6 Steps to Successfully Starting a Business While Moving

Life can get complicated, especially when you’re trying to start and run your own business from home. If you live in an apartment or rental space that isn’t suitable for both living and working, you may have to move. Universal Accounting School shares six steps to successfully launch your home-based business in a new home.

1. Renting a Home

If you’re going to open up a shop in your home, ensure it’s suitable for living and working. Some homes aren’t conducive for working because they have no office space or they don’t have an appropriate layout. You need to understand your finances before signing on any dotted lines. Your purchase needs to fit within your budget. If you’d rather put money into your business rather than using it for a down payment, consider renting instead of buying. There are many homes available for rent—simply search online listings and use their filters to find the ideal rental.

2. Layout of Your Home Office

Home offices are typically small, meaning it’s essential that your home office has a specific layout that works for you. Think about how you want your desk space set up and how you want to decorate it. For example, if you have children or pets, you might want to keep your expensive computer equipment hidden away in an area where they’re unlikely to accidentally break it. Plants can bring life into your workspace and add a sense of calm.

3. Moving Tips

Make a moving checklist, and label boxes clearly before packing them up. That way, when it comes time to unpack, you can stack everything in its proper place without having to open every box first.  If you’re moving with pets, getting them comfortable in the new surroundings makes for an easier transition. Ensure your pet has had ample opportunity to explore your new home, so they don’t get freaked out by unfamiliar sights, sounds, or smells.

4. Starting Your Business in Your New Location

Once you purchase a property or sign a lease agreement, register your business with Google Business so local customers can find you online. Be sure to also check if you need permits or licenses in your new area. Depending on your business, you may be required to get a zoning permit or license from local authorities before getting started. When relocating your business, challenges are inevitable, but don’t let them get you down. If you plan well in advance, are organized, and take it step by step, challenges become opportunities for great success.

5. Benefits of Forming an LLC

A limited liability company affords liability protection and tax benefits. When you form an LLC, your personal assets are protected from business liabilities, so if your small business fails and you lose money, it won’t affect your home or car. Your LLC also gives you tax advantages. Each state has its own rules for creating an LLC, so check the requirements before proceeding.

6. Using Social Media to Market Your Business

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and Instagram are a powerful tool for marketing your business. By creating a page or profile for your business on one or more of these platforms, you can reach a wide audience of potential customers with minimal effort. In addition, social media allows you to interact directly with your customers, build relationships, and address any concerns they may have. Best of all, creating a social media presence for your business is generally free. Enhance your social media pages with an attractive banner. Banner templates are easy to use, and many are free. Once you’ve chosen a template, you can add your own copy, font, colors, and images. 

A Successful New Start

It’s possible to start your business successfully while you move. All you need is patience, planning, and creativity. Find a suitable home, begin the process of moving, register your business, and start marketing on social media to transition smoothly and start earning a profit. Universal Accounting School offers small business, tax, accounting, and bookkeeping online certification programs. Learn more about how you can get certified.

Functions You Should Outsource If You’re Not That Tech-Savvy

While many functions within businesses now involve technology in some way or another, not all of us are technically inclined or have the level of expertise to handle certain technical functions in business, especially if they’re particularly complex. Here are some of the more common tasks that business owners are choosing to outsource instead of doing them themselves, courtesy‌ ‌of‌ Universal Accounting.

Web design

 

Designing a website requires a lot of technical know-how to get it spot-on. Furthermore, websites nowadays are designed to rank high in search results, and this often requires continuous optimization to ensure it’s up there in Google’s search results. Web designers are highly skilled professionals that know all the ins and outs of how to make your website stand out. And because websites are one of the primary ways people get to see a glimpse of your business first-hand, it’s vital that this should not be left to chance.  Consider build an accounting specific website with www.UASites.com 

Social media management

 

Social media is one of the best ways (if not the best) to build brand awareness and engage with customers. That said, it is time-consuming managing various social media accounts. Outsourcing this function is a great option if you don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to keep up with this function as social media professionals are usually highly talented in this field, and they generally know what it takes to stay abreast of social media trends so that your business stays competitive in the online space.  Learn what you can do to leverage your online presence to get clients, attend this webinar to see how: The Universal CRM

IT services

 

Again, IT is also usually a complex task that is best left to professionals. Moreover, having a team of IT professionals on standby should your computer systems shut down for no reason, could be the lifesaver you need that would prevent your business from coming to a complete standstill. Also, with the incessant rise of cybercrime these days, a company can ill-afford not to have their cyber-security up-to-date ready to detect any fraudulent activity from the get-go.  Listen to this recent discussion that Roger Knecht had with Hoosein Dodkhah regarding Remote Work Security for accounting firms.

Software you can use instead of outsourcing

 

Of course, there are certain things you can do yourself to manage simpler tasks using automated software that is widely available online. For example, if you think your invoice templates could do with an update, you can download a free invoice template from an online invoice generator. 

 

Furthermore, these invoice templates are simple to customize according to how you want them to look. All you have to do is choose from the available pre-made templates and choose photos, logo, text, and whatever else you would prefer to create a professional-looking invoice. Just be sure to select an online invoice generator that allows you to download an invoice in the format of your choice so that it gives you multiple options if a certain format doesn’t work well for you. 

 

Other types of software that you could utilize instead of outsourcing these functions include Customer Relationship Management software to manage the customer service side of things better. Or, if you’re not that adept at accounting, accounting software can help you with basic bookkeeping functions until you see your accountant next. 

 

In summary, while you might feel like you would prefer to do everything yourself, outsourcing various tasks to those who specialize in certain niches might be the best thing you could do if you want your business to excel in those areas that are extremely competitive.  Basically there is a turnkey process to having a successful virtual bookkeeping business.  Check out what you can do today to become an Accountrepreneur.

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

What Is Customer Experience in the Accounting World?

With customer experience (CX) being emphasized as a driver of success, businesses across the industries shouldn’t sleep or pass on the opportunity to make the most of it. Differentiated from customer service which resolves issues, helps solve customer issues and offer advice, CX represents the accurate perception of the interactions customers have with your company. It’s a real competitive advantage that can attract loyal clients and boost revenue when leveraged to the maximum. 

 

Occurring from the very first touchpoint with your firm up until the last minute of the interaction, CX ensures that the customer journey is as seamless as possible. This is particularly relevant to the accounting realm where technological innovations tend to automate the tasks of accountants, bookkeepers and tax preparers like data entry. When the ‘wow’ element in accounting is lost, focusing on providing the best customer experience helps bring it back. 

 

To connect with your customers beyond helping to manage debits and credits, consider reevaluating how you approach the following activities:

1. Collecting and analyzing data

Gaining clear insight into the collected data isn’t just about analyzing the performance of a company. It’s also about observing what areas from the entire data collection process are contributing to engagement and a satisfactory customer experience. When the customer has a positive perception of his experience with the help of your services, they are more likely to use it to make more informed business decisions. 

 

An efficient data analysis system is instrumental to meeting your customers’ needs. Although the connection might seem indirect at first, systemizing the inflow of accounting data guarantees a happy repeat customer. 

2. Streamlining billing and invoicing

No one likes to deal with the complexity of payments. If a customer notices that the accounting firm they are doing business with isn’t being efficient with billing and invoicing, they may quickly switch to another company. This is because when money is on the line, customers are typically less forgiving of mistakes that companies make. 

 

To avoid disappointing those who keep you in business, you should be the example and  streamline the payment process of sending and receiving the financial documents. This way, you’re minimizing the number of miscalculations and other errors that would cost you time, money, and the customer.         

3. Ensuring data privacy        

Research by Salesforce found that 46% of customers feel like they don’t have control over their personal data anymore. The more clients become concerned with how their data is handled by companies they purchase from, the higher the pressure on businesses to be transparent about their customer data usage. In accounting, the question of data privacy is of utmost concern. 

 

Since web transactions are prone to hacking, companies should focus on adopting accounting software that guarantees the security of customer data. This will help prevent customers’ identities and money from being stolen and a terrible customer experience from driving clients away from you.       

4. Expanding advisory services 

It’s difficult to improve customer retention if your customer experience is lacking. To remain competitive on the market with an abundance of accounting, bookkeeping and tax firms, you should invest in offering the CFO & advisory services you can provide in addition to the quality accounting services you do now. (if you aren’t already). With the global accounting services market forecasted to reach $735.94 billion in 2025, it’s only fair to expect this to be a competitive advantage that will make you stand out. 

 

Besides, offering advice to business owners who often feel in the dark when navigating their financials leads to happy clients and a satisfactory customer experience. Whether you focus on coaching your clients on when to purchase assets or giving a fresh perspective on the old ways they’re handling their finances, you’re likely to get positive feedback. 

5. Onboarding clients

One of the most overlooked areas for improving customer experience is paying more attention to onboarding clients. This process helps both parties determine the first steps of the collaboration and what information would make it as smooth as possible. 

 

To ensure that the onboarding process meets the customer’s needs as much as the goals of the accounting firm, you should have a predefined scope checklist in place. Featuring statements like ‘add the client to the newsletter’, ‘schedule a follow-up a week after the initial meeting’, and ‘get documentation from the client’, it acts as a guiding tool that ensures that the needs of both the business and the customer are fully met.      

6. Providing omni-channel communication

A multichannel approach to customers is key to building strong customer relationships. It empowers customer service staff to use various messaging platforms to reach the customer and provide him with a solution. There are also several more ways to enhance communication with clients for an optimal customer experience:

 

  • Ensure that the customers’ files are stored securely 
  • Schedule an automatic request reminder system for following up with customers 
  • Offer a digital portal that makes uploading files quick and easy 

 

When every communication element is in check, you’re bound to improve your customer satisfaction score as well as your Net Promoter Score. It might not be an instant hit — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution — but with time, you’ll get a gist of what communication channels your customers prefer and be able to cater to them accordingly.    

