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Online Bookkeeping Solutions Blog

The Online Bookkeeping Solutions Blog is an timely collection of interesting and helpful information for those companies who want to outsource their bookkeeping solution and utilize bookkeeping services by subscription. Outsource your bookkeeping to a cloud based solution backed by experienced CPA's.

10 Ways To Cut Overhead Costs

Your business may incur a seemingly minor cost here and there, but over time these costs add up. Suddenly, your overhead is way higher than it should be. The current economy is rough, so it is prudent for your business to reduce overhead costs wherever possible. There are a myriad of clever ways to accomplish this. Consider some of the following suggestions

1. Use Office Space Wisely
Look at your office’s physical space, and analyze how well it’s being used. If you have extra space, maybe you can share your office with another, non-competing business. If you are adding staff, consider reconfiguring your floor plan to be most efficient. Try wall partitions to make more efficient use of space, while still giving your employees a sense of privacy and comfort in the work space.

2. VPN Technology
A VPN sets up a private Internet connection that uses encryption and authentication to protect your company’s data. This allows your employees to work remotely. By allowing employees to work remotely, you save on office space, monthly utilities, parking, and many other related expenses. As an alternative to a VPN consider Microsoft’s Remote Desktop that is installed with every version of windows 7 or XP.

3. Freeware
Free software is readily available online and can save you hundreds of dollars on expensive programs. Try Google Documents for basic formatting, spreadsheet, and file sharing needs. Microsoft Live Office Space offers similar functions.

4. Advertising Costs
Pay-per-click advertising can save you money by making your marketing program more efficient. You only pay for people who show enough interest in your message to click through to your company’s website.

5. Trim Travel Costs
Planning ahead is still the best way to save on airfare. The longer you wait to book your flight, the higher the price goes. Also, compare rates! It’s possible to save hundreds of dollars simply by checking different travel sites.

6. Talk to Your Employees
On the “frontlines” of your business, employees often know best where your business is wasting money. Enlist their help in your overhead reduction drive. Offer rewards for any ideas that work.

7. Avoid Bookkeeping Errors
The bigger your business becomes, the more complicated your bookkeeping becomes. Migrating to an online bookkeeping solution will help ensure your accounts payable and receivable are accurately managed, avoiding any surplus cost.

8. Reduce Waste
The amount of paper used up in an office is phenomenal. Consider moving to a paperless solution – from something as simple as emailing a PDF instead of printing the document, to a more substantial commitment such as outsourcing your bookkeeping.

9. Lower Energy Costs
An office that is the right size for your needs and no bigger means you will not overspend on utilities such as gas and electricity. Utility bills are a significant part of overhead costs, so it’s worth it to do whatever you can to lower them. Call your utility providers in search of the best deals and/or better rates. Turn the thermostat down a degree or two. For more advice on reducing energy costs, read HERE.

10. Remember, It’s WHO You Know
Don’t forget about family and friends when it comes to acquiring a product or service you need. They may be willing to give you a reduced rate.

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Common Accounting Errors You Can Avoid

Small businesses are prone to making some common accounting mistakes.  But, by being aware of these pitfalls, and taking the recommended measures to prevent them – you can avoid them.

Failing To Follow Procedure

Even the smallest business needs a system for managing the bookkeeping and accounting tasks. I recommend a simple solution: put your procedures in writing and make sure you follow each step, every time.

Not Setting A Budget

A budget is a plan of what money you expect to receive and how you expect to spend it. Again, my suggestion is simplistic: look over the past few months of expenses, develop your budget, and then put it in writing. This will help you avoid over-spending and invest more wisely.

Data Entry Errors

It’s easy to make a data entry error. One extra zero tacked on to an entry can  throw off your books entirely. But again, I have an easy solution. Double-check every entry, every time you make one. Make sure you investigate even the smallest discrepancy, or you may acquire bigger problems down the road.

Avoiding paperwork

Disorganization when handling important documentation such as invoices, receipts, and bank statements can cost you time and money. Establish a filing system for all accounting paperwork. Consider investing in a paperless, cloud-based system so your data is always accessible and secure, and so your paperwork doesn’t stack up.

As an accountant, I’ve seen the havoc that can be wreaked on an organization because of these common accounting errors. You can easily avoid them though. Take your time, double check your work, and establish monetary procedures in writing and follow them consistently.

 

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The Stress-Free Office

Stress in the workplace is a primary cause of employee dissatisfaction – and a correlating decline in productivity. Can small businesses create a supportive, stress-free environment, where employees actually want to come to work?

Indeed they can.

When you run a small business, you make the rules – and you can define and adapt them to create a company culture that inspires the best work from your employees.

Need a few idea starters? Try some of the following to foster enthusiasm and sustain good morale at your office.

  • Create an employee appreciation system. Have rewards on hand – perhaps $5 coffee gift cards – that coworkers give to each other when they notice another coworker doing something good.
  • Devote a non-work space to your employees, a “relaxation room” that offers employees a respite from their work. When you allow your employees to take breaks, it boosts their productivity.
  • Offer a discount to a nearby gym. Not only does exercise keep your employees healthy and happy, but also working out together builds a sense of camaraderie amongst coworkers.
  • Volunteer together. Pick a cause that the office is passionate about, and get involved! A sense of purpose is a powerful stress-reducer, and again, will build team camaraderie. Take pictures of the “outing” and put them up in the office to remind coworkers of the fun experience they shared.
  • Schedule fun activities. Whether it’s a day at a forest preserve or an afternoon of bowling, giving employees a break from work and providing them an opportunity to bond outside of work will ultimately be reflected in their overall work satisfaction and productivity.

Be cognizant of assigning workers tasks that they are not qualified to do or overqualified for. People work optimally when they feel that their skills are being put to use and challenged sufficiently. Also, make sure employees are able to give their opinion regarding workplace decisions so they feel valued by the company.

It is extremely important that your employees have the chance to earn promotions and progress within their career paths. Make sure you provide such opportunities to keep employees loyal and happy.

I’ve run a small business for nearly two decades, and have found these to be good words to live by. That said, I’d love to hear anyone else’s suggestions for fun employee outings or morale-boosting tips. Please comment and share!

 

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