Making Your Meetings More Productive

meetingProfessionals everywhere are destined to participate in meetings at one time or another, whether they be with coworkers, clients or associates.  But many organizations go overboard.  The truth is, meetings can be streamlined to ensure productivity.

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author and entrepreneur Craig Concotta shares “6 Ways to Make Sure Every Meeting is a Productive One.”  Here we share 4 of his suggestions that could streamline meetings while simultaneously increasing efficiency:

1. Set and send the agenda in advance. A meeting agenda provides attendees with a list of topics to cover and objectives to accomplish.  Distribute the agenda before the meeting so that attendees can prepare for the meeting and their participation beforehand. 

2. Start your meeting on time. Most people dread meetings because they are not run effectively.  When meetings don’t start on time, they usually don’t end on time either, and that can throw off a professional’s entire day.  Ensuring that your meetings always start when they’re supposed to demonstrates respect for everyone’s time.

3. Make sure the right people are in the right meetings.  Sometimes meetings become drawn out when too many individuals have been invited.  Suddenly you have a handful of people submitting input and feedback when it’s not their place.  Only invite those who are crucial to the agenda, and send a follow-up memo to everyone that should remain in the information loop.

4. Meetings should be the right length.  Concotta suggests, “I have always felt that a great meeting should be as long or as short as it needs to be.  If you are good about setting an agenda with clear outcomes you will know when a meeting needs to end.  If you can get done in 28 minutes when you thought you needed 60 minutes, fantastic.”

Meetings can be a valuable resource that provides you with crucial information that can propel your practice forward.  However, that can only happen when your meetings are effective.  Applying the above tips will enable you to cut back on unnecessary meetings while ensuring that those meetings that remain are more productive.

UAC’s QuickBooks Training Program

Earning a Professional Designation is Good for Your Professional Reputation

Whether it’s enhancing your skill-set with a current employer or distinguishing yourself by building credibility with your own clients, the QS designation will stand as proof of your expertise.  To earn this QuickBooks designation you must complete the Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks (PBG) and pass the final exam with a score of 90% or higher.  And just like that, you receive professional certification!

Additional Benefits

In addition to the skills you acquire in completing the PBG, you will also receive the following:

  • Thorough and complete training on the latest and greatest version of QuickBooks Pro
  • 6 months’ worth of access to our experienced, qualified QuickBooks professional accountants and CPAs to answer your questions
  • Accounting 101 Review
  • 30 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) in most states
  • A 100% money-back guarantee
  • A valuable addition to your reference library

The PBG offers the most competitive QuickBooks training on the market.  Master QuickBooks and become the premier QuickBooks consultant in your area.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7909 and enroll in the Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks today!

 

Resource

Cincotta, Craig.  “6 Ways to Make Sure Every Meeting is a Productive One.” 11 February 2015  Entrepreneur.com

Accessing QuickBooks Help: A Tutorial

 quickbooks-popularUAC’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks is a tutorial-based course enabling students to master this popular accounting software.  In this article, we share a tutorial on QuickBooks Help System, taken directly from the course. 

Sometimes in QuickBooks you need help determining what forms to use or what to enter into those forms once you find them.  QuickBooks has a pretty good help system.  Some people are disappointed when they receive the QuickBooks software and realize that it didn’t come with a 1300 page user’s manual like they used to distribute in the good old days.  But to be honest with you, the help that’s available in the QuickBooks program itself is better and more complete than the assistance or help that we used to get in those 1300 page user manuals.

One thing that’s different in newer versions of the software is the position of the Help display.  If you click on Help and then select “QuickBooks Help” or press F1, help displays on the right-hand side of the screen.  To get help on something, click on this search topic and then type in a search phrase. In this example, we’re going to search for “job costing.”

Once you type in “job costing” and press enter, QuickBooks displays 15 different topics related to job costing.  You can view those different topics to see if any of them are helpful.  Let’s imagine you want “unbilled costs by job report.” You click on that link and QuickBooks tells you exactly how to get that report and what information should be on it.

The next Help feature that we want to talk about is the Learning Center Tutorials. To access these, go into Help and Learning Center Tutorials.  These are small videos that Intuit has created to help you understand how to use the program.  They’re very brief, but they provide an excellent overview.  Some of you might have your clients use them to get a general idea of how to use QuickBooks.

Let’s talk just a little bit about Support.  If you click on the support option, QuickBooks connects to the Internet and details the different support options available.  You have 30 days of free technical support when you first register your software, and that’s available immediately after you purchase it.  You can purchase support from Intuit as well.  You also might want to contact Universal Accounting Center to check on the support that we offer for QuickBooks and the Professional Guide to QuickBooks training program.

