquidated.

Taxes

As one of the few things in life which are certain, taxes are very important to any business as failure to comply can result in serious penalties and even the loss of your business.

Therefore you must keep track of all of your income and expenses whilst ensuring that the relevant tax entries are correctly made.

Reporting

You will need to produce reports for a number of reasons. Depending on the status of your business, varying types of reports and submissions will need to be made to the relevant authorities. Examples are an annual profit and loss statement, balance sheet and cashflow. If you are operating on a self employed basis, you will still need to make annual returns, though not as onerous as for a corporation.

Controlling your business

One of the best techniques used to control a business is by use of the financial data.  Your monthly reports tell you how well (or badly!) your business has performed and it can highlight the areas where improvement is required. It can flag up certain indicators that all is not well. Things to look for are:

  • Turnover – was it high enough?
  • Profit margins – are they within range?
  • Overheads – are your costs under control?
  • Net profit – Are you actually making any profit?

 

This is best done by comparison to a budget or forecast. Most larger organisations prepare budgets for the next financial year and these act as a goal or business plan. You then compare the actual results to the forecast to see how your business is performing and to make any necessary adjustments if it is not.

Hopefully by now you understand the importance of having a good accounting system.

Setting this up does not have to be complicated. We are in the digital age and computers make bookkeeping a whole lot easier than the days of vast ledgers of written records!

Before choosing accounting software, your should read my previous article on “Small Business Accounting Software” as this will help you know what features you should be looking for in relation to your own unique business.

If you have a very small business with few clients and little paperwork, you could simply use a spreadsheet to keep a track of things. (I personally do this on a home based business that I operate on a self-employed basis and it works just fine).

However, one advantage of using accounting software programs is that they will be balancing your books of accounts for you, taking away a potential headache!  

All you have to do is input the data in one page and the program will take care of everything else. The majority of accounting software programs will automatically perform the required accounting process and will immediately update your statements of accounts. Retrieving your data from an accounting program is also easy. The financial reports your business is likely to require can usually be generated by the software (Check this before purchase!)

This gives you such a huge saving of time that the software will pay for itself many times over!

Small Business Accounting Software

If you are setting up a small business or a home based bookkeeping business, ideally you will be looking to use suitable accounting software
to keep track of the accounts for each business.

There are a multitude of products out there that can help you do this but short of reviewing each one individually, it is difficult to suggest the best one for your business.

As the requirements of each business will be different,  here are some of the software features you need to compare against your business needs before deciding which product to purchase.

Number of users (Licence)

If you will need access to the software by a number of people, it is worth considering the detail of the licence in respect of how many users will be allowed. Some software packages have restrictions in this regard which could mean a costly upgrade if you haven’t obtained the correct level initially. When weighing this up, don’t forget to factor in future growth as nothing remains static for long. 

Number of Companies

Some packages will only allow say one, three or five companies to be operated on a particular licence. If you are running a bookkeeping business you will require a software package that offers “unlimited companies”. This will save you time and money upgrading at a later date.

Reporting options

Most packages will give you the option to run all of the standard reports, such as trial balance, profit and loss and the Balance sheet. However, is this enough?  Think about which reports your business or clients may require? Will they want monthly cost analysis? Do they have “Departments” that they need to scrutinise?  Does the software produce the relevant reports required for the various tax returns? It is worth considering all of these things before purchase as again this will save you a huge amount of time later on.

Nominal coding and departments

Often, software comes with preset nominal codes. Often these can be quite restrictive so you need to ensure that these are editable.  This allows you to adapt the software to the business you are accounting for.  In order to drill down deeper, you should look for the facility to use “Departments”. This is particularly important for companies operating from more than one location and facilitates detailed reporting for each location within the one main company. In summary, flexible nominal codings and the “Department” functions will save loads of time when producing detailed reports at a later stage. It also enables valuable information to be provided to the end user very quickly.

