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.

 

9 Ways for Franchisees to Outrun the Competition

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

As we’ve seen, there are a ton of fantastic, low-cost franchise opportunities out there that will give you a lot of advantages in starting up your new business. As a franchisee, you’ll still have the independence of owning your own business and being your own boss, but you’ll gain the name recognition, volume pricing agreements, and support services of an established brand. It’s the best of both worlds, and over 795,000 business owners in the United States have chosen this path. But as much as a good franchise can boost your chances of success, there is one threat to your new franchise which will always be present—your business competition.

 No matter the type or location of your business, whether restaurant, child care center, gym, or staffing agency, you will always have to know how to overcome competitors. Even if you start out in a niche that you have all to yourself in the beginning, you will soon get some competitors because success always breeds imitators. For every McDonald’s franchise out there, there is almost always a Burger King franchise across the street. If there isn’t, there soon will be.  

So how do you stay ahead of your peers in this horse race? Here are a few things you can do to outperform your business’s competition.

Know your business competition

If you don’t know all about your competitors, you can’t know how to overcome your competitors in business. The reality is that a lot of business owners don’t know as much about their competitors as they should. Make a list and call it “My Local Competitors Are….” Write down who you think your strongest competitors are, and then mystery shop them. If you sell widgets, buy a widget from your competitor and compare it to yours. Were the prices comparable? Is the quality as good as yours? Maybe even a little better? Does it have any features that yours doesn’t?

If your business is a restaurant, go and eat at the restaurant across the street. Pay attention to the cleanliness, the service, the food quality, etc. If your competitor is a hotel, spend the night and take a walk through their parking lot at night to look for fleet vehicles that can tell you which companies to make sales calls on. Now you know where you stand in comparison and what you need to do to win customers away from the competition.

Perform a SWOT analysis

If you’ve never heard of a SWOT analysis, it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. In it, you draw a map with four quadrants using those labels and compile a list in each quadrant. First, define clearly and honestly what you believe the biggest strengths and weaknesses of your business are in relation to your competitors. What do they have that you don’t? What gives you an edge over them? Knowing that, you next identify the top opportunities you have to steal business away from your competitors, and which of your competitor’s strengths pose the biggest threat to your business. A SWOT analysis is essentially a high-level business plan because now you know which holes to patch in your ship and which to exploit in your competitors.

A customer interacts with a cashier at a small business

Solicit feedback from your customers

The most successful companies ask their customers to give them feedback about their experience. Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and received a code printed on your receipt for a free drink if you take a survey? Stayed in a hotel and received a survey? Visited a business and seen a sign that says “Tell Us What you Think!” with a QR code that you can scan? The ways to solicit feedback are endless, and you’re only limited by your creativity. You need to know what your customers like and don’t like about your business, and the only way to know is to ask.

Listen to your customers

Soliciting feedback is only half the job. The other half is what you do with it. When receiving negative feedback, many business owners instinctively become defensive and dismiss it as untrue, unreasonable, or uninformed. Sure, there are professional complainers out there and we’ve all run into them at one point or another, but they’re few in number and easy to spot. The vast majority of your customers are being sincere. If you don’t already, be sure to take the time to review and respond to your social media accounts for your business. These may be the first channels that your customers use to voice a complaint or offer a compliment. 

A complaint is a gift and should be treated as such because the customer is giving you an opportunity to fix a problem before going to a competitor. The worst complaint is the one you never hear because that customer just starts going to your competition and you’ll never know why.

Create a service culture around your customers

Do you know who your customers are? Be a “lobby lizard” and spend some time in the front meeting and shaking hands with your customers and getting to know them. It’s important to create a service culture around your customers because they are generally not as loyal to brands or products, as they are intensely loyal to people and relationships where they feel valued. Even in the face of fierce competition, customers are attracted to and will be loyal to companies that put them first.

Customers line up at a small business coffee stand

Sell the product, not the price

Try to avoid price wars with your business competition whenever possible, because that’s just a race to the bottom. Somebody else will always be able to absorb more loss than you until one of you is forced out of business. Instead, focus on creating value for your customer by providing a good product at a fair price combined with great customer service. Cheap isn’t always a bargain, and customers are often willing to pay a slightly higher price if they see a strong value proposition for their money. You don’t necessarily need to be the cheapest, you just need to create the most value.

