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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.

 

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.

 

xendoo + gusto = xendoo payroll

Partnering With Gusto Today Means a Better Tomorrow for xendoo Customers

Partnering with Gusto today means a better tomorrow for xendoo customers. As a small business owner, you juggle multiple roles… bookkeeping, human resources, marketing, and all that goes into running your business every day. You love what you do and wish you could leave the complicated, boring stuff out of your day-to-day. xendoo feels your […]

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 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.

Pros and Cons of Putting Your Small Business on Amazon

Ecommerce is booming. Total revenue will reach nearly $4.6 billion in 2021 and grow at an annual rate of 4.6% over the next five years – reaching $5.6 billion by 2025. It’s easy to see why owners of small and medium businesses are asking themselves how they can get a piece of the eCommerce pie. One popular option—the Amazon small business marketplace. 

In the first quarter of 2021, 55 percent of the units sold on Amazon were from third-party sellers. For a company with sales of more than $300 billion, that’s more than pocket change. But what are the pros and cons? And is it worth the trouble? 

What is Amazon marketplace?

The Amazon marketplace is an eCommerce platform that allows independent vendors and sellers to sell their goods on Amazon. The platform allows Amazon to forego the typical retail model, where it sources materials, then produces and stores each of its products until shipment. Instead, third-party vendors put products on Amazon and take care of the details, while Amazon gets a cut of the profits. 

What are the pros of selling on Amazon as a small business?

There’s no question that Amazon is popular with small businesses: In 2018, nearly three-quarters of Amazon sellers had between one and five employees. And Amazon for small business does have plenty of benefits, like the following. 

You can reach a larger audience

One of the biggest benefits of selling products on Amazon is that it can connect you with a wider audience: There are more than 200 million Amazon Prime members worldwide, and that’s not counting site visitors who don’t subscribe to Prime. That’s a huge audience for Amazon small businesses

Amazon can take a lot of the work off your plate 

Getting set up with Amazon marketplace is relatively easy: Just sign up and add products to the catalog. If you want Amazon to do more work for you, you can sign up for Amazon FBA, or Fulfilled by Amazon, which allows you to use Amazon’s warehousing, packaging, shipping, and customer service. 

Amazon has tools to help you sell 

In addition to Sponsored Ads – which actually make Amazon the third-largest digital advertiser behind only Google and Facebook – Amazon small businesses have access to MerchantWords, a proprietary keyword research tool. It uses actual Amazon data to help you optimize your product names, descriptions, and ads. 

Amazon provides technical support 

Amazon Seller Central is the platform’s support team for Amazon small businesses. It’s available 24 hours a day, although most sellers will be required to submit a request and wait for a callback. Still, most sellers receive a prompt response and are happy with the support they receive 

Closeup of two Amazon labeled AA batteries.

Photo by Syed Ahmad on Unsplash

What are the cons of selling on Amazon as a small business?

Amazon Marketplace sounds pretty great, right? For many small and medium businesses, it is. But it also has a few drawbacks you should be aware of. 

It can be expensive

With charges for selling, referral fees, and Amazon sales tax, the cost of selling on the marketplace can quickly add up. Sellers without a monthly plan will pay 99 cents per item sold, while those with a Professional Plan pay $39.99 per month. If you opt for extra features, like Fulfilled by Amazon, expect to pay more fees. 

It can be time consuming 

Getting set up with Amazon Marketplace is easy – understanding how to be successful there can be more time-consuming. Diving into the tools Amazon provides and optimizing your product take time. Plus you’ll need to figure out Amazon bookkeeping and accounting, inventory management, and more. 

The competition is fierce 

There were 1.1 million active Amazon marketplace sellers in the United States alone in 2019. Amazon Marketplace is also incredibly popular with Chinese merchants, some of whom sell products at super-low, factory-direct prices. You’ll even compete with Amazon’s own private label brands. And fake reviews abound on the platform, with competitors using bots to write thousands of five-star reviews at once. 

It’s Amazon’s world, you’re just selling in it 

Some Amazon small businesses feel they don’t have much power over the selling process. There are reports of Amazon punishing businesses for selling at lower prices on other marketplaces, or pressuring them to sign up for extra services. 

Should I use Amazon for my small business?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should sell products on Amazon. Certain categories, like personal care, beauty, and home goods, seem to have greater success on the platform. Businesses with high margins, who can afford to give Amazon its cut, can also do well. However, success with Amazon for small business depends more on your ability to figure out what works for you than on the type of business.

