Choosing the Best Business Banking Partner

Establishing a business banking account is one of the first things company owners need to do. These accounts are vital for obtaining accurate accounting data and keeping track of allowed tax deductions.

When business owners mix business banking along with individual accounts they will likely end up undergoing an IRS audit. The time spent clarifying expenses and providing adequate documentation can be grueling and may lead to late fees and penalties, so it’s best to start things off on the right foot.

There are quite a few ways to setup a business bank account. Owners can apply online or visit banks in-person. They can select a basic checking account or apply for accounts that include merchant services, direct deposit payroll, or an open line of credit.

Many banks offer accounts that can be connected to accounting software programs such as Peachtree or QuickBooks. Interconnecting accounting software with business accounts help managers conserve time while providing adequate documentation for tax records. Additionally, this method lets business owners access their account from various locations such as work, home, and even while traveling.

Fees associated with corporate checking accounts are usually quite a bit more expensive than personal bank accounts. The majority of banks charge companies a monthly service fee. Some charge fees for every transaction, while others charge if transactions exceed a set number. Fees are also assessed for overdrafts and electronic transfers.

Although it’s never a good idea to bounce a check, companies can avoid expensive fees by setting up overdraft protection. This involves connecting business checking accounts to a savings account or credit card. If overdraft occurs, banks automatically transfer a preset amount of money into the checking account.

It can be very helpful to comparison shop banks to find ones that offer the most benefits and assess the lowest fees. A trusted source for comparing banks is BankRate.com, which offers information about national and local banks.

Small business owners may find it advantageous to open accounts with local banks or credit unions. Local banks tend to be more flexible and willing to work with owners that don’t have pristine credit. This can be very helpful to owners that require working capital or want to apply for business credit cards.

On the other hand, national banks usually offer a broader range of services than local banks. National banks engage in lending practices for small business to Fortune 500 companies, along with providing a variety of credit card options. Additionally, national banks offer integrated accounting services such as invoicing systems and direct deposit payroll.

The best approach for locating the right bank is to create a list of anticipated financial needs for the short and long term. While it can be challenging to determine what services will be required in the next 5 years, most owners can figure out if they will need business loans or credit cards. Spending time assessing overall needs can help owners avoid having to switch banks at a later time.

When comparing banks it’s important to read the fine print and calculate the true costs of conducting business. Make certain to fully understand the fee structure and checking account requirements.

Some banks charge service fees if balances fall below a certain limit. Others set limits on the number of transactions that can be conducted each month and charge hefty fees if limits are exceeded. Over the course of a year, banking fees can cost owners hundreds of dollars.

Researching available options lets owners find cost-effective business banking and can help determine which bank would be the best partnership. One consideration is that local banks frequently participate in community events where local companies are promoted. Acquiring bank endorsement can be very beneficial, so when talking to banks be certain to inquire about the types of promotional activities they participate in.

Small Business Bookkeeping Simplified

Small business bookkeeping could be one of the tasks most generally avoided today in industry. The majority of entrepreneurs begin their small business companies because they have a passion for their product or service – bookkeeping is frequently seen as drudgery which must be tolerated to remain in the business. For this reason, hiring a small business bookkeeping service can be a great way of maintaining your energies concentrated on the business, leaving an expert take care of the financial details.

In bookkeeping, an accountant keeps a complete trace of how much your small business owes creditors and how much is owed to you. The accountant also traces how much you have invested in tools and inventory. In general, accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliation as well as financial statement preparation such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements are all included in small business bookkeeping.

The cost of small business bookkeeping depends on your company’s explicit needs; however, accountants typically charge a flat rate per month for basic services. The cost rises while the volume of work increases – the more transactions and statements you expect your bookkeeper to prepare, the more you will pay.

The bookkeeping rates can vary depending on your geographical sector, the size of the company, and the experience and seniority of your accountant. For the most basic bookkeeping services, you can intend to pay $500 to $1,500 per month for a skilled accountant to handle your finances.

In certain cases, the accountants will charge an hourly rate until they get a feeling for your business and how much hours is implied in the work that you wanted to be done. Following a few months, they will have clarity of your needs and you will be able to discuss a long-term flat monthly fee.

Small Business – SEO Basics – Where Do You Begin Promoting Your Business Online?

Many small business make the mistake of beginning with their website when they want to begin promoting their business online. For those who are inexperienced, this would seem the logical place to start. Unfortunately, just having a website is not enough. You must be able to get traffic to the website in order to do business online.

Ideally, you would have consulted with an SEO specialist before having your site built. For most, that is not the case. There is a great deal to learn when it comes to how search engines work and how to get buying traffic to your website. You do not have that kind of time to spend. The logical solution is to hire someone with experience to help you along the way. It does not have to cost a great deal but you do need to spend money on your website to get the full potential from it and to bring your website in front of your prospective buyers.

