Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Business Financial Fraud

Introduction

If you’re an accounting professional, and you’re thinking about making your mark in the online world, you should know that there are many ways in which this amazing open environment can lead to all sorts of troubles. According to Business Fraud Prevention, businesses lose up to five percent of their annual gross revenue due to different types of fraud. 

Moreover, the report states that small businesses and startups are the main targets of financial scams, while large corporate entities are less likely to suffer a similar fate. The risk of financial swindles is even greater for those who focus their operations on the internet, which is nowadays an extremely popular method of doing business.

We did some research and came up with these practical pieces of advice that should help you avoid falling victim to financial fraud as an accountant.

Checking a company background

When a potential partner or a client approach, the first order of business is checking for their credentials. This goes for both online and offline communication. However, checking the company address, phone number, website, and other contact information should not be the end of your checkup process because these things are easy to fake.

It’s up to accounting to provide vital decision-making information, checking crucial business data is one of that information. With a proper company background checkup, you could prevent loss of money, and legal issues, and help other people keep their businesses afloat. 

Another important aspect of inquiry should be the list of former partners and companies that did business with the company that you are considering working with. If there’s no evidence of past work, you should plan your future steps carefully. If you’re lucky, you might have been approached with a new business that’s yet to grow its portfolio, but there’s always a chance that the list of previous partners and clients is empty because there were never any.

Keep your monetary flow under control

Although we mostly fear that the risk of fraud comes from the outside, it’s important to understand that many financial fraud cases occur on the inside of a company. Therefore, you should focus your energy on internal elements that control the flow of money.

Regular books audit helps notice any irregularities in cash payments, refunds, product returns, inventory management, or other accounting functions. 

Inform yourself about all the available and popular methods of payment, so you could keep track of all the doors that money can go through. Moreover, organize a list of your teammates that handle cash payments or refunds, and help them get appropriate safety training so they too could avoid scams. This also allows you to hold those people accountable in case they make fraudulent payments because they had the necessary training to avoid such situations.

People who check the legitimacy of payments should also become an important aspect of your concerns. In many cases, company employees are those responsible for financial fraud. Make sure you have trustworthy people on your team that won’t take advantage of your confidence. Some people avoid these types of troubles by hiring accounting professionals with a good background, usually through word of mouth.

Practice safe internet usage

The list of ways in which someone could exploit our lack of concentration or technical inexperience is all but limitless. Everything from malicious emails to websites that are built to capture your banking data is out there and the only way to prevent getting scammed is to be cautious while performing professional activities online. More than banking data, all the essential business files and data can be lost.

If you are about to make a payment for a good or service through a website, make sure it runs under an HTTPS certificate because this means any information you disclose stays safe. Moreover, if you get a suspicious email and parts of that offer include sending money or your banking data it’s best to avoid complying with any of the demands in this email.

Downloading unlicensed software for work is another way to let third-party into your system and risk losing vital business information and money. Shady software solutions could hide malware that steals your passwords or corrupts other software. It’s not unusual for criminals to send out viruses that encrypt all data so they could ask for ransom later. Backing up business essentials is one of the best ways to avoid paying ransom to retrieve stolen information.

Conclusion

Control and focus are your main weapons in defense against all sorts of financial swindlers that are out to get you. This doesn’t mean that you should treat everyone as a potential threat, you don’t want to skip a good business opportunity because of your lack of trust. Keep your hands open for everyone just make sure their hands are just as open as yours and there’s nothing they hide behind their backs.

Best Ways To Keep Tabs On Your Money

When it comes to personal or professional finances, money management and using a financial application that’s specific to your circumstances can help you achieve financial health and monetary growth. Not only will the right app make it easier to manage your various accounts, but it can also give you real-time insights into your personal or professional financial picture. If you’re ready to move to the next level, Universal Accounting provides a range of training and certification programs that will help you grow your career in the finance sector.

Benefits Of Financial Apps

When you’re operating a company, Business News Daily says maintaining your financial health is critical to your overall success. The right apps and software will help you establish fiscally responsible budgets, ensure that you’re meeting your goals and objectives, and it will alert you to any potentially worrisome financial issues before they get too far out of hand. It can also help you get an instant snapshot of your finances without having to log into various accounts, download reports, and conduct an analysis. The key is in finding the right app or apps and software to help you achieve all of your goals.

What A Financial App Can Do

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the greatest benefits of having a financial application is that you can keep all of your information in one place. This helps you easily access all of your financial details at the touch of a button, which in turn, can help you organize both your personal and business finances efficiently. It will also result in fewer errors, and if you’re both a business owner and you’re tracking your personal finances, it’s wise to keep your accounts separate. This is especially critical if you form an LLC, or limited liability company, for your business. If you combine or commingle your funds, you run the risk of losing your liability production and becoming personally liable for debts and losses.

