via Welcome New Innovation Women: 6-13-18

Welcome to our latest Innovation Women speakers! We’ve got an incredible new crop of speakers to satisfy every event manager’s fondest wish.

We’ve got an incredible new crop of speakers to satisfy every event manager’s fondest wish.

We have new speakers and subject matter experts in education, HR, financial services, designers, a dentist, data scientists, yoga instructors, entrepreneurs and founders, engineers, scientists, marketers and more. And every one of them just happens to be a woman.


Invoicing + no collection process = cash flow issues

Cashflow problems don’t discriminate.  Even profitable businesses with ‘plenty of revenue’ & interested investors can have cash flow difficulties.  Studies show that over 80% of small businesses failures are due to poor cash management.  Your business may be this year’s Tickle Me Elmo or Pet Rock but if you are unable to manage cashflow, the business could be forced to close its doors.

This post outlines cashflow problems & solutions any business can implement around its invoicing function.

Invoice scheduling   

Business owners get busy & administrative functions like invoicing & vendor payment can fall by the waste side.  Inconsistent invoicing policy can leave collection timing in question.  Business should designate a day of the week or month for invoicing & stick to that schedule.  Depending on the industry, invoicing may only need to be done once a month & others may need to invoice weekly.  Look at your industries standards & start developing your schedule from there.

Invoice Terms, Early Pay Discounts & Delivery Method

Default payment terms have historically been 30 days.  This policy dates to a time when invoices & payments were mailed.  In today’s market, invoices tend to be sent through email & speed up the process.  A study by Xero (cloud accounting software) shows that customers on average pay invoices two (2) weeks late.  Do you offer incentives for early payment?  Do you discount for upfront payment?  What are payment term standards in your industry?  Consider payment & incentive trends in your industry & the marketplace in general & revise payment terms accordingly.

Collection & Payment Reminders

Having a schedule for payment & collection reminders is just as critical as how often invoicing is performed.  If an invoice is sent off without follow up, the likelihood of timely collection diminishes.  Set up a schedule that manages the timing of each phase of collection.  Consider contact to confirm receipt of invoice & reminder of due date in the days prior.  If your customer utilizes an invoice & payment portal, ensure you are loading invoices correctly & receiving confirmation of receipt.  You don’t want to find out when once the invoice is severely past due that you didn’t load the invoice in the portal correctly & will have to wait another period for payment.  Once the invoice has become past due, send out another email & begin telephone contact to determine if there are any other issues.

A firm understanding of where customer invoices are in the collection process is necessary in the cash flow forecast & projection process.  Cloud accounting systems can be set up to support the collection process with reminder emails & electronic cash collection which both speed up the collection process.  If you are not using cloud accounting, consider it & other apps to support your business.  Most are inexpensive, user friendly & improve workflow efficiency.

Cash flow problems can be serious and threaten your ability to stay in business. If you don’t have direct financial experience, consider working with a CPA or financial expert to help you determine which problems you have – and how to solve them.  If your accountant or CPA doesn’t offer cash flow forecasting & projection services we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can work with you from anywhere.  With real-time cloud accounting access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more about business planning, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.


What Opportunity are you losing out on at Year-End?

As a small business owner, you probably went into business to make money because you had found a way to satisfy a need with a product or service in the market place.  You’re an expert in your field.  In most cases, you’re not an expert in your businesses finances.  Are you doing your own bookkeeping & accounting?  As an entrepreneur, the answer is probably yes.  Small business owners tend to take on all the hats in their business.  When I made the decision to go into business for myself, I thought I could do everything.  If you have read my blog before, you know that I tried out web design early on in my business.  Let’s just say that disaster resulted in two hours of my life I will never get back.  Some things are best left to the experts.  Lesson learned.

