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How Franchisors Can Build a Strong Item 19

How Much Money Can I Make?

As franchisors work to sell franchises, one question they will always be asked is, “how much money can I make?”. The answer to this question can be found within one section of the Franchise Disclosure Document: Item 19.

In order to create a compelling Item 19, franchisors need financial data on the performance of each franchise location. Typically, it is up to the franchisees to keep their books up to date and share that data with the franchisor. But, like many small business owners, they juggle countless responsibilities, may not understand the complexities of accounting, and bookkeeping understandably falls by the wayside. 

An Expert Team

Without the right tools, building a strong Item 19 can feel like a massive undertaking. But, with the support of a franchise bookkeeping team, franchisors can receive timely, accurate information that will help them build a compelling Item 19!

What is Item 19? 

Item 19 is a section in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), a document that must be presented to individuals who want to purchase a franchise. The purpose of Item 19 is for franchisors to lay out the financial performance representations (FPR) of the franchise. It paints a picture of how potential franchisees can expect to perform and estimates how much money they could make should they join the franchise.

Why is Item 19 Important?

Item 19 is more than just a rundown of financial performance. It is a powerful tool that aids in decision making, builds trust between the franchisor and potential franchisee, and sets realistic expectations.

  • Decision Making. A strong Item 19 helps franchisors attract and select the ideal franchisee candidates. It also ensures that a franchise brand is a solid investment, and helps the franchisee compare their options to determine if they are joining a successful business. 
  • Trust and Transparency. Item 19 signifies financial transparency and creates trust between the franchisor and potential franchisee. It shows that a franchisor knows their numbers, and has no issue disclosing them. The more information that can be provided on financial performance, the better. This transparency creates strong relationships between franchisors and their franchisees. 
  • Realistic Expectations. Item 19 allows the franchisor to set realistic expectations for financial performance. While a franchise may be profitable as a whole, individual success can vary. An Item 19 that contains data-backed projections of how much potential franchisees could realistically make provides the clarity they need to make an informed decision. 

How to Build a Strong Item 19

What do franchisors need to build a strong Item 19? Put simply, clear, accurate financials. The key elements that create a powerful Item 19 are: 

  • Average Gross Profit
  • Average Gross Sales
  • Cost breakdowns of goods and services
  • Operating cost insights
  • EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization)
  • Industry-specific data points (number of customers served, number of services provided or products sold, etc.)

These metrics provide financial insight into the franchise, clearly lay out the costs and obligations of a franchise purchase, and set realistic expectations for financial performance. 

The amount of information franchisors are able to share in Item 19 largely depends on the information their franchisees deliver. How can franchisees provide reliable, accurate information to their franchisors? It comes down to consistent monthly bookkeeping

The Necessary Resources 

Franchises have unique needs when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, such as tracking royalties and advertising fees, and sometimes, multi-currency support. All of it needs to be properly recorded in accounting software so monthly reports can be produced. Franchisors need a team of trusted experts with knowledge of the franchise space, so they can receive accurate data from their franchisees.

  • Consistent Monthly Bookkeeping. In order for franchisors to build a strong Item 19, they need up-to-date financial records for each franchise location. A bookkeeper can provide visibility into financial performance on the franchisee’s behalf, so franchisors have access to the information they need across all locations

An online bookkeeping service is particularly helpful in this situation. Instead of hiring multiple bookkeepers, the franchisor can rely on a single provider who delivers uniform services for each location – no matter where they are located.  

  • Accurate, Up-to-Date Reports. Accurate monthly reports are crucial to creating a solid Item 19, as all information is legally required to be accurate, truthful, and backed by numbers. A well-documented financial history showcases franchise growth and profitability and helps franchisors create a compelling Item 19. 

Expert Bookkeeping for Franchise Businesses

Xendoo Online Bookkeeping is a leading provider of online bookkeeping and accounting services for franchise businesses. Our franchise-focused team provides franchisors with timely report delivery and visibility into financial performance for each location.

Are we a fit for your franchise? Let’s talk! Schedule your free consultation today.

Four Signs it is Time to Hire an Online Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is Holding You Back

Business owners know their companies like the back of their hands. They are the head of every department and perform the work of multiple people. Of all the roles they play, our customers express that the bookkeeper role is their least favorite. 

DIY bookkeeping holds business owners back from fully focusing on their business, which is why they decide to outsource it. Is it time for you to do the same? Let’s take a look at 4 signs that it could be time to hire an online bookkeeper! 

#1. Bookkeeping Takes Time Away from Your Business… and Your Life

Assess what bookkeeping is costing you. Is it taking significant time away from running your business? Let’s break it down. 

Suppose your time is worth $200 per hour, and you spend 10 hours per month doing your books. That costs you $2,000 per month just for bookkeeping! How much could you increase your sales? What else could you accomplish with that time? 

How does bookkeeping affect your personal life? Before partnering with us, many of our customers were up late at night and missed out on time with loved ones due to bookkeeping. Whether you are closing sales or enjoying a family dinner, your time is valuable. DIY bookkeeping does not make sense when you could be spending your time on the things that matter to you.

#2. Your Books are Behind

It is impossible to evaluate your business’ financial health when your books are behind. Old data cannot predict cash flow, track your revenue, or indicate if you are profitable. Out-of-date books may prevent you from making the best financial decisions for your business.

A professional bookkeeper can bring your books up to date. Bookkeepers input and classify your monthly activity. They also generate vital monthly reports such as Profit & Loss statements and Balance Sheets, which display your total income and expenses and your assets and liabilities, respectively. They also provide actionable insight to the current state of your finances. Xendoo bookkeepers reconcile your books weekly to keep you on track for future success.

Guess what! You are not alone. 25% of business owners are behind on their bookkeeping. Whether you are behind a few months or a few years, Xendoo will bring your finances up to date in no time. To get your books caught up, click here.  

#3. You are Not Sure if You are Doing Your Books Correctly

DIY bookkeeping leaves room for error, especially in the hectic life of a business owner. It is rarely anyone’s area of expertise (or passion). If your numbers are not adding up, do not wait until tax season to figure out why.      

Bookkeepers connect the dots between your sales, expenses, and profits to ensure business growth. They know how to properly categorize your transactions, keeping your books compliant and ready for tax season. At Xendoo Online Bookkeeping, you can rely on your dedicated team of finance experts to deliver accurate statements and financial peace of mind year-round.

#4. Tax Season is Chaotic

When tax season rolls around, do you drop off a 30-pound box of receipts at your accountant’s office and hope for the best? After all the back and forth, are you disappointed by your tax refund? 

