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Low-Burn | Scaling Your Startup S2 E8 with Neyborly’s Ben Seidl & Xendoo’s Lil Roberts | E1224

When it comes to financial health as your scaling your startup there are six steps to healthy financials for scaling your startup. Watch for insightful tips for your small business by our CEO and Founder Lil Roberts, at This Week in Startups – Scaling your Startup. E1224 of Low Burn.

 

 

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.

Profile of a Founder: Lil Roberts of Xendoo

We believe business owners should have time to do what they love, build their business – not do bookkeeping.

Lunch with Norm and Lil Roberts

Importance of LIVE events & What’s the Future of Ecommerce | Lil Roberts | Ep. 173

The new buying habits are post-pandemic! What to expect? Xendoo CEO and Founder Lil Roberts is back to share with us the new buying habits post-pandemic and how eCommerce fits into retail’s post-pandemic future.

“We believe business owners should have time to do what they love, build their business – not do bookkeeping.”

Online Bookkeeping Provider xendoo Now Helping Small Businesses in 46 States, 12 Countries

One of Broward County’s biggest startup success stories continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Fort Lauderdale-based xendoo has developed a SaaS bookkeeping platform targeted at small businesses. The startup reported a two-year revenue growth of 777% from 2018 through 2019.

Best Real Estate Accounting Tips for Agents and Brokers

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

As the owner of a new real estate business, you’re probably aware of the unique characteristics of your industry. You take a personal interest in the real estate market, and you are excited to do great work for your clients, whether buying or selling pieces of property. 

But here’s the thing—running a real estate business is about more than making great deals. Accounting plays a major role in staying organized, managing taxes, and making smart decisions in any business. 

Why accounting is important for real estate businesses

Setting up your real estate accounting system the right way will enable you to minimize the labor and stress involved in large-value transactions, extreme income fluctuations, employee pay formulas, and government regulations.

These tips are for you if your business is:

  • Real estate broker or agent
  • Property management
  • Building construction
  • Residential sales
  • Real estate investment management

Another reason to keep accurate financial records is that you will probably have to show them to interested parties at some point. These entities include:

  • Lenders
  • Shareholders
  • Creditors
  • Government bodies (e.g., the IRS)

There are many motivations to keep accurate books. And, contrary to popular belief, doing so does not have to be a major headache or hassle. With a service like Xendoo, you can outsource your bookkeeping and tax work to focus on what you do best. For more information, check out this post on how to choose the right software to simplify your real estate accounting. 

Two men go over real esate regulations at their desk.

Learn the Regulations

Did you know that it is not just real estate transactions that local and state commissions oversee? These bodies also oversee the financial management of a real estate business, so playing by the rules is essential. Therefore, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with their requirements before making any decisions about your bookkeeping system. If the language is unclear, consult a professional accountant who specializes in real estate. It’s far better to spend extra time setting up your accounting procedures properly at the start than trying to untangle a mess when you run into trouble later on.

Choose Who or What Will Do Your Real Estate Accounting

For real estate professionals, the most viable options are:

  • Hire an accountant as a full-time employee
  • Outsource accounting services
  • Accounting software used by management or other designated employees

Hiring an accountant to work in-house is undoubtedly a powerful approach, but it will be costly and likely beyond the scope of many real estate businesses. On the other end of the spectrum, acquiring accounting software to manage the books yourself or amongst your team might be difficult if no one has proper accounting training or the time to dedicate to ensure your books are up to date. Even minor accounting mistakes can add up to bigger ones down the road.

It’s the middle ground – outsourcing accounting tasks to a third party like Xendoo – that will make the most sense for many real estate agents and brokers. This option keeps the costs down while still freeing up your time and utilizing experts to make sure the work is done properly. 

Select Your Accounting Method

You have two choices: cash basis or accrual. Once you make a choice, you must stick with it, unless you submit a change request to the IRS. (Your first tax return shows the IRS which one you chose in the beginning — you don’t have to submit any forms for that.)