Know your numbers

We’ve already established the benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting to a professional accounting firm, and one of the most important is that you will receive professionally prepared financial statements that will give you an accurate and complete picture of what’s going on with your business. 

Do you know exactly what your margin is? Do you know your year-over-year performance in each category? If you don’t have that information at your fingertips, you’re flying blind. This is where Xendoo can help because we offer a complete suite of affordable bookkeeping and consulting services that can keep you on top of your business competition and help you make the right choices.

Prioritize your time

There are dozens of ways time gets away from us because it seems like there’s always a fire that needs to be put out. Being a business owner means everyone wants a piece of you, and you have to figure out how to balance everything and keep the wheels on the wagon. Start each day by taking five minutes to write down all the tasks that need to be done that day, and then prioritize them. In fact, studies have shown that just writing a to-do list can help reduce your anxiety.

Go down your list by priority and scratch them off as they get done. Additionally, by using technology, cloud software, and business automation, you can eliminate some time-consuming tasks, allowing you to focus on the big picture and beat the competition. 

Only do what only you can do

In addition to prioritizing your time so that the most important things get done first, you need to spend it as efficiently as possible so that you can complete the maximum number of tasks on your list. If you feel like you have to do everything in your business yourself, that means you’re a great employee but a terrible manager. Effective management is about delegation. There are some things that only the owner can tend to, but a lot of things – like accounting – can be either outsourced or delegated to someone else to allow the owner to focus on staying ahead of the competition instead of cleaning windows.

Business competition is a guarantee, but it doesn’t have to be a problem. Did you notice how many of these tips revolve around customers? That’s because, without them, you’re out of business. You may be the business owner, but you work for them because they can fire you at a moment’s notice and go to your competitor. Just remember that as a franchise business owner, you can choose your own destiny by focusing on your customers, creating value for them, and building relationships with them. 

 

Do that, and you will always stay one step ahead of the competition.

 

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 man in an oxford shirt looks at his bookkeeping on his laptop

Why You Should Outsource Your Online Bookkeeping Services

It’s common for a business owner to want to save money on outsourcing bookkeeping services and do it themselves thinking, What can go wrong… it’s just data entry!?” But, it’s all too common to make novice mistakes that can cost you a lot of time and money. Plus, your financials become more complex as your business grows – more expenses, and ideally more income! And you may want to borrow money or open a line of credit, so you don’t want to be scrambling to provide up-to-date financials for your lender right then and there.

Keeping accurate books takes a lot of time and focus which is why you need a bookkeeper.

What is outsourced bookkeeping?

When you don’t have the complexity or volume of transactions to require hiring a full-team bookkeeper or accountant (yet!), but you need a reliable source to delegate this important work to—choosing outsourced bookkeeping is the way to go.

The size of your business and the number of monthly expenses you incur play a large role in estimating the pricing for outsourced bookkeeping services. A popular option for bookkeeping services for small businesses are packages that charge a fixed amount every month because it’s easy to budget for, and it can cost less than half what you would pay hourly for the same amount of service. That’s why Xendoo offers this pricing structure with a variety of package options to fit your specific company’s needs.

Why should I outsource my bookkeeping?

Being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t equal being an expert at financials. One mistake can lead to tax issues and may require additional effort or redoing an entire month of books, so outsourcing bookkeeping services save you time, money, and stress. From entering transactions to monthly reconciliations to real-time tax coding, you gain accurate, up-to-date books and a dedicated financial team of experts who can answer questions regarding:

  • Tax savings advice, such as when to make capital purchases, what you can deduct, and how to reduce taxes on capital gains
  • Answer your questions about financial reports, cash flow, depreciation, and other accounting processes
  • Identify opportunities to improve profit margin and business growth
  • Help set up systems for business accounting and teach you best practices
  • Keep you tax-compliant and legal, prevent missed deadlines and noncompliance penalties

What are the benefits of bookkeeping?

Outsourced bookkeeping saves you time, money, and headaches! It can scale with your business as you grow, and it lets you focus on your business instead of just the books.

