How Outsourcing Accounting Can Help Grow Your Small Business

Small business owners are notoriously short on time. They manage everything from sales and marketing to employee scheduling and benefits, not to mention being an expert in whatever good or service it is that their business offers. And there are hurdles every step of the way as you try to grow your business. Hiring an outsourced accounting service can help you tackle many of these including ensuring you don’t pay too much in taxes, that you have time to focus on sales and marketing, and that you are able to prepare thorough financial reports for investors.

Why is an accountant important in a business?

Accountants consider the big picture strategy needed to keep your business strong and growing. They can answer your questions about financial reports, cash flow, depreciation, and more. They can give tax savings advice, such as when to make capital purchases, what you can deduct, and how to reduce taxes on capital gains. They can identify opportunities to improve profit margin and business growth and keep you legal – preventing missed deadlines and noncompliance penalties. 

When you’re looking to grow your business but don’t have the time or resources to do so, hiring an outsourced accountant or outsourced accounting service like Xendoo can free up your time and provide insights and ways into how you can increase your cash flow, strategically prepare for your taxes, and focus on what you do best.

Closeup of two plant sprouts growing

How does outsourcing accounting help your business grow?

It’s not just keeping track of your financials. Outsourcing an account can help your business grow in the following ways:

Accountants help save money

We can tackle the reinvestment more in detail here and use the tax preparation anchor here. 

Accountants help small business owners save money in many ways, including through strategic tax preparation. They help you make smart decisions on your operating expenses, when to make big purchases, and what deductions you can make. Many small business owners spend too much money on taxes – an accountant can help you prevent overspending on taxes and help you strategize on how to cut costs in every area of operation. The money you spend on an accountant is an investment into your business and will help you grow by saving you money in the long run and leaving you with more money to invest back into your business. 

Accountants help save you time

Time can be spent on marketing and other business growth while they look into the books.

Small business owners have enough on their to-do list – when you’re looking to outsource some of the work and focus on growing, outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping services are the best choices. Bookkeepers and accountants will do a better job at a quicker pace than a small business owner who is strapped for time and whose talents might lie elsewhere. You’ll be able to focus on sales, marketing, and all of the other ins and outs of growing your business when you aren’t worrying about accounting.

Outsourced accounting services are scalable

As you grow so can your services without the need to hire FTE. 

Your outsourced accounting team can easily grow as your small business does. You won’t need to hire a full-time employee to handle your accounting when you have a scalable outsourced accounting team on board. You can skip the hassle of hiring and managing a full-time employee as you grow (and save on the need to offer expensive benefits, too!) by hiring outsourced accounting services like Xendoo.

Better business analysis

Gives you accurate insights into your business strengths and weaknesses, which is important if you want to expand. Investors will want to see accurate books. 

As you grow you will continuously need better analytics on your business. An outsourced accounting team can provide accurate insights into your business strengths and weaknesses, helping you strategize on how to grow. And when you’re ready to take on investors or apply for a line of credit the banks and investors will want to see accurate and detailed financial reports. By having an outsourced accountant on your team, you will be able to show investors and banks precise, up-to-date records and prove you take your finances and the growth of your small business seriously.

Help increase cash flow

Keep track of outgoing and incoming money. Can find ways to help you save money long term with paying on time or ahead, and chasing down delinquent invoices. 

A key strategy to growing your business is taking charge of your cash flow. Outsourced accounting services like the team at Xendoo can keep track of your incoming and outgoing money and can help you find ways to save money in the long term – through strategic tax preparation, cutting operational costs, and paying your bills on time or even ahead of time! And they can help you chase down delinquent invoices from clients who are behind on paying you. Your accounts payable and receivable will be closely monitored and managed without you ever needing to worry about it.

Outsourcing accounting can help you grow your business.  By outsourcing your accounting, you can save money on hiring a full-time accountant, plus, it will give you more time to focus on running your business and creating value for your customers and your employees.  Xendoo is all about providing timely and accurate financial information to business owners allowing them to make strategic decisions. If your business is struggling, know that there is a better way and Xendoo can help. 

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.

Five Customer Loyalty Tricks for Fitness Franchisees

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

As a fitness franchise owner, you know very well the challenges of getting new members through the door, even in the best of times. It’s never been easy, but the fitness industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, with value brands representing the largest share of losses in the industry. Major gym franchises like Gold’s Gym have filed for bankruptcy protection, and others may soon follow. Polling has shown that as many as 60% of Americans either have canceled or are planning to cancel their gym membership due to financial hardship or concerns about safety. Simultaneously, the growth of digital and at-home fitness products has added to the pressure on gyms, with Peloton doubling its sales in 2020. 

So, in that environment, how do you get new customers through the door and convince your existing customers to remain loyal? We can start by taking a cue from one outlier in the value gym segment that has shown more resiliency than its competitors through the pandemic. The Anytime Fitness franchise has rolled out a comprehensive COVID-19 policy to protect their members’ and staff’s safety and begun offering advance reservations to secure a spot when capacity is limited. When customers have confidence that you are genuinely looking out for their best interests, they are more likely to remain loyal.

But beyond just building trust among your members, there are some other things you can do to encourage customer loyalty in this most challenging of times.

Loyalty Rewards Program

Have you ever noticed that it seems like every store you go into wants you to join their rewards program? Well, there’s a reason for that – it works. Create a rewards program for your loyal customers with some nice little freebies to help keep them engaged. This might take the form of a free t-shirt after ten visits, or maybe a free post-workout smoothie with every 10 purchased. You can get very creative with this, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Never underestimate the power of free swag for customer loyalty. Everyone wants to feel special.

Frequent Customer Discounts

Many gym members, particularly in the value segment, care just as much about the size of their wallets as the size of their jeans, so giving them a discount on a product or service is a great way to boost customer engagement. This might be a discount on a personal training session within the next month, or possibly a coupon for deals on gym apparel. Gym apparel is a particularly desirable thing to encourage because, in addition to the revenue from the sale, you get the added benefit of free advertising for your fitness franchise every time the customer wears it.

Three women stand besides each other at a gym

Referral Rewards

Let’s face it – we all have that one annoying friend who can’t stop going on about how great his or her fitness studio or workout program is. Well, that’s exactly who you want to be your customer, so you need to create a compelling reason for that person to be your customer. Create a referral rewards program and offer a membership discount for each new customer brought in on a referral. You’ll soon find your membership roster – and your bottom line – growing steadily.

Premium Memberships

Take a cue from companies with the most loyal followings and offer VIP or premium membership packages. Do a little up-selling. The key here is to create a value proposition that’s compelling enough to entice your customers to pay a little more without eating into your bottom line. If a member is already paying $30 per month for a basic membership, he or she would probably be willing to pay $35 or $40 to add free tanning or a free monthly workout with a personal trainer. It can be tricky to find the right balance for your package, but this is a great way to reward your most loyal customers if done right.

A man holding onto rings tries to beat a record for a gym contest

Run Contests

Contests can be a great way to keep your members engaged with the club and create valuable rewards for members who participate. You might run a contest with a free gym t-shirt or duffel bag to the member with the most visits during the month, or possibly a “Biggest Loser” type contest with a free month of membership as the prize. You can also incorporate social media into your content strategy by encouraging people to share, like, and comment on your content. Give members who complete one workout and check in on Facebook during the next month a raffle ticket to a drawing for a free duffel bag or another prize.

Focus on Your Core Business

Business owners are notoriously bad at time management, spending too much time on things that others can do and not enough on what an owner should be doing – growing the business. Offload time-consuming administrative tasks to employees or an outside firm. Consider outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting, which is one of the biggest time vampires in an owner’s day. By getting those off your plate, you can have time to spend on thinking up creative ways to engage with your members and drive loyalty at a time when you need it most. 

 

So what’s the best way to boost customer loyalty at your gym franchise? Start by taking your own gym’s advice and just do it. Set a goal and commit to seeing it through. Start with these tips, but don’t just stop there. Be creative and come up with other ideas, and then let us show you how Xendoo can help your fitness franchises become more profitable with a free trial. Let’s start building that customer loyalty muscle together!

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.

 

A blue notebook with numbers onthe cover rest on table near a laptop

Time to Play Catch Up: Catch-Up Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses

Nearly 25% of businesses are behind on their books and nearly 41% of business owners try to do their bookkeeping themselves. It happens easily— you fall a month or two behind, then by the time you look up, an entire quarter has gone by, and your books haven’t been updated. With inaccurate and out-of-date books, you might have late invoices, end up over-extending your small business, and not be able to dial in your operating cash flow. You might even be in danger of being non-compliant with the IRS. Perhaps nothing bad has happened yet, but you know it’s time to catch up on bookkeeping

One of the most essential services a bookkeeper can provide for a business owner is to keep the company’s books accurate and up-to-date. Being able to quickly and easily review the status of your finances is crucial to short and long-term success for any business owner. When you know the health of your finances, you can make quicker decisions concerning everything from who to hire next to what marketing strategy recently worked best.

