Every year, tax season and its rigid reporting standards confront business operators with inconvenient truths about their accounting practices. To be clear, accurate, up-to-date accounting information is something that every business should have access to, all the time. But there are crucial points that occur within normal operations when incomplete bookkeeping is simply not an option.
Besides tax filing, we have discussed other such situations where businesses must produce current and comprehensive financial statements. Business owners who apply for loans or seek capital investors also understand how vital these records can be. Additionally, relevant financial performance metrics will inform every strategic and budgeting decision you make.
As businesses grow, financial management can become an unwieldy task. That is why some business owners who produce their own financial reports become overwhelmed and eventually seek help. This usually occurs when a business owner encounters one of the tipping points outlined above. But in truth, the right time to clean up your accounting records is right now.
For businesses that need to refresh, rebuild, and bring current their accounting data and reports, Advantage Insights offers an Accounting Clean Up service. This service is typically adopted by business owners who face specific financial management challenges, so we design our process to address those primary concerns first.
Like everything Advantage Insights does, an Accounting Clean Up begins with a Financial Systems Health Check. Once I gain access to my client’s QuickBooks Online account, I review their records and reporting processes. In doing so, I create a Financial Systems Health Report and put everyone on the same page regarding the most immediate and pressing challenges. Then, we review options and pathways for improvement.
The Financial Systems Health Check makes clear the amount of work that will be needed to get our clients’ financial records cleaned up and brought current. Next, we get to work. Every item on the balance sheet is checked for accuracy and corrected if necessary. We review profit & loss statements to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and organization of the records are sound. Wherever possible, missing information is identified and entered appropriately.
Due to the complex nature of financial accounting, errors are fairly commonplace. Business owners and other administrators are especially prone to make errors in their stated income. They often have undeposited funds on their balance sheet because payments are recorded incorrectly. This can also result in a negative accounts receivable figure. Also, long-term loans may show an incorrect balance because payments aren’t recorded in the correct manner.
Often, we find that items in the financial statements are incorrectly classified. This is especially true of interest payments and asset inventories, which are subject to complex calculations in the accounting world. When any of these problems occur, I offer my consultation on how to correct misclassifications and avoid them in the future. More importantly, we develop and implement consistent, repeatable processes that guarantee the accuracy of their records from that point forward.
Every business owner I have worked with has had their own unique relationship with financial management. That is why Advantage Insights clients decide how much or how little they want to be involved in the accounting process. Regardless of their preference, processes are implemented to make their lives easier. We work to ensure they have all the information they need in a format that is easily accessed and understood.
Before an Accounting Clean Up service, many businesses would not be able to take their profit & loss statements to a bank or potential investor and expect a positive outcome. As you would expect, loan providers and capital investors demand extensive financial documentation in order to have confidence in a business plan. As a result, commercial bankers refer businesses to Advantage Insights for financial management services when their records aren’t in good order.
By the time Advantage Insights completes an Accounting Clean Up, their financials are all “bank-ready”. If they still don’t qualify for a loan, we can put together a plan to improve the outlook of their balance sheet. In this way, our Accounting Clean Up service naturally transitions to the next financial management challenge our clients face. Whether they need Cash Flow Management, Accounts Receivable Monitoring, or Payroll services, Advantage Insights can design and deliver a management service that saves time and maximizes potential profits based on performance analysis.
Before their Accounting Clean Up, most clients had not paid much attention to their financial statements. After we have performed the service, our clients understand their statements on a deeper level and look at them on a regular basis. For monthly service clients, we provide a brief summary of financial results. Then, I call out things I want to bring to their attention. These may include expenses or items that are out of line with the trended costs. Also, any areas for improvement or strategic changes are addressed.
Advantage Insights helps its clients gain a level of financial awareness they have never had before. At the same time, we help reduce their administrative overhead and workload with efficient reporting processes. We help manage their costs for materials, labor, gas, and other expenses so they are able to view profitability by project, client, service type, and more.
All of this gives business owners the ability to focus their efforts on the segments of their business that produce higher, more consistent profit margins. These profit & loss statements enable operators to refine their bidding practices thanks to granular cost and profit data. With price inflation as a constant concern, thorough financial reporting will help you respond to and prepare for fluctuations in the price of labor and materials.
In short, any business can benefit from an Accounting Clean Up. Any business operator needs to have complete visibility of their profit margins and the component costs for everything they do. In order to make the right decisions about pricing, purchasing, hiring, and advertising, business owners need to understand where money is coming from and where it is going.
Usually, business owners wait until they feel the pain of incomplete financial reporting. But, they really shouldn’t. Healthy financial management processes can help business operators prevent issues before they become a problem. Here are some signs a business could really use an Accounting Clean Up:
Business owners may avoid their accounting challenges for many reasons. Some owners don’t understand the value of financial management and don’t want to spend money on something they aren’t sure they need. Sometimes, individuals may be embarrassed when they are aware their financial statements are disorganized or out of date.
However, they shouldn’t be embarrassed. Accounting knowledge and skillsets are not easy to learn and maintain. If there were a list of business functions that necessitate help from a specialist, accounting is high on that list! Most business owners aren’t accountants by trade. I don’t expect your records to be perfect, and it is the purpose of Advantage Insights to identify and address what needs to be rectified.
Advantage Insights works to understand our clients’ needs and their goals for financial management. Then, we tailor the service to meet those needs.
Whether you face any of the challenges outlined above, or you simply want to achieve a higher level of financial awareness, an Accounting Clean Up can set you on the right path. Sign up for a free consultation to help you determine your next steps. Or contact us if you want to learn more about our services. Find out how our Clean Up and monthly services can transform your business for the better.