A QuickBooks issue, like a plumbing issue, may need an expert. Here's why you need an accountant.

If You Have QuickBooks, Do You Need an Accountant?

If you have QuickBooks, you may still need an accountant. Here are three reasons why having an accountant, even if you use QuickBooks, is a great idea.

If you have a clogged drain, do you need to call a plumber? Maybe, but maybe not. However, when you’re building a new house, you have a layout of your plumbing needs as part of the design phase, well before you build the house. The same idea is true when it comes to accounting needs for your business.

When you start a new business, an accountant can help you identify the most helpful chart of accounts that makes sense for your business. You want your financial information to flow properly and be accounted for accurately. When tax time rolls around, you want to be able to identify the activities that can be deducted. This will help you save money and limit your tax liability. Once you get the hang of things, sometimes you need a checkup to ensure you stay on track. These check-ins can help when you experience a “clog,” so to speak, that prevents the proper flow of information.

So, how do you keep yourself from making emergency plumbing calls to an accountant? Here are three reasons why you need an accountant, even when you have QuickBooks.

You need an accountant to confirm your records

QuickBooks is user-friendly. It automatically books the double-entry, meaning debit and credit. For example,  when you write a check to pay the utility bill and enter utilities expense, QuickBooks makes the entry hitting both the checking account and the utility expense account.  It does not allow the debit to not equal the credit.  However, you can mistakenly choose the wrong account and QuickBooks will not identify the error.  The debit will equal the credit, but it will not know to correct the account.

Say your business purchases equipment for $5,000.  You write a check marking equipment expense, and then you think you’re done. However, there are rules to assess based on the type of equipment you’ve purchased. Most likely, you should account for this as an asset on your balance sheet, and not an activity fully expensed in the year it was purchased. Equipment purchases like these are called capitalized assets. The initial entry is then affecting your balance sheet verses the income statement.  However, capitalized assets are depreciated and thus expensed over a period of time.  Therefore, further entries are made over time to slowly expense the asset.

There are various other instances where the entry made is not always a simple answer and further details are needed to make the proper accounting entry.  This is when having an accountant to turn to is beneficial.

You need an accountant to ensure compliance

There are various areas of compliance that accountants need to pay attention to. Some of these areas include tax filings, payroll-related filings, and tax rules for depreciating and amortizing. QuickBooks assists by providing information to perform these functions, but again, QuickBooks will not detect errors and confirm the filings are complete and accurate.  You need an accountant to ensure compliance.

A perfect illustration of this is when an accountant performs the annual tax return. Once an accountant confirms that the records are accurate, they use that financial information to perform an annual tax return. If income and expenses are not appropriately stated, the reporting would cause inaccurate results on the tax return. Inaccurate results mean potential fines and penalties. It is not only important to file accurately, but also in a timely manner.  An accountant would be able to keep you on track with all of your filing requirements.

In relation to the above records entry for capitalizing assets, different assets are depreciated using different rules.  Your accountant will ensure you are properly reflecting the net value of the assets on your books by complying with the current tax guidance.

You need an accountant to provide guidance

Accountants are trained in what to look for and ask about to assist business owners, not only in day-to-day activities, like ensuring your balance sheet is updated, but also looking at trends and noticing when a pattern reveals something has changed. Accountants also know the right questions to ask that will better help them guide the organization and assist management. Your accountants can advise you on how to segment information in QuickBooks to best identify business segment profitability. You can quickly identify which business segments aren’t worth your additional investment, and focus on the segments that are performing well for you. Or, your accountant can help you figure out where to best invest your money, time, and further training to get under-performing business segments on track.

In the end, you need accountants to provide value to your business.  They will help you ensure proper records, compliance, and offer guidance to help you run your business better. As a business owner, you can’t know and see everything, so your accountant is your extra set of eyes. Accountants have experience to enhance the financial aspects of your business.

All things flow together, but in order for them to flow smoothly, you need an accountant. Don’t get clogged up. Let Chortek keep you flowing, so you can do what you do best. Contact us for more information on our QuickBooks services.

succession planning 5.15.19 690x215

White Paper: Employee Incentive Planning – Succession Planning

Leaving behind a strong management team should be an essential step in any business owner’s succession plan. Keeping key employees is crucial to growing business cash flow and value and attracting sophisticated buyers. It is also vital if you are planning on transferring the business to your management team or children.

