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5 Accounting Steps Every Small Business Owner Should Take

June 13, 2017 - By 

Owning a small business is no easy task, especially when it comes to the finances and accounting.

Even great businesses can struggle if proper accounting steps are not taken.

Here are 5 accounting steps to set a small business up for success.

1. Record your expenses

It is extremely important to keep track of all of a small business’ expenses.

This will not only help track the business’ spending, but it is also crucial in order to claim certain tax deductions.

Keep track of receipts, travel expenses, bank statements, credit cards, tax returns, W2 forms, 1099 forms, and any other record of spending.

2. Stay organized

It’s not hard to see that keeping track of all of these forms will result in a lot of paper, documents, and records, which can result in clutter and confusion.

But there’s no point of keeping all of these documents if they aren’t properly organized and easy to sort through when needed.

Keep your documents neatly filed and organized in a specific area, whether that’s in a certain office of the business, scanned and stored digitally, or online.

3. Understand taxes (before they’re due!)

All of these records will come in handy when tax season rolls around.

Without these records, even a professional accountant would have a hard time helping to file.

It is also important to understand what taxes different small businesses will owe, as it varies depending on the type of organization.

Is the owner self-employed? The head of an LLC? How much do they earn? Or is the business a corporation? How much does the company earn?

It’s important to know the answers to these questions, as they will affect how the business will be taxed.

4. Separate the business from the personal

Many small businesses begin with one person’s personal idea and passion.

But as they start the business, it is important to separate their personal checking account from the business’.

This allows for a clear understanding of what is a business expense versus a personal expense, which was mentioned earlier to be important for taxes and money management.

Separating the accounts will save time and money in the long run.

When opening the business account, it is important to carefully consider which bank to go to: What fees might they charge? What type of account is best for the business? Is there a minimum balance?

5. Hire a professional

A lot of this can seem overwhelming and confusing. That’s why it can be helpful to hire a professional accountant.

A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or a small business accountant with another similar certification can help with a myriad of things to keep your outfit running:

  • Cash and expense management
  • Leases
  • Taxes
  • Implementation of accounting organization or software
  • Provide guidance and advice
  • Help explain financial reports or statements.

Conclusion

Accounting is a crucial part of running a small business, no matter what type of business it is.

Continuously looking to improve the accounting of a small business and following these 5 accounting steps can help a small business be successful and organized.


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On the Rise: Why Emerging Markets Are Back

June 12, 2017 - By 
Anchor Text: small business loans http://sunwisecapital.com/business-loans/

The weakening U.S. dollar has long since been a crux in the side of the emerging markets. Those markets that shift from closed to open market economy.

Areas of the top 10 including:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • South Africa
  • Nigeria
  • Russia

Amongst a dozen others.

Yet, the 2.5% loss in the U.S. dollar (when compared to others) has presented a unique opportunity and benefit to emerging markets. The gap from 2011 to 2016 has not been kind to these regions but change is coming.

Why Emerging Markets are Back

Two interesting developments lead the new shift in attention for EM’s:

  1. A 17% gain (in 2017) for the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF
  2. A 7% gain (also in 2017) for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF

These reports have influenced Zach Pandl, the co-head of global foreign exchange and emerging markets strategy, to reevaluate its foreign exchange forecast.

Alongside comes an extensive report from Scotiabank detailing global currency forecasts and trends.

Other influences include:

  • An increase in demand for commodity due to their leveling
  • An ongoing reduction of current account deficits
  • An active set of reforms and acceleration of Chinese economies

Politics play an important role. The impeachment of Park Geun-hye of South Korea and shift in ruling parties of India are two such examples.

Lest we forget the impact of trade and business.

An influx of global outreach has been seen on a peer-to-peer level with the popularity of social lending and small business loans.

Likewise, the IT sector has seen success in emerging markets through the introduction of Internet companies, online transactions, gaming, and access to hardware.

The anticipation of new consumers in these markets are expected to contribute more than 70% of the global GDP. Areas, previously restricted in Internet access, have tripled. Mobile consumption due to cheap devices and services like Alipay play an important role.

The biggest winner is likely to be oil companies. The growing demand for new products and higher oil prices creates demand for alternatives such as solar, wind, and shale.

Michael Hartnett, Bank of America Merril Lynch’s chief investment strategist had this to say in mid-2016:

“There’s one thing that emerging markets have that everyone wants right now and it’s not raw materials or cheap labor — it’s yield. When you have negative interest rates in Europe and Japan, and zero rates everywhere else, the politics and economics of these countries becomes irrelevant.”

There are investment woes despite the positive outlook.

Investment Risks in Emerging Markets

As with any investment — there come risks.

Politics while playing a positive role in some emerging markets are not always the case in others. Political development may lag behind the economic growth and globalization which could pose a backlash from its citizens.

A general lack of transparency from companies and markets within these countries could also play a role. Fewer requirements, reporting, and human rights may create a difficult judge in investment for foreign investors.

U.S. protectionism and tension between allies and trade in China could introduce instability. A shake found in a recent executive order to withdraw the United States from NAFTA.

Growth is not guaranteed though optimism and the markets show a shift. Emerging markets create a high-risk, high-reward scenario that will be a worthy consideration for all players involved.


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7 Life Insurance Myths That are Causing Trouble

March 29, 2017 - By 
life insurance

Myths surrounding life insurance often lead to a significant issue: procrastination. But can you afford to procrastinate when it comes to the safety and security of your family?

The truth is that 86% of Americans agree that people need life insurance.

Life insurance has several functions. Its most important function is replacing income that stops flowing after the death of the insured.

The impact death has on your family can be quite dramatic, especially if you have debts to pay. Life insurance helps protect your family in case of a tragic event.

If you are considering life insurance, read on to find out about our 7 life insurance myths that are causing trouble before making your decision.

1. Only the Family Member With the Highest Source of Income Needs Life Insurance

There is a grain of truth to this myth. Yes, making sure that the family member with the highest source of income has life insurance is a wise decision.

However, this can prove to be catastrophic if a homemaker passes away, especially if you have to hire someone full-time.

Childcare can be quite expensive, not to mention cleaning and cooking services.

2. Investing Is Better Than Paying for Life Insurance

Life insurance is all about providing a safety blanket for your family. Unfortunately, there is nothing safe about investing.

You take a calculated risk when investing your money. However, it doesn’t always end well. Many investors lose money.

You can put your family into a tough situation if your investing ventures don’t go well.

3. You Should Only Purchase Life Insurance In Person

Many people think the only legitimate way to purchase life insurance is in person. However, it’s fast and easy to research life insurance online. In fact, 21% of life insurance consumers purchase life insurance online.

Though some may still prefer a human element, there are many ways to interact with agents online. It can also make the process of finding an agent much easier.

4. I Don’t Need Life Insurance If I Am Single

Even if you’re single, many of your financial burdens will pass down to your family. Funeral expenses, mortgages, or any other type of expenses can put a lot of pressure on your loved ones.

Life insurance can also be a great way to donate to your favorite charity while gaining tax benefits.

5. I Am Too Young for Life Insurance

Unfortunately, nobody knows what tomorrow holds.

When you’re younger, life insurance is a lot cheaper—even the premiums. As you age, however, the price increases, especially if you develop a medical condition.

If you’re still paying a mortgage or have college loans, you should consider purchasing a life insurance.

6. You Need a Medical Exam to Get Life Insurance

Many people hold off on life insurance because they don’t feel like going through the hassle of a medical exam.

The truth is that you don’t need a medical exam to get life insurance. You can learn about no exam life insurance from the comfort of your own home.

7. The Life Insurance Offered by My Employer Is Enough

It depends on how much debt you have, or if you have codependents.

If your debt will not put a hole in your family’s pocket and you are single, the life insurance from work will suffice. But if you have codependents, it might not be enough.

Wrapping Up

Unless you are wealthy, life insurance is the surest way to protect your family from the unexpected.

Keep in mind that there are many options for you to choose from. Don’t let the myths such as the mandatory medical exam hold you back from purchasing life insurance.


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Want to Become a Chartered Accountant? Here’s How

March 27, 2017 - By 
accountant

If you are interested in embarking on a career path and are considering becoming a chartered accountant, you need to know exactly where to start.

Chartered accountants enjoy flexible hours, high-earnings, and the ability to make a difference.

If this seems like something you’d be interested in doing, follow these steps to ensure you’re on your way to a successful career path.