  • Time: Small business owners are notorious for spending a large amount of time on administrative work, like employee scheduling, preparing payroll, and especially hours (and hours!) of bookkeeping. It is estimated that small business owners spend 120 working days per year on administrative tasks like bookkeeping. And still, nearly 25% of businesses are behind on their books. 
  • Money: If you’re attempting to do all of your small business bookkeeping on your own, even utilizing programs like Quickbooks or Xero, you already know that you are spending a lot of time and money. If you’ve hired an hourly bookkeeper or accountant you know paying per hour can add up fast. Xendoo offers a flat-rate monthly fee, so you can easily budget for your bookkeeping each month and avoid huge unexpected bills from an hourly bookkeeper.
  • Stress: With so many business accounting software choices now available (Quickbooks, Xero, Freshbooks, Wave… the list goes on), you may assume that letting your computer do everything will be cheaper than the cost and the hassle of hiring a bookkeeper and accountant. But some things still need an expert. When you outsource your bookkeeping to Xendoo you won’t ever need to stress about having your books up-to-date, fixing your novice bookkeeping errors, or being tax compliant and ready.
  • Scale Up: As your business grows, your bookkeeping and accounting needs will grow, too. This means you’ll be entering in more and more transactions each month, making bookkeeping more difficult and time-consuming than before. If you want to take out a loan or open a line of credit to grow, your lender will want accurate financial statements. With Xendoo, you can quickly access your financial statements as soon as you need them.

Being able to quickly analyze the financial health of your business is key to continued growth and success. For a flat monthly fee that works with your budget, you’ll get Xendoo’s bookkeeping service featuring cloud-based software for always accessible, up-to-date financials, plus a dedicated bookkeeping and accounting team to answer any questions. Outsourcing your small business bookkeeping services to Xendoo to save time, money, and stress. 

Start making smart business decisions on the fly while gaining peace of mind with Xendoo.

Cash Flow Management for eCommerce: 4 Tips for Smooth Sailing

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

Cash flow is a measure of your business’s liquidity and ability to pay its debts from sales revenue. Cash flow management can be one of the most challenging aspects of being an online business owner. Your business can be profitable but still have a negative cash flow because profit calculation takes into account assets like inventory that you can’t use to pay bills. 

E-commerce businesses have an edge in cash flow management by virtue of the immediacy of the transaction, but that doesn’t mean online retailers are immune to cash flow problems. The customer has to pay you before you ship the item, so that means you don’t have to deal with an accounts receivables ledger full of aging accounts. But you still have operating expenses that can deplete your bank account, and you might end up having a lot of cash tied up in inventory before being sold. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to smooth out the turbulence and keep your cash flow – and your business – on an even keel. Read on to see our cash flow management tips to keep your eCommerce business sailing smoothly. 

Minimize Inventory

If your inventory is sitting on the shelf for more than 30 days, you have too much. You can’t afford to have that much cash tied up doing nothing. Use stock-keeping units (SKUs) to track the sell-through rate for each item in your inventory. The sell-through rate is the ratio of inventory sold during the month to new inventory added. If you see that an item’s sell-through rate is too low, you need to dig deeper and find out why. Are you producing too much of it? Is demand for it falling? Maybe some of the cash tied up in that product can be shifted to a more popular item that’s selling better, or it might even need to be discontinued. Don’t be lured in by bulk discount offers from suppliers unless you know for sure the item will move quickly. The right inventory management software can help you make sense of what is going, out, coming in, and just sitting there. 

Shot of two boxes on a table about to be shipped to customers

Get Creative with Sales

At the risk of stating the obvious, one of the best ways to keep a positively manage cash flow is to get more sales from your eCommerce business. The big question, though, is how to do that. What’s the best way to drive traffic to your site and increase the conversion rate of your visitors, and maybe even do a little upselling in the process? Here are a few ideas you can try for driving website sales.

  • Offer free shipping on larger orders to encourage bigger quantities
  • Create a loyalty program for repeat customers
  • Offer Buy One, Get One (BOGO) on items with a high margin
  • Bundle high-margin products with best-selling products
  • Cross-sell by offering related add-ons at check-out
  • Offer a recurring purchase option for consumable products
  • Offer incentives to “abandoned cart” visitors
  • Use a human or automated chatbot to engage with visitors
  • Implement a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to improve your site’s rank in search results.

If each of these strategies can increase your site’s average order by just 1 or 2%, that can quickly add up to 10% or more extra revenue coming into your bank account to help ease the cash flow. If you do go the free shipping route, make sure to read our tips on how to reduce shipping costs

Manage Your Payables

The other side of cash flow management is what’s going out to your accounts payable. You need to maximize the amount of time the cash stays in your bank account instead of going to your suppliers. When you set up contracts with suppliers, try to negotiate the terms. Standard terms will typically be 30 days, but some suppliers may be willing to go as far out as 60 or 90 days if you ask. Whatever the terms are, you should generally wait until the end of the term to make the payment so you can hang onto the cash as long as possible. Watch out for late fees, though. However, if your supplier offers discounts for early payment, they may be worth taking advantage of.

