A group of breast cancer survivors hugging and smiling at each other

Business Lessons from a Breast Cancer Survivor: An Interview with Xendoo COO, Julia Aquino

Julia Aquino, Xendoo COO, poses with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month pink ribbon.

Julia Aquino, Xendoo COO, recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As we begin Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we spoke with Xendoo COO and breast cancer survivor, Julia Aquino. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She knew that she needed a deep understanding of the disease in order to make the best decisions for her health, while also running a successful business. 

 

Armed with knowledge and clear goals for recovery, she survived and thrived through treatment. In today’s post, she shares what her experience with breast cancer taught her about business. 

Make a Plan

When Julia was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she dove into researching the disease. She learned how cancer was typed, what the terminology meant, and how the medication worked. She understood her family history, and the stage she was in. This knowledge helped her to coordinate with her doctor to create an effective plan for care and survival. It kept her focused and determined as she fought the disease. 

 

Having a business plan provides the same focus and determination to meet your goals. When you pair that determination with knowledge of your industry, audience, and competition, you can reduce your competitive risks and navigate difficulty with confidence. Your business plan is your roadmap that helps you take focused action and make informed decisions as your business grows.

Know Your Numbers

There are many numbers associated with cancer. Your staging, your white blood count (WBC), tumor marker levels, hormone levels, and FISH levels, to name a few. It can be very intimidating. Taking the time to understand your numbers and their significance will provide you with factual information so you can understand where you are, and what options you have. It reduces fear-based decision making, and brings clarity to an otherwise overwhelming situation.

 

The same idea applies to business. When you know your numbers, you can make better decisions, based on facts. Sometimes we don’t want to look at our financials because we do not understand them, or because they show we are not as profitable as we would like to be. However, there is always information that can guide our actions, and help us find solutions. Take the time to understand your key metrics and trends, measure the outcomes of the actions you take, and adjust behaviors when needed. The financial insight gained from this review can be used to effectively address issues and strategize for long-term success.

Find a Support System

Those who are battling breast cancer have a lot on their shoulders; they balance work, their lives, their hopes and fears, and their health. It can be physically and emotionally draining. The right medical team, supportive friends and family, and a healing environment can provide comfort in the most difficult moments. Finding a support system that encourages them to keep moving forward makes all the difference in the world. 

 

Likewise, business owners juggle multiple roles, including leader, sales, customer service, and even bookkeeper. Shouldering all of those responsibilities can become overwhelming and exhausting. Business owners need a supportive team who complements what they lack experience in, and takes the stress off of their plates. 

 

You do not have to do it all on your own. Build a supportive team that covers all the bases, so you can do what you do best – growing your business. In discouraging moments, your team will push you to dust yourself off and refocus on your business goals. In moments that you need to step back, they will be happy to step up to keep the business running. When you are ready to jump back in, remember the true power you have, rely on the support you are surrounded with, and keep moving forward. 

Celebrate Your Victories 

To all who are battling breast cancer, we support you and are amazed by you. You work hard every day and fight the good fight, so take time this month to remember your strength, honor your courage, and celebrate every victory, no matter the size! Every step you take moves you further into the mindset of “I can and I will”.

Watch the full interview with Julia below:

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

Questions to Ask When Looking for a CPA

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

Running your own business can be tough. Between handling staffing issues, overseeing the procurement of essential resources, and planning your next marketing campaign, you might be stretched thin — not to mention all of that dreaded accounting work that you have to do to keep your books up to date!

Like many other business owners, you might have considered using professional CPA services. Partnering with a certified public accountant is a great way to avoid tax woes and maximize the profitability of your business. However, it is essential to select the right team for the job.

With this in mind, we’ve outlined 5 questions to ask when looking for a CPA. By using the information below, you can ensure that a CPA is the right fit for your accounting needs.

What Types of Businesses Do You Typically Work With?

When you’re inquiring about CPA services, this question should be at the top of your list. While the idea of working with an accountant who has decades of experience in finance may be appealing, it is vital to make sure that the professional you choose can fully understand the unique needs of your industry.

For instance, let’s say that your organization is in the eCommerce space. Perhaps you have narrowed your search for CPA services to two top candidates. One has 20 years of experience but has never worked with an eCommerce store before and the other only has five years of experience but has primarily served online retailers. 

In general, the less experienced CPA may be better suited to handle your accounting needs, due to their industry-specific experience.

Do You Have Experience with the IRS?

While discussing the types of clients that a CPA has worked with in the past, you should also inquire about their experience with the IRS. 

