Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good Communication is the key to a successful relationship

We operate best when we have good communication with our clients. We run into problems when the communication breaks down.  An example: a client decided to change from QuickBooks desktop to QuickBooks Online.  He signed up for the Online program and created his company and started entering information.  He didn't use the Import Desktop Data in QBO which would have brought in all the information already in the desktop QuickBooks.  He didn't ask me how to enter the inventory items manually and used Journal entries to do so.

So what is the end result: the books are wrong and he is going to have to pay me to clean them up.  This could have been avoided if the client had asked for my help before he launched into the transition. I admire people who are fearless in the face of new tasks and challenges, but I wish they would take a little time to ask for expert advice if it is available.

Another example: a client decided he didn't want to pay unemployment insurance for his employee, who happened to be a family member, so he told me he was going to make the employee a partner in the business.  He hadn't completed the paperwork to make this happen, which gave me time to give him some thoughts to consider: was the new partner going to have to buy in (existing owner had put quite a bit of money into the startup), how were they going to split the profits, how were they going to make decisions (the plan was to be equal partners).  After considering all this, they decided it was better to pay the unemployment insurance since the family member didn't have any money to purchase a portion of the business and the original owner really didn't want to share the decision making.

Third example: a group of business people were planning on opening a company together which would act as an umbrella for their individual enterprises.  We advised them to work through the steps of putting together an operating agreement to make sure they were all of the same mind as to the specifics of running the business.  It turns out, they all had very different ideas about what the business should look like and how it should be run.  They decided it was best to remain separate companies and we were able to save them a lot of headaches and legal costs.

If you have a relationship with an expert, take advantage of the expertise and ask for information first: look before you leap!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sorry, things have been too busy around here!

No blogs in January for us as we were up to our knees in W2s, 1099s, sales tax filings, payroll tax filings and general closing of books for 2014.  It was a successful month for us but hectic and it required all of our management skills to get everything done.

How do we make sure forty-one business' get their books closed, paperwork filed and taxes paid on time with only three people?  We have a very detailed spreadsheet with each task listed and a specific person assigned to complete it.  We color code the tasks as they are started and then completed and add notes as needed.  This keeps us sane and provides backup should one of us fall ill and the others required to step in.

It also creates a timeline for planning the next time around.  We can go back and see what we had to do in the past, who handled it and what problems did we encounter.  As we consider whether we have the capacity to accept new clients, it is very nice to be able to look back at our busiest month of the year and determine if there is room for growth.

The end of January is always hectic and this year was no exception.  It was very satisfying to go through the spreadsheet on Friday afternoon and see that everything we were responsible for and in control of, was completed.