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Training Fido to Fetch More than a Bone

 

While “fetching” might be what some trained dogs can do, accounting systems are getting into the act too. This relatively new feature is called “receipt fetching,” and it’s when an app can retrieve documents directly from the vendors that you do business with so you don’t have to spend so much time on paperwork retrieval.

Apps that can perform receipt fetching can integrate with your accounts and pull invoices into their system. For example, if your business has an account with a utility or telecom company, the receipt fetching app can pull the electricity, water, or telephone bills into your receipt fetching app account and consolidate them.

The benefits are simple. You save time, certainly. But the bigger benefit is you no longer have a monthly deadline to get your documents to your accountant — at least for all the documents that can be automated in this way. This reduces stress and eliminates minutiae from your day.

Accountants benefit too. No accountant likes to spend their time asking clients for documents over and over again. We know you have better things to do with your time, and we know you probably hate doing the paperwork. Receipt fetching is an easy way to get the job done.

To take advantage of receipt fetching, the first step is to select a receipt-fetching app. A few of the apps to select from include LedgerDocs, ReceiptBank, HubDoc, and Greenback. Some of these apps do receipt fetching only, and others have many more functions.

The second step is to determine which vendor accounts are supported, and to connect with them. Generally speaking, the connection is based on your account credentials, so if those change, the connection will need to be updated. When many of your documents can be pulled into one place, you don’t have to spend time logging into each vendor portal to pull receipts.

If you’re curious about how to benefit from receipt fetching in your business, please feel free to reach out.

Customer Statements: When, Why, and How

If your business relies on invoices to get paid, there may be times when you need to create and send statements.

You enter into an informal contract with a customer when you send an invoice. You expect that you will receive payment in a timely fashion for goods or services you’ve sold.

That probably works most of the time. But what happens when it doesn’t, when you’ve sent a reminder and are still waiting? And what do you do when a customer orders frequently and is confused about what’s been paid and what hasn’t?

If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can easily send a statement, a list of sales transactions, credits, and payments. There are three kinds of these:

•    Balance Forward. This document emphasizes what’s currently owed by displaying it at the top. Below that is a list of sales transactions that occurred between two dates you specify.
•    Open Item. You select a date, and the statement shows all transactions that were completed before it.
•    Transaction Statement. There’s no total balance here, just the amounts billed and received for every transaction.

Setting Up Statements

Balance Forward statements cover a period of transactions that you define.

There are three way to create statements. You can:

  • Click the Plus (+) icon at the top of the screen.
  • Dispatch one while you’re in a customer record.
  • Launch a batch action from the Customer screen.

Before you create your first statement, though, make sure QuickBooks Online is set up the way you want it to be. Click the gear icon in the upper right of the screen and select Your Company Account and Settings. Click the Sales tab and scroll down to Statements. Click Statements to open the options there.

You can List each transaction as a single line or List each transaction including all detail lines. Click the button in front of the one you prefer. If you want to Show aging table at bottom of statement, click in the box. This will show customers how many days each transaction is overdue.

Click Save when you’re done.

Creating Statements

If you’ve already started entering transactions so there’s some data in QuickBooks Online, click the Plus (+) icon in the upper right corner of the screen.

Tip: If you don’t see the plus (+) icon, you’re in an active screen. Click the X in the upper right to close it, saving it first if necessary.

Click Statement, which is located under Other on the far right. Under Statement Type, select BalanceForward. Below that is the Customer Balance Status field. Do you want to see customers with open balances, those who have overdue invoices, or all customers? The third option will include credit memos.

Select a Start Date and End Date. In this example, these were 04/09/2018 and 09/09/2018, and the statement date was 09/10/2018.  Click Apply. QuickBooks Online will display a list of matching customers. Click Print or Preview at the bottom of the screen to see your statements.

In this preview, the customer’s balance forward on 04/09/2018 was $8,245.05. A catch-up payment was made on 08/09/2018 and another invoice sent on 09/01/2018, which accounts for the TOTAL DUE at the top.

From this screen, you can either Print the statements or Close to go back to the previous page, where you can Save and Send.

Two Other Options

As we stated earlier, there are two other ways to create statements. Click Sales in the left vertical toolbar and highlight the Customers tab by clicking on it. Hover your cursor over a customer and click the down arrow at the very end of that line. From the list that opens, select Create statement.

You can also hand-pick multiple customers to receive statements. With the Customers window open, click in the box in front of your choices, and then click the down arrow next to Batch actions at the top of the list. Select Create statements.

The mechanics of creating statements in QuickBooks are fairly simple. But you don’t want to send an inaccurate one to a customer. Make sure your transactions are up to date before you generate any statements, and choose your date ranges carefully. As always, we’re available to help with this task – or any other area of QuickBooks Online that might be confusing to you. We’re here to help you be pro-active to avoid problems in the long run.

The Concept of Internal Control

Internal control is a very special phrase in the accounting profession. Tactically, it’s the set of processes that help a company produce accurate data throughout the organization, follow reporting requirements and laws, and maintain consistency and accuracy in its operations. Strategically, it’s an entirely new way of thinking and doing business.

Internal control helps to reduce organizational risk. A blunt way of putting it is internal control is what you put in place to avoid mistakes, intentional or accidental, and to control accuracy and quality. It impacts every aspect of an organization.

As a small business, you’ll want to be familiar with the concept because it can help you reduce risks you might not realize you have. Here are some practical examples of good ideas that support internal control:

  • When data is private and secure, provide access only to employees who need to know the data and restrict access of others.
  • Have someone check that your bank balance matches the reconciled amount in your books and that someone should be different from the person who does the reconciliation.  This is an example of what’s called segregation of duties.
  • Lock up paper checks and use the missing check number report to make sure none of the stock could be used for nefarious purposes.
  • Have employees sign in and out equipment that they take home.  This is part of asset management.
  • Write and enforce a hardware and software use policy that includes items like employees should make sure their anti-virus software is active at all times, they should not bring in disks or CDs, and they should not download games or other unauthorized programs.  This protects from computer viruses and helps to avoid catastrophic network failures.

There are literally hundreds of internal control procedures that should be implemented in small businesses as they grow into larger businesses.

Internal control is typically a big part of an audit or an attest function in accounting; it determines how many additional procedures an auditor needs to do in order to provide assurances about the reliability of the financial reports.  But it’s also just good plain common business sense to implement as many internal control processes as are cost-effective for your business to protect it at the level of risk you’re comfortable with.

If you’d like to discuss the idea of internal control further, please feel free to reach out any time.

An Easy Way to Gain Member Confidence

 

Your members want to see you investing in and improving the gym. BUT, these do not need to be huge investments or improvements. They may be excited just to see new kettlebells!

You don’t need to invest in large items like new rowers or assault bikes on a regular basis. As long as the ones you have are working, look for small equipment that needs replacing, or to supplement where you have a short supply. Keep your eye out for good deals on those pieces and purchase when they are available. This is what the equipment account is for and you should be able to spend a small amount each quarter to keep the confidence of your members.

You might even find great equipment at another gym that is going out of business. Pick some up and try introducing it piece by piece. If your purchases are unveiled over a 3-6 month’s timeframe, it will appear as though you are making gradual improvements. If you’re due for a major equipment upgrade, you may want to reveal it all at once.

Regardless, your end result is a sizeable increase in member goodwill!

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