Portability

Think about where you will need to access the software from. If it is just from a small number of desktop computers then there is no problem.  However, if you will also need access on your laptop for example when visiting clients, then you need to ensure that the software is compatible and can be easily updated from changes made on the static computers.

Storage and backup facilities

Last and by no means least, you will need to take regular backups of your data as if it gets lost or corrupted you are in for a pretty mammoth task of salvaging the information.  Ensure that the software and your hardware are compatible in terms of where the data will be backed up to and how the process is carried out.  Finally you need to determine where a physical copy of the backup data will be kept. This should ideally be in a fireproof safe away from the main computer database.

Find your Accounting Software Here

Setting Up a Bookkeeping Business

Setting Up a Bookkeeping Business.

 If you are thinking of setting up a bookkeeping business then this article will explain what you will need to do to get started and become successful.

 With more and more small businesses starting up, fuelled largely by the recession and loss of jobs, there many opportunities to be successful providing bookkeeping services for small business owners. You could even opt to work for a firm of accountants on a self employed basis, preparing books and accounts for their clients.

 Assuming you have the knowledge, qualifications or experience to undertake this type of work,  then there are a few things  you will need to get started.

Office Space. This can either be at home or rented elsewhere.  Ideally you will find a quiet area where you can work without interruptions.  Do not underestimate the amount of storage space you will need!  Each client will require a few files and possibly large amounts of files, documents etc so it may be worthwhile renting some storage space to avoid cluttering your home or office.

 Start-up Costs if operating from home should be minimal but you should seek and obtain suitable professional indemnity insurance for your business. In some countries it is against the law to operate without this.

You will also need a computer, suitable accounting software and an excellent, secure backup system in case of theft or fire etc.  A trip to the stationery shop will be worthwhile to stock up on paper, envelopes, storage solutions (such as files, folders and cabinets), paper clips, hole punch, stapler etc.

You should also consider your communication channels such as telephone, fax, email, messaging services, answerfone etc before you have your business cards and stationery produced.

When all of this is in place you are nearly ready to start. You will need business cards and a letterhead.

 Now your marketing process should begin. Getting a steady flow of customers can be the hardest part of running any business, so the more nets you set, the more clients you will catch!

 Here are some of the many ways in which you can find clients for your business:

  • Word of mouth. Tell your family and friends you have started a business
  • Advertise in local newspapers, business magazine etc
  • Go to networking events
  • Have a website created – make sure the designer know how to design it so that your potential clients will find you when looking
  • Add yourself to local business directories, both online and offline.
  • Join local business forums and associations
  • Join the local Chamber of Commerce or any organisation that deals with start up businesses.
  • Have a discount scheme to attract your first clients
  • Have a referral program and reward those who bring you clients

 A mixture of the above techniques will bring you clients but you must be proactive in this area, especially at the outset. Don’t expect customers to come to you – you must find them!

Small Business Bookkeeping

Small business bookkeeping can be an enjoyable and rewarding career choice.

If you are looking to undertake bookkeeping for small businesses, this article will help you achieve success at interviews. It will also help you advise your potential clients on what they can do to maintain the correct records and help keep their costs down.  This will make your life easier and enable you to provide a more cost-effective service to your clients. It will also increase the trust between you as your clients will see that you are not out to make as much money as possible from them!

Ask yourself for a moment, “Why is this business looking to use my services?”  Is it because they want their bookkeeping done or is it because they want to either save money or make more money? 

The purpose of having a set of accounts is to help run the business and make profits. This datum should be expanded upon when you are being vetted by a potential client. If you can help them see that you will produce accurate figures in timely manner that will help them to control their business more effectively and thereby increase their profits, they will stop viewing you as simply a cost to their business but as an asset which they cannot run their business without!

Small business bookkeeping requires adherence to most of the same rules as for medium or larger companies. The rules are mainly the same until it comes to filing and so on.

