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Have You Reconciled Your Bank Statements?

Posted on November 3, 2015 at 9:43 AM Comments comments (4)
Have you reconciled your Bank Statements lately? Just a Reminder, We have only a few days left to the end of the Year. Very Soon, It will be Tax Season and you will need to submit your Financial Statements for Tax Filing. Can you confidently say that your Company Accounts are updated and reconciled?

It is very important to reconcile your Bank and Credit Card Statements at the end of every MONTH. A Bank Reconciliation is the balancing of a Company's Cash Account Balance to its Bank Account Balance. It is important to ensure that the Cash Account and Bank Account Balances match. The Main Document used for Bank Reconciliation is the Bank Statement.
There are great benefits in reconciling your Accounts and we will be looking at a few of them today. These Benefits include:

  • Accurate Financials - Financial Statements are more accurate and can be relied upon, when reconciled. 

  • Better Business Decisions - Everyone knows that when your Financials are accurate, you are able to make better decisions for your Business. This ultimately enhances your Business Growth.

  • Better Planning - When Bank Reconciliations are done monthly, you are assured that the entries entered into your Company's Account are all correct, this also gives you a clear view of the checks that you may have issued but has not cleared from your Bank Account. 

  • Eliminating Money Leaks from your Company - The Last Thing you will want for your Business is for your Hard- Earned Money to go down the drain because of a Money Leak in your Business. It is worthy to note that Only Bank Reconciliations will catch Big Money Leaks like A Deposit that was not posted to your Bank Account due to various reasons ranging from Returned items to Bank Errors, Unnecessary Bank Charges, Fraudulent Activities, Double Vendor Charges and Other Common Errors. If your Bank Reconciliations are not done monthly, you could be losing thousands of Dollars in errors, that could have been captured on time.

  • Updated Company Records/Reduced Bookkeeping Charges - The Month of January is a busy time for Accounting Professionals.; it's a period of closing the Year End Reports as well as Tax Preparation Season. Any Business Owner that doesn't have a Bookkeeper presently will definitely spend twice as much to get one, between the months of January - April. Would it not be wise to get a Bookkeeper Now and tidy your Books before the Rush Period?

I have listed a few of what I discovered in my years of engaging Bank Reconciliations for my Clients. For easy assimilation, I will categorize them as Internal and External Observations:

INTERNAL OBSERVATIONS:
1) Pilfering Employees/Employees that steal from the Company.

2) Cash Registers not closed out.

3) Bank Deposits not being timely deposited by the Employees.

4) Cash Advances and Loans taken by Employees are not properly accounted for.

5) Unauthorized Purchases made on the Company's Credit Card.

6) Forged Checks being endorsed and cashed at the Bank.

7) Managers taking Clients to a strip club on the company's Credit Card (Yes, This Happens).

8) Rampant Starbucks purchases on the Company Credit Card.

9) Wrong Recording and Classification of Loan Accounts, Line of Credits and credit Card Accounts.

EXTERNAL OBSERVATIONS :
1) Customers reversing charges, without the knowledge of the Business Owner.

2) Automatic Payments increase by the Bank.

3) Utility Companies like Telephone/Internet Companies billing Clients twice in the same month.

4) Fraudulent Purchases on the Company Credit Card.

5) Match.Com Payments made on the company Credit Card.

6) Unauthorized Withdrawals by the Banks ( Inadvertently claiming the Business Owner authorized it).

7) Bill Payments issued via Bill Pay were not mailed out by the Bank to the vendor issued, hence the business Owner incurs late charges for Non Payment of Bills.

8) Over $3,500 in Annual Bank Fees for Overdrafts/NSF/Late Fees.

We can see that most of these items are charge worthy and I have seen a lot of Business Owners experience One or more of these errors because they don't reconcile their Statements. We need to have internal and external procedures in place to get our accounts reconciled. If you have not been recording your transactions from the beginning of the year and have not reconciled them, the best time to start is NOW. 