Consider an Inventory Loan

If you’ve done your best but still find yourself in a cash crunch and need to restock inventory, an inventory loan may be an easier option than a traditional bank loan. Lenders will look at more than just your credit history and will take into account your sales history and the stability of your business. Inventory loans can be either lump-sum loans or lines of credit with the bank that you can use over time. You won’t be able to finance the entire cost of your inventory, but you can expect to be able to cover around 50% of the cost through a loan.

Managing your cash flow wisely can be the difference between success and failure for your eCommerce business, even if you’re showing a profit on the books. Xendoo’s suite of products and bookkeeping services for small businesses can help you know exactly where your money is going so that you can manage it more effectively. Contact Xendoo today to start your free trial and see how we can help your small 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.

 

The Best Bookkeeping Service For Your Small Business

There are different types of bookkeeping services for small businesses. You can handle it all yourself, utilizing software like Quickbooks and Xero; hire a part-time small business bookkeeper; or opt for a full-service bookkeeping service like Xendoo that can handle it all for you. 

What are the different types of bookkeeping services for small businesses?

You may choose to handle all of your small business bookkeeping on your own, but keep in mind that it’s more than just simple data entry. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with your software of choice, such as Quickbooks or Xero and set up your Chart of Accounts among other things – and of course make sure your records are always as up-to-date as possible. 

A popular option for small business owners is to hire a part-time bookkeeper. This is a great solution for small business owners who have enough time to take on some of the bookkeeping work themselves or who have someone on staff who can manage it. One important aspect of hiring a part-time bookkeeper to keep in mind is that you will still need to oversee and be involved with the part-time bookkeeper’s work. You’ll need to review their data entry, monthly reconciliations, and any communication they have with your accountant. Additionally, you will need to organize receipts, invoices, and any other financial paperwork for them and make sure to stay organized on your end.

As a small business owner, you wear many, many hats. From sales and marketing to employee management and not to mention, your specialty – the good or service you set out to provide in the first place – whether it’s operating a small bakery, selling home goods, or running a childcare center – you do it all. When you are ready to catch up on your bookkeeping and make sure it always stays up to date, you can opt for hiring a full-service bookkeeping service like Xendoo. Xendoo is proud to support thousands of small business owners with their financial needs to help set them up for success and provide financial peace of mind. It’s one important thing you can take off of your to-do list, and you can rest easy knowing your financials are being properly handled throughout the year by professionals – no more worrying about when you’ll do your bookkeeping, and no more playing catch up when tax time rolls around.

When should a small business hire a bookkeeper?

It is estimated that small business owners spend as many as 120 working days per year on administrative tasks and bookkeeping. That’s almost four months! This is time that could be spent doing the work you love that led you to start a small business in the first place. Perhaps you set out to own and operate a dog grooming business – you never thought you would end up spending all your days at your computer with piles of paperwork! Small grocers, massage therapists, photographers, dentists, even nail salon owners – every small business owner is different, yet they all need someone to handle their bookkeeping. 

An excellent time for a small business owner to consider hiring a bookkeeper is when you see that your small business is growing. Perhaps your bookkeeping tasks are taking more time than you can afford, and your books are never up to date. Maybe you recently added on a new location, hired more team members, or have seen a sharp increase in sales – whatever the case is, it looks like your small business is growing. As your business continues to grow, your bookkeeping workload will also increase, so if you’re posting more and more transactions each month, entering data on a regular basis can make bookkeeping more difficult and time-consuming. Even when you use online bookkeeping software solutions such as QuickBooks or Xero, a bookkeeping service for small business service can help you manage and maintain your books accurately and save you a large amount of time and money.

A bookkeeper will keep your company’s financial records accurate and up-to-date by performing basic bookkeeping services, that in the end can take hours and hours that a busy small business owner just doesn’t have. This includes regularly reviewing source documents such as your monthly bank and credit card statements, invoices, expense reports, payroll, and receipts, and recording basic accounting information for you – such as your data entry and monthly reconciliations – in your company’s books.