Cash basis accounting is often preferred by small businesses because it’s easier to maintain, and it tells you how much money you actually have in the bank on any given day. Accrual accounting is usually the choice of larger companies because it portrays a more accurate portrait of your real estate business’s financial performance. Accrual accounting also allows you to better your long-term plan, which is helpful if you are thinking about expanding your business.

A real estate agent looks over his accounting charts on a tablet.

Create a Chart of Accounts

This complete index of your company’s transactions is essential for knowing how you stand. It will save you many hours of work when you need to measure performance, generate a report, locate past transactions, or prepare tax returns.

The chart of accounts is organized into categories for easy sorting and retrieval. These categories can be anything you need. Under Assets, they might include Cash, Accounts Receivable, and Vehicles. Under Liabilities, you might have sub-accounts such as Accounts Payable, Loans, and Payroll.

Keep Business and Personal Transactions Separate

Don’t fall into the bad habit of pulling out your business credit card or checkbook to pay personal expenses — or vice versa. Without fail, it will cause more problems than it solves, including inaccurate books, tax mistakes, and cash flow issues. 

Real estate accounting shouldn’t be complicated, and this is one of the golden rules that can keep things simple—don’t make personal purchases with business accounts. Opening a separate bank account and a credit card strictly for your business will also make you look more professional to your customers, creditors, and investors.

Fool-Proof Accounts Receivable

Collecting payments that are owed is one of the biggest headaches for small businesses. Prevent delayed and missed payments with an automated invoicing system that:

  • Sends invoices promptly
  • Includes all the necessary information
  • Offers several convenient ways to pay
  • Tracks and contacts delinquent payers

With an automated system in place, you’ll save time and avoid missing out on revenue that slipped through the cracks when you were too busy to track it down. 

Reconcile Your Bank Account Every Month

Reconciling your bank account means checking that the transactions listed on the bank statement match what you have in your books. This process will identify any discrepancies so you can figure out why they happened and make a plan for avoiding those issues in the future.

Usually, it’s something simple like a financial transaction that’s recorded in your books, but the bank hasn’t processed it yet. However, it could be a more severe problem such as data entry error, misunderstandings of using the bookkeeping system, or even theft.

A broker goes over his taxes for his real estate business.

Figure Out Worker Pay and Taxes

Your business may pay one or more of these types of compensation:

  • Salary employee
  • Commission employee
  • Salary plus commission employee
  • Independent sub-contractor

Ideally, you’ll have payroll software that can calculate them all, as well as track them for income tax withholding. Fees to independent contractors may be handled separately by accounts payable since these workers are not, by definition, your employees.

It’s not only the fees that you have to be aware of but also the proper paperwork for each type of employee. You’ll need to learn which tax forms to collect from employees (W-2) and contractors (1099) and how to report their income to the IRS.

At Xendoo, we can also help with payroll processing as an add-on service to our real estate accounting. You won’t have to worry about issuing and filing your W-2s or1099s, which means one less thing keeping you from focusing on your business. 

Make Professional Life a Little Easier

If all this seems overwhelming, consider outsourcing to financial professionals. Xendoo specializes in small business accounting. We’ll relieve you of all that work and worry with services that range from real-time bookkeeping to timely financial reports to preparing your tax return. 

 

See for yourself with a one-month free trial.

 

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.

 

Recipe for Success: 5 Must-Have Ingredients of Restaurant Bookkeeping

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

As a busy restaurateur, it’s easy to push restaurant bookkeeping tasks to the bottom of your priority list. After all, you have better things to do – right?

Not so fast. Restaurant bookkeeping is an essential function for businesses large and small, as accurate, reliable numbers are essential for sound decision making. Also, there is the whole matter of taxes to consider. Safe to say, it’s better to get things right the first time with bookkeeping, instead of paying for your mistakes later on. 

To help get your restaurant accounting processes on the right track, we have assembled the following five tips.