You should advise your clients that the basic records that they need to keep are:

  • Documents related to all sales and income.
  • Documents relating to all items of expenditure.
  • Details and documents (receipts etc) of all petty cash expenditure
  • Details of any monies, goods or assets taken out of the business for personal use
  • Details of any funds paid in from the owner’s personal accounts
  • All source documents relating to payroll and taxes
  • All bank statements, paying-in slips, cheque book stubs etc

Explain that an essential part of running any small business is to keep all documents relating to income and expenses. Doing this will enable them to keep track of their finances and will help you, the bookkeeper, to do your job more efficiently and cost effectively. 

In addition to this, if they have an audit or a visit from the revenue, they will required to produce the source documents to back up their figures or face potential fines from the Revenue. These fines could be potentially crippling to a small business, hence the importance of keeping documents.

Some thought will also need to be given as to where all of these documents will be stored. Depending which country you are in, documents have to be kept for a number of years for different revenue departments.  I would advise you to have the client keep their current and previous year’s documents on site if possible and keep the rest archived. The archiving can be off site if the business premises do not have sufficient space.

In this digital age, thought should also be given to security and back up of the financial records kept on computer systems. Loss of the information held on the companies computers could be disastrous, or at least hugely time-consuming to put right. Therefore, backups should be carried out daily. Also, on either a daily or weekly basis, a backup file should be taken and stored off site, in case of fire or other damage.

Small business bookkeeping should be quite straightforward if you can get all of the above put into practice.

And I wish you every success.

Starting Accounting Business?

Starting Accounting Business?

If you are thinking of starting an accounting business then this article is for you.

You may be looking for more money, more control or more freedom to choose when and where you work. You may want to escape the 9-5, an arduous commute or an overbearing boss!

You may want more variety in your work if you currently work for a single employer or you may be unable to find a job at present due to the economic environment.

If any of these apply to you, starting your own bookkeeping or accounting business may be your best option. Having your own business will allow you to:

  • Choose the days and hours you work
  • Choose who to work for
  • Decide which industry types you wish to have as clients
  • Choose the type(s) of work you undertake
  • Command a better hourly rate than a “Job” pays you

 

It can be worthwhile focusing on a specific industry type and becoming an expert in that field or a particular type of business set up, such as self employed builders or shopkeepers. This will help to narrow your target market in order to focus your marketing skills and messages when you are looking for new clients.

The type of work you wish to undertake will of course depend on the strengths and weaknesses of your current skill sets,  but don’t think that if you lack a particular skill (e.g. Payroll) that you cannot start your own business. You could either learn the required skill or simply outsource that part of your business to another person or business, leaving you to concentrate on what you are best at.

Ideally, you should go for work which will be regular. By this I mean weekly or monthly, as opposed to annually.  This will generate regular revenues which your business will require. What I am suggesting here is that you try to avoid a large percentage of your work being annual returns for small businesses as you will have peaks and troughs in not only your workload but your income too.

Ideally, you will have access to a quiet space at home or elsewhere in which to work. Be prepared for the paperwork storage requirements that having numerous clients will bring. Digital systems can overcome a large proportion of this or simply insist on returning all paperwork to your clients for them to store.

You will need to register your business and ensure you are complying with local laws, rules and regulations. This varies from country to county, state to state and county to county but we are in the information age and most relevant information can be found on the internet. The government and revenue websites can be most useful and these days they often have telephone help-lines too. If you are still unsure of anything, you should seek advice from a local business centre or maybe even a solicitor.

You will need to chose a business name, have your communication systems set up (phone, fax, email, etc) and have some business cards made. Headed paper should be used though you can design this yourself using readily available software and keep it stored on your computer for easy access.

 Now you need to find clients. Here are a number of methods to use:

  • Have a Search Engine Optimised website
  • Add your business to as many local business directories and listings as possible. Most of these have a free option, though they may not advertise this!
  • Add your business to Google Places. You will need a Google account to do this.
  • Attend Networking events and breakfasts.
  • Join any local business associations or groups
  • Create a mailshot specific to your target client type. Concentrate on the features, benefits and advantages to them of using your services
  • Ask your friends, contacts and clients for referrals

 You are now ready to roll! You may wish to learn some sales and marketing skills as these are paramount for any business. There is no pressure selling in this industry but learning how to present your business to potential clients and learning how to get them to warm to you using sales skills will give you an advantage over your competitors.

