Steiner Business Solutions made Richmond Biz Sense‘s RVA 25 list of 25 fastest growing companies in the Richmond region, coming in at number 18.
See the 2019 RVA 25 list.
Steiner Business Solutions made Richmond Biz Sense‘s RVA 25 list of 25 fastest growing companies in the Richmond region, coming in at number 18.
See the 2019 RVA 25 list.
Richmond, you have voted for the fifth year in a row, and the winners are in. After tons of votes, you have selected your favorites in 100+ categories, from The Best Brunch to The Best Furniture Store to The Best Auto Repair.
The votes are in – Steiner Business Solutions was voted in the top 3 as Second Runner Up for Best Local Accounting Firm in Richmond!
Our staff is thrilled to be voted in the top 3 from the RTD. We share this honor with all our clients, friends, family and business partners. We love all of you! We’re keeping our foot on the gas and making a difference in the small business community. #RTDTheBest
If you’re a business owner, then you’ve likely experienced a sleepless night or two (or let’s be honest, many more). It comes with the territory, even if you’re wildly successful.
But when you’re losing sleep over unrelenting cash crunches (despite showing a profit on your P&L!), or whether to purchase a struggling competitor’s assets, or why your best selling product seems to be a drain on the bottom line, it might be time to hire a CFO.
It’s a CFO’s job to be at the heart of your company’s financial systems, to help you understand the stories behind the numbers and provide you with key insights that are necessary to make the best, most strategic decisions. And that can go a long way towards giving you a good night’s sleep.
There are any number of different circumstances that justify hiring a CFO depending on what’s keeping you awake at night, but let’s look at three common ways a CFO can be an invaluable resource to your company.
Not all customers are good customers, but many business owners make the mistake of accepting any and all new business that comes through the door. They think that more business always correlates to bigger profits. And that just isn’t true.
Generally there are costs associated with onboarding new customers, and some customers can actually be a drain on profits. A CFO can help you evaluate existing models for profitability.
If, for example, you’ve got a customer who purchases goods or services regularly, but they dispute most invoices or are frequently dissatisfied with your products and insist on returning them for a full refund, they could put a serious dent in profits.
A CFO can help you analyze your company’s profitability by customer and by product or service lines so you can identify which ones are actually helping— or hurting — your bottom line. Then you can work together to form a solid strategy for resolving these types of issues.
Similarly, a CFO can help you best structure deals with new customers at the outset so you know you’re charging a competitive price that’s also good for profit margins.
Just because you’re generating a lot of revenue doesn’t mean you’re immune from cash crunches, especially if you’re investing in assets to grow the business or have a lot of long-term receivables on the Balance Sheet.
That’s when many businesses look to lines of credit or bank loans or even in some cases, taking on equity investors.
A CFO can help you understand which might be the best solution based upon how much and how quickly you need a cash infusion. And they can put together solid reporting packages so you’re more likely to get the financing you need.
And a CFO should be well versed in standard interest rates and bank loan terms and how to structure a deal with an equity partner that protects your stake in the company and your role going forward.
If you’re considering an acquisition or strategic alliance, it’s safe to say you’re probably experiencing a dramatic shift in how you do business, and that’s precisely when a CFO can be an invaluable resource.
Whether you’re buying an entire company or just its assets, you’ll need to understand the valuation process. And some might say valuation is more an art form than a tactical skill set, so again, a CFO can be a huge asset when you’re deciding whether to acquire or form a strategic alliance with an organization. And they can help ensure you don’t overpay.
The good news is that, particularly if you’re concerned about adding to headcount, you don’t necessarily have to hire a full-time CFO. Many consulting firms now offer CFO services on a part-time basis.
Fractional CFOs act as part of your finance and strategy team to help you manage cash flow and growth, and can unpack things like how pricing structures and customer behaviors affect profit margins. They can provide oversight as well as strategic recommendations based on a deep knowledge of your company’s structure and finances.
If you’re losing sleep over business-related finances, it’s a good time to consider hiring a CFO. For more information on fractional CFO solutions, click here to connect with the experienced professionals at Steiner Business Solutions.
Turns out that old expression is true: it is lonely at the top.
As just about every CEO knows, it’s easy to feel siloed in what seems like an echo chamber, even after you’ve carefully considered feedback from talented managers, customers and staff.