1. Record Sales Daily

It’s dangerously easy to fall behind on recording your sales. In fact, one of the reasons that bookkeeping for restaurants is often a mess is simply because owners and managers fall behind on basic tasks. 

To stay up to date, make a habit of copying or importing the sales from your POS system into your accounting software each day. What you’re aiming for are books that correlate with your bank statements. If you save up all those credit card charges for a weekly or monthly deposit, you’ll have a hard time doing analysis later.

Ideally, your accounting software and POS system are integrated so that this is done automatically. At Xendoo, we integrate your bank transactions with your books, so data entry is always up to the minute. Automating this process not only saves you the time of doing the work manually but also greatly improves accuracy. 

Several people are gathered at a table enjoying a meal.

2. Reconcile Bank Statements Every Month

Yes, your bank statements should be reconciled every month. No, it’s not a good idea to let them sit around for 3, 4, 5, or more months. If you’ve forgotten to enter a payment or a sale in your books, but that payment or sale has been processed by your bank, it will be easier to correct the error if you catch it quickly. In an extreme case, not knowing how much you really have in the bank could lead to bounced checks.

For every account that you receive a monthly statement — bank, credit cards, lines of credit, and loans — compare what their statement says with what your books say. If there are discrepancies, track down what happened and fix it. Of course, if you outsource bookkeeping to a service like Xendoo, you can keep up with this task while keeping your personal schedule open for other responsibilities. 

3. Pay Your Bills Promptly

Vendors love customers who pay on time – or even early. Doing so will get you better deals and early payment discounts. On the flip side, being late will rack up interest charges. Staying on top of your bills, along with managing labor costs properly, are keys to keeping your financial house in order.

To make sure this happens, you should have a reliable Accounts Payable process in place. Your A/P system will record invoices, pay bills online with a credit card or digitally generated checks, and automatically enter the expenses in your books. Record new invoices once or twice a week and make payments once per week to stay current.

A restaurateur takes a close look at his financial statements.

4. Take a Close Look at Your Financial Reports

Anyone can quickly glance at the bottom line of a financial report—but those numbers only tell a portion of the story. It’s the details that you need to understand, and those can be gathered if you take the time to read through your restaurant bookkeeping reports carefully.

Your profit & loss statements and balance sheets can reveal crucial statistics for a restaurant business such as:

  • Profit margin: gross profit ÷ total revenue
  • Sales vs. cost of goods sold ratio
  • Prime cost: ideally food + beverage + labor = 60% – 65% of total sales
  • Compare current profit & loss to previous months and years

Profit margins are notoriously tight in the restaurant industry. Having current information about your financial health is just as important as creating tasty food or offering great service. That’s why Xendoo guarantees delivery of your P&L statement by the 5th business day of every month.

5. Nail Your Taxes.

It’s worthwhile to track down as many tax tips for restaurants as you can find since taxes make up such a notable expense every month. One of the best ways to stay on top of taxes and avoid paying more than is necessary is to keep detailed, accurate records of everything that takes place in your business. 

Extra Ingredient: Outsource Your Payroll

Payroll processing can be quite time-consuming, especially given the complex shift scheduling of most restaurants. It also comes with high penalties if you make mistakes in calculating payroll taxes, or don’t file the taxes on time.

Payroll services are generally affordable, and can often be bundled with other accounting services. Xendoo offers packages that include payroll processing for a budget-friendly flat monthly fee.

Documentation is the name of the game in accounting, yet many restaurants – and businesses in other industries – fall short when doing their own bookkeeping. Working with Xendoo is a big step in the right direction when it comes to documentation and record keeping. And, of course, Xendoo can manage your tax filing as well, so there is nothing lost in translation when going from one service to the next. As an all-in-one bookkeeping and tax filing solution for your restaurant, tax season will no longer feel like the nightmare it once was

 

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 Choose the Right Software to Simplify Your Real Estate Accounting

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

Let’s face it, bookkeeping for a business in the real estate industry is complicated. That holds true whether your niche is sales, management, construction, or tax and legal services. Unlike some other types of business, you must deal with variables like fluctuating income, expenses, payroll, and property values, not to mention a heavy load of government regulations.

All these factors must be accounted for completely and accurately to control profit margins, satisfy clients, and be prepared for tax filing. It’s a big hassle if you’re doing it the old-fashioned way, creating custom spreadsheets and writing down transactions in a ledger. However, the right real estate accounting software will do many accounting tasks for you automatically, leaving you free to focus on your core business.

Real estate business payroll

Processing payroll is a core function for any business. Using accounting software that takes some of the hassles out of completing payroll each period can save you time and keep your records accurate year after year. 

Your business may have one or more of these types of workers:

• Commission

• Salary plus commission

• Salary

• Independent subcontractors

As it relates to real estate accounting specifically, choose software with a payroll feature capable of calculating commissions and tracking those amounts for income tax withholding. Similarly, you should categorize payments made to independent contractors, as those are typically not subject to withholding.

A person works on their laptop.

Real-time remote work tracking

Whether your people are out on a building site or showing homes to prospective buyers, a cloud-based management app will give them access to the office. At the same time, the office is tracking their activities. Info on everything from materials used to schedule changes can be updated and shared with everyone in real-time.

A system that integrates all departments saves time and money for workers and managers. It also means that data from the field is incorporated into the books automatically, eliminating duplicated effort and potential errors for the accountant. The inherent challenge with real estate accounting is the many moving parts involved—everything doesn’t happen in the same place. Leveraging technology to automatically collect all of this information and incorporate it into a bookkeeping system is sure to lead to better results. 

Breeze through tax time

The topic of taxes will come up again and again in the search for the right real estate accounting software—and for a good reason. Taxes aren’t only necessary because they are a legal requirement but also because they can represent such a significant expense. If your real estate business holds properties, for example, the property taxes alone can take a big chunk out of your bottom line. 

You can’t get away from paying taxes, of course, but you can use good accounting software and a tax filing service like Xendoo to make sure you don’t pay more than your share. 

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

Streamline operational expense recording

One of the best real estate accounting tips you can receive is to enter all of your transactions each day. Suppose you wait until a week before your tax return is due to get your books updated. In that case, you’ll be facing a major headache and the likelihood that there will be errors beyond tax filing. Keeping your figures up to date will also reveal when and where you’re losing money. This makes it easier to make sound decisions and avoid spending too much time on a losing endeavor. 

Consider accounting software that integrates with your bank, recording every transaction automatically and saving you a great deal of time and paperwork. Plus, you’ll be ready for an audit any day of the year. Many real estate professionals – and professionals in other industries – feel like they are constantly behind on accounting. The key to getting ahead of the game is not to spend more of your precious time on the task but rather to streamline it using the right real estate accounting software. 

Financial reports data access

Using cloud-based software allows you to see your financial reports or share data with your accountant anytime, anywhere. And with no need for in-house servers to store your data, you’ll mitigate the risk of losing your data and bring down IT expenses as well. If you are currently storing all of the financial data for your business on a single computer in your office, you are playing with fire in terms of data loss risk. Turning to the cloud leaves you with off-site storage that is backed up and secure. 

Two noteworthy options

Most real estate businesses won’t need to take their accounting software search beyond two of the market leaders—Xero and QuickBooks Online. Each of these options includes all of the features you are likely to need to keep the financial side of your business in order. And, as an added bonus when working with Xendoo, we can provide you with a discount on either one of these two excellent accounting platforms. 

Xendoo believes that cloud-based accounting is the right choice for any real estate business looking to increase growth while reducing inefficiencies. By automating bookkeeping chores, we eliminate the hassles, the mistakes, and more than half the costs of traditional accounting. Our real estate accounting service will leave your business ready at every moment to meet challenges and seize opportunities for 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.

 

A real estate agent holds out the key for his buyer's new home.

