You are receiving this email because you are a client or you have agreed to receive messages from us. Click here to unsubscribe.
Start the New Year Right with a Review of Bank Reconciliation
The most important step an entrepreneur can take to ensure all revenue and expenses are recorded in the books is a reconciliation of the bookkeeping to bank records. Unexplained discrepancies between the cash balance on the books and the bank statements are a by-product of missing or inaccurate financial information. The result is questionable recorded profit.

After the prior year's end, it is ideal to uncover legitimate reasons for the books to differ from a bank statement. A bank account on the balance sheet of your business from last month may show a different amount than last month's bank statement. Some checks you've written may be outstanding, or deposits on the final day of the month might have been unprocessed when the bank statement was produced.

The reconciliation process locates previously missing transactions, such as bank charges, electronic remittances, and unrecorded deposits. But a business owner must scrutinize the reconciliation report to determine if further adjustments are needed.

Checks written long ago that have not yet cleared your bank account are known as stale checks. Any of these outstanding checks from more than a year ago should be removed from the business books with a journal entry dated in the current year. The business has ultimately not incurred these costs since the money never left the bank account.

The only deposits that should be missing from the bank statement are those you made at the end of the statement period. Older unreconciled deposits are indicative of errors or duplications and should be investigated.

Maintaining these current reconciliations will put you in a good position to start the year on solid financial footing.

Are You Tapping into the Potential of Video Marketing Yet?
When was the last time you read a user manual? If you're like most people, you're more likely to learn about a product or service, research a repair, or figure out how to assemble a piece of furniture by watching a video than reading a manual.

It's a simple fact: video attracts attention. This is an important concept to keep in mind when developing marketing plans.

There are countless approaches to video marketing, but it's important to start with a specific content strategy and clear goals in mind. This will help you decide what kind of content to create and where to embed it. Here are some basic video marketing strategies to consider.

Explainer videos tell what your company does. This simple, straightforward type of video describes your business model, defines your brand, and tells consumers why your small local business is important and/or why your product or service is necessary to them.

Educational videos educate audiences about the company or something related to the company, the industry, or the market in general.

Product videos highlight specific products, often in creative ways. A tutorial or instructional video teaches people how to use the product or ways to be creative in using it.

Then there are video testimonials, staff bio videos, FAQs, and more. Indeed, the world of video marketing is endless. There are many approaches you can take and many different goals you can achieve. And video making has become accessible even to the inexperienced.

These days, it's easy to get started: just download a video maker app, and you're on your way to video marketing.

The Benefits of a Workplace Fitness Culture
Americans are workaholics by nature. We often forget to take vacation days, and many of us regularly log on at all hours to monitor projects, respond to inquiries, or deal with problems.

In 2015 (the last year for which data is available), the average American employee worked 38.7 hours per week for 46.8 weeks, according to a Pew review of Labor Department data. An estimated 40% of US employees regularly worked more than 50 hours per week, and 20% logged more than 60 hours per week.

As a result, wellness programs and initiatives that encourage a workplace culture of fitness are important to employers and employees alike. There are plenty of benefits of having a workplace culture of fitness.

Topping the list: fitness dramatically lowers healthcare costs. Experts estimate between 70 and 90 percent of healthcare spending is due to problems associated with lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and smoking that lead to chronic diseases, lost work days, and lower productivity.

Fitness can also counter depression, dissipate stress, and help people sleep better. A regular fitness program can even reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Furthermore, knowledge of fitness and ergonomic techniques can help workers alleviate neck, back, wrist, and arm fatigue.

Let's not forget the social aspect. Those who exercise together develop relationships that often translate into a company culture of support, cooperation, loyalty, and goodwill toward their work, their colleagues, and their team.

Get Your 2019 Accounting Ready for Tax Time
Running a business entails so much work selling, delivering, and planning that precise financial tracking throughout the year is challenging. Despite having a sound bookkeeping system in place to facilitate judicious financial records, the process is unlikely to proceed without a hitch.

Most mistakes are a consequence of incomplete information when bookkeeping data entry is performed. Lost receipts or forgotten details about specific purchases are omissions any busy entrepreneur can experience. But the start of a new calendar year is the time to locate missing information and clean up the books before presenting them to your accountant for income tax return preparation.

