How The Finance Writer Makes Your Financial Business Grow

A visitor to your website is there for a purpose. They’re seeking information about who you are, the services you provide, how you accomplish projects, how much you charge, and how to contact you. Your website demonstrates your relevance to their search and entices them to click on page links providing the details they’re after.

The process begins with attracting visitors to your website. You want people to find you when they are searching for the type of financial services you offer. In addition, your website must provide content that retains as well as attracts business.

The best promotional method for people to locate your business on the web is submitting articles. This is a time-proven technique. You want people searching for financial information to find it in the articles on your website. Accomplishing this requires adding blog postings covering relevant topics to your website.

If this sounds challenging, that’s because it is. But you don’t have to conquer this alone. The Finance Writer delivers website content, blog articles and press releases with keywords that your prospects and clients are placing in search engines. For a cost of as little as $10 per day you can have better advertising visibility than was attainable for 10 times that much just a few years ago. All you need is a proficient master of your website to place your new customer-grabbing blog written by The Finance Writer.

Creating blog content on your website differentiates you from competitors by giving people a reason to bookmark your website and return frequently. They rely upon you to keep them informed. When they read something interesting on your blog, they forward a link to their friends. This increases your presence on the web and adds to the search engine ranking of your site.

Discipline and research are required to create a stream of original content to your website. You probably have plenty of ideas for article topics that are consistent with your marketing strategy and business philosophy. However, continuously writing a blog about these subjects requires a large commitment of time.

Your financial specialty offers services that are targeted to a specific group of individuals. Therefore, your blog must contain content that is compelling to your audience. Equally important, articles from The Finance Writer contain the keywords used in web searches by the people you want to reach. Every area of finance writing has its own lexicon.

Custom articles are useful for more purposes than a blog. You can also post them on your Facebook page and your Twitter account. In addition, you can accumulate articles relating to a common subject and prepare an email newsletter. Your webmaster can execute all of these marketing procedures for you.

Sending a newsletter in an email is recommended every 21 days. The format shows the contents and presents the first few sentences of each article in the newsletter. Readers click on any article topic to read more. You can track who is opening the links to read a full article. Contacting these people provides opportunities for offering your paid services.

Get your existing clients to follow you on Twitter, where they can learn about newly posted articles. Sending a couple of Tweets per day is suggested since each one is only a few characters long. You should add at least two new blog articles per week. That much is needed at a minimum to attract returning readers.

Executing these marketing steps with online media increases your presence on the Internet. A study conducted by TMP Directional Marketing and comScore identified how people find local businesses. According to this study, 31% use search engines, 30% use printed sources, 19% use Internet Yellow Pages, and 11% use local search sites. The results also confirmed a rising use of mobile devices for online consumer research even when the purchase decision is made in person.

Write to me today with any questions. I have many years of work history in several financial specialties. Blog articles really work in making a financial business grow.

Brian Huber

theFinanceWriter@gmail.com

Why Websites Are Needed for Tax and Accounting Services

Although your tax and accounting business doesn’t sell anything online, you need an online presence so that people can quickly and easily find out about your services. A professional website is the best basic marketing channel because anyone who notices you can go to your site for more details. You don’t have to convey everything about your tax and accounting services with each sales effort. Just express your brand image and let your website explain everything else about your tax and accounting business.

Prospective clients even use the web to initially find tax and accounting services. With so many competitors on the internet, you need to use search engine optimization (SEO) for getting noticed. SEO is the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. A starting point for SEO is creating accurate page titles that use commonly searched words. Page content should also contain the right keywords that people are entering in their searches.

Most importantly, frequent refreshing of website content improves its SEO presence. You don’t need to become an SEO expert. But, hiring someone like The Finance Writer to update the information on your website allows you to better connect with new and existing clients. This is an effective low cost marketing investment.

People are constantly searching for tax information on the internet. Providing a little advice isn’t giving away your services; it attracts people to utilizing your tax and accounting services. You can accomplish this with assistance from The Finance Writer to deliver helpful content that contains searched keywords.

Some of the subjects searched on the internet seem very elementary to an expert like you. But, the general public is seeking extremely general knowledge, which then reveals to them the greater need for your expertise. Some recent titles The Finance Writer has been asked to address are “Tax Deductions for Large Purchases”, “What Expenses Can I Write Off My Taxes”, “What Expenses Can Be Claimed on a Tax Return”, and “What Can You Claim on Taxes for a College Student”.