 

In short, at least consider responding in kind, which is to say reaching back using the same medium originally used by the customer such as a call for call, text with text, email with an email.

7. Offering self-service tools

Automating customer service isn’t just an option — it’s a necessity. Although you don’t have to have an automation-based solution to every step of the customer service you provide, it takes some weight off of you when you allow customers to figure things out on their own. Besides, 67% of customers prefer to use self-service tools instead of talking to a customer service agent. 

 

Chances are, you already have a comprehensive FAQ page on your website where your customers can find answers to the most commonly asked questions. But you can take it a step further and start a blog with more in-depth information on the topics that are relevant to your clients. The best part is that it’s available 24/7, and there are no hidden costs involved. 

Wrapping up

Remaining flexible when offering customer service is an underestimated but determining factor in whether or not the customer experience your customers get is up to par with their ever-changing expectations. With technology enabling the automation of many tasks, business owners can now rely on software to help keep customer data safe and transactions secure.  For more information, attend this webinar dedicated to helping accounting professionals utilize effective client retention management (CRM) systems and more.  Register NOW!

 

Polish your customer management strategy and be willing to tweak it if the demand calls for it. This way, you’ll be able to stay competitive and boost your customer retention rate like never before. 

Provide customized accounting services

This article shows you how to provide accounting and bookkeeping services that are fit to your clients needs.

Here’s a short quiz I don’t think you’ll have difficulty completing:

  1. All things being equal, would you rather earn $45/hour or $55/hour doing accounting for a business?
  2. All things being equal, would you rather have a $250/month clients or a $400/month client?

These questions may appear to take the record for the all-time dumbest questions ever asked. But, when you are working for yourself, sometimes these are questions that beg asking – it’s a question of economics.

You might recall from your high school economics class that supply and demand drive the pricing structure of the free world. The most obvious contemporary example is the computer industry where competition has been driving the prices of computer hardware down every year. As more computer manufacturers have entered the playing field the supply has increased beyond demand, and prices have fallen, and fallen, and fallen even further.

This principle can work for or against any business — even accountants. When we specialize in providing accounting for industries where there’s high demand, but limited competition, we can find clients more readily and charge a higher fee for our services. This is putting the law of supply and demand in our favor.

Why will some businesses pay more for bookkeeping than others?

The business world is “information hungry.” Managers/Owners want the latest information on the economy, their industry, and most particularly their business — and they want it now.

Fifty years ago a business owner might have been the only “game” in town. They might have been the only hospital, car dealer, or dentist. Not anymore. With competition being what it is, business management needs to keep on top of their business more so now than ever before. If they’re not watching their business, they may not have a business to watch.

That’s certainly where the accountant comes in. Through a well-designed information system, uniquely fit to their business, the accountant can give management the information they want and need when they want it.

THE KEY IS TO FIT THE SYSTEM TO THE BUSINESS. To meet their needs we must understand their business and fit the accounting system accordingly. A contractor, for instance, driving a pickup truck with papers stashed and stuck everywhere imaginable, needs to have a different system in place, than does the local hairdresser. An automobile dealership needs to have a system that will track each car separately for both control and flooring (inventory finance) purposes.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Don’t all businesses use debits and credits alike?” The answer is “yes” and “no.” It’s true that debits are on the left, and credits on the right. But each business has different types of transactions and different accounts to follow. For instance, the automotive business has three accounts that are somewhat unique to that industry. Namely, Flooring Payable, Contracts in Transit, and Bank Reserve accounts.

The construction industry, particularly builders and developers, work with Jobs in Progress and Progress Billings. Manufacturing businesses must have a system in place that will track progress of raw materials and labor through to the finished product so that the owners can establish their cost per unit.

Since the universities and colleges don’t teach these small business concepts, the opportunities are great for the accountant knowledgeable about these areas. To confirm this, next time you talk with an accounting graduate ask them how “Flooring Payable,” “Contracts in Transit,” and “Bank Reserve Account” are used. Chances are very good that they won’t have a clue.

Now, before you get critical of their training or capability remember that the colleges are grooming them for the Fortune 500 — not the used car dealer. All these concepts I’ve mentioned in this article are small business issues for businesses typically employing less than 100 employees.

We recognized the value of these concepts years ago, so our course, covers all types of businesses including those that I’ve mentioned above. And the course is suitable for the beginning accountant and for the college graduate. You will even have an opportunity to do the books for these businesses and practice them for yourself before working on the real thing. You’ll find more information on our complete accounting course under Accounting Made Easy.

Well, should you specialize in a higher demand industry? That depends on your answer to these two questions. Do you want to make more money? Do you have the knowledge to work with these businesses? If your answer to both these last two questions is “yes” then you might want to consider answering “yes” to the first question, as well.

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