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Business Finances - Complete Controller

Accounting and bookkeeping are essential tools for keeping business finances in order, but first, there are other issues you need to address as a business owner. The first step to the financial health of your business is to separate business finances from personal ones.

It is a common mistake of a business owner to mix both business and personal finances. It’s natural since, in most cases, the start-up capital, or at least some of it, was from the owner’s personal savings or salary from another source of income. This mix of business and personal finances should be addressed early, and the separation was done as soon as possible. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

It is impossible to determine the company’s actual profit and losses if you are supplementing the income of the business with personal finances outside of start-up capital. It’s not to say that you can’t use your personal finances to fund the business, but you should be treated as any other investor and should pay yourself back from profits.

Separating the finances is not the only step you should take. It would be best if you also made your business a limited liability company. This simple move will protect your personal finances if your business goes bankrupt, is audited, or has a lawsuit filed against it.

In addition to separating your business and personal finances, here are some other ways you can keep your business finances in order. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Get organized

Use a professional accountant or bookkeeper or use accounting and bookkeeping software to keep organized when it comes to your finances. This organization will help you to observe the due dates of invoices for on-time payments. Lack of organization can result in lead to late fees, high-interest payments, or loss of business.

Know Your Fixed and Variable Expenses

Fixed expenses are those you must pay every month, such as water, electricity, telephone, payroll, and taxes. Variable expenses are those costs that aren’t consistent and vary in cost and change or cease to exist. The knowledge of both your fixed and variable expenses will keep your finances in order and make bookkeeping easy and accurate.

Billing Strategy

Many small businesses struggle with finances due to billing issues. Accounts receivable is often a place within a small business where improvement is needed. There are several ways you can address billing issues. You can require the customer to pay in full upfront. In some businesses, demanding payment in full may not be suitable for getting and retaining customers. If that is the case, you can still get more invoices paid by offering customers a 2% discount on the total bill if they pay in full within ten days and make payment in full due within thirty days. These incentives are often used by clients of companies who implement the practice. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Track Your Books Closely

If you are working with a bookkeeper, review and monitor your books daily or monthly. This monitoring of the books will help to avoid negative surprises. Knowing your books will help you formulate strategies for increasing profit and lowering expenses, and it can also help identify fraud.  Even if you hire a professional accountant or bookkeeper, you, as the business owner, should always be aware of what is happening when it comes to your business finances.

Make Good Financial Habits

Being aware of your business finances and having a hand, at least to some degree, in your company’s bookkeeping is a great habit to get into, but you can do more. Set aside time every week or month, depending on your business’s volume, to go over your books and to strategize as needed to keep your business finances in order.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
Increase Your Salary - Complete Controller

If you ask most employees what the most challenging thing is to do, they will likely say the same thing, asking for a raise. While it may be difficult to ask for an increase in your salary, every employee deserves to be paid what they’re worth. Here are some tips to help you increase your salary. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Timing

There is a saying that says, “Timing is everything.” This saying is true when it comes to getting a raise. While you should look for the best timing to ask and increase your chances of success, you have to be careful not to let timing become the excuse not to ask. The perfect time to ask for a raise, that gives you the best opportunity for success will vary depending on the person you are asking and your company’s operations. If there is a hiring freeze or other company financial adjustments, you should wait until the company is in a better place.

Follow Internal protocol

While you may deserve every penny of a raise, if you ask for it inappropriately or ask a person who has no decision-making capacity, your request may be declined. Make sure you know the internal protocol relating to asking for a raise. Some companies give that power to management while others consider all employee salary increases once a year based on their performance review. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Prepare a Presentation

A presentation can include visual aids or PowerPoint, or it can be a well-planned oral presentation. While your presentation should be assertive, it must be kept short and to the point. If you can’t convince your boss that you deserve a raise in less than two or three minutes, then your performance may not hold up to the ask. When you walk into your boss’s office, they should already know that you deserve this salary increase from your outstanding job performance and service record.