7 Tax Tips for Independent Realtors

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

As a self-employed realtor, you face some unique challenges when tax season comes knocking at your door. Since you don’t have taxes withheld from a regular paycheck, it’s up to you to lessen your tax burden by identifying all of the deductible expenses you incur throughout the year. Without careful planning, the tax bill you face when April rolls around can be quite a shock.

But here’s the good news: there’s probably more you can deduct than you realize! By carefully assessing not only your properties but your business as a whole, you can hold onto more of your hard-earned cash at tax time. The following tax tips for real estate agents are a great place to start looking for valuable deductions.

7 Tax Tips for Real Estate Agents

 

A real estate agent drives his car to a client meeting.

#1 – Mileage & Auto Expenses

Realtors tend to spend a lot of time behind the wheel. The miles you rack up can include getting to appointments, taking clients to see new properties, and staging homes. Don’t also forget to include car maintenance like new tires, tune-ups, and even car washes! At tax preparation time, you will need to determine whether the standard or actual cost deduction will save you the most money.

#2 – Office Space

Whether you pay desk fees under another agent or work from a home office, the IRS allows you to deduct the cost (or a percentage of) your office space. Depending on your situation, this could be a rather significant expense over the course of a year, so you don’t want to miss out on this deduction. 

It’s important to note that you won’t be able to deduct both the desk fees you pay and the space you use at home for an office. Instead, you can only deduct one or the other – whichever is greater. Keep careful records of how much you spend on any office-related rent and purchases, so you have an accurate accounting of this component when it comes time to file.

#3 – Marketing

Business cards, website maintenance, mailers – any method you use to get your name out there is deductible as a business expense. Did you have a new logo designed? Maybe you purchased a mailing list? Those are included, too. 

Unfortunately, many agents simply fail to track these kinds of costs throughout the year. The money just goes out to various vendors and services, and a (digital) paper trail is not kept up. This can be an expensive mistake. Instead, by utilizing online bookkeeping for real estate agents, you can adequately record all marketing expenses along the way, saving them in one central location for use at tax time.

#4 – Supplies & Equipment

Think of all the tools you use to run your business: a nice camera to photograph properties, your computer, lockboxes, and staging decor. Did you buy a new vacuum to clean up that “fixer-upper” you were showing? Work-related cleaning supplies are also deductible! Once you start keeping careful track of everything you purchase, you might be surprised to find how many items fall into this category over the course of a year. 

A man reads a book to help imprve his real estate selling skills.

#5 – Licenses & Fees

As a real estate agent, you are all too familiar with the various fees you pay throughout the year. Fortunately, MLS, brokerage, and legal fees — to name just a few — are all deductible. You can even deduct professional membership fees — just remember that any portion of dues designated for lobbying or political advocacy is not deductible. And don’t forget about your state license renewal.

#6 – Meals & Entertainment

Do you take clients out for lunch after a morning of showing properties? Did you meet up with a prospective business partner for happy hour? Did you cater an open house? If you discussed business before, during, or after the meal, it could be deducted on your tax return. Using the right accounting software will make it much easier to track all of these types of casual expenses throughout the year. 

#7 – Professional Development

Staying at the top of the real estate market in your area means you’re always looking for ways to expand your learning and stay on top of industry trends. Professional development events, along with any trade events, can be deducted. Also, books you purchase or publications you subscribe to can be subtracted from your revenues.

Utilizing the services available from Xendoo can help make tracking all of your business expenses a whole lot easier, so you can spend more time selling and less time worrying about next April. Get started today!

 

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

 

How Your Small Business Can Prepare for Florida’s Minimum Wage Increase

In recent years, we’ve seen a reopening of the debate over minimum wage. Advocates are currently pushing for an increase to $15.00 per hour by 2026, with the door open to possible increases in the years after that. If you’re a worker, this is good news. A slight bump in the Florida minimum wage can increase the pay you receive, compensating for rising costs of living and other expenses.  However, if you’re a small business owner, this wage increase can lead to tough decisions. Unless you’re a corporate giant, it can be tough to maintain your current roster of employees if you have to pay them more.