Xendoo can help dive into your books and help you make a sound decision on whether to sell on Amazon Marketplace. If you’re already a seller, we can ensure your books are in order – allowing you more time to focus on selling.

 

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.

Best Small Business Invoicing Practices

Is getting people to pay their invoice balance a challenging part of running your own business? You are not alone. According to a report in Entrepreneur, on average, small businesses had $84,000 in unpaid invoices. Waiting weeks and sometimes months for the checks to arrive and managing cash flow in the meantime can be daunting, to say the least. Since invoicing isn’t the most exciting aspect of your business, we want to share these tips for small business invoicing to help you get paid faster, increase client relations, and save time and money. 

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a bill generated by a vendor that lists details and costs for goods and services provided. You’re likely already invoicing your clients, but don’t forget it is a legally binding contract. Making sure your small business invoicing system is up to snuff can save you headaches down the road. 

Setting Expectations 

Review your contract template and make sure you set expectations for invoicing. Likewise, make sure your invoice aligns with what is in the contract. Include payment schedule, estimated totals, and project milestones for payment.

Consider your software

As you strategize for creating, sending, and organizing your invoices, we recommend automating as much as possible. Your accounting software likely offers a way to do this. At Xendoo, we use QuickBooks Online and Xero, which both have invoicing solutions and are known for being the best accounting software options.

If you’re considering an invoicing program separate from your accounting, ensure the two integrate and consider online payment processing. Clients love having the option to quickly pay online, so make sure your software can integrate with payments. The easiest method is the simplest—at Xendoo we offer solutions with online bookkeeping services, accounting, invoicing, and integrated payment processing all in one.

 

A bookkeeper shows a business owner how to set up an invoice

Make sure you include these basics in your invoices

  • Dates: Include invoice creation date. Consider including the date the good or service was delivered in the summary.
  • Unique invoice number: Especially important when sending multiple invoices to the same client.
  • Client’s P.O.: During the contract phase, find out if your client uses Purchase Orders (P.O.s). A P.O. is an agreement between a vendor and a customer that outlines the purchase details and is issued by the client before work is performed. 
  • Contact information for all parties involved: Include name, address, phone, and email for both companies’ project and accounting contacts.
  • Payment terms: Terms indicate how long the client has to pay you and are determined initially. Net 30 (due in 30 days), Net 60, and Due Upon Receipt are popular terms.
  • Summary description of goods/services provided: Make it concise! A common way to summarize is to refer to completed milestones that were outlined in your contract.
  • SKU numbers: If your company uses SKU numbers for goods/services, make sure to include them. SKUs are helpful when you need a pricing breakdown and to determine what goods are taxable.
  • Totals: Include the cost for each line item, subtotal, taxes or discounts, and the final total. 
  • Late/early payment details: Consider charging an added percentage if the payment is late and a discount for early payments.
  • Method of payments accepted: Indicate all options for how to pay and details. Let them know who to make a check out to and where to mail it, and include a link to pay online.

Be straightforward 

Make your summary description brief while ensuring the client will understand how you arrived at the total. Do everything you can to make it easy for your client to pay you. Keep your invoice to one page. 

Send invoices as soon as possible

An invoice should be sent promptly when the project has been completed. Your client will use the invoice as the first step in processing your payment and likely has internal steps to take before paying you. Therefore, the quicker you send the invoice, the quicker you get paid.

Give your customer multiple ways to pay your invoices

Consider including a “Pay Now!” button on digital invoices. Clients love the convenience of online payment and often take immediate action. And these online payments can sync with your accounting software and help you avoid the “checks in the mail” scenario. If you are issuing an international invoice, indicate which currency you accept.

A hiwte thank you note with black cursive writing sits on a table

The Art of the Follow-up

Frustrations aside, you must send professional follow-ups when you haven’t received payment. Consider making a schedule for follow-up emails in advance and writing templates, customizing them for each client. This might make the process quicker and less frustrating. 

Also, consider using read receipts. They are a great way to track when your communication was received and when to follow up.

When a few emails aren’t enough, call your client. A brief, friendly call gives you another opportunity to connect with your client. They are likely receiving invoices from multiple vendors. Stand out by offering a friendly, professional demeanor.

Don’t Forget to Say Thanks!

Once you’ve received payment(s), send a thank you note. It’s an opportunity to remind your client what a positive experience it was to work together.

Communication Strategy and Branding

Consider your invoice a branding opportunity! Xero and QuickBooks offer customizable options to add to your logo, colors, and fonts. If you’re planning to mail a thank you note, keep it on-brand, too.