Focus on the Company

When asking for a raise, you must focus on yourself and focus on the company. You must show that you value the company and understand that it is a business. Showing this understanding and value and how you fit into it as an employee and how you increase the company’s worth, will help your chances of you not only getting a raise but getting the amount that you desire. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Avoid Specific Salary

Some may argue that you should ask for the exact amount you would like to make when asking for a salary increase. However, it has been proven that asking for a range of salary increases your chances of not only receiving a raise but getting more than you expected. By giving a range with the lowest end of the range being the lowest acceptable amount and the high end of the range shooting for the stars, you guarantee that you will be satisfied with the amount if your raise is approved.

Conclusion

Asking for a raise, while scary, is a necessity if you don’t work for a company that automatically considers salary increases each year according to performance reviews. Though it may make you nervous to ask, 100% of employees who don’t ask for a raise don’t get one. Studies have shown that of employees who ask for a raise, approximately 70% receive one. Of those who receive a raise, roughly 40% receive what they asked for and about 35% more than they asked for. This leaves the other 25% to receive less than what was proposed. The point is the odds are in your favor that if you ask, you shall receive. So ask already!

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
Stakeholders - Complete Controller

What is a stakeholder? A stakeholder is a person or organization that has invested in a business or project and has a stake in that business or project’s success or failure. When it comes to small businesses, a company can rarely get started or continue to operate without involving stakeholders. As the owner, you are the ultimate stakeholder; however, you must keep other stakeholders happy because unhappy stakeholders can cause problems and ultimately negatively impact your business. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Some of the adverse effects are constant communication that is unnecessary and distracting, asking for changes within the company that cause setbacks, and issues between the stakeholders and key staff. To avoid this, here are some steps you can take to keep your stakeholders happy.

Communicate

The truth is that communication is key to every relationship in your life. Your relationship with stakeholders is no different. If you have regular and meaningful contact with your stakeholders, they will have no reason to be overly involved in the business. When communicating, it is also essential that you are transparent and honest, even when you may need to deliver bad news. Most stakeholders understand there will be occasional setbacks or issues, but if you are upfront and communicate clearly, they will often stick with you through good times and bad. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Actively Listen

Stakeholders will have opinions and ideas, even if you don’t use their idea, they still need to feel like they have a voice, and it is being heard. Stakeholders have a vested interest in the business’s complete success; therefore, they should be able to interject ideas and opinions. Actively listening is advantageous to the owner because some ideas may fix an issue, grow the business, or inspire innovation. Remember, they are in if for the return on their investment, so they will always be coming from a place that has the company’s best interest at heart.

Manage Expectations

Managing expectations is not just related to the financial outcomes of the business. It is also about managing expectations of the relationship, communication, and the stakeholder’s direct involvement in your business. While it would be an ideal world if every business partner would invest and be a silent partner, but that is generally not how it is in the real world of the small business. Managing expectations will ensure you and your stakeholders are on the same page and avoid any surprises. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Strong Leadership

Stakeholders need to see strong leadership within your business. Regardless of communication or management of expectations, if your leadership is weak, no talking will overcome that with the stakeholders. A stakeholder wants to feel their investment will pay off with an owner who knows how to lead the business to profit and success.

Have a Service Level Agreement

Like managing expectations, a service level agreement is a way to layout yours and your stakeholder’s understanding of what is expected to be delivered. Having an agreement on productivity and return on their investment will ensure no one is unclear on the objectives.

Stakeholders Are People

We need to remember that stakeholders aren’t some unrelatable entities. They are people who have a stake in your business, just like you! If you keep that in mind, it will make it easier to look out for their best interest. Treat them as you would want to be treated if you were the stakeholder, and they were the owner. What would you need to be happy? What information would you want to know? What would you expect of yourself? 

The bottom line is you and your stakeholders carry the same goals and needs when it comes to your business. Taking these steps will ensure that your stakeholders are happy, and the relationship remains mutually beneficial.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
Online Banking - Complete Controller

When most people think of banking, they think of waiting behind other cars for their turn to stuff their deposit into a tube and having it sucked into the drive-thru bank teller or standing in long lines waiting to hear “next in line.” And that way of banking will likely always exist. As automation and innovation have progressed, starting with ATMs in the 80s and moving to online banking options offered by central banks in the early 2000s, banking’s face has changed. You can automatically deposit your paychecks and use payment platforms to receive funds to be transferred into your bank without ever having to step foot into your bank or sit waiting for your turn at the pneumatic tube. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Now, some banks fly in the face of traditional brick and mortar banks. These banks are entirely contained online and are taking the banking industry by storm. Here are four reasons you should consider online banking.

Convenience

The best thing about online banking is convenience. While both traditional brick and mortar banks and online banks both offer the same conveniences when it comes to online banking, there are some differences. Being able to do banking anytime instead of just bank hours, electronic deposits of paper checks, and ease of transfers are a few of the conveniences both offer.

Lower Fees

Because online banks don’t have the high overhead of traditional brick and mortar banks, they can minimize or even eliminate fees. Traditional banks have building maintenance and staff, while online banks have less of these costs. Most online banks have no minimum balance fees, and their overdraft fees are generally significantly lower than traditional banks’ charges. Also, many online banks offer free ATM withdrawals and reimburse fees charged by the ATM company. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Online banks are enticing new customers with lower to no fees compared to traditional banks who rely on fees as part of their profits.

Higher Interest Returns

While every bank offers savings accounts that gain interest, online banks can offer higher rates for the same reason they can offer lower to no fees, low overhead. While savings accounts are never going to be a get rich quick option no matter the banking institution, the differences in the traditional bank interest rate and the online bank interest rate will add up to a large difference in the long-term.

Traditional banks generally offer 0.01% annual percentage yield while online banks offer between 0.05 and 1.5% annual percentage yields. This adds up to more significant savings, and if you are looking for a no-risk way to grow your savings, online banks will give you the most bang for your buck.

Technology

Technology will again not be exclusive to online banks. However, the fact that an online bank is 100% based on the technology will be on the cutting-edge of innovation when it comes to banking. Their only focus is online and mobile device interaction with banking. This innovation means that online banking customers will continue to get the best services possible with a lot more control over their accounts. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

The Drawbacks

There are two drawbacks to having an online bank account. There is no ability to deposit cash, and online banks don’t have other services exclusive to the traditional brick and mortar bank. These services include safe deposit boxes, notary services, and other services that require in-person interaction. Also, online banks often don’t offer brokerage accounts, CDs, and insurance products most traditional banks offer though some do.

These drawbacks can be overcome in a few ways. You can still keep a checking account free to use for cash deposits at a traditional bank or open a safe deposit box only if you need one. There are other institutions to get the other services you may need, or you can search to find an online bank that has the services you need since some do offer brokerage accounts and insurance products.

Conclusion

Online banking has some distinct advantages when it comes to the savings on fees and the higher interest savings accounts. These reasons speak strongly about choosing online banking for your primary banking needs. Though there are drawbacks, those can be overcome though you may prefer to continue to use your traditional brick and mortar bank.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
tax preparation - Complete Controller

Every taxpayer dreads tax season. Even if you are getting money back, there is so much that goes into filing taxes. The ultimate way to maximize your tax return is to hire a professional tax preparer. But, if you are looking to save money and do your taxes, here are some tips to help you maximize your tax return and, hopefully, a bigger refund. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Claim All Available Deductions

Many American taxpayers leave money on the table by not claiming all the deductions they can. The truth is some of the wealthiest among us pay next to nothing in taxes. This is because they take advantage of every deduction available. To discover all the deductions you can claim will take some research on your part, but that research can pay off BIG! Every deduction is subtracted from your adjusted gross income, which lowers your taxable income and puts money in your pocket.

Here are some common deductions to look for:

  • Student loan interest deduction
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Lifetime Learning Credit
  • Child and dependent care tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Adoption credit
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Charitable donations deduction
  • Medical expenses deduction
  • Deduction for state and local taxes
  • Mortgage interest deduction
  • Gambling loss deduction
  • IRA contributions deduction
  • 401(k) contributions deduction
  • Saver’s Credit
  • Health Savings Account contributions deduction
  • Self-employment expenses deduction
  • Home office deduction
  • Educator expenses deduction
  • Residential energy credit Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Your taxable income is the amount you pay taxes on; therefore, deductions can lower your taxable income and get you a bigger refund.