A chaotic and unrewarding tax season is a surefire sign that it is time to hire a bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper’s meticulous organization of your finances sets you up for smooth sailing during the most dreaded time of the year. 

Best of all, because your bookkeeper understands your business and your finances, they recognize every opportunity to maximize your tax savings! You will never have to worry if you pay too much in taxes. With a bookkeeper on your corner, you can walk into tax season prepared – and you will walk out knowing you maximized your tax savings!

The Importance of Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is vital to the success of every business. It provides insight into your financial health and drives your decisions. When your books are in order, you can strategize effectively and plan for growth. Keeping your books compliant and up to date is crucial throughout the year so that you are ready for tax season. Consistent bookkeeping habits maximize your deductions and make an otherwise stressful time, a breeze. 

Bookkeeping is preventative care for your business. It puts a microscope on your finances to help you catch small problems before they snowball. A professional bookkeeper can take the stress of bookkeeping off of your plate so you can fully focus on running your business. 

Xendoo Does it for You

Bookkeeping does not have to be an uphill battle. Let Xendoo’s expert online bookkeeping and tax team handle the hassles so you can have more time for what you love!

Schedule your free consultation 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.

 

Business woman working on lapto

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

Where to Begin?

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

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

Self-Payment, Simplified

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

 

How Do I Pay Myself?

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

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

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

How Much Do I Pay Myself?

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

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

 

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

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

How to Pay Your Taxes

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

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

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

Xendoo is Here for You

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

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

 

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

 

 

Top Online Bookkeeping and Accounting Services for 2021

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Good business bookkeeping is vital for any successful company, both for legal and financial reasons. Accurate information from bookkeeping is not only necessary to know where your business stands financially at a given moment, but it is also essential for strategy planning, managing cash flow, and predicting profitability. 

There are a lot of reasons why business bookkeeping is useful. It gives you organized, financial information that is essential to your ability to make sound business decisions and to budget accurately. 

It is also necessary to meet government regulations and for proper tax preparation. Finally, good business bookkeeping provides data so you can use it to analyze financial trends, costs, profits, and more. 

Careful bookkeeping takes time, and if you are busy running your business, having an online bookkeeper can be a huge time-saver. 

Some top online bookkeeping services employ excellent online bookkeepers who can provide the necessary online accounting services to successfully handle your business bookkeeping. An online bookkeeping service can help you manage: 

  • Invoices 
  • Payments 
  • Costs 
  • Expenses 
  • Financial statements 
  • Corporate tax preparation  
  • Payroll and more

Even from this shortlist, it is clear bookkeeping involves meticulously keeping track of a lot of financial information! 

Why Use an Online Accounting Service?

Online accounting services are useful and convenient, particularly if you are a small business owner with limited staff and resources. 

Online bookkeeping means that your financial information is instantly available to you. Online bookkeeping is especially useful if your business deals with a lot of digital transactions instead of cash. Perhaps best of all, online bookkeeping increases your work efficiency. 

Using an online accounting service instead of doing everything yourself will free up your time to look after your business. Not only that, but online bookkeepers are also experts in financial matters; it is their job to be on top of financial regulations. 

Additionally, a professional online bookkeeper can prevent financial mistakes and increase your business credibility more than in a do-it-yourself approach.

Top Online Bookkeeping Services 

There are so many options for online accounting services, so how do you know where to find a top online bookkeeping service? 

This article provides a list of top online bookkeeping services so you can choose the right online accounting service to not only manage your company’s finances but also to grow your business to the next level.

Bench

Bench is a cost-effective, no-frills online accounting service that offers bookkeeping, payroll, and other services. It is generally low cost with a monthly payment. 

If you sign up with Bench, your bookkeeper will analyze your finances and start supplying you with monthly financial reports. 

Bench has several different plans ranging in price. All plans include:

The company also includes access to a mobile app to access your account data online. 

Bench offers historical bookkeeping. If you are behind on your bookkeeping, your online bookkeeper will organize your historical financial data and help you get caught up. 

There are a few things to note about Bench. Although Bench has a knowledgeable support staff, it can take up to 24 hours to get a response, which isn’t overly convenient if you have urgent financial questions or concerns. 

Also, Bench won’t sync up with your Quickbooks; instead, Bench’s online bookkeepers use the company’s in-house, proprietary software. 

Pilot

Pilot’s online account services are more expensive than some of the other options on this list. Their services are tailored to startup companies with venture capitalist backing. They also cater to professional service and eCommerce companies. 

If you sign up with Pilot, you will be assigned a dedicated online bookkeeper who can reconcile historical financial data if you need it. 

Depending on your plan, you can include these services:

  • Industry-specific statements like burn reports (for startups) 
  • Inventory management (for eCommerce companies) 
  • Invoices for your customers

All of Pilot’s options include accrual accounting, as well as financial support and advice. Pilot’s default method is accrual-based bookkeeping because investors and venture-capitalists prefer it, but they can provide cash-based bookkeeping if you request it. 

Pilot does not have month-to-month plans; instead, you prepay annually for the services. Additionally, the fees for services are based on your monthly expenses. 

Xendoo

Xendoo’s passion is for small businesses and startups with limited resources. They offer affordable online accounting services. Xendo uses the online platform Xero for bookkeeping. 

When you sign up, you will receive a free Xero account. This top online bookkeeping service can provide bookkeeping services for a single company or for multiple companies if you are a serial entrepreneur. 

Among its services, Xendoo includes:

  • Tax preparation and consulting
  • Bookkeeping via bank and credit card accounts 
  • Weekly and monthly reports
  • Invoicing

Like other online account services, Xendoo provides historical accounting services, so if you need catch-up bookkeeping, they can bring your bookkeeping up-to-date. 

Depending on which plan you choose, in addition to handling your corporate taxes, Xendoo will also prepare your personal returns. 

With this company, you pay an affordable monthly subscription and can select from various options. A free trial is also available from Xendoo. 

Lastly, Xendoo also provides a convenient mobile app for customers and 24/7 reliable customer service via chat, email, and phone. 

1-800-Accountant

1-800-Accountant provides an online bookkeeping service for small businesses. This company will pair you with an online bookkeeper who has expertise in your state and industry. They can also assist with entity formation. 

1-800-Accountant also provides the standard range of bookkeeping services, including:

  • Payroll
  • Financial overviews and reports
  • Tax preparation (with the option to include personal taxes for a fee)
  • Financial advice

1-800-Accountant’s services also include access to an online mobile app. 