Repair Financial Balances

Start with the business balance sheet. This report shows all the assets and liabilities of your business. These numbers correlate with the vital tax-related amounts of business profit and owner capital. Business owners can easily verify figures on the balance sheet for accounts with financial institutions by reconciling them to their account statements. Reconciling bank accounts and credit cards are standard bookkeeping procedures.

A frequently neglected area is fixed assets, such as machinery, equipment, buildings, and leasehold improvements to rented space. Not all amounts spent on equipment or a building should be added as fixed assets on the balance sheet. Some costs are low enough to expense as small tools or repairs. Your accountant can provide the income tax standards regarding which expenditures to categorize as fixed assets. Providing your bookkeeper with these rules permits easy year-end reclassification of amounts that might have earlier been misclassified as fixed assets.

Other areas to diagnose are accrued tax liabilities and long-term loans. Such liabilities as payroll taxes and sales tax should match remittances your business is scheduled to make. They are verifiable against records in other systems, such as payroll summary reports and sales reports.

Loan payments during the year include both interest and principal repayments. A loan history statement from the lender ensures all interest is deducted as an expense, with the remainder of payments applying to a loan account on the balance sheet.

Examine More than Profit

On the business income statement, make sure the correct amounts have been posted for payroll. One expense category should report total gross wages, not merely the sum of net paychecks. A different account covers the business part of payroll taxes. This excludes taxes withheld from employee pay, which are simply part of the gross wages.

Conduct a general cleanup of accounts. Combine accounts that duplicate the same expense category using slightly different names. Don't have too much labeled as simply "miscellaneous" expenses. Determine the correct classifications for any entries in so-called suspense accounts with names such as "Ask Later."

You should also provide your bookkeeper with information on any business expenses paid with personal money. These are recorded as if the business had paid for them directly.

Overall, make sure to identify and confirm the validity of every number on financial statements. Some accounts may have been created during the year for expediency pending more detailed information. Explanations to the bookkeeper about unclear transactions are a responsibility of the business owner. In other words, don't leave your tax accountant wondering about mystery figures.
Michele Ball
Logo alt
How to Win Big in Today's Economy
The altered economic landscape presents innovative and nimble businesses with opportunities to thrive.
Find out how by requesting my free report "How to Win Big in Today's Economy" by replying to this email.
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

Share This Newsletter
Click here to forward this email to a friend
Click here to see a web copy of this newsletter

Quick Quiz
Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just reply to this email for the answer.

The first VCR, which was made in 1956, was the size of what musical instrument?

Worth Reading
Want Your Brand to Stand Out on Social Media? Try These 8 Tips
By Larry Kim
Small Business Trends
Social media has transformed personal and business communication. But making your business stand out on social media may seem impossible. It doesn’t have to be. This article shares how to create a winning social media strategy, which includes establishing a plan and a calendar, knowing your audience and taking risks. To further use social media to your advantage, keep in mind that it gives you ways to gather feedback and incorporate it into future efforts.

How to Identify a Sales Bottleneck in 30 Minutes (Or Less)
By Lucas Miller


Before you hire a business coach to understand why your company’s growth has stalled, read this article. Understand different parts of your company: sales, marketing, fulfillment, and systems and operations. Write down a process for each section. Look at the sales system and determine where inefficiencies are. This article gives examples of what those processes could be.

15 Commonly Asked Questions About Small Business Loans
By Joyce Walsack

US Chamber of Commerce

Loans can benefit small companies, but applying for them can confuse those who need them. Begin your research here. This page provides the basic information you need to obtain a loan, beginning with understanding what working capital is, how it can increase, and who can provide loans for it.

This Month - Social Media
Social media has become an integral part of our society. Personally and professionally, we are bombarded by a constant stream of posts, pictures, and tweets. How can you use this technology to further your business? Try these links.

Just getting started with social media? Here’s a beginner’s guide to creating a social media marketing funnel:
A Beginner's Guide To Executing A Social Media Marketing Funnel

When using social media, you want to do more than post information. You want to engage your target audience. Here’s how:
How to Reach Your Target Audience on Social Media More Effectively

Get organized with a social media calendar that guides your efforts. Try this template for small businesses that includes tips for customizing and links to other resources:
Social Media Calendar Template for Small Business

As you navigate the world of social media, you’ll need a map. Here are 10 social media laws to follow:
10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

Not sure where to go from here? Use this step-by-step process to create a social media marketing strategy:
How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy in 8 Easy Steps
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign