Going Paperless With Your Finances: Why It Makes Sense

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |going paperless |Going Paperless With Your Finances: Why It Makes SenseNo matter how complicated your finances are, you need a way to keep track of invoices, payments, tax details, and all other relevant information.

For most people, this means using paper files and dealing with the hassle of storing hundreds of pieces of paper in an overcrowded filing cabinet.

Believe it or not, paper waste is responsible for about 40 percent of the waste that ends up in landfills in the United States. Just think of the number of times you have to take out the trash when you’re cleaning out your filing cabinet! The sooner you can ditch your paper filing system, the better off you’ll be.

Going paperless can feel like a big deal. Here’s why it’s more than worth the effort.

Going Paperless Saves You Time

If you’ve ever relied on paper files for your business finances, you know that searching for a single page out of hundreds can take time. That’s time you could better put to use running your company and making sure your clients and customers are happy.
Things get misplaced and tracking them down when the files are out of order is time-consuming at best.

When you go paperless, you’ll save yourself time anytime you need to access information. Instead of having to flip through file after file, you’ll be able to search for the exact information you need on your computer. All it takes is a few keystrokes and the information will be at your fingertips in a matter of seconds.

Once you’re done, all you have to do is close the webpage window. You won’t have to make sure the paper gets filed in the proper folder in the right order!

You’ll Stay More Organized

It’s rare for a filing cabinet to stay organized all the time. When you add new documents, the system gets crowded and when you pull out a file, things often get misplaced.

This makes it hard for you to keep things organized so all information is available when you need it.

When you take your finances into the digital space, you’ll be able to improve your organization methods immediately. The physical filing cabinet will get replaced with digital files that never get shuffled around.

The more organized you can keep your finances, the easier it will be to stay on top of things.

Just make sure to invest in the right equipment to make going digital easy. Start researching your options and look for ways to save a PDF as a JPEG to further improve your organization methods.

It’s Eco-Friendly

Paper doesn’t just clutter up landfills. It also uses up tons of water. In fact, it takes over 3 gallons of water to produce a single sheet of paper.

By cutting out paper files and documents from your life, you’ll dramatically decrease your carbon footprint each day.

You can even advertise your business as an eco-conscious company. If you combine your paperless initiative with other environmentally friendly improvements, you may be able to attract new customers that otherwise wouldn’t have approached your business.

Paperless Files Save You Money

Believe it or not, ditching your paper filing system in favor of a digital system can save you serious money each month. Anytime you print a document, you’re using up paper, electricity, and toner. Over the course of the month, the amount you spend on those items can really add up.

By ditching paper, you’ll decrease the amount of money you have to spend on those costly office supplies. Your electricity bill may even go down slightly since you won’t have to send power to the printer often.

Remember, you’re already relying on your computers each day. Using them to manage digital files won’t add to your expenses.

It Improves Information Security

Paper files go missing all the time even when you and your team are incredibly careful. Unfortunately, even a single missing file can be a huge security risk for both business owners and individuals.

Clients and customers expect business owners to keep their information safe at all times. Misplacing files means their sensitive information is at risk and could get intercepted by identity thieves.

Going digital actually improves security for you whether you’re a business owner or taking control of your personal finances. You can add password protection to the files and control who has access to the information at all times.

You don’t even have to store the information on-site. Instead, you can use cloud-based data hosting services to keep your sensitive files safe at all times. These companies have the right protocols in place to keep your files secure against the most common cyber threats.

You’ll Be Less Stressed During Tax Season

Businesses and individuals alike have to deal with the uncomfortable task of filing taxes each year. To get the most out of your tax return, you need access to your financial documents, accounting records, and receipts to claim the largest deductions possible.

If you lose track of those files and records, it will only delay your tax return and increase the stress you feel when you’re trying to file by the deadline.

By scanning your documents onto your computer or storing them in the cloud, you’ll never have to worry about misplacing critical information. If you can’t find the document you’re looking for, all you have to do is search for it.

This can dramatically reduce the amount of stress you feel during tax season.

See the Benefits of Going Paperless for Yourself

If you’re considering going paperless, don’t wait. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be able to experience these benefits for yourself.

Don’t worry about rushing the process, though. Take your time, go through your existing files, and get rid of ones that you no longer need. This way, you won’t have to deal with an overcrowded hard drive.

Going paperless isn’t the only way to improve your business or personal finances. You just need to know where to start. Check out our latest posts for more tips and tricks to help you take control of your finances once and for all.

How to Accept Credit Cards at Your Small Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | How to Accept Credit Cards at Your Small BusinessIn 2017, credit cards were used more than 40 billion times in the US alone.

If you’re a business that doesn’t accept credit cards you’re missing out. There are plenty of benefits for both you and your customers.

If you want to know how to accept credit cards at your business, then we’ve got you covered.

Read on to learn more.

Why Should You Accept Credit Cards?

Before we get into the detail of how you can accept credit cards, it’s worth understanding the reasons why. Here are some of the benefits.

More Sales

The more different types of payments you accept, the more sales you can make. If someone wants to pay by credit card, and you don’t offer that option, then you’ll miss out on a sale.

Many customers will prefer to pay by credit card for different reasons. It may be that they can earn rewards or cash back if they use their credit card, or they may just need to kick the payment further down the line.

More Choice for Customers

The more options you give customers, the better. If a site or store only offers limited payment options, and their competitor offers more choice, then the competitor is likely to get more business.

You should give customers as much choice as possible if you want to maximize the potential of your business.

More Secure

If you only accept cash payments, you’ve got to get that cash to the bank somehow and keep it in your store throughout the day.

That means you’re opening yourself up to a lot more risk. If someone breaks in or tries to take your cash when you’re on your way to the bank, you could end up losing a small fortune. With credit card payments, there’s nothing for anyone to steal.

You also don’t have to worry about any of your staff lifting money from the cash register, either.

Time-Saving

Taking money to the bank, paying it in, filling out your receipts, and recording your cash sales are all time-consuming processes.

With credit card payments, the whole transaction is done in seconds. The payment will end up in your account, a receipt will be generated, and some systems can even upload the transactions to your accounting software of choice. All of this will save you a lot of time in the long run, and as we know: time is money.

Online Credit Card Payments

If your business is online-only, then accepting credit card payments is fairly simple.

You’ll need a few things set up on your website. You’ll need a shopping cart first of all so that users can make multiple purchases. You’ll then need a payment gateway, which is the service through which your customers will make their credit card payment.

There are plenty of payment gateways to choose from. Popular choices include Paypal, Square, Venmo, Shopify, and more. Each of these gateways come with their own specific fees. Most of these are in the range of 2.7 to 2.9 percent of the transaction, plus a fixed fee of anything up to about $0.30.

Integrating these payment gateways into your website is simple to do, and if you choose one of the big names you know that your customers will trust the gateway for making a purchase.

One issue with online payments is that you may have issues with cards that are declined. This a particular issue if you offer a subscription service. In this case, you’ll need good dunning management in order to chase up any failed payments.

In-Person Credit Card Payments

If you’re going to accept payments in-person, things are a little more complicated as you’re going to need some additional hardware.

You’ll need a point-of-sale (POS) system in order to process credit card transactions. This will include a card reader that the customer will use to make their payment, as well as the software to process the transaction.

Alternatively, you can use a mobile phone combined with a card reader to replace the traditional POS system. This is particularly useful if your business doesn’t use a permanent location; if you sell from market stalls or a food truck, for example. Since the system only requires a phone signal, you can use it almost anywhere.

With this equipment in place, you have all the physical hardware that you need to accept credit card payments, but you’ll still need someone to process the payment.

Merchant Accounts vs. PSPs

The traditional way of accepting credit cards is to set up a merchant account.

This is basically a business bank account that is set up to handle your credit card payments. The money goes into the merchant account and then is transferred to your account, minus any fees. You can find merchant accounts with banks, payment providers, and independent businesses.

There will usually be significant set-up and equipment fees, and you’ll almost certainly pay monthly fees too.

Payment service providers are all-in-one businesses that handle all of the payment processes. Paypal and Square are examples of PSPs; these companies don’t require you to set up a separate merchant account to handle your payments. The payment structure is usually simpler to understand too.

Which you choose is really personal preference; for small businesses, the lower set-up costs of PSPs could make them a better choice.

Are You Ready to Accept Credit Cards?

We hope that this article has given you some insight into why you should accept credit cards and how to go about it. Credit card payments offer a range of benefits for both your business and your customers, so if you don’t accept them, it’s definitely something to consider.

If you’re looking for more great content, please be sure to check out the rest of the site.

Recession Survival Tips: How Your Business Can Come Out Stronger

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |recession survival|Recession Survival Tips: How Your Business Can Come Out StrongerDid you know that almost 18 million people were unemployed in the USA in June 2020? The ongoing fight against the Coronavirus has led to unpreceded financial losses and a bleak outlook for the future.

If you are a business owner you are no doubt interested in recession survival. What can you do to ensure that your business stays afloat?

Take a few minutes to read our in-depth article to find out what you can do.

Reduce Your Outgoings

When a recession hits, it affects everyone. This means that you can use this as a bargaining tool with creditors.

First, you should call your landlord and negotiate rent terms. If you have been on the premises for some time and have built up a good relationship with the owner, you will have a strong bargaining position.

Landlords will always want to retain good tenants rather than search for new occupants that may or may not be as reliable as you.
This is the first step in your recession survival strategy. If you want to know why a strategy is so important you can learn more from this page.

Collect Owed Money Quickly

Recessions tend to become gradually worse as more and more businesses are affected. This means that you should try to collect any debts as quickly as possible before debtors are unable to repay.

You can offer incentives such as a small discount for fast payment. However, ensure that any larger incentives are not offered to every customer.

Why? Because of your next goal.

Retain Existing Customers

Simply put, retaining customers is easier and cheaper than finding new ones. In fact, customer loyalty can make the difference between survival and sinking during a recession.

If you offer low prices, communicate regularly with existing customers. Emphasize the need for the cost-effective pricing you offer during a recession.

If you do not offer the cheapest prices on the market, emphasize the quality of the product you offer and the need to invest in quality during hard times.

Listen to your customers and offer them the best incentives you can. Do your best to meet their exceptional needs during an exceptional time.

Layoffs: Do it Quickly and Kindly

Laying off employees, especially long-serving employees, is never easy. However, when possible, try to do it early in the recession and while showing compassion and preserving dignity.

Early layoffs that are well planned will reassure the remaining staff that their place is valued and assured. This will prevent unnecessary anxiety and possible staff leaving of their own accord.

Recession Survival and Other Necessary Skills in 2020

Not even world leaders saw the COVID-19 crisis coming. And no one could have predicted the full economic tidal wave that came with it.
However, this does not mean that your business is doomed in the coming recession. By applying these recession survival tips, you can ensure that your business stays afloat and even registers growth.

If you are interested in learning more about business and lifestyle developments, then we are here to help. We gather the latest information and bring it to you via our feed. Take a look today!

How to Lower Your Small Business’s Operating Costs

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Operating costs |How to Lower Your Small Business's Operating CostsIt can be difficult yet rewarding to keep a small business up and running. There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping things out of the red.

Whether you’re looking to reopening or just need to cut down your current operating costs, there’s much a small business owner can do. Keeping your operating costs down is the number one thing any business can do to help ensure they can stay in the green and continue to grow.

Would you love to spend less? Read on and we’ll walk you through a few key suggestions on how to cut costs and run smoother as an operation.

Embrace New Technologies

Are you still running archaic old systems and doing everything by hand? Isn’t it time to take a few steps forward and be part of the modern age?

There so many different software programs out there that can help to streamline your business operations. What area of your business operation is slowing you down? There is more than likely a program or online system out there that can help you out.

Accounting, website hosting, marketing, payroll, on and on. If you have a problem, there’s probably a technical solution that you can embrace. From the TurboTax to the free paystub generator, someone out there has created a solution for you.

Why embrace tech? Because tech creates efficiency. A computer can do something at triple the speed we can and often at a higher rate of accuracy. If you can reduce the need for direct labor, you’ll cut back on the time needed for various tasks.

You’ll also be able to eliminate some needed manpower and that can decrease the amount of money you’re putting into wages as well. Tech might even be able to improve the way you approach certain processes in your business, cutting out unneeded steps and providing cheaper alternatives.

Consider Outsourcing

It can cost a lot to keep employees on your payroll the whole year-round. On top of wages, you’ve got health insurance and various budgets to worry about. It might be enough to sink your whole budget outright.

It doesn’t have to be, however. If there are certain departments that you don’t really need to have year-round, you could always outsource them. Many companies do this for a variety of departments: tax accounting, human relations, or even customer service.

Instead of hiring someone full-time, outsourcing allows you to pay for these services only when you need them. That can greatly help to lower your overall cost and to raise the efficiency of each dollar that you spend.

Advertising and marketing is another area that you could benefit from outsourcing. For many business owners, running an entire marketing department isn’t worth the investment that it provides. It can be a real headache.

However, outsourcing your marketing and advertising needs to another company can help get the results you want at a fraction of the cost. This can really pay off as time goes by.

Look for Better Rates

Have you been working with the same shipping company for years? Maybe you’re not doing the work at finding a business partner who will really provide you with the kinds of prices you need to stay profitable.

One way to cut operating costs is to take a serious look at your vendors list. Where are you spending the most money, and might it be possible to get the same product or service from another entity for cheaper?

Even if you’re considering leaving, the current vendors you work with might consider negotiating down in order to ensure you’ll stick around as a client of theirs. If you compare prices from different vendors, you might be able to pit them against one another and get them to bring the price down.

Getting new quotes if it’s been a while since you’ve done this kind of research can ensure you’re getting the price you really deserve.

Create a Green Workspace

Did you know that creating a green workspace can do more than helping out the planet? It can also provide a positive impact on your bottom line.

It’s true! One of the benefits of many green practices is that they are more energy-efficient. Energy efficiency as it relates to your budget means cheaper bills.

Switch out all the light bulbs in your office for green-friendly fluorescent lighting and you’ll be surprised at how much you save on a yearly basis. Improving your heating and cooling systems cans also help to shave dollars off.

If you can cut your office’s reliance on disposal products you’ll also be able to save money there. Recycling and reusing products lessen the need to buy more. Encouraging multi-use water bottles, mugs, plates, and so forth will help Earth and help your wallet.

Swapping back to a normal coffee pot as opposed to those single-use coffee cups can provide big savings as well. A normal tin of coffee can produce hundreds of cups of coffee as opposed to the very few that a pack of cups will create for the same price.

It may be difficult to get your team to adjust to these kinds of changes right away. With a little work, however, you can create great change and cut some of your costs.

Learning to Lower Your Operating Costs

It can be hard to run a small business, especially in the current climate. However, embracing some of the above tips and tricks can help you to lower your current operating costs.

If you can successfully keep these costs down, you’ll be well on your way to a brighter tomorrow. Need more financial advice for the office? Keep scrolling our blog for more.

Tips for Choosing Small Business Payroll Software

Tips for Choosing Small Business Payroll SoftwareEvery successful small business owner or entrepreneur reaches a point where they can’t juggle everything on their own. While hiring employees is a big decision, it can open the door to new opportunities for growth.

Of course, bringing employees into the fold means dealing with payroll. Here are some helpful tips for choosing small business payroll software that suits your needs.

Automation Capabilities

One of the most important features for small business payroll software is automation. Entrepreneurs often wear many hats when running a business. The ability to automate tedious or repetitive tasks— especially when it comes to administration— is essential for creating sustainable business processes.

Look for a system that integrates with your time tracking software to automatically calculate billable hours. The more automation the system offers, the more streamlined and efficient your payroll will become.

Compliance and Regulatory Functions

As a small business owner, you likely lack the time and desire to research tax changes and stay abreast of compliance issues. Find a payroll software provider that does the heavy lifting for you to ensure that you are withholding the proper amounts and following state and federal laws.

The software you choose should include regular taxation and compliance updates as a part of the cost. This is a vital component of payroll software as it can prevent costly errors and audits.

Scalability

Your business has the potential to evolve and grow in the coming years. The last thing you want is to have to switch payroll providers to fit your growing needs. Instead, look for payroll software that offers scalable solutions as your business grows. Ideally, you’ll be able to use this software effectively, whether you have two employees or 200.

Payment Flexibility

The world of work is changing, especially in light of the global pandemic. Many businesses are working with a combination of independent contractors, full-time employees, and part-time employees. Even if you’re only working with one employment model right now, it’s important to keep your options open.

Look for a payroll program that allows you to add variability to when and how people are paid. Your system should be able to manage a combination of regularly scheduled payments, as well as on-demand or one-time payments.

Customer Support Options

Look for a payroll provider who goes above and beyond to offer customer support. There should be both proactive and reactive support options for your payroll software. For example, proactive support includes training opportunities, tutorial videos, and extra resources to guide the onboarding and troubleshooting process.

On the reactive side, having support agents readily available is a must. Time is of the essence when dealing with payroll software challenges. Failure to pay your employees on time results in turnover, dissatisfaction, and the potential for legal issues. Being able to pick up the phone and talk through your problems with a knowledgeable support representative is a must when choosing payroll software.

Trial Periods

Finally, look for a service that allows you to try before you buy. A trial period can help you get comfortable with the program and flag any potential issues before they become critical. This is also a fantastic way to choose between various payroll software options to determine which offers the most value for your money.

Businesses that stand by their payroll solution are always willing to offer a trial. Look for a trial period that lasts a minimum of 30 days, so that you can work through a couple of payroll cycles.

Conclusion

Payroll is a core function of a growing business, but it shouldn’t be time-consuming. Using small business payroll software can help you scale your business on your terms, and ensure your hard-working employees are paid on time.