What You Should Look For

One of the first things to consider when you’re comparing different personal financial apps is whether they integrate with your other accounts and are easy to navigate. You may need special tools or features based on your particular line of work, and you also want to ensure security. If you’re not terribly familiar with using this type of technology, keep in mind that an application that offers superior levels of customer tech support is invaluable. Ease of use is another critical factor. It doesn’t matter how effective an app is, or how many bells and whistles it features, if it’s too complex, you’re unlikely to use it in a way that makes the most sense for your operations.

Things To Track

When you’re comparing financial apps and software, consider your specific needs and compare them to the features of different apps. For example, maybe you could benefit from accounting features, inventory management, payroll functions, business expenditures, or research and development investments. Look for an app that allows you to utilize analytics, run reports as necessary, and keep your accounting information in detailed, organized order. This will make it easier when it’s time to file your taxes, apply for business grants and loans, and share with investors, if applicable. You want a tool that meets all of your needs, not just some of them. 

Whether you’re managing your finances as a business owner or looking for something to help with personal accounts, an app is only as good as the fiscal planning you establish. If you’re a business, utilize a business plan that includes forecasts and projections. Track marketing efforts to ensure you’re reaching the appropriate audiences, and regularly review your operational functions. If you’re tracking as an individual, set earning and investment goals and work with a money manager to make strategic investments. Once you have the strategy, the right app will keep you on track.

Universal Accounting offers certification in accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and other related financial fields. Programs are designed to meet you where you are and achieve your unique professional objectives. Visit the site to learn more or reach out via phone for a consultation.

by Sharon Wagner

Choosing The Ideal Business Name For Your Brand

So you’ve decided to break through into the big bad world of entrepreneurship.

Great for you! 

But now that you’ve made the decision, there are dozens of items that you’ll need to check off your list before you reap the rewards of all your hard work. 

Although it’s not the most complicated task, one of the first things you need to do is choose a business name. 

It seems easy enough, but there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind before making your final decision. 

Let’s take a look! 

 

Do Some Research

Every country, county, city and municipality will have different laws that govern business names. 

Therefore, the very first step in choosing your business name is to take the time to research your local legislation and how it might affect you and your business name. 

Then, once you’ve done this, it’ll be time to put on your thinking cap to brainstorm your best options. 

 

Avoid Copying Other Brands

It might seem obvious, but you don’t want to choose a business name that might get you in trouble down the road. 

In most jurisdictions, a business name can be used by multiple entities so long as the name isn’t a registered trademark

However, when it comes to successful businesses, you want your name to be as unique as possible. 

In other words, if you’re selling athletic footwear, you’re going to want to avoid choosing a name like McShoes or anything along that same vein, which could lead to legal troubles later on. 

Not to mention that consumers might think that your shoe company is a subsidiary of the McDonald’s Corporation.

 

Get Creative

Another essential tip for choosing a good business name is to make sure that your business name is catchy, memorable, and unique. In other words, you’ll want to get creative and use words that are related to the products or services that you plan on offering. 

If we use the same example of selling shoes, you’ll want to use words, such as:

  • Shoes
  • Footwear
  • Athletics
  • Feet 
  • Toes
  • Etc. 

Then try combining in different creative ways that consumers can easily remember, giving them a good idea of what your brand is all about. 

In other words, please keep it simple and to the point! 

For instance, you might come up with something like The Athletic Feet Company. 

Not only does this name let people know that your products have something to do with feet. It also lets them know that it’s related to athleticism, which gives a good indication of what type of products you’re offering.

 

Register Your Business Name

Once you’ve decided on a name, the next step will be to register your business name with your local authorities. 

This step is the main difference between having a side-gig and running an actual business. 

After registration, you can then move forward with creating your own branded logo and any other marketing materials that you’ll use to promote your business in the future. If you are operating on a budget try a free logo maker to design your own brand. 

Choosing The Best Business Name

Although there’s much more that goes into creating a successful business, the process of choosing a good, memorable business name should not be overlooked. 

In the future, this name is the way people will first hear about your brand. 

Like your own name, your business name will be a massive part of your business identity. 

So take the time to do a bit of research, get creative, and find a name that won’t only suit your desires but will also be in harmony with your current and future business plans! 

 

Don’t Leave Your Success To Chance

Lastly, when it comes to building the premier accounting business be sure to consider the services available with Universal Accounting Center.  From training, certification programs, coaching and support you can be in business for yourself but not by yourself.

by Bessie Stokes

Marketing Made Simple for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you must oversee different aspects of your company. This includes product research and development, finance, accounting, sales, and marketing. This can be a difficult task and it usually involves a huge amount of work.

For marketing, it is possible to gain exposure and new customers without an immense budget. We look at some simple ways you can improve your small business marketing below!

Make use of free resources where possible

One of the best things you can do as a small business owner is to take advantage of the myriad of free tools and resources available. You can easily find an array of free marketing tools covering things like email marketing, graphic design software, video editing, and even social media management tools.

It is a common misconception that you have to have a huge budget to market your business. This isn’t necessarily true! You simply have to know where to look and spend time looking for free tools and resources.  For example, do you have a website, get one for free?

Use social media to your advantage

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have the potential to be potent marketing tools for small businesses.

The main benefit is that they are free to use! All it costs to create a social media profile, and produce marketing posts is time and effort! If you want to quickly gain exposure and expand your online presence, social media marketing is an excellent tool to use.

When making posts for your accounts, make sure they are interesting! Consider using images or video content, and encourage user interactions.

Learn how to leverage your online presence to grown your business using technology and automation with the Universal CRM.  This is a presentation you don’t want to miss, Go Here!

Use a mix of both physical and online marketing

It is important for a small business owner to look at all marketing outlets. Many businesses today concentrate only on online marketing. While this can work for many businesses, small local businesses can also benefit from offline marketing.

Traditional marketing methods like Business Cards, leaflets, and brochures could help greatly. You could distribute them manually to save on expenses. For example, when shopping or walking about in your local community, you could keep a stack of business cards handy to give out.

Keep track of, and use popular trends 

Today it is common for certain topics, subjects, and media to go “viral”. This means that the content experiences a huge surge in viewing numbers in a short amount of time. As a small business, you can look for these trending subjects and incorporate them into your marketing.

A simple way to do this is to look at the trending topics on YouTube, for example. You could then link to these trending topics and mention them in your social media posts.

Make use of local marketing

Lastly, as a small business, you are most likely selling to a national or local customer base. You can use this to your advantage and concentrate your marketing efforts. Instead of trying to appeal to a global audience, appeal instead to your local area.

This can help capture a captive customer base. There are many ways to do this. Firstly, one of the simplest things to do is to create a Google Places business listing. This will appear when people use Google Maps and search for businesses on Google. Along with this you need to claim your Google Business listing.  Also, consider researching local directory websites and community Facebook pages where you could promote your business.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to boost the promotions of your small business. It is important to give proper time and effort to marketing. This is because it will directly affect your revenue, and your ability to expand in the future.

Written by Roberto Malone

Social Media Tactics – 5 Simples Methods for Promoting Your Accounting Business

You may not think that social media marketing is a viable form of marketing for an accounting firm. Traditionally, accounting firms gain business via word of mouth, or via SEO and Google rankings, for example. However, social media can be a huge boost to your business, reputation, and customer base. We look at five simple tactics below, so you can improve your social media marketing for your accounting business.

1. Follow complementary businesses

A great tactic to use for any industry on social media is to follow complementary businesses. Ideally, the people you follow will be a well-curated list of similar businesses. Social media accounts that make sense for your business. 

For example, you could follow the social media profiles of accounting software companies. Make sure you take time curating your social media following and only try to have relevant businesses and/or people who you follow. Also, regularly check your followers to remove any spam accounts as this can be detrimental to your reputation.

2. Provide free advice for people and businesses

While the main aim of your accounting business is to make money and get people to pay for your services, that doesn’t mean you can’t give advice for free! You could use your social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn as a places to respond to queries, and give people general advice about managing their finances etc.

By doing this, you can boost your brand reputation and brand recognition. Be sure to incorporate logos and color schemes into your posts too (you can use logo design platforms to do this, for example). By offering help, and using your brand, people will start to trust your business and see you in a positive light.

3. Utilize popular trends with an accounting spin

Today, we have a craze of making subjects “trend” or become “viral”. This means that they become incredibly popular. Businesses often utilize these short-lasting trends to boost their own popularity by talking about them in their social media posts. It can be a highly useful method of promotion.

You could do this for your accounting business. To make it more interesting, you could reference popular trends, but place them in an accounting setting, or incorporate accounting-based humor into your posts (Yes, accountants can be funny!).

4. Provide social media-only discounts/promotions

Customers love promotions and discounts – regardless of the industry. To prompt social media activity and brand loyalty, you could consider providing discounts to social media followers for completing specific actions.

This could be something simple like holding prize draws. For example, you could hold a prize draw. To enter, each person has to like your Facebook page, share a post, and share it with 10 of their friends. The prize could be something related to your accounting business – like a 10% discount on the first year of accounting service. This helps promote your business but gives customers something valuable too.

5. Post reviews and comments to boost reputation

People are far more likely to use an accounting business if they can see the results and know the company has a great reputation. A great way to boost your reputation is to share real customer reviews and feedback about your business via social media which is referred to as “social proof”. Obviously, you must ask permission first, but positive customer reviews can be a great reputation booster.

We hope you have found this article useful! Accounting firms can easily make social media a viable marketing method to bring in new customers and to boost their brand reputation. The ideas we have listed above should help you do this!

For more information on how you can leverage your online presence to get the clients you deserve see how you can use technology to leverage and automate your marketing and sales efforts.  You don’t want to miss this presentation, go here now!

Written by Roberto Malone

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