Streamlining your small business invoicing process can help you retain customers, increase cash flow, and increase stability. In addition, your customers will remember your professionalism and gratitude. Sign up for Xendoo today, and let us help with bookkeeping and accounting for your small business.

 

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

Two business woman smile discuss accounting at a desk

Why You Should Hire an Experienced Florida Accountant

As a small business owner, you want to keep your head in the game. After all, you started your business because you’re passionate about the work you do, and you want to connect your products and services to customers.

So why are you trying to juggle your own books?

We understand the pressures that small business owners are experiencing. Handling your own bookkeeping and accounting may seem like an easy corner to cut, but the chances are that you’ll pay for it in one way or another. 

You simply might not be able to give your books the time and attention you need—a problem that can snowball out of control and leave you with a disaster once tax season approaches. There are many online accounting services available. You can’t discount the value and simplicity that these services can offer, but how can you be confident that these services will understand your local business or Florida state law? Unfortunately, accounting software is similarly generic and can only take you so far in navigating the needs of local Florida businesses.

An experienced Florida accountant can help you with more than just the books. So let’s explore the various benefits of hiring a Florida accountant for your business.

A Florida Accountant Can Help with the Legal Structure of Your Business

On paper, businesses are largely defined by their legal structure. A business can be a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership or corporation, or a sole proprietorship. These structures are based on characteristics such as:

  • Liability
  • Taxation
  • Fees and forms
  • Investment needs and opportunities
  • Maintaining operations

When you set up your business, how will you consider these factors? This is where an experienced Florida accountant can really be helpful. Choosing an accountant can help your business to navigate these questions and ensure that your business is optimized according to Florida business law.

A Florida Accountant Can Keep Your Books and Records Up-to-Date and Accurate

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of working with a Florida accountant is that they can keep an eye on your books. Ideally, an experienced accountant will monitor your books all year long (or at least at regular intervals), which is vital when it comes to tax planning.

Two business women discuss Florida tax laws

A Florida Certified Public Accountant Can Help You to Understand Sales Tax Laws

Tax laws are notoriously complicated. Sales tax laws in Florida are no exception. Unless you have a degree in accounting, you could quickly start tearing your hair out trying to stay above board. And if you slip up, your business could face stiff penalties for violating tax laws or failing to meet deadlines for your tax returns. This doesn’t just affect you — it will also affect your staff and your loyal customers.

What about an eCommerce business? Organizations that work with out-of-state customers create a business connection called a “nexus” that requires them to pay sales taxes. An experienced accountant can help you to navigate these twenty-first-century questions and spare you the penalties that might come your way for improper financial reporting. 

This is where Xendoo can be especially helpful. Our online financial experts provide tax services to a variety of businesses, but our real advantage is our understanding of the Florida economic landscape. 

Businesses looking for bookkeeping in Naples or bookkeeping in Gainesville, for example, can take advantage of our financial expertise and local knowledge.

A Florida Accountant Can Help to Expand Your Business

Are you looking to grow your business? An accountant can help with that, too. Good accountants can distill your financial statements into a digestible summary of your overall cash flow. 

Understanding your company’s financial health can be a great first step to discovering growth opportunities. An accountant can point out ways to leverage your assets so that your business can grow and flourish without sacrificing the organizational strategies necessary for filing taxes.

When certified public accountants handle the books, you can focus on the day-to-day operation of your business.

We Handle the Books; You Handle the Business

Ready to hire an accounting professional for your small business? As you’ve seen, there are many benefits of hiring an accountant. The average base salary for a Florida accountant is over $50,000, plus benefits. Most small businesses simply can’t afford to hire someone for the position. If your company needs bookkeeping services in Orlando, where can you turn?

This is where Xendoo truly shines. With our localized knowledge, we can provide expert  Tampa bookkeeping services as well as almost anywhere in Florida. You won’t have to pay a full-time professional or contract with expensive accounting firms.

Businesses grow when they are well-managed, and an accountant can handle the books while you run the business. When you’re ready to stop juggling the books and get back in business, contact us and see how our online services can help your business to thrive.

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 business owner integrates her accounting software for her eCommerce site

How to Setup Your Online Store to Integrate Accounting Software

You’ve set up your online store set, and orders are starting to come in. But in your rush to pack, ship, and sell, there’s a good chance you haven’t made time to integrate accounting software with your eCommerce software. By downloading a third-party app plug-in, you are just a few clicks away from saving time and money by automatically sharing data between your accounting and eCommerce programs. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s simple!

Most popular online accounting software options like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks all have a menu where you can search for compatible app plug-ins. And most popular eCommerce programs like Shopify, Squarespace, and WooCommerce have a corresponding app available from a third-party software developer. So you can easily install an app to sync the two programs! 

What to Look for E-Commerce Accounting Software

As soon as you begin spending or making money, it’s time to set up your eCommerce bookkeeping and start accounting. There are many affordable online eCommerce accounting software options available. Programs such as QuickBooks Online or Xero store a business’s financial data in the cloud and are always connected to the internet. In addition, they automatically receive and update your data by connecting to your bank accounts. Sounds easy, but not all accounting programs are the same, and there is a lot to choose from. When deciding which program is best for you, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Compatibility – Does the program work with all of the devices you plan to use? How many users can be simultaneously logged in? Can your international team members log in, too?
  • Cost – Many options have a free plan, but the pricing goes up as your business scales and grows.
  • Support – What are the customer service options? Does the program offer expert bookkeepers and accountants you can hire to take on the work when you are ready to delegate? Can they help you file your taxes?
  • Additional Services – All of the programs offer basic bookkeeping and financial reporting, but what kind of extra offerings does the software have? Some eCommerce trends include hefty employee management solutions to help with payroll, time tracking, and benefits, while others may offer project management tools. Some offer payment processing through third-party partnerships.
  • Integrate accounting software with your eCommerce program – Make sure the two programs sync so you can limit the amount of data entry you are doing. Ideally, you will be able to eliminate manual data entry of sales, invoices, customers, products, and more. 
A woman sits at her computer setting up her eCommerce site

Syncing Your Accounting and E-Commerce Programs

Most popular eCommerce software options, such as Squarespace and Shopify, integrate easily with third-party app plug-ins compatible with accounting programs like QuickBooks and Xero. Once synced, your inventory, orders, customers, and shipping can be automatically updated and will stay accurate. And getting started is easy! Most of these integrations only require a quick authorization and a few clicks to import your eCommerce data into your accounting program.

Below is a list of some popular eCommerce platforms that offer integrations with popular online accounting software programs. Keep in mind that this list isn’t exhaustive, but these are the most popular eCommerce platforms that easily integrate with accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks Online. 

Integrating your accounting software with your eCommerce platform can help save you time and money. You’ll be able to get an instant view of your financials, allowing you to plan your sales strategy more effectively. 

A open laptop with a screen showing an eCommerce store.

What Else do I Need to Know About My Accounting Software Integration?

As your eCommerce business grows and you decide to sync your eCommerce software with your accounting software, there are many aspects of eCommerce and accounting that you will want to keep in mind for this integration. For example:

  • Inventory Management – You will want to be able to connect multiple sales channels such as your brick & mortar’s Point of Sale, your Online Store, and your Pop-up location to ensure stock levels always stay up-to-date.
  • Choosing the correct payment gateway – Does the available option match your needs? Will international business be supported?
  • Tax settings – How does the software help you with your sales tax reporting? What role does it play in monitoring important tax deadlines? 

Why You Should Outsource Your E-Commerce Bookkeeping and Accounting

As your eCommerce business grows, you will want to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting to professionals. Even though app integrations with the best accounting software for small businesses are great, many automatic tools such as your monthly reconciliation can be inaccurate. Even a minor error in your bookkeeping can have a ripple effect and lead to everything from your financial reports being inaccurate to your marketing budget and your tax payments. It’s best to have an experienced set of eyes on it! These professionals can even find tax breaks you were missing and help you save even more money! Spend more time growing your business and less time crunching the numbers by working with the team at Xendoo. 

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

9 Common E-Commerce Accounting Mistakes You Need to Avoid

As a new business owner, you have a lot to manage on your eCommerce site. From making sure that customers can easily find what they need to creating an easy path to purchasing your goods, it may leave less time to tidy up the little things in your accounting processes. However, these mistakes and misses can snowball into significant issues that could cost your eCommerce business profits and customers. To make sure your business is running efficiently from top to bottom, here are nine common eCommerce accounting mistakes that you need to avoid. 

Not adjusting your inventory levels

Inventory levels play a significant role in your profit & loss, balance sheet, and cash flow forecasting. Not adjusting your inventory levels is a mistake that can carry over from one accounting cycle to the next and affect all your reports. 

It may be time-consuming, but doing a physical stock take is essential to avoid this mistake. Fortunately, technology is on your side, and there are many excellent inventory control applications to help you streamline the process.

Sticking with spreadsheet or paper ledgers

While it is good to have a backup, manual entry, especially those not saved to the cloud, can cost you when it comes to tax time. As your business grows, you will need more than a digital spreadsheet to keep your accounts in order. Manually combing through all your sales and entering them is highly time-consuming, and chances are, as an eCommerce business owner, it is time you do not have. Unless you are meticulously keeping up with sales tax and the like, you may end up costing yourself more than you make.

 If you haven’t already, it is time to upgrade to accounting software like Xero for eCommerce or QuickBooks for eCommerce. Both of these accounting softwares can sync with your website, do a lot of the grunt work for you, and help you avoid this eCommerce accounting mistake.

Still, you will need to have an eye on your accounts to make sure everything is accurate. Xendoo’s eCommerce bookkeeping service can help ensure your books are up to date and accurate, giving you more time to focus on your business instead of your books 

A business man uses a credit card to buy something online

Mixing business accounts with your personal accounts

While it may seem convenient to use your personal accounts for business-related purchases, mixing the two can create more problems down the line than it solves. Maintaining separate business and personal accounts is the best practice. 

You can take advantage of several tax benefits with a business account. It allows you to keep the proper line of sight over business income and expenses while avoiding accounting nightmares and potential liability issues if you get audited.

Not monitoring your cash flow

You may be seeing how much money your eCommerce business is generating, but are you keeping track of how much you are spending? Account reconciliation compares your internal financial records against monthly statements from external sources such as banks, credit cards, or other financial institutions, to ensure they match up. 

 Knowing how to reconcile your accounts is essential for the financial health of your eCommerce business. You need to reconcile your accounts to provide a clear picture of how much cash flow you have to reinvest or to pay yourself. If not, making this eCommerce accounting mistake could have you missing out on new investment opportunities, or worse, realize that you don’t have enough money to run your business. If it all sounds a little complicated, then Xendoo can help you get a clear picture of your financials and the overall health of your business. 

No accounting for fees

Many sales channels have different fees, and if you are selling through multiple channels like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc., you probably are starting to lose track of which channel charges what. If you aren’t keeping track of all these different channels and adjusting your pricing for each, you may be losing more money than you make. Accounting software can help you manage the multiple-fee structures for each channel. An accountant can help you avoid this eCommerce accounting mistake and figure out what you need to charge to make a profit for every order and which channels you should prioritize. 

A man looks at an expense report on his laptop

Not keeping track of your overhead expenses

We mentioned the importance of tracking your inventory, but you also need to keep track of all the overhead expenses like advertising, shipping, website domain licensing, etc. All these monthly charges can add up fast. If you aren’t tracking your overhead expenses and comparing them to ensure they are not growing at a different rate than your sales, your eCommerce business may be without valuable resources to keep it running. Every day you can’t make a sale, you don’t make a profit, and worse, you may lose potential and existing customers if they go to our website and it isn’t there. 

Not choosing the right business entity type

Picking a legal entity may not be as fun as naming your eCommerce business, but you must try to get it right the first time. Every business entity comes with its own tax benefits, and misclassifying your eCommerce business means you could be missing ways to maximize IRS tax savings. Plus, misclassifying your business is one eCommerce accounting mistake that could lead to compliance issues that can cost you. 

 An accountant can help you choose which business entity is the most beneficial. And you’re just starting an eCommerce business, an accountant, like the ones at Xendoo, can help you switch to a business entity that provides you with the most tax breaks. 

Not making time to focus on your accounting

Accounting and bookkeeping are huge time commitments,  but putting them off is one of the worst eCommerce accounting mistakes you can make. For all the reasons mentioned above, you need to take the time to follow these eCommerce bookkeeping basics, so your financial records are in order.

If you’ve been avoiding your books, it’s not too late. Xendoo provides catch-up bookkeeping for eCommerce businesses to get you on the right track and keep you from making any more eCommerce accounting mistakes.

 

At Xendoo, we know that eCommerce business owners have too much to do and not enough time to do it. But even the smallest eCommerce accounting mistakes can lead to financial repercussions down the line. If you don’t have the time to dig into your books, then let an outsourced bookkeeping and accounting service like Xendoo do it for you. Xendoo has a flat monthly fee and specializes in working with eCommerce businesses, so we have seen it all. Contact us today to learn how we can help get your books back in order.

As a new business owner, you have a lot to manage on your eCommerce site. From making sure that customers can easily find what they need to creating an easy path to purchasing your goods, it may leave less time to tidy up the little things in your accounting processes. However, these mistakes and misses can snowball into significant issues that could cost your eCommerce business profits and customers. To make sure your business is running efficiently from top to bottom, here are nine common eCommerce accounting mistakes that you need to avoid. 

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.