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Using Custom Fields in Your Accounting Software

Using Custom Fields in Your Accounting Software

Custom fields in your accounting software are data fields that you can define yourself. They are typically associated with customers, vendors, employees, and items, and they can help you store and categorize additional information about these stakeholders and your products and services in your business.

An example custom field that can be associated with customers is their anniversary date with you. You could also decide to store their birthday, their spouse’s name, their favorite color, or their shoe size.

Custom fields add functionality to your accounting system. Here are a few examples of practical uses for custom fields:

  • Staff contact for customer – if customers are assigned a particular staff member, you can add their name in a custom field
  • Frequency of service – daily, weekly, monthly
  • Warehouse location
  • Type of customer; for example, hospitals, pharmacies, retirement homes
  • Referring physician
  • Preferred method of contact: email, phone, fax, text, chat
  • License number

Some software allows you to choose the type of custom field you want to add. In some cases, this allows for cleaner data as the data can be limited to a certain type or certain values upon entry. Here are the most common types:

  • Free form text – this is the default type; it can come as a single line or paragraph
  • Check box – choose one or more values from a limited number of choices
  • Radio button – choose only one value from a limited number of choices
  • Drop down – choose a value from a dropdown list
  • File upload – add an attachment
  • Image upload – upload an image that will be displayed
  • Date/time – enter a date or time
  • Number – enter a number; it can be currency, integer, or another mathematical type of number

Custom fields allow you to meet your company’s unique needs over and above what the software provides by default. It’s a great way to make your data more meaningful. If you have some ideas for custom fields in your accounting software and want help setting them up, feel free to give us a call anytime.

“Materials and Subcontractors” for a fitness business? Yes!

“Materials and Subcontractors” for a fitness business? Yes!

By now you know we are huge fans of Profit First. Yet, we still meet people who haven’t read it. If that’s you, STOP right now and go read that first!

K…now that’s out of the way.

We’ve spent the last three years working with Mike (yes, I’m on a first name basis with the author of Profit First), customizing Profit First implementations for fitness businesses, mostly microgyms and yoga studios.

One question we get asked a LOT is…what are materials and subcontractors in this industry?

For those of you who didn’t stop as told above, or as a reminder for those of you who read the book years ago, in the book, Mike (I still have monthly coaching calls with him) defines materials as the stuff required to manufacture your product or those purchased strictly for resale in your retail store.

Subcontractors are people who work for you on a project basis and have the ability to work autonomously and for others. They are not on payroll; they are paid a project fee, commission or hourly rate and they handle their taxes, benefits, etc. themselves.

Mike also says the only time these expenses matter in your Profit First implementation is when they are greater than 25% of your top line revenue. (Don’t know what that is? Seriously – go read the book!)

So, what does all this mean for you? Usually, nothing! We reverse the order we look at these definitions. Use your cost of retail purchases and commissions, if it’s less than 25% of your Top Line Revenue, leave those costs in Operating Expenses and move on.

Now, here’s the part that may hurt a little, if the cost of the retails goods you purchase for resale in the retail area of your studio is greater than 25% of your Top Line Revenue, you have a retail store with a side yoga studio or gym, not the other way around.

In some bigger facilities operating in very specific business models, commissions may be greater than 25% of Top Line Revenue. In that case, you should have an advanced Profit First account called Commissions and allocation to that account first and determine your Real Revenue before calculating any other allocations.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a retail account too. It’s just that it should be a sub account of Operating Expenses. This requires you to be more critical of your retail purchases and vendors to ensure resale before purchasing.

If you have any questions calculating your Real Revenue or commission percentage, reach out – we’d love to help you get this right!

Protecting Client’s Credit Card Numbers

Protecting Client’s Credit Card Numbers

Does your business ask your customers for their credit card numbers at any time during the sales process? If so, it’s essential that you honor the privacy of your customers’ private data as well as stay in compliance with the Payment Card Industry rules.

Every business that has an account with a merchant services vendor is required to follow PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance when collecting and storing credit card data. There are many different levels of compliance depending on the technology you use to capture and store credit card data. These levels depend on whether you use a point of sale terminal, the customer hands you their card, orders are entered through an online shopping cart, or a combination.

In all cases, there are several no-no’s that you’ll want to share with your staff to make sure they are properly trained:

  1. Never ask a client to send a credit card number via unsecure email.
  2. Never take down a credit card number over the phone on paper before entering it into your system. If you do, you need to shred the paper immediately.
  3. Don’t ask clients to take a photo of their credit card to send to you.

If you need to use credit card authorization forms in your business, you’ll need to consider the proper collection of these forms as well as the proper storage. Storing a credit card outside any system requires you to follow further PCI compliance steps.

  1. After a client has signed and completed the credit card authorization form, you will need to provide a secure, encrypted email connection for them to send it back to you. Alternately, you can set up a private client portal for them using Box, DropBox, ShareFile, or another generic portal or file transfer app. Just sending a pdf via email is not a great idea unless the PDF is password-protected and the password is sent via secure, encrypted email.
  2. Once you’ve received the form on your end, you’ll need to keep it in a secure place. If you print or download it, you’ll need to follow physical building security protocols to stay in compliance with PCI as well as to protect the customer data.

It’s not a surprise that so many credit cards get hacked each year. It’s inconvenient to customers and vendors when their credit card gets compromised, and much of this can be prevented through proactive and safe measures. Respect your customers and help them keep their credit card data safe.

If we can help with any questions, please contact us at any time.

Is it Profitable to Blog?

Is it Profitable to Blog?

One of the many online marketing options available for businesses is blogging. A blog can act as a company’s daily newspaper, letting customers and followers know the latest news about what’s happening. It can also be a wonderful revenue-generator.

As long as the content of your blog is relevant to your readers, you can post on a wide variety of topics. You might want to let clients know about an upcoming event, a new employee, or a tip related to a service of yours.

Some businesses make a separate revenue stream out of blogging. The most profitable blog today is the Huffington Post. Revenue from blogging can be earned in many ways:

  • By selling ad space to people who want to get their products in front of people who read your blog
  • From sponsors
  • By holding events your readers attend
  • From commissions from the sale of products on your site
  • By creating products and services such as membership sites which allow paid access to your resources

Making money from blogging through one of these revenue streams takes work. Not only do you have to find or create content, you’ll need to attract readers too.

You can also simply use your blog to generate a following for your products and services. The right content can improve customer service, educate customers on your products which leads to better client retention, or inform them of the benefits of your products during your sales cycle.

If you’re not a writer, there are plenty of freelance writers available that you can hire to create your blog posts. You can also curate articles, meaning you can find existing articles and ask the author if you can re-publish theirs.

Creating a blog is easy with software like WordPress or apps like Blogger.com WordPress.com, and Wix.com, and all of these solutions are free.

Think about how a blog can impact your business for the better.

If we can help with any questions, please contact us at any time.

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