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The Process Seesaw - Striving for Balance

Barbara Steckly

Barbara Steckly

Speeding Up Office Tasks Maybe Trickier Than It Looks

When workplace tasks are taking too long to accomplish, many well-meaning managers are quick to put specific processes in place to solve the problem. Followed properly, well-defined processes not only get the job completed efficiently, but they help employees see exactly what needs to be done and why there are definite consequences if it’s not done according to a designated deadline.

There is such a thing as office over-organization, however. If there are so many superfluous policies, procedures, and processes to consider that it takes over a month to complete your month’s end, for instance, then you have to question the cost of all this regimentation to your business. You’re not going to get your desired results if staff members are bogging down in all the complexity, not really understanding the workflow. Your “problem” employee may simply be a sign of problematic procedures. Most offices organize paperwork electronically these days, so even the effectiveness of your software must be examined. Does it offer you the flexibility you need at a reasonable price? Does it include the right options to produce the relevant reports you actually want on time?

At Preferred Client Services, we’re an experienced team of bookkeeping professionals working together with our clients as business partners focused on making a positive difference in their bottom line. Our role is so much more than simply “counting the beans”, as they say. We help you with everything from staff training and software recommendations right on through to setting up the procedures and processes that truly suit your organizational needs. We’ll customize a solution specifically for you!

In the meantime, so you’re not financially operating in the dark, here’s some inside advice from the experts, the ABC’s of bookkeeping’s best practices.

Expense Management

For clear and precise reporting, your business bank accounts and credit cards should be completely separate from personal accounts.
If your employees regularly incur and are subsequently reimbursed for approved business expenses, there must be a system in place for managing this process that includes recording the expenditure and ensuring that it is supported with the original receipts. The purpose of the expense should be noted along with the date it was paid out.

Accounts Payable/Receivable Management

When it comes to accounts receivable, it’s advisable to have procedures in place for not only vetting customers’ credit but educating them on your payment process, late penalties, and overall expectations. You’ll want to establish a process for initially generating invoices accurately and promptly, tracking received payments, and following up on past due accounts.
To maintain your company’s integrity, pay your invoices on time! You’ll also avoid the annoying expense of late fees and interest. If you can’t show your contractors the respect of paying them on time, how can you expect your clients to pay you on time?

Business Financial Reports

Once you have your bookkeeping/accounting staff efficient at regularly recording expenses and revenue, the essential financial reports you’ll need will be easy to generate. You want to review your balance sheets along with your profit and loss statements, also known as income statements, on a monthly and quarterly basis. Your cash flow statement will assist you in being proactive, predicting when cash flow shortages might occur so you can make sound, preventative financial preparations and avoid reactive measures like high-interest loans or selling equity to keep the business afloat.
Our PCS team of systems-savvy bookkeeping professionals can help you find the right software to ensure the accurate and timely generation of these reports so you can view your entire business financial year at a glance. We also happily teach our clients how to interpret their financial statements and understand their key performance indicators.

Tax Planning and Preparation

Plan for annual tax season throughout the year, and you will have everything prepared and ready for filing. We find it expedient to pull any lease and new purchase documents throughout the year, making note of anything outside the ordinary financial flow. When the time comes, having everything at your fingertips makes year-end reporting very efficient.

Internal Risk Mitigation

Your finance department definitely needs procedures in place to prevent internal fraud. Divide duties among different trusted employees and limit any one person’s access to accounts and information. The prompt reconciliation of bank accounts is crucial to detecting accounting errors in advance so they can be corrected. Establish mandatory checks and balances that will immediately spotlight any signs of potential fraud.
Always back up your data! Needless to say, your internal information is so important that you should even scan paper documents to have digital backups in the event of an office emergency.

Training for Bookkeeping and Accounting Employees

Your bookkeeping and accounting staff should not only be well-versed in all the relevant policies and procedures in place governing all things financial, but they should also understand the reason for them.
Employees who are not specifically working in finance should still receive the necessary training on aspects that affect them, such as expectations regarding expense tracking and reimbursement. At PCS, we offer our services to any organization seeking to enhance their internal bookkeeping processes. We also can facilitate their implementation and help you in re-training the current staff as well as orienting new employees.

Invest in the RIGHT Technological Systems

The responsibilities of maintaining the bookkeeping/accounting side of your business can become overwhelming as your organization grows. The right technology can help you streamline, automate, and optimize your key processes freeing up your employees’ time for other projects while ultimately improving your financial data. With the ability to easily track your company’s key performance indicators, you can perfect your business plan and operations.

Our PCS professional bookkeeping experts can guide you in finding the most effective combination of software to turn your back office into a strategic financial center. With the right tools in place, we can train your bookkeeping/accounting team to help you strategically cut costs, optimize your marketing efforts, improve profitability, and effectively grow your business.
Under-organized versus over-complicated, when it comes to your office running smoothly, it’s a proverbial seesaw. Let us help you find the right balance for your business success. We are Preferred Client Services.

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