If you’re looking for more ways to get bookkeeping clients, including pre-written sales letters, you must check out Get Bookkeeping Clients today.

I wish you every success.

Starting a Home Based Accounting Business

 Variety and the freedom to work with clients in many different areas are just two of the great things about starting your own home based accounting business.

Accountancy, as an industry, is huge and it can be very profitable too. The usual types of services provided by an accounting business are bookkeeping, accountancy, financial reports, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, preparation of financial reports and tax papers for individuals and businesses.

Because of the recession, there are many small businesses starting up who will be needing your assistance.  Every business needs accounting professionals to complete their bookkeeping and accounting requirements, therefore demand for accountants is high. Additionally, many established businesses are now moving towards outsourcing their accountancy and finance work to freelancers who may work on a long or short-term basis.

It is important for the entrepreneur thinking of starting a Home Based Accounting Business to have a mixture of the following professional skills:

  • Being well organized and detail-oriented
  • Being self motivated and able to manage time to meet deadlines
  • Having solid numerical skills
  • Qualifications: A degree or certificate in accountancy such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Accountant (CFA) would definitely assist the budding entrepreneur.  (Note: These vary from country to country)

The good thing about these certifications is that the only requirement to gain them is to undertake the professional training and pass the multiple exams: there are no other prerequisites.

The next step is to decide which areas you would like to work in, although being a freelancer enables you to do different types of work in multiple sectors simultaneously. However, it is wise to consider which sectors you would like to work in (based on interest and experience) if given the option. This allows you to become a specialist in any particular market.  Having said that, there are benefits to working in multiple sectors, which include lack of monotony and the broadening of your experience.

Ensure you have a space to work that is free from all noise and disturbance. This is extremely important as you will be handling sensitive and important information. Naturally, you will need a good computer with good accounting software, spreadsheet, word processor, database software and an Internet connection.  Make sure you have a backup system to ensure that if the worst happens, you don’t lose all of your data.  Also a copier, fax, phone etc will be required as well of course as a calculator and maybe an adding machine.

Of course you will also need to choose a name for your business, organise your stationery, a website (very easy to create your own nowadays) and a good supply of business cards to hand out.

Next up is finding clients. This can be the most difficult part of your business, especially if you have no sales or marketing experience. However, in the age of the internet, it could be easier than you think.  Additionally, try to network as much as you can. Join local business networking groups and forums online to build your presence in the industry. It is best too target small to medium sized businesses as these are the prospective clients of your business.

This type of business is such that it grows over time via networking, referrals, sales and marketing. Be sure you provide an excellent service to your clients so they will refer you onto other clients.  Remember – most people in business know other people in business and are happy to refer you on if you provide a great service.

Lastly, a percentage of your time will have to be spent in marketing your business, especially in the early stages.

Blog Catalog Membership

I am pleased to announce that I am now a member of Blog Catalog!

http://www.blogcatalog.com/directory/business/innovation/

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Get Your Business Found on Google

If you are in business or in the process of setting up, the best way I recommend to attract new customers is “Google Places”, formerly known as google maps.

You will need a Gmail account in order to set this up and a small amount of time spent doing this could pay dividends for years to come.

The best bit is that there is NO CHARGE!

Imagine that! it is like having a yellow pages ad completely f*r*e*e !

All you need to do is go to Google, set up a Gmail account and then set up your business listing in Google Places.

Top Tip.
Keywords are essential.
Put a number of different keywords as your categories to attract a wider searching audience to your business.
e.g. Accountant, Accounting services,Bookkeeper, bookkeeping services, and so on.

The find out exactly what people are searching for, use Google’s “Keyword tool” (Just google “Keyword tool” – it is the top result) and use these to decide wich keywords to place in your listing.

If this sounds technical, don’t worry – it isn’t.
There are videos in Google and YouTube to take you through the whole process.