The first step in building an incentive plan is identifying the key employees you want to benefit from the plan. Key employees are apt to act more like owners than employees. They are up to challenges and are always looking for the next opportunity. Key employees have a stake in the company like it was their own. Once you’ve identified your key employees from your other employees, you can start planning incentive programs to keep them around.

Our white paper on key employee incentive plans includes the five criteria you need to consider when creating a plan. It also outlines the pros and cons of offering a stock- or cash-based plan, along with details to consider for each. We have included a downloadable employee benefit checklist you can use to create and evaluate your incentive plan.

With these tools, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your goal of creating an airtight succession plan. Want to know more about the process? Contact us, and we can guide you through the rest.

Read the white paper –  Employee Incentive Planning

Download the checklist – Employee Benefit Checklist

resources for the construction industry

Key Resources for the Construction Industry

When we work with companies to select the right system that fits their needs, we also spend time researching their industry to determine which systems should be on their list for evaluation. In doing this, we’ve found that the construction industry in particular has a great resource you may not be aware of.

JBKnowlege ConTech Report

JBKnowledge, in partnership with The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) conducts annual surveys to develop its ConTech (Construction Technology) report. Survey answers include what technology solutions respondents are using for estimating, project management, and more. If you want to read the latest surveys, you can do so for free through JBKnowledge, which has been conducting the survey since 2012. If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest technologies being used in the construction industry, this survey should be on your list to review every year. You can use this report to benchmark your company’s use of technology compared to your peers. You can also use the information to improve almost every aspect of your business. Here are a few recent stats from the 2018 report:

IT budget

  • 46% of construction companies are spending less than 1% of their revenue on IT.
  • 41% of construction companies are not billing their IT expenditures to specific projects.
  • However, the percentage of companies who are billing IT indirectly or directly has increased from 22.2% in 2017 to 24.5% in 2018, so it is increasingly becoming a billable expense.

IT staffing

  • CFOs and CEOs are most likely to be in charge of the IT department.
  • 66% of construction companies have a dedicated IT staff of 1-5 employees.
  • Generally, staff size has mostly to do with the number of employees in the company.

Data security

  • Employee training is the most common method of cloud data security. 66% of companies said they did this.
  • 78% of companies have not experienced a data breach in the last 12 months.

Mobile devices and top mobile apps

  • 85% of companies believe that mobile development is important or very important for their industry.
  • More people surveyed use smartphones (93%) than laptops (80%) daily.
  • Top apps for daily report management included Bluebeam, Procore, PlanGrid, and BIM 360 Field (Autodesk).

Workflow

  • Workflows are less likely to be dependent on spreadsheets in 2018
  • Accounting/ERP workflows are most likely to be using dedicated software (80%), followed by estimating (56%).

Top 3 Software Choices by Category

  • Accounting: Viewpoint, Sage 300, QuickBooks
  • Takeoff: On-Screen Takeoff, Bluebeam, Accubid / Autobid
  • Estimating: Sage Estimating, AccuBid (Trimble), HeavyBid
  • Bid Management: SmartBid, iSqFt, BuildingConnected
  • Project Scheduling: Microsoft Project, Primavera P6, Procore
  • Project Management: Procore, Prolog, HCSS HeavyJob
  • CRM: Cosential, Salesforce, Outlook
  • File Storage / Collaboration: DropBox, OneDrive, SharePoint

Emerging technologies

  • 35.2% of people survey are using voice assistance technology sometimes, with 58% of them using Siri.
  • The majority of respondents (59%) are not using drones on construction sites.
  • 38% of companies believe that prefabrication will give them a “strategic advantage” over competitors.

Chortek’s White Paper

If you are considering replacing your existing systems, our white paper on “How to Select a New Business Management System” is a must-read.

Are you trying to decide what system is right for your business? Contact us to start the conversation today. We can connect you with the resources and the experienced people to continue to grow your business.

Chortek managed IT services - Outsourced IT services

IT Outsourcing Services: 4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Company

When it comes to IT outsourcing services, you have a lot of options. If you select the right firm, an outsourced, managed IT service can help provide focus. They can free up your time spent managing IT either in-house, or with an IT firm that is more reactive. Here are a few things you should consider when you’re searching for the ideal managed IT service company.

They suggest the right tool for the job

While it may be easier for you to visit a website and see a pricing page of everything a managed IT service company has to offer, this may be an indication that the company is more interested in selling you as many tools and services as possible without assessing your actual needs. At Chortek, we only recommend tools that fit the IT challenges of your unique business. The last thing you want from a company specializing in small business IT outsourcing services is one that pushes a long line card of products. They need to understand the business challenges you have, and match the services and solutions to that challenge.

The managed IT company recommends business-class technology

Many IT firms will focus on what you can to do get by, possibly recommending less-than-optimal technology products, services, and solutions. Conversations about outsourced IT services should start with a discussion about your business’ needs and risks. Look out for a company that sounds interested in taking shortcuts or providing “silver bullets.” They are likely not prioritizing your business needs.

They are quick to respond to issues

Timeliness is key. Even with the best technology, a managed IT firm needs to react to technical problems quickly. You shouldn’t have to chase down experts via individual mobile phone numbers. That’s a big red flag that the provider doesn’t have a reliable support request system. However, you don’t want to work with an IT company whose support system is too rigid and monolithic, either. Your business needs may not receive the appropriate attention. All of Chortek’s managed IT clients receive personal and consistent responsiveness, which is a point of pride for us.

The team brings a variety of skills and solutions to your small business

Your problems aren’t one-size-fits-all, so why should your outsourced IT team be? You need to work with a team that can bring different solutions to the table because of their extensive and varied skill-set. A diverse set of skills means your IT team can keep your systems running smoothly. They should also add new features and automation as your business needs change. A managed IT service company should be able to help you take business data and turn it into information that provides insight and action.

If the business IT service firm you have now is not meeting your expectations, it’s time to experience the Chortek difference.  Contact Chortek and our Managed IT team will help you figure out what solutions are right for your small business.

 

Integration is driving the need for new systems - integrated business systems blog

Integration is Driving the Need for New Systems

There are a few contributing factors that have led to changes in how people look at and buy new business software. Some of the consideration comes from end users becoming more knowledgeable about business software, and some has to do with the business climate changing over time, but regardless, there is an increased emphasis on opting for software that lends itself well to integrated business systems. Learn more about the history of how the demand for increasingly integrated software has grown over time.

The History of Integrated System Demand

1980s – 1990s: PCs are first used to automate processes

Personal computer-based accounting software has been available almost since the first PCs were introduced in the early 1980s. In the late 1980s and ‘90s, businesses invested in new software mainly to automate processes that were previously manual (think accounting applications like keeping a general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll). Because small- and medium-sized businesses didn’t have a lot of automation to begin with, it took several years for companies to move from manual to automated, computer-based systems.

Y2K: Current systems are brought to higher standards

However, 1999 changed a lot for software businesses. Many people feared the “Y2K Problem,” that computers around the world would fail when their dates changed from 1999 to 2000. In response to this fear, many businesses upgraded their systems to make them as current as possible.

We know now that the Y2K fear was really a dud, but afterwards, many businesses looked at what else they could do with their systems. They focused more on distribution and manufacturing, and less on back-office accounting. Inventory control, order entry, purchasing, and manufacturing became key issues to focus on when selecting a new, more integrated business system.

Early 2000s and beyond: Software is used to satisfy system demands

As new business needs and customer demands have surfaced over time, companies have traditionally searched or software to resolve them. Accounting software, Excel spreadsheet, CRM, and databases were purchased and created to meet these needs.

In the early 2000s, large companies were getting lean by requiring suppliers to accept purchase orders and send shipping notices and invoices electronically instead of by paper. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) grew as a result.

When the recession hit in 2008/2009, many businesses were forced to get lean with personnel and increase their use of technology to do more with less people. We can still see the effects of these initiatives in businesses today.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools have become a hot topic over the past few years, as companies seek to better understand the complete relationship with the customer or prospect all along the sales pipeline, starting with lead generation and qualification, moving to quoting and order entry, all the way to customer service and profitability.

Today: The hunt is on for integrated business systems

As businesses grow, managing multiple systems becomes more time-consuming and inefficient. When Chortek assists clients with system selection, we find that most of the businesses are looking at taking their independent and non-integrated systems and replacing them with one system that can handle all aspects of the business. They want a tool that can handle prospects, quoting, order entry and production, inventory management and purchasing, and back-end accounting and financial reporting.

Business needs have changed over time. So has the power and flexibility of integrated software to meet increasing demands. Technology has become more important than ever in its role of efficiently meeting customer needs and providing increased profitability to ensure the future success of the company. Today, we are relying more on process and technology and less on people.

Want to know how Chortek can help you solve your greatest system integration challenges? Contact us today or email Steve Krueger, our Business Technology Consulting (BTC) Principal, to learn more about our services.

 

 

Are SaaS Solutions Right For Your Business?

Are SaaS Solutions Right For Your Business?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a distribution model for software with wide-reaching applications. With SaaS, businesses can use and access software hosted by a third party as an enterprise resource management (ERP) cloud solution. But, are SaaS solutions the right fit for your business? In this blog, we review deployment options for software, providers, vendors, and the potential future for SaaS/Cloud ERP solutions, so you can better determine what makes sense for your business.

Deployment Options

On-Premise

On-Premise software is installed on your servers. Because it is onsite, and not hosted by a third party, you will be responsible for upgrading the operating system (OS) and physical box periodically. You will likely need an internal IT staff member to maintain systems, or you will need to contract with an IT provider.

While you own rights to the software, you will probably pay annual maintenance for access to new versions. If you stop paying the maintenance fee, you can generally continue to run on the version you own and have access to your data. However, losing support for the version your business is using can lead to problems down the road.  You will also have fees every year or two to upgrade your software to the current version.

The infrastructure of this software will be on your shoulders: You need to provide your own backup and remote access to the system. You also need to maintain the quality of the infrastructure so that the end user experience isn’t compromised.

Summary:  You own the software, pay an annual maintenance fee for access to new versions and fees for the actual upgrade for versions you wish to deploy.  Hardware is yours to maintain including operating system, backup, remote access, firewall and antivirus.

Hosted

Hosted software is the same as on-premise, with server location as the exception: It is installed on someone else’s server, which you have to pay monthly per user for the access. With this hosted service, a few responsibilities move to the host: They provide data backup and IT services for the software.

Generally, you can access hosted software from any computer connected to the internet. Because internet access is required, however, this may be a possible bottleneck to user experience.

Summary: You own the software, pay an annual maintenance fee for access to new versions and fees for the actual upgrade for versions you wish to deploy.  Hardware is someone else’s that you pay a monthly fee per user to access including backup.  Internet access becomes critical but you have access from anywhere anytime.

SaaS/Cloud

With a SaaS/cloud solution, there is no install required for your business. You also don’t need to worry about periodic upgrades to the software. The cloud-hosted ERP provides backup, you can access from any internet-connected device (not just desktop computers), and you pay per user, per month for access to the system. You do not need an internal IT team to use the software, either.

However, the deployment option is not without its drawbacks. If you stop paying for the service, you lose access to the system and data. You are also completely dependent on an internet connection to access your systems. It may appear initially that SaaS is the most expensive option, but complete the cost comparison of all options to get a better picture of what SaaS might save you in the long-run. Primary SaaS/cloud ERP providers include Intacct, NetSuite, and Acumatica.

Summary:  You pay a monthly fee per user to access the system.  No upgrade fees and no infrastructure fees.  Internet access is critical.

Summary Matrix

On-Premise

Hosted

SaaS

Own the Software?  Yes Yes No
Upgrades Required?  Yes Yes No
Own the Infrastructure?  Yes No No
Internet Access Required?  No Yes Yes
Remote Access?  Limited Yes Yes
Industry-Specific? Yes Yes Limited

Is SaaS a Good Fit For You?

You might be reading through these deployment options and still have no idea whether SaaS is a good fit for your business. Here are a few scenarios you might be in where SaaS can be the perfect fit:

  • You are looking for software that has financial and CRM functionality only
  • You have a small- to medium-sized company with standard, non-industry-specific needs
  • You are a startup company that needs to deploy quickly with little to no IT resources
  • You have multiple locations and/or remote employees where the cost of IT infrastructure would be high to support the business model with other deployment methods

So, where might SaaS not be a good fit? If you have industry-specific needs, or are in a vertical that is not currently being catered to by a SaaS/cloud software solution, you may want to look for a more customized option. Vertical markets are rapidly being released, but at what bleeding-edge cost compared to proven on-premise solutions?

Distribution and Manufacturing Industries and SaaS

Even if you have industry-specific needs, you may still find a tool that works well for you. Acumatica, for example, has currently deployed an ecosystem best for distribution and manufacturing companies. Here are a few other things to consider for distribution and manufacturing industries when it comes to SaaS solutions.

Distribution

When it comes to distribution, the SaaS solution fit really depends on the vendor. Consider whether the tool is a fit for not only inventory, but shipping integration, warehouse management, and web/ecommerce integration before you commit to a purchase. Another thing to think about: The fit generally comes from the integrated third parties, not from the main cloud provider itself.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing processes are the most difficult to move to the cloud because you need to integrate with machines and people on the shop floor. On-premise solutions have been around longer, and have deeper functionality than cloud solutions, so SaaS may not be your best bet in this case. Once again, many of the industry-specific solutions are provided by integrated third parties.

The Future of SaaS/Cloud Solutions

While some cloud solutions are moving faster than others depending on industry, on-premise solutions have been around longer and have deeper functionality. Cloud providers will need time to catch up, but what else do we see in the future of SaaS solutions?

Many of the primary vendors have created the platform for developers – Platform as a Service (PaaS) – to add industry-specific functionality to their tools. This will help them compete with established on-premise solutions without having to create the solutions themselves.

If you’re still trying to determine which solution is right for your business, contact the experts at Chortek today through our online form, or email Steve Krueger, our Business Technology Consulting (BTC) Principal, to learn more about our services.

 

5 reasons why business valuation is important

White Paper: 5 Reasons Why Business Valuation is Important

Here are 5 reasons why business valuation is far from an unnecessary expense. 

Small business owners have a lot on their plate, and have to be wise about their expenses. The last thing you want to do as a business owner is spend money on something that doesn’t feel essential. If you’re years away from selling, a business valuation likely sounds frivolous. It’s just as likely that selling your business hasn’t even crossed your mind yet.

At some point, you will need to think about what comes next for your business. Getting an estimate of value is a great first step to a more predictable future for you and your small business. Our latest white paper outlines why an estimate of value should be a can’t-miss item on your to-do list.

Download our white paper today – Business Valuation: 5 Reasons Why It’s Important

How to reissue a bill payment in QuickBooks in a closed period

How to Reissue a Bill Payment in QuickBooks in a Closed Period

A vendor you paid via Bill Payment lost the check.  You need to re-issue the Bill Payment check, but it was in the last fiscal year and the books are now closed.  You do not want to delete or void the check as this would cause problems.  Therefore, you want to perform the following steps: Read More >

What is the value of your processes, procedures, and technology systems?

What is the “Value” of your Processes, Procedures and Technology Systems?

Do your “systems” include manual processes, accounting software, and Excel spreadsheets? Is integrated software missing from your list, or not being used to its fullest potential? How do you think these systems will be perceived by someone considering purchasing the company? When considering the “value” of a company’s systems, business owners need to look at the procedures, processes, and software currently used. How would a prospective buyer use these systems, both right away and in the future? Here are a couple examples Chortek has encountered that highlight the value of investing in new integrated software. We’ll call them Client A and Client B.

Case Studies: Clients Using Non-Integrated Systems

Client A

With Client A, the company’s buyer was in the same industry, but had a different geographic territory. After acquiring the company, the buyer continued using Client A’s software to run the newly attained locations, but now, they are in the process of migrating critical Client A data to the new owners  system. Read More >