Please do not feel that it is a waste of time to reconcile your accounts, you never know, you may have been losing a lot of cash under your nose. Try to take a look at your account today and begin to experience increased Cash flow. If you feel that you don't have time to get to your Bank Reconciliation, Feel Free to Give Us a Call on 202.422.4586. We are always available to help you.

How to Avoid Online Fraud.

Posted on May 18, 2015 at 11:32 AM Comments comments (7)

The Warmer Weather has finally arrived; soon it will be summer. Most Business Owners let down their guard, let go on Vacations and have Fun. Coincidentally, it's also a time that Online Scammers and Hackers get active and keep their eyes looking for Accounts to hack and tamper the unfortunate company Account Holders.

Our Discussion today focuses on an area that is passionate to my heart. As a matter of fact, I look forward to a day, that every company will be devoid of fraud. Technology has given fraudsters an edge in recent years, and we see a lot of fraudulent activities and online attacks on most Business Account. There are majority of fraudsters out there that are using the basic scams to de-fraud merchants, because there are too many Businesses that are not doing anything to stop them.

The Purpose of this Write-up is to provide information on the various types of Account Frauds that exist and how to prevent these online fraudulent attacks on your Business. The Online Frauds are as follows:

 1) Morphing Fraud (Repeat Offenders): This is common in online customer sales businesses. The Fraudster hits a Single Merchant, multiple times using slightly different data points each time; A Multiple Purchase is made from your Business site within a short time frame with a number of different credit cards. In this Case, All of the Goods will be going to the same location, but all of the other data may change between purchases.

2) Skimming:This is where the Debit/Credit Card Numbers are being accessed in common places like Restaurants, Bars, Hotels, ATMs and Airports. The Fraudsters place fake devices in these locations or sites, where an accomplice or entire staff unknowingly swipes each credit card that is entered. Afterwards, these Numbers are collected and sold.

3) Debit Card Fraud: This occurs when a criminal gains access to your debit card number, to make unauthorized purchases and/or withdraws from your Account. When your Debit Card is used fraudulently, the money is missing from your account instantly. Recently, We had a case of client, whose Company Account was continuously charged an unauthorized amount for 6 months, and the Client innocently thought the charges were for services, he had signed up for, until his account was reviewed and he found out that they were fraudulent online transactions.

4) Identity Fraud: A Case of Identity Theft is being reported every 19 Seconds since  the Year 2001; It occurs when someone's personal information is stolen and a credit card account is opened in the victim's name, without their permission , and charges are made to these account. It is worthy to note that identity fraud does not necessarily occur, when a credit card is simply stolen.  

Having looked at the most common types of Online Fraud, We have listed below the steps to prevent your account from being attacked.

             Avoiding Online Fraud:

  • Cultivate a Habit of Reviewing your Statements: Every Business Owner should regularly check their Bank Statements, Credit Card/PayPal Statements, and keep a lookout for any strange activity. If anything seems out of place, contact customer service immediately and ensure that nothing is wrong. This is how we saved a Client thousands of dollars, which hitherto had been deducted continuously for 6 months from his Business Account.
  • Maintaining a Good Bookkeeping System: When we maintain a good Bookkeeping Record, We are able to quickly detect any fraudulent and suspicious activities, and get them resolved immediately. This also helps us to save on unauthorized expenditures, as well as increasing revenue on the bottom line.
  • Use Separate Email Accounts: This is an important email security tip that seems like a hassle but can prove worthwhile in the long run. It is advisable to have more than one Business Email Account, through which you can log on to your financial information. For many of us, Our Businesses are the gateway to other online accounts. If a company is hacked and someone gains access to your inbox, they are one step closer to everything else.
  • Use Multiple Payment Methods: It is better to split your funds between multiple sources; this can help protect you against losing everything at once. For instance, if you purchase eBay Goods with PayPal and EBay is hacked, only your PayPal Account is at risk. This is not necessarily a catch-all solution, since if you have one credit card, you don't really have a choice but to use that particular card. But, it's a general rule to diversify whenever possible.
  • Don't Save Personal Information: It is best to avoid storing your personal details, like card Numbers on Bill Payment Services. Everyone believes that it's a stress to put it in the information, every time you want to make a payment, but it's also safer.
  • Protect your Computers: Use Firewalls, Anti-virus and Anti-Spyware Software on your computers and keep them updated regularly.
  • Beware of Unsecured WI-Fi Hot Spots: As Individuals and Business Owners, We should be discreet about opening our Bank and other secure information websites in public places. The connections used in these places are mostly insecure. It's fine to check weather, social media but not Bank Accounts and statements in public places, not even when we are using our Hot Spots.
  • Use a Strong Password: This will prevent hackers from right-guessing your password. It is an obvious fact, that Humans get password-lazy, so they re-use their password and use them for multiple accounts. Don't Re-Use your passwords. Most importantly, Passwords are your first line of defense. It is a strong way to protect yourself.