However, if you need help click here  for an expert service which Guarantees you results. 

Just “Google” it – because that’s what your potential customers will be doing and you must be there when they are looking!

Your 3 Best Options For Starting Your Bookkeeping Business For Less

Perhaps the question I get asked the most about starting a bookkeeping business is, “How can I do this when I’m working with a shoestring budget?” Setting up your bookkeeping business at home is cheaper than most businesses to start, but there are a couple of tricks you need to know to really help with your operating costs.

1. You don’t need a separate telephone line for your fax:

With the invention of “fax to email services” you can easily have all your faxes sent to your email address. How handy is that!

Your fax documents are converted into a PDF file and sent as an attachment to your email address. You also save on paper costs as you can choose which pages of your fax you want to print.

You’ll still need a fax machine to scan and fax your outgoing faxes and for that, you can simply use your existing home phone line.

Also, compared to the cost of a separate phone line, a fax to email service will only cost you approximately $15 per month.

2. You don’t need a separate phone line for your business line:

An easy solution to an expensive business line is to setup a “smart ring” service supplied by your local phone company. You get a separate phone number for your smart ring line but it runs on the same line as your home phone.

Then when a business client calls your smart ring number, you’ll hear a distinctive ring on your phone which lets you know that you’ve got a business call so you can answer the phone accordingly.

This service is generally really cheap and will cost anywhere from $2 to $5 per month depending on your local phone company and the packages they offer.

3. Use a personal checking account instead of a business checking account:

As a bookkeeper you’re very aware of the costs of a business checking account compared to a personal checking account. So take advantage of this knowledge and have your bookkeeping clients write your checks out to you in your personal name.

Then, deposit these checks into a separate checking account that you’ve opened in your own personal name. Use this account for all your bookkeeping business transactions.

I have access to both my checking accounts online so all I have to do is a quick transfer from one account to the other. My audit trail is clean and that keeps the government off my back.

Eventually you may want to upgrade to a business account, but I can tell you that most clients have no problem with writing out checks to you personally as a bookkeeper. It’s not perceived to be a big issue.

So by applying these cost-saving measures you’ll have more money to spend on other areas of your bookkeeping business, such as getting new clients.

If you’re just starting your bookkeeping business, go here for this Free Report called “How to Start a Successful Home-Based Bookkeeping Business and Attract More Clients Than You’ll Ever Need”

If you’re looking for more ways to get bookkeeping clients, including pre-written sales letters, you must check out Get Bookkeeping Clients today.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sylvia_Jaumann

Suggestions For Single Moms Who Want to Run an Online Business

I am a single mom looking to start an online business. What would you suggest for me? This is a question asked by millions of women who have dreamed of starting something that would allow them to stay home and take care of their children and work to support their families.

Today we have more family dynamics made of single parent households than anyone ever anticipated. Mothers who struggle to make the choice of seeing their child in the first play they ever had or job security. Seeing their child take the first step themselves or hearing about it from the daycare attendant. It is a sad choice when we have to see all the “firsts” through others eyes because we have to work and support our families.

So I suggest these top endeavors for future stay at home mothers who want to take back their lives and their “firsts”!

o Anything Blog related! If you are a single mom who loves to write anything blog related will be good. You will have to get it going by joining many forums specific to moms, their interests and advice topics. It is very easy to get the blog started. What you need to realize is the opportunities it will hold for long term success. Advertising and networking will help you get it noticed but having good sources want to advertise on your site will make it even better. You will get residual income from the advertisers and people will notice that these advertisers take you seriously. So if they want on your page, they will too!

o If you have a back ground in Advertising and Marketing you can go into online Marketing. You will have to find your niche. It could be writing articles, writing books, writing advice or content for other online sites. Either way you go….Enjoy it and it will be easy!

o Anything Web related or Desk top Publishing is a great business! Almost anyone who has creative talents can market themselves and their business into a great and very lucrative niche of Web Design and Logo work. It is easy, low cost start up and only takes a few short hours away from your babies to get going and build your clientele.

