Connect with us

Business

Let’s Talk: Can a business owner foresee and avert common accounting issues at the right time?

Avatar photo

Published

on

Let’s Talk: Can a business owner foresee and avert common accounting issues at the right time?

The accounting system is important for an owner’s understanding of the business’s health. It is also necessary to prepare tax returns and other legal requirements. Making the appropriate decisions is crucial because this.

Unfortunately, mistakes can happen, and they can have serious consequences. It is also necessary to understand the most common forms of accounting errors and how they occur to prevent them.

We asked our experts in this week’s Let’s Talk about the most frequent accounting errors made by small business owners and how to prevent them.

Let’s Talk.

Discover Other Let’s Talk Business Topics

Join Our Contributors

Dan Bognar, Group Vice President & General Manager APJ, DocuSign

Dan Bognar
Dan Bognar, Group Vice President & General Manager APJ, DocuSign

“Whether it taxes, financial planning, bookkeeping or payroll, accounting professionals have a lot to juggle – especially in today’s digital-first climate, where customers expect everything to come with speed and convenience.

“Unfortunately, many accounting teams are still clinging on to traditional pen-and-paper based contract management processes, which can create inefficiencies and waste time. According to DocuSign’s latest research, Time to Value: How to achieve business growth, competitive advantage and productivity, when it comes to SaaS adoption by industry, finance and accounting rank the lowest in Australia at just 42 per cent. This digital lag puts accounting teams at risk of losing business, as they are unable to meet customer demand for quick turn documents.

“If your accounting team still handles piles of paperwork, a really simple way you can improve your process is by adopting eSignatures. On average, when agreements are sent using DocuSign eSignature, up to 80 per cent of them are completed in less than a day and 44 per cent in less than 15 minutes.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

“In today’s hybrid, on-the-go economy, time is one of our most valuable assets – and accounting teams can ensure they are meeting customers where they are by adopting digital first tools, like eSignature, to support them in getting there.”

Andy Mellor, Regional Vice President ANZ, Kofax

Andy-Mellor
Andy Mellor, Regional Vice President ANZ, Kofax

“With ongoing staff shortages, businesses around the country are currently burdened with extra work without extra time. Nobody can blame employees for occasional human oversight while under the pressure pump. However, there are tools such as robotic process automation (RPA) that can alleviate some of the workloads, whilst simultaneously improving security and accuracy.

“Moving your business to e-invoicing sees a range of benefits for accounting, where accuracy is increased by eliminating data-entry errors as the software will validate the data. Security is also heightened through e-invoicing platforms, as RPA can circumvent suspicious emails and phishing scams.

“Data provides a competitive edge, so e-invoicing allows a business to gain real-time access to information for better-informed business decisions. It also allows easy access to line-level data, enhancing financial decisions at a more granular level. Automation also allows businesses to handle higher volumes of work in less time, ultimately helping to drive profitable growth and gain valuable time back into your workers’ day.”

Varun Kumar, National Head of Technical Tax and Business Advisory, Moore Australia

Varun Kumar
Varun Kumar, National Head of Technical Tax and Business Advisory, Moore Australia

“Depending on the size of your business and the volume of transactions, managing your own accounting systems may divert your attention away from your core business. Hiring experienced bookkeepers or accountants can create great efficiencies and cost savings whilst giving you access to expert knowledge.

“Good record-keeping processes throughout the year easily address issues during tax time. Most cloud accounting software allows you to upload invoices/ receipts, making managing it easier easily.

“Cash flow is king for any business, and if you aren’t regularly monitoring your cash flows, you are bound to land up in a bit of a problem. Most people will look at the profit and loss and measure a business’ success (which indicates the profitability of a business), but if cash isn’t coming through the door and you are struggling to pay the bills, you will feel the pinch.”

Michael Judge, Head of Australia and New Zealand, OFX

Michael Judge
Michael Judge, Head of Australia and New Zealand, OFX

“One of the biggest risks to global business performance, and ultimately profit and loss, is reactive foreign exchange (FX) planning. Due to competing priorities, FX planning is often overlooked, leaving companies at the mercy of on-the-day rates. For global businesses, FX is just as important a business essential as tax.

“We encourage businesses to:

  1. Consider a simple hedging strategy to plan costs – being unprepared for fluctuations in the dollar could mean paying additional thousands. Understanding the tools available, such as Forward Contracts, can help you stay within budget.
  2. Take advantage of free FX resources – from rate alerts to daily and monthly currency updates and guides; there is a plethora of tools at your fingertips to help you stay ahead.
  3. Get specialist FX support – Monitoring currency movements can help minimise financial risks. If you are time- or resource-poor, FX specialists can help monitor your FX rate fluctuations.”

Claudia Pirko, Regional Vice President Account Management Organisation, BlackLine

Claudia-Pirko
Claudia Pirko, Regional Vice President Account Management Organisation, BlackLine

“Cloud-based continuous accounting software provides an affordable answer and a way forward for businesses that want to ensure they’re making informed, intelligent choices and managing their overall accounting.

