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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.

What do you expect your Profit to be this Year?

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 1:17 AM Comments comments (7)


  Profitability is a key driver of financial success in business. The goal of every Business owner should be to make profit and improve their business to make it better.

  If you were having a discussion, one year from today, and looking over your financials, Will you be happy with your financial progress? This question should propel you to take action, about what you expect your profit to be for the year.

  Profit is like a car,that must be driven; it does not drive itself; for you to get a projected profit, you have to be on top of your profit expectations. I have listed some questions, which should stimulate you to focus on an expected profit, as the year is coming to an end:
  • What do you expect your profit (taxable income) to be for this year?
  • Is this level of profitability above-average for your industry?
  • What percent of revenues does your profit represent?
  • Is your expected profit up or down from last year?
  • How much of your profit will be converted into cash this year?
 
  As you go through these questions, you're painting a picture of what your financial success should look like, and this will lead you to action, for an end result. Having a picture requires taking action to actualize your projected expectations. These steps below will help you achieve your financial profit picture, feel free to put them into practice and see the transformation, it brings to your business:

  1)  Have a Target Goal: You need to have a financial goal for your business at the beginning of every year. The Goal can be broken into monthly, quarterly and semi-annual financial targets. It is advisable and easier to have a monthly target.

 2) Monitor your Progress: Once you set your financial goals, you will need to monitor your progress, against your target every month. You can only monitor your progress by examining your monthly financial reports (Profit & Loss/ Balance Sheet Reports). If you have not been preparing your report, this should be a good time to start.

3)  Adjust: At the end of every month, you need to review your target goal against your actual results (financial reports), and decide if you need to make changes, in your business, to achieve your targets. The changes can be in form of reducing an expense category to putting a plan in place for faster accounts receivables process.

 This is the secret to creating your financial success for your business. I challenge you to put these into action and watch your business achieve your desired projected profit.

 Do you need help with interpreting your financial reports? Perhaps you are yet to prepare your financial reports for the year, and don't have an idea of your actual profit; Call us NOW for further consultation and Assistance.

 We will be glad to help 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.

Assessing your Company's Financial Health.

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (12)
                       
   Recently, A Client of ours requested to know the health of his company and was of the opinion that the total income, that his company made was enough to prove that his company was healthy. We had to explain to him, that the company's total income was not enough to show the financial health of his company. We realize that a lot of business owners always make this wrong assumption. We hope that by the time, you finish reading this article, you will have a better understanding of how to assess your business/organization's financial health position.
 
   It is important to note that, to assess your company's financial health, you will need more information than your Gross Income, to see how well your business/organization is doing. There are three important financial information, that you will need and these will also help you in making your Business decisions. They are:
 
  • Balance Sheet-A Balance Sheet provides an instant picture of an organization's financial situation at a particular point in time. It shows an organization's assets(what it owns),liabilities(what it owes) and net worth(the difference between the two).It also provides a breakdown of current assets and fixed assets, as well as current liabilities and fixed liabilities. The Balance sheet also shows how much equity(ownership interest),that you have in the Business.
 
  • Profit & Loss Statement - A Profit & Loss Statement shows all actual income and expenses incurred for a particular period of time, such as a month, quarter or year. This statement reports the most important numbers of the organization, like the Company's Gross Profit, total expenses and Net Income, through which Business owners can determine, if their business is making a profit or loss.
 
  • Cash Flow Statement - This Statement shows how much actual cash enters and leaves your company's accounts for a time period,including all operating activities, investing activities and financing activities. Incoming Cash appears in different categories, such as Sales, Cash from Vendors, interest received, Owner contributions, any borrowed money or miscellaneous sources. The categories for outgoing cash are Payroll, inventory, operating expenses, equipments, capital expenditures, debts and distributions to owners.
 
    It is important to note that by combining these three statements, you will be able to assess the financial health of your company at any given time. Please note that you NEED to have a GOOD BOOKKEEPING SYSTEM in place, because this is the only way that your statements can be accurate, and with this, you will be able to make accurate business decisions.
 
  If you need help with assessing the financial health of your business/organization's and also  preparing any of the statements listed above, We are available to help you out. GIVE US A CALL TODAY ON 202-422-4586,and see how we can assist you. We will also give you suggestions, that will enhance your business and help your company grow.
 
   Please also feel free to fill out our contact form, so that we can get in touch with you and respond to your questions. We will love to help you.