Inspiring thoughts from
OUr CEO, Sarah Gould
OUr CEO, Sarah Gould
Let’s face it: we’re staring down a changing economy. While we’re all about a positive outlook, and we love to look on the bright side, the future is a little uncertain right now, and we’re hearing from lots of business owners who are wondering what comes next. Many of them are looking for ways to “future-proof” their operations - despite the economic downturn.
Fortunately, you’re not alone in your efforts. And planning well makes everything a little less scary! When uncertain economic times hit, your accountant is your greatest asset.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how an accountant can help you through an economic downturn. We’ll also discuss why now is a great time to hire an accounting team.
The Financial Future is Uncertain
The financial broadcasts are a little bit of a bummer right now, right? Combine that with a bit of doom-scrolling, and it’s easy to see why the “R” word is on everyone’s mind.
Economic growth is shaky, inflation continues to rise, and business owners are concerned that a recession is right around the corner. Despite those realities, though, spending remains high, and jobless claims are steady or improving, so economists are more than a little confused about what the heck is going on with this changing economy.
While it’s impossible to predict the future (believe us - we WISH we had a crystal ball!) It's obvious the financial landscape is changing. Fortunately, you don’t have to just go along for the ride when it comes to your business. It’s time to hop into the driver’s seat, grab the wheel, and steer toward what matters most.
Why Hire an Accountant to Help You Navigate the Changing Economy?
So, the future is muddy, and you want to take a cautious approach to business spending. You know that every penny matters, and you want to be smart right now.
Unless you have a planning method that allows you to track your expenses, though, it’s tough to tighten your belt for what lies ahead.
It’s also hard to predict how you’ll perform tomorrow, even if things in your business or industry change.
It’s a little bit like heading out on a road trip with no GPS and no map.
Fortunately, an accountant can help you navigate the changing economy. Think of us as your trusty navigator, here to help you get where you want to go.
A qualified bookkeeping team will be able to do the following:
The bottom line is this: accountants are versatile, agile partners for businesses of all sizes. When a business hires a good accounting team, they gain access to critical information. Businesses without accounting teams, meanwhile, just have to keep wandering around without a map.
Want to prepare as well as possible? The best time to hire an accountant is before a recession hits, so you can prepare for whatever the economic environment holds.
6 Quick Tips to Recession-Proof Your Business
Want to prepare your business for an uncertain financial future? Here are a few tips we recommend:
1. Create a cash flow and management plan
The last thing you want to do during a recession is run out of cash.
To prevent this, start by understanding your current cash balances and developing a cash flow forecast that covers at least the next quarter of your business.
This way, you’ll have some advance notice if things start to change over the next few months. If you ask us, knowledge is power, and getting granular about your business operations is the best way to combat uncertainty.
2. Stay within your budget
Next, set a budget and stick to it. When you spend less than you make as a business, you’ll have an economic cushion that can help you navigate tough times. It’s a simple trick but oh so effective!
3. Build your business emergency fund
One of the key tenets of personal finance is the creation and maintenance of an emergency fund. The same goes for your business, though.
We recommend creating a cash cushion that can act as an emergency fund to cover up to six months of essential costs, like utilities, payroll, inventory, and more.
This way, you’ll have enough of a cash cushion on hand that you’ll be able to ride out the hard times with less stress.
4. Pay down your commercial debt
If you have outstanding loans, toss some extra cash toward them right now. If we are heading into a recession, entering it as debt-free as possible is the best way to save money on interest expenses and allocate those funds to cash reserves instead.
5. Find ways to cut back
If you feel the need to tighten your belt a bit, start by decreasing your operating expenses as much as possible. The first step is to evaluate your biggest costs and identify places where you can reduce spending.
Examples include leveraging early pay discounts from suppliers and looking for more affordable options for software and programs you rely on.
6. Diversify to keep cash flowing
Diversification is the ultimate key to improving cash flow and making your business recession-proof.