Use the Best Filing Status

Choosing a filing status seems like a simple task that won’t impact your tax returns. However, how you file can make a big difference, so it is best to try each of the filing statuses you qualify to see which one is most advantageous. For instance, you may be able to file single or as head of household. The head of the household carries some tax benefits, so it might be best to file that way. The same applies to married couples. Check which is the biggest advantage between filing jointly and separately. Here are the different types of filing status:

  • Single
  • Head of household
  • Married, filing jointly
  • Married, filing separately
  • Qualifying widower

It is always best to try every way you can file. The extra time it takes to run through this twice can pay off in a bigger refund making it worthwhile.

Report All Your Income

Though reporting all your income won’t result in a bigger refund, it will pay off down the line. If you forget to report any income that an employer reported, it will trigger an audit, and the penalties can be harsh. Depending on how long it takes to be discovered (sometimes years) by the IRS, there could be some accrual of interest. If you realize the mistake, correct it as soon as possible, find out what forms are needed, and get it corrected. This will minimize possible penalties. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Meet the Deadlines

Meeting deadlines is imperative to maximize your tax return. The IRS has steep penalties for not reaching deadlines. Even if you get an official extension, you are still liable for late fees. The IRS charges several penalties, including one for failing to file promptly. It equates to 5% of your unpaid taxes and is charged for each month your return is late up to five months and has interest.

Check Your Math

As simple as it sounds, checking your math can save you hundreds and get you a bigger refund. Math mistakes are the most common reason Americans pay higher taxes or get fewer refunds on their tax returns. Take your time. Rushing will increase the likelihood of a mistake and use a calculator. There is also software that allows you to plug in the numbers, and it will do the math for you, which will ensure complete accuracy and maximize your tax return for a bigger refund.

Conclusion

The best way to maximize your tax return is to hire a professional tax preparer. However, if you decide to do your taxes, follow these tips to maximize your tax return and get a bigger refund. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
money making apps - Complete Controller

Did you know that your mobile device can become a source of extra income? It’s true, thanks to apps that you can install on your phone completely free. Using money-making apps can be easy and even a fun way to earn some extra cash. Here seven of the best apps to earn money and how they work. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

eBay

eBay is an excellent app to earn money on items you no longer want or need. Many have also built a business around finding items at thrift stores and estate and garage sales and fixing them up or selling as is at a profit. On eBay, it is an auction style sale with the option to sell items at a “Buy It Now” fixed price. For some rarer or sought after items, it is best to use the auction items as the competition can sometimes drive the price much higher than expected. All transactions are done through PayPal, making it secure. There are some fees involved; however, most are minimal in comparison to the returns.

Foap

The Foap app is an app that allows users to make money uploading and selling their photos and videos. When a company, person, or brand purchases one of your photos or videos, you split the profits 50/50 with Foap. You can use pictures or videos you’ve already taken or earn higher pay by taking new ones through “missions.” It is a fun way to use your photography and videography skills while making money. This app calls for the user to have an active PayPal account to receive payment. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Acorns

Acorns is a spare change investment app. Through a linked bank account, Acorns rounds every purchase to the nearest dollar and uses that “spare change” to make investments. This is an excellent app for first-time investors that don’t have a lot of capital to invest; however, it does have a ceiling of the money you can earn, so that should help you decide how to use it. It also has a small monthly fee depending on the tier chosen.

SweatCoin

This app is perfect for the person that endeavors to step it up every day and get your steps in. On Sweatcoin, you earn $0.95 for every 1,000 steps you take. While this app does not earn you cash, it earns you shopping credits at over 300 retailers. You’re walking anyway, why not earn free stuff?

OfferUp

OfferUp is as if eBay and Craigslist had a baby. OfferUp used to be an app only for local sales of second-hand items within your area. But it now has the added feature of shipping open it up to the world like eBay. The great thing about eBay and Craigslist is that it costs nothing to post or sell your items. It also helps you predetermine shipping costs at the time of posting so you can consider it when setting a sale price. If purchased locally, you can save money on the shipping and schedule a meetup with the buyer. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

MoBee

Mobee is a secret shopper app that offers missions in your area. If you choose the mission, it gives you instructions on what to do. The missions could be taking a survey or taking a picture inside the store. When you complete missions, Mobee rewards you points that can be redeemed for gift cards to various shopping sites and establishments, including Amazon.

TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit is an app that helps you get paid to do physical labor services in your area. You set up a profile with the services and skills you offer, and people hire you to help them out. Some of the more popular tasks are moving, cleaning, rearranging furniture, mounting a television, etc. If you aren’t afraid of some physical labor, you can make a good side-hustle from TaskRabbit.

Conclusion

There are many other money-making apps, but these seven apps are the best to start making money today. And some of them are even fun!

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
bloggers and influencers - Complete Controller

Businesses are consistently looking for ways to drive potential customers to their products and services. Using traditional routes such as print, tv, and sign ads are generally not done for small to mid-sized businesses. These businesses opt for more digital-based marketing strategies. One of the most popular strategies is using freelance bloggers and influencers to add relevant content to your site to boost search engines’ visibility. Here are the benefits of using bloggers and influencers in your marketing strategies. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Increase Site Traffic

Bloggers and influencers exist for the sole purpose of digital marketing. If you hire experienced writers and influencers, they will provide you with content that generates buzz and site traffic. The increase of traffic is due to the blogger or influencer using highly-searched keywords while providing well-written, relevant content that provides value to the reader. Good bloggers and influencers will also be aware of word counts as the volume of content is essential to register on popular search engines like Google. While word counts should be high, the blogger or influencer needs to keep the content readable and engaging and with the least amount of “fluff” possible to target the counts. Check with search engines to find out what the latest target word count is for an optimized blog.

Increase Customer Base

While bloggers tend to be more focused on exciting content that will land new potential customers on your site, influencers focus more on your products and services. Blog posts aim to use highly-searched keywords to boost your site on search engines than using ads and “about” sections of the blog to promote the company’s products and services.  Influencers will use social media platforms to highlight and promote your products using their influence specifically. Linking your business to someone who knows how to make their voice and opinions matter to large numbers of potential customers has huge returns on increasing your customer base. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Increase Credibility

Again bloggers are more about getting traffic to your site. Influencers, however, can boost your credibility, especially if you’re in a highly-competitive business. But both bloggers and influencers can have a hand in boosting credibility though in different ways. Bloggers lend credibility to your knowledge as a company. A potential customer will feel better about making a purchase or hiring a service if they feel like they are dealing with an expert. An influencer boosts your credibility by merely sharing your product and service with their social media audience and telling them they like it and why.

Generate Leads

Getting potential customer leads is one of the most challenging tasks to master for a business. Having an influencer or blogger driving traffic to your site will help with that if you have a call to action when the person enters your website. There are also the possibilities for the potential customer to sign up for new blog post notifications or to be on an emailing list that could be used as a lead to introduce them to your products or services. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Increase Social Media Exposure

Influencers are especially useful for generating more social media exposure since that is their primary platform of influence. Most business owners have difficulty keeping up with social media platforms. At the same time, an influencer will use their sphere of influence to promote your products or services. They can also use your social media to influence others and grab potential customers. Bloggers can also use their social media platforms to promote your blog and their posts.

Conclusion

Hiring bloggers and influencers to boost your business is a great way to increase site traffic and your customer base, strengthen your credibility, generate leads, and increase social media exposure. Ultimately, hiring good bloggers and influencers will increase your profits. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
Know the Rules - Complete Controller

When it comes to financial health, every financially responsible person should follow dos and don’ts. Here are six excellent financial rules of thumb that, if followed, can save you BIG!

 

Say NO to Credit Cards Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Saying no to credit cards is a rule of thumb that every person should follow. I know some would argue that they are good for emergencies, but a better idea would be to use the money you save on credit card high-interest payments to start an emergency savings account, one that gains your interest. Credit card debt is a billion-dollar industry and mainly from the interest people pay, not the principle. Even if you have a fantastic credit score, say no to a credit card and keep it that way.