Small business owners notoriously spend a large amount of time on administrative work, like employee scheduling and management, preparing payroll, reviewing invoices, and especially hours and hours of bookkeeping. When you find you can’t afford to spend your precious time on administrative work like bookkeeping any longer, you know it is time to delegate and outsource the work to a bookkeeping service for small business.

Are there bookkeeping packages for small businesses?

Xendoo offers bookkeeping services for small businesses packages of all shapes and sizes. No matter the plan, each one comes with a dedicated financial team – you will have a dedicated bookkeeper assigned to your account who is supported by a full team of bookkeepers that have your back, and are available to talk, text, or email with you as you navigate your busy workday.

Xendoo offers five different bookkeeping service for small business plans for small business owners to choose from – and even offers custom plans. To determine which bookkeeping package is right for your small business, check out the pricing page on the Xendoo website. You’ll see that the five different packages are determined by the amount of your small business’s monthly expenses. We know every small business is unique, so when necessary, we work with our customers to create custom bookkeeping packages to suit their specific needs and goals. 

And it’s easy to change your Xendoo plan if you ever need to! Perhaps your monthly expenses have increased and you need to bump up to a more robust plan, or maybe you are in a slow season and need less help with your bookkeeping. Whatever the case may be, you can easily log in to your account and modify your plan.

No matter which bookkeeping service for small business package you choose from Xendoo, you will be up to date, compliant, and ready to grow. Not to mention, you will have peace of mind and one less thing on your to-do list. You will rest easy knowing you are not part of the 25% of small business owners who report that they are behind on their bookkeeping. 

Do bookkeepers save small businesses money?

Bookkeepers and bookkeeping services for small businesses save both time and money. Small business owners notoriously spend a large amount of time on administrative work, like employee scheduling, preparing payroll, and especially hours and hours of bookkeeping. It is estimated that SMBs spend 120 working days per year on these administrative tasks and bookkeeping. A bookkeeper can save you money by helping to maximize your business’s income, help you determine where you can cut costs, and give back your valuable time to focus on the reasons you started your business in the first place. For a set monthly fee, Xendoo’s bookkeeping solutions come with a fully dedicated financial team to save you time, money, and most importantly – stress.

How to Pay Federal Income Tax Online

Yes, the IRS has entered the digital age! They offer several ways to pay your tax online.

Direct Pay with Bank Account

There’s no service charge to have the money taken directly from your bank. To make a payment or look up a payment you already made, go to the Direct Pay page on the IRS website. You can use direct pay service to make payments for:

Installment Agreement

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, health care Form 1040or civil penalty

Tax Return or Notice

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, health care Form 1040, retirement plan 5329 or tax-favored account 5329

Extension 486

for 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ

Estimated Tax 1040ES

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ

Notices CP2000, CP2501 or CP3219A

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or health care Form 1040

Proposed Tax Assessment

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or health care Form 1040

Amended Return

1040X or health care Form 1040

Civil Penalty

Installment agreement, advance payment or other amounts due

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or civil penalty

Offshore Streamlined Filing Compliance

1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or civil penalty

Credit Card or Debit Card

You can use an approved payment processor (listed on the IRS website) to pay by internet, phone, or mobile device whether you e-file, paper file or are responding to a bill or notice. The processor will charge a fee, which does not go to the IRS and may be tax-deductible.Note that when you e-file with integrated e-payment, the processing fees may be different. Visit the Debit or Credit Card payment page on the IRS website for more information.

Electronic Federal Tax Payment System

This option is mainly for large businesses or those who need to make large payments. It can be used to make any type of tax payment, including income, employment, estimate and excise taxes. You get 24-hour convenience plus next-level security with 3-step authentication.However, you must enroll in the EFTPS, which can take up to five business days, so it’s not a good choice if you’re trying to make an 11th-hour payment. Learn more about it on the IRS’s EFTPS website page.

Electronic Funds Withdrawal

This can be part of the e-filing process using tax preparation software or a tax professional; it is not available otherwise. The payment will be debited directly from your designated bank account.Visit the IRS Electronic Funds Withdrawal page if you have any questions.

Same-Day Wire

This isn’t really paying online, but it is electronic and thus saves time over snail-mailing a paper check. Inquire at your financial institution if they can wire your tax payment to the U.S. Treasury, and be sure to find out about their service fees and cut-off times. This may be a great option if you’re living overseas or have left your payment to the absolute last minute.To make it happen, go to the IRS Same-Day Wire page, download the Same-Day Taxpayer Worksheet, fill it out and take it to your financial institution.Don’t forget, your Xendoo tax professional can answer any questions about paying, calculating, or filing your taxes. It’s all part of our service, which takes the work and worry out of tax season and lets you get back to running your business.

