Christmas Headaches, Who Needs Them? 4 steps to simplify your bookkeeping and have a more enjoyable New Year.

October already, where has the year gone?

With Christmas just around the corner this is the time that the work picks up for Tradie’s. All of a sudden everyone wants all those jobs finished ‘by Christmas’ and you are thankful that you will have some more cash for the festivities.

The problem I see is that Tradie’s ‘forget’ to sort out their bookkeeping and to not spend all that money and come January things start to become tight and by February you are using your credit card more, pulling money from your home loan or even worse, not paying bills on time.

This sets you up for a tough year as you are on the back foot right from the start.

So what can you do differently this quarter of the year to ensure you have a good start to the new year?

  1. Put money aside for your GST and don’t touch it. Yes you get an extra month to pay but if you don’t have it set aside as it comes in it’s unlikely you will have it come February’s due date.
  2. Make sure you pay your bills on time for this quarter. Don’t leave it till after Christmas.
  3. Put some extra money on your bills which you know will be coming in January and February to save being late.
  4. Set limits on how much you will spend on presents and outings and stick to it. Easier said than done I know. If doing this for everything is too much of a stretch then chose three and stick to those. Something is better than nothing.

If this sounds good in theory and you aren’t sure just how you could manage it for your business, contact Katie 0424151056 or book your 30 minute FREE review HERE to see how you can have an awesome New Year.

Are You Driving With Your Lights Off?

I recently read – Aussie Grit by Mark Webber.

As a lover of all things motor sport, Webber’s career was one of many race drivers that I have followed over the years. His Aussie attitude was certainly something that differentiates him from the usual Formula 1 drivers as did his exceptional driving skills which kept me interested in his career which spanned over 12 years at the elite level of F1.

There is something to be said for the determination that people have to reach their business goals. Whether they are sports people such as Mark Webber or the average Australian Business person trying to make a go of it, one thing I have learned is that those who are most successful over the longer term all have a plan.

A plan that involves not only point A being where the are today and point B being the ultimate destination but a detailed plan of how they are going to get there and at what point along the way they will review and adjust the plan so that when they hit a road bump and that is a certainty the alternatives have already been thought of and managed.

Mark Webber was no exception, over 20 years ago his partner Ann had a plan which they both worked towards and would take him to his ultimate destination – becoming a Formula 1 driver.

During my research of speaking to over 100 Tradie’s about their businesses, I have found that over 95% of them don’t have a financial plan.

THERE THREE MAINS PROBLEMS:

Not enough money
Not enough time
Not enough resources/contacts
The vicious circle of money, time and resources – we don’t have the time, to concentrate on making more money and without more money we can’t take the time to get better resources or betters contacts.

Mark Webber was short on all of these three also at the start. Yet he had a plan and then he begun to get more money through picking up the phone and contacting sponsors and potential sponsors, he built more contacts through those phones calls which opened other doors for him and he found the time because he had the final destination in mind at all times.

All my new clients come to me because they didn’t have a plan for the business finances and not only is their business is suffering, so is their health.

Imagine you are driving down the highway with you and your family or best mates in the car and its night time, the problem is none of you have seat belt on and the headlights are off.

Crazy? Yes

Would you do it? Not likely!

Why? because it is an accident waiting to happen.

Yet most Tradie’s are doing exactly that by not knowing the numbers of their business.

How safely are you traveling to your ultimate destination?

Are you driving with your lights off?

Ready to take a safer route?

Contact Katie today to help you start your journey.

The Numbers Never Lie

Numbers

Like it or not the numbers of your business never lie and it doesn’t matter how long you ignore them for, they still don’t lie.

Over 80% of small businesses fail in the first five years. I am sure you have all heard that stat numerous times and like my clients I am sure you have thought ‘thank goodness that’s not me’.

In my experience, working with small business owners helping them know their numbers the majority of the business owners are very close to becoming this statistic.

Through long hours and exhausting week after week you are staying just above the failure line.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be ‘normal’.

I love numbers, I always have. It is what I get excited about and could talk about all day long and that is why I have a bookkeeping and financial management company which helps small business owners who don’t share this passion of mine.

Imagine you are a small business owner who knew exactly who you owed money too, knew exactly who owed you money.

Imagine if you had money map showing you what your cash flow would loook like in the coming month.