Because no matter how you cut it, the buck stops with you and ultimately, big decisions rest on your shoulders.
Which is why CEO peer groups are an effective way to break out of the echo chamber and get feedback and advice from peers who understand your situation— because they’ve been there themselves.
In general, CEO peer groups help business owners and managing partners capitalize on opportunities, kick-start growth, and accelerate the learning curve in a structured environment designed to foster the “cross-fertilization of ideas.”
More specifically, they help:
Business owners and CEOs often say they’re so consumed with day to day challenges they don’t feel they’re spending enough time focusing on long term strategy.
Peer groups give you the opportunity to use uninterrupted, focused time to brianstorm strategies that have the potential to increase revenue and solve big problems.
CEO peer groups can help you see new perspectives on a problem with the goal of finding alternative solutions. And often, frank feedback from other members not beholden to them can help adjust their own perspectives and managerial and organizational approaches.
The support and advice of peers is invaluable for CEOs who are rethinking their role and vision for the company. Because these peer groups meet regularly, members get advice consistently from peers who are familiar with their stories and the challenges unique to their circumstances. And there’s value and peace of mind in knowing a variety of solutions have been considered from several perspectives before making a big decision.
CEO peer groups generally meet monthly and provide a kind of corporate think tank where qualified, like-minded individuals discuss and provide opinions on issues from a variety of perspectives and industries. Members are encouraged to hold their peers accountable and to sharpen their own skill sets and techniques against those of their fellow members.
Because peer groups provide an arena for sharing a wide variety of perspectives, members often find they become more creative problem solvers as they hear about and process solutions for other CEOs and owners, who are running companies in industries very different from their own.
Peer groups also strengthen networks and increase social capital that’s so crucial and valuable to CEOs.
Many members view the peer group as their very own, exclusive Board of Advisors who are genuinely invested in their company’s growth and success.
Look for peer groups that focus on growth and that only attract CEOs committed to excellence in their companies.
Some peer groups ask that members meet certain revenue requirements to qualify for membership. (And membership fees are usually steep for these groups.) However, don’t let that discourage you if you don’t meet the prerequisite. There are many excellent CEO peer groups with reasonable fees that don’t have revenue requirements. Many only require that members be a decision making authority and have the ability to implement change in the organization.
Beware the peer group that does not require you to sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement). To have candid, frank discussions, group members must have assurance that their conversations will be kept private.
It’s a good idea to ask if there is a maximum limit for members of a particular group. In general, groups that allow more than ten members can mean you won’t get sufficient time to focus on your specific issues and challenges. Even better if the group limits the number of members in a particular industry.
Finally, be sure you’re prepared to join a group that emphasizes accountability. Unless you’re truly committed to action and change, you’re probably wasting your— and everyone else’s — time.
The right CEO peer group can provide a huge return on investment. If you’re looking for the kind of peer-driven feedback, support and advice that can kick-start revenue, foster creative problem solving and generate more opportunities, we should talk!
Most people make an annual appointment with their accountant on or before April 15th each year, and then don’t see them again until next tax season. Others never even bother engaging an accountant, preferring to use cheap or free accounting tools to save a few extra bucks in the short term.
But the reality is, an accountant can and should provide you with so much more than a completed tax return. A good accountant can help you make informed business tax planning decisions as well as advise against decisions that could be detrimental (and maybe even irreversible).
To determine how your accountant can best serve you, begin by asking a few questions. To help you get started, we’ve put together a short list of questions everyone should ask their accountant.
Financial decisions made today can mean the difference between significant savings and a huge tax bill in April, so it’s important to know whether your accountant can advise you on these types of decisions.
Using an accountant to plan ahead can often help reduce your tax liability. He/she will be current on all the latest tax laws governing everything from asset purchases to expense rules so you can take advantage of every deduction available.
These are decisions that can ultimately affect your individual, family and organization’s finances, so it’s well worth asking if your accountant can provide you with guidance along the way.
Some accountants or firms offer this type of service which often includes things like risk analysis, cash flow forecasting and strategic planning. And these can be a small business owner’s best friend.
If just starting out, an accountant may be able to advise you on the different types of entities, whether a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership or LLC, and which would most benefit you and your organization.
Accountants well versed in this type of service can help small business owners understand how and when to expand, whether to add employees or use contractors, and how to position themselves in the marketplace.
Even better if the accountant or firm has developed a strong network of relationships with partners who can help (like insurance and investment professionals), and has experience in multiple industries so they’re better able to advise you on challenges and issues specific to your business.
This may seem like an obvious question, but the fact is, the advice you get is only as good as the information you give your accountant. And that means keeping the lines of communication open and consistent because, as we all know, situations can pop up throughout the year and circumstances arise that can significantly affect your financial and tax position.
After reviewing your financial situation, ask your accountant how often they recommend you meet. For some business owners, a quarterly pow-wow is sufficient while others may need to touch base with their accountant monthly or even weekly. Technology like Google Hangouts, Skype and Facetime offers a convenient option when meeting in person isn’t possible, so ask your accountant whether they use them.
Finally, confirm how quickly you can expect to receive a return call or email. Some accountants are able to respond more quickly to an email than a phone call, and visa versa.
Some accountants offer bookkeeping solutions in addition to tax preparation services. This is helpful to know for a couple of reasons:
If business or personal financial transactions reach a certain level of complexity, it’s a good idea to consider using a skilled professional to mind the books. Why? Because hiring a bookkeeper up front is much easier— and far less expensive — than untangling a mess created by someone who isn’t familiar with accounting and hasn’t kept up with the most current software. Even better if the practice offers month-to-month bookkeeping contracts rather than forcing you to commit to an annual contract.
If your accountant offers this service, be sure to ask who will be doing the bookkeeping. If a CPA or tax preparer says they’ll do all the bookkeeping as well as the taxes, you could get hit with a huge bill at the end since a tax specialist typically charges a much higher fee than a bookkeeper.
Bookkeepers should work closely and in conjunction with tax specialists, and using a firm that offers both can streamline the process, which often makes for a far more cost effective solution.
If you’ve already got the capacity to handle your own bookkeeping yourself or in house, ask if the accountant offers software training. (Hint: Intuit is the hundred pound gorilla in the marketplace, so it could be hugely beneficial if they offer Quickbooks training.)
Even if you’ve got lots of experience using accounting software, it’s a good idea to keep abreast of the latest releases and features which can mean better security and increased efficiency.
If training is offered, be sure to ask whether the instructor is certified and can provide training on all versions of a particular software.
From tax planning to business consulting to bookkeeping and training services, asking the right questions can help you understand which accountant is best able to meet your needs.
Steiner Business Solutions is an outstanding resource for all of these services and more, right here in Richmond, VA. Connect with us today to find out how we can help you connect all the dots, from planning to execution.
If you own or work for a small business, chances are high that you’re using QuickBooks software. And with good reason. Intuit’s line of accounting products are user friendly, cost-effective and they allow small business owners to leverage countless features that deliver greater efficiency and powerful insights.
But what many business owners don’t realize is that they’re probably not maximizing QuickBooks’ capabilities. This is most likely because they’re not aware of all the features available or what it takes to use those features and functions most effectively.
The good news is that with the right training, business owners can take full advantage of this powerful, industry-leading accounting software. And even better news is that there are excellent local options to get you connected with the best QuickBooks training resources in Richmond, VA.
But let’s start by taking a look at some of its most popular features and functions, and how, with the right training, you can make QuickBooks work for you.
A huge number of small business owners report regularly losing sleep over cash flow concerns. That’s where QuickBooks can be a life (and sleep) saver.
When properly configured and regularly updated, QuickBooks can provide business owners with up to the minute stats on metrics like sales, payables liabilities and bank balances, taking the guesswork out of earmarking sufficient funds to cover things like payroll or loan payments.
QuickBooks also offers a budgeting feature which allows users to input data (and even copy prior year budgets) to create reports displaying budget versus actual numbers once a period has been closed out.
QuickBooks has a powerful accounts receivables function. When configured and used to its full potential, it can help close the gap between when a customer is invoiced and when payment is received on that invoice. This ensures there’s cash available for financing and other vital activities.
Business owners can use QuickBooks to email invoices directly to customers from within the software— gone are the days of snail mail, paper invoices and window envelopes. Users can see exactly when it was sent and even whether a customer has viewed the invoice or not.
With QuickBooks, businesses also have the ability to accept online payments thanks to embedded links that make it easier than ever for customers to pay your bills.
The QuickBooks receivables function even has some light CRM capabilities so you can stay on top of customer relationships and can personalize communications when sending or following up on invoices.
QuickBooks makes cash planning easy, allowing users to input purchase orders, bills, and payments. You’ll know exactly what’s due when and how each payment will affect cash flow.
Users can input vendor bills at the time of receipt, then use the reporting or ‘pay bills’ function to identify which checks should be cut during a particular check run with eyes on how that run will affect account balances. Owners can keep vendors happy with timely payments, while ensuring cash flow stays positive.
If a vendor contacts the payables department to follow up on an invoice, users can pull up a complete history on that vendor including payments made on a specific invoice with the click of a button.
QuickBooks also allows users to attach supporting documentation, creating a robust audit trail and providing other users with complete history and information for a given transaction.
Another huge value to using QuickBooks’ payables function is its vendor management system, which among other things allows users to flag independent contractors, so all qualifying payments are captured when it comes time to prepare and issue annual 1099-MISC forms. This feature also allows users to filter for payment totals that meet IRS reporting thresholds.
QuickBooks allows you to directly connect bank, loan and credit card accounts to the software so transactions are downloaded in real time, and held in suspense until a user codes them to the proper account. Users no longer have to enter all transactions manually which eats up valuable time and resources and increases the likelihood of keying errors.
Within the account connect feature, QuickBooks can be configured to recognize vendors and customers and automatically assign the appropriate coding, creating even greater efficiency.
When downloading vendor payment transactions, QuickBooks will suggest outstanding bills which the user can then match to the appropriate payment, so payables that should be closed aren’t accidentally aged and overstated in the system.
QuickBooks can be configured to pull up historical data when users are entering transactions, saving them the time and hassle of having to look up codes or key in descriptions for repeat transactions.
Users can configure journal entries to book automatically according to a set schedule, again saving time and mitigating user error.
These are only a scant few of the near infinite ways QuickBooks can be configured to automate transactions and accounting functions, saving time, reducing user error and increasing productivity.
Without a doubt, QuickBooks is a user friendly workhorse. But like so many other potent business software packages, QuickBooks requires a level of training and expertise to make it sing— training and expertise most business owners don’t have when they start using it.
So to fully maximize the benefits of running QuickBooks, many businesses are investing in online or in-person training for themselves and their staff.
And that’s why, for the best QuickBooks training resource in Richmond, VA, more and more business owners are turning to Steiner Business Solutions for help. Our certified instructors are experts in all versions of QuickBooks, so we are prepared to teach all the functions and features that can positively impact your business.
We invite you to connect with us today to set up a free consultation!
If you’re preparing to tackle a merger and acquisition (M&A) transaction, then you already know that the process is not for the faint of heart. A successful M&A has many moving parts, each demanding an equal share of your attention and time. From the basics of communication, to dealing with the critical legal and financial aspects, there are always a lot of balls being juggled in the air.
A merger and acquisition is a time of flux, uncertainty, and opportunity for everyone involved. There are critical points throughout the process that will determine the eventual success of the transaction. Knowing how to navigate these points and move everyone smoothly from point A to point B is a critical component of a successful venture.
You’ve probably noticed there are organizations out there who handle this process with ease. What are their secrets and how can you employ them in your own organization? Here are four strategies for a successful merger & acquisition.
It almost seems too simple to warrant talking about, but establishing your goals in the earliest stages of an M&A provides a blueprint for the process. What are the real reasons that the M&A is taking place and what are the overall goals upon completion? Are you looking to completely reinvent the organization? Supercharge your market share? Pave the way for breaking into a new market segment? Establish and communicate these goals as early as possible.
Perspective is everything. Too often, those involved in an M&A get stuck in the past and fail to see that an entirely new organization is being born right in front of them. Mergers & acquisitions deserve to be handled with the same thoughtful care that is given to a new startup. Approach the M&A with a fresh perspective and open mind.
An integration plan is a must, but it needs to be effectively structured. The most effective integration plan looks at each and every operational facet of each of the businesses involved and builds a strategy for measuring success at key points along the way. What will each operational facet look like two weeks into the M&A? What about two months?