There are a few other Help features we wish to discuss. First of all, let’s talk about “About QuickBooks Pro XXXX.”  This is the information the software gives you about your specific program.  It provides your license number, the product number and the user licenses.  You want to hold onto these numbers because you will need them if you ever install this software onto another computer (for example, if your system crashes, you’ll need these numbers to install it on a new machine).

Under Help there are two other options that we should talk about:  New Business Checklist and Year‑End Guide.  You use the New Business Checklist when you first start a company; QuickBooks poses questions to ensure that you have done the right things in setting up your business.  There are explanations on each one of those checkpoints, and after you’ve completed them you can check them off.  So if you want information on, for example, choosing a name, you click on “Choose a name,” and QuickBooks displays Help to the right; you can look at that information and click on any of those different topics and then click through the checklists as you complete them.

The same sort of thing is available under Help and “Year‑End Guide.”  This is something you use at the end of the year, and frankly you might want to go through everything to ensure that you have covered all your bases.  You don’t necessarily have to do all these things at the end of the year, but they’re things that you should at least consider doing.

You can also access QuickBooks Help in each of the different areas of the program.  For example, if you have a transaction up on the screen, say, for example, Pay Bills, you can click on the Help feature, which displays as a question mark, and QuickBooks will show help topics that are context sensitive.

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks

If you found this tutorial useful, you’d probably like Universal’s Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide to QuickBooks program which will teach you all this and more with training targeted for all user types.  To enroll in this program today, call Universal at 1-877-833-7908!

A New’s Years Message from Roger Knecht

roger-knechtDear Readers,

Happy New Year!  We hope you’re ringing in 2015 with family and friends.  It’s a wonderful time to reconnect with loved ones and generate good will with neighbors and acquaintances.  It’s also a good time to assess your current trajectory and determine what you’d like to do differently in order to secure the future you desire.

Generally people prepare for the New Year by making resolutions intended to enhance their lives, both personally and professionally. Regardless, it’s the perfect occasion to hit the reset button and start afresh.

Universal Accounting Center (UAC) is in the business of helping accounting professionals start afresh, providing the opportunity to advance careers in a new field or a financial practice where you’re in charge and get to call all the shots.  Whether it’s New Year’s Day or the middle of the year, UAC is in the business of helping people hit the reset button on their careers.

Is that something you would like to do?

Universal has found the most success enrolling students in what’s called the Accountrepreneur Program, which includes everything individuals need to launch their own full-service financial practice:

Students can enroll in any one or combination of the above programs.  Our graduates have found great success upon completing the training and applying what they learn to their careers, many of them launching profitable and life-changing financial practices of their own.

We hope that you consider Universal as you make plans for your future.  Celebrate your fresh start by calling us as 1-800-833-7908 to find out how we can help you customize the career of your dreams.

Happy New Year!

Roger Knecht

President

Universal Accounting Center

What Small-Business Clients Want

client-centered-servicesIn a recent survey conducted by The Sleeter Group, small to mid-sized businesses were asked what they want from their accountants.   Over 1000 prospects were screened and narrowed down to 188 participants who were then questioned about the services they desired as well as what they believed their accountants could provide verses what they wanted to provide.

The results proved interesting.  Here is a quick summary of what they discovered:

  • Expertise and responsiveness were rated the most persuasive characteristics in selecting an accountant.  The article goes on to explain, “What may come as a surprise is that ‘proactive strategic advice’ was the third-highest-rated factor with an average score of 8.7, coming in ahead of ‘reputation’ and ‘low fees.’  The fact that proactive strategic advice rates so high shows SMBs want a CPA who is a partner in their success and often thinking about their business.” 
  • 47.8% of small businesses would prefer an accountant specializing in their industry while 37.8% don’t care either way and 14.4% require a specialist. 
  • 59% are ”highly satisfied” with their current accountant while 21% are “satisfied” and 20% are “dissatisfied.” 
  • The top five services SMBs are currently receiving include tax return preparation, tax planning, compilation/reviewing/auditing of records, representation at government audit, and bookkeeping. 
  • The top five services SMBs wish their accountants offered include business planning, business strategy, the creation of a business dashboard, business analytics, and tax planning. 
  • The top three preferred methods of communication with accountants are by (in order of preference) email, phone and in person. 
  • The top two reasons SMBs leave their accountants are 1. a lack of proactive advice as opposed to reactive advice, and 2. accountants exhibited poor responsiveness. 
  • SMBs want help in strategic planning and technology but don’t believe their accountants want to provide those services.  The article explains, “When it comes to technology planning, almost two-thirds of respondents said they ‘never’ seek out advice from their CPA, showing SMBs don’t believe accountants have the expertise in technology to provide such advice.”