Pricing plans are designed to be paid monthly, starting with a set rate. Business owners are charged a set rate for each additional employee. 

It should be noted that 1-800-Accountant provides very basic services — if your needs are more complex, another option might be more suitable. 

Back Office

Back Office provides accounting services through Quickbooks and Xero. If you don’t have such software, they will provide it with their services. Back Office specializes in account payable processing and accounts receivable. 

As with other online account services, Back Office provides standard bookkeeping services like:

  • Account reconciliation
  • Financial reports and balance statements
  • Tax preparation services. 

Back Office also offers a periodic business review with a customized report. 

Back Office’s pricing is “hourly per month,” which means you pay a set fee per month and get a certain number of hours of financial services per month at a given hourly rate (posted on the company’s website). 

Back Office specializes in small and new businesses, so if your business is bigger, with more complex needs, this may not be the best option for you. 

Botkeeper

Botkeeper specializes in assisting accounting companies. Botkeeper takes an interesting approach: The company uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate a lot of the bookkeeping process. The idea is you get back a “pre-accounting solution” with most of the work done.

However, you will still need to have your staff review and make adjustments as necessary. 

This unique online bookkeeping service features:

  • Automation: Humans “train” the system to categorize expenses
  • Synchronization: Verified transactions are transferred to client books
  • Integration: Banking, payroll, and credit cards are integrated

Botkeeper also provides up-to-date financial reports.

The Botkeeper fee is paid annually, and it can be expensive. The pricing consists of a platform fee and a per-client fee. 

InDinero

InDinero specializes in providing online accounting services for established startups. Its services are scalable. The company uses cash-basis accounting (geared for startups), and their services sync with Quickbooks or Netsuite. 

Along with standard bookkeeping services, their plans include:

  • Direct employee reimbursements 
  • Payroll assistance 
  • Dedicated account manager

InDinero also offers some inventory management services and other add-ons. 

InDinero has flexible payment plans; you can pay monthly, quarterly, or annually. They have an executive plan with customized pricing that’s designed for larger companies that need chief financial officer services. 

Local

There are a number of small business online accounting firms and online bookkeepers all over the country. Their pricing, the services they provide, and the quality of customer service varies greatly. Some are limited in the number of new clients they accept. 

What to look when hiring an online bookkeeping service

With so many online accounting services out there, it can be difficult to know how to find the right one for your business. There are some things you can consider to help you narrow the field. Having an online bookkeeping service that is the right fit for your business bookkeeping needs is important, and it can save you time and relieve stress. 

Some things that you should consider when looking for a top online bookkeeping service to handle your business bookkeeping include:

  • Cash or accrual accounting
  • Reports and other deliverables
  • Availability 
  • Communications 
  • Data safety 
  • Technology 
  • Process and client care
  • Track record 

When you’re considering an online accounting service, make sure to ask questions so you know whether the company you choose will align with your business needs. 

Cash Basis and Accrual Basis Accounting

Among the things to consider is which one of the two main types of accounting is best for your business bookkeeping: accrual basis accounting or cash basis accounting. 

Some online bookkeeping services specialize in one or the other, and some have online bookkeepers who will handle either. Therefore, if you have a preference, it is important to know that up front! 

What are accrual basis accounting and cash basis accounting? Cash basis accounting recognizes expenses and revenue exactly when it leaves or enters your account. In contrast, accrual basis accounting generally recognizes expenses and revenue when they are incurred or earned. The main difference between the two is time.

Cash Basis Accounting

Cash basis accounting is most often used by startups and small businesses that need to keep careful track of their cash flow at all times. 

This method of accounting lets you see what cash you have at your disposal when you check your balance. Because most small businesses have limited cash flow, there is less to track, so this system generally works well. 

With cash basis accounting, revenue is generally not subject to tax until the cash is in the bank. 

Though this system is simple and easy to maintain, it may not show an accurate picture of the true financial state of your business. For example, your business may appear to have a lot of cash, but if there are large amounts of expenses yet to be paid, the picture may not be accurate. 

Accrual Basis Accounting 

In contrast to cash basis accounting, accrual basis accounting is usually used by larger businesses that have more complicated finances and greater cash flow than startups or small businesses; it is also typically more labor-intensive. 

This type of accounting recognizes revenue when it is earned and expenses when they are invoiced. For example, if you invoice someone for a product, the amount due to you would be recognized as revenue, even though you have yet to receive the actual funds.

Over the long term, accrual basis accounting is considered to provide a more accurate picture of the finances of a business. Additionally, it is considered to be the more helpful method of accounting for businesses with large inventories. 

There are some drawbacks to this method of business bookkeeping, however. Accrual basis accounting does not actively track cash flow, which can be very problematic if your business experiences a cash flow shortage. 

While there may be a lot of revenue listed on the books, in actuality, there may be very little cash in the account. Therefore, it is imperative that someone tracks incoming and outgoing cash carefully and understands the actual cash position of the business at any given time (which is why the right bookkeeper is crucial). 

Know Your Business Bookkeeping Needs

Knowing what you need in an online bookkeeping service is important. For example, will you need a daily bookkeeper or an occasional one? Will you need payroll, invoicing, reports, financial advice, and more? You’ll need to find a bookkeeping service that offers services and pricing that are compatible for the specific things that your business needs. 

On-time monthly reports

Reports are a common product offered by online accounting services. Make sure the service you choose offers reports with the level of detail and frequency you need. 

Ask about the deliverables you need and make sure the online accounting service you choose will meet those needs on time.

24/7 Technology Platform 

Another thing to consider when you’re looking for an online accounting service is the availability of your bookkeeper. Not all online bookkeeping services have a bookkeeper available 24/7. Some services can take 24 hours to respond, and others give you only a limited amount of hours of your bookkeeper’s time. 

While you might not always need an immediate answer to your financial questions, there may be times when you do. 

Communication your way

Clear communication is important when accounting is concerned! You want to know that the online bookkeeping service you chose will not only be available but will also communicate with you clearly and effectively. 

Consider whether your bookkeeper will be available to communicate via text, email, chat, or remote web conferences if need be.

Data Security

The online bookkeeping service that you choose will have access to very sensitive data about your business and employees. You’ll want to know that your data is completely secure. 

It’s a good idea to ask about a non-disclosure agreement and to delve into the cybersecurity and data backup measures the company takes. 

Technology 

Not all online accounting services use the same software; some use proprietary software that is not compatible with common bookkeeping software packages like Quickbooks in the way that Xero is, for example. 