This is especially true for small companies, who will need cash on hand to survive an economic downturn.
With this in mind, consider offering new products or services adjacent to your existing business.
For example, if you run a brick-and-mortar retail store, consider expanding your reach by adding online shopping. If you run a service-based business, add new services that complement what you’re already doing.
The more diversified your business is, the more ways customers have to interact with you - even during tough economic times.
Get Help With Your Books in the Face of a Changing Economy
Whether you’re pivoting, curtailing operations, shifting your approach, or expanding, the first step in any major transition is to get (and keep) your books in good order.
Fortunately, an accountant can help you prepare for what’s happening now, and what’s likely to come next. We’ll be your hype team during tough times, and your trusted advisor in even the most confusing economic climates.
Our team can help you create detailed planning scenarios that allow you to respond to transitional periods and adapt to industry or market changes, regardless of what the time horizon may be. We also provide business planning services to help you prepare for the future and make contingency plans for periods of economic downturn.
Here at Elevated Advisory & Accounting, we work with small and medium-sized business owners to future-proof all your operations.
No matter what the future brings, our team of accounting & bookkeeping professionals serves customers in and around the Kalispell and Whitefish, MT area. We'll work to provide accounting solutions that grow with You - regardless of whether we’re facing an economic boom or a downturn.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.
The New Year has arrived, and 2023 could be the year your business will flourish. You’ve planted the seeds for success, watered them carefully, and now it’s time to watch them sprout into something beautiful!
You know that setting goals are critical to your business growth and success. Whether it is your new year's resolution or you just need to get your business in order, there is no time like the present to get yourself started.
Let’s face it - every business needs to set goals. Running a business without goals is a little bit like driving a car with your eyes closed. It’s dangerous, reckless, and bound to end badly!
Today we'll share a few of our favorite practices for setting business growth goals in the new year.
Why Setting Business Goals Matters
There’s no way around it: goal setting is essential.
Being a business owner involves many things you need to consider. It’s easy to find yourself caught up in the day-to-day process of working in your business rather than on it.
Fortunately, having clearly defined business goals is a great way to avoid that pitfall.
Good business goals guide you toward your larger vision and allow you to scale your company as efficiently as possible. Without having business goals, you can drift along aimlessly, not planning for the future or what's to come.
Setting business goals also gives you something to focus on and allows you to measure your team’s progress and ensure you’re on track.
Finally, good goals give you something to work toward, even when things are going well. Having defined business goals allows you to keep pushing forward and growing your business.
5 Tips for Setting Smart Business Growth Goals
Want to make your business goals work for you in 2023 and beyond? Here are a few tips we recommend:
1. Write your goals down
Want to increase your chances of reaching your business growth goals? Write them down! Research has shown that you’re 42% more likely to achieve the goals you write down.
Even better, you’re 76% more likely to achieve goals for which you write action commitments and have regular progress meetings.
The reason is simple: accountability is everything regarding good business goals.
With this in mind, get your team involved and consider bringing in a professional, like an accountant, who can help you stay on track.
We also love the idea of making your goals part of team meetings, discussing progress with your employees, and looking for feedback on ways to achieve your objectives more efficiently.
When it comes to what kind of goals you set, don’t be afraid to get audacious. Dream big (for yourself and your business), then start hustling and make your vision a reality!
2. Set a Budget
If you aim to reduce your expenses in 2023, focus on cutting costs and understanding your cash flow now.
If you have extra money that needs to be invested into your business, set a budget to guide your allocation of funds for the year.
When was the last time you got granular with your budget? If you don't have that answer, consider this your invitation! You will likely need help determining how to improve your company's financial health. As a business owner, you don't have extra time to invest in analyzing numbers, so bring in an accounting and bookkeeping team to get you started. In the world of finances, small changes can generate significant results. So pay attention to the power of a budget. It could be a game changer for your business.
