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.
My kids asked me what my biggest fear is, and they give me quizzical looks when I utter those dreaded three letters: "IRS". Thankfully they are too young to understand that there is more to fear than spiders and monsters.
In the same way, a question I get asked most often by my clients is, "Do I have to keep a copy of my receipts?"
My biggest fear in life and my answer to this question are intrinsically linked... YES!
Now I'll be the first to say I'm not the best at getting receipts for every business purchase — I'm human, just like you. My filing system up until recently — albeit functional — was not perfect. Honestly, I would just throw them into a folder and pray that I will never have to search through it again. Even with this "catch all" system for receipts, many paper copies will fade over time and they can't be read. What do we do then?
Honestly, I was just crossing my fingers and hoping the detail on my bank statement would be sufficient if that time ever came. Unfortunately, a retired auditor from Colorado just moved into an office down the hall from mine and we were having a conversation about this subject. She recommended to always have a receipt. THAT is what the IRS looks at.
BOOM. (I actually was thinking a slightly stronger version of this word).
My intention isn't to put the fear of the IRS in you... if you know me, you know my main focus is efficiency — for you, and for me and my team. I was ready for a better system, which led me to some research on different software technologies that could take some of the burden.
I have had trainings on the system, I tested it on my own business, and have implemented it for a number of clients to test drive it... the overwhelming feedback? I am blown away at what this can bring to my ease of mind as a business owner. No more receipts floating around in every corner of your car, your office, your bedroom, or your wallet!
Here's how it goes: I make a business purchase, take a photo of it in my app on my phone (I can even make notes and label certain things at this time), hit OK, and the app uploads the photo to Receiptbank where I can view it on their website. All of your QBO accounts and customers are synced with Receiptbank so they are directly matched with vendors and customers in your books. Receipts that are emailed to you can easily be forwarded and magically entered that way as well. If you use Dropbox to hold receipts, you can even link Receiptbank to that folder.
One of the other benefits of this would be accuracy of your books. EAS would now be able to view your receipts in real time and categorize expenses with additional accuracy and less questions to you at month end... all you need to do is take a photo with your phone when you purchase something, or forward a receipt for an online transaction.
If you're ready for this stress-free system that allows you to FINALLY toss those mountains of receipts sitting around, reach out. We're excited to have added it to our software partners! And maybe you — like me — will start telling your kids "spiders" instead of those dreaded three letters.
Hi, my name is Sarah and I'm a dreamer.
Jared, my partner, often rolls his eyes and laughs when I drive home, jump out of my car, and run up to him gush about my next great idea or goal I have for my life and business. After doing this at least once a week, he's used to it. He knows that the next great adventure around the corner keeps me going.
What can I do next? What will help me grow as an individual? As a business? As a mentor? As a mother? What experience will stretch me into that slightly uncomfortable feeling of fear where I know I will not be the same after?
Working in so many businesses, jobs, and positions in my career, I discovered I thrive without a challenge. Ideally, a BIG challenge.
Starting EA was one my biggest life dreams. In this way, I know how intimidating it can be to make the decision to quit a salaried position with "job security" while at the same time, you're dying inside every day knowing you are silently selling your soul.
And I know too well what it's like to really step out on your own. (Ridiculously scary.) It's that feeling of not knowing if it will be a step up towards freeing your true self, or if it will be a step down — into possible public failure and ruin of everything you have. (It's usually almost always the former, isn't it?)
This Fear has been by my side every day since I took that leap, and over the years we have developed somewhat of a relationship. In those moments when Fear lurks a little too close, I ask myself, "Where would bravery and courage be without fear?"
Just this last year I pushed myself even further and decided to pursue a second dream of mine: Becoming a yoga teacher. I've always been slightly envious and awestruck by “the yoga instructor.” She's confident, yet carefree, bendable yet strong... they are the directors of peace and vitality. Colorful. Warm. No stress. All ease. Then one day, I was asked by my friend, Mollie Busby (owner of Yoga Hive) if I had ever considered taking a 200-hour teacher training. I said yes without thinking. And then later, after making the leap and committing, I thought, “I hope I'm in good enough shape for this. I better start running!”
I did not expect to be thrown into a completely different world!
Turns out the fitness aspect was the least of my challenges throughout the training. It was my old friend in a different wardrobe... Fear. He was sitting beside me the entire time poking me, asking, Who are you to be able to think that you could be an instructor? You aren’t like anyone else in this training. You don’t even like public speaking! You aren’t as experienced as everyone else.
Turns out, after all those yoga shapes, classes, poses and lectures, I discovered Fear is what makes me a dreamer. And being a dreamer keeps Fear in check.
This is what I see in my clients' faces, day in and day out. I hear Fear in your voices when you call. We talk about the intricacies of your business, you bounce ideas off me, you trust me enough to ask how to handle employees and their complaints of wanting raises and health insurance. I love being this person. And some days the Fear gets pushed back when a goal has been attained, but we both know he is always there, ready to wiggle in beside you, put a hand on your back, and whisper, “Who do you think you are?"
Opening a business is quite an adventure — as is becoming a yoga teacher... as is anything that pulls us away from our comfort zone. The struggle is real. The learning curve is great. At times, it feels isolating to be the one on top, looking down, and trying to manage…everything. But despite Fear, this work has brought amazing, courageous, and empowering people into my life. Knowing I can help is what fuels me. Knowing I've been there too — I'm there still from time to time. Relating to you and helping you through the financial woes is what I love.
So I guess I just want to say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be your trusted business adviser, and for collaborating to live from a place of adventure — without fear!