Imagine knowing you could pay all your bills on time, pay your staff in full including their super and tax and knew you could even draw yourself a wage each week.

Imagine how much better sleep you could have.

Imagine how much more enjoyable working in your business would be.

Imagine how much more you would enjoy your weekends.

Imagine how much better a family life you would have.

There is only one thing you need to do…look at your numbers.

If that thought freaks you out completely then the second thing you need to do is find someone who loves the numbers and can step you through a solution.

At Efficient Business Services we have a 5 step process which takes small business owners from confused, stressed and overwhelmed to relieved and relaxed.

  1. Map: Where are you now and where would you like to be?
  2. Measure: We use technology such as Xero and Receipt Bank just to name a few to help organise your numbers which allows us to be able to measure them easily
  3. Manage: Now all your numbers have been uploaded and are correct we can focus on making sure those who owe you money pay their bills on your cash flow so that you no longer have to shuffle bills
  4. Master: This step is where we help you master your money through education and training. Now we know we are the specialist in the money department and we don’t expect you to be but we do believe it is important for you to at least understand the basics
  5. Maintain: The final step to ensure your financial foundation remains solid over time is maintenance. Regularly reviewing and revising your business will ensure your financial foundations don’t erode over time without you knowing.

If you are ready to take a look at your numbers and just don’t have the courage to go it alone, contact Katie today on 0424151056 or via email katie@efficientbusinessservices.com.au to book your free discovery consultation.

How to make the most of this financial year before it’s too late

We are already in the last quarter of the 2015 – 2016 financial year.

Another financial year is nearly finished and for many Tradies you may have not yet finished your tax for the previous financial year.

So how do we make the most of this financial year before it’s too late?

Efficient Business Services (EBS) is a specialist Tradie’s bookkeeping and financial management business and we work with Tradie’s who are driven and who are looking to build a better business.

Here are my top 3 steps to help you make this most of the financial year:

  1. Ensure your bookkeeping is up to date:
    – If don’t have a bookkeeper, get one, NOW or at least have a chat and see how a specialist Xero bookkeeper could help your business.
    – A specialist Xero bookkeeper will be able to:
    * offer a bookkeeping service which is not your run of the mill standard bookkeeping service, one which suits you and your business
    * is able to implement cloud based programs such as Xero and Receipt Bank to reduce the time required by the bookkeeper to complete your bookkeeping
    * is able to suggest other areas of your business which may be improved through the use of certain programs or apps
    looks beyond the bookkeeping to help you speak to the right people at the right time to make sure you are making the most out of your business
    * has a network of trusted advisors including Accountants, Financial Planners, Business Insurance specialists, HR specialists and web specialists who they refer too not for financial gain but because it helps you and your business
    * use this CHECKLIST as a guide to ensure your bookkeeping is up to date and ready for the Accountant

2) Ensure you speak to your Accountant prior to the end of the financial year:
– Speaking to your Accountant on July 1 2016 is too late to make decisions for your business for the current financial year.
Time and time again I hear and read comments like ‘the Accountant charged us like a wounded bull and we got nothing for it so why should I bother speaking with them’.
– Like any profession there are great, good, bad and downright terrible and it is our responsibility as business owners to ensure we take ownership and ensure we work with the best Accountant for our business at the time.
– If you don’t like your current Accountant find another one.
– By having your bookkeeping up to date it means the Accountant can focus on the accounting side of things NOT the bookkeeping.
– Many people complain that their Accountant charges them too much and in the majority of the cases that is because you are paying them an Accountant’s hourly rate to do or fix the bookkeeping which hasn’t been done correctly which is why step one is vital

3) Ask questions and implement changes:
– Questions about this financial year and about next, even if they are just a slim chance of happening.
– Asking questions allows you to prepare for what might happen
– Preparation is key
– It is all good and well completing step 1 and 2 but then delaying taking those recommended steps won’t help your business at all
– A number of the changes might involve costs, remember to look at your long term goals before using the old excuse ‘I can’t afford it now’ as by not implementing the change now very well may be much more costly in the future

Efficient Business Services (EBS) helps ‘build better businesses’ and we specialise in working with driven small business owners who know the numbers are important to their business but just don’t have the enthusiasm to start sorting them out.

EBS’s first goal is to find out exactly what ‘better business’ means to you, the business owner.