3. Set SMART Goals
If you want to get serious about business planning, setting SMART goals is vital.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. This acronym is important because it helps ensure you’re setting yourself up for success.
Here’s an example:
If your goal is to “grow your business,” you’ll struggle to get anywhere. Does it count if you grow your business by 1% in the next year? How will you know when you’ve met your goal?
That objective is difficult to meet because it’s just too vague. If you make it more specific and set a goal like, “I want to grow my revenue 50% in the next six months,” you’ve got something to work with.
The more specific your goals are, the more measurable they become.
4. Revisit your KPIs
Once you’ve established a few SMART business growth goals, you’ll want to evaluate (or revisit) the KPIs, or key performance indicators, associated with them. KPIs are the metrics you use to track your progress toward your goals.
In the example above, revenue was the KPI. Depending on your goal, the KPI could be anything from expenses to website traffic. Regardless of what it is, be sure to get specific about it.
If you need help determining KPIs (or setting SMART goals, for that matter), we recommend hiring a business advisory service that can help you laser-focus on your growth for 2023 and beyond.
5. Keep your long-term vision in mind
Are you setting goals for 2023? Think about where you want to be in ten years as you do.
Although short-term goals are essential to help you scale and improve your business, your long-term goals should also be part of your vision.
Unless your short-term goals support your long-term goals, they waste time and energy.
By knowing who you want to be as a business and what you want to achieve in the long term, you can focus on the most productive short-term goals. This helps you allocate resources and energy intelligently and scale efficiently.
Elevated Advisory & Accounting: Ensuring Your Sustainability and Business Growth
You’ve heard the saying: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
While that’s true in many aspects of business, it’s especially true if you run a business.
As a business owner, you know you don’t set or achieve business goals alone. Instead, you need a team of dedicated employees, advisors, and supporters to help you get there.
At Elevated Advisory & Accounting, we want to be part of that team.
We know that planning for the future can be intimidating, and we’re here to use our skills and experience to ensure your business growth and sustainability.
Think of us as your team of cheerleaders, motivational speakers, and business-savvy advisors - we’re here to build you up, help you dream big, and give you the tools, foundation, and support you need to crush your goals.
Providing accounting, advisory, and bookkeeping services to business owners in Kalispell, Whitefish, and the surrounding area, we’ll be your go-to growth team for 2023 and beyond. Whether you’re setting short- or long-term goals, we’re here for you.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.
To run a successful business, you need to master the art of bookkeeping. There’s no way around it. Think of bookkeeping as the foundation of a house - you can’t build anything else unless that foundation is solid.
In this blog, we’ll discuss why diligent and accurate bookkeeping is so essential for businesses. We’ll also cover how to use bookkeeping as the foundation of business planning, taxes, and more.
Let’s dive in.
What is Bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping is the financial management portion of your business. It involves recording your company’s financial transactions, managing those records, ensuring accurate information, and reconciling the monthly financial “books.”
Good financial record-keeping allows business owners to get an accurate picture of their company’s finances and make decisions accordingly.
Outsourcing your books also removes some to-dos from your list. The less you worry about financial record-keeping, the more time you have to think about other things, like growing your business!
Are you concerned about the cost of hiring someone to do your books? Here at Elevated Advisory & Accounting, we support businesses that use Quickbooks Online or Quickbooks Desktop. This allows the business owner to do some of the work and keep costs down while we support you by reviewing and reconciling the financial records and helping you prep for year-end taxes!
5 Reasons Good Bookkeeping Matters
Here are just a few of the reasons that keeping accurate books for your company is so important:
1. Good books allow you to see where your business is more or less profitable For your business to succeed, you need to understand its profitability. While your revenue may be growing, your expenses may also increase quickly. In this case, your business will be less profitable. Understanding profitability is critical to scaling your business, but it’s impossible without good books.