In this post, we’ll help you to prepare for the coming changes in the Florida minimum wage. We’ll also provide suggestions about the best ways to navigate the road ahead.

What is the Current Florida Minimum Wage?

As of January 1, 2021, Florida’s minimum wage has increased from $8.56 per hour to $8.65 per hour. Tipped employees have seen a recent increase in their wages, rising from $5.54 per hour to $5.63 per hour. 

According to federal law and in some states, like Florida, employers may pay tipped workers less than the mandated minimum wage. This is called a “tip credit” as employees earn enough in tips to make up the difference.  The “credit” is the amount the employer doesn’t have to pay.  So for employers, the applicable state or federal minimum wage minus the tip credit is the least amount the employer pays tipped employees per hour. If an employee doesn’t make enough tips during their shifts to earn the hourly minimum wage, the employer has to pay the difference.

Are There Plans to Change the Florida Minimum Wage After 2021?

These changes will not stop in 2021. In November of 2020, Florida residents voted to raise the Florida minimum wage to $15.00 by 2026. The minimum wage increases will take place in a phased approach, raising the minimum wage each year on September 30. The proposed schedule will run as follows:

  • $10.00/hour on September 30, 2021
  • $11.00/hour on September 30, 2022
  • $12.00/hour on September 30, 2023
  • $13.00/hour on September 30, 2024
  • $14.00/hour on September 30, 2025
  • $15.00/hour on September 30, 2026

 While there are no specific plans after 2026, the minimum wage increase may increase based on changes to the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region.

An employee hads a customer their food order.

How Should Small Business Owners Prepare for Florida Minimum Wage and Paid Leave Increases?

If you’re a business owner, don’t panic. At Xendoo, we understand the unique challenges facing today’s small business owners. 

Here are some suggestions on ways that your business can prepare for changes in the Florida minimum wage:

Audit Your Expenses

How much are you already spending on overhead, supplies, and operating costs? You may be able to cut a few corners with certain expenses or by eliminating wasted spending. The money you save can be channeled into your human resources budget.

Determine Your Budget

Using these increased wage figures, calculate your new operating budget. Forecasting your operating expenses will let you know what you’re dealing with and provide an idea of what your income needs to be to maintain your profit margin.

Update Your Tech Stack

A tech stack refers to the digital tools you need to run your business. An update can help you to automate your social media presence, streamline scheduling, or integrate automated forms into your company’s website. These improvements optimize your business without the need for additional personnel or work hours.

Check Your Employee Classifications

How many full-time employees do you need? How many part-time employees do you need? Of course, you don’t need to start considering downsizing, but at the same time, it can be helpful to consider what your future needs may be.

Staff Accordingly

You may find that in the future, you can get by with fewer staff members. Perhaps you can rely on part-time staff to fill roles that you currently staff with full-time employees.

Gradually Increase Prices

Your new operating costs will probably push you to increase your prices to maintain your profit margin. However, raising prices slowly will give your loyal customers time to adjust while still ensuring you get the revenue you need.

Outsource Your Back Office

Are you still handling your own bookkeeping and accounting? Paying an employee to handle these specialized tasks may put a strain on your operating budget. Instead, outsource these tasks to a company like Xendoo. We can keep your company up and running without allocating your employees to do the job.

Contact Xendoo Today

The increase in the Florida minimum wage might mean big changes for your business. At Xendoo, we can help you stay ahead of the curve, adapt to these changes, and remain healthy and profitable.

 We understand the challenges that Florida small businesses face. We can provide small business owners with Florida bookkeeping services that ensure accuracy and efficiency so that you don’t have to allocate precious resources to maintaining the books. 

We can also help you with your Florida tax preparation, helping you to navigate the laws and changes that are likely to come your way in the immediate future.

 

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.