So what does this survey suggest? Focus your efforts on providing those additional services SMBs desire, like strategic business and tax planning.  Also, consider the importance of becoming a Growth and Profit Expert, helping clients tackle problems proactively while making more strategic and lucrative business decisions.  And gaining expertise in technology will also help you respond to one of their most pressing needs.

UAC’s Training Programs Can Help

Our convenient and practical online training programs can respond to all these demands, helping you become a Profit and Growth Expert, provide tax planning services, and master QuickBooks, the leading software used by small-business owners.

The Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program enables you to do what most accountants can’t: specialize in small-business accounting services.  After just 60 hours, you can become a Profit and Growth Expert, a financial advisor who enhances and/or turns around promising small businesses by providing direction in controlling cash effectively, reducing and minimizing expenses and increasing revenue.

Tax Preparation is just the first part of the Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) Program; you will also learn how to advise businesses to structure their organization to reduce their tax burden. You will assist them to strategically place themselves in a position today that will reap tax rewards next year. While tax preparation peaks around the tax return deadline, there is great money to be made all year long optimizing organizations to take advantage of tax benefits and exemptions.

The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks will enable you to master this software program that over 80% of small businesses use to manage their accounting.  Once you do, you will be able to work more efficiently as you use all the features, functions, and shortcuts QuickBooks offers.  Not only will the PBG enable you to manage your own books more efficiently, but it can increase your bottom line as you add QuickBooks consultation, help and setup services to your offerings.  With hands-on training you can earn a professional designation as a QuickBooks Specialist that will give you the credibility you need to convince prospective clients that you are an outstanding bookkeeper and trusted technology advisor!

Respond to small business accounting wants and needs by enrolling in these three outstanding programs today.  Call Universal now at 1-877-833-7908 to become a full-service financial provider.

 

Resource

Sleeter, Doug.  “What SMBs Want from Their Accountant – 2014 Update.” 9 April 2014  www.sleeter.com

Establishing Your Professional Reputation

success-storyWarren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Developing a solid reputation takes time and energy. Showing good character generates trust and will help you become a premier financial professional.

Here are five tips that will help you make a lasting impression among colleagues, clients and members of the community:

  1. Only institute fair business practices. Whether it regards marketing, policies concerning employee treatment, or even the description of your services online, you must institute and observe fair business practices.  Once your reputation as a trustworthy professional is compromised, word will get out, and you’ll find potential clients questioning your integrity, and as a result, the quality of your work.
  1. Take responsibility for your mistakes. You’ll waste too much energy trying to defer blame when you’ve made a mistake.  Stand tall and admit responsibility.  Apologize if necessary, and take steps to repair any damage you may have caused. 
  1. Honesty IS the best policy. Nothing can ruin your business reputation quicker than dishonesty.  One white lie can cost countless clients and forever brand you as the dishonest business owner.
  1. Never gossip. Speaking poorly about colleagues, peers and/or the competition can feel oddly satisfying, but in whatever form, gossiping is never a good thing.  It usually gets back to the person in the end, hurting their feelings.  And gossipers, regardless of how they might justify their behavior, never appear honorable in those sad, water-cooler moments. 
  1. Participate in your community.  Become an active member of your community, and you’ll learn how to best contribute to its betterment and growth. And when you give to the community you’ll find that it often gives right back.  It’s also a great way to network, enabling you to know which local businesses can benefit you and which businesses you, in turn, could benefit.

Building a solid reputation is a matter of consciously making the best choices you can for yourself and your business.  When you do that you’ll find that people trust your work and look to you as a leader, not only in your business, but in the community.

Become a QuickBooks Consultant

You can expand your service offerings by becoming a QuickBooks Specialist, adding QuickBooks help, consulting and set-up services to your menu.  It’s a great marketing tool that will bring your part-time business closer to being full-time ready.

In addition to the skills you acquire in completing the PBG, you will also receive the following:

  • Thorough and complete training on the latest and greatest version of QuickBooks Pro
  • 6 months’ worth of access to our experienced, qualified QuickBooks professional accountants and CPAs to answer your questions
  • Accounting 101 Review
  • 30 hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits in most states
  • A 100% money-back guarantee
  • A valuable addition to your reference library

The PBG offers the most competitive QuickBooks training on the market.  Master QuickBooks and add QuickBooks consulting services to your menu. Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll in this valuable training program now!

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