Tag: accounting

Free for All: The Customer Love Challenge

Sweet Little Bird
Creative Commons License photo credit: geishaboy500

Well, that sounds a little pervy doesn’t it? It’s really not; let me explain.

LaVonne Ellis, who is The Complete Flake (no really, she calls herself that), took a leap in November of last year and hosted the very first ever customer love challenge in which participants were challenged to lavish time and attention and LOVE on their customers for 28 days with no strings attached. The last two days were left for asking for something back.

LaVonne must have gotten more than she bargained for because she’s hosting it again this November with help and a dedicated website.

The Love in Action

I want you to ask those questions about your business management and accounting that you’ve been putting off, don’t know who to ask or aren’t quite sure what to ask. Ask me and I’ll give you an answer – for free this month.

Like This:

You can ask something like “Am I charging enough for the sparkly fizzle doodle I make?” Send along as much information as you have (it’s all confidential – I promise) on your current price per fizzle, the cost of materials to make it and the time it takes.  I’ll figure a bit and Poof, an answer!

Or, say you don’t quite have all that on hand and the question is more like “I’m not really sure how much it costs to make my fabulous sticky snoodles, can you help me figure that out?” Sure, just include a listing (nothing fancy) of the amounts you’ve spent for materials and supplies, how long it takes to make a snoodle and how many you’ve made over the last few months. I’ll take a look at that pile of information and Presto, an answer!

Maybe you’ve got questions like “My interlocking ingerrands are selling well but I’m not making as much as I thought. Can you help?” Yes, if you tell me some basic figures for sales, expenses and how much it costs to make an ingerrand (a standard profit and loss statement, that would do it too). I’ll analyze your numbers and Voila, an answer!

But I don’t know enough to ask!

Don’t think you have to know the question. Just ask what you think is the right question. This is all strictly confidential – no one will see and I’ll help you get to the question you really want.

Don’t think you have to have scads of information to back up a question either. Just send what you have. You’d be amazed (maybe even a little frightened) by how much I can tell from a few numbers and I’ll ask if I need more.

Details,  Details

You may have noticed that these examples are all about management and accounting. That’s because most tax matters are best left to your local tax experts. Each taxing jurisdiction has its own fiendishly complex rules and you’re better off with someone who can hack through that particular jungle. General questions are fine though.

Oh, there’s no limit on the number of questions. Please, send one at a time. I’ll work through them in the order they come in. Some may take longer than others with more details or longer research and analysis.

So, Go Ahead, Send ‘Em In!

Click Here to send a question – or just to say hi, I’d like that too!

Fear and Figures

Free mixed numbers texture for layers
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

There are lots of great sources of information and help out there on marketing and branding and building websites and blogging. But, not too many are digging into the nitty gritty of … (ominous pause) …The Numbers.

Why? Because there’s a dark aura of fear and anxiety surrounding accounting and money matters.

The Number Whisperer

There’s a perception that being a number whisperer is the result of specialized training in remote camps in the dark and foreboding countryside and that veterans of the experience are given to talking in strange tongues (with acronyms like EBITDA, ROI and NPV) intelligible only to their cohorts.

Don’t Fear the Figures

Spot on branding, top notch marketing and a killer website are flamboyant super spies right now but don’t underestimate the stealthy undercover agents of solid business management and accounting. They’ve got your back and the hottest strategies in the web-o-sphere won’t go far if you can’t make any sense of your results.

Take charge of your numbers (unless you’re an Arithmophobe) and wring the useful information out of them. If your figures are starting to whisper among themselves and scowl in your direction, let me help. I’ll whisper them into shape and have them happily doing as you wish.

How are your numbers behaving and what do you think about it? Let me know in a note or the comments, your experience is important to me.

Should I Use QuickBooks?

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One of the hazards of being an accountant is the QuickBooks question. Wherever I go, the grocery store, the bookstore, the farmer’s market, as soon as word gets out, the question pops up.

It’s understandable what with QuickBooks being the elephant in the small business accounting industry. Too bad the answer isn’t as easy to give.

Not that I don’t want to answer but usually I’m trying to decide what to make for dinner or if that magazine is worth buying or if the corn is just so and can’t turn my full powers of concentration (which are considerable – a superpower of focus) to the questioner. The real problem is that I can’t possibly know all the vital facts around that person’s situation in the minute and a half we’ve talked.

So, I usually give a vague answer like “QuickBooks is really useful and I recommend it frequently but it may not work for everyone.” Wow! Not helpful, huh? I hate that version.

Here’s what I should say instead of that wishy-washy clap trap.

Not Really

It’s easier to say when you don’t need it than when you do. If you have a few transactions, maybe a couple dozen a week, and your dollar amounts are low, less than a thousand dollars per transaction, you really don’t need it. If you’ve been keeping up with a basic system that has all the information and makes your end of year reporting hassle free, there’s no pressing reason to incur the expense and trouble of converting to an electronic system. Same thing applies if you’re using Quicken and are happy with that.

Even those volume and dollar amounts aren’t set in stone. I’ve seen many businesses with relatively high sales that are otherwise uncomplicated operated with low tech systems for years. The catch comes when or if you want to expand or sales and complexity increase.

Yeah, Maybe

The trick to starting with QuickBooks is doing it before you really need it. Unlike paper systems and simple electronic versions like Quicken, it’s a true double entry system and has all kinds of accounting quirks built in where you can’t see them until they’re screwed up. That means you’ll want some time and expertise to get started before you need to rely on it.

When your business grows, in size or complexity, to the point where you’re having trouble keeping all the records up to date, you need to use invoices for billing, you’re adding payroll or you need more detailed and frequent reports that’s when to consider upgrading to QuickBooks.

Just remember, it’s an upgrade and those usually cost money, effort and time. Like most things you have to learn to use the program and I strongly recommend you have a qualified accountant or bookkeeper set up your system so all those hidden accounting type things aren’t broken from the start.

Final Answer

I know, that’s not a much more definite answer than the first but at least it leads to more conversation and questions about the situation. That’s the only way to get a useful answer. Are you wondering about your own situation? Let me know in a note or the comments and let’s see what we can come up with.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Miss Brendalina Badchild