“The term ‘continuous accounting’ refers to a methodology for managing the accounting process by distributing workloads evenly across the accounting cycle, rather than having finance teams complete the lion’s share of it at a month or period end. It centres around three principles: the automation of repetitive processes, eliminating bottlenecks at the end of the period, and creating a culture of continuous improvement.

“Continuous accounting platforms allow businesses to process transactions and update their accounts in real-time. That means they’re able to obtain a detailed, accurate picture of where the enterprise is at – right now, not months earlier when the books were last balanced and the accounts closed off.

“Being able to extract up-to-the-minute insights from those up-to-date accounts means businesses are better equipped to make well-founded decisions, even when conditions are volatile and circumstances changing fast.”

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Chris Foster, Associate Director in Accounting, BlueRock

Chris Foster
Chris Foster, Associate Director in Accounting, BlueRock

“It’s all about visibility – if you don’t know your numbers or what they are saying, you might as well shut the doors tomorrow.

“Some quick wins for SME business owners to take back control include:

  • Always start the new Financial Year with a 12 – 24 month forecast budget
  • Once this forecast is set, implement a strong goal-setting framework to achieve both Financial and Non-Financial outcomes for your business and personal life
  • Innovate your accounting software to ensure it is providing you with succinct, accurate, and real-time data to track if you are achieving your goals
  • Seek out to understand the information presented and what it actually means – you might be thinking about it all wrong!
  • You should regularly review this data with your Accountant/Business Adviser (e.g. Monthly) to avoid making the same mistakes.”

Sharon Crombie, CEO & Founder, MicroChilli

Sharon Crombie
Sharon Crombie, CEO & Founder, MicroChilli

“A quick win for business owners is separating their personal and business finances, by creating a separate bank account for the company, and keeping track of their receipts, ensuring there’s a clear distinction between work and personal expenses.

“Another is taking the time to understand the difference between revenue and profit. I find business owners tend to focus on revenue rather than the profit that is derived from it, which is the true indicator of how they’re actually performing.

“I highly recommend committing to managing the company’s books throughout the year, rather than solely at tax time. It not only saves business owners a lot of stress and money, putting time aside to update the company’s forecast (I recommend doing this weekly!) allows them to see how the business is tracking in real time, identify potential cash flow issues, and make informed decisions when it comes to investing in things like employees and inventory.”

Jennifer Richardson, Founder and Sole director, 123 Financial Group

Jennifer Richardson
Jennifer Richardson, Founder and Sole director, 123 Financial Group

“Knowledge is power.

“Many business owners know more about what is happening in the Kardashian world than what is happening inside their own business.

“Real time accounting – knowing what is happening as it happens allows you to make informed timely decisions. Listen to what those numbers are trying to tell you rather than assume what your business is achieving. Keep in touch with your accountant so that you can put changes in place quickly to capitalise on the positives or make changes if things are not working. Your accountant should be your accountability partner.

“Setting an annual business plan with your 90 day target is the key to having a path to meet your business goals and will set up accountability targets to keep you on track.

“Don’t use cheap accounting software – good software will make it easier for you to keep up to date and give you all the financial information you need to have at your fingertips.

“Many business owners allow their customers to use them as interest free lenders. Follow up slow payers to keep the cash flowing in the business. Cashflow really is the queen of the business world.

“Don’t decrease prices when things get tough  in the hope of increasing the number of customers – shrinking margins will only increase financial pressure.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

“And look at your business from outside the box – an impartial view will give you so much more clarity.  Be prepared to say no to a customer or client if what they want doesn’t suit you and the direction you have for your business.”

Discover Let’s Talk Business Topics

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Read More

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Business

Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

Avatar photo

Published

on

Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Read More

Continue Reading

Business

At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

Avatar photo

Published

on

At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

BALTIMORE (AP) — Teams of engineers worked Saturday on the intricate process of cutting and lifting the first section of twisted steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which crumpled into the Patapsco River this week after a massive cargo ship crashed into one of its supports.

Sparks could be seen flying from a section of bent and crumpled steel in the afternoon, and video released by officials in the evening showed demolition crews using a cutting torch to slice through the thick beams. The joint incident command said in a statement that the work was being done on the top of the north side of the collapsed structure.

Crews were carefully measuring and cutting the steel from the broken bridge before attaching straps so it can be lifted onto a barge and floated away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

Seven floating cranes — including a massive one capable of lifting 1,000 tons — 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats were on site in the water southeast of Baltimore.

Each movement affects what happens next and ultimately how long it will take to remove all the debris and reopen the ship channel and the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“I cannot stress enough how important today and the first movement of this bridge and of the wreckage is. This is going to be a remarkably complicated process,” Moore said.

Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cellphone photos or just quietly looked at the broken pieces of the bridge, which including its steel trusses weigh as much as 4,000 tons.

“I wouldn’t want to be in that water. It’s got to be cold. It’s a tough job,” Lichtenberg said from a spot on the river called Sparrows Point.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The shock of waking up Tuesday morning to video of what he called an iconic part of the Baltimore skyline falling into the water has given way to sadness.

“It never hits you that quickly. It’s just unbelievable,” Lichtenberg said.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

One of the first goals for crews on the water is to get a smaller auxiliary ship channel open so tugboats and other small barges can move freely. Crews also want to stabilize the site