 

 

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.

 

2020 Year-End Checklist for Small Businesses

Every business needs a good tidying and updating at least once a year. The best time to do it is at the end of your tax year, which for many small businesses is the same as the calendar year. Get organized, review the data, and make your plans for a profitable 2020.

Weed out clutter.

Keeping old files around will only slow you down. Move anything that’s not current from your computer, desk and filing cabinet, into separate long-term storage. For digital files, it’s easy to put them on their own hard drive.

Back up all digital data.

A computer crash or natural disaster could permanently erase all your records. What a nightmare that would be! Put copies of your business files in both external hard drives and cloud-based services.

Digitize paperwork

Don’t wait until tax time to make sense of this mess. Scan tax documents to your Xendoo document storage portal and other important paperwork to a cloud storage provider. There are free resources such as google drive that offer cloud document storage. File documents according to tax year for optimal organization.

Catch up on your bookkeeping.

What you want is a summary of your annual profits and losses, which you’ll use to make decisions for the coming year. Where do you need to trim expenses? How can you improve sales? If you have accounting software, it’s been tracking the numbers, so all you need to do is generate a report.

Make tax-reducing moves.

Deductible expenditures — such as asset purchases and charitable donations — must be completed before the end of the year. (Ask your accountant for additional tax-saving ideas.) Check that you’ve made all your quarterly estimated income tax payments, to avoid incurring penalties.

Optimize your supply sources.

Take a look at the companies that sold your business products and services over the past year. Keep the ones that are doing a good job and find replacements for the ones that aren’t (late deliveries, too high prices, or whatever the problem is).

Analyze return on investment.

Retailers, identify and discontinue slow-selling products. Restaurateurs, remove non-selling dishes from the menu. You get the idea. Apply the same test to services your business uses. Does the cost of advertising justify the amount of new business it brings in? If not, it’s time to switch to cheaper media.

Work smarter, not harder.

Are you making the best use of your work time? Many small business owners get bogged down with routine tasks that could easily be delegated — or may not even be relevant anymore. As the company leader, you should be focused on activities that will move the business forward. To see where the problems lie, write down all your work-related activities and how much time you spend on each of them.

Learn from your successes.

This annual business clean-up isn’t only about fixing what’s wrong, it’s also about recognizing what you did right. Make a list of your achievements in 2019: acquiring new customers, launching a new product, receiving great reviews on Yelp, giving your employees a raise, updating your website, learning something new, etc. Now figure out how to build on those positive steps for even more success in the year ahead.

Call in help as needed.

It’s smart to know when you just can’t do it all yourself — either for lack of time or knowledge. For example, your bookkeeping may be months behind and there’s no way you can get it all caught up at once. That’s where outsourcing to a small business accounting specialist like Xendoo could be your best move. In fact, our catch-up service can clear even extreme backlogs, usually in less than two weeks.

Now that your business is all brushed up and caught up, you’re ready to ring in a new year of growth and success!

 

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

 

How the right payment processing platform can help save time and money

As a small business owner, finding ways to optimize your business is critical to the success of your operations. Having the ability to accept payments in a fast and efficient manner is at the core of running a successful business. That said, it is extremely critical to invest in a payment processing tool that allows you to maintain optimal efficiency while saving you time and money. Here’s what you should look for in your payment processing platform in 2021: 

Pricing transparency 

 

When it comes to payment processing there can be quite a bit of uncertainty when it comes to pricing. Many processors have hidden fees and charge for additional line items not initially disclosed to the business. When deciding what payment processing platform would be best suited for your business make sure to do your homework. Find out if the company charges different pricing tiers for different card types. With a tiered pricing model, similar transactions are grouped and categorized into tiers, each tier is then charged a different rate. Depending on the types of transactions, you could be paying upwards of 4% in processing. When thinking of tiered pricing think – your hard-earned money down the drain. 

 

As a general rule of thumb, try to steer clear of pricing models that seem “too complicated” and opt-in for a flat fee or subscription pricing whenever possible. Subscription pricing removes the uncertainty that often plagues business owners thanks to its fixed monthly rate. Businesses know exactly what they’re paying for each month and save a great deal on processing. 

Cutting-edge technology 

 

As the adage goes, time is money. And this remains true when selecting a payment processing solution. Not only is it important to pick a platform with transparent pricing that saves money, it’s also important to choose a technology-forward solution that allows you to operate your business smarter. Your business needs an all-in-one platform that equips you to operate at peak efficiency. With that in mind, here are some features you may consider when selecting a payment processing solution: 

Integrations 

 

What business tools do you use most often? Do you use Quickbooks for your accounting? Do you use shopping carts for your website? Be sure to find technology-forward solutions that allow you to integrate with your top-level business needs. For example, Fattmerchant provides you with direct integration into QuickBooks Online. This integration syncs information in two ways, changing the way you manage your payments.

Dashboard and Analytics 

 

Business owners need access to data to make profitable business decisions. That’s why features that allow you to get a full-throttle view of your data are critical. When possible opt-in for a payments solution powered by data and analytics. Features like a high-level summary, that shows sales trends in a simple view, allows you to be aware of growth or areas of concern for your business. A heatmap highlights your busiest times of day (and slowest) helping you make smarter staffing decisions and more impactful offers and promotions. Find solutions that make running your business simpler and comprehensive. 

Customer Support

 

When things go wrong, businesses need to know that they are taken care of and will be able to resolve their queries quickly. The lack of timely support can be detrimental to a business since it can impact your cash flow and ability to run your business effectively. This makes it increasingly important to find a processing solution that offers around-the-clock support and has systems in place to answer your queries so you can operate your business at the highest caliber.  Look for companies that offer dedicated, reliable, and timely support – via chat, email, and phone. A good way to see if a company offers this is by looking at company reviews on sites like Merchant Maverick and Software Advice. 

 

Payment processing is an important facet of your business and should not be taken lightly. Invest in a solution that offers the best savings, technology, and customer support, and run your business at peak efficiency. 

About Fattmerchant: 

 

Fattmerchant is a merchant services company with an innovative payment technology platform that saves its customers an average of 40% per month on their credit card processing fees with their subscription-based pricing model. With its integrated payment platform, business owners and partners have access to the card-present and card-not-present solutions they need to process payments and invoices, robust data analytics on those transactions, and advanced business tools such as their integration to QuickBooks Online. For more information on Fattmerchant + Xendoo partnership, visit Fattmerchant.com/xendoo-lp/. 

 

 

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

How to Collect Sales Tax on Shopify

There’s no doubt about it, sales tax is getting more complicated for all e-commerce businesses. Ever since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair, U.S. states have been free to make their own tax nexus rules.

No longer is it just about having a physical presence in the state — a store, branch office, employee, or stored inventory — in order to trigger nexus. Now more than 40 states have “economic nexus” which includes any business that sells and delivers taxable merchandise or services into the state. And they each have their own specifications for total annual revenue and/or a number of transactions, as well as types of goods and services being sold, that would make you liable for collecting and remitting sales tax.

That means you could be responsible for sales taxes in 40+ different states, whereas just a few years ago it might have been only one: your home state. Here’s how to do it:

Figure Out Where You Need to Collect Tax

This will involve researching each state’s requirements, then estimating — based on current and previous sales records —whether you’re likely to meet their nexus thresholds.

Don’t forget that physical nexus hasn’t gone away. If you use Shopify Fulfillment Network, you’ll need to know the locations of the warehouses they’re shipping your merchandise from. You’ll need to report taxes in each of those states.

Register for a Sales Tax Permit

Information and application forms are available on each state’s Department of Revenue website.

Once registered, you’ll be assigned a sales tax frequency — monthly, quarterly or annually depending on your sales volumes. Be sure to keep a record of the due dates so you don’t get hit with late penalties and interest.

Set Up Tax Collection on Shopify

Fortunately, the platform does a lot of collecting work for you. Once set up, it will automatically calculate the tax for each state and add it to the customer’s purchase.

1. From your Shopify administrator’s page, go to Settings > Taxes

2. Choose the Tax Region

3. Choose from two ways to set the tax rate:

  • Automatic rate calculation
  • Manual rate inputs for the state, county, municipality and shipping charges

4. Exempt certain products if they are not taxable

5. Choose whether to display your prices with taxes included

File Your Return

Although Shopify collects the sales tax from customers, that’s only the first step. It’s up to you to pass that tax money on to the state. There are two ways to do it:

  • Online through each state’s revenue authority website
  • Automatically with your accounting software, if it has a sales tax function

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.

 

Bookkeeping and Accounting: What’s the Difference?

Bookkeeping and accounting keep your small business ship sailing. But, do you know the difference between the two? Are you familiar with how each can benefit your business when done properly? Do you have a clear understanding of how both disciplines impact your small business taxes? Well if not, allow us to clear things up.

The first thing you should know is that bookkeeping and small business accounting is not the same thing. They sound similar but they are not interchangeable roles. And while they are complimentary of each other, they each play a specific role in serving your business. Think about it this way…booking focuses on the everyday tasks that maintain your business’s finances while accounting for small business considers the big picture strategy to keep your business strong and growing.

Bookkeeping tracks and records important financial information. Accounting puts that information to good use. Make sense? Good. Now, you know what to expect from each party. You can also expect both your bookkeeper and account to work closely together to ensure information is accurate and you are set up for success. Especially during tax time, January through April.

Key Differences in Bookkeeping and Accounting

We’ve explained the difference in the concept behind bookkeeping and accounting. But, the difference between the two really is in the details.

The traditional role of a small business bookkeeper involves managing the day-to-day financial record keeping of a business. As the name implies, they are truly keeping the books. That means transactions get plugged into the QuickBooks or whichever accounting software is being used. Spreadsheets are updated. Bank statements get reconciled at the end of each month. And, financial statements are prepared. In small businesses especially, you’ll often see bookkeepers paying bills, cutting checks to employees, invoicing clients, and making deposits.

 

 So, what’s the accountant doing during this time?

Small business accounting involves analyzing the business’s financial trends and forecasts in order to advise business owners of ways to keep the operation financially sound. They also work to prepare for and minimize your small business taxes. This involves putting together monthly and quarterly statements and making quarterly tax filings. At least, those are the traditional roles of an accountant and a bookkeeper.

Changes in Bookkeeping Methods

It’s perfectly understandable if you thought bookkeepers and accountants did the same thing. After all, they both deal in numbers. And for many of us, numbers turn our minds to mush. But beyond that, dramatic changes in software and technology have streamlined many traditional accounting and bookkeeping processes. As a result, duties are crossing over between the two roles. For instance, new software releases bookkeepers from having to be so focused on data entry. This allows them to spend more time advising their clients, much like an accountant would.

Not Your Grandfather’s Bookkeeping

Speaking of technology…it has become so prevalent in modern bookkeeping and accounting that bookkeepers are now often consulting clients on technology stacks that can help them optimize their business. At the same time, due to the ever-increasing complexity of the tax code, accountants are more often finding themselves in the role of tax coach. They design small business tax strategies for businesses to ensure money stays in the business instead of needlessly going to the government. And, because business income can be directly linked to personal income, the accountant’s tax advice can carry over to the business owner’s personal finances and taxes. Consider it a tax-taming twofer.

Clearly Defining Accountant Roles

Naturally, the blurring of accountant/bookkeeper duties can create some confusion. That’s why certain states are stepping in to define who can or cannot claim to be an accountant. For instance, in some states, like Texas, a person must be a certified public accountant to even be able to call him or herself an accountant. Other states only require you to have a degree in accounting. Regardless of what they call themselves, the most important thing for you to do is ask your prospective accountant or bookkeeper what specific roles they will perform for you and your business.
Which is Best for Your Business?
Ultimately, it’s best for you and your business to have both a bookkeeper and an accountant. Their varied perspectives on your finances can help ensure you’re able to anticipate problems and have the appropriate solutions ready to go. To hire just one or the other could leave you with an incomplete picture of your company’s financial health. The more eyes looking out for your business, the better. That not only allows your bookkeeper and accountant to keep in their respective lanes and focus on what they do best, it also frees you up from those extra tasks and worries to concentrate on running your business. If you wanted to be an accountant you wouldn’t have started your business, right?

Finding The Right Accountant

Finding the right bookkeeper and the right accountant for your small business isn’t as difficult as it might seem. One thing to consider is that many bookkeepers know accountants and vice versa. So, you could always ask them. And because accountants and bookkeepers work so closely together, it’s safe to presume they won’t recommend anyone they don’t like working with themselves.
Here’s another thing to consider: Unlike other companies, Xendoo caters to both bookkeeping and accounting needs. We can provide you with excellent financial management as well as long view advice to help you make the best decisions for your company. Why not contact us now? We’re ready to discuss the best solutions for you.

 

 

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.