Reasons to catch up/reconcile

Besides being a smart business practice, catch-up bookkeeping provides additional benefits grow growing companies. Such as:

  • Smart/quick decisions: A bookkeeper will review vendor payments and record expenses to manage your spending, helping you manage your cash flow. A bookkeeper will track your sales, so you know what’s most profitable and can focus on what works.
  • Tax compliant: With up-to-date, accurate records, a bookkeeper can assist you during tax season – helping you maximize deductions and stay compliant. 
  • Loan: As you grow, you may want to borrow money or open a line of credit. Your lender will want accurate financial statements, and ideally, you aren’t scrambling to create them right then and there.

What is catch-up bookkeeping?

A bookkeeper will review source documents such as your monthly bank and credit card statements, invoices, payroll, receipts, and record basic accounting information for you, such as your monthly reconciliations, in your company’s books.

 

Finacial documents in a assorted colored folder fan across a table.

How do I catch up on my bookkeeping?

To get ready to catch up on your bookkeeping, you’ll need to get organized and get ready to reconcile!

Gather your paperwork

Some of the paperwork and documents you will need to gather for your bookkeeper are:

  • Receipts
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Invoices
  • Debt collections
  • Business expenses
  • Vendor accounts

Reconcile your bank accounts

  • Each month you need to reconcile all of your bank and credit card accounts. First, make sure all transactions for the month have been entered. Using your bank statements, you can make sure all of the transactions in your books match the transactions in your statements. This allows you to find any errors in your books and ensure your records are accurate.
  • It’s easy to fall behind on reconciliation, especially if you come across reconciliation errors that need fixing. If you are too far behind on your monthly reconciliations, the bookkeeping team at Xendoo can help you get organized, reconciled, and caught up.

Collect W-9s, 1099s, and W-2s

  • W-9s are IRS forms that all business owners must keep on file for any self-employed workers (such as freelancers and independent contractors), to keep track of their external team members. If you employ subcontractors, you’ll need to make sure you are collecting these important forms.
  • When a small business pays an independent contractor $600 or more in a given year, they must report these payments to the IRS using a 1099 form for the contractor. 
  • A W-2 form shows the amount of money an employee made, and the amount of taxes that were withheld from paychecks throughout a calendar year.

Go digital

  • Reduce the amount of paperwork you have to keep up with by choosing to have paperless bills and bank statements. 
  • A good choice for the environment, too.

 

Tow colleagues discuss as they sit at a table with their laptops open

How much does catch-up bookkeeping cost?

Starting at just $150, your dedicated Xendoo team will catch you up and set you up for success with a solid bookkeeping system, or you can utilize our ongoing bookkeeping services. Once you know how good that feels, you’ll want to sign on for a monthly bookkeeping service package that fits your business needs. 

You’ll never worry about falling behind again, knowing your dedicated financial team is on it, your up-to-date records are always available, and there’s an expert at your fingertips to answer any questions. You can count on using your books to make quick, smart decisions – leaving you with a healthy, growing business.

Leave catch-up bookkeeping to the professionals

It’s overwhelming to discover a pile of late invoices and frustrating when you can’t dial in your operating cash flow or realize you’ve over-extended your business expenses because of inaccurate books. Then tax time sneaks up, and you realize you’re non-compliant with the IRS and need someone to organize your financial data quickly. If you’re time-starved and neglecting your bookkeeping, it’s time to enlist Xendoo for your catch-up bookkeeping service. 

Let a professional sort your books for you and develop a bookkeeping system that will serve you well now and for the future. Xendoo can quickly and accurately catch you up, setting you up for success.

Always know your company’s financial status and sleep soundly at night with Xendoo’s expert support.

Uncertain Environment in Business concept - man working at laptop looking thoughtfully out window

Lil Roberts on Navigating an Uncertain Environment

A Precarious Spot for Small Businesses

In an article for Entrepreneur, Xendoo CEO and founder Lil Roberts talked a bit about how each outcome of the 2020 election could affect small businesses. She also offered some strategies for small business owners to negotiate the uncertain environment surrounding the election. While the election has since been decided, the challenges triggered by the pandemic are still putting small businesses in a precarious spot. Lil’s advice remains essential for business owners looking to navigate this minefield.

Maintain a Laser Focus

In times of uncertainty, Roberts says, “[b]usiness owners are well served to…focus on what they do best — running their business.” Specifically, ignore the things that are beyond control and avoid reactive decision-making. Instead, key in on things like expenses, cost control, and overall financial management. However, this doesn’t mean to stick one’s head in the sand. Small business owners should also have contingency plans in order to stay nimble and be able to adapt to changes that may arise.

