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. 

Tax Simplification: “Yeah, Right!”

This article goes into more detail about the reasons businesses will always have a legitimate need for accounting and bookkeeping services.

A recent student asked me how to respond to a well-meaning relative who felt that accounting was a dying occupation because of tax simplification. I’m often asked if a simpler tax code, meaning flat-tax or federal sales tax, would eliminate the need for accountants. Those who ask this question obviously don’t understand what an accountant does.

First of all, I don’t think such a tax bill could ever pass. Too many special interest organizations with powerful lobbying groups will lose too much to let any such bill pass without a fight.

  • Religious organizations will argue that their funding from contributions will dry up.
  • National homeowners’ associations will argue (and rightfully so) that homes will drop in value as mortgage interest will no longer be deductible.
  • Medical organizations will buy TV ads telling stories about people with debilitating diseases and high medical bills going to ‘tax prison’ because they lost their medical deduction.
  • And, those are just the obvious ones.

Plus, most tax simplification plans will tax the poor heavier and the wealthy lighter than they do now. That’s a hot-potato that neither political party will support.

No, the public will never let such a thing happen.

Even if we were to assume that such a tax program will be adopted, accountants will remain in high demand. Certainly simpler tax laws may eliminate tax preparers. But most tax preparers aren’t accountants.

The primary and most beneficial roles accountants perform are in the area of management controls, and cash management. A company stands to gain much more through staying on top of these areas than saving on lower taxes. Let’s face it, companies don’t go out of business because they are paying too much in taxes, but they will if they have poor controls, or poor cash management.

Big businesses certainly understand this. A large company I once worked for had four thousand accountants. Less than 1% of these accountants worked in the tax department. In other words, 99% of the accountants with this company were working on providing management with crucial information regarding profitability, while monitoring the company’s financial position. This company understood that income taxes are a necessary evil that require some attention, but the potential for business improvement is much greater in other areas.

So, do we ignore taxes? Certainly not! Taxes must be completed, and done correctly according to law. Besides, a good tax preparer may save a tax payer hundreds of dollars, if not thousands in taxes — sometimes many times the cost to have the taxes prepared.

Tax preparation will always be needed. And, my guess is that it will become even more complicated before becoming any easier.

Regardless of the tax law, however, accountants will always be a critical part of the business world.

Also, see the article entitled “Why are Businesses Begging for Your Services?” This is “must reading” for every freelance accountant.

Increase your profits by selling additional services

This article looks at ways to increase the income your accounting and bookkeeping service earns by diversifying and selling additional products and services.

Everyone’s doing it! Mergers, product development, and additional services are the “name of the game” in virtually every industry. Why? Because that’s where we find the greater profits. Services like the following are excellent companions to a traditional bookkeeping service and can be terrific money makers.

  • Loan Application Preparation
  • Income Tax Preparation
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Word Processing
  • Incorporations
  • Notary Public

There are two reasons why you should offer more than the traditional bookkeeping service:

  1. More services mean more revenues. Any fees you earn on additional services to existing customers/clients comes to you virtually free. You’ve already earned the money that you have spent finding the client. Any additional services are gravy.
  2. The ‘one-stop-shop’ concept applies here. Why do people hire a general contractor to build a home, rather than deal with the subcontractors themselves? First, they don’t know how, and secondly, it’s a hassle. The same principle exists with their financial concerns. They don’t know what needs to be done, plus they appreciate it when someone who does can remove the bother.

Traditional bookkeeping is the core to financial services. Certainly, you will offer to provide those services yourself. However, you can provide these other services, or you can sub-contract them out to others. In other words, you do not have to be an expert in everything. And, even though you contract these out does not mean they’re not profitable to you since MOST PROFESSIONALS WILL PAY YOU A ‘FINDER’S FEE’ OR COMMISSION on the service.

For instance, say that a business owner approaches you and asks for your accounting help for his business. Then he asks, “Do you do taxes?” If you haven’t prepared taxes in the past, you may be inclined to say, “No, I don’t.” Wrong! Instead, simply say, “I have an associate that is an expert at tax preparation. I’ll take care of it. No problem.”

I’m sure you would admit that the latter response sounds much better, and will provide better results than your first thought. Then, all you need to do is contact your associate.

Consider the services above, then determine which ones you can and want to do. Find associates that are interested in doing the others.

Most of these services can be performed by people you already know. For instance, you probably know a tax preparer, a payroll accountant, a notary public, and a typist. I’m sure they would love additional business. By the way, if you don’t know somebody in these areas, you can find them listed in the yellow pages.

They will gladly share their fees with you.

When you contact them, explain your purpose in calling, and ask them if they are looking for more business. If so, do they offer a discount, or “finder’s fee”, for referrals. If their answer is “no”, you probably want to look elsewhere. Not because of greed, but it is usually an indication that they are not experienced, sophisticated or networked enough to be an asset to you.

For the more pricey services like income tax preparation, or loan applications you should expect between 15% to 30% of their anticipated revenue to come back to you. For less expensive services, such as notary public, getting a finder’s fee is unusual and not enough to worry about anyway.

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