Do You Need To Hire A Personal Accountant?

Businesses are required by law to keep financial records and books but individuals are not. The problem is that when you do not keep records and books you can be faced with a really costly mistake. Credit card statements and bank statements can be wrong. Discovering this normally happens way too late for corrections to be made when a tight grasp on personal finances is not in place.

The big question that appears is whether or not you have to hire a professional. According to accountants at Schell & Associates, you actually have 3 options to take into account.

Using The Expert

When there is no time available or you think that your time is better spent doing something else, professional help is an option to consider. The problem in this case is that the term “personal accountant” is used way too loosely. You have to hire the right professional based on needs:

  • Accountant – This professional has official accounting training and is more than capable of handling bookkeeping chores. Hourly rates will be higher than with bookkeepers or certified personal accountants.
  • Bookkeeper – This is basically a concierge service for personal finances. He can pay your bills, look at CC statements and balance checkbooks, among many other things.
  • CPA – Such an accountant is certified by the AICPA and hourly fees are the highest, even going as high as $50 per hour.

Doing It Yourself

Nowadays, you can use software and various cloud technology options in order to keep financial records. Mind and Quicken are just two of the options that are now available. You have to look for such options in the event you do not need professional advice and all you really have to do is to keep records. You should only consider this if you have at least basic accounting knowledge though. If you do not understand the terms in the software you will not really do a great job.

Combining The Two Options

An interesting option is to start with bookkeepers in order to set up personal accounting. You want to find someone that is knowledgeable with the programs you will utilize. These specialists are more than capable of setting up your accounts and you then put information in them. This is going to drastically simplify your tax return preparation. At the same time, the bookkeepers can look over your books from time to time to make sure everything is properly filed. You can also use an accountant for this but the hourly costs will be much higher and you should think about this option only when you need some real help.

Conclusions

Think about your current situation in order to figure out what the best option is in your case. The combined opportunity is definitely the one that you want to seriously take into account though. This is because it is easy to make mistakes if you are not a trained bookkeeper or accountant. Most people do not know anything about personal finances and accounting so there is absolutely no shame in that.

Buying research chemicals online – Safety tips

The online drug trading is an industry by itself. Interestingly, there are competitors that do not keep any stones unturned in proving that one is better than the other. There is open competition virtually and this is what makes it a real challenge to zero-in on the right vendor when it comes to buying research chemicals.

Every other website is competing to offer the best product online on the basis of certain parameters like purity, quality of customer service and support, promptness with which the products are delivered, professionalism, prices, and hassle free- mode of payment.

Buying research chemicals or any chemical for that matter can be quite tricky and challenging. This is because most importantly, you have to comply with the norms that govern the privacy and safety, and security in dealing with these products.

There are a set of regulations that you have to comply with. In this write up, let us find out how you can purchase the same without hassle. The information has been provided in a bulleted form for better clarity. Read on.

Tips for buying research chemicals online

Go through the following points for better insight on the subject-

 

  • Do your home work (due diligence)

 

Prior to hitting the ‘submit’ button for making payment or the ‘place order’ button, it is best to carry out thorough research about the vendor from whom you are planning to make the purchase. If possible, you can shop around for a few and then settle for the one that you think will meet your requirements.

There are few parameters that can help you to compare the services and products offered by different vendors. These parameters include quantity, quality, past track record of the vendor, online reviews, and last but not the least cost.

 

  • Getting in touch with the seller

 

You can also contact the seller directly. There are various options like live chat, emails, instant chats, and so on. It is best to talk to the seller directly. In this way, you will come to know whether or not the vendor is genuine.

A seller that has been dealing with these chemicals for long is expected to be aware of the nuances of the same and will be able to give you satisfactory answers.

 

  • Examine products with utmost care

 

When you are browsing through the list of research chemicals so that you can order them, go through the finer aspects carefully. For instance, the appropriate dosage, quantity, and quality as mentioned above. Since, you are buying them online, it is easier to get duped. As such, you have to thoroughly check the credentials of the seller so that you know that you will receive authentic products through shipment. In other words, there must be no room for unprofessionalism.

 

  • Shipping policies

 

Even before you make the payment, just make sure that you are thorough with their shipping policies, refund, and payment options and policies. In the event, you want to replace or change any product, you will know whether or not replacement is allowed or makes sense.

 

  • Shipping methods

 

Find out how you are going to receive the shipment and most importantly, how long will it be before you have it delivered at your door step.

 

  • Payment mode

 

This is one of the most essential aspects that you need to take into account just after quality of the products. If you happen to talk to one of the professionals while chatting live, you can ask the mode of payment and the one which is safer and prompt. Find out which mode of payment best applies in your case.

WordPress and Internet of Things – An Overview

Now that the hype about social media and E-commerce has faded substantially, the next happening thing that is fast catching the fancy of people and particularly entrepreneurs is the so called IOT or Internet of Things. The fact that innumerable “internet enabled devices” are making inroads into the consumer market and that WordPress is only too happy to “embrace it” makes the entire phenomenon even more exciting. More about the same subject has been discussed in the paragraphs that follow. So, read in for better insight.

Internet of Things and its impact on human race

This aspect is expected to change every facet of human life. Right from so called optimization of your homes to the manner in which you travel, there is a revolutionary shift in the lives of human beings.

How will it improve lifestyle? Experts are of the opinion that it will enhance the quality of life, improve productivity and output at workplace, carry out analysis of data effectively, which will materialize without the assistance of any machinery. Prior to delving deeper, let us find out, what is IOT in the first place.

The inventor of Internet of Things is Kevin Ashton. However, the concept prevailed even way back in the 1970s and was referred to as “pervasive computing”. The other name for it was “embedded internet”.

What is Internet of Things

When several devices are connected through the internet, it is called IOT. In other words, it means the devices that are connected will be-

  • Interactive
  • Autonomous
  • Have intelligence
  • Stay connected at all times

Generally speaking, it is all about providing information to us through these internet enabled devices or to the applications that are cloud based. And what are these devices in the first place? These devices can range from washing machines, refrigerators, mobiles phones, machinery, or any equipment.

WordPress and IOT

Implementation of IOT in WordPress domain is possible. One of the most popular technologies that have surfaced lately is that of WP REST API, the short form for Word Press Representational State Transfer. This makes it possible for WordPress and IOT to work in tandem effectively and in a much easier manner. Let us see how-

  • Let us say, you are a professional blogger. Being one, it is quite natural you will receive comments. IOT and WordPress can be worked out in a manner in which you receive a notification by setting up a bell. This bell will ring the moment you receive a comment on the post or you need to reply promptly to your visitors.
  • As a business owner, you have to attain a target. You can set up “flagging” off this instance. Whenever, your company achieves the sale target, it will flag off.
  • Most importantly, you can make IOT and WordPress work in tandem by making an arrangement wherein you receive a message on your mobile the moment your website suffers downtime. It will help you to take instant action to carry out the troubleshooting process.
  • There are several other instances, when WordPress as well as Internet of Things can work in tandem. One such instance is so called “sensor-to-machine” arrangement. In this arrangement, WordPress is essentially the sensor.

Future of Internet of Things

  • Experts are of the opinion that by the year 2020, IOT market will have crossed $3 trillion.
  • Also, by the same year (2020), the Business Insider states that there will be around 24 billion IOT enabled devices that will be connected virtually far exceeding the recorded 10 billion computing devices (traditional) that include desktop computer, hand held devices, and smart phones.
  • Gartner anticipates that by the year 2022, a single household might have IOT enabled devices that can exceed 500 in number.

3 inexpensive and free ways to market your business

 

It doesn’t matter how good your products or services are if no one knows they exist or where to find them. As such marketing is one of the most important aspects of launching and growing a brand or company. However, it can be expensive to hire a promotions company to handle your marketing campaign so here are a few ways you can affordably kick-start it on your own.

 

  1. Print and post flyers

 

People have been using flyers to promote their businesses and events for what seems like forever. It is an old way but a good way to tell people about who you are and what you do. You can print flyers yourself or pay a professional to do it for you. Put them in places you thin your customers are likely to be. If your service or product is aimed at children take them to schools and give them to the office to hand out. If your services are based in one area then ask local shops to put them in the window or on the counter. If it is a service or product that is aimed at a lot of people like a take away or window cleaning service then put your flyers through people’s doors.

 

  1. Utilise social media

 

Speaking of social media, it is a gem for marketing. Everyone and their gran uses it these days. Build profiles on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Add a fan page on facebook. The one that works best will depend on your target audience and what you are offering. If your service is quite visual like photography, make up or hair dressing you might find Instagram to be the best but for business to business LinkedIn might be better. Use hashtags when you are sharing photos or updates to new and loyal customers can find you. You will build a natural fanbase by sharing and getting your friends and family to share your page. You can join related groups on social media and interact to build an audience base and relationships with prospective clients/customers. It is also a good idea to set up advertising campaigns to get more fans on facebook. You can set this up via your page and be specific about who you target.

 

  1. Be creative with a publicity stunt

 

One of the most effective ways to raise awareness is by coming up with your own publicity stunt.  Doing something that can’t be ignored will attract attention from customers and the media so you get free advertising. Competitions, humorous satire and cheeky advertising all work well. Make sure whatever you do relates to your brand and industry and can easily be shared.  Dove’s campaign for real beauty used real women instead of models to promote the brand. Cheeky publicists planted hundred of tiny gnomes in Manchester and Liverpool to promote the release of Gnomeo& Juliet in 2013. A bit of creativity can work wonders especially in the age of camera phones and social media.

 

If you want to hire a professional to help you with your marketing but don’t have the funds to do then why not get a guarantor loan with buddy loans? It could be just what you need to get you started.

The Huge Embezzlement Problem Facing Small Businesses

Back in 2011, a Colorado woman, who was a bookkeeper for a small Welding Supply company managed to embezzle more than $460,000 through forged checks over a 4-year period. Her actions led to the demise of the business and the bankruptcy of its founders, a mother-son team. The mother, who was planning on the business to generate her retirement, now lives 100% on Social Security.

The employee was a daughter of a respected friend, who came across very competent in her initial job interview. He completely trusted her and as the business was sinking, chalked up their financial struggles to the economy. He had no idea that most of his profits were being siphoned out the back end of his company. In expressing his disbelief, he lamented how she had sat straight across from him in a desk every morning. According to David Moorhead, of The Moorhead Law Group in Boulder, Colorado, this 2011 white collar crime case would have been a simple one to avoid, had the business owner, simply had some basic checks and balances in place for reviewing profit and loss statements.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, most embezzlement in the United States, classified as a “white collar crime,” happens in small businesses. According to the 2016 Hiscox Embezzlement Study, four out of every victim organizations had fewer than 100 employees and just about half had fewer than 25 employees. 82% of all embezzlement cases took place in organizations with fewer than 150 employees. It seems that smaller organizations are particularly vulnerable because employees generally have more empowerment and higher trust.

So many of the embezzlement cases involve seemingly ordinary, yet trustworthy people, who turn out to be heartless criminals. The Hiscox study cites one case where a female bookkeeper in Maryland stole more than $1.3 million dollars from four different non-profits. The stolen money was slated to provide services for disadvantaged children and the homeless. The study points out that it is common for the most trusted and least suspected employees to carry out embezzlement. Sometimes these employees may fall on desperate times and having access to company funds start small and when they realize that no one in the company noticed, the theft cascades from there.

The Hiscox study references 4 of the largest cases by region. A Utah insurance agency owner, who stole $4 million, a controller at a manufacturer in the Midwest who stole $8.7 million, a controller of a Connecticut hedge fund who stole $9 million and a Texas bakery executive, who with his wife stole $16.7 million. These 4 cases alone, total $38.4 million dollars. These large losses are more rare, however, and the median loss is $294,354.

These facts and figures highlight the need for small to medium-size business owners to make sure that checks and balances are in place so that there aren’t any loopholes that can be exploited in this way. The study offers a few tips as to how companies can protect themselves.

  1.       Implement Checks and Balances
  2.       Watch for any major changes to employee lifestyles
  3.       Promote trustworthiness and integrity in company culture
  4.       Talk with employees about fraud detection and internal controls. Have them sign a code of ethics.
  5.       Complete background and credit checks on employees who will be handling money.
  6.       Review cancelled checks that come directly from the bank.
  7.       Don’t assume employees with longer tenure aren’t capable of embezzlement.
  8.       Don’t give end-to-end responsibilities for accounting to single employees.

These steps can help businesses stay on top of and notice this type of crime before it is too late. Remember, the person that may be stealing funds from your company could be sitting in the desk just across from you.

5 Personal Finance Apps You Must Have For Better Money Management

If you are cautious about your money and want to keep track of where you spend without going over the budget then you need a finance app. Most people check their phone more than 50 times a day because it is the hub of all information where you get whether updates to news on stocks. If you want to manage your money, stick to a budget and even handle investment decisions all the smart way, there are many professional finance apps for you in the app store but not every app out there is useful.

We have compiled a list of 5 Personal Finance Apps You Must Have for Better Money Management that will help you make better decisions about your money and put it to good use.

Mint

Mint is hands down the best app for managing your money. You can create a budget on Mint and track your spending and get a better idea where all your money is going when you see all you’re spending on the screen. You can then make an informed decision about where you want to actually spend your money.

You can connect all your bank and credit card accounts with the Mint app and your monthly bills so you do not have to log in to multiple sites to see your expenses. You can see all the money flow on the single screen on Mint. It informs you when the bills are due, what you owe and what you have to pay. You will even get payment reminders through notifications and mails so you can avoid the late fees.

You Need a Budget

You need to use the You Need a Budget app is you want to get out of debt. If you are tired of spending on thing you do not necessarily need then you need an app that reminds that you are going over the predetermined budget. If you are already in debt, you really need this app. If you do not want to keep living paycheck to paycheck then you need to get smart about your spending.

You Need a Budget makes a budget based on your current income and how much debt you have so you can pay it off. This app is really effective as the average user of this app pays off $500 on the first month of using this app to manage his finances.

Wally

Wally is a great app for tracking all your expenses. If you wonder where all your money went at the end of each month then you need to track your expenses. Nobody has the time to remember or write down each spending in today’s lifestyle so Wally does it for you. You just have to take a photo of the receipt and Wally will fill out all the details automatically and add them to your spending. Wally is absolutely free and very useful finance app.  You can see all your spending at one place which will help you manage your cash flow.

Acorns

Acorns will help you save your money so you can put it to good use. Won’t you love another 100$, 500$ or even a 1000$ in your bank account at the end of each year? Acorns will make you money automatically and the process is very simple. Every time you pay electronically with your credit or debit card, Acorns rounds it off to the next dollar and invests the difference into portfolio of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) which you can select based on your risk preference.

Level Money

Level Money will help you determine what your ideal monthly, weekly and daily spending should be. Once you connect Level Money with your bank accounts, it will analyze your income and your recurring bills and make your budget so you can spend smart and save whenever you can. Level Money will also come up with an amount that you need to be saving every month and deducts it from your monthly income. You can track the money flow easily using this app continently on your smartphone.

You can download these apps on TutuApp & Appvn app store. So these were the 5 Personal Finance Apps You Must Have For Better Money Management which will help you get smart with your money.  

How to Better Prepare Your Business for Emergencies

Problems are part of running a business. You can’t expect business operations to be smooth all the time, since there will be issues and unexpected things to face along the way. It is not always possible to prepare for all of them either, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a set of contingency plans.

You can increase your chances of success and safeguard your business by having better emergency plans. There are safety measures to put in place as well. Here are the steps to take to better prepare your business for emergencies.

Recognize Risks and Develop Basic Plans

The first thing you need to do is identify the risks. You can’t expect to formulate emergency plans when you don’t know the kind of risks you’re facing along the way. In the service industry, for instance, third-party liabilities, bad service, and loss of staff or key personnel are identifiable risks you can anticipate.

Get together with key figures in your business and brainstorm the potential risks your business is facing on a constant basis. Manufacturing interruptions, distribution issues, customer complaints, and even natural disasters should be on your list. Don’t forget to include any specific risks you come across and don’t hesitate to go into detail.

For the identifiable risks, it is easy to develop basic plans. Natural disasters are often unavoidable, but you can protect your business through the use of insurance. The same can be said for third-party liabilities and workplace accidents. Interruptions to business operations may require more planning, but there is always a solution you can put in place.

Formulate Procedures

Being prepared is key. Now that you have a set of basic plans on how to deal with emergencies, it is time to develop them further into procedures that anyone can follow. Translate the steps that need to be taken into actual procedures, with details about who to contact or how to handle the situation added to the formula.

Let’s say you anticipate issues in the warehouse due to a broken forklift. Search for a good forklift repair service in Toronto – or one near your business operation – and add the contact information to your emergency plan. It is even better if you can contact the service provider beforehand or if you already have a relationship with the company.

Ensure Business Continuity

Dealing with emergencies is only the first half of the process. Your emergency plans must also include steps to ensure business continuity. How must business files be restored in the event of a hardware failure? How can customer complaints be handled quickly?

With business continuity in mind, you can also put safety measures in place. Setting aside an emergency fund is a great start. Working with a reputable insurance company whose claim process is quick and efficient is also a good safety measure to have. Figure out ways to resume operations as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Combined, these elements will help to protect your business operations. Having contingency plans in place will help your business react to emergencies properly, even when you’re not directly involved with the situation or the recovery process.

How Your Business Can Prevent Check Fraud

The rumors of the death of paper checks have been greatly exaggerated. A 2016 article in the Washington Post noted that 97 percent of small businesses still use checks to make and receive payments. In addition, many larger businesses also use paper checks, including schools, medical offices, and building firms. For these businesses and others that still use checks, preventing fraud is a key concern. The following strategies can help reduce the risks.

Share Accounting Duties Within Your Organization

Image via Flickr by Cydcor

It’s disturbing to note that check fraud often occurs within an organization. You can minimize the risk of internal fraud by sharing your accounting duties among many employees.

Do not trust any one employee to oversee a financial transaction from start to finish. Get different people to write and sign your checks. The person who records your receivables shouldn’t be the same employee who opens the account department’s mail or who reconciles the accounts. When workers can check and double-check each other’s work, the chance of internal check fraud occurring is greatly reduced.

As an extra layer of security, you should be the one to receive your business’s bank statements. Evaluate each line of the statement, paying careful attention to the details of all checks written.

Carefully Inspect All Checks Received

Modern checks have a number of security features that are difficult to replicate on an ordinary printer. Encourage your workers to look for these features when receiving checks from customers.

Many have microprinted words, which appear like lines until you look closely. Heat-reactive markings that fade under the pressure of touch, but reappear seconds later, are also common. You’ll also usually see checks with holographic seals and intricate designs on the back.

Most personal checks don’t have all these features, but if you can’t see any of them, there’s a good chance the check is fake. Finally, look for a padlock on the front of the check, next to the amount line. This denotes a check meets the Check Payment Systems Association standard for security.

You’re well within your rights to refuse any check you suspect is fraudulent. Remember, banks can also refuse checks that don’t meet minimum security standards, so if you’re not convinced of a check’s authenticity there’s a good chance your bank will feel the same way.

Use Inks That Can’t Be Washed Off

Washing off ink with solvents is one common tactic used by fraudsters. You can stay one step ahead of them by signing your checks with ink resistant to these substances.

Use Tamper-Proof Checks With Special Security Measures

Many modern checks are much more secure than the paper checks of the past. If you’re concerned about security, use tamper-proof checks to make your business payments. These paper checks have a tamper-resistant security coating. If someone tries to alter the addresses or check amount, a visible stain will appear, rendering the check unusable.

As with all payment methods, accepting paper checks carries a degree of fraud risk. However, if you consider the following strategies, your business’s chances of becoming a fraud victim are greatly reduced.

Reigning in Expenses to Help Your Business Prosper

Most businesses are geared towards generating profit for their owners. A business’s ability to minimize costs, maximize revenues, and optimize profits determines how successful it will be in the market. When times are tough, businesses will struggle to attract new clients, and fixed expenses quickly eat into diminishing profits. During tough times, it’s important to evaluate the performance of the business objectively.

Sometimes it is possible to boost productivity, reduce costs, and increase profits by implementing change management. This can take the form of novel technology, job enrichment, a switch to cloud-based computing, or any other number of innovative solutions. Initially, there may be some resistance to change within the organization but once the new system is in place and functioning optimally it will be embraced by all. Cost-cutting measures are essential to the profitability of a company.

Characteristics of successful enterprises

The cyclical nature of business all but assures entrepreneurs that lean periods may be followed by prosperity. Provided a business sticks to its mandate of strategy-based objectives, a customer-centric focus, profit maximization (for-profit enterprises), and optimal use of scarce resources, it should always turn a profit. Of course, there is never a good time to rest on one’s laurels when running a business. Complacency has relegated many of the world’s finest businesses into the annals of obscurity. Successful businesses are always navigating hurdles, meeting challenges head on and embracing opportunities.

Outsourcing is a terrific way to reduce costs in a business. Many companies around the world are turning to freelance workers, consultants and recruitment agencies to provide for their temporary staffing needs. It is simply too expensive to nurture a team of workers from inception through their development and training. For this reason, companies are choosing to forgo all the costs associated with full-time employees and opt instead for professional consultants for their work needs. There are multiple areas that businesses can cut costs, including human resources, legal, accounting and finance, packaging, and manufacturing. Cost-cutting is also possible with bank fees. For example, international money transfers can be dramatically reduced by opting for non-bank sources of financing over traditional bricks and mortar financing options.

Managing debt effectively

An area of businesses that people tend to struggle with is debt. Debt is the monster that keeps on growing in a business, especially if fixed costs are high and business owners are locked into expensive rental agreements. When debt levels start to balloon out of control, and business credit card expenses are quickly adding up it may be time totake steps to debt consolidation.Just south of Canada, the typical American household owes $134,643 in debt. Unbeknownst to many, it is possible to consolidate debt by combining debt into a single monthly repayment. This is typically done at a much lower interest rate than the individual debt repayments on higher interest loans. Businesses can certainly benefit with debt consolidation because it is easier to manage a single monthly repayment than it is to manage multiple repayments. Additionally, debt consolidation results in lower payments every month.

These steps will certainly help you to focus on better ways to manage your business’s finances while maximizing your profits and achieving organizational objectives.

3 Ways To Save Money In Your Business Operations

Expenses from business operations are among the highest contributors to overhead in any business. According to the United States Census Bureau, the estimated annual operating expense of a grocery store is around $144,000 while those in the accommodation and food service business is around $559,700. While these are big numbers, the good thing is that a lot of these expenses can come from repetitive minor tasks. In other words, minor cost improvements in business operations can have a cascading effect which can save your business thousands of dollars each year.

Reduce Paper Consumption

Paper consumption is one of the biggest reasons why businesses incur massive operational expenses. Contrary to popular opinion, consumption of paper is in fact on the rise. According to one study, Americans consume as much as 500 lbs of paper per capita each year. Companies in the United States spend $120 billion annually on printed documents and forms. A major reason for this is essentially an improper execution of paperless strategies. Simply moving towards digital alternatives should help companies save several thousands of dollars each year in operational expenses.

Move Your Contracts And Invoices To The Cloud

Businesses routinely keep physical and digital copies of their contracts and past invoices for the sake of auditing and future exigencies. This is an operational expense that only increases with every passing year. Aside from the costs of storing these documents physically and digitally, such archives are also at danger of being permanently destroyed in case of fire or burglary. One way to insure the safety of these documents and also to reduce the operational costs is to migrate these documents to the cloud. Besides centralizing your document management, such contract management tools also help with better data protection and seamless collaboration. In terms of operational expenses, businesses can bring down the costs from several thousand dollars each month to just a few hundred dollars.

Doing away with a physical office

Does your business really need that swanky office in the CBD? Unless your business really demands it, it is a good idea to encourage telecommuting and BYOD at the workplace. Letting your staff work from home is a good way to reduce commuting time and also save on office space. This makes your employees more productive than they are at an office workspace. You could still schedule weekly face-to-face meetings with your employees by renting temporary office space at one of the many coworking spaces in your city.

But sometimes, one reason to lease an office in the expensive areas of the city is to establish your credibility among clients. For this purpose, you could look into a virtual office address service in your city. Such services let you advertise a commercial office address in the expensive areas of the city for a small monthly fee. Not just that, you can choose to have all packages delivered to this address get automatically rerouted to your actual business address.

Doing away with a hard copy of a document or saving electricity costs by asking your employees to telecommute might seem like a rather cheap fix to a complex problem. But, in reality, it is not. Paper, electricity and real estate are some of the biggest contributors to operational expense and reducing these go a long way in bringing down operational overhead for your business.