Get Back to the Basics

“Business owners with the strongest foundation are the ones who survive challenging times,” says Roberts. “This includes building a positive company culture that values every team member, prioritizing interactions with customers or clients to deliver exceptional products and services, and monitoring the financial health of the business to quickly make decisions as the economic climate changes.” With so much going on in the world, it’s very easy to lose sight of these basics. However, they are critically important in an uncertain environment.

Stay Positive and Move Forward

The past election cycles, the pandemic, and the uncertain environment – Roberts calls these “energy vampires to small business owners”. She adds that, “a positive outlook and a focus on the future go a long way in ensuring their business remains resilient. Time will pass and the world will keep moving. A positive outlook is integral in keeping their businesses moving — onward and upward through uncertainty.”

We Get Small Business

Lil Roberts experienced the shortfalls of the archaic accounting industry first-hand. Her one goal: provide small business owners with financial peace of mind. How? Provide accessibility to expert CPAs, predictable pricing, and speed to financial numbers delivered through technology. Xendoo’s proprietary technology allows our expert bookkeeping team to 10x the productivity of a traditional bookkeeper and CPA. In partnership with Xero, we offer a monthly bookkeeping solution driven by real-time data and most importantly, real people.

Top ten rank in Inc 5000 Regionals concept - Businessman overlaid with the words "top ten"

Xendoo: Top 10 on the Inc. 5000 Regionals

One of Florida’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Inc. Magazine has ranked Xendoo 10th on its Inc. 5000 Regionals: Florida list, highlighting its dramatic growth in the South Florida area. As an extension of the Inc. 5000, which ranks the 5000 fastest-growing companies in the United States, the 5000 Regionals focuses on the companies in six regions: Florida, California, Texas, the Midwest, NY Metro, and DC Metro. Companies are ranked according to the percentage growth of their annual revenue over a two-year period. For example, the 2021 Regionals used 2017 as a baseline and tracked growth through 2019. Complete results of the Inc. 5000 Regionals: Florida, including company profiles and an interactive database, can be found here.

 

Meeting the Needs of a New Reality

Additionally, Xendoo has increased the size of staff to 28 employees and is looking to fill seven new positions. Furthermore, this comes with an approximate 10% month-over-month revenue increase. Lil Roberts, CEO and founder, says, “Companies worldwide have undergone many hardships over the past year. From revenue loss and shifts to remote work, small businesses have adapted to meet the needs of their new reality – and Xendoo has been with them every step of the way. For instance, at Xendoo, we ensure that our SMB clients’ finances are up-to-date on an ongoing basis. Moreover, during a COVID-19-fueled economic downturn, we’ve made sure they have the support needed to access grants from the Paycheck Protection Program. It’s an honor to see our continuous efforts recognized nationally by Inc., being named one of Florida’s fastest-growing companies.”

 

We Get Small Business

As a fellow small business owner, Lil Roberts experienced the shortfalls of the archaic accounting industry first-hand. Consequently, she envisioned one goal: provide small business owners with financial peace of mind. Specifically, to provide access to expert CPAs, predictable pricing, and speed to financial numbers delivered through technology. With this in mind, Xendoo’s proprietary technology allows our expert bookkeeping team to 10x the productivity of a traditional bookkeeper and CPA. In partnership with Xero, we offer a monthly bookkeeping solution driven by real-time data and most importantly, real people.

South Florida Tech growth concept - Sunrise over Miami

The Sky is the Limit for Xendoo, South Florida Tech Economy

On the Verge of Explosive Growth

A recent article by Citybiz profiles our own Lil Roberts and touts the dramatic growth potential of both Xendoo and the South Florida tech economy. While many other businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, Xendoo has seen a sharp swell in revenue. Additionally, staff size has grown to 28 employees and we’re looking to fill seven new positions to further develop and support our financial services for small businesses. To date, Xendoo has garnered $3.5 million in venture capital. This includes funding from high-profile angel investor Jason Calacanis, as well as winning Steve Case’s “Rise of the Rest” competition, the start-up competition at Miami’s annual eMerge Americas conference, and the VilCap Finance Forward award.

A Unique Moment for the Regional Business Community

Lil, a serial entrepreneur who launched the Fort Lauderdale-based financial technology “fintech” company prior to Xendoo in 2017, believes that South Florida is on the verge of explosive growth as an entrepreneurial, technology, and start-up hub. She says, “[w]e’re in a unique moment for our regional business community and overall economy, writing a special chapter that will define this area for generations.” Over the past year, COVID-19 has driven massive numbers of financiers and entrepreneurs from the dense metropolitan areas of California and New York here to southern Florida.

Ideal Conditions for Progress

However, that’s just the catalyst. Lil points to the fertile environment South Florida offers as a support system to these folks. Almost 60 colleges within a 50-mile radius of Miami educate over a quarter million students per year. Additionally, there are a number of organizations and events, many of which Lil is involved with. These include Start Up Grind, Sup-X, Coral Springs Innovation Day, and the Nova Southeastern University State of Innovation panel.

Entrepreneurs Organization South Florida

Lil has also been a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization South Florida (EO SOFLO) for 12 years. Forbes calls EO “the Justice League of the entrepreneurial world” and the South Florida chapter is one of the largest, with more than 200 members who run businesses with 10,000 employees and more than $2 billion in annual revenue. Quoted in the article, Jason Loeb, president of EO SOFLO, says, “Lil has profoundly sharp vision and drive…She’s everything an entrepreneur and leader should be and personifies the core principles of EO.”

We Get Small Business

Lil Roberts experienced the shortfalls of the archaic accounting industry first-hand. Her one goal: provide small business owners with financial peace of mind. How? Provide accessibility to expert CPAs, predictable pricing, and speed to financial numbers delivered through technology. Xendoo’s proprietary technology allows our expert bookkeeping team to 10x the productivity of a traditional bookkeeper and CPA. In partnership with Xero, we offer a monthly bookkeeping solution driven by real-time data and most importantly, real people.

A Prettier Profit and Loss Statement: Up- and Cross-Selling Techniques for Salon Owners

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

If you’re like most salon owners, the chances are good that you decided to start a hair salon because you love meeting new people and helping them feel more beautiful than when they walked in your front door. It’s only natural because everyone loves a rewarding job. Focusing on sales techniques, like up-and cross-selling for salons probably wasn’t high on your list of “pros” when you got into the salon industry.

But for better or for worse, persuading clients to purchase products or services that they didn’t initially come in for is an essential part of your marketing strategy and can boost your profit and loss statement. That doesn’t mean selling them products they don’t need. Cross-selling and up-selling are selling them products they need but didn’t know about. It’s part of your job to educate the client, so let’s take a look at how up-selling and cross-selling for the salon business can be less faux-pas and more moo-lah, and why salon owners already have a head start. 

Two women in pola dotted dresses work at a hair salon

The Difference Between Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

Up-selling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a more expensive item than they had initially intended. We do this by creating value for the customer in the more expensive product. Often, the customer just needs someone to point out the extra value. Depending on the type of salon, if a client is scheduled for a regular mani/pedi at retail price, check-in staff can create value for the customer by offering a deluxe spa treatment for just a slightly higher price. You might even be able to have your salon software automatically remind staff to offer the upgrade at check-in. If the customer is already spending $50, it’s easy to justify upgrading for just $10 more because it represents a good value.

Cross-selling for salons is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase other products or services that complement the original sale in some way. Sometimes customers don’t know what they need, and it’s your job as the expert to educate them about it. Effective cross-selling for salons might look like this: If a dark-haired client has decided to go blonde, you as the stylist know that those harsh chemicals can damage and dry out the hair, but the customer may not know that. You can explain this and encourage your client to buy a conditioning treatment to help offset that damage.

Why Cross-Selling and Up-Selling Are Important

 The bottom line is that up-selling and cross-selling for salons are critical to your bottom line in several ways. If you’re not doing it, you’re leaving money on the table. If you have a low-margin product that’s selling great and a high-margin product that’s not selling so well, an excellent cross-selling technique might be to bundle the two together and get that extra profit. But even more importantly, it allows you to create additional value for your customers, which is crucial to maintaining customer loyalty and trust. After all, value is why your customers come to you to begin with and what makes a successful salon. When deciding whether a sales opportunity is right, ask yourself, “Will this improve my customer’s life? Will it help them feel more beautiful?” If the answer is yes, you know what to do.

A woman hair stylist chats with a client.

So What’s This Head Start?

Salon business owners have a special trust relationship with their clients, which gives them an edge in ideas to increase profits. Stylists don’t just know their customers’ names; they know everything going on in their lives —their children, jobs, and health. They open up their entire lives to you, which puts you in a unique position of influence with your customer. To put it more bluntly, if they trust you enough to let you bring sharp blades around their heads and irreversibly alter their appearance (for a few months, anyway), they will trust your recommendation on special products and services. Remind your team that they have this superpower because it’s critical to your business, but don’t abuse it by selling customers things they don’t need. That will almost always backfire and damage your relationship.

OK, I’m Convinced. Now What?

Now that you know the importance of upselling and cross-selling for salons, here are a few things you can do right away to get the ball rolling.

