Most individuals and business owners are quite familiar with the usual services that an accountant can provide – tax preparation, audits, and standard bookkeeping services. What you might not already understand are some of the ways that an accountant can help you before you’re in a position of needing help for stressful or negative reasons.
Trusted Partnership Accounting is a complex language of business, and an accountant is much like an expert “translator” in the business world. They serve the role as a trusted partner - able to assist in a variety of ways including bookkeeping, tax, audit, financial reporting, consulting, etc. The best accountants will be your biggest cheerleader, maintain your best interests, and develop a long-lasting relationship with you and/or your business.
Strategic Growth If you’re a new business owner, consulting with an accounting professional can allow you to focus on your strengths, while they focus on the accounting. Outsourcing the CFO or Controller-level of work or hiring an accountant allows you more free time to focus on other business-related matters. Although hiring an accountant can be costly, the cost is an investment into the success of your business. Engaging an accountant provides valuable insight into the most efficient ways to boost income while driving down costs.
Tax Preparation For most, the mention of taxes seems daunting. Most public accountants provide tax services like tax/estate planning, tax filing, and of course, tax return preparation. Tax accountants keep up with the ever-changing tax laws to provide deduction maximization and search for additional tax benefits when applicable, knowing for certain that you have the support of an expert well-versed in the laws.
Personal Investing Whether you’re a first time or experienced investor, an investment accountant can aid in managing your investment portfolio. Examples of an investment accountant’s specialized work include staying current with regulations for reporting/management purposes, as well as tracking your returns on investments. Hiring an accountant can help individuals to get more ‘bang’ for their buck.
External Auditing External auditors give your financial statements an extra boost in quality and credibility. An audit will essentially measure the health of your business for internal and/or external use. External auditors will work with you and your financials to detect possible areas of weakness and areas for improvement in your business practices. Contrary to common auditor stereotypes, auditors want to see your business succeed by providing reasonable assurance that fraud is being prevented and government compliance is being followed in the world of business. They are not to be feared!
Jordan Poore Staff Accountant The Doty Group, P.S.
It may seem like advertising and marketing are two concepts that share exactly the same objective. In fact, they do have the same objective: alerting consumers to products and services being sold. Marketing and advertising have many things in common, but there are some differences.
Comprehension of these differences and similarities will help any business or organization with their strategy for customer and audience acquisition.
Marketing Marketing is a process that involves design, creation, research, and data mining about how to best align the idea of a product or service with the target audience. This gives the company top-of-mind awareness and name recognition. Marketing can be expensive but really should come first.
How Do You Market? Marketing involves research and analysis. This involves studying audience response and creating language and design that will best influence your target audience. Certain groups of consumers respond better to images and words than others. Slogans and mission statements that best communicate the “message” of the product are essential to marketing. Marketing strategy can be broken down into the 5 P’s: product, place, price people and promotion.
What Is Advertising? Advertising is the literal process of making a product and service known to an audience. It is the description used to present the product, idea or service to the world. This generally entails advertising campaigns in the media. An advertising campaign uses creative positioning in the media. Advertising must be timely and used in a specifically strategic way. It should always have a call to action.
Understanding the differences between marketing and advertising helps companies maximize their budgets, teams, and market reach. But you aren’t in it alone—contact MadCap Marketing to utilize our marketing and advertising experience.
Starting and growing a small business in is not an easy task. As a lender dedicated to helping small businesses it is absolutely humbling to hear stories about how people have sacrificed in order to achieve their dream of owning a small business. Whether it is a retail store, new service business or manufacturing a product, each business has its unique challenges. As most business owners know, the #1 issue small businesses face is getting access to capital.
In the United States, we have an amazing government program called The SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) The SBA works with banks in order to provide a loan guarantee to assist banks in making certain loans to small businesses when businesses do not qualify conventionally. The SBA does not directly lend money to business owners, the SBA partners with the bank to do so.
There are two main SBA lending programs.
SBA 7(a) – This program allows small businesses to finance inventory, working capital, vehicle and equipment purchases, business acquisitions and more. An average SBA 7(a) loan term (that doesn’t rely on real estate) are up to a 10 year term with market rates typically in the 5-9% range. SBA 7(a) can also be used for real estate with terms up to 25 years.
For borrowers who are seeking loans under $350,000, the SBA has the SBA Small Loan and SBA Express program that has increased overall efficiency with less paperwork the borrower needs to fill out and quicker turnaround times. With an average 7(a) loan amount around $350,000 this small loan program can really assist businesses get capital that they need quickly.
SBA 504 - This program is great for business owners looking to purchase large equipment or owner-occupied commercial real estate. An average SBA 504 Loan allows the borrower to have as low as a 10% down payment which keeps more capital in the business. The SBA lender then provides the funding for 50% of the loan and a Certified Development Company (aka the SBA portion) finances 40%. The best part of this program is that the SBA/CDC portion of the loan typically has a 10 or 20 year fixed interest rate. When applying for SBA loans, banks still look for the 5 c’s of credit:
Character -Having good credit personally and for the business will always be a big deciding factor in getting a loan. It is important to check your personal credit free each year at annualcreditreport.com.
Capacity – Be able to show you have a financial plan or historical proof on how you plan to pay back the loan. Having multiple sources of repayment is always a plus.
Capital – Lenders will always look to see how much cash or equity you put into the project. There are very few 100% lending programs for businesses available.
Collateral – Even though the SBA can be flexible with collateral, having some collateral is still required.
Conditions – How you are going to use the loan funds is also important. Make sure you have a solid budget and business plan.
1. O.M.G. One Main Goal Set one simple goal for yourself before each meeting, event or conversation with a prospective business partner. “Meet two people that also manufacture widgets and see what makes each one unique”
2. M.M.M. Meet Mingle Memorize When entering a room make sure to smile and make eye contact with people. Be courteous to those who may be greeting you. People tend to watch doorways to see who is entering. You don’t want their first impression of you to be bad. A huge part of successful networking is managing your actions and expressions. It is also important to not become so involved in a conversation that you do not have time to meet someone new. Take a mental note of the key points of the conversation or something special about the person you spoke with.
3. W.H.A.T. What is your Industry, Hobbies, All about them a little about you, Tell me more… The best questions are ones that are not a simple yes or no. “Who’s your ideal prospect?” “What is your greatest accomplishment this year?” “What do you do in your free time?” Not all conversations need to lead to a sale. Building a connection with someone that has similar interest can lead to stronger connections that are not just sales based.
4. V.A.L.U.E. Volunteer, Align, Listen, Understand, Engage Add value to all relationships. Give freely of your time, connections, knowledge, etc. and expect nothing in return. What are you amazing at that they may need help with? Who do you know that can help solve their problems? Be known as a resource and surround yourself with people who are valued resources as well.
5. T.H.E.M. Their Method Every Message There is nothing worse than the promise of a follow up that never happens. Set a realistic expectation and keep true to your word. Set aside time each week on your calendar to follow up with people you just met and to foster the relationships you already have. It is imperative to ask for their preferred contact method: email, mail, text, fax, LinkedIn, cell or office. Adapt to their preference, it’s about them and not you. When connecting make sure you send a message about a conversation that you would like to continue or why you want to connect. Follow up regularly so that you don’t become forgotten.
Most Importantly: Be yourself. Be bold. Be Daring. The worst that will happen is that one person may dislike you but ten others will adore you. Build your own tribe. Surround yourself with people you adore. It makes work so much better. If we all drank tea there would be no Tequila.
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Stephen Harrington Personal Lines Director Cross Insurance Agency