Tax laws are ever-changing, which means that you need CPA services that can keep up. If your prospective accountant lacks experience with the IRS, then you may want to continue your search.

Another option is to hire a CPA to oversee bookkeeping responsibilities and an EA (enrolled agent) to deal with tax concerns. However, this will require you to vet and hire two separate entities, which can quickly add up. 

The better solution? To partner with an accounting firm that offers both tax filing and CPA services. This will be more affordable and will also ensure that all of your company’s financial needs can be managed by a single entity.

How Frequently Do You Communicate?

Like any other partnership, it is important to establish clear expectations when seeking CPA services. Before deciding on an accountant, find out how frequently you will be able to communicate with them. 

Some accountants may only reach out monthly or quarterly. More involved partners will provide you with weekly or monthly reports and will contact you periodically throughout each quarter.

Make sure that you are satisfied with the frequency and depth of communication. The last thing you want is to hire an accountant to provide CPA services, only to find that you can’t get a hold of them when an issue arises.

Do You Rely on Third-Party Accountants?

If the firm that you partner with outsources work to third-party accountants, this will impact the frequency and quality of communication. We recommend asking upfront whether the accountant will be outsourcing work related to your business. 

While there is nothing wrong with outsourcing CPA services, it is important that the provider is transparent.

How Many Hours Will You Spend on My Business?

Asking this question can help you to determine two things. First, will the CPA provide your business with the attention that it deserves? Secondly, how much are those accounting services going to cost you? 

For now, we will only focus on that first component of this question.

Ideally, you want your accountant to spend about ten hours a month on your business, if not more. Of course, this will depend on several factors, such as the CPA services that you request and the complexity of your organization. 

If you only need tax return services, then this number will be much lower. Conversely, if you hire a CPA to perform tax return, accounting, and bookkeeping services, then they may spend hundreds of hours per year on your business.

CPA services are often designed to be scalable so that you can tailor them to the needs of your company. 

In the past, an accountant was viewed as a numbers cruncher. The expectation was that they would assess your books, run some numbers, and ensure that all financial records were accurate.

However, quality CPA services involve much more than just making a series of complex calculations. The best accountants will use numerical data to provide information about your company’s performance overall. They will also take the time to explain what the numbers mean so that you can make informed business decisions.

How Much Do You Charge?

So how much does an accountant cost anyway? The answer is “it depends.” When inquiring about the costs of CPA services, you should not only ask how much they charge but also what billing format that they use. 

There are three primary billing formats that are used by accountants, which are:

Hourly Rates

Traditionally, CPA services are billed by the hour. The more complex your books are, the longer the accountant will need to spend on them. As you might imagine, this can make it quite difficult to calculate the cumulative costs of accounting services. This problem is compounded by the fact that hourly rates vary greatly among bookkeepers and CPAs.

For example, the average rate for a bookkeeper ranges from $30 to $90 per hour. CPA services are much more costly, with hourly rates fluctuating between $150 and $450.

When discussing costs, ask what the firm charges per hour. If their rates are near the top of the spectrum and your books are way behind, expect to pay several thousand dollars for the first month of services alone.

Per Engagement Fees

Depending on your experience with bookkeeping and the complexity of your business, you may only need CPA services for large projects, such as your annual tax preparation. 

In these instances, accountants generally charge flat fees. These rates may fluctuate from a few hundred dollars for a simple tax return to as much as $5,000 for a comprehensive financial audit.

Monthly Flat Fees

Perhaps the best option for small businesses is a CPA service that charges flat monthly fees. These expenses are extremely easy to work into your budget and often cost far less than an accountant who charges by the hour.

Usually, accounting firms that offer flat monthly rates have several levels of service. These tiers are divided based on your company’s monthly expenses. For example, businesses that have $20K in monthly expenses will be charged less than an organization with $80K in monthly expenses.

What Accounting Software Do You Have Experience With?

Our final question can reveal a lot about your prospective accounting partner. We are not encouraging you to choose your CPA services provider based solely on what software they use. Instead, the goal here is to find out whether they are using the latest technologies to maintain your books or if they are relying on outdated manual processes that are more likely to introduce errors.

When answering this question, the CPA firm should be able to provide you with a very nuanced answer. They should confidently answer your question while also explaining why they use the technologies that they do. 

Take this a step further and ask them how these particular programs will benefit your business. The CPA should clearly outline how the software they use will add value to your organization.

You should also find out which online bookkeeping features their preferred programs include. Comprehensive CPA services should include online bookkeeping tools that are easy for you to use. These tools should also provide valuable insights into your company’s financial health.

