Fear of the unknown is one of the biggest challenges that people have . A common source of anxiety for entrepreneurs is sending data-sensitive financial files online. This is especially true when the exchange could increase the risk of your information ending up in the wrong hands. Below are tips to introduce you to file sharing tools, help reduce risks, and increase your comfort in collaborating with your accountant online.
- Ask if your accountant uses a secure file exchange portal. A growing number of virtual accountants are adding this benefit for their clients. The objective is to store files online over secure internet channels. Instead of sending files by email, files are uploaded to a secure site that requires a username and password and is only accessible by you and your accountant.
- Create a password for documents and files that you share. If you will be sending files by email, consider password protection. Programs such as QuickBooks, for example, can be setup to require a password when you log-in. This increases security in the event that someone intercepts the your attachments.
- Sign up for your own secure file exchange service. Companies such as YouSendIt and LeapFile provides the flexibility of being able to send large files and files of various types. These features are important especially when you need to send copies of software files to your accountant.
- Consider remote access to your computer. Desktop sharing is quickly becoming a favorite among people who work from home and those with a small office space. If you want a simple means of collaborating and output in real time, this may be a good solution. Another perk of site-to-site sharing is you never have to share office space, only computers.
- Save to portable media such as a flash drive or CD-Rom. The drawback to using this method is it takes more time to get your file to your accountant. This could be a problem if you need updates for time sensitive projects. If you’re in no hurry then these are both safe and reliable options.
- With all the hype about online collaboration, onsite accounting is an alternative that many people overlook. This remains one of the best options if none of the other choices appeal to you. The biggest drawback you may face is finding someone local to add to your team. If your office space and equipment are limited, this may pose a challenge but you can resolve this by having a set time and a dedicated work station for your accountant to be onsite.
The fourth quarter is a great time for entrepreneurs to create a budget for the coming year. There are two sides to the budget equation. First is the money that you expect to come in. The other side is your costs. Let’s take a look at free alternatives to what you pay for in business.
Every business benefits from advertising and promotion. Ignore this activity and no one will knows about you. Do it well and you can create an endless stream of sales flowing through your funnel. Social media makes it much more affordable to advertise and promote your products and services online. The most common platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube but be careful because although they are free, you pay the price in the amount of time you spend there.
If your business pays high consulting fees consider free advice from SCORE. Although it does not replace the relationships that you build with your core team, the guidance that you receive in management and marketing, for example, can be a good alternative to racking up hourly charges for quick questions that you need answered. Using free resources like those offered by SCORE also lets you figure out how best to take the next step before hiring a marketing pro. You might also consider doing research on your own if you are not strapped for time. There are volumes of articles written by professionals that you can access online.
Another drain on profits are your phone costs. In years past it was common for companies to pay for LAN, fax, and cellular lines. Today free and low-cost replacements are VOIP services such as Skype and Google Chat. You can also eliminate the costly expense of fax lines, ink and paper by send and receive faxes directly on your computer.
What resources can you use to spend less money in business?
It’s your time to share in the comments below. Now that you have a few ideas, think about where your business can benefit from low-cost or free alternatives.
You may have had your share of great starts and fizzled finishes as life got in the way but there is inspiration all around you. Whenever I fall short of a goal I remember that, “Winners never quit and quitters never win” because it puts situations into the right perspective. Here’s how it helps in managing your business.
Lazy hands bring poverty, but hard-working hands bring wealth.
Let’s say that you are behind in your bookkeeping and the year is almost over. Weekly calendar reminders and accounting updates flow through your Facebook stream but slothfulness holds you back. You are not alone. I polled a group of entrepreneurs who had reworked their schedules to include dedicated bookkeeping days. The results showed that even after eliminating the “I don’t have time for bookkeeping” factor, they still failed to get it done. Be sure to follow a routine so that you spot key insights and potential opportunities that only up-to-date accounting can brings.
Tide and time wait for no man.
When you do not control time it will control you. Each of us has different levels of discipline when managing business finance. Success starts by taking the first step. If you are resolving to getting the records in order, try this at your next bookkeeping session:
- Remove distractions that compete for your attention.
- Turn off social media, email, and take only emergency calls.
- Come prepared with everything you need including client invoices, vendor bills, check registers, and bank statements. This will help you minimize workflow interruptions.
- Finally, commit to a set time — maybe fifteen minutes or so and build up from there.
If you don’t get it all done in one sitting, no worries. Just keep plugging away item by item and the next thing you know you will be all caught up. Remember, even as obstacles to staying on top of finances arise, there are far more reasons to keep trying than there are to throw in the towel.
Smile at your future!