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Hi. My name is Terry, and I'm the President of Quicksilver Accounting & Consulting,  Wilmington NC.

I created this blog to offer little hints, ideas, strategies and sometimes just silly excerpts from life to help other entrepreneurs gain insight.

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Written in Wilmington, NC

Tuesday
Feb142012

$17.6 billion...wow

I was quite amazed when reading an article today in Bloomberg Businessweek that $17.6 billion is expected to be spent on Valentines Day this year.  Yesterday I heard a quote that the average $ per person breaks out to $119.  My husband thought that was high, but I reminded him that many get engaged on this day- so the diamonds are pushing us all up the totem pole.  

I have been truly blessed to have loved ones who care enough about me to send me beautiful flowers, cards, chocolates and dinner last night (before the crowds).

There are many small businesses that depend on these type of events to bring a large portion of their yearly income- and for those companies who work so hard to bring us this happiness, I truly commend them and hope that their take of the $17.6 billion is everything they need to continue.  It's been hard for some of these smaller companies in the last few years- so think local when you are purchasing candy for your love one, please use the local florist, spa's, restaurants, etc.   They need our business.

 

Sunday
Dec182011

New IRS mileage rate

The new mileage rate has been published for 2012 by the IRS .  The amount will be 55.5 starting January 1.    If you use QuickBooks, why not track your expenses for mileage this year in the program? Here is how:

First, set up a 'dummy' customer called "Terrys Mileage" (insert your name) for yourself unless you will be  job costing per client.

Go to the Company file and open the 'Enter Vehicle Mileage' window. Open the Mileage rates window at the top, enter 0101/2012 and put in the new rate.  Your all set now.

When you drive, keep your records and come back to QuickBooks either every week, or once a month.

Open the Enter Vehicle Mileage, enter your vehicle (add new will show the first time) and continue with the form.  You don't have to put in the odometer reading if you would rather not- you can put in the dates and the total miles driven and then tie it to "Terrys Mileage" for the customer (unless of course you really would like to enter per client... Add any notes and click Save and Close.

When you are ready to run your report, go to the Report Center under Jobs, Time and Mileage and run your report for Mileage Summary or Detail,etc.  for the dates you would like.   It will tally all your entries per vehicle for you there. This is a great tool for year end tax - no more having to add up columns trying to figure out what you did all year! 

 

Sunday
Nov062011

On our way to The Sleeter Group Conference

There is just something great about going off to a trade conference.  First, you know there are like minded individuals there looking to find the same thing you are on a search for.  Vendors are lining up to give you free stuff and tell you how great your lives are going to be if you purchase their products. Peers want to discuss the nitty gritty of your profession in hopes we can all improve. The hotel we are at this year is brand new- so I'm looking forward to a comfy bed and a bit of luxury. Viva Las Vegas.... here I come. Did I mention the shopping, that we are going to see "Love" by Cirque de Soleil while there and play a little routlette as well?

Kidding aside, conferences are hard work, long hours, long plane trips and lots of listening. I love the atmosphere and look forward to coming back with new ideas for my clients, and readers as well.  If you are looking for a solution- send me a note and I will look for you.   In particular, I'm looking for a good bar code reader so I will be dropping in to WASP, and I want to meet the principles of our portal company, Cloud9 as well. Also checking into Xero- I think that might be the new 'real deal'.

Saturday
Oct152011

Are you nimble, like jack?

I read an article in Accounting Today that was very interesting titled The agile CPA Firm, by Rebecca Ryan.  I realized as I  read it, the information could really apply to many types of companies, so I would like to give you the jist of it here..

Agile firms are....  more profitable -because they are obsessed with the client experience, and the ability to turn their knowledge into a value added propostion for their  clients. 

Agile firms are...nimble- they can adapt quickly to market changes because of tighter reponse cycles. They regularly round up and discuss information gleaned from clients to find out what they want.

Agile firms are.. lean- they aren't bogged down with unnecessary overhead, staff structures and regularly 'cheap out' on perks. They don't pay the most, but their employees are loyal because they feel they have a say in the business. They run like a bootstrapping start up from day one forward.

Agile firms are... obessed with improvement and innovation- they mine the processes and markets for new ideas. They use the lean process to eliminate waste and tools like analytics to weigh everything they do.

Agile firms are.. IT adoptees- they are already on FB, Linked In, and are finding niche softwares that others don't pay attention to. They are the front end of new happenings, not the followers.

Agile firms are... open and transparent- clients can see their information and measure progress, they have a commitment that information should be shared. They trust both employees and clients.

Agile firms are... value-added, not time centric- they offer flat fee pricing when possible, and see themselves as a partner in their clients business, not just a vendor.

You can read the whole article here...

Sunday
Aug282011

What makes small businesses fail? Is that really the right question?

There’s been a lot written on this subject,  but is that what we should really be pondering? Maybe we need to flip it around and ask, what makes small businesses successful?

One reason some do best is because they took the time to research several different ideas before starting up.  There must be a real need for your product or service, and the margins you can make must be worth your effort.   Nothing is more critical to your success than if potential customers are actually going to buy at the price that makes you a profit.   Many companies can’t make the revenue necessary because of competition, scale, location, knowledge, experience, costs, or high fees. Entrepreneurs might be great at their craft, but smart ones took enough time to find out if it was a viable product or service and what profit margin would it support.

Companies become successful when the model they create is correct for their product or service. Have you ever wondered why some companies that have the same widget are more successful than others?  I believe it’s because of the time and effort put in at the beginning to bring their service or product to market,  the way it is packaged or conducted and the marketing of their unique ability in that area has created an enthusiasm the customer can see and feel before making that leap of faith to purchase. Good companies spend time perfecting their product, system and procedures before they go to market.

Another reason businesses become successful is that the entrepreneur realizes that they can’t do it all.  They seek good counseling, they outsource areas that are possible, create alliances and move to a centric position to allow others to help the company grow.  They know that leverage is the key to taking the step from small business to larger growth and aren’t afraid to delegate to experts in their field. Did you know that a large percentage of entrepreneurs give up because they decided it was just too much work? Understanding the concept of leverage is critical.

They plan and set goals.  A company that doesn’t plan for success will not sustain itself.   Successful companies have a plan for what the company looks like in a year, two and maybe five. If you don’t, it’s going to look very similar to how it started out- light on policies, no budget, no systems and one or two owners working unsustainable hours with little or no time for working on the company or personal life.   Companies must be ready for growth before it happens. 

Successful companies know that the accounting piece is extremely important.  You can’t plan well when you have incorrect numbers or make good decisions if you are basing them on incomplete records. These companies know that a once a year visit with a CPA isn’t a substitute for weekly or monthly accounting. They create a budget each year, and they analyze the numbers.  They will hire and fire earlier because they can see the trends in the monthly financial reports. They look for operational problems and adjust costs earlier than competitors that wait till year end to see if they made any money. They ask and heed advice from their accountant throughout the year ( as an accountant,  there is nothing more disappointing than pointing out areas that can be improved to the client who’s asked your opinion, and after they confirm there needs to be changes,  watching them continue down the same old path to ask the same questions again the following year).

It’s important to smart entrepreneurs to constantly improve business knowledge, no matter how successful they’ve become.   They read business books, go to conferences with their peers, listen to other business owner’s problems and success stories and admit needing experts when appropriate.  They are willing and eager to change. They look for technologies that can help them run their business.

The final area that successful businesses seem to be better at is cash management.  They keep daily outlays to a minimum.  They know who owes them money, and set policies to receive it on time.  They pay their vendors in a systematic way, conserving their cash position.  They take advantage of discounts. They don’t pay interest on credit cards. They make sure there is a real return on investment of purchases.  They leave money in the company for raining days and growth by not draining reserves with large distributions. They monitor their balances to make sure they have enough cash on hand when necessary so they are never caught off guard.  They look at their planned growth to know if they will need a loan in the future, and start the process well before it’s time.  

These are just several of the area’s that lead to success for entrepreneurs running small businesses. Each business is unique unto its owners, but although each company is different, they are also very similar at their core.