Education

On the path to any new career, it’s imperative that you have the right education and training before you dive in.

Specialities

In the chartered accountant field, there are different specialties you can focus on:

  • Accountant specializing in auditing
  • Chartered management accountant
  • Chartered public and finance accountant

Regardless of which specialty you’d like to focus on, your education and training should be specific to each specialty’s needs.

Bachelor’s vs Associates Degree

Both bachelor’s and associate degrees can land you a position in the chartered accounting industry.

Whichever you decide, make sure that you’re choosing to focus your studies in business, economics, or accounting.

If you already have a degree, regardless of the field of study, you can also take additional classes to hone your skills as an accountant.

Many local and online colleges offer classes that focus on business, accounting, auditing, and finance.

Training Programs

Once you’ve gained the education, you will need to enroll in a chartered accounting training course.

Offered either in person or online, these classes will help you gain the skills needed for your future career path.

Depending on your location, these classes prepare you for your chartered accounting exams, which are necessary to become a professional chartered accountant.

Professional Experience

Many chartered accounting programs ask that you have at least three years experience working in a professional setting.

Like an internship, you should reach out to your university or college, or even your local chartered accountant association, to see where you can land a position that will enable you to gain the needed experience.

Exams

Once you’ve completed your education and training, and gained experience in a professional setting, you’re now set to take your qualifying exams.

Depending on which country you’re located in, the testing can last up to three days.

You must attain a passing score in order to be a chartered accountant.

Find a Job

So you’ve completed all your tests and studies, now you’re ready to get out into the job market!

Chartered accountants can be found in several countries around the world, so the sky is truly the limit when on the job hunt.

Some ways you can find and land a chartered accounting job:

  • Become a member of your country’s professional accountant organization. You’ll be able to network and potentially meet someone who may know of job openings.
  • Send out your resume. Sending out a letter of introduction and your resume will get your name out into the industry.
  • Search job leads online. There are tons of websites, like LinkedIn, that allow you to network and find jobs in your industry.
  • Network. In almost any job field it’s great to network with other industry professionals. Networking can land you a mentor who can help you through your career path.

Conclusion

If you’re on the hunt for an exciting career as a chartered accountant following the above steps will get you well on your way to your successful career.

Remember to focus on your education and training, and make sure once you’ve completed your exams you’re networking and looking for jobs within your industry.

Like any job search or career journey, it will take time and dedication to succeed in your goals.


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The Step-By-Step Guide to Improving Your Credit Score

March 22, 2017 - By 
credit score

Your credit score is used to determine your worthiness of credit in the eyes of banks and credit lenders.

This can have a huge impact on your interest rates and ability to obtain a line of credit in the first place.

While there are some great options for short term loans for bad credit, for the most part, your credit is going to impact your ability to get a loan too. This could be a setback in anything from getting student loans to buying a car or house.

If your credit is less than perfect, don’t just wait around and hope that it gets better. Here are the steps you need to take to improve your credit score.

1. Know what a credit score is

There are a lot of misunderstandings surrounding credit.

More than half of adults think their credit score can be found on a standard credit report — it can’t, by the way.

According to Nasdaq, “Your credit report is a compilation of credit-related information; your credit score is a three-digit number distilled from the report data.”

Meaning that checking your credit score isn’t as simple as just looking over your credit card statement every month.

2. Know what your credit score is

It’s all too easy to put off looking at your credit score, especially if you know your spending habits are less than perfect.

There are lots of options for checking your credit score that range from free one time services to those that require you to pay a fee or sign up for an account.

While researching the best option for you takes time and a bit of patience, it’s worth it, in the end, to know where you stand.

3. Dispute any errors you find in credit reports

Your credit reports include important personal information about you, run-ins with the law, and fanatical stability. This information can be sold by credit reporting agencies and used to evaluate your worthiness for everything from employment to insurance.

If you find mistakes on your credit reports, they could potentially keep that dream house out of reach or make that new line of credit impossible to obtain.

Be sure to report any mistakes to the Federal Trade Commission so corrections can be made.

4. Focus on collection accounts first

Now it’s time to get the money rolling and start chipping away at those unpaid bills and debts.

First, focus your attention on any bills that are in collections.