        Finally, it is worthy to note that the most effective way to prevent fraud is to be proactive in the design of your strategy.  It is really scary to consider the damages.

What Strategy have you put in Place to prevent your Personal and Business Account from being attacked? Think about this and Act Immediately. If you need help with setting up a Fraud Resistance Accounting and Bookkeeping Strategy, we are just a Call away. We would love to hear from you.

Tips for Managing Your Business Cash Flow.

Posted on August 5, 2014 at 2:49 AM Comments comments (26)

 It's already the eighth month of the Year, We are gradually getting to the end of the year, and soon it will be time for Year End Reports. In our last Newsletter, We discussed the concept of Cash Flow and how it affects our Business Operations; this month, we will be looking at tips to manage our Business Cash Flow.

  Being in Business for yourself is like being an Air traffic controller, especially in the area of cash flow management ; You can imagine trying to control 100 Airplanes landing simultaneously on two runways; this can be an upheaval task, but we regularly see clients line up their monthly bills, their projected income, business projects and business expenses and try to combine all these activities, at the same time, trying to ensure a steady cash flow into the business; you can imagine, the projected outcome, if all these activities are not properly coordinated.

  Cash Flow is the heartbeat of every Business, and if a Business does not have the cash on hand to pay their vendors, they will definitely run into problems. The main Cash Flow Problem, that Business Owners face is as a result of Lack of Creative Cash Management. Below are some Tips to overcome the Ups and Downs of Cash Flow Problems in your Businesses:

1) Always Schedule All Payments: Most Business Owners line up their monthly bills, compile them, sit down and issue all the checks and set up Bill Payments at once; but the trick is to have a " Holding Pattern". It is advisable to schedule each payment, in order to get to your vendors in a timely landing, without affecting other Cash Flow activities. 
  Every Business has Three (3) tiers of Checks Disbursements Groupings:        
a) Must Pay Group- These are payments that can hurt you, either in cost or ability to operate your business, if they are not paid. These include items like Taxes, Rents, Payroll and Service Charges.
b) Important to Pay Group - These are payments, that have a reasonable grace period, and if not paid, a financial penalty can be incurred, as a result of Nonpayment. These include Utility Bills , Credit Card Payments and Insurance Payments .
c) Flexible Payment Plan Group - Suppliers, Vendors and Wholesalers, that supply most Small Businesses are the best sources of flexible credit financing. Most of them will continue to work with you, if you arrange a regular payment plan with them.

  • Tip #1: Try to schedule Payment Dates, into the Three (3) tiers of Checks Disbursements groupings and issue check/Bill payments accordingly.

2)  Make Payments on your Revenue, not on uncollected Sales : I am sure, that none of us will want to land a plane, hoping that the runway is beneath us in the fog bank, as also Business owners, it is not advisable to make projected payments on uncollected revenue. You may wander, what happens to Credit Facilities, Guess What, Most Credit Facilities still have a timeline for payment.

  • Tip #2: Always prepare your Cash Flow Statement and financial reports, and review them periodically, to have a full knowledge of your Cash Flow.

3)  Do not use Payroll Taxes to float your Business Operations: Studies have shown that most Business Owners use the Tax liabilities, collected during payroll, to float their businesses, rather than remitting the payments to the appropriate Tax Authorities. They don't realize that they spend more in potential penalties, fees , interests, time and aggravation, if they engage in this act. Tax Liabilities grow, if they are not remitted at the appropriate timing.

  •  Tip #3: Try to discipline yourself to deposit the payroll tax money collected, into a Separate Bank Account, until you are ready to remit the payments.

4)  Establish Relationships with your Credit Provider: It is very important for every business owner to plan for a rainy day. Having a great relationship with a vendor, that gives you a credit facility, avoids cash flow storms, which might bring in a sense of desperation or lack of control. 

  • Tip #4: If you work with a quality company, that provides working capital or credit facility, stick with them and build a relationship, once they know your credit worthiness, they will be there to help you quickly, in times of need.

 5)  Invest in a Good Bookkeeping/ Accounting Service: It is important for Business Owners to have a grasp of their cash flow and understand the effect on their business growth. A Good Bookkeeping service is invaluable to your business, particularly in preparing your monthly financial reports and cash flow statements, which will help you, see how your Business is doing as well as maintaining your Business Cash flow. 

  •  Tip #5: Rather than worry about how to prepare your company financials and your cash Flow Statements, as well as trying to figure out, the amount of Payroll taxes to pay; let the professionals handle it.

  Understanding and Managing Cash flow has been a challenge for many Business owners, but with the application of these tips, it is possible to grow your Business to a greater level , and also have enough funds for other activities, that will bring more revenue into your Business. 
 
  Please feel free to contact us on 202-422-4586, if you will need further help on how to manage your Business Cash flow and financial Reports. We will love to help you. Remember: The best time to take control of your Cash Flow is RIGHT NOW.

Why Use Quick Books Accounting Software?

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 2:30 AM Comments comments (21)
  
It is important for every business owner to have an effective accounting system in place, so that they can increase their efficiency and manage their finances effectively. When a client comes to us in need of Bookkeeping /Accounting Services, it is noticed that most of the time,many of the business owners do not have an accounting system in place and this puts their businesses and finance in a great mess.
 
An  accounting System is the basis of a good business and goes a long way, in showing how the business can handle its profits,manage its expenses, handle its payroll and invariably increase its net worth. We always advise our clients, to get QuickBooks, to handle their accounting/bookkeeping records.
 
QuickBooks is a set of accounting software solution that is designed to manage payroll, inventory, sales,purchases, invoices, receipts and other needs of a small business. It is usually tailored to meet the needs of every different industries and business types. We always encourage our Clients to use Quick Books and if they cannot afford it; we can set up their company QuickBooks file on our system, and prepare their reports and send in electronic files to them, to view, their company financial position.
 
We will go ahead to list a few reasons,why you should use QuickBooks for your Business Accounting Software:
 
  • QuickBooks can be customized to work, whichever way, you desire. It is specifically designed to be flexible and adaptable to a wide range of businesses. In addition,Quick Books have customized accounting packages for all industry typesincluding the ones for Contractors, Retailers, Health Care Professionals, Non-Profit Organizations, Real Estate Industries and several others.
 
               We also advise our clients on the suitable type of QuickBooks to use for their business and invariably help them in setting up the Software,to suit their Business type.
 
  •   QuickBooks has been proven to be stable, reliable and consistent with using the best accounting practices, to produce financial statements, which most companies use to make business decisions that will move their companies forward. With Quick Books,you can make forecasts and budget projections, which are necessary tools if you want to move your business forward. You can contact us for more details regarding these business tools, and how to use it to work for your Business.
 
 
  •         You can grow your business with QuickBooks. QuickBooks will help you design a business plan to use while trying to secure a small business loan or line of credit, and also planning for the future. This software can create a projected Balance Sheet,Profit & Loss Statement and statement of cash flows in the formatrecommended by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
 
 
  •      The Use of QuickBooks can save you time on Bookkeeping and paperwork, because many of the simple Bookkeeping tasks are handled automatically in QuickBooks, thereby making it easier to run your business effortlessly. We have seen clients that tried doing their Bookkeeping on Microsoft Excel, and gone through so many headaches,to clear or balance an account item,after spending long hours without any solution; With QuickBooks, you do not have to exert as much effort and you are sure of getting immediate results and a reconciled account, which shows up immediately.
 
 
  •     You can create your Company Invoices with QuickBooks, as well as your receipts, and send them via email to your customers, rather than using a Microsoft template,that you always have to edit, which may lead to several errors and repetitions.With QuickBooks, once you create an invoice, it is synchronized with your accounting system.
 
  •       QuickBooks enables you to view your Accounts Payable(Vendors) and your Accounts Receivables (customers) without stress, and this will give you a clearer picture of how to handle your vendors and customers effectively.
 
  •        With QuickBooks, you can easily generate reports you need information on, so that you will always know where your business stands. As a business owner, you need to know whether you are making money or not, or whether your business is healthy or profitable. If you need to know further on how to use QuickBooks to perform this function, we are always available to train you, and show you the multiple ways, that you can generate over 100 reports on QuickBooks, which will invariably move your business forward.
 
 
  •       Every Business owner wants to get paid for their services and will also need a faster means of payments to improve the company cash flow; With QuickBooks Online Payments,you can e-mail an invoice or statement, through which your customer can easily pay you with a credit card or bank account transfer. This is really a great feature,because you do not have to wait for the check in the mail anymore.
 
  •      QuickBooks encourages paying your bills online, by setting up your current bank account on QuickBooks; you are ready to pay your bills without licking any envelopes or printing paper checks. You can even pay anyone from your credit card companies to your pizza service. In addition, the Online Banking feature lets you download your monthly statement from your participating bank directly into QuickBooks for easier reconciliation.
 
  •     Do you know that you can set up your liability accounts like Loans, Notes Payables,Credit Cards and Line of Credits on QuickBooks? Once this is done, you will be able to know your monthly balances, and see your principal and interest payments every month; doing this takes off so much stress than having to wait for the statements from your Bank ,or paying the extra charges, that will be required,in the event that you loose any of the statements.
 
  •        Payroll can be done via QuickBooks, this saves our client a lot of stress and money, because it will eliminate your dependence on payroll companies to prepare your payroll; and you get to see the number of hours, that your employees have worked in total for each pay period, in addition to the net amount that they are due,after tax liabilities. You are also in control of your Company Tax liabilities and payments.
 
 These are just a few of the reasons for using QuickBooks Accounting Software for your Bookkeeping services; we have found out that most business owners always underutilize a lot of the QuickBooks features, either because of ignorance or lack of training.
 
You can always contact us to train you on how to best utilize your QuickBooks Software.We offer various QuickBooks services at very affordable rates. Our  QuickBooks Services include:
 
-         QuickBooks Setup
 
-         QuickBooks Personalized & Group Training
 
-         QuickBooks Supervision/Review
 
-         QuickBooks Support
 
-         QuickBooks Tune Up
 
-         QuickBooks Cleanup
 
-         And many more
 
          It is always important to make the best use of your QuickBooks software in order to get the best financial reports for your business. Using QuickBooks Accounting Software is a smart and affordable way to get a handle on your books. Accurate records enhance educated decisions for your business and will save you money.
 
WHY DON’T YOU CALL US TODAY ON 202-422-4586 to schedule an appointment; so that we can show you the best way to use your QuickBooks Software, and if you do not have one, DON’T WORRY, We can always purchase one for you or set up your QuickBooks Company file on our system and send you regular reports, so that you can manage your business effectively and make great business decisions.
 
Please also feel free to fill out our contact form, so that we can get in touch with you to respond to your needs. We will love to help you.