If the platform isn’t one you have, will they provide a free account as Xendoo does with Xero, for example? Does the company offer a mobile app so you can check your financial information anytime and from anywhere?

Real People that Care

When you’re starting to work with an online accounting service, it is a good idea to know about the company’s onboarding process for new clients. You want a service that is responsive and efficient. Do they offer a trial period? If the company is responsive and engaging, it is a good sign. 

Track Record 

Finally, you will want to consider the company’s track record. Are they one of the top online accounting services? Do they have a record of positive customer feedback? 

You will also want to know whether the bookkeeping service employs quality bookkeepers that are well qualified to meet your business bookkeeping needs. 

Summing Up

There are many clear advantages to selecting an online bookkeeping service. Having a qualified, professional online bookkeeper manage your finances can free up your time and provide peace of mind. 

Moreover, it will ensure that your financial records and information are well organized and accessible. Knowing where your business stands financially can help you to more effectively plan your business strategies and track cash flow and profitability. 

There is a lot to think about when you’re selecting an online bookkeeping and accounting service. You’ll want to find an online service that will provide you with the online bookkeeping services that you need for a price that you can afford!

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

8 Benefits of Online Bookkeeping

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

You’ve put your heart and soul into your business. So why does it feel like you’re spinning your wheels, trying to keep up with your core business and your administrative overhead at the same time? 

When you first started your company, it might have made sense to try to handle your own bookkeeping and accounting needs. After all, it kept costs down. But it may not have taken long to realize that you could use some help.

 Why not rely on an online accounting service to take these tasks off your plate so you can focus on your business? 

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the business benefits of online bookkeeping and see how these services can help you to get your head out of the books and back in the game.

Business Benefits of Online Bookkeeping

Traditionally, businesses would hire a staff member to handle their books. They might even consider hiring a full-scale accounting department, depending on the size of their company. 

But these days, more and more companies are going digital, opting to use online accounting and bookkeeping services to handle their needs. This is happening for good reasons, as online bookkeeping offers a host of benefits. We’ll explore some of these benefits in depth below.

1. Specialized Experience

Today’s businesses require specialists, not generalists. Increased regulation and the unique needs of individual businesses often demand a specialized set of skills. It’s rare that a staff accountant has experience in the kinds of niche areas that your business needs.

Conversely, an online accounting firm can often provide experience in such areas as:

  • Personal financial planning and assistance
  • Forensic accounting
  • Managerial accounting
  • IT auditing
  • Non-profits
  • Tax preparation

Some of these tasks tend to be cyclical, such as your annual tax preparation. It makes sense to consult with an online accounting firm that can provide the services you need when you need them without the overhead of hiring a full-time CPA.

2. Accurate Books and Low Cost

One of the greatest business benefits of online bookkeeping is a reduction in cost. 

According to the Journal of Accountancy, the average salary for a full-time CPA is over $100,000 per year. The cost of a full-time bookkeeper is cheaper, but your business may still be looking at paying over $40,000 per year for their services, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

Don’t forget that these salaries are only a starting point. Hiring a full-time employee also demands that you provide employment benefits. You may even have to make adjustments to your facilities in order to provide an office or similar workspace.

Time is another factor to consider. Who will be in charge of hiring and managing your employees? Unless you have a human resources department, these responsibilities might fall on your shoulders as the business owner. Sure, hiring a CPA means you won’t be handling the books, but instead, you’ll have the task of hiring an additional employee. 

Why swap one responsibility for another, when you can simply outsource your needs to an accounting firm?

Online bookkeeping services can be surprisingly affordable, eliminating the overhead associated with hiring a regular employee. 

By relying on an online solution for your financial needs, you won’t have to worry about diverting valuable space to set up an office or workstation, either, allowing you to cut costs in every imaginable capacity.

3. On-time Reporting

Staying on top of the details is a full-time job in and of itself. But the more information you have about your business, the better. As a business owner, you want access to trends like:

  • Losses
  • Profits
  • Tax information
  • Personnel and payroll data
  • Insurance payments
  • Procurement

Online bookkeeping ensures that you have access to the latest information, with reports available with unparalleled speed. This data is useful for highlighting areas of your business that could stand to be improved, which is why you need access to these reports in a timely manner. Since these reports are generated online, you’ll also save on paperwork.

In addition to internal reporting, online bookkeeping services can speed up your invoicing process. By streamlining your entire financial department, you’ll be in a better position to send invoices to clients and maintain your overall cash flow. 

Faster reporting can accelerate this process even further by monitoring your income and alerting you to clients that have outstanding payments that need to be collected.

In addition, virtual accounting services can help you to manage your inventory. Xendoo, for example, can help you integrate your platforms and inventory with software like Xero, which has a number of basic inventory management features, as well as other third-party platforms that can help you optimize your ability to keep track of your inventory. These tools can be a great help when it comes to keeping your shelves stocked and your orders flowing.

This increased efficiency doesn’t just save you a headache; it can help grow your business, too. Having access to the latest data increases the rate at which you can invoice clients and receive payments. 

The data you receive from an online bookkeeper can even help you plan for the future, which can be helpful when it comes to tasks like managing your inventory and looking for ways to expand your business.

4. Accurate Books

While a CPA typically has an advanced degree in addition to their certification, there are no advanced professional standards when it comes to bookkeeping. 

That’s not meant to be a slam against bookkeepers, as many of them do an excellent job. But if you try to cut corners by hiring a junior accountant or a financial novice, you could end up with errors creeping into your books. That’s also true if you try and handle the books yourself, especially since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to give your books your full, undivided attention.

Why is accuracy so important? For starters, accurate books can eliminate accounting errors. Maintaining accurate books can be essential for the efficient management of your business. 

But when it comes to tax preparation or other financial audits, accuracy is indispensable. Make an error in your tax forms, for example, and your business could be looking at penalties and additional fees that could otherwise be avoided.

Accuracy is one of the top business benefits of online bookkeeping. Accounting firms rely on the best bookkeepers in the industry, which ensures that businesses receive the benefit of meticulous, detail-oriented professionals to handle their books. In turn, this can ensure a smooth process when it comes time to prepare and pay your taxes.

If you’re concerned about the accuracy of your current books, an online accounting firm can perform an audit and troubleshoot your financials, ensuring you’re back on track for an error-free future.

Xendoo offers “catch-up bookkeeping” services that you can rely on to update your books so that you can keep things accurate. This can be particularly helpful for business owners that have been multitasking or ones that need a helping hand to stay current on their financial records. 