When it comes to your businesses finances, what is the cost of handling your own finances?  The cost could be devastating.  Wrong financial moves could set your business back significantly or much worse, sink it.  Owners are preoccupied with getting the next shipment out or hiring the right staff.  When you’re in the thick of your business day to day, are you really paying attention to the financial information?  This is where the opportunity lies to strengthen the relationship with your accountant beyond the annual tax season visit.  Accountants can take the financial information & translate it into an understandable language that will help business owners make better decisions.  Here are a few ways to capitalize on the relationship with your accountant.

Finding New Growth Opportunities

The accountant relationship is not the typical vendor – customer relationship.  Accountants are trusted advisors & partners for your business & not just your ‘tax guy’.  Once you see that your relationship with your accountant is not the same as the copier guy, owners can make the most of that relationship.  With the use of cloud accounting tools providing real time data, accountants can gain an understanding on a continuous real-time basis.  Quarterly reviews can provide business owners with unbiased understanding into their businesses revenue plans, budgeting & cash flow.  Offering insight into potential areas of growth.

It’s All About the Plan

There are times in business when operating off the seat of your pants works, but it’s not a long term strategic plan.  You may have a vision for your business & your accountant can help you convert that vision into an actionable plan.  With a well thought out business plan, it can be determined if objectives are being met & revised where necessary.  Contingency plans can be developed & actioned in difficult times.  Working with your accountant as a strategic partner can improve your chances of making it through a challenging time.

Where Did All My Cash Go?

Funding the next payroll is the number one fear of most businesses owners.  Cash is constantly cycling in & out making it difficult to determine what may be draining the businesses resources.  Businesses don’t fail just because they were unable to generate revenue.  Cash flow management is key to the success & growth of a business.  Poor cash management is the leading factor of failure in a business.  An accountant’s review & advise on process revisions surrounding cash collection can improve cash flow & profitability & everyone starts a business to make money.

Bookkeeping & finance are like the boogie man of business.  Everyone is afraid of it, but in the end to be successful, the financials of your business need to be embraced.  Operating & running a business isn’t easy.  Like many other things in life…it takes a village.  Business owners can’t do it alone.  Accountants can provide more than a tax return in April.  Accountants are a year-round trusted business advisor & partner.  They can help business owners understand growth opportunities, develop a plan & find where the cash is going.

If your accountant doesn’t offer planning & advisory services we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can work with you from anywhere.  With real-time cloud accounting access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more about business planning, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.


The problem with only speaking to your accountant when you pick up your tax return

As a business owner, when was the last time you spoke to your accountant? If it was the day you picked up your tax return in March, your relationship with your accountant is a lost opportunity.

Historically, accountants are publicly perceived as the ‘tax guy’ or auditors & only consulted when there is a serious problem, i.e. unpaid taxes or financial bankruptcy. Your accountant can influence directly & indirectly the success & direction of your business. Like the relationship with a banker or attorney, the relationship with an accountant is long-term & can provide support with decision making & support during tough times.

Have you done tax planning for this year?

If you only see your accountant during tax season (generally February – April), you are losing out on tax planning opportunities. Tax saving options after the close of the year are limited & have time constraints. On the other hand, if you are planning in March for the current year, plans will be based on forecast & projection. If actual results differ from projections, tax results will differ. No business owner ever wants to find out after the tax return is complete that they had a more profitable year than expected & now have a whopping balance due. At a minimum, business owners should have a mid-year tax review with their accountant. A quarterly meeting is optimal. Periodic meetings can be used to anticipate results variances & provide options for changes.

Does your business have an annual business plan?

Your accountant can provide more value than simply preparing a tax return. The annual business planning is a great way to partner with your accountant & utilize their expertise. An accountant can help you develop a revenue plan based on your business product or service. Their experience in a specific industry or revenue models can provide insight into how to build the foundational plan for your business. What do you need to charge to per product or service to meet revenue goals? An accountant can help you with a pricing structure. Will you be profitable with the current revenue plan? If you need to analyze your profitability, it’s a perfect time to sit with your accountant & review the results. A solid revenue plan will be the backbone of future marketing plans and all other business plans for the year. Your accountants experience can help you develop unbiased options to all your business plans.

Cashflow is getting tight & I don’t know why?

Many business owners have difficulties with cashflow. They are unclear about when money is coming in & what it is going out for. A careful review of cashflow operations (invoicing, collection & payments) by an accountant can expose process breakdown & provide recommendations for improvement. A small process adjustment in the invoicing & collection process could make a world of difference in projecting cash inflow. Pricing can also be a cause of cashflow issues. Are you charging the right price for your product or service? A review of operations & costs with your accountant could reveal the business isn’t charging enough? Accountants can help you review costs & develop new pricing structures which will lead to improved profitability.

Your accountant can truly become a trusted business advisor. Accountants can help businesses plan, review results & act on them with process & business adjustments. If your accountant relationship is only utilized once a year for preparing a tax return, your business is missing out on guided support & growth from an experienced professional. Seek out your accountant & trusted business advisor & work with them to strengthen your business.

If your accountant doesn’t offer planning services we can help. You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can work with you from anywhere. With real-time cloud accounting access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers. To find out more about business planning, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.

#trusted advisor


Why Your Business Needs a Revenue Plan

Any successful business owner will advise ‘you need a plan’; a business plan, a marketing plan & even a revenue plan.  A revenue plan will be the foundation for your businesses other planning efforts.   In its simplest form a revenue plan is, ‘what do I need to sell to generate the revenue desired for my business’?   This isn’t solely an exercise for when you start your business, a revenue plan should be part of your annual planning & goal process.  Large businesses have annual revenue plans as part of their overall business plan, but small businesses tend to ‘guess’ what their revenue might be, their plan ‘lives’ entirely in the business owners head or they forgo the entire process.

Like any of your other business plans, a revenue plan should have the ability to be viewed by others (paper or in electronic format) & be reviewed regularly.

Foundation for a marketing plan

A revenue plan will give you actual information about how much you need to sell to generate the revenue you want for the business.  How much of your individual offerings (combination of products & services) do you need to sell each month & quarter to meet your annual revenue goal?  Your revenue mix will help you develop the marketing plan that is needed to support the planned revenues.  If this isn’t the first time you have developed a revenue plan for your business, review your prior marketing expenses & apply the scenario in the opposite direction.  What marketing costs converted to the most leads & closed deals/sales?  What products/offerings were sold from the leads?  If you are spending on marketing that isn’t converting leads to closed sales, eliminate the expense & focus your efforts on other marketing options.  Marketing & revenue planning go hand in hand & help you develop your next business move.

Time & effort to earning

A revenue plan can be used to determine the time, effort & costs associated with earning that revenue.  It’s the old 80-20 rule, will 80% of your revenue come from 20% of your effort or vice versa?  Are you spending 80% of your time to earn 20% of the businesses revenue?  Once you have your plan mapped out, take a moment to review the time & costs associated with each product offering.  Once you see the plan & costs on paper, a review of the options may reveal a need to revise or eliminate an offering that takes too much of your time.  Your revenue plan is an essential part of your continuous decision-making process.

Revenue mix

The best revenue plans take into consideration ‘what-if’ scenarios…What if you sell the more widgets with wheels?  What if you sell more rubber widgets?  What does the difference in revenue mix do to the overall gross revenue & expenses.  Developing what-if scenarios can be used to determine where your greatest revenue opportunities lie & help you weed out the offerings that don’t bear the greatest benefit.

Your businesses revenue plan will be the foundation & driver of your annual marketing & resource goals.  By reviewing the revenue scenarios, you can determine the best use of your time & resources.  Talk to your accountant & trusted business advisor about developing a revenue plan.

If your accountant doesn’t offer revenue planning services we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can work with you from anywhere.  With real-time cloud accounting access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more about revenue planning, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.