 

Don’t Buy an Expensive Vehicle

While many vehicles are a status symbol, paying a lot for status is not a good rule of thumb. The good rule of thumb when it comes to purchasing transportation is the final price should not be more than half of your yearly income. If you can’t afford to pay for a vehicle in cash, only buy from a dealership where you can get a decent interest rate and affordable car payment amount not to exceed a quarter of your monthly income. When negotiating, make the salesperson give you the final total cost of the car with and without interest, don’t let them only give you the price in the monthly payment amount. This way of presenting the cost of the vehicle often hides high-interest rates or vehicle price. And of course, as always, buy used if you can. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

 

Be Choosy About Insurance

The rule of thumb on insurance is only buy what you need. Because insurance is something you pay into “just in case,” you must be smart when purchasing it. Some insurance is required by law, such as automobile insurance; therefore, get the best coverage but shop around for the best prices, I could make hundreds of dollars of difference. Health insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, and life insurance are other types of coverages you should have, but shop around for the most excellent coverage and the least expense.

 

10/10/80

Savings should be the number one priority of every financially responsible person. There is a rule that says save 10%, give 10%, and spend 80% as a simple means of allocating your income. While this is an excellent rule of thumb, this should be a starting point towards savings and giving. The most important thing is that you save, give, and thoughtfully spend. You can adjust the allocation percentages to fit your goals and lifestyle. But one rule of thumb that comes from the 10/10/80 method is that savings are first, not last. Warren Buffet explained that you should save first before you spend, not the other way around.

 

50/30/20

50/30/20 is another money allocation rule of thumb. This rule of thumb also has savings built-in, but only after debt is paid off. This rule is 50% of your income for necessities and bills, 30% towards financial goals such as paying down debt and savings, and 20% to wants, which is anything you desire to purchase that isn’t in the other two categories. This rule of thumb can be adjusted according to your lifestyle, but it does not prioritize savings like the 10/10/80 rule of thumb. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

 

20% Down Payment

The 20% down payment rule is the idea that anything you will buy on credit should have 20% of the total cost saved before the purchase. This rule is mostly applicable to purchasing a home or a vehicle. The idea is that paying 20% of the total cost upfront will lower interest and payments, adding up to considerable savings when the final payment is made. This rule can be applied to anything you buy on credit, even if the place of purchase doesn’t accept a down payment. If you can pay down 20% of the total cost in your first payment, this will bring you to your payoff date sooner and save you money on interest.

 

Conclusion

Financial health and freedom should be every financially responsible person’s goal. While there are many things you can do to contribute to your financial health and freedom, using one or more of these rules of thumb will ensure you reach this goal.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
Home-Based Businesses - Complete Controller

Many people dream of owning their own business but often let that dream go due to the difficulty of successfully running a business. However, one corner of entrepreneurship is more easily obtained for those dreamers: the home-based business. Having a home-based business can be profitable and fairly easy to start. Here are the top five home-based businesses you can start TODAY! Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Second-Hand Selling Online

In a once dominated market by eBay, second-hand or used selling has spread to other platforms, and in some cases, you can resell items for no fee to the hosting site. While platforms like Amazon and eBay offer a way to sell items throughout the world, they come with fees and limits. These fees and limits can be overcome easily by a savvy seller. Social media and selling apps offer the ability to sell items locally and be profitable and without fees. Having a business page and using the marketplace on Facebook allows both local and worldwide selling for free. Fees only come into play if you want to boost ads. This type of selling is not for the lazy. You have to obtain, refurbish (as needed), list, respond to customers, and ship items or meet for the exchange. However, some have made this type of home-based business extremely profitable, making the hustle worth it.

Photography

While it may be true that anyone with a smartphone can take amazing photographs, photographers go above and beyond in what they offer. This business is equally as quick to start but does require equipment. You can get a decent digital camera and lenses, basic lighting tools, and good photography software for under $2,000, sometimes well under if you’re a savvy shopper, and get started. The photography business requires creativity and patience but can be profitable, especially if your photography is unique. But, keep in mind, this business is highly competitive, and you will need to stand out and offer high-quality final products. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Home Bakery