Ultimately, assigning your bookkeeping needs to an online firm can prevent errors from recurring in the future.

5. Expert Team

Virtual bookkeeping companies rely on the best and brightest bookkeepers that the industry has to offer. But the benefits of this go beyond accuracy and attention to detail. Having an expert team behind you can provide the confidence that your business can grow and that you’ll enjoy the dedicated support you need for any financial change.

 An expert team can be counted on to understand the best practices for modern bookkeeping. They will also be familiar with the latest financial software. With these tools, they can provide you with consistent, efficient reporting and expert financial analysis.

These expert-level skills would typically be out of reach for small business owners, as many lack the funds to invest in bookkeepers of this caliber. But online firms can provide you with top-tier care and insight at a mere fraction of the cost of hiring an employee, helping you balance quality and affordability with your financial needs.

6. Consistent Communication

Information is only as helpful as it is available. When you rely on a staff accountant, you’ll typically have access to financial data during normal business hours, which limits you to Monday through Friday from 9 to 5. But what if you need a piece of information when your staff accountant is “off the clock”?

Today’s business world doesn’t operate within the traditional 40-hour workweek. A global economy and a shift toward 24-hour customer service have placed new demands on business owners. You need a solution that matches these needs. 

Online accounting firms can fill this need by being available when you need their services the most, offering you consistent, regular communication through email, phone, and other channels.

 This kind of streamlined communication may be particularly helpful for business owners who have to travel often. Digital communication solutions can ensure that your accounting staff is right in your pocket, even when you’re out of the office—or even out of the country.

 In other words, a virtual financial team never clocks out and never takes a sick day. You can rely on online firms to provide you with the data you need when you need it most, so your business never has to slow down.

7. 24/7 Technology Platform

You’re probably already familiar with software like QuickBooks, but this is just the tip of a larger digital iceberg. Virtual accounting firms have access to the latest digital tools and software packages to help their clients optimize their business.

At Xendoo, we can sync your accounts and optimize your books using the following platforms:

  • Amazon
  • TaxJar
  • Gusto
  • Stripe
  • Shopify
  • Expensify
  • Bill.com

Of course, this list is always subject to change, which is one of the best business benefits of online bookkeeping. 

Virtual accounting firms can take advantage of the latest online bookkeeping features offered in these and other software platforms. Virtual firms also have the resources to keep up with changes in technology. 

By adapting and innovating, online accountants can ensure your business can continue to thrive and compete in an increasingly digital climate.

8. Personalized Support

Finally, there is simply no substitute for the personalized, custom support that you receive when you partner with an online bookkeeping service. The days of hiring a one-size-fits-all accountant are over. Modern businesses require the agility and personalization that come from a virtual firm.

An online accounting firm can adjust its areas of specialty to the needs of your business, providing solutions for the usual bookkeeping services as well as solutions for eCommerce, business software integration, and more. 

But perhaps most importantly, a virtual financial firm offers an array of services that can be tapped into as your business evolves and grows, so you can have the confidence that you’ll always have access to industry-leading services that are tailored to the needs of your business.

What Can Xendoo Do for You?

Are you ready to experience the business benefits of online bookkeeping for yourself? Why not consider what Xendoo can do for you and your business? Join high-profile businesses like Starbucks and Century 21 in trusting an industry leader to handle your books, prepare your taxes, generate reports, and perform a host of other financial services that are tailored to the unique demands of your business.

Xendoo offers flexible pricing based on the size of your business. We even provide scalable solutions to help your business to grow. Each plan includes standard bookkeeping services, as well as reporting on profits and loss and other data. 

Select plans include provisions for tax returns and consulting, which can be invaluable for businesses of any size.

Sign up for our free trial, and you’ll see how our advanced services can help your business. It’s time to stop handling your own books. Let us handle the details so that you can keep your focus on what matters:  Growing the business you love and connecting with the customers you’ve come to rely on.  

 

Xendoo vs. Bench: Comparing Online Bookkeeping Services for Small Business Owners

Bookkeeping is vital to the success of every business, but business owners rarely have the time (or desire) to manage it themselves. In order to save their time and sanity, many partners with an online bookkeeping and accounting team. There are many options available, ranging from traditional CPAs to tech-savvy online providers. How do you choose the right financial partner for your business?

Today, we will take a look at two popular options: Xendoo Online Bookkeeping and Bench. Both provide quality bookkeeping and tax services, but there are some key differences in features that may tip the scale for you: 

  • Online bookkeeping and tax services 
  • Accounting software 
  • Free trial

In this blog post, we will explore these key differences so that you can make the best choice for your business!

Online Bookkeeping and Tax Services

Xendoo’s online bookkeeping and tax packages start at $295, with a bookkeeping-only plan that starts at $195 per month. We reconcile your books weekly, and deliver your reports as early as the 5th business day of the month, depending on the plan you select!

Bench offers three bookkeeping and tax plans, with prices starting at $299 per month ($249/annual). Bench’s Core package requires a partnership with LendingClub. You can connect your existing bank accounts and debit cards on the Flex and Pro plans, which are more expensive. Tax services are available on all plans, but they do not offer a bookkeeping-only package at this time. 

What if you are behind on your bookkeeping? Outside of the ongoing subscriptions, Xendoo and Bench both offer catch up services so you can get previous months’ books in order!

Accounting Software

The biggest difference between Xendoo and Bench is the software used to do your bookkeeping and accounting. 

Xendoo works with both Quickbooks Online and Xero. The biggest advantage of these two programs is that you own the software. Working with Quickbooks Online and Xero ensures that you will always have access to your financial records, no matter who does your bookkeeping.

Bench only uses their proprietary software, which does not integrate with any other accounting programs. If you ever need to leave Bench, your records will not go with you and your financial history will have to be rebuilt. If you want to be able to hold onto your data, Bench may not be the best choice for your business. 

Try Us Out

Both Xendoo and Bench offer a free trial in which we complete your books from the previous month, and provide a Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet. 

What happens if Xendoo is not the best fit for you? In that case, we will gladly connect you with others in our network so you can find your ideal financial partner. The completed books and financial reports are yours to keep in your QuickBooks Online or Xero subscription! 

If you decide not to work with Bench, you can hold onto the financial reports, but you will no longer have access to the previous month’s bookkeeping as it is done in their proprietary software.  

For a brief summary of how Xendoo and Bench compare, check out the chart below:

*Some options may only be available on certain plans. 

Who is Right for You?

It depends! Every business owner needs their bookkeeping done, and they deserve the freedom to take their data with them, no matter who they partner with. Xendoo Online Bookkeeping works with industry-standard accounting software, ensuring you will always have access to your financial records and data.

Bookkeeping. You hate it. We love it. We do it. Take your time back and do more of what you love!

Are we a fit for your business? Schedule your free consultation 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.

 

A person works on their laptop.

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

About Page Office team

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

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

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

What are debits vs. credits?

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

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

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

What is an example of debits vs credits?

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

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

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

How do debits and credits affect my liability accounts?

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

Top 7 Requirements to Secure Ecommerce Funding (Hint: They’re Not What You Think)

In the past, online sellers often had to dig into their own pockets to fund their eCommerce business dreams. 

Since small or growing businesses are technically high-risk investments, banks and other financial institutions were reluctant to part with their cash to help eCommerce sellers. 

But times have changed. 

Today, there is a growing number of funding options eCommerce entrepreneurs can tap into to make even their biggest, hairiest goals reality. Great news, given that 9.5% of businesses without financial capital say it negatively impacts their profitability. 

Yet, many eCommerce sellers are stuck in their ways, seeking capital from red tape-heavy banks or going without any funding support at all. In fact, a staggering 50% of UK SMEs don’t look beyond traditional funders—and the tunnel vision can definitely cost them.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. 

To prepare you to face your next funding application with confidence, let’s jump into some of the requirements you’ll need.

Ready for a flexible funding solution? Learn more about how we help eCommerce owners improve their cash flow.

 

Secure ECommerce Funding the Simple Way

  • How to Fund an Ecommerce Business: Know Your Options
  • What Do I Need to Secure Ecommerce Funding?

1. Proof your business is on the right track

2. Know what eCommerce funding you need (and what for) 

3. Showcase your good moral character

4. Get your paperwork in order

5. Show off a little

6. Clean up your credit, stash away cash, and get collateral (but not for the reasons you think)

7. Be mentally prepared to move on

  • The Blueprint for Getting Your Ecommerce Business Funded  

 

How to Fund an Ecommerce Business: Know Your Options

Ecommerce funding has come a long way since its inception, and there is now a potential capital source to suit every business size and budget. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the most common eCommerce funding options:

 

  • Working capital: The seller receives funding to cover gaps in cash flow for day-to-day business expenses like shipping costs, supplies and utilities, or invest in a new product line, ad campaign or additional inventory for peak sales seasons.
  • Cash advances: The seller receives a lump sum and agrees to pay a percentage of their monthly turnover to the lender until the advance is paid in full—note: cash advances aren’t loans.
  • Invoice factoring: The business owner sells their accounts receivables (due invoices) to a factoring company at a discount with fees added on top. The factoring company then releases the funds to them.
  • Crowdfunding: The entrepreneur pitches their idea on a dedicated online platform to the masses, and individuals can choose to invest. There are three kinds of crowdfunding: debt, donation, and equity crowdfunding.
  • Peer-to-peer lending: Usually facilitated through an online platform, the individual receives funding from a person instead of a financial institution.
  • Angel investing: The business owner sells a stake in their business to a high-net-worth individual in return for capital.

 

Are you struggling to decide between cash advances and working capital loans? We can help.

What Do I Need to Secure Ecommerce Funding?

Thanks to the flexibility of some of the newer, more modern funding options, today’s funding requirements for growing eCommerce businesses tend to be much more flexible than those of traditional funders.

While most alternative eCommerce funders won’t throw out your application for lacking things like management expertise, collateral, or credit, there are some standards you’ll have to meet. 

Let’s break these down:

1. Proof your business is on the right track

 

Alternative funding providers are all about businesses with results that prove they’ve got a promising future.

No matter who you acquire eCommerce funding from, there’s one thing your provider will want to know: that they’ll get their money back plus a fair return

While you don’t have to be the next overnight Amazon sensation to prove your worth, you must show you’re a viable business and a low-risk investment.

Here are some things you can provide to show your business is worth the investment:

  • Calculations that demonstrate your business has a high ROI, net operating income, and Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). (More on this in a minute 😉).
  • Documents proving your business consistently turns a profit.
  • Store reports showing sales volume and minimal product returns.
  • Statements demonstrating you have sufficient liquidity to repay a loan, plus its interest and charges.
  • Records showing you’ve been in operation for at least 12 months.

If you meet these requirements, securing funding becomes a win-win situation for everyone, and you’ll have better chances of getting approved. 

 

Looking for a faster solution? Find out how you can pre-qualify for up to $1,000,000 in less than 5 minutes.

2. Know what eCommerce funding you need (and why you need it)

 

By the time you’re ready to start sending applications to prospective funding providers, you should have concrete answers to these things:

  • Your reason(s) for applying for external funding.
  • The intended purpose of the cash injection.
  • How much capital you need.

Not only will this help narrow down the type of funding you need (and suitable providers), it’ll also show you’ve done your due diligence.

Taking on funding is no child’s play, and mistakes in this area can cost you. Funding providers want to know you understand the risks involved and are prepared to take on this commitment.

Here’s how to show eCommerce funders you’re ready, step-by-step:

  1. Create a documented breakdown of the capital amount you need for each task (adjusted with a buffer for unplanned bills).
  2. Work out your return on investment (ROI). Are you making enough returns to make funding feasible? Note long term debt reduces ROI.
  3. Analyse your net profit income. How healthy is it? Will you have enough liquidity in your business to operate once you start to repay successfully?
  4. Assess whether any existing debts will inhibit you from making repayments. Calculate your Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) to help you with this task.

These are the three equations you’ll need:

 

1. ROI % = (Net profit) / Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) * 100 

I.e. $20,000 / $10,000 *100 = 200%

2. Net Operating Income = Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – Operating Expenses

I.e. $50,000 – $20,000 – $10,000 = $20,000

3. Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) = Net Operating Income / Annual Debt Obligation

Not a fan of calculations? Try this DSCR calculator.

And, there you have it! A summary of your most important figures that prove your eCommerce business is good to go.

💡 Top tip: For best results, submit funding applications during peak seasons. When your sales volume spikes, you’ll be able to cover the repayments with plenty left over. This extra wiggle room helps funders feel more comfortable funding your business, and removes the stress of worrying about repayments.

 

3. Showcase your good moral character 

 

Most traditional funders will expect you to show good moral character—but some of the newer funding providers take a fresh angle on what this actually means. 

Here’s what a funding provider might look for: 

  • Overdue bills: Zero overdue bills (like student loans or credit card debt).
  • Missed payments: If you’ve gone rogue on payments to another funder, a credit check will reveal this to your prospective funder.

Note: If you have slipped on paying existing debts, don’t beat yourself up. According to Experian, US credit card debt stood at $756 billion. It’s a problem for many. Take active steps to get back on track with your payments and reduce your debt balance before applying for additional funding.

  • Get your paperwork in order

It may seem like an old-school requirement, but being organised can pay off big time in your eCommerce funding journey. 

Not only can getting your ducks in a row make the application process go smoother and faster, it may also earn you brownie points with the people reviewing your application. 

As the saying goes, ‘how you do one thing is how you do everything’. 

Remember, despite your funder being a financial institution or VIP, you’re still dealing with peopleso first impressions count.

Here are the docs you’ll need to prepare as standard:

  • Proof of address
  • Articles of Association (and the names of directors and associated persons)
  • Company bank statements
  • Financial accounts, i.e., Income Statements, Profit and Loss statements
  • Financial projections
  • VAT returns/ Tax returns
  • Business plan

 

  • Show off a little 

To stand out, you need to get comfortable with a pinch of humble bragging. Opportunities to show off about your business only come around rarely, so when they do, grab it with both hands.

For example:

  • Do you have a business degree or business-related qualification(s)? 
  • Have you worked in retail, sales, or management for X amount of years?
  • Is your team excellent at drumming up funds through pre-launches?

These details will let potential funders know you care about success and are willing to invest in yourself to excel.

 

  • Clean up your credit, stash away cash, and get collateral (but not for the reasons you think) 

An increasing number of funding providers are choosing to overlook bad credit or a lack of assets at first glance—but there’s often a catch, and if you’re not careful you might end up with crappy interest rates, terms, or fees.

Having good credit, savings, and assets will put you in a better position to choose funding types and providers as well as negotiate terms. Plus, it’ll demonstrate to your potential funding providers that you:

  • Are in a stable financial position.
  • Have an alternative source of funding and aren’t in dire straits (desperation is never a good look).
  • Have a concrete backup plan should things take a turn for the worst.

Now you know why it pays to clean up your credit, here’s a game plan to go ahead and straighten up your finances: 

  • Start your credit-building journey by getting yourself and your business a credit card to build credit history and pay off existing debts. The debt avalanche and snowball methods are the most commonly used systems for clearing debt fast.
  • Analyse your progress through a credit score tracker.
  • Build a saving pot for your business by putting away a slice of your profits into a business saving account. Treat it like a bill you must pay no matter what.
  • Finally, work on securing assets for your business, like better equipment and storage units. They’ll impress funding providers and help you optimise the running of your business.
  • If you hit any road bumps, motivate yourself by picturing how impressive you’ll look to prospective funders with savings and good credit. 💪

 

  • Be mentally prepared to move on 

Having the relevant paperwork, collateral, and credit is essentialbut it’s only part of the story to secure eCommerce funding.

So what’s missing? Resilience.

You’ll likely hear a lot of no’s on your journey, so be prepared to pick yourself up, keep your goal in sight, and move on to the next. 

Compared to traditional loans, eCommerce funding is still a new gamethat means funding providers are continuously adapting their rules and approaches, and many are yet to catch up with eCommerce’s speed. 

Does this make life as an eCommerce owner more complex? You bet. 

But don’t forget you have a ton of options that give you the advantage. If you’ve tried to secure funding through traditional avenues before, and it’s just not workingmove on.

Your dream funding option is out there, and your perseverance will pay off. After all, only 20% of US-based small businesses don’t use external funding.

The Blueprint for Getting Your Ecommerce Business Funded  

Thanks to a sharp rise in alternative modern solutions, business leaders can now overcome traditional funding requirements and opt for more flexible terms. 

But you aren’t entirely off the hook. 🎣

Today, eCommerce funding is a whole new ballgame with a new set of requirements to fulfill.

So, learn what you need to get approved by each, then execute with precision. Who knows, you may end up with more funding options that you know what to do with!

At Sellers Funding, our application process focuses firmly on sales performance, not credit history or collateral. If you’re not sure which funding option is right for your business, we can help.

 

 

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

 

An eCommerce seller looks at her items for sale on a tablet

Selling on Amazon vs. eBay: What you need to know

Ready to start selling your products online? Or have you already built a web presence and you’re looking to expand? From marketplaces like Etsy to building and hosting your own website on Squarespace or Shopify, small businesses have plenty of platforms to sell their products online. But eventually, most professional sellers find themselves asking: What are the pros and cons of Amazon vs. eBay?

Amazon vs. eBay: Who has the biggest market for selling potential?

By the sheer number of visitors, selling on Amazon is the winner here: 214.8 million people visit Amazon each month, compared to 106.9 million for eBay. However, both of these numbers represent huge potential audiences, so to really make the right choice about selling on Amazon vs. eBay, you’ll want to break it down. 

eBay’s audience is more international than Amazon: 57% of its revenue comes from international operations. Amazon doesn’t release these figures, but analysts estimate about 33% of its sales are international. eBay is also known for having “niche” customers searching for specialized products and second-hand goods. The real winner here depends on what you sell and who you sell it to.

Amazon vs. eBay: Which channel is more competitive? 

Amazon is much more competitive than eBay. Amazon rewards sellers with the highest-quality items at the lowest price. There are far more sellers on Amazon, and you may be competing with factory-direct prices from China or even with Amazon itself. 

On the other hand, eBay follows an auction format that will show shoppers many different options, conditions from new to used and shipping options, allowing sellers more opportunities to reach them. eBay advertising is also less competitive and therefore cheaper. 

Outside view of an Amazon pick up and return center.

Amazon vs. eBay: Which channel offers the best shipping and fulfillment?

Winner: Amazon.

When sellers opt for fulfillment by Amazon FBA, they’re able to use the retail giant’s warehouses, shipping, and customer service – for a fee, of course. They’re also eligible for Amazon Prime and the benefits that come along with it. Just remember that you may have to pay sales tax in those states if you use Amazon’s warehouses. Make sure you follow eCommerce bookkeeping tips to keep your records in order.

While domestic sellers are responsible for their own packing and shipping on eBay, the company does offer its Global Shipping Program. This allows sellers to use its “hubs” to ship internationally, with eBay taking care of the customs forms and import fees and providing tracking. This is another reason eBay is so popular with international sellers. 

Amazon vs. eBay: Whose fees reign supreme?

Overall, most sellers find that eBay’s fees are lower. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Both platforms’ fees depend on what’s being sold, the type of account you have, and more. On Amazon, you’ll likely want a Professional Seller account, which will run you $39.99 per month. You’ll also pay a 15% commission on Amazon, plus a closing fee. If you go with Amazon FBA, you’ll pay those fees as well. 

On eBay, you’ll pay about $0.35 for each listing you create. With a $28-per-month Basic Store account, you’ll get 250 free listings. Once your item sells, eBay takes only a 10% commission. However, this doesn’t include payment processing, while Amazon does. You’ll also then need to figure out the shipping yourself. 

Once again, the answer to the age-old question of selling on Amazon vs. eBay depends on your sales volume and type of product. Here’s one point for eBay, however: One survey found that eBay was ranked number one by sellers in terms of ease of use, customer service, and profitability – while Amazon came in seventh. 

An eCommerce seller adds items to her online store.

The verdict: Amazon

Pros:

  • Reach a large audience
  • Amazon FBA is a convenient option for most sellers
  • Easy to use interface and tools

Cons:

  • Highly competitive
  •  Slightly higher fees
  • Less freedom over branding, product descriptions, and policies

Which eCommerce sellers are Amazon right for? 

  • Sellers with a high volume
  • Sellers with high-profit margins
  • Sellers of non-specialty items

The verdict: eBay

Pros:

  • Easier international sales and expansion
  • Control over branding, listings, and return policies
  • Lower fees 

Cons:

  • No domestic shipping program
  • Smaller audience
  • Less straightforward user interface

Which eCommerce sellers are eBay right for?

  • International sellers
  • Sellers of used and customized items, collectibles, and niche products
  • Sellers who desire more freedom over the selling process

You can even decide to settle the Amazon vs. eBay debate by selling on both platforms. No matter what you choose – and especially if you decide to sell on both – you’ll need expert eCommerce online bookkeeping to keep your books in order and ensure you keep up with sales tax laws. At Xendoo, we work with eCommerce sellers on both platforms to manage bookkeeping and accounting, so they can focus on what’s important: selling!

Eight Tax Tips for Restaurant Owners

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

You know that filing taxes can be stressful even in the best of times, but as a restaurant owner, tax time can leave you feeling in the weeds because your deductions are exponentially more complex. Never fear, though, because Xendoo is here to help. If you aren’t yet taking advantage of our full suite of professional business accounting services, here are a few quick restaurant tax tips for filing returns that can help save you some headache and money.

1. Document, Document, Document!

Did we mention that you need to document everything?  One of the best restaurant tax tips is to document and keep every invoice, every check stub, and every e-mail, no matter how inconsequential you might think it is at the time. You just never know when you might need to produce that little receipt during an audit, and running across a receipt might even remind you of something that you almost forgot to deduct. Set up a sound filing system where you can locate any tax documents you might need by vendor or category and keep it up to date.

2. Deduct All Food and Beverage Expenses

Since food cost is almost certainly your largest expense category (with the possible exception of labor), you should be deducting the cost of everything on your menu as an ordinary and necessary cost of doing business. But it’s not just the actual ingredients that you can write off. You can also deduct the cost of preparation materials like fryer oil and condiments, as well as any food that you have to throw out because it’s expired or spoiled. This is one restaurant tax tip that can take the sting out of tossing out old produce.

3. Deduct All Employee Compensation

Payroll is your other big expense category, and it’s deductible as an ordinary and necessary expense because obviously, your business can’t operate without staff. But, again, it’s not just the weekly payroll that you get to deduct. You can also deduct the cost of any employee discounts on meals, paid vacation or sick days, and any dental, vision, health, life, or other types of insurance you might provide for your team members. However, business owners don’t generally get to count salaries or benefits to themselves as deductions because doing so would essentially make any profits from the business tax exempt.

4. Deduct Mileage and Business Travel

Do you or any of your employees drive a personal vehicle as part of the business? Are you maybe making deliveries or picking up supplies? What about to or from training events? If you have any sort of driving directly related to your business, you can deduct that at the current standard mileage rate. But be careful—this is an often-abused deduction, so your documentation of it needs to be meticulously maintained. Driving to and from work doesn’t count as a business expense. Use either a separate ledger or a smartphone app that’s designed to track mileage. Also, if you have overnight travel for training, food shows, conferences, or other business-related events, you can deduct hotel and food expenses, as well.

5. Deduct Large Equipment Purchases

Under a 2016 change to the tax code, you can now deduct the total cost of certain equipment purchases up to $500,000 for the year of purchase instead of depreciating equipment over time in the traditional manner. Known as the ‘Section 179 deduction,’ this change is meant to ease the cash flow for small businesses. It covers a wide array of equipment such as computers, office furniture, vehicles, and machinery. That means the new walk-in cooler you just bought because the old one finally bit the dust can start working for you right away.

 

A server pours coffee into mugs.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

6. Take Advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Many business owners aren’t aware that the tax code rewards employers for hiring people from certain groups that have historically had difficulty finding employment. Known as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), these groups might include military veterans, summer youth employees, long-term unemployment recipients, rehabilitated felons, residents of designated Empowerment Zones, and many others. This restaurant tax tip is an excellent way to save your business some money while contributing to the community through socially responsible hiring practices.

7. Make Use of Enhanced Charitable Deductions

With a handful of exceptions, the IRS allows businesses to deduct donations to §501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations just like individuals do, including some enhanced deductions specifically for restaurants donating food. Take advantage of these types of restaurant tax tips can be a little tricky, though, so you probably want to hire a small business accounting firm like Xendoo to help navigate these waters safely. You can’t deduct staff time or the total fair market value of the food, but these deductions can still help boost your profit margin significantly.

8. Track Employee Tips Meticulously

Reporting credit card tips is pretty easy since they are tracked through the POS system, but cash tips can get messy. It’s the responsibility of servers to report their tips accurately, but if they don’t report cash tips, the IRS will assume an 8% tip rule. In cash sale situations, the business owner’s responsibility is to withhold 8% of the employee’s cash sales as an assumed tip, and liability for failure to do so could land on the employer. It’s a good idea to go over these rules with your team because you also have to file a Form 8027 each year, and the IRS expects to see accurate records, so it’s in everyone’s interest to pay attention to this one.

 

These restaurant tax tips are a good start for any business owner, but bookkeeping for restaurants isn’t for the faint of heart, which is why Xendoo is ready to help with our affordable bookkeeping and accounting services. Instead, it would be best if you spent your time growing your business and let our team of experts lift the tax burden and do what they do best.

 

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.