  • Get effective inventory management and accounting system for your salon if you don’t already have one to know exactly which products are moving and which aren’t, and what the margin on each one is. Good accounting for hair salons is a must, and if you don’t have that information at your fingertips, you’re flying blind.
  • Create an attractive display with high visibility where customers can browse it easily. Never put it behind the counter because curious customers will feel like it’s inaccessible. Keep it organized, and well-stocked with the products that you believe are strong candidates for this strategy. Remember: eye-level is buy-level. Research has shown that products placed at eye level get 35% more attention than products placed at lower levels.
  • Ensure your staff is using the products you sell and posting them on social media. The best advertisement for a product is being able to see the results in real-time on a person’s natural hair or skin. Remember the trust relationship; if the stylist uses the product, it gives the customer confidence that it must be good. It’s almost like giving away a little trade secret. Purchasing salon-quality products that stylists actually use makes your customers feel like they have a leg up in their beauty routine.
  • Give your staff the tools to make cross-selling for salons easier. At a minimum, everyone in your salon should be familiar with every item you sell and be able to describe it to customers. But knowledge of the products is only a start. Your team needs to be trained in effective cross-selling and up-selling techniques and incentivized to use them. Be creative in coming up with ways to encourage selling, like contests with prizes, bonuses, or other incentives.

Remember, you may not see the benefits of cross-selling for your salon business right away. Sometimes the customer may be in a hurry or on a tight budget, and you have to respect that. Just remember that by maintaining the customer’s trust, there will always be another opportunity down the road. Do that consistently, and you’ll begin to grow your business and watch your bottom line trend up.

 

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.

 

Table of Experts: Exploring the Future of Tech, Innovation & Education

“It is a unique skill set that for you to be able to think, move, and run at the speed of a startup and the constant change that happens in startups.” -Lil Robers, CEO and Founder of Xendoo

Starting an eCommerce Business? Bookkeeping Basics You Need to Know

Just like a traditional brick-and-mortar business, your eCommerce business needs a good bookkeeping system for essential functions like tracking revenues and expenditures and filing tax returns. There are a lot of compelling reasons you need a bookkeeper, and for most small businesses, it’s generally more cost-effective to outsource the accounting and bookkeeping services to professionals like Xendoo that work with small businesses than trying to do it in-house. If outsourcing just isn’t feasible for your business, here are some bookkeeping basics for eCommerce that you need to know before trying to do it yourself.

Choose an Accounting Method

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide which of two accounting methods is right for your business – cash basis or accrual basis. The key difference between the two lies in when revenues and expenditures are recognized on the books. Let’s take a quick look at the differences between them.

  • Cash Basis: Transactions are recorded at the time the money enters or leaves the bank. If an invoice comes in during December but you pay it in January, the entry would go on January’s books.
  • Accrual Basis: Transactions are recorded at the time they are made, regardless of when cash enters or leaves the bank. An invoice dated in December would go on December’s books, even if it gets paid in January.

Cash basis accounting is simpler and easier to keep track of, but accrual basis gives a more accurate picture of the long-term profitability of the business by factoring in accounts payable and receivable ledgers. Most small business owners choose cash basis, but if you do, you may have to adjust your accounting software. QuickBooks, for example, defaults to accrual basis. Once you choose a method, you have to stick with it unless you are willing to go through a lot of government red tape to change it.

Record Your Transactions

Every time money comes into or leaves your business, whether it’s a retail sale, an invoice from a supplier that gets paid, or a loan payment, it has to be recorded “in the books.” Your “books” could be anything from an old-fashioned paper ledger to an Excel spreadsheet, or a full suite of accounting software. If you opt for manual bookkeeping, you’ll need to import all your information from your bank account into your ledger. Most good accounting software will interface with your bank and automatically enter transactions in your books for you, which can save you a lot of time. Whichever way you go, it’s crucial to stay on top of data entry so that you have an accurate picture of your business’s financial health.

A view of a couch on an eCommerce site

Categorize Your Transactions

You’re probably starting to see a trend in these bookkeeping basics for eCommerce, and that is to stay organized. Every transaction that gets recorded has to also be categorized for financial reports and tax returns. The two most basic categories you’ll need are revenue and expenses, although you’ll almost certainly want subcategories of each for your reports to be useful. You’ll need to be able to tell the difference between expenses for rent, payroll, utilities, debt installments, etc.

Another category that you’ll probably want as an eCommerce seller is “Revenue – Returns and Allowances.” This would encompass things like merchandise returns and credit card chargebacks in the event of fraud, which are not expenses, but rather debits to your revenue as essentially a reversal of the sale. However, if your credit card processor charges you a chargeback fee for the return, this would be an expense separate from the return itself.

Monitor Your Budget

If you haven’t already, you need to create a realistic budget that factors things like the seasonality of the business, how much inventory stock you will need to support your sales, cost of goods sold, and overhead expenses like rent, payroll, and utilities. Remember: a budget should not reflect what you hope will happen, but what is likely to actually happen. Many owners tend to be overly optimistic in their budgets and assume a best-case scenario for everything, which rarely happens.

Once the budget is in place, the company’s financial reports have to be checked against the budget regularly to see whether the business is over or under-performing your expectations. This can be simplified by using a budget calculator spreadsheet that uses formulas to compare actual revenue and expenses to budget figures. That way, you can see at a glance where your budget might need adjusting. 

Reconcile Bank Statements

Each month when the bank statement arrives, it’s crucial to compare what the bank says you have with what your internal books say you should have. This is done on a transaction-by-transaction basis and is critical for detecting problems early. If you find a discrepancy, you need to identify and resolve it quickly because it may be a sign of theft or another internal issue, or there may be a problem with the way you are keeping your books.

Check Your Cash Flow

Cash basis accounting gives a pretty clear snapshot of cash on hand, but if you’ve chosen accrual basis accounting, your books may show more cash on hand than you really have at the moment. This can be a problem if you need to pay a big invoice, so it’s important to run weekly or monthly cash flow reports to see the real amount of cash on hand and implement good inventory control policies.

Save & Organize Records

If there’s one bookkeeping basics for eCommerce rule you need to follow when you are starting out, it’s save everything. Good record-keeping is essential for any business, so you should save everything – receipts, invoices, statements, etc. You might just need to refresh your memory about a transaction you can’t remember, or you might need to validate your tax return for an audit.ecommerce business tips

You might notice that you are paying more than usual for a particular supply item and want to see what you paid for it in the past. You just never know, so be prepared. Here is a sample list of folders you should have in your filing cabinet for the basics of bookkeeping for eCommerce:

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Other proofs of payment
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Financial reports and statements
  • Shopify or Square revenue records
  • Cryptocurrency transactions
  • Previous tax returns
  • W-2 and 1099 forms for employees and contractors
  • Other supporting documents for income, deductions, or credits

Be sure to keep these bookkeeping documents in an area where you can easily find them.

File Sales Tax

Since the Supreme Court decision in Wayfair, Inc. v. South Dakota (2018), eCommerce retailers are subject to the sales tax requirements of each state in which they sell goods. That means that potentially, you might have to file 50 different sales tax returns monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the state. This is incredibly time-consuming for a small business and creates a lot of extra accounting overhead, which is just one of the reasons it’s generally more cost-effective to outsource your accounting and bookkeeping to a professional service like Xendoo.

Several tax documents are on a desk.

Pay Income Tax

Most businesses pay estimated quarterly income taxes and then file an annual return in April, in much the same way individuals have estimated withholding every pay period and then file a return in April. To calculate how much to pay each quarter, you’ll need to estimate your annual business income for the year. If you’ve been in business for a while this may not be too difficult, but if you’re just starting up you may need to make some careful calculations. The IRS has worksheets to help you calculate your quarterly taxes – Form 1040-ES for individuals and Form 1120-W for corporations. 

Generate Financial Statements

This may need to be done manually if you’ve opted to keep your books by hand, but generally, your accounting software will be able to generate these for you. You’ll need to go over your monthly profit and loss statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and other documents. Once you have insight into all of these, you’ll be able to plan ahead to make your business more efficient. Without them, you’re flying blind. Your P&L statement can reveal several key things:

  • Administrative Expenses (too high if they are over 20% of gross revenue)
  • Cost of goods sold (should be less than 75% of gross revenue)
  • How much you can afford to reinvest in the businesses

Similarly, your balance sheet can provide you with a snapshot of your company’s total assets and liabilities, including debt and equity positions. With this information in hand, you can calculate some key ratios that a lender will look at when you apply for a loan, including:

  • Assets to Liabilities Ratio (the company’s solvency or ability to pay bills)
  • Debt to Equity Ratio (financing from creditors in relation to stockholders)
  • Asset Turnover Ratio (how efficiently you generate sales from assets)

These are the bookkeeping basics for eCommerce that you need to know before you start your online business, but to grow your business and sustain success, you’ll probably need to do more than just manage your books.

 At Xendoo, we specialize in small business accounting for eCommerce and offer a full suite of accounting and bookkeeping solutions. We can help you every step of the way with automatic bookkeeping entries, tax reporting, financial statements, and much more to keep your new business lean and mean. It’s also a lot more affordable than you probably think because Xendoo’s low flat monthly fee is less than half of what you would typically pay an hourly accountant. 

Sign up for a free trial today and see how Xendoo can help your online business 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.

 

Choosing the Right Accounting System for Your Shopify Business

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Whether you’re brand new to online retail and trying to decide how to set up your eCommerce business, or you’ve been around a while and simply reached the point where your DIY accounting solution just isn’t cutting it anymore, Xendoo’s innovative suite of business offerings can help you. Xendoo can get your small business accounting running like a well-oiled machine so you can focus on what’s important – growing your business. To be competitive in the new economy, cloud-based accounting is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here are some of the best accounting systems for Shopify that can help get your business on track.

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is the cloud-based version of the popular and versatile QuickBooks business accounting software. Quickbooks Online accounting system for Shopify allows you to access your account information from any web browser, and the API creates a seamless interface that links directly to Xendoo’s platform. That means you can easily organize and sync all of your critical financial data with no tedious manual data entry. Additionally, Quickbooks Online for Shopify allows you to easily create and send invoices, receive payments, pay bills, and manage payroll. 

  • Track income and expenses
  • Capture and organize receipts according to your chart of accounts
  • Download and organize bank account and credit card transactions
  • Print checks
  • Create and send invoices, as well as receive payments
  • Print financial reports
  • Tax organization

A person holds their phone lookig at a recent Shopify order

Xero for E-commerce

QuickBooks is a popular accounting system for Shopify, but it may not be the best choice for everyone. Xero is another cloud-based accounting solution that will appeal to a lot of Shopify store owners. Xero is fast, simple, and powerful. It can sync with hundreds of third-party applications for point-of-sale, inventory, and much more. It also offers a mobile app for convenience and allows customers to create an unlimited number of users. From within the Xero accounting software for Shopify, you can manage your accounts payable, accounts receivable, budget, and category or division tracking. 

  • Customizable dashboard
  • Create invoices and quotes and receive payments
  • Track inventory
  • Bill payment
  • Expense management and project management
  • Create and print financial reports
  • Bank account reconciliation
  • Highly scalable for small or growing businesses

A2X for Shopify

A popular middleware, or “connector,” application that links your Shopify store with your cloud-based accounting system is A2X for Shopify. It automatically posts your Shopify sales and fees directly into QuickBooks or Xero, saving you hours of tedious work each week. That also means no more stressing over why transactions don’t match your bank deposits because A2X eliminates data entry mistakes.

  • Automatically post store data into QuickBooks or Xero
  • Automatically reconcile bank statements
  • Automatically make adjustments for fees and refunds
  • Create and print summarized statements

Coins spills out of a glass jar on a table

TaxJar for Shopify

A major time vampire for business owners who sell on Shopify is state sales tax compliance in the wake of Wayfair, Inc. v. South Dakota (2018), which requires online sellers to comply with sales tax requirements in each state where they do business. TaxJar accounting system for Shopify will streamline your sales tax compliance process by showing you where you should be collecting sales tax according to economic nexus laws and generating return-ready reports. It can even auto-file your returns for you if you want.

  • Calculate sales tax based on each state’s nexus
  • Daily updates allow for timely return filing
  • AutoFile option for automated return filing
  • Display fines and penalties for delinquent filing
  • Compare actual collections to what should have been collected

Shopify Apps

In addition to your accounting software, Shopify offers over 1,000 plug-in applications from their app store to help you with managing inventory, shipping, reporting, and much more. However, we suggest that you fully explore the capabilities of QuickBooks, Xero, A2X, and TaxJar before making any decisions about additional applications. A lot of functionality might be duplicated, and you certainly don’t want to pay for the same thing twice.

In addition to tons of helpful plug-ins, Shopify also features a profit margin calculator. Just plug in your cost of the item and a markup percentage, and Shopify will calculate the sale price, your gross profit in dollars, and your gross margin.

Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping and Accounting

Even though these accounting systems for Shopify can make life much simpler for sellers than even just a few years ago, it can still sometimes feel overwhelming. If you begin to feel like you might be in over your head, you should consider outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping to a small business accounting firm like Xendoo.

There are a lot of good reasons to outsource your accounting for your Shopify eCommerce business, and it’s more affordable than you might think. Xendoo’s accounting team works with small business owners just like you to provide expertise and insight into the accounting needs of e-commerce businesses. Xendoo can take care of everything from weekly bookkeeping to filing business taxes for you, and our flat monthly fee is less than half of what you’d probably pay an accountant. Xendoo’s mission is to give you the peace of mind of knowing it’s being done right, and free your time to focus on what’s important – growing your business. Sign up for a free trial 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.