Working with EBS means answering lots of questions, and I mean lots.

One reason for this is that at EBS we only work with those who we are a good match.

Secondly, we want to make sure we know where your business is now and most importantly where you want to the business to go.

It is then our job to work out what needs to be done to get you to your destination. We specialise in making this as simple as possible so you actually enjoy the journey.

Ready to take the first step? Contact Katie today on 0424151056 or email katie@efficientbusinessservices.com.au to chat about how you can make the most of this financial year before it is too late.

5 Reasons Why Xero is the Accounting Software of the Future

A few years ago, we accepted that there were limitations to accessing the Web. However, this mindset has changed in a few short years thanks to the emergence of cloud computing and mobile technology. New businesses are now capitalizing on this recent technology to give us greater access to our assets stored online, with no strings attached.

Small business accounting has undergone a sea of change as a new breed of Web-based financial management tools has become available. These software providers have removed the constrictions of desktop software, allowing many accountants to work closer and more efficiently with their small business clients through the Web.

At the moment, the market is crowded with cloud accounting providers. Intuit is still the incumbent, but there are a number of alternatives to its flagship QuickBooks product.

I believe Xero will emerge from the pack and fortify itself as the must-have cloud accounting solution for small businesses in the future. Here’s what sets it apart from the other options and why it’s here to stay.

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1. Connectivity with other data sources

A big reason for the cloud revolution is because online applications can connect and share data with each other. This allows for automation and minimizes data entry.

Xero has made huge strides in streamlining accounting through the connectivity of its software. Users can connect their online bank accounts to their Xero ledger so daily transactions can import automatically. When the data entry step is removed, the time it takes to do daily bank reconciliations is decreased drastically. (I’ll talk more about how Xero does bank rec in the next step.)

Xero also has integration partnerships with hundreds of applications regularly used by small businesses, such as Square, Constant Contact, and Google Apps. Information flows between these systems, revealing great insights about the company that previously would have been difficult to identify.

2. Usability and design

Ease of use, smart functionality, and a stunning interface are necessities for technology products in this cloud age, and Xero delivers in these areas. The interface and the way it interacts with the user is a big reason Xero is a viable QuickBooks alternative.

Xero’s dashboard provides a clear overview of a business’s key accounts, with additional detail revealed as you drill-down. You can log in and get a quick summary of your business’s financial health. If there is anything alarming, you can explore with greater depth.

Xero has also streamlined many functions of bookkeeping. It automatically matches bank and accounting transactions for reconciliation. All the user has to do is click a button to confirm a match is correct, reducing the time traditionally required for bank reconciliation.

3. Accessibility from anywhere

Xero was one of the first accounting software products built purely for the cloud, so collaboration has been part of the company’s philosophy since the beginning.

Many cloud accounting providers charge their customers for additional user licenses, but every Xero subscription comes with unlimited users. This can be a significant cost saver for companies that have multiple people participating in bookkeeping activities.

Xero also has a variety of built-in features that make it simple to work together from remote locations. Messages can be left in the app and files can be attached to pertinent data. There are also useful mobile apps for Apple and Android devices that are constantly improving.

4. New features in the cloud

Xero rolls out new updates every few weeks. They normally consist of small tweaks, but new major features seem to arrive every few months. Since the software is hosted online, the updates are automatic and have no effect on the individual user or their personal computer.

Many of Xero’s recent features have been quite innovative. Smart Lists lets users build targeted marketing campaigns using their accounting data. The Google integration allows reports from Xero to be exported and shared as Google Docs. Xero doesn’t just focus on improving accounting but rather how accounting can be used to improve the business as a whole.

5. It’s here to stay

The future for Xero is looking bright. Xero has received a few large rounds of funding from respected VCs and recently floated the notion of an IPO. (Xero is already publicly traded in Australian and New Zealand – the company’s base of operations.) Its financial backing and success in the Southern Hemisphere is evidence that Xero should continue to establish itself as a major player in the U.S. accounting software space.

The partnerships Xero has entered into over the last few years are another positive sign. Major technology and banking companies like Google, Square, Constant Contact, and Silicon Valley Bank have all built integrations using Xero’s API. If these companies endorse Xero, it affirms the decisions already made by thousands of accountants and small business owners. I believe we’ll hear much more from Xero as time goes by.

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