How to help clients go cashless

by Junita Jackson

The day of the cashless business continues to draw ever closer. You may have heard of how Visa declared a “war on cash” last month as they offered $10,000 to individual restaurants to go cashless, and the bank calculated that businesses could save billions in revenue and save millions of hours in labor. And while Visa does stand to directly benefit from such an approach, accountants should begin talking to their business clients about the reasons they should go cashless.

This conversation needs to happen sooner rather than later. Going cashless entails upgrading a business’s digital payment technology, and the sooner the business realizes the benefits, the sooner they can consider how to upgrade. At the same time, accountants must remind clients of mistakes that can be made while going cashless and afterward as well as how to avoid them.

The benefits of a cashless business

The simplest way to talk to clients about the benefits of going cashless is to note how fewer individuals these days are using cash. A 2016 Gallup survey found that only 24 percent of Americans make all or most of their purchases with cash as opposed to 36 percent five years ago. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group who have dropped off the most in using cash are technologically savvy young people. Customers are embracing not just debit and credit cards, but new mobile technological payments instead of cash.

A business which has a younger clientele should thus more strongly consider going cashless. And going cashless can be just as convenient for any business as it is for customers. Employees can quickly handle transactions without having to waste time digging through a till for the right amount of change. This makes each transaction faster. Businesses can thus serve more customers and the customer spends less time waiting in line.

And while some small businesses may be concerned about the threat of hackers or electronic security, going cashless can improve physical safety. Having no cash in a till is the ultimate deterrence against thieves, robbers, and the occasional unscrupulous employee. Financial transactions also become more secure, as businesses no longer have to worry about how to store and count cash. Instead of sitting down at the end of every business day counting the total value of cash transactions, a financial ledger can quickly show how much cash the employee has, saving costs.

Going cashless is a major change which breaks with thousands of years of civilization. But the potential benefits of attracting a younger clientele as well as being able to quickly record transactions and having a real-time knowledge about a business’s financial health is huge and can be worth it under the right circumstances.

Slow and Careful Implementation

Despite these benefits of going cashless, plenty of business owners will still balk at the concept. Even if only 24 percent of Americans make all or most of their purchases with cash, that may mean losing a significant amount of customers. For these reasons, the process of updating point of sale technology to go only cashless needs to be done carefully. And according to the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 60 percent of business transactions under $10 are done with cash, in part due to how many small businesses require a minimum purchase to accept cash.

This means that as noted above, only certain businesses, such as online casinos, should look into going cashless and those that do may face a tricky transition period where they may lose a few customers. Above all else, a business interested in going cashless must make huge efforts to let customers know about this change. This includes sending an email and social media alerts as well as posting signs letting customers know that this business is going cashless.

Training your employees is also a critical aspect of going cashless as well. Going cashless almost certainly means upgrading a business’s point of sale technology, and all employees should be aware of how to use it. But even more important than that is that employees know why the business is undergoing this change and know how to answer common questions. For example, some customers may try to argue that a business has to accept cash as it is legal tender. This is not the case, which is why you cannot pay for your groceries by dumping a giant jar of pennies at the cash register.

Remember that no matter how much a business tries to inform customers of new changes, there will always be some customers who will be caught unawares and react negatively. Your client’s goal is to make that number as small as possible. By making the downsides smaller with preparation and training, your client can reap the benefits of going cashless and help make things easier for their customers as well.

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The most common mistakes when managing personal finances

by Jason Kelley

The ability to manage money competently is especially valuable quality in the conditions of the financial crisis when the purchasing power of the population is shrinking, inflation is rising, and currency exchange rates are completely unpredictable. Below are the common mistakes related to monetary affairs along with financial planning advice to help manage your own finances properly.

The budget is the most basic thing in financial planning. It is therefore especially important to be careful when compiling the budget. To start you have to draw up your own budget for the next month and only after it you may make a yearly budget.

As the basis takes your monthly income, subtract from it such regular expenses as the cost of housing, transportation, and then select 20-30% on savings or mortgage loan payment.

The rest can be spent on living: restaurants, entertainment, etc. If you are afraid of spending too much, limit yourself in weekly expenses by having a certain amount of ready cash.

"When people borrow, they think that they should return it as soon as possible," said Sofia Bera, a certified financial planner and founder of the Gen Y Planning company. And at its repayment spend all that earn. But it's not quite rational ".

If you don't have money for a rainy day, in case of an emergency (e.g. emergency of car repairs) you have to pay by credit card or get into new debts. Keep an account of at least $1000 in case of unexpected expenses. And gradually increase the "airbag" to an amount equal to your income for up to three-six months.

"Usually when people plan to invest, they only think about a profit and they don't think that loss's possible", says Harold Evensky, the President of the financial management company Evensky & Katz. He said that sometimes people do not do basic mathematical calculations.

For example, forgetting that if in one year they lost 50%, and the following year they received 50% of the profits, they did not return to the starting point and lost 25% savings. Therefore, think about the consequences. Get ready to any options. And of course, it would be wiser to invest in several different investment objects.

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5 Simple Ways To Create A Balance Sheet

by Selina Stewart

First things first: what is a balance sheet? A balance sheet is an essential way to evaluate a business’ financial health and can be calculated every month, quarter or half-year to create a snapshot of a company’s net worth.

In this article, we will be discussing how to calculate an annual balance sheet for a business. Creating an annual balance sheet will help you evaluate the equilibrium between your company’s assets against its liabilities, to determine the overall financial strength and value of your business. For an example of a full balance sheet, scroll down to see the example at the end.

1. Understand the Basic Equation

The following equation is a simplified representation of what a Balance Sheet calculates: the total sum of your company’s assets equals the value of the company’s liabilities and owner’s equity.

Assets = Liabilities + Owner’s Equity

As with any math equation, you can play around with the equation to isolate one category. Most business owners and investors use the following equation to calculate the value of the company’s equity.

Owner’s Equity = Assets – Liabilities

2. Calculate Assets

Assets, money, investments, and products the business owns that can be converted into cash: These are what put companies in the financial positive. A thriving company should have assets that are greater than the sum of its liabilities; this creates value in the company’s equity or stock and opens up opportunities for financing.

It’s important to list your assets by their liquidity—the facility by which they can be turned into cash—starting with cash itself and moving into long-term investments at the end of the list. For the purpose of an annual balance sheet, you can separate your list between “Current Assets,” anything that can be converted into cash within a year or less, and “Fixed Assets,” long-term possessions that can be sold or that retain value down the line, minus depreciation.

“Current Assets” may include:

  • Cash: All money in checking or savings accounts
  • Securities: Investments, stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Accounts Receivable: Money owed to the business by a client or customer
  • Inventory: Any products or materials that have already been created or acquired for the purpose of sale
  • Prepaid Insurance: Any payments made in advance for business insurance coverage or services (this tends to be paid in advance for the year).

“Fixed Assets” may include:

  • Supplies: Important objects used for business operations (manufacturing equipment, computers, office furniture, company cars, etc.)
  • Property: Any office building or land owned by the business
  • Intangible Assets: Intellectual property such as patents, copyrights, trademarks and other company rights that retain intrinsic value

3. Determine Liabilities

Liabilities are the negative part of the equation; these include operational costs, debt and material expenses. Generally speaking, the lower your liabilities, the greater the value of your company (and equity) can be. “Current Liabilities” include cash spent, as well as any debts that must be paid out within one year, while “Fixed Liabilities” refer to bills due anytime after one year.

“Current Liabilities” may include:

  • Accounts Payable: Money owed by a business to its suppliers or partners
  • Business Credit Cards: Company credit card bills due
  • Operating Line of Credit: Any money owed to a bank that has extended the business an operating line of credit
  • Taxes Owed: Any federal and state taxes owed for one year
  • Wages and Payroll: Employee compensation, including wages, medical insurance, etc.
  • Unearned Revenue: Any revenue garnered from a service or product that has yet to be delivered to the customer or client

“Fixed Liabilities” may include:

  • Long-Term Mortgages: Property or building mortgage expenses
  • Bonds payable: Long-term bonds owed to the government, as well as any interest paid on the bond (this interest is often semi-annual and can be added to “Current Liabilities”)
  • Pension Benefit Obligations: The total amount of money the company owes to employee pension plans up to the current date
  • Shareholder’s Loan: A form of financing provided by shareholders
  • Car Loan: Any long-term car loans on company vehicles (plus insurances costs)

4. Equity Valuation

Owner’s Equity = Assets – Liabilities

The value of your assets minus your liabilities will result in an estimation of the value of your company’s capital. If this equation results in a negative net worth, this can be dangerous for a small business; it will make it difficult for to secure financing, which can be troubling for a company whose expenses are already eclipsing its profits.

If, however, a company has positive equity, this means that business owners have the option of acquiring capital by selling part of their business through equity, stocks and/or dividends.

In a sole proprietorship, this is called the “Owner’s Equity”; in a corporation, this is called “Stockholder’s Equity,” and it can include common stock, preferred stock, paid-in capital, retained earnings, etc.

“Equity” may include:

  • Opening Balance Equity: The initial investment into the company
  • Capital Stock: The common and preferred stock a company issues
  • Dividends Paid: Profits paid out to shareholders by a company (applies to corporations)
  • Owner’s Draw: Portion of the revenue used by company’s owner (applies to sole proprietorships)
  • Retained Earnings: The sum of a company’s consecutive earnings since it began

Having an Income Statement will assist you in filling out this section since it helps you determine the opening balance equity and the retained earnings.

5. Consider All Applications

A solid balance sheet is an essential financial statement and part of a complete financial report. It can be used to secure financing or take a snapshot of a company’s current financial state, but it can also be used to evaluate the worth of your company over time. While accounting software like QuickBooks can easily generate balance sheets and other financial statements, it’s good to know the process to ensure your calculations are accurate.

Comparing your “Current Assets” minus “Current Liabilities” on a yearly basis will paint a picture of your company’s annual growth and expenses, which may have room for improvement. Calculating “Fixed Assets” minus “Fixed Liabilities” can provide a more long-term view of the company’s value over time and its ability to pay back long-term debts or expenses built up over many years.

Remember, the expenses of different companies may vary greatly, so don’t forget the assets and liabilities that are specific to your industry or area. For more help with balance sheets and other financial statements, see our infographic on financial reporting.

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