If you ask most owners of bakery shops how they got started, they will tell you they started with a home-based bakery business. The overhead is low as you only need to buy the ingredients in most cases and occasionally additional baking equipment. This home-based business does require a lot of time to be profitable, and you must love to bake. Some successful home bakeries specialize in one type of item, making it easier to keep it low overhead and a lot of product. Some baked goods can even be shipped, such as cookies and certain types of cakes and pastries that would hold up and taste great upon arrival. Since it is a food-based business, be sure you research the health department requirements for a home-based food service business.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is among the most popular home-based businesses because if you can write, you can easily start your business. While it is competitive, freelance sites and online classified sites such as Fiverr and Craigslist are where writers can put themselves out for hire. Several blog sites will pay for articles if accepted upon submission. Even if your writing skills are moderate, you can take free online writing courses to improve your writing and use some reasonably priced editing tools to help make your writing shine and give you a competitive edge. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Social Media Specialist

Social media is the number one way that every business, large or small, uses to market. While larger corporations will have more advertising dollars to spend in print, television, and billboard ads, they will still have a strong social media presence for marketing. A social media specialist will post and promote a person or a business on social media platforms. Many times, business owners are so concerned with their business’s operations, so they will hire a social media specialist to do it for them. The social media specialist is another business that only requires a bit of social media knowledge, and you can start it today with no overhead.

Conclusion

Though there are hundreds of home-based business ideas, these are among the top five due to ease of start-up, low overhead, and demand. The information about these five should help you decide to be your boss and start your home-based business TODAY!

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers
Freelance Business - Complete Controller

In today’s gig economy, freelance businesses are more common than they used to be. Most people were reluctant to earn money through such a sporadic means of income. But with the digital world we live in, it is much easier to establish and maintain a freelance business that is profitable and fulfilling. Here are some tips to help you succeed in your freelance business. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Choose a Niche

Though you might be tempted to do anything and everything freelance, finding your niche and sticking to it will be more profitable. When you focus on one (or two) freelancing types, you can build your business more efficiently. It’s not to say there is not a place for a jack of all trades, but there is a well-known saying, “jack of all trades and master of none.” Having one that you can not only master but excel at will be an advantage, especially in the competitive freelance job market.

Be Clear on Service Offerings

Once you have decided on your niche, it is time to discover then determine what services you will offer. For example, for a freelance writer, writing is the niche, but they may provide services for only one kind of writing or multiple writing types. Decide on what type of services you will offer in your niche then make them clear for your potential clients. If you don’t know what services you offer, how can you expect them to be clear? Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Define Your Client

Understanding who your ideal client is will help you with the direction you go on many aspects of your freelance business. Defining and having a clear picture of who will benefit most from your services will inform your approach to gaining clients and keeping them. Also, knowing the demographics of your ideal client will help with marketing strategies and pitches.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Yet)

Freelancing can be so freeing that it will be attractive to someone who is not working for themselves, especially if they are in a job they hate. Though the temptation may be great, start freelancing while you still have your primary source of income. Once you build your freelance income and flow to be 50-75% of your current income, you can make moves to quit and fill in that last 50-25% with more time to dedicate to it. Sometimes getting a freelance business to a healthy state can take a long time to build, depending on the type of work you are doing. Also, some types of freelance work are heavily saturated, so being competitive can be difficult. Ultimately, only you know when it is safe to quit your job because you will feel comfortable with the decision (you can always get a new job if it doesn’t work out.) Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

Level Up Your Skills

Higher skill levels equal higher rates. There are many ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, but an extremely effective one is having a high skill level in your niche. You can do this in several ways. You can take on smaller projects that may not pay as much but will gain you experience and skills. You can also take on projects for which you will need to learn a new skill to complete, be careful doing so. However, if you can’t master the skill, this could be disastrous to the project. Take online classes or watch videos that expand skills in your chosen niche and read books, blogs, and articles by those who have succeeded in their freelance business who share their best practices. Building skills will pay off.

Determine Your Pricing

When deciding how much to charge, you have to consider your skill level and experience. You can’t start at the highest prices with nothing to show you are worth the cost. The best advice is to set a rate that is your bare minimum you need to make to pay your bills. Having a minimum will give you a baseline to jump from when your business builds, and you can ask for higher rates. You must go in knowing what you will and won’t take.

Conclusion

Starting a freelance business can be exciting and freeing and a little scary due to the sporadic nature of the income. Having a base using these tips will ensure success in your highly rewarding freelance business.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers