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4 Steps to Ensure Fully Accurate Accounting

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 20, 2017

Accuracy is absolutely paramount in business, especially when it comes to accounting. Many small to medium sized businesses handle accounting lackadaisically, putting it off until the annual tax filing session comes around. While common accounting software has made it easy for anyone to keep track of every aspect of business operations, these applications don't automatically ensure accuracy in all scenarios. Fully accurate accounting means knowing for sure that your records, totals, and calculations are correct with zero margin for error. Luckily, you won't need to have a masters in accounting in order to achieve exceptional accounting accuracy with the help of the 4 tips below:

1. Create Daily and/or Weekly Summaries

Postponing accounting duties is never a good idea because time tends to let things slip through the cracks. By reviewing everything on a daily or weekly basis you'll be in a better position to spot and corrections any inaccuracies with a fresh memory of the recent transactions. Obviously, you're much less likely to discover a mistake a year after the date it happened, versus simply staying on top of it on a weekly basis. Daily reviews are typically only recommended for businesses that conduct a high volume of transactions per day. Depending on the amount of revenue you're generating, it may be worthwhile to have an in-house accountant with a degree in accounting.

2. Request and Keep and All Receipts

One of the first things you'd learn when earning an online masters in accounting is the importance of proper record keeping. An accountant can only do so much to compensate for lack of comprehensive records. By keeping every receipt, order confirmation email, transaction ID, and other data related to your purchases and sales, you'll be able to provide your accountant or software with the most accurate numbers and details possible.

3. Practice Digital Data Redundancy

A commonly overlooked cause of inaccurate accounting is the possibility of data loss or modification due to the lack of digital redundancy. In other words, it’s best to have all of your accounting records backed up on a daily basis, or even more frequently if you're doing high volume. Some companies set their accounting software up on multiple machines and schedule them to perform automated backups every 1, 3, or 6 hours as preferred. Doing so ensures that an unexpected data loss event will never leave you with a small chunk of inaccuracy that can't be rectified.

4. Quarterly Audits by a Professional Accountant

If after taking the steps above you still have a sliver of doubt about the accuracy of your accounting, it may be worthwhile to have an accountant conduct an audit at the end of every fiscal quarter. Doing so could help you discover errors that you or your employees might have otherwise overlooked.

Emphasizing the Importance of Accuracy in Employees and Partners

Of course, all of the above tips won't help you if your workforce and associates aren't on board with the objective of maintaining complete accounting accuracy. Thus, it's imperative that you continually emphasize the importance of ongoing accuracy in daily operations during routine meetings and conferences. 

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How to Protect Your Business Online

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 16, 2017

However convenient it may be, widespread connectivity has put us all in the firing line of potential hackers. Cloud-based software, Internet sharing and email communication all play an essential part in the modern workforce. However, our reliance on computer systems and online applications is also leaving us vulnerable to cyber attacks.

 

Online security is a real issue affecting businesses every day around the world. No organization is 100% safe from hackers or malware, but there are steps you can take to protect your business and lessen the repercussions of a breach. Here are five simple steps you can take towards protecting your business online.

 

Beware of Malware

 

According to Cyber Crime statistics, around 50% of all cyber attacks involve malware: malicious software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system. You can prevent malware from infecting your system by avoiding suspicious emails and not clicking unknown hyperlinks, but these well-intentioned habits will only get you so far. The only way to prevent malware entirely is by installing antivirus software and making sure you run and update it regularly.

 

Update your Operating System

 

Those notifications telling you to update your device's operating systems can be irritating, but they are there for a good reason. More often than not, software updates are designed to fix vulnerabilities in your current system, so make sure you keep your company computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones up to date.

 

Use a CASB Cloud Security Solution

 

If you’re using cloud software to store business data or run applications, a cloud access security broker (CASB) solution is essential. A CASB, as defined by Skyhigh Networks, is an on-premises or cloud-hosted security platform that protects corporate data while enforcing security, compliance, and governance policies for all cloud-based applications. Now that cyber-attacks are so rife, a CASB has become a critical element of business security, and without it, you could be putting your company data at risk.

 

Change Your Passwords

 

We all know that using “strong passwords” will make our login details more difficult for hackers to guess, but if your website security defense is already weakened, then cyber-criminals will already be able to see them. To make sure your information remains protected, consider implementing two-factor authentication (2FA). In addition, avoid the common mistake of using the same password across multiple services. Hackers will often try the same password across different software as a first step to gain unauthorized access.

 

Encrypt Sensitive Data

 

Encryption essentially scrambles text and converts it into what’s known as ciphertext, to make it unreadable by anyone other than those with the keys to decode it. This security defense has become less of an added security measure and more of necessity, as it slows down hackers and prevents them accessing secure information. You should also encrypt your Wi-Fi network and use a VPN (virtual private network) if you’re accessing your system through a public Internet connection.

 

Conclusion

 

With cyber attacks on the rise, it is a worrying time for businesses, whatever their scale or sector. No one should ever assume they are safe from a cyber attack. Instead, business owners need to take proactive steps toward increasing their online security through encryption, two-factor authentication, cloud security solutions and anti-virus software. While implementing this advice may never fully protect your business from hackers, it will lessen the chances of a breach and minimize the potential fallout.

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5 Ways That You Can Stand Out From Your Competitors In The World of Business

Posted By Justin Borden, Thursday, November 9, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017

In the cutthroat world of business, it is vital that you always have the edge over your competitors. This will help you to protect your client base and to corner your area of the market. In order to succeed, you will have to aim higher than your industry peers. You will need to embrace innovative approaches to boosting your brand, running your business, and retaining your clients. If you are determined to come out on top, you will need to read on. Below are five ways that you can stand out from your competitors in the world of business.

Narrow your focus

When you are in the early stages of running your business, it is vital that you stay focused. Instead of pushing your brand onto a wide range of people, try to establish a specific audience; this will help you to establish a loyal following, and it will also help you to create a strong brand with a clear message. Then, when your business begins to find success, you can think about expanding your horizons.

Take an ethical approach to business

Adopting an ethical approach, in the corporate world, is a fantastic way for you to make sure that your business always stands out. Even if you offer the same service and prices, like your competitors, strong ethics are likely to appeal to anyone with a moral conscience. If you do decide to take this approach, you will need to ensure that your company ethics are an integral part of your branding. You will also need to avoid any situations with the potential to compromise your moral position, as this could result in a public relations disaster.

Engage with your customers

Make sure that you engage with your customers on a regular basis. This will ensure that your brand is firmly on their radar. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to involve a lot of effort. Instead, you can rely on marketing automation to do the hard work for you. This free, and easy to use, software platform has the ability to automate your digital marketing activities. It can handle a wide range of tasks that are essential to interacting with your clients.

Add faces and names to your business

Another option is to embrace the personal touch. Why not add faces and names to your business? This will increase your chances of establishing customer loyalty. You could include staff profiles on your website, or you could create a database that documents employee interactions with clients. Then, when a client gets in contact with your business, you can make sure that they are always talking to the same person.

Make powerful guarantees

When you are marketing your business, you should try to find a powerful guarantee that you can make to your customers. For instance, you could offer a complete refund for any dissatisfied clients. Or, you could provide free delivery for orders over a certain price. Going the extra mile will really help you to stand above your competitors.  

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Qualities Every Business Leader Should Portray

Posted By Justin Borden, Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017

It’s not easy doing your job well and being a leader. Becoming a strong leader takes time, extra effort and patience. You can’t expect to be a trailblazer overnight, but that doesn’t mean you should give up trying. 

That’s why it’s important to gain experience, read inspiring articles and network with people who you see as a role model. These actions will help guide you in the right direction. Working at it will be well worth the reward when you look in the mirror one day and realize you’ve become the goal you set out to be, a strong and stable leader. See qualities every business leader should portray.

Integrity

Having integrity is about being open and honest in all situations. Leaders with integrity don’t lie to their customers and put others in difficult situations. Attempting to run a business without the right education, training and licensing is dishonest and will likely ruin any chance you have at becoming a leader in your industry. Aim to be reliable and upright in all interactions. A professional demeanor, the right background and education and being a stickler for the truth will get you a lot further in your career than being sneaky.

Project Management Abilities

A leader should know how to run a business project and deliver results. You should be able to problem solve and find solutions quickly. For example, you could suggest using a Google keyword planner if your team’s looking to improve the company’s search rankings. This tool helps find high volume terms that relate to your primary keyword. Being in charge means your coworkers depend on you to guide them and offer up ideas that they can then run with on their own. Take time to create a strategy, assign tasks and layout a plan for getting to your end goal.

Positive Attitude

Leaders can be annoying because they always seem to have a positive attitude. While it may be frustrating to you, it’s what makes them a leader and how they’ve been able to succeed for so long. It’s inevitable that problems will occur in business and at work. The difference is in how people handle the difficulties and if they work to find a solution. A leader won’t let a hiccup get them down. They’ll put a smile on their face and rally the employees to help them come up with a resolution that will get the company back on track. They do this over and over again, because they know negativity will only hold them back. Leaders rely on a positive attitude to help them find solutions to complex problems and don’t give up when the waters are rough.

Communication

Communication is key to succeeding in the business world. You have to be able to communicate with customers, different departments and establish rules, procedures and strategies that others understand and can abide by. Without the proper dialogue, messages get lost in the mix and mistakes occur. You have to be able to adjust your tone and demeanor depending upon who within the company, or outside of the company, you’re dealing with at any given time. The ability to enhance business processes and improve the current landscape takes strategic communication and patience. You need to be clear, concise and direct, so that you get your message across without sounding apprehensive or aggressive. Keeping ideas to yourself, or not having the skills to talk through a concept will slow progress and hurt the company as a whole.

Delegation

A good leader knows how to delegate. They don’t need to micromanage or refuse to let go of work assignments that no longer belong to them. A leader knows how to manage their employees, so everyone’s busy with their own projects and not sitting around bored or frustrated. You have to know when to release control if you want to be a strong leader. A good leader wants to see their staff and subordinates improve and advance. Delegation is part of the job, and it’s what’s going to free up more of your time so you can focus on the business strategy and turning a profit.

Flexibility

You have to be flexible in a leadership position. The business world is always changing, and you have to be ready for all possibilities. It’s not going to work out well if you’re always fighting the natural flow of the business world and trying to keep it all the same. Change is good, and it often happens when you’re working in a busy industry. Remain flexible and make decisions based on the information that’s in front of you. Avoid living too much in the past or future if you want to do what’s best for the company. Although it’s smart to have a documented strategy and business plan, keep in mind that there will likely be the need for tweaks and adjustments. 

Collaboration

Collaborating is essential in the business world, and anyone who wants to be a leader needs to know how to do it. A good leader involves the staff in the process planning stage and gets their opinions on how to move forward. This makes them feel like part of the team and are, therefore, less likely to offer any resistance to the new business processes. A leader has to have the agility to collaborate with many different groups of people at work. The fact that a person in a high position is willing to collaborate with others sets a good example for the staff, and there’s a certain tone that trickles down to the various departments.

Conclusion

Anyone has the opportunity to work hard and become a leader. It takes dedication, education and a positive attitude to keep moving in the right direction. You can’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes when you want to move up in your career and advance your skills. This is how you learn and grow. Use these tips for knowing what you should be aiming for as you strive to achieve this goal. These are qualities every business leader should portray. 

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How to Increase Employee Retention and Loyalty

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Small businesses need their employees to care about their success. Loyal employees are ones who align their success and their goals with your company, and they’re the ones who love working for you and love the company itself. To keep these great employees, you need to reward them. This means improving their work environment and giving them the inclination to stay with you. Here are five suggestions to increase both employee loyalty and employee retention:

1.      Improve Their Work Environment

When someone enjoys the space where they work, they enjoy working more. This means having a work environment that is both attractive and safe. Make your office space bright, airy, and even try to add in plants so that the air remains fresh and clean. Have both safety protocols and workplace harassment protocols in place to make the work environment safer. This means that whether someone has been physical hurt or harassed, your employees know what action they can take.

2.      Offer a Better Break

Taking a break can make your employees more productive. Offer a better break by having free coffee, tea, and other snacks that boost energy for them always. Offer your employees a means to make or prepare their food from home to make their lunch break better. Encourage your employees to eat healthy and save money – two things that they will be grateful for.

3.      Ensure They Have a Future with You

No one wants to work a dead-end job, which is why upon hiring you need to make it clear to your employees that they, if they work hard, have a future with your company. This means promotions and pay increases will provided to those that have the right skills and commitment levels, and new, higher positions will always consider their current employees before they hire from the outside.

4.      Be Upfront

Being an honest, genuine employer will get you a lot of respect from your employees. This means having systems and protocols that are fair and work. It means treating your employees with respect, either by complimenting and rewarding them fairly or criticizing them constructively when they need it. It means paying your employees what they’re owed. Have your employees use a paystub generator so that your records are accurate and everyone believes that they’re being paid fairly.

5.      Reward Them

Promotions and pay rise increases should be standard rewards for committed, hard work. You can – and should – however, reward your employees in other ways as well. Bring in lunch for them every once in a while, host company parties, offer an extra day off to make a long weekend, or any other small reward you can think of. When your employees do a good job, make sure that they know that you recognize their achievements. Even something as small as an email thanking them for their hard work will go a long way.

Your employees are talented people who are making your business succeed. When these employees are great at what they do, you want to keep them around for as long as possible. Make a great work environment that your employees enjoy being in and one where they can succeed in, and you’ll keep the best employees in your company.  

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