A few changes in wording vastly improves the website of your tax and accounting business. Small SEO adjustments may seem inconsequential, but they have a noticeable impact on user experience with your site as well as its performance in search results.

TheFinanceWriter@gmail.com

Retaining Clients With Blog Traffic

I’m not an authority about social media… I just read a lot, listen to the experts, and have some successful experience. Social media is really just a great big chamber of commerce gala that’s attended by millions of people and lasts everyday throughout the year. Social media is a tool that facilitates interaction. Use it to meet people and follow up just like your approach to a social event.

Equally important, social media is an outlet for staying on the minds of existing clients. Ignoring existing clients is common. You believe they already know about your services and will contact you when they need something you offer. Keeping in the forefront of your clients’ minds, educating them, and upselling them is crucial to building your business. This is the purpose served by social media.

A blog is a great place to have a steady stream of useful information, success stories, and cautionary tales about people who did not seek your expert services. Your blog receives maximum exposure when influencers share your content. Did you know that some of the top ranked influencers on YouTube have never uploaded any video? These individuals generate traffic to certain videos and deliver high search rankings for select videos by simply posting comments and being active content sharers.

Influencers are people you want to send more readers to your blog and make your clients think that your blog posts are vital features on the internet. If you’re not getting influencers to write your blog for you, at least get them to post comments and share your blog on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Start by finding people with similar content and share that. A good place to start is the blogs on websites read by a lot of tax professionals. Find out who is sharing these blog posts. Those are your influencers. Finally, get these people to start sharing your blog.

To accomplish this last step, find the influencer online and send a personal message that reads something like this:

Hey, The Finance Writer. I noticed that you shared a blog post on [somebody’s blog] about [some tax subject]. Well I have an article on my blog about a similar topic. Here’s the link: [link to your blog post]. I thought you might enjoy reading it too. — [your name]

This works even better if you write to The Finance Writer that you noticed he commented on the blog of another tax professional and that you tweeted this same blog post written on which he commented. The Finance Writer can then check to make sure you really are sharing good content – not just your own.

This technique sets you apart from competitors and provides the kind of experience that gets people talking about you. So, start today by sharing posts on the blogs of other tax professionals. Then write to The Finance Writer and ask him to comment on your blog and share it on social media.

theFinanceWriter@gmail.com

Understanding the Essential Features of Cash Flow Analysis

Any small business operator who lacks certitude about cash flow is hanging by a branch over the financial abyss. Adequate cash relieves pressure for meeting current obligations and implementing future expansion. Accurate anticipation of events doesn’t require a sweeping survey of the financial topography. Rather, analytical focus on a few key factors is all that’s required to be the architect of your cash flow success.

Elements of Cash Flow Analysis

Cash flow assessment begins with a report listing incoming cash from all sources – not only sales revenue but also separate lines for proceeds from selling company assets, borrowed funds, and capital infusions from company ownership. Don’t allow a fear of conquering financial statements turn into cash management mistakes. A cash flow statement is a sensible document that’s easy to understand. It reveals various groups of money inflow and outflow sources.

One section of a cash flow statement is operational activities, which shows money received from routine business operations. Simply take net income for a given period – such as the last calendar quarter – and add charges for depreciation and amortization that were calculated for tax purposes. Also add increases in accounts payable or subtract decreases. This accounts for expenses you haven’t paid or bills from past periods that were paid with cash income generated during the current period. Subtract increases in accounts receivable, which is income this period that you haven’t collected. Or add decreases in accounts receivable, which is money from prior period sales you collected in the current period.

The next group is investment activities. This section subtracts money distributed to owners, whether dividends or other types of capital withdrawals. Owner capital contributions are added. Purchases of new equipment and property are also listed in the investment activities section. Lastly, a financing activities section shows funds received from new borrowing or cash used to repay loans.

Free Cash Flow

The key component of cash flow analysis is the presence or absence of free cash flow. This is the amount of cash the company has on hand after operational activities and investment activities. The figure presents a better reflection of financial health than after-tax income. It eliminates non-cash tax items like depreciation and includes capital purchases for new property and equipment.

Examining free cash flow from several recent calendar quarters presents a trend. Consistently negative free cash flow indicates excessive spending – an unsustainable path of insufficient funds that must be altered. Conversely, positive free cash flow is a vital measure of financial health.

Create a Cash Flow Budget

Your cash flow analysis is a springboard to developing a cash flow budget. Future profits are predicted that require cash to cover expenses before collecting accounts receivable. Perhaps new equipment is needed to fulfill sales orders. Cash flow statements of the past demonstrate the correlation between earnings trends and other categories of cash inflow and outflow.

Unless you’re a financial wiz, you’ll need an accounting professional to devise a cash flow projection using the ratios and trends of the recent past. Ongoing monitoring of whether you’re on cash track is, however, entirely your responsibility. When free cash flow lags, moving without delay to borrow or invest new money is crucial to supporting success. This action necessitates familiarity with the cash flow statement.

Time to Finally Learn the Meaning of Debit and Credit in Accounting Lingo

Like any technical field, accounting has its own jargon with meaning that often eludes outsiders. But substantial frustrations descend when you lack knowledge of key terminology deployed in the periphery of your business. An accountant is somewhat like a sports referee conveying an infraction to coaches. That is, describing an observation with shortcut expressions should efficiently reveal the consequences; a time-consuming narrative of complete rulebook passages is unnecessary.

The most crucial element in accounting is that every transaction entails equal offsetting amounts. Simply put, the total of all debits must equal the sum of all credits. Most people have difficulty grasping the terms debit and credit. But understanding the meaning of these words in accounting delivers an improved process for comprehending and resolving errors.

Double-Entry System

You probably think of debits and credits as two separate actions. For example, your bank statement has credits of deposited funds and debits for checks and other withdrawals. In accounting, however, each transaction creates both a debit and a credit. Deposits to your bank account are usually offset by increases in revenue. Most withdrawals are offset by increases in expenses. Recording these increases and decreases is the function of debits and credits.

Increasing revenue with a credit and increasing expenses with debits makes sense. After all, more revenue seems like a credit for working and more expense seems like a debit (or deduction) from your output. The impact on a bank account from revenue and expenses is an offsetting debit or credit. A credit to revenue triggers a debit to cash in bank on your records. Hence, debits on your bookkeeping for a bank account are increases in your cash. Conversely, when you pay a bill – which debits an expense – the offset is a credit on your bank account ledger. Thus, credits on your bookkeeping for a bank account lower the cash balance.

Asset Accounts

Bank accounts in your bookkeeping are assets. Since debits increase the balance on your accounting for a bank account and credits lower the balance, other assets work the same way. Debits increase the ledger balance for an asset and credits reduce it. Buy a new computer and you debit the asset account for equipment. The check you write to the computer store is an equal amount of credit to the bank account ledger on your books.

Liability Accounts

What about purchases with borrowed money? You still debit an expense or asset, but the offsetting credit is to a liability account instead of the bank account. So a credit to liabilities – such as a credit card or loan – increases the balance on the ledger. How come those credits are increases but the credits to a bank account are decreases? The bank account, remember, is an asset. Credits decrease assets; credits increase liabilities.

And don’t forget the reverse affect of debits – they increase assets but decrease liabilities. So what happens when you pay off a credit card by writing a check? Simple. Debit the credit card liability account (which decreases the balance) and credit the bank account (it’s decreased too). Two decreases? No wonder we need to start thinking of offsetting double entries as debits and credits instead of increases and decreases.

Using Business Financial Statements to Guide Cash Flow Management

Because entrepreneurs are not the type of persons who prefer the teacup ride at the amusement park, they should never fear tackling the extreme roller coaster of cash flow management. Understanding business cash flow permits planning ahead with comfort about meeting goals.

Sustainable business success demands capturing new opportunities and undertaking the associated risks. This dynamic is most evident when using cash for expansion or upgrades. Having plenty of cash on hand delivers security. But idle cash doesn’t generate growth. A business will stagnate if cash isn’t deployed for better and bigger operations. The obstacle confronting business owners is assurance that the amount of money available for a mission is sufficient.

Start by assessing business cash flow. Many enterprises have bookkeeping that is “cash basis.” That is, income is only recorded when collected. Counting income when you send an invoice is “accrual basis.” When using cash basis, expenses are those already paid. Accrual basis records expenses when they are billed.

A cash basis profit and loss statement – or P&L – has income and expenses mostly reflecting actual cash flow. Some adjustment is required, however, for cash outlays not on the P&L, such as principal paid on loans or purchases of assets like furniture and equipment. Also, non-cash accounting expenses like depreciation are added to profit when determining cash flow.

Accountants are typically able to create a cash flow statement as one of the components of monthly financial reports. This is especially important for a business with an accrual basis P&L. Accounting software, such as QuickBooks, allows a user to print cash flow statements.