One of the first things your web consultant will want to do is define who your target market is. This is done through keyword research and market analysis. Once your market is clearly defined and the choice keywords selected, you will be able to make the little changes to your website and all of your promotion materials that will bring traffic to your website. More traffic means more sales.

In a few months, once your website begins to build traffic, your consultant will be able to help you monitor the progress of your success. She will take the time to put together a monthly report so you will be able to see what is working and what is not. Once you see trends of success, you can then tailor your efforts and streamline them into spending more time on what is working and less time on what is not.

Because search engines and traffic trends are ever changing, your SEO consultant will be a valuable asset to your business. Their business depends on staying on top of these trends so you can be sure your website promotion campaigns are as current and effective today as they were in the past. You are busy running your business. You do not have time to spend staying on top of another industry, namely SEO.

Your SEO consultant will take the time to work with you to find a solution within your budget. Even small business, or should I say, especially small business, can benefit from a helping hand when it comes to SEO. This service is not reserved for big businesses. Who knows, when you start getting enough traffic to your website, your small business may just turn into a big business.

When Your Small Business Should Call In a Debt Collection Lawyer

It’s a sad reality, but sometimes customers just have no intention of paying you. There might come a time when you have exhausted all possible resources-when you have sent numerous letters, called countless times and maybe even met in person-but all to no avail. The account continues to be delinquent and each and every day it seems more and more likely that your money will be lost forever. If this is the case, it might be time to bring in the big guns, to enlist those infamous suited figures in the back room-it might be time to hire a debt collection lawyer.

When Your Small Business Should Call In a Debt Collection Lawyer

Simply by their presence, lawyers can be pretty effective in getting people to pay. Just the threat of going to court has the potential to incite people into action. Thus, before you hire a lawyer, it is a great idea to enlist his or her counsel and services in writing a demand letter for you (if, of course, the one you wrote before didn’t do the trick). As Justin Tenuto from Rocket Lawyer points out, “Sometimes, a professional correspondence from a practicing attorney will motivate your debtor to pay up. After all, debtors don’t want to end up before a judge, explaining their motives for not paying you.” You can sometimes even find a lawyer to do this for quite cheap (such as from Rocket Lawyer), but it is also a good idea to go with someone that you can develop a relationship with, just in case you want to pursue the matter further.

To Hire or Not to Hire?

If you do in fact have your sights set on fully enlisting a debt collection lawyer, you first have to run a cost benefit analysis to make sure this move makes financial sense. Debt collection lawyers are expensive and you don’t want to end up paying more for their services than you actually are trying to recover in the first place. The last thing you want to do is lose more money on this whole situation. Therefore, when deciding whether to go the legal route, access the financial viability of each option. If the account is very large and you can get a good chunk of it back even on top of the lawyer’s fees, then it might be a good idea to go ahead with the decision. Alternatively though, to hire a debt collection lawyer, you have to be willing to take your customer to court. If not, getting a debt collection lawyer might not be the best path.

Choosing the Debt Collection Lawyer for You

You should always do your research before committing to anything, and choosing a debt collection lawyer is no exception. It’s hard to imagine, but there are many different types of debt collection lawyers, specializing in a variety of areas. So, just like in choosing the right small business bank, you should also hire a lawyer that has experience with the specific situation you are struggling with. Dive a little deeper to figure out exactly what the qualifications are of a specific lawyer. Speak to references, examine track records and ask about strategies. Do what it takes to determine whether this lawyer is the one for you and the type of debt you are trying to recover. Remember that you have to balance the cost of the lawyer with the actual money you are trying to recover, so choosing the right lawyer definitely involves finding one with the right payment structure. After all, the whole point is to get paid.

Debt Collection Lawyer vs. Debt Collection Agency

You might ask yourself, why get a debt collection lawyer when I can just get a debt collector? While debt collectors are indeed an option, and often times less expensive than a lawyer, sometimes a lawyer is need for more difficult clients. Lawyers, as Attorney Jeffrey Curl explains, have a lot more flexibility and options of what they can actually do and how they can go about getting you your money.

The Last Resort

Debt collection lawyers are in fact the ultimate last resort. While there might be such a thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as a free lawyer. Lawyers, as mentioned, are expensive and come at a hefty cost, a cost that will consequently cut into the money that you are trying to recover in the first place. Furthermore, getting lawyers involved definitely hurts the relationship you have with your clients, regardless of whether you want to do business with them in the future. For these reasons, lawyers should be the very last call, when everything you have done has failed to produce actual results.