Additionally, it’s important to streamline leadership in integration plans. Ownership should be assigned for each key organizational function, but that ownership should fall on the hands at the highest possible tier of the ladder. Each person in charge needs to be someone who has the authority to make knowledgeable and swift moves in response to challenges. This is especially important for a small business M&A where roles and responsibilities tend to run together.
Not a single step of an M&A should take place without an effective communication strategy. This all starts with bringing in stakeholders and having highly communicative meetings on the whats and whys of the merger, and how each of them will be individually impacted by the process.
Make regular communication, in every imaginable form a key priority in your M&A. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of the feedback you receive in response to these communications. When you listen, you’ll discover that team member feedback offers incredible insights.
At Steiner Business Solutions, we offer merger and acquisition services out of our Wilmington, NC and Richmond, VA offices. We’re the partners who can guide and advise you through every step for a more successful, fluid M&A transaction. Contact our advisors at Steiner Business Solutions if you’re considering a merger and acquisition now, or in the near future.
For most small businesses, tax season 2019 has officially come to a close. However, if you’ve filed for an extension or had such a difficult time with your taxes that you’re planning ahead for next year, then taxes are probably still at the forefront of your mind.
Tax season can be incredibly stressful for small businesses, especially with tax laws being so complicated. This opens the door for mistakes that can cost small businesses money and increase the chances of undergoing a dreaded audit. If tax preparation is keeping you up at night, here are five of the most common tax mistakes small businesses make and how you can avoid them.
For small businesses that have their hands full of juggling a ton of responsibilities, accurate record keeping can easily fall to the wayside. This is problematic because it can lead to inaccurately reporting income to the IRS. This is an offense that the IRS takes very seriously, even if it wasn’t intentional.
You’re probably not going to receive a serious penalty for an honest mistake, but you will likely have to pay the amount due plus some significant fines. To eliminate the potential of inaccurate reporting, maintain accurate records of all income for your business, and don’t save updating your records for the week before the tax deadline.
If you know that you’re going to be late filing and paying your taxes, it’s important to file for an extension. However, whether you file for an extension or not, you’re still going to see interest and possibly penalties on the amount you owe.
A business might delay filing their taxes for as long as possible because they’re unable to afford their tax obligation. If this is the case, contact the IRS and inquire about a payment agreement. The IRS is much more accommodating when you take the initiative rather than waiting for them to come after you.
As a small business, there are numerous deductions that you’re allowed to take. One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is not being aware of these deductions and missing an opportunity to reduce their tax liability. Scheduling a consultation with a professional in business tax preparation in Richmond, VA is your best option for maximizing business deductions.
Growth is a great thing for small businesses. When a business reaches the point where they’re ready to branch out and hire employees, it creates a whole new set of tax related responsibilities. For instance, you’ll need to understand the difference between W-2 employees and 1099 contractors, along with knowing the process for calculating, reporting and paying employee payroll taxes. Not having a grasp on payroll taxes can make tax preparation a nightmare.
Finally, the last and biggest tax mistake that small businesses make is attempting to handle the overwhelming challenges of taxes on their own. Small business taxes are complex, and one small error can cost your business significantly. Don’t leave anything as important as the financial future of your small business up to chance. Contact Steiner Business Solutions for experienced and detailed tax preparation services in Richmond, VA today.
As a small business owner, it’s likely you wear a lot of hats. From marketing to managing employees to sourcing products, there’s a lot of tasks to oversee. So where does that leave your bookkeeping? Properly maintaining a record of your business’s expenses is vital to both day to day operations and its long-term longevity. Every single one of those numbers is crucial and even one small mistake could spiral into a much bigger problem.
Proper bookkeeping and accounting is important because they serve as barometers for your business’s success. Fortunately, small business bookkeeping doesn’t need to be something you dread. It’s often the smallest changes in how you approach bookkeeping that can make all the difference for improving accuracy and reducing headaches.
Ready to streamline your bookkeeping process and gain a clearer view of your business’s financial health? Here are five small business bookkeeping tips for getting the job done.
As a small business owner, you’re wearing a lot of different hats and it can feel as though your attention is constantly being pulled in several different directions. With so much going on, it’s easy to become a little lazy when it comes to keeping up with your invoices.
If there’s one thing you make a priority for bookkeeping, it should be to become meticulous with invoice tracking and record keeping. Take 15 minutes each day to update invoices and make sure all accounts reflect current activity.
A mistake that too many new small businesses make is lumping all of their funds into one account. There are so many moving parts to small business finances that it’s important to separate these components as soon as possible.
For instance, separate out personal finances and business finances, even if you’re a sole proprietor with a relatively small operation. You’ll also want to separate income that comes from different sources – for example, incoming funds from paying clients versus funds that come from loans.
Cloud accounting software can make your life so much easier. Cloud accounting software can make it easy to capture financial information, store it for easy access, and gain a big-picture perspective of your business’s financial health for future growth and investments.
Tax season is notorious for sending small business owners over the brink of frustration. Small business taxes can be complicated but the sooner you prepare for them, the less of a challenge they’ll be. Prepare early by understanding your tax requirements, anticipated payments, tax-related payroll obligations, and marking important tax deadlines on your calendar.
There are endless complexities to small business accounting. If you’d like to save yourself the stress and headaches, there are professionals who can provide you with business solutions, including bookkeeping for small businesses.
At Steiner Business Solutions, we offer a range of services for small businesses in Wilmington, NC and Richmond, VA. Our services include bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation and more. Let us take care of the numbers while you tend to the other important aspects of running a successful business. Contact Steiner Business Solutions today to learn more.
Here’s the good news: your business is growing, and you and your team are busier than ever before. The bad news? You’re quickly realizing a few things: the recruitment, hiring and retention process for an internal bookkeeper is costly, and you just don’t have the time you need to do your bookkeeping.
It’s time to explore outsourcing your bookkeeping. But how do you know you’ll get the quality you expect? Here are some of the best practices you should follow when considering to outsource your bookkeeping.
The last thing you want is to put your books in the hands of an unestablished, inexperienced company. You need a company that has the know-how and the hands-on experience to handle anything you throw their way. Sure, a brand-new company might offer you a “deal,” but is it worth risking your business’s bookkeeping to take advantage of a discount?
Better yet, an experienced bookkeeping firm reduces risk by taking several risk mitigating measures including being insured. You’re far less likely to fall victim to theft and be on the hook when you work with a company who has a longstanding reputation for excellent work. When you can read glowing reviews about the work that’s been done over the years, it gives you something truly priceless: peace of mind.
You don’t want to fully onboard a new bookkeeping service only to discover that they can’t grow with you or bridge the gaps. Be sure that they’ve got the manpower and time to increase the time they spend with you each month should the need arise! Conversely, if you’re having a slow season, ask if they are able to accommodate fewer hours without financially penalizing you.
If a bookkeeping company you’re considering is asking that you sign a year-long contract, you might want to take a moment and think before you put pen to paper. What are your responsibilities if, for some reason, you choose to part ways with your bookkeeping firm before the contract is completed? Will you be expected to pay until the end of the contract, even if you decide you’d prefer to bring the books back in-house a few months after you signed?
Ideally, you’ll find a bookkeeping service that offers month-to-month service plans, so you can move on whenever you’re ready.
You’ve heard the old expression, “You get what you pay for.” If you search for a cut-rate bookkeeping service, it’s far too likely that you’ll get below-average quality services to match the lower-than-usual price.
Yes, it’s important for your business to save money, but your bookkeeping isn’t a place where you want to scrimp. You can probably find “freelance” bookkeepers at a bargain-basement rate, but where’s the guarantee that their work is truly professional? If you’re wasting time fixing mistakes and paying penalties because your bookkeeping isn’t able to complete your work in a timely fashion, you’re not really saving money after all.
If a bookkeeping company can offer you a quick quote over the phone with any real details of your situation, you might take that quote with a grain of salt. As you know, accounting has a lot of variables; it’s probably going to take a consultation of some sort for your bookkeeping firm to fully understand the scope of work before them.
Before you commit to working with an outsourced bookkeeping firm, be sure that they clearly understand your expectations and are prepared (and properly equipped) to handle them.
Your bookkeeping is a central part of ensuring that your business stays afloat. Entrust it to professionals. At Steiner Business Solutions, we take our years of bookkeeping expertise and apply it to your business, ensuring that vital tasks such as bank reconciliations, payroll, financial statements, bill payment, and more are completed correctly and on time. Ready to talk? Click here to contact us today!