The reality of cutting costs versus developing a revenue plan

The ‘Gut’ reaction when a business isn’t profitable is to cut costs.  The unintended results of cost cutting may be reduced product or service quality, cash flow shortages or further erosion of profits & margin.  Let’s take a ‘widget maker’ with two or three employees.  He is looking for a way to improve profitability on the widget with wheels.   He has determined that there are three (3) cost (expense) cutting options…

  • Eliminate administrative/finance headcount
  • Eliminate direct product headcount
  • Reduce direct product costs

We will review the options & impact it may have on your business.

Option 1 – Eliminate administrative/finance headcount

If you have spent any time as an admin or finance colleague in industry you will learn that you ‘aren’t a revenue generator’ therefore the first to see an ax to your budget.  It is determined the admin/bookkeeper can be eliminated & the owner will take on the function.  How hard can it be?  The realization over the upcoming weeks is the bookkeeper invoiced customers weekly, chased customer payment, maintained vendor relationships, paid vendor invoices weekly & managed payroll bi-weekly.  Suppliers are refusing future shipment without payment; the credit card has been frozen for non-payment & customers are slow to pay because no one has been following up regularly to confirm payment.  The cash on hand is not enough to cover payroll on Friday.  Lesson learned.

Option 2 – Eliminate direct product headcount

As a business owner, you determine that savings can be found in cutting headcount.  Cutting headcount is never a popular option for the employer or employee but the apprentice widget maker is let go from the business.  The apprentice was preparing the individual pieces for assembly & the senior was assembling.  Removal of the apprentice results in the senior preparing & assembling all product & results in a reduction of production each day by one third.  Reduction of daily production affects the ability to fulfill customer orders in a timely fashion.  The product cycle is increased by 2.5 days.  The result to the business is customers wait an additional 3 – 5 business days to receive their order.  Customer is less than thrilled to wait this long.  In an instant gratification society, an additional 3 – 5 business days to wait for my widget with wheels to arrive is an eternity.  Customer may think twice about ordering from you in the future.

Option 3 – Reduce direct product costs

After countless hours researching on the internet, you find a manufacturer of ball bearings & the ball bearings can be procured with a significant savings.  The new bearings are used in production & shipped to customers.  Customers begin to flood your Facebook page with complaints that your product is garbage because their widgets with wheels are broken.  Turns out roughly one third of your shipment of ball bearings was damaged.  The direct cost to the business are countless hours spent rectifying customer complaints with returns & replacements & a new social media marketing campaign launched to keep the angry internet trolls from destroying your business.  Keep in mind that in today’s market disdain for your product or service can burn across social media like wild fire in no time.

Do you have a revenue plan?

The real opportunity for profitability is in developing a revenue plan.  Take the data collected from a cloud accounting system & add-on CRM (Customer Resource Management) system & analyze the information already on hand.  What are the marketing expenses?  Are the marketing sources driving revenue?  Who are your existing customers & how did they find you?  What is the mix of products sold?  What mix of products do I need to sell to meet revenue goals?  The list is not inclusive but all are questions that can be answered by digging into the numbers & data in your financial systems.

Talk to your accountant & trusted business advisor about developing a revenue plan to increase your revenue & profits.

If your accountant doesn’t offer revenue planning services we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can work with you from anywhere.  With real-time cloud accounting access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more about revenue planning, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.


Are you getting your critical business information in real time? Part 2

Every successful business has its finger on the pulse of its financial information.  Business owners need to know their key numbers, revenue, closed deals, cost of goods sold & not the numbers in last year’s tax return & financial statements.  Last year’s information is out of date.  Businesses need today’s numbers…Today!

A cloud accounting system can provide real-time financial information for your growing business.  If you don’t have a cloud accounting system this blog will review how to get started with cloud accounting.

To recap, there are essentially just 4 types of accounting systems: manual, spreadsheet, desktop & cloud accounting which were discussed in detail in Part 1.  While manual, spreadsheet & desktop systems may be initially cheap, they all have hidden time & system related costs.  The benefits of a cloud based accounting system are numerous.