Do your research. Find out where you are and what is most interesting to people around you. Sometimes you will have to go out of your comfort zone to be successful. But once you see you can be at home with your babies, you will be happy you went the extra mile!

Learn more about work at home ideas by clicking here

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sylvia_Jaumann

3 Best Options For Single Moms in Low Cost Home Businesses

Many single moms have the erroneous belief that having less money than other families is just a fact of life. It doesn’t have to be that way. These days there are so many more ways to make money than there were in our parent’s generation.

Here are three of the best low cost home business ideas for single moms:

1. An Online Business:

There are many online businesses and literally thousands of ways to earn money online. The best way is to have a blog or website with some good information. Place some affiliate ads or create a product yourself that you can sell and you can easily make some money. The trick, of course, is to generate traffic to your website. That’s where knowing the inside scoop on using the right keywords and Search Engine Optimization are invaluable.

Average startup cost: well under $500

2. A Virtual Assistant Business:

If you have a talent for office administration, you can do quite well running a Virtual Assistance business out of your home. Your clients can be located anywhere in the world. Virtual Assistants (VA’s) do a variety of tasks including website administration, secretarial work, bookkeeping and a multitude of other jobs. If you have office experience, you might want to start here because VA’s command a decent hourly wage.

Average startup cost: under $500, depending on your office equipment

3. A Bookkeeping Business:

If you have bookkeeping experience, then starting your own bookkeeping business will be fairly easy for you. Freelance bookkeepers command anywhere from $20 to $60 per hour, so it’s easy to see how lucrative a bookkeeping business can be. Also with so many people starting their own businesses, a bookkeeping business is also an evergreen business. Many businesses have a hard time finding a bookkeeper, so your services will be in demand.

Average startup cost: $200 to $600, if you have your own office equipment

Businesses to Stay Away From:

You’ll notice that home businesses that involve selling products didn’t make this list. These include party plans, door to door selling or any multi-level type marketing businesses. All these business models generally involve buying inventory and selling it or working on commission.

The problem with these business models is that the majority of moms who dedicate themselves to these businesses rarely make any money at all. The only ones making any money are the company itself or the people who “sponsor” these moms.

So if you’re a single mom who’s looking for ways to supplement your income, check out the low cost home business ideas mentioned.

Want to learn about starting a bookkeeping business? click here

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sylvia_Jaumann

Virtual Bookkeeping – The Key to Your Success

Are you a bookkeeper who is considering doing virtual bookkeeping in order to expand your bookkeeping business? This is a great option especially if you live in an area with limited business prospects.

You’ll have to setup a website in order to do virtual bookkeeping as you’ll need a way to showcase your services and skills. This doesn’t have to be too elaborate. You’ll just need one page that lists your services, one that describes your bookkeeping experience and another page that lists your bookkeeping rates. Some bookkeepers prefer not to list their rates but I have found that it deters the “tire kickers” if you state your bookkeeping rates up front.

A quick way to generate traffic to your site is to post ads on Craigslist.org with a link back to your site. Post your ad in the “Services – Financial” section. Briefly outline your bookkeeping services and mention the accounting software that you use for your business. This helps to better target clients who are already using your software for their business.

Another way to get traffic to your virtual bookkeeping website is to visit forums in markets where you’d like to do business. So if you’re looking to attract Internet Marketers, hang out in these types of forums. If you’re looking for home businesses in general, hang out in those forums. Make sure you have a link in your signature back to your website and that you make insightful posts in order to establish your credibility.

With the Internet having opened up your client base, now there is no excuse for not having a full plate of bookkeeping clients who need your services. Potential clients are everywhere so virtual bookkeeping is the key to your success.

If you’re just starting your bookkeeping business, go here for this Free Report called “The Truth About Starting a Bookkeeping Business.”

If you’re looking for more ways to get bookkeeping clients, including pre-written sales letters, you must check out Get Bookkeeping Clients today.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sylvia_Jaumann



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