Lastly, find out whether they offer a free demonstration or trial. While any accounting firm can talk up their CPA services, only a select few have the confidence to offer a trial period. 

Once you have had an opportunity to interact with the software, you will know if it is the right match for your company.

Accountant CPA Services from Xendoo

Even when you know what questions to ask, finding the right online CPA services for your growing business can be tough. Thanks to Xendoo, that is no longer the case!

Our firm offers a full suite of online CPA services for small businesses, including tax return processing, accounting and booking solutions, and much more. 

Concerned that your books are too far behind? Don’t worry, we can help with that, too! Xendoo’s “Catch Up” services are designed specifically for businesses that have fallen a few months (or a few years) behind.

Xendoo can handle all of your online CPA needs so that you can stop thinking about the past and start focusing on your future. We even provide a convenient free trial so that you can see our solutions in action. Contact us today to learn more! 

A female small business owner smiles inside her boutique shop

Celebrating Women’s Small Business Month: Thoughts from Xendoo CEO and Founder, Lil Roberts

National Women’s Small Business Month celebrates women’s achievements in business, and highlights what they bring to their communities as small business owners. We took a moment to interview Xendoo founder and CEO Lil Roberts, to get insight into what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and the importance of women leading in business. 

Build Up Your Team

What encouragement do you have for women who are in male-dominated industries? 

Shift your mindset. Do not let who dominates the industry define your role within it. Succeeding in business is all about excelling at what you do best, and building up a team that compliments the areas that you lack experience in. A multifaceted team is what makes a business thrive. When your team is growing their skills and knowledge, when your customers are happy, that is where you will find true success in your business.

It is crucial to focus on the problem that needs to be solved, and build a team that is as passionate about solving that problem as you are. That is what success looks like in every industry, no matter who it is dominated by. 

Inclusive by Nature

What is the importance of women leading in business?

Lil smiled and recalled a moment in which she had the opportunity to speak to Frances Frei, Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Business School. Frei shared her experience of solving problems with a team of women and immigrants, referencing studies that prove that when women lead, everyone wins. That is not to say that people and businesses cannot thrive under male leadership – they do. It simply highlights that women tend to be inclusive by nature, and adept at empowering those around them to do and be their best. This leads to the creation of supportive, passionate teams and therefore, successful businesses. 

Hats Off to You 

To all female business owners and entrepreneurs, we are rooting for you. Happy National Women’s Small Business Month from your friends at Xendoo! Take time to celebrate your business and your amazing team this month. Focus on what you love – growing your business. Xendoo has your online bookkeeping covered. 

Schedule a free consultation with one of our accountants. We would love to get to know you and your business, and partner with you as your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax team! 

 

Watch the full interview with Lil below:

Male Asian franchise owner, leaning on the counter in his cafe and smiling

The Franchise Landscape by Jon Ostenson

On the heels of Covid lockdowns and quarantine, we are seeing unprecedented levels of interest in business ownership with much of this interest coming through the avenue of franchising. Year-to-date, our client placements have increased well over 50% vs. 2020, which despite Covid, saw similar levels of expansion over 2019. The vast majority of these placements have come in industries outside of food and lodging, which we will touch on later.

So who are these new franchise owners? More than ever before they represent a substantial cross-section of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. As outlined throughout media headlines, Covid has caused many across the spectrum to reflect on their current path. For many, this reflection has led to the decision point that now is the time to scratch their entrepreneurial itch.

In some cases, these newly minted business owners are jumping in with both feet, leaving their corporate roles and taking on the reins of owner-operator of a new enterprise. In other instances, they are taking a step into entrepreneurship via a ‘semi absentee’ model with the plan to put in 10-15 hours a week. The latter group is seeing business ownership as an ‘asset class. Business ownership provides tax advantages that many other investments do not. With the stock market at an all-time high, low interest rate, and only so many good real estate deals available, investors are looking at alternative options for parking their record levels of sidelined cash. 

Why are so many opting for franchising over a traditional ‘start-up’? They recognize that franchising provides them with:

• A proven playbook from which to operate.

• In some cases, a recognizable brand.

• A ‘coach’ with aligned interests on the sideline in the franchisor.

• Support and learnings of owners in other markets.

• The ability to go in with ‘eyes wide open’ via the ability to review the Franchise Disclosure Document and validate with current owners before making a purchase.

• The potential for a more attractive exit based on an apples-to-apples comparison vs. traditional startups. 

So, what industries are resonating the most with would-be business owners? I have shared in many interviews that over the past year that we have seen a leaning toward ‘Covid, Amazon, Recession resistant businesses’. 95% of our placements have been in industries outside of food and lodging. These include home and property services, automotive, health and wellness, businesses that support the senior population, children/education, and pets. There are so many unique niches within these spaces that people have never considered. In fact, through my matchmaking process, I have found that over 80% of my clients end up in a sector that they never had on their radar prior to our ‘peeling back the onion’ and building a framework from which to evaluate opportunities.

Certainly, franchising is not right for everyone. For instance, I have to explain to a handful of my clients that they are ‘too entrepreneurial’. They are not willing to live within the franchise system, desiring to put their fingerprints all over a new business. However, for many would-be business owners, the support and resulting success rate that is found in franchising prove to be a perfect fit. Based on what we are seeing both at a macro level, as well as on the ground, franchising is poised for even more strong growth in the years ahead!

 

Jon Ostenson is a consultant, investor, author, and international speaker specializing in the area of non-food franchising. He draws on his experience as both the President of an Inc. 500 franchise system and as a multi-brand franchisee in serving clients across these capacities.

Connect with FranBridge here jon@franbridgeconsulting.com   Recent podcast interview

 

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.

 

Asian female business owner, working on her laptop in her art studio

How Do I Pay Myself and My Taxes as a Sole Proprietor?

Where to Begin?

Businesses are created because business owners have a passion that needs to be pursued.  They may be changing the world and even their own lives. Payroll, however, is most likely not their passion. Yet, every business owner faces the unique challenge of figuring out how to pay themselves.

Paying yourself as a sole proprietor can feel daunting. How much do you pay yourself? How do taxes factor in? Unless you have a side hustle as a financial advisor, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Self-Payment, Simplified

Breathe a sigh of relief. Paying yourself as a sole proprietor is not as complicated as it seems. Tax filing is simplified too! In this blog post, we will walk you through paying yourself as a sole proprietor!

 

How Do I Pay Myself?

You can pay yourself as a sole proprietor by taking an Owner’s Draw. An Owner’s Draw differs from a regular salary in that you can take money from your earnings as needed. Depending on how well your business is doing, you can take more or less, allowing for flexibility in your payments.

If your business is profitable, start by subtracting liabilities (any debt your company owes) from assets (items of value the company owns that will provide benefit in the future). The remaining amount is referred to as ownership equity, which is what you will take your draw from. Once you decide on an amount to take (more on that in a moment), it can be transferred from your business bank account to your personal account.

Because the Owner’s Draw is taken from ownership equity, it reduces the funds that can be used for the business. Sole proprietors must balance how much they need to support themselves and what their business needs to thrive.

How Much Do I Pay Myself?

To set an appropriate payment for yourself, you have to determine your projected profits. To estimate how much you can draw and when you must:

  • Set up a separate business bank account. As a sole proprietor, you do not need to incorporate or register your business. The business name will default to your legal name unless you file a DBA (doing business as), which allows you to operate under a different name. Once your DBA is set up, you can open a business bank account. This ensures that your personal and business expenses stay separate, and creates an accurate picture of your business’s finances.

 

  • Keep your books up to date. Keeping detailed records of your income and expenses will help you identify when cash flows into and out of your business, and how cash flow may change over time. An online bookkeeping service will be able to take this task off your plate, saving you time and stress. You will also receive monthly reports that give you actionable insights to help you make the best decisions for your business.

This will help you determine your projected profits and when you should take your draw. You can start out by paying yourself only what you need to meet your basic needs until your business breaks even. From there, you can increase your pay to your “market value”. You can increase your pay again once your business is producing consistent profits. How often you choose to draw is up to you. Some may follow a bi-weekly schedule, others may draw as needed. It ultimately depends on your personal preference.

How to Pay Your Taxes

Sole proprietorships are considered pass-through entities, meaning the IRS views your business, personal assets, and liabilities as one and the same. Because of this, you are only required to file a personal tax return. Income and expenses related to your business are accounted for on your individual Form 1040, Schedule C.

While the Owner’s Draw is not subject to federal or state income tax, it is also not expense-able. It will appear under the total net income of the business, which is taxable. Be aware that sole proprietors are required to withhold self-employment taxes, which contribute to Social Security and Medicare. As of right now, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%.

So, how can you maximize your tax savings? Business tax preparation and filings are included with almost all of our packages! Your online Tax CPA takes care of filing your Schedule C that goes along with your personal tax return to itemize business deductions.

Xendoo is Here for You

The good news is that you do not have to figure it all out on your own. Xendoo Online Bookkeeping is here to help! We move at the speed of business, so you can make informed decisions faster – like deciding how much you should pay yourself as a sole proprietor! Get started with a free trial.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a free consultation with a Xendoo accountant today!

 

Want to learn more? Learn the difference between the business entity types here. 

 

 

An eCommerce seller adds items to her online store.

Cash Flow vs. Profit: Understanding the Difference

A real estate records her numbers for the week on a laptop,

When you’re running a business, keeping track of all of the financial terms can be enough to give you a headache! But two of the most important terms that will affect you are your cash flow and your profit.

Cash flow refers to the net flow of cash in and out of a business, while profit indicates the amount of money that’s left over after all of the expenses have been paid. 

A business can be very profitable while having poor cash flow. The opposite is also true — a robust cash flow doesn’t mean a business is necessarily profitable. Investors and business owners alike use these important metrics for things like deciding when to invest or what business strategies should be used. 

It’s especially important for businesses to consider and calculate the demands of cash flow vs. profit accurately. Accurate bookkeeping is essential for both forecasting cash flow and calculating business profits, regardless of the size of your business. 

The Difference Between Cash Flow and Profit

To manage your business effectively, it’s a good idea to have a firm grasp on business cash flow vs. profit. As a business owner, you need to not only understand the differences between the two terms, but also to be able to leverage both to your advantage. 

Cash Flow

Cash flow consists of all money that comes in and out of your business over time. Positive cash flow happens when there is more money coming in than going out, while negative cash flow means that there is more money going out than coming in. 

However, there are certain things not included in business cash flow, which include:

  • Money owed to creditors
  • Money in the bank 
  • Credit from suppliers

Business cash flow is used as a metric to determine the health of your business. Lenders and investors may use it to assess how well your business is doing. 

Profit

Put simply, business profit is revenue minus expenses; it is also referred to as “net income.” 

When it comes to calculating business profits, there are two types of profits:

Gross Profit

Gross profit is the profit of your business after deducting the costs it takes to provide goods and/or services. 

Net Profit

Net profit is the profit after everything — including taxes and operating expenses (such as payroll, rent, utilities) — have been deducted.

Cash Flow vs. Profit:  Which is More Helpful for Understanding Your Company’s Health?

When it comes to business cash flow vs. profit, which is more helpful for understanding the health of your company? 

Many business owners — along with investors — want to know the one metric that will determine the health of the business so they can decide the direction to take with their business strategies. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to the business cash flow vs. profit question because both cash flow and profit are important to the health of your business, albeit in different ways. 

Business profit illustrates the immediate and short-term success of your business. Alternatively, cash flow can be used to more accurately determine the long-term financial outlook of your company. 

To be successful in the long run, a business needs to maintain both positive cash flow and profit. The critical difference between business cash flow vs. profit is time.

Understanding how these two interact can help you to make better business decisions. 

Understanding Cash Flow

Obviously, every business desires to increase sales; however, if cash flows do not increase at the same rate as your sales, you can find your business actually running short on cash. 

For example, for a business, selling more products often means spending more cash (an outflow of cash) to buy the products to stock the shelves or inventory; however, the cash inflow from sales may not be immediately available for use.  

Business growth is important for profit. Though it seems contradictory, growing your business can result in cash flow shortages. For example, when growth is high, a business may accept more orders but not have enough cash to produce and deliver them. 

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, so it is important to manage your cash flow carefully. There are several options available for managing small business cash flow, which we’ll explore in depth below.

Delay Cash Payments

Delaying cash payments to suppliers reduces the immediate need for cash. For example, when you’re purchasing products, you may negotiate with the supplier to pay a certain percentage upfront and then pay the remaining balance within a certain amount of time, say a month or six weeks. 

The advantage to this kind of arrangement is that you don’t have to put up all the cash upfront to get the product, but you are in effect borrowing against your future business because you will have to pay out when the delayed payment comes due. 

Cash Collections on Previous Sales

For various reasons, you may not immediately receive the cash from your sales upfront. Similar to delaying payments to a supplier, there may be a delay in receiving cash from the products you sell and deliver. 

For example, cash from June sales may not be available until July. The risk of this is that you could be short of cash in June and not have enough to meet all of your outflow needs for that month, even though June was a busy month. 

Raising Capital

If you do not have sufficient amounts of short-term cash, raising capital may be an option. One way to raise capital is to borrow money. If your business is big enough, you can issue stock, which means that an investor gives you cash in exchange for purchasing a piece of ownership of your company. 

If you are under pressure, you may feel compelled to accept a loan with a higher interest rate than you’d like or sell more ownership than you would prefer.

Both these ways of raising capital have downsides, which makes raising capital the least attractive cash flow management option. Borrowing money means that you will have to pay it back in the future, often along with interest. 

Issuing stock means selling a part of your business. Depending on the percentage and terms, it may mean that someone else may be entitled to have a say in the way that your business is run. 

Understanding Profit

Increasing business profits can be beneficial for your company; however, it is always important to remember that any new source of profit (such as developing a new product or adding a new service) may also raise your expenses. 

Because this could push your costs beyond what is feasible (and result in an overall loss of profit), calculating business profit on new ventures is very important. Small business profits may be especially vulnerable to upfront costs for new lines of products or services. 

Plan Carefully

Small business cash flow considerations are particularly important because newer businesses may have less cash flow to draw on. 

Regardless of the size of your business, good planning involves careful and accurate bookkeeping. This is essential for both legal and financial purposes. Moreover, it can help you manage cash flow vs. profitability

With the advent of the Internet, online bookkeeping has become an advantageous way to track your business accounts. Accurate, up-to-date records will give you a snapshot of the health of your business, as well as your cash flow. 

Timely bookkeeping can also help you avoid the need for catch-up bookkeeping. However, if you do need to catch up, Xendoo can certainly help. 

Putting It All Together

Though higher business profits are an understandable goal for any business, you must plan carefully to balance cash flow vs. profit. As noted in this article, it is possible for a business to be profitable, but still have poor cash flow. 

Conversely, a business can have robust cash flow but have little profitability. To properly manage both business cash flow and profits, you need accurate, timely bookkeeping. 

 

Small business owners must adapt to digital transformation

4 Reasons Why Digital Transformation Is Table Stakes for Small Businesses

Small businesses are making the leap into digitalization to respond to evolving consumer behavior and expectations, adapting to new working norms, putting data to work to drive performance and building business resiliency.

A woman looking at multiple computer screens

Best Counties in Florida for Small Businesses

At Xendoo, we love small businesses. We believe in the power of small businesses to not only create a living for their owners and employees but also to make communities better. 

Unfortunately, not all cities and counties are equally hospitable to small businesses. In Florida, there are some counties that offer more opportunities than others, and we’d like to highlight some of those locations in this post. This information can be helpful if you are planning to start a new business in Miami or Orlando, or if you are hoping to expand your current business into new locations. Let’s get started!

Plenty of Options

The good news here is this – as a prospective small business owner in Florida, you are going to have plenty of great choices available. Whether you want to set up shop in a small town or a metro area like Miami or Tampa Bay, you can take your time to select an ideal location for the products or services you plan to sell. 

To select some target counties for Florida small business opportunities, we turned to this informative piece of research. Based on their Small Business Index calculation, the top five counties in Florida are as follows –

  • Miami-Dade
  • Monroe
  • Walton
  • Franklin
  • Broward

Just from this list of five counties, we can quickly see an example of the diverse possibilities available in this state. Miami-Dade County, of course, is a huge population center home to more than 2.5 million people. On the other end of the spectrum, Monroe County covers the Florida Keys and has fewer than 75,000 residents. The third entry on the list, Walton County, is another relatively quiet location, located in the Northwest corner of Florida with a similar population to Monroe County. 

What Type of Business Do You Have in Mind?

The lesson so far is clear – both big cities and small towns can be friendly to small businesses in the right situation. But the right setting for your business may depend on what you will be selling and who you have in mind for your ideal customer. 

For example, a new restaurant may need the population base of a big county like Miami-Dade or Broward to find its footing and build a following. The same could be said for businesses in the health and fitness space, as well as retail outlets

Rather settle into a small town to run your new venture? Plenty of business types can find a home in such a setting, including eCommerce, healthcare, and other professional services. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules here, so it’s essential to create a detailed business plan and think about what location will give you the best chance to execute that plan. 

Getting the Right Help

Few businesses are truly a one-person operation. Regardless of the type of business you plan to open, it’s nearly certain that other people will be involved in making this venture a success. So, picking the right Florida county for your small business will also involve considering the available pool of employees. 

Of course, operating in a big county is going to give you more potential employees to pick from, but costs in these population centers are likely to be higher. Whether to keep costs down or to find help that can easily scale with you, consider outsourcing to off-site freelancers and other service providers for help with some tasks. 

Here at Xendoo, we help small business owners by handling their online bookkeeping, accounting, and tax filing work. This is a great way to minimize employee costs while simultaneously freeing up some of your own time. You can apply this same outsourcing concept to other parts of running your business, as well. 

Growing Throughout Florida

There is a lot to like about doing business in Florida, but perhaps nothing is as tantalizing as the tremendous opportunity to be found in The Sunshine State. Florida is small enough geographically for a small business to consider expansion throughout the state as a feasible and realistic goal. At the same time, the state is home to more than 20 million people, so the market is enormous. Starting with the counties that are welcoming to small business ventures may give you the footing necessary to one day find your business operating from Tallahassee to Miami and everywhere in between. 

Conclusion

No matter which Florida county you decide to call home for your business, Xendoo is here to help. From bookkeeping and accounting services to tax prep and more, our team is excited to serve you. By taking these core functions off your plate, you will be free to focus on what it is you do best – deliver value to your customers. Contact us today to learn more. 

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Debit vs. Credit in Accounting: What’s the Difference?

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There are a lot of things people don’t tell you about being a small business owner before you get started. Between serving customers, managing employees, keeping your books up to date, and struggling to build the reputation of your brand, it’s a constant process of learning on the job. 

Also, you probably didn’t realize that opening your own business would require you to become an accountant by default. Accounting is essential for every business, and you get thrown into the deep end when you start a new company. 

Without training in this field, accounting terms can feel like a foreign language. While we can’t provide an entire accounting education in this article, we can address one common issue – how to tell debit vs credit accounting transactions. If you have been struggling with how to understand credit vs debit in accounting, the content below should put you on the right track. 

What are debits vs. credits?

Let’s make this very clear – for the non-accountant, debits and credits can be confusing. If you can’t seem to get your mind around this topic, don’t worry – you are far from alone. We’ll try to break it down as simply as possible to give you a basic understanding of what’s going on here. 

Before we talk debits and credits, let’s quickly talk about the underlying accounting system in question – double-entry accounting. This method is used nearly universally, and it requires that each transaction will involve two accounts (thus the double-entry name). So, whether money is coming or going, each transaction is going to be marked by two entries in the ledger that balance each other out. We’ll offer an example later in this article to help clarify this concept. 

So, back to debits and credits. Your double-entry accounting system is organized into a variety of accounts. In your accounting system, you can see the accounts you have established in your “Chart of Accounts”. When money is going into one of those accounts, that’s known as a debit. If money is going out of an account, that’s a credit. On the most basic level, that’s what you need to remember – debits are adding to accounts and credits are taking away from those accounts. 

What is an example of debits vs credits?

Let’s walk through a quick example to help you fully understand how debits and credits work in practical application. For this example, we are going to assume that you have decided to purchase $2,000 worth of inventory for your business. This purchase is going to be made with cash out of the business account. 

When you make that purchase, two entries will be required – one debit and one credit. The debit is going to be placed in the inventory account because it is being increased (you have added to your inventory). So, a debit of $2,000 is applied to the inventory account. 

The complementary entry is a credit of $2,000 to the cash account. This subtracts from your cash account the amount of money that has been spent. So, after both entries have been made, you are left with an accurate picture of what this transaction meant for your business – you own $2,000 more inventory, and you have $2,000 less cash in your account.  

How do debits and credits affect my liability accounts?

You’ll need to reverse your thinking when it comes to liability accounts. The liability accounts your business uses will depend on how you operate, but one common example for small businesses is accounts payable. This is a liability because balances in this account represent money that you owe to your suppliers and other vendors. 

A debit applied to a liability account is going to have the opposite effect as a debit applied to an asset account. So, the $2,000 debit we applied to inventory in the example above increased the value of the inventory account, since that account is an asset. However, if a $2,000 debit were applied to accounts payable, the balance of that account would decrease, since it lives on the liability side of the ledger. 

Conclusion

It’s a good idea to add to your accounting knowledge as a business owner, so dealing with topics like what is debit vs credit in accounting is a worthwhile endeavor. With that said, you don’t want to be spending your time in the back office, buried in the books. Instead, you should be out front, helping your business grow by offering valuable products and services to your customers. 

How can you make that vision a reality? Turn to Xendoo. Our accounting and bookkeeping services will streamline your operations without breaking the bank. With Xendoo on your side, you won’t need to turn yourself into an accounting wizard – just hand the books over to us and rest assured that they will be done correctly month after month. Let’s get started!

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Bank Reconciliation: What It Is and Why It’s Important For Your Small Business

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Bank reconciliation is a task that sounds boring even before you know exactly what it is. As a business owner who already has too many tasks and not enough time, it’s easy enough to just take a pass on something that sounds so dull. 

Unfortunately, skipping out on bank reconciliation is not something you can afford to do. With this post, we’d like to give you a quick introduction to the concept of bank reconciliation and why it’s an essential part of your ongoing accounting and bookkeeping activities. Let’s get started!

What is small business bank reconciliation?

Completing a bank reconciliation is pretty simple. Each month, your business will be involved in a number of transactions that see money both coming in and going out. Those transactions should all be logged in an accounting system such as QuickBooks or Xero. Also, those transactions are going to make their way through your bank account (or accounts), usually a day or two after they occur. The process of bank reconciliation is nothing more than confirming that what appears on your bank statements matches what you see in your accounting software

How does bank reconciliation work? 

While bank reconciliation can be performed at any chosen periodic interval, it is most commonly handled as a monthly task. Your bank generates a monthly statement anyway, so that is the perfect opportunity to compare that statement to your internal accounting records. 

The details of doing a bank reconciliation will vary from software to software, but the basic process is the same across the board –

  • There will be a bank reconciliation section within your chosen accounting software interface. 
  • Checks and deposits from the previous months will appear in this area, and those that are found on the bank statement can be checked off. 
  • Bank service fees may not yet be in the accounting system, so those can be pulled from the bank statement and added at this time. 
  • Any discrepancies between the bank statement and the accounting software will need to be resolved. Often, discrepancies are the result of checks that have recently been sent or deposited and have not yet cleared the bank. 

Why is bank reconciliation important?

It’s easy to take bank reconciliation for granted, thinking that your accounts are going to match up properly each time. And hopefully, most of the time, that will be the case. But bank reconciliation remains vital because of some of the issues that can be spotted when going through this process. Some potential discoveries that can be made through periodic bank reconciliation include –

  • Fraud. This is perhaps the most important reason of all to reconcile bank statements regularly. If a deposit is registered in your accounting software, but it never lands in the bank, where did it go? You want to spot this kind of issue right away so you can look into it further. There may be a legitimate, honest mistake that led to the missing deposit – or the money could have been stolen. 
  • Missing check. If you send a check to a vendor, for example, you want to be sure that they received that check in an appropriate amount of time. If it still hasn’t cleared your bank a couple of weeks after it was sent, you may want to follow up to confirm that they received it. Without bank reconciliation, you would miss this point and may receive a past due notice from that vendor in the near future. 
  • Check doesn’t clear the bank. When the account that a check is drawn on doesn’t have the necessary funds to cover that check, it will “bounce”. Therefore, the entry in your accounting system will need to be reversed, because the deposit didn’t actually go through. Also, there may be a fee charged by the bank that needs to be recorded as part of this problem. 

There are many reasons why an accountant is important, and performing regular bank reconciliations is high on that list. This is one of the best tools you have available to stay on top of the financial activities that take place in your business. 

What is included in a bank reconciliation statement?

When the bank reconciliation process is completed, a bank reconciliation statement can be produced. That statement is basically a summary of the reconciliation, and it will highlight the reasons for any discrepancies between the bank balance and the cash balance in the accounting system. Elements that can typically be found on a bank reconciliation statement include –

  • Bank balance. The balance provided on the bank statement will be noted, along with the date of that balance.
  • Additions and deductions. Any deposits in transit or checks going out that have not yet reached the bank will be noted on the statement and adjusted from the bank statement balance. 
  • Bank activities. Events that occurred on the bank side and that have not yet been accounted for in the company’s books will also be shown on the reconciliation statement. Examples can be money collected by the bank on behalf of the company, or fees and charges that are owed to the bank and come out of the account. 
  • Adjusted cash balance. This is where the bank reconciliation statement shows that the books are in order – the adjusted cash balances should match when all outstanding transactions have been included. 

Top tips for bank reconciliation

Before we wrap up this discussion, we’d like to pass on three quick tips to help make bank reconciliation a useful part of your accounting process. 

  • Make it regular. It’s essential that bank reconciliations are completed at regular intervals. For most small businesses, that is going to mean once per month – but you can adjust this schedule based on your needs. 
  • Keep your books up to date. Performing a bank reconciliation will take much longer if you need to update your internal books from the previous month before you can compare those records to the bank statement. 
  • Take your time. If performing the reconciliation on your own, set aside enough time so you don’t need to rush through the task. Doing it quickly is going to greatly increase the chances of a mistake. 

Conclusion

Understanding the importance of bank reconciliation and making time in your schedule to complete this task are two different things. All the motivation in the world can’t magically open up time for you to spend going over bank statements and clearing up any issues. 

This is where Xendoo comes into the picture. Bank reconciliation is just one of our many bookkeeping services, so we can take this and more off of your plate each month. Contact us today to learn more!