Your first decision is determining which cloud accounting system to adopt.  Which has the reporting & functionality necessary for your industry (services, retail, construction, etc.)?   There is countless cloud accounting systems & they are all different.  Some have more functionality than others, some are better for specific industries, some have a more user-friendly interface & the list goes on.   The major cloud accounting vendors Quickbooks Online (QBO) & Xero have add-on app’s (applications) that work in conjunction with the cloud accounting to further enhance the financial & non-financial reporting or minimize or eliminate time consuming functions.  The add-ons are so extensive, that is a topic for another day.  Assessing all the options is time-consuming.  The point is, with all the options on the table choosing the wrong solutions will cause you a big headache.

Once you settle on the best system for you and your business, now you have to set it up!  For an experienced accountant or bookkeeper, setting up an accounting systems typically takes a full day or more of uninterrupted time.  System implementation requires entering all the key details of your business (accounting year end date, Federal Identification number, and so on) & you also need to set up you chart of accounts (that’s the specific types of sales, income, expenses, assets and liabilities unique to your business).  Once that’s done you need to transfer any opening balances.

While you can set up the system yourself, your time is valuable.  We recommend you talk to your accountant & trusted business advisor to answer questions about cloud accounting offerings & implementation.  Every good accountant will be able to set up your cloud accounting software.

We specialise in cloud accounting, so if your accountant doesn’t offer this service we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can set it up online for you.  With real-time access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more about cloud accounting, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.


Are you getting your critical business information in real time? Part 1

Every successful business has its finger on the pulse of its financial information.  Business owners need to know their key numbers, revenue, closed deals, cost of goods sold & not the numbers in last year’s tax return & financial statements.  Last year’s information is out of date.  Businesses need today’s numbers…Today!

A cloud accounting system can provide real-time financial information for your growing business.  If you don’t have a cloud accounting system this blog will explain the benefits.  We will review how to get started with cloud accounting in part 2.  There are essentially just 4 types of accounting systems:

Type 1: The Manual System

A manual system is cheap; you only have to buy a book.  A book of ‘green bar’ paper (or columnar paper) can be purchased at a local office superstore for about $10.  What the manual system doesn’t consider, is the cost of your time?  Manual systems simply take too long organize & maintain.  As a business owner, your time is too valuable.  It also takes your accountant more time to produce financial information (statements/tax returns) so you end up with bigger accounting bills.  Manual systems also do not provide that all-important management information for making better business decisions.

Type 2: The Spreadsheet

Excel and other spreadsheet-based systems are also cheap.  While some spreadsheet processes can be automated (e.g. adding up columns), they take time to set up and you can waste hours changing the spreadsheet as your business grows and evolves.  If management reports for decision making are desired, you need advanced Excel skills to produce reports.  The inexpensive cost of the spreadsheet system, also does not consider the cost of your time?  What is your time worth?

Type 3: The Desktop system

Then there is the old-fashioned desktop system.  While this system is far better than manual and spreadsheet-based accounting systems they come with a myriad of hidden costs.  The initial software purchase can be relatively cheap, but the hidden costs of customization & implementation increase the cost of this option.  A desktop system also requires you to maintain your hardware to meet the functional demands of the software; dealing with (often costly and compulsory) software upgrades, security, scheduling back up routines and restoring data when things go wrong can make this option cost prohibitive.

Type 4: The Cloud Accounting System

In contrast, a modern cloud accounting system gives you the following benefits:

  • It saves you a significant amount of time, something most businesses don’t have enough of,
  • Gives you 24/7 access to up-to-date financial information and reports (you can use cloud-based software from any device with an internet connection, iPhone, iPad, etc.),
  • Business owners can sleep at night knowing your sensitive financial data is secure and backed-up automatically,
  • No system downtime because all software upgrades are automatically installed. Worry-free maintenance saves you time and hassle,
  • It reduces your accounting fees because it makes it easier for your accountant to produce end of year financial statements & tax returns, and
  • Your accountant can access your data 24/7 & provide support & value throughout the year.

As accountants, we have seen it all…manual & spreadsheet systems with columns that don’t foot (add-up), owners that spend days at a time summarizing the financial information & servers crashing only to find out the scheduled back-ups failed & months of information was lost & had to be re-created.  In short, a cloud accounting system will make your life so much easier and give you the critical numbers for your business in real time.

We specialize in cloud accounting, so if your accountant doesn’t offer this service we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can set it up online for you.  With real-time access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more about cloud accounting, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.          #trustedadvisor  #cloudaccounting


Starting a Business requires more than an idea, you need a business plan.

Starting a business requires more than an idea, you need a plan.  You may have invented this century’s post-it note, but if you can’t figure out how to get it into your customers hand & make a profit at the same time, what’s the point!

The last time I wrote a business plan before venturing out into business for myself was during my undergrad days.  I had to write a business plan for the one business writing course I was required to take to earn my Bachelors’ Degree in Accounting.  Long gone was my ‘writing for business’ textbook.  Google & I needed to become fast friends…How-to-write-a-business-plan-?  Search.

The short version of this story is…you need a plan.  A written plan is preferred.  If your plan is in your head, you will have difficulty sharing your plan with others & reaching your goals.  A few important points to consider when developing your plan…

  • Who is your customer or your target market?
  • What need will your product or service satisfy?
  • How will I reach my customer?
  • How much do you need to service or sell to break even, earn a profit & feed your family?

A business plan is more exhaustive than the questions above, but if you start to evaluate the above questions the rest of your business plan with start to come together.

There are many wonderful resources on the internet for developing & writing a business plan.  Face to face assistance can be solicited in many communities.  Contact your local Chamber of Commerce, University/Community College & they will help direct you to the proper resources, organizations & centers.  Your accountant & trusted business advisor can help you get started with initial planning & revenue goals & provide long-term support while on your journey.

If your accountant doesn’t offer this service we can help.  You don’t even need to be in the same part of the US… we can communicated online via internet conferencing.  With real-time access, your accountant & trusted business advisor located anywhere in the world can help you operate, understand & grow your business rather than just adding up the numbers.  To find out more, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com.

#trustedadvisor  #businessplan


Surprises of Starting a New Business

Starting a business isn’t easy. I found that out quickly over the last six months as I ramped up for the day I rolled out my new venture Bodhi Business Advisors.

As an accountant with nearly 15 years’ experience, eight years in public accounting working directly for the partner of a small firm & seven more in the finance departments of corporate America, I figured I had a leg up on others. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Filing organizational documents, registering for an EIN & applying for credit lines are basic CPA 101 tasks, except I needed a lesson that wasn’t taught in undergrad, grad school or even on the CPA exam.

Where do I start? What do I tackle first? How do I reach potential clients? What is a marketing plan? Which social media platform do I use & what do all of the acronyms mean? All burning questions that kept me up more than a few nights. I’m still working out the details of the ‘secret sauce’ but have learned two things, 1: you can’t do it all by yourself & 2: you need to surround yourself with the best people to make it happen.

It’s crucial as a business owner that you understand all the moving pieces & parts of your business but can’t actually be moving all of the levers yourself. Case in point, I tried to design my website from a template based design site. I spent way too much time trying to upload my logo which was either the wrong file type or the size was too big. Two hours of my life I will never get back. I can laugh about it now but wasn’t so funny when I decide to call that project quits. After the website debacle, I decide that I needed to enlist the help of someone with the right skill set. Lesson learned.

That leads me to my second point, surround yourself with the best people that you can go to for advice or assistance & help you get the job done. I am a firm believer in the theory that we meet everyone for a reason. Work on building strong personal relationships with people. Those relationships, directly or indirectly may help you secure the financing you need to expand your business or connect you with the person that will work to expand your sales into another region. Whatever the reason, you need to ask for help. Your accountant & trusted business advisor is a great place to start to find connections & support for your business. An accountants’ personal business, as well as client experiences are great lessons. If you don’t have an accountant, get one!  If you have questions about starting a business, contact us at bodhi@bodhibusinessadvisors.com for additional information.
#trustedadvisor