If a bill makes it to collections, it’s going to have a negative impact on your credit score, but you can reverse this to a certain extent by paying it off.

5. Pay off debts closest to your credit limit

It’s a common misconception that simply paying on time is good enough to earn you a good credit score.

Unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

Having a balance that’s near your credit limit can negatively impact your credit score.

Whenever possible, keep your balance around 35% of your limit.

6. Set a budget and stick to it

Budgeting is key to getting yourself out of a bad credit slump and staying out.

Set a budget that accounts for all monthly expenses and allows you to make payments toward debts and credit balances on a regular basis and, if at all possible, ahead of schedule.

If you don’t know where to start, look at bank statements and credits card reports from the last few months to see where you’re spending your money and where you can cut back.


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5 Reasons Your Business Needs Fleet Management Software

March 8, 2017 - By 
Fleet Management Software

Are the challenges that come with running a fleet of vehicles getting on your nerves?

Sure, managing a fleet of cars, vans or trucks comes with a unique set of challenges and risks. Management costs can easily spiral out of control and tracking efforts can cause you unnecessary headaches.

But now all that is about to change!

By utilizing fleet management software, you can solve the various vehicle management problems your business is facing.

Keep reading to find out the important reasons your business needs fleet management software.

The Need to Keep Costs Low

Whether you own a small or large business, every mile logged on each vehicle will affect your bottom line.

A fleet management software can help to reduce your operational costs.

For example, it can be customized to alert you every time a vehicle stays idle for a longer period than expected. Since idling wastes fuel, you can take a necessary action to ensure your long-haul drivers don’t prolong idle times.

What’s more, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that driver feedback devices can improve fuel economy by up to 10 percent!

The Need to Improve Efficiency

Without fleet management software, you have to call your drivers and dispatch them to various delivery sites.

This can be very inefficient, since some drivers may be out of reach. With the software, you’re able to make dispatches with a few clicks. You can even monitor the location of your vehicles on a single screen.

Route optimization is another fleet management software feature that helps to enhance business efficiency.

With built-in mapping information, you will be able to identify the shortest routes to various destinations before dispatching a vehicle.

Minimize Accidents

Accidents can stifle the growth of your business.

When an accident occurs, your risk losing your vehicle, personnel and the goods being delivered. Even if it’s a minor accident, delivery will be delayed and your clients may get impatient.

Although fleet management software can’t eradicate accidents, it will provide you with the information you need to minimize their occurrence.

You can monitor the performance of your drivers, detect those with erratic driving behaviors and take an appropriate corrective action.

The software also gives you the power to monitor the mechanical condition of your vehicles. You can take them in for maintenance before they develop major problems.

The Need to Comply with Regulations

The trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal and state governments to ensure the safety of other road users.

Violating a regulation can result in lawsuits and hefty fines that can reduce your profit margins.

As a business owner or fleet manager, it’s your job to:

  • hire qualified drivers
  • develop and implement driver training programs
  • prevent overloading
  • ensure vehicles are well-maintained

Fleet management software helps you to maintain compliance and stay on top of new government regulations.

The Need to Stay Two Steps Ahead of Competitors

In today’s modern world, staying on top of technology trends can mean the difference between business success and failure.

If you want to gain an edge over other trucking businesses in the market, then you should acquire the best fleet management software for your needs.

Conclusion

Fleet management can be an incredibly easy task, or it can be much harder than it needs to be.

The good news is you have the freedom to choose which side of the coin you want to be!

If you want a hassle-free experience, you know what to do. Get fleet management software that can enable you to reduce fuel expenses, increase efficiency, and minimize accidents that can cost your business.


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Why You Should Invest in Office Team Building

February 3, 2017 - By 
team building activities

Fostering a healthy workplace is crucial to seeing long term success. Your team members need to form real bonds, not just superficial friendships.

It’s certainly not the easiest thing to accomplish, as many of you already know. Getting people to set aside personal differences and work together takes time and effort.

One great way to start building inter-office relationships is through office team building exercises.

All of those team meetings and roundtable discussions actually have an impact on your office moral.

Investing time in fun team building activities makes all the difference in the long run. Here’s why.

Competition = Motivation

Friendly competition can motivate your staff to strive for success. No one likes to lose, much less to another employee.

Split your office into small teams and set up office milestones. Whichever team sells the most product per month wins!

Not only will everyone stay motivated, but team members can work together to strategize how to improve their sales techniques.

Breaking Down The “Work Barrier”

Too often people come to the office, do their job, and leave. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn’t foster any office friendships.

Take some time to hold open forums where people can talk about their personal lives.

If your workplace condones it, happy hours are actually a great way to break down the stuffy “office” personas many people develop.

A little social lubrication can get people out of their shell and discussing their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and more.

If happy hours aren’t your thing, keeping Friday’s casual also work. Encourage social hours at the end of the week when everyone is in a good mood.

Building Team Spirit

There’s a reason the saying goes “There is no I in team.” People tend to work better when they feel like they’re a part of something bigger.

It’s the same reason professional athletes are expected to form bonds with one another.

Work ethic, office pride, and productivity are all improved when your employees feel like they’re relying on each another to accomplish a goal.

Inclusiveness Breeds Ideas

People do their best work when they feel like their opinion matters. After all, no one’s going to speak up when everything they say is dismissed.

Fostering an inclusive intellectual environment ensures that your office is utilizing all of its resources.

Imagine if someone had a million dollar idea, but was afraid to speak up. That can happen if people aren’t welcoming.

Encourage all of your employees that there is no such things as a bad idea.

Everyone Need A Break

Team building exercises are the time when your employees get to unwind around the office and have fun.

Stressful work environments don’t help anyone focus at best, and at worst stifle creativity.

There’s a reason the Google’s and Apple’s of the world offer laid back work environments.

If you’re on the fence about starting a team building curriculum around the office, don’t wait. Investing in a cohesive office environment will pay for itself in the long run.


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When Does it Make Sense to Use a Payday Loan?

December 16, 2016 - By 
There are times we need cash – it happens. Payday loans can be controversial, but does it ever make sense to use one? We’re sharing answers here.

You’ve probably been told that you should avoid going into debt at all costs.

Except to buy a house, or a car, or…well, I guess people are contradictory.

But, it’s not a good idea to take out a loan on a whim. You need a good reason.

The same applies to payday loans. These loans can cost you if you aren’t in the right place to use them and pay them back. So we’re here to tell you how to make sure it’s the right time to take out a payday loan.

No Credit Check

One of the best things about payday loans is that they require no credit check. You could have the worst credit in the world and qualify for a loan.

If you’ve had your credit checked recently, you might not want it checked again. If you’ve had a hard inquiry into your credit, you will definitely want to avoid another credit check. These kinds of credit checks will remain on your record for two years.

Your Family Is The Mob

One piece of advice that often floats around is that you should approach your family first. But what if your family is the mob and you’re an outcast? You certainly can’t go to them.

Plus, if you go to your family, you might end up with damaged relations after if you can’t pay it back immediately.

Avoid that sticky situation by getting a payday loan. You will not have the weird emotional ties to your lender that you have with your family. At least, we hope you don’t.

It’s strictly business with lenders like LittleLoans and others, nothing else. You go in, you pay the fees, you come out with the money. No questions asked.

Weigh The Cost

Did you already make the mistake of taking a loan from your mob family? That’s probably why you’re estranged, isn’t it? You may even be having to make payment drops in the garbage downtown at the park every month. To avoid being late on your “garbage bill” you might want to consider taking out a payday loan.

Going back to the credit thing, on a more serious note. Have you been pretty faithful on your payments on other things? What about a mortgage or car payment? What would happen if you missed one of those payments?

Sometimes it’s worth taking out a short-term loan just to make your payment on time. Sometimes you can lose as much as 50 points on your credit score if you are late on one mortgage payment. You really want to protect your credit at all costs.

Inventions Can’t Wait

Are you a world-class inventor? But, you’re working at a factory while you try and get your work patented. The deadline for that patent doesn’t line up exactly with your next paycheck, huh?

Well, a payday loan might be perfect for you. If you’re trying to get your foot in the door when it comes to starting your own business, this kind of loan might be for you.

Besides, these loans are meant to be paid within a few weeks after you borrow anyway.

Conclusion:

There are many reasons why you might want a fast and immediate small loan. Don’t go without money today when your paycheck comes tomorrow. Get a payday loan now.