How to Choose a Cloud Accounting Provider

Putting your accounting in the cloud offers huge advantages, including speed, accessibility from anywhere, and reduced on-site storage needs. But first, make very sure that your provider meets your standards and requirements.

What a Cloud Provider Provides

You’re probably familiar with cloud storage for files; it simply means that this data is stored on a server (your company’s or one you contract with) and is accessible from any computer or other device with an internet connection. A cloud provider goes one step further and lets you run applications as well as storing files. It eliminates the need for keeping software on your own machine.

Must-Have #1: Digital Robustness

It’s critical to keep your financial data safe and secure. The cloud provider you choose should be able to demonstrate:

• Its own data center  – rather than outsourcing to some other company

• Data encryption – to make data useless to hackers

• Secured access

• Good uptime  – ideally 99.95%, or less than 1 hour of downtime per year

• Backup systems

• Disaster recovery plan

Must-Have #2: Financial Robustness

You want your provider to be around for the long haul, giving you uninterrupted access and support for your data.

Must-Have #3: Universal Compatibility

Your cloud service provider should work with a variety of devices, operating systems, and applications that might be used by various members of your team to access the files and software.

• Apple iOS and Android mobile devices

• Windows PC and Apple Mac desktop and laptop computers

• 3rd-party applications (not just those the provider offers)

Must-Have #4: Data Exportability

Someday, you may want to change cloud providers. You should be able to export your data from their system whenever you want, in a file format that can be used by other software. (This is why you don’t want to get tied into one provider’s apps.)

Must-Have #5: Tech Support

You want to work with a provider that responds quickly and expertly to any problems that might arise. Read through the company’s online community forum to get an idea of how they value and interact with their customers.

Must-Have #6: Scalability

As your company grows, the accounting infrastructure must be able to handle your increased need for processing power and data storage. What’s more, your provider should schedule updates and upgrades with you in advance, so that you’re not hit with an unexpected downtime at the worst possible moment.

Must-Have #7: Clear Billing Plan

The pricing structure should be detailed enough that you won’t be stuck with any surprise charges. For example, will you be using your own internet provider which you’re already paying for, or will there be a dedicated data connection to the cloud that costs extra? Also, look beyond the lowball sign-up cost, which the provider may make up for down the road with steep increases after the initial period.

Enjoy Your Cloud-Based Accounting

Xendoo clients get access to Xero Accounting software, a best in class cloud accounting platform.  Take advantage of the convenience and cost savings of accounting in the cloud!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

How to Invoice an International Order

When you send your products to another country, you’ll have a whole new set of factors to deal with in order to get paid. Here’s what you need to consider.

Choosing a Currency

There’s no law that says which country’s currency you have to put on the invoice. You may choose to make it easier on yourself by specifying your home country’s currency (i.e. U.S. dollars), or use the customer’s home currency as a courtesy to them.

The right accounting software will do the currency calculations for you, saving you time and effort.

Handling the Exchange Rate

Currency exchange rates between countries go up and down on a daily basis. Given the time gap between when you invoice and when you get paid, you could end up receiving less for your goods than you thought you would.

You may decide to just accept this risk; many small businesses do. Or you can ask your bank to lock in the current exchange rate (known as forwarding cover). You’ll be protected against any drops in the rate, but you’ll also miss out on the extra money if the rate rises.

Receiving Payment

Protect yourself and make it convenient for your customers by offering an established international payment gateway such as debit card, credit card, or an automated clearing house (PayPal, Stripe, etc.).

Because there’s a transaction fee with the above methods (2% to 4%), for large orders you may choose a telegraphic transfer directly from their bank to yours.

Include clear payment instructions on the invoice. To ensure that they’re understood, have them translated into your customer’s language.

Paying Taxes

For income tax, declare it on your return exactly as you would income made from local sales.

For sales tax in your home country, you don’t need to collect it. But don’t eliminate the sales tax line from the invoice; just put 0%. For sales tax in the country, you’re exporting to, most of them don’t require it. However, that’s changing, especially for Amazon sellers. For example, Australia now requires you to collect 10% tax on goods sold to their residents through Amazon.

Paying Import Tariffs & Duties

If your customer’s home country applies duties to imported goods, those charges will be the responsibility of your customer. You don’t have to do anything about it.

Sending Invoices

It’s not advisable to send invoices through the regular mail to other countries. In the first place, it can be slow and unreliable. In the second place, the address formats can be tricky to get right. The preferred delivery methods are to email the invoice as a PDF attachment or send an online invoice through your accounting software.

Resolving Disputes

This is one of the biggest reasons that small businesses hesitate to sell internationally. You have fewer options for debt collection and legal action, plus it’s more expensive. Only you can decide whether the sale is worth the risk.

Thanks to Amazon and other international platforms, the world is your market. Use these invoicing basics to feel confident in your ability to get your piece of the action … and watch your sales grow!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

5 Apps for Healthcare and Wellness

If you’re one of our clients at Xendoo, you already know how much time and effort you’re saving with our Xero cloud-based accounting software. But did you know that you can also add plug-ins designed specifically for the healthcare and wellness industry?

With these tools, you can automate or simplify everything from scheduling to payroll. Here’s an overview:

Cliniko

This web-based practice management system organizes your schedule, treatment notes, invoices, payments, and more. Integrated with Xero, it automatically pushes your accounting info without you having to lift a finger.

Timely

This appointment software is ideal for healthcare practitioners, salons, spas, or any business that needs to schedule clients. It also manages staff, merchandise stock, sales, and payments. Sync it with Xero to track bank transactions and map sales trends.

Tanda

This platform manages the workforce for healthcare, hospitality, and retail businesses. It collates timesheets and pay rates, and exports them with 1 click into your Xero payroll software for automatic calculation of your employees’ gross wages.

Zenoti

This cloud-based business management software is used by spas, salons, and medi-spas. It integrates easily with Xero to provide real-time account access and reports. Invoices, payments, and charts of accounts such as membership, package, and gift card sales or redemptions are automatically imported into Xero, eliminating the work of double entry.

Mindbody

This app links your MindBody business management software with Xero to automatically transfer client and sales data. Every 30 minutes, it uploads individual transactions, payment methods used, sales tax, tax coding, and more.

All of these apps are easy to sync with Xero, usually in just a couple of minutes. If you’d like some help, just contact your dedicated Xendoo CPA team. Then you’re all set to use that administrative time you saved in doing what you really love.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

10 Steps to Get Started Selling on Amazon

Thinking of expanding your retail business into the biggest market platform in the U.S.? Amazon makes it easy for sellers of all sizes to get in on the action, even offering warehousing and fulfillment services.

Here’s how to become an Amazon seller.

1. Create an account.

Don’t use your personal Amazon account. Setting up a separate account for your business will make it easier to analyze and manage financials. You’ll be required to provide a credit card number, which will be used for charging any subscription fees and covering a negative account balance.

2. Figure your costs.

Amazon charges $39.99 per month for a professional account, which allows you to list an unlimited number of items. On top of that, there will be selling charges and other fees, which can total 15% or more of the sale price for some types of merchandise.

3. Figure your prices.

Your selling price must be high enough to make a profit, yet not so high that it will drive customers to your competition. Factor in your overhead such as Amazon fees and shipping costs. Also, research the prices being offered by competitors. Accounting software can make quick work of analyzing each price scenario so you can arrive at a price that’s both competitive and profitable.

4. Select a product listing category.

Make it easy for customers to find your merchandise … and for Amazon to display your item in search results.

5. Create an effective product page.

Remember, your customers are buying the item sight unseen. A product page that omits important information can cost you sales. (Would you buy a TV stand if you didn’t know whether it was big enough to hold your TV?)
• Use search keywords in the text to get a higher placement on Amazon’s search results page.
• Utilize the bullets section to communicate key features and benefits, in case viewers don’t scroll down to the full description
• Photograph(s) should be clear and informative. Showing the product from all sides and in use will help resolve customer questions or doubts.

6. Decide whether you will fill orders yourself or use Amazon.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) handles the warehousing, shipping, and returns for you. This certainly saves a huge amount of work, but of course, they will charge you for this service. Another advantage of using FBA is that it gives you access to Amazon Prime customers who don’t want to pay for shipping.

7. Package your merchandise.

If you use FBA, Amazon will ship your products in its branded outer packaging. But the product’s packaging can display your own brand, a marketing opportunity that should not be overlooked.

If you’re doing your own fulfillment, you will need shipping supplies including:
• Scales for weighing the box and calculating shipping costs
• Strong packing materials
• Labels
• Laser printer

8. Test the market.

When you’re new to selling on Amazon, it’s smart to start with just a few products. This will give you time to become familiar with billing, payment processing, and customer service.

9. Adjust your sales strategy with metrics.

Offering reports on inventory, sales, and more, Amazon’s Seller Central Area can guide your decisions on inventory planning, promotions, and product presentation. Beyond that, measure and track everything you can so you’ll know for a fact what works and what doesn’t.

10. Follow through on customer feedback.

One of the biggest factors in a purchase decision on Amazon is the reviews of a product left by previous customers. Your goal is to have as many positive and few negative comments as possible.
• After purchase, send an email encouraging the customer to review the item.
• Include verbiage that asks them to contact you first before placing a negative review and give you a chance to resolve the problem.
• Respond to potential buyers in the questions section.
• Respond to misinformation in the reviews.

If you’ve completed these 10 steps, you should be well on your way to a successful career of selling on Amazon!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

How Much Does Tax Preparation for SMBs Cost?

Let’s face it, tax preparation is more complex than ever, not least because of the changes to the 2018 tax code. In fact, a study by the National Small Business Association (NBSA) shows that it’s a significant burden on small business owners, in terms of both financial and administrative costs.

It’s easy to see why those who did their own taxes in the past or used a well-known tax prep service without looking at all the options, are now shopping around for a better solution.

There are three main types of price structure that you’ll encounter when researching tax preparation services. Within each type, you’ll find a range of rates based on the expertise level of the provider.

Hourly Rate

You may use an accountant for more than just preparing your annual tax return. The advantage here is that your accountant is already familiar with your books and ideally has kept you in a tax-ready posture throughout the year so that the extra work of preparing a return is minimized. Typical rates are:

• Bookkeeper — $30 to $90 per hour
• CPA — $150 to $450 per hour

Per Engagement Fee

You choose to hire an accountant for the specific task of preparing your small business income tax return.

• Tax return (unincorporated) — $200 to $500
• Tax return (incorporated) — $800 to $1,800

Monthly Flat Fee

This option is growing in popularity with small businesses. The standard amount would cover the services you agree on, including weekly bookkeeping, P&L statements, payroll filing, and annual tax preparation. It gives you the same benefits of traditional accounting service, yet can cost less than half what you would pay in hourly fees. That’s why Xendoo offers this pricing structure to our clients.

• Inclusive services — $95 to $2,500 per month

See Xendoo’s price plans here.

Other Factors in Hiring a Tax Preparation Accountant

It takes more than pricing to get a really good value from your tax accounting service. Consider your needs and quality standards:

• Specialization. Look for a firm that has experience in your industry and the size of your business. Their insights can save you time and money.

• Credentials. Check into certifications, education, training, and years in practice.

• Processor vs. Advisor. A processor type of accounting firm simply works with the numbers you provide. An advisor helps you plan capital expenditures and operating costs to minimize taxes.

• Service level. Will your accountant respond immediately when you call or get back to you days later? Are there email or app communication options?

Xendoo specializes in providing tax preparation and other accounting services to small businesses. Understanding the small business owner’s need for affordable pricing, we utilize state-of-the-art technology to minimize costs while providing first class service.

If you’d like to learn more about our pricing and what you get for your money, please contact us today.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

8 Steps to Creating Winning Price Quotes

A potential customer has asked you to submit a price quote for their project. This is your big chance to convince them that you’re the right one for the job! What do you do next?

Here’s how to present yourself and your business professionally, clearly, and helpfully in a quote that can make the difference between winning and losing the contract.

1. Understand the legal implications of a quote.

A fixed price quote is more legally binding than an estimate. In many countries, once that quote is accepted by the customer, you can’t charge more than what you originally offered; so it’s crucial to calculate and provide numbers you can live with.

An estimate is a rough idea of what a project is likely to cost, but there’s no guarantee that the price won’t change during the project. Both you and your customer must understand whether you’re giving them a quote or an estimate.

2. Gather information.

If you don’t know everything that will be involved in the job, you can’t correctly price it. Ask questions, discuss options, and help the prospect make decisions they’re happy with. The benefits of having comprehensive communication with your customer start right now, and will continue throughout the project.

3. Calculate your costs.

Costs of labor and materials can change frequently. Check that your figures reflect current conditions, and take future conditions into account as far as possible.

4. Consider the schedule.

Can you meet the customer’s deadline without stretching your staff resources? Can any special ordered supplies be delivered in the time frame? Or will you have to pay extra for temporary workers and rush deliveries? These added costs should be factored in now, not come as an unpleasant surprise to you and your client when you’re in the middle of the project.

5. Add your markup.

You deserve to make a fair profit on your work. Your price quote should include a reasonable markup on your costs.

6. Fill out your quote form.

You may wish to use your accounting software to make a professional impression. The following information should be clearly specified:

• Business information including your company name and contact info, client’s name and contact info, customer ID number, quote number, quote submission date and quote valid until the date
• Itemized prices describing each component of the project, comprehensive enough to prevent misunderstandings later
Sales tax or other applicable taxes
• Timetable for completion of work
• Payment terms
• Legal terms and conditions (check with your lawyer or use a template from a government small business website)
• Space for your and your customer’s signatures

7. Send the quote within 24 hours.

Don’t give the prospect a chance to forget about you. If you use cloud accounting software, you can prepare and deliver your quote immediately after the sales meeting.

8. Follow up within 3 days.

Call or email your prospect to make sure they received the quote and ask if they have any questions or points to discuss. This will show that you’re committed to obtaining their business and building a good relationship.

More Tips for Improving Your Price Quotes

• Analyze failures. Don’t be afraid to ask a prospect why you weren’t selected for the job. Good accounting software can also track the quotes you send and how many of them were accepted.

• If a quote must be renegotiated, discuss it with the customer first. You may discover unexpected problems in mid-project, or the customer may decide to upgrade the quoted specs. Not explaining these additional costs to them upfront may ruin your relationship.

• Add a quote engine to your website. If the quotes you provide are typically standardized and simple, your website can respond to customers on-demand 24/7/365.

Customers will learn a lot more from your price quote than the actual price. They’ll see that your work is professional, thorough and of a high-quality standard — all things they look for in deciding who to hire. And that’s why your quote can help you win the job.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.