2. Good books allow you to estimate your tax liability accurately Tax time can be stressful for businesses, especially if you’re not sure what you’ll owe at the end of the year. Fortunately, having a streamlined financial process allows you to accurately estimate your tax liability at the end of the year. That means no more unexpected tax bills!
3. Good books help you understand your cash flowCash flow problems are common for small businesses. In fact, small businesses of all sizes consider cash flow to be one of their top 5 challenges. When small businesses fail, 60% cite cash flow problems as the cause.
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid cash flow issues by keeping good books. Accurate, detail-oriented bookkeeping allows you to track payments received and funds spent. The result is a financial plan that makes it possible to allocate earnings accurately and ensure your company's financial security.
4. Good books allow you to know if you need to make fixed-asset purchases at the end of the yearYour business will most likely pay taxes at the end of the year. If you’re dreading that tax bill, there are things you can do to reduce it.
For example, making fixed-asset purchases at the end of the year is a great way to decrease your taxable income and lower your tax payments.
When you keep good books, you’ll be able to estimate your tax liability accurately and make asset purchase decisions based on that information.
5. More peace of mindRunning a business is hard enough - disorganized finances shouldn’t make it harder. When your books are accurate, well-managed, and complete, you can sleep well at night knowing that your company is ready for anything. No more worrying about tax time, audits, or the IRS means more time to focus on doing what you love and growing your company.
Should You Hire a Professional to Help With Your Books?
In a word - yes!
As we covered earlier in this post, keeping accurate books is critical for any business. Not only are things like tax filing and expense accounting compulsory for companies, but it’s impossible to grow sustainably without keeping detailed financial records.
Despite the importance of all those tasks, most business owners aren’t equipped or interested in doing that work.
And for a good reason - running a business is time-consuming, and few owners or managers also have the time to be accountants.
Because of that, we strongly recommend hiring an accounting team to help.
Think of an accounting service as your one-stop shop for financial well-being and peace of mind. Most (including us!) offer the following services:
First and foremost, accounting services provide diligent and accurate bookkeeping. When you outsource your books to an accounting team, you can trust they’ll be accurate and comprehensive.
Services offered include income and expense tracking, entering transactions and reconciling bank statements, generating invoices and receiving payments, bill payments, and more.
In addition to helping with the books, accounting services also handle payroll. This is a big deal for businesses since managers commonly struggle with payroll.
Payroll can also cause significant problems for your company; one-quarter of workers have had paycheck errors, and 49% of said workers will start looking for a new job after two incorrect paychecks.
In addition to preventing headaches and staffing issues for your company, outsourcing your payroll can help you avoid legal issues. For example, a professional accounting team will help you remain in compliance with the IRS and other payroll regulatory agencies.
If you have multiple worker's comp codes, for example, you’ll need to track your employees' hours against those codes. If you don't, you could get charged at the highest work comp code rate for the entire employee. There are also new hire state reporting requirements that most people don't know about. Every time you hire someone new, you must submit a form to the state to notify them.
Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry - a professional accountant can help with all of it.
Streamline Your Finances and Keep Better Books - Starting Now!Stop struggling through your company’s finances alone - help is here. Elevated Advisory & Accounting provides comprehensive accounting and financial record-keeping services for businesses in Kalispell and the surrounding areas.
Whether you need help with payroll, tax prep, or strategic decision-making, our team is here to guide you every step of the way. We’re committed to your company’s growth! We love working closely with local businesses to help them meet their goals.
Ready to learn more about our team or how we can help you? Contact us today to book your no-obligation consult call and learn how we can support your business.
There are so many exciting things about running a business—serving new customers, stocking your shelves with inventory, and watching your company grow - to name a few.
For most business owners, though, bookkeeping is NOT on that list.
And for a good reason.
Bookkeeping is critically important, but it can be confusing. Unless you have a background in accounting, things like profit and loss statements, taxes and payroll can seem downright baffling. The process can also be time-consuming and stressful, and there can be major penalties for making mistakes.
So, what’s the solution? Simple - hire a professional accounting firm to help you handle your accounting, payroll, and other financials.
In this blog, we’ll explain why expert accounting services are crucial for small businesses and how having them can help your company thrive.
Let’s dive in.
What is Bookkeeping?
As we mentioned earlier, accounting is an essential part of any business, but it’s often NOT one business owners enjoy. According to a recent survey by TD Bank, 58% of small business owners reported disliking accounting and find it draining.
Broadly defined, bookkeeping is the process of recording financial transactions for your business. As part of the more extensive accounting process, this ongoing task involves everything from record keeping to data management.
A good bookkeeper has two primary jobs: making sure the information in the financial record is accurate and reconciling the financial record each month.
Regarding educational requirements, most bookkeepers have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. This education gives them a strong background in budget analysis, payroll taxation, and general finance.
Some highly-trained bookkeepers may eventually work towards becoming CPAs (Certified Public Accountants), which is one of the highest educational levels in this field.
Why Bookkeeping Matters for Small Businesses
Let us be clear: accounting is essential for every business, but it’s especially critical for small companies operating with limited budgets. When it’s done well, accounting allows small businesses to organize, analyze, and store their financial information and draw accurate conclusions about the business's financial security.
This, in turn, allows a small business to plan for the future.
In addition to being functionally important, accounting has tax ramifications. Today, the IRS requires small businesses to maintain records pertaining to profit and loss, income, expenses, and more.
Specifically, the IRS requires most small businesses to record the following:
5 Benefits of Small Business Bookkeeping
Companies with solid accounting protocols reap the following benefits:
1. More organized records
If you’ve ever tried to find a financial document, only to come up short, or been asked to provide documentation of something you can’t locate, you know how frustrating it can be. Fortunately, good accounting services can help you avoid that outcome.
Accounting services organize your financial information, categorize essential documents, and help you plan things like bill payments and other expenditures. The result? A more streamlined business for you.
2. More informed financial decisions
If you don’t know where you’ve been, how will you get where you’re going? As a business owner, you’ll have to make all sorts of financial decisions for your company, including whether to apply for loans, hire new employees, or open a second location.
You can only make these decisions if you have an accurate picture of your company’s finances. Accounting services help ensure that and prevent you from biting off more than you can chew financially.
3. Accurate financial records
Financial management and record keeping can easily make or break your company. An estimated 82% of companies that go out of business do so because of poor cash flow management or poor understanding of cash flow.
When your accounting is on point, however, you can trust that your financial records are accurate and that your spending is in check.
For example, a good bookkeeper will allow you to see exactly how much you spent last month and how much you’re projected to make this month. It’s the easiest and most effective way to avoid cash flow issues and keep your business in the green.
4. Easier tax filing
A straightforward tax season is a BIG incentive to invest in professional accounting services. Without them, filing taxes can be scary, expensive, and stressful for small business owners.
With the help of a professional bookkeeper, you’ll have easy access to your company’s full year of expenses, receipts, and financial documents, all organized and ready to go to your tax professional.
5. Better budgeting
Last but not least, there’s budgeting to consider. Good accounting makes budgeting easy and accurate and allows you to expand, spend, and save when it’s appropriate to do so. When you have clear, organized financial records, it’s easy to review your past information to plan for the future.
Need Bookkeeping Services? Hire a Professional You Can Count On
There’s no doubt about it: good accounting can make or break a company and spell the difference between success and financial burnout.
After all, finances are the foundation of every move a company makes, and it’s impossible to scale if the books are a mess. It’s also impossible to make informed, intelligent decisions that help your company grow - unless you have a comprehensive understanding of your company’s financial health.
Fortunately, there’s a skilled team to help you take your accounting to the next level. Here at Elevated Advisory & Accounting, we provide bookkeeping services for small businesses in the Flathead Valley.
While DIY accounting may sound simple, it’s a difficult, time-consuming task that’s best left to the professionals.
When you hire an expert accounting service, you can rest assured that you’ve got complete, comprehensive financial records and that your company is handling taxes, payroll, and other financials accurately and appropriately.
Stop wasting time struggling with accounting and focus on what you do best - growing your business.
Ready to speak to your trusted, local accounting team? Contact Elevated Advisory & Accounting today!
You went out on a limb and started a small business. Your sales have been good, and you’ve got plenty of loyal customers. Now, you’re wondering what else you can do to set your company up for success. The answer? Commit to smart accounting practices.
If you think of your business as a house, accounting practices are the foundation. Without good, strong financial practices, it’s impossible to grow sustainably or to enjoy a strong, solid company.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
In this blog, we’ll break down some of the accounting practices our team recommends for small businesses and help you understand how to set your company up for financial success.
Let’s dive in.
5 Smart Accounting Practices Your Small Business Should Implement
Follow these tips to ensure a strong financial foundation for your business:
1. Keep business and personal finances totally separate
Nothing is as unprofessional (or confusing, come tax time) as blending your personal and business finances.
If you run your business as a sole proprietor, it can be challenging to understand why this matters so much. You and your company are technically one in the same, right?
Still, it’s essential to separate business and personal expenses. Buying personal items with business funds will cause cash flow issues and can lead to audit or tax filing complications.
With this in mind, we recommend opening separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business. This will make doing your business taxes easy and help you avoid financial snafus.
2. Double-check your accounting method
When you opened your business, you either chose or fell into an accounting style. As it turns out, though, there are many different types of accounting, including Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Public Accounting, and Tax Accounting, to name a few.
As a small business, the top two primary accounting methods typically utilized are; cash accounting and accrual accounting.
In cash accounting, companies recognize expenses and revenue as money changes hands. This is a standard accounting method for freelancers and other small businesses with limited accounting activity each month.
On the other hand, the accrual method is the accounting option most CPAs recommend. This style of accounting recognizes revenue when it’s earned and expenses as they occur.
In other words, it matches revenues against expenses in the same time period, so it is easier to know the health of your business monthly. That said, it can be more complex than the cash method.
As such, we recommend hiring an advisory service to help you evaluate your current accounting method and make changes if need be.
3. Develop a plan for managing income and expenses
Most of your financial transactions as a small business will come from income and expenses. The better you handle these two types of transactions, the smoother and more efficiently your business will run.
Here are a few basic skills you’ll need to master:
4. Reconcile your bank statements regularly
Lots of us trust our banks to be accurate and detail-oriented, but mistakes do happen. Because of that, it’s important to be proactive about your bank accounts. Instead of letting statements pile up, download them regularly and review them for accuracy. Make sure there are no unauthorized purchases or disbursements, and reach out to your bank promptly to resolve any issues.
5. Plan for taxes during the year
Instead of only thinking about taxes at tax time, plan for them throughout the year. Hire an accounting service and stay in touch with them throughout the year to ensure you’re correctly maintaining records and paying estimated taxes.
That way, when it comes time to file, you’ll have a head-start on the process.
A Stronger Small Business Starts With Good Accounting Practices
For small businesses, an excellent financial framework is THE key to success. As it stands right now, only 48.9% of small businesses survive five years or more, and 82% that fail typically do so because of cash flow problems. Fortunately, you don’t have to become a statistic.
To set your small business up for success, it’s crucial to adopt strong accounting practices from the get-go.
Things like monthly bank statement reconciliation, intelligent tax planning, proper management of income and expenses, and separation of business and personal income will all go a long way toward helping you build a strong, profitable, resilient business.
If you’re not sure where to start, you don’t have to go it alone. Here at Elevated Advisory & Accounting, our team specializes in helping small businesses like yours build a strong financial foundation.
Serving companies in Whitefish, Kalispell, and beyond, we’re here to help you avoid common financial pitfalls and enjoy a sustainable business.
Ready to learn more? Contact us today.