Savvy entrepreneurs look for ways to improve cash flow. They find expense reduction opportunities that will not trigger any productivity drain. Sometimes, business owners cut their own salaries as an avenue to enhance company funds. A wise entrepreneur is willing to reduce his pay for a few months to invest more in his business and become much wealthier next year.

The most valuable calculations of monthly cash flow use an average over several months. This is the amount of money the business generates for solving special problems like equipment breakdowns as well as tackling unforeseen events like shipping problems or a late paying customer. A crucial measure in cash flow management is determining the cash reserve to save each month for those contingencies. Cash flow is also required for debt reduction. Businesses must keep their borrowing power intact for occasions that arise when loans are needed immediately.

Remaining cash flow after accounting for emergencies and loan repayment is available for new goals. The next cash flow management step, therefore, is prioritizing objectives for improving or expanding the business. This entails a process of outlining the costs and benefits expected from each goal. The results identify optimal choices. Armed with the cash flow figures, an entrepreneur determines how many months of operation are required to safely build the funds needed for accomplishing selected aspirations.

Upgrading equipment, establishing a wider inventory assortment, or adding a new employee are all comfortably controlled by planning the implementation around available cash flow. Alternatively, excess cash flow is money on hand for payments on new borrowing. That analytical assurance is what bankers want before making loans to a business for modernization and expansion.

Advice to Accounting Students: Words of Wisdom from a CPA

Many thanks to CPA Paul Herman for this advice to aspiring CPAs:

As the end of 2013 comes to a close, we think about the New Year on the horizon and how this time of year is our favorite. Why? Because somehow, a new year seems to breathe new life into people, shining a refreshing light on the goals and dreams that await us. Whether you’re a freshman or senior accounting student, taking these tips with you as you enter the brand-new year is one sure way to setting yourself up for success as a future CPA.

1.      Seek out internships. While there is no replacement for a college education, there are plenty of aspects of the professional world that you simply won’t learn until you enter it. Landing an internship is the best way to get your feet wet in the “real world” while still in college. Not only do they prepare you with valuable experience for your potential career path, but they can also help you decide whether a particular career is in fact the right match for you.

2.      Network. Building a strong network during your college career is one of the best accomplishments you can attain while still in school. No matter what career path you choose, the power of networking is immense, and is an activity you will partake in for the rest of your life. You know the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” While you certainly cannot be a CPA without an education, having a strong network of people at your dispense can make all the difference in landing that killer job straight out of college, or getting top-notch test prep advice for the dreaded CPA exam. Take advantage of all the networking opportunities your school has to offer. We promise you, you won’t regret it!

3.      Join associations. Almost every college offers an organization or association for each major, and accounting and finance are no different! Participating means having access to free tools, resources, information and more, while spending time with your fellow financial scholars.

4.      Explore career options. There are tons of different professions available to finance students. Have you ever heard of a forensic accountant? A hedge fund manager? How about a loan officer? Take some time to scope out your career options, and contact your college’s Career Services department to help you out. There are plenty of cool finance careers available. You just have to know where to look!

5.       Keep your grades up. This goes without being said. While some employers may not even look at your GPA, others will not hire you despite having a great resume. Plus, you’ll up your chances for getting into graduate school!

Armed with these strategies, entering 2014 will be your best year as an accounting student yet! The bottom line? You’re in college; It’s OK to have fun! However, just remember that these are also the years that you have an abundance of resources available at your fingertips to help you be a stellar finance professional. Taking advantages of all that your school has to offer will put you well on the path to success.

Advice for a Successful Local CPA Practice

The Finance Writer has worked with a few individuals wanting help becoming CPAs as well as many who obtained Enrolled Agent certification. The brand recognition of a CPA license simply remains superior to the Enrolled Agent designation. Hence, even individuals who want to specialize in tax work still pursue the rigorous CPA exam, which encompasses a variety of accounting matters.

After starting a local CPA practice, an effective web presence allows people to find you for tax preparation services.

A good mixture of tax, bookkeeping, and consulting services tends to deliver successful results for small accounting firms. The formula works best by selective acceptance of bookkeeping clients. Young practices have a tendency to accept every business owner that walks in the door. Choose industries to focus upon… and hire bookkeeping staff who know those areas. At the very least, list types of businesses you will not accept for bookkeeping services. The best avenue, however, is limiting your practice to specific categories – such as medical practices (or all professional service providers, if you take a broader approach). Remember that retail operations with a lot of inventory are really challenging.

Also, consider not being a turnkey service for every bookkeeping element. For instance, payroll preparation seldom generates targeted profit margin for a CPA practice. It’s occasionally acceptable as a leader to delivery of other services, but that’s a consideration for a mature practice that can afford strategic low margin endeavors.

Tax services are the main profit generator at local accounting firms. In fact, the key justification for rendering bookkeeping operations is that it simplifies tax return preparation. While bookkeeping itself will not bring much profit margin, the eventual tax preparation more than makes up for the trouble. You charge market rates for the tax returns despite completing them in half the time required for entities that handle their own bookkeeping.

Be leery of acquiring other CPA practices. Sometimes, however, the terms are acceptable. Deferred payment amounts based upon client retention is a must. Some clients you expect as part of an acquisition were only interested in working with a particular person at the acquired firm. You can bring that existing CPA into your fold, but make sure he or she fits into the culture of your business. Just remember to consider why the existing CPA is selling. If the client relationships are so great, why would a thriving CPA want to sell?

Gradual expansion is generally preferable to acquisition of other CPA practices. This relates back to the concept of having the right web marketing strategy. Rapid growth is achievable with sound planning, which is crucial to efficiently deploying your capital.

You’ll need to add staff at some point to accommodate a rising number of tax returns. This means turning your attention to training and supervision. Too many tax accountants want to become wealthier but expect to continue only preparing tax returns. If you want to be a tax preparer, go work for someone else without taking the risk of owning your own practice. Don’t think that simply owning an enterprise where you prepare tax returns leads to greater financial rewards than working as a tax employee. It doesn’t.

The value of entrepreneurship is derived from leveraging the efforts of others. You agree to give them a paycheck every other Friday and – in exchange for that guarantee – they sacrifice a part of the expected fruits from their labor. (Sprinkle some economics knowledge on your accounting expertise.) The more patience you exercise with training and guidance for lower-compensated employees, the greater your share of their output. However, too much training puts you in a large shortfall of capital before worker output generates a return on your investment.

Hence, whom you hire is crucial. Experienced individuals are immediately productive, but also have immediate high salary demands. (This is a primary cost concern when bringing a CPA into the practice from an acquisition.) Alternatively, raw recruits have too little value and mostly become mentoring projects with payoffs that are too distant.

Fortunately, tax practices can easily resolve this problem by hiring people with no experience as long as they have some proven skills. They develop tax expertise by studying for the Enrolled Agent exam. Ideal prospects are recent college graduates with just bachelor’s degrees in accounting (or even finance or economics) as well as individuals with bookkeeping ability, especially those already working for you in bookkeeping posts. Send them to take an online tax course and pass the EA exam. This arms them with all the knowledge needed for preparing tax returns. They only require some training with tax preparation software and file documentation procedures. The CPA practice delivering this environment is destined to maximize profits in the most efficient and timely way.

Role Helping Family Businesses Awaits Accountants that Take the CPA Exam

Long before stock markets and venture capital, aspiring entrepreneurs created businesses to attain personal profit from serving consumer demands. These family owned operations stood as testaments to an advancing standard of living. Although this phenomenon arose well before external audits and quarterly reports, family enterprises still recognized the value of accurate accounting work. Despite the lack of a CPA exam, skilled accountants were key members of every entrepreneur’s team.

Family businesses are still the largest group of commercial entities in the US economy. More importantly, they are achieving a larger scale than ever before. This only increases their need for accountants. Fortunately, locating elite accountants is now easier than a century ago by seeking those with CPA licenses.

Today, family businesses operate in both local and expanded markets. Many of them sell products globally. They employ more people than all companies with public stockholders. In addition, family enterprises generate a substantial amount of economic activity.

A growing family business is faced with the same challenges as a major corporation. This requires monitoring of costs and measurement of success from a new product, location, or group of customers. After passing the CPA exam, an accountant is prepared to embark on a career that helps family businesses innovate and thrive throughout generational transitions.

If you strive for this role, be sure to become a trusted source of advice to family businesses. Don’t price your services in a way that discourages contact. Provide brief phone conversations and email responses free of charge. Use these opportunities to communicate your value at delivering extra services for a contractually arranged fee. Soon, your CPA practice will advance beyond delivering financial reports and tax returns. You will help balance business strategy with family goals. For example, you will be at the forefront of devising fair procedural and control structures. Rendering effective decision-making advice to family enterprises demands that you follow the right career focus with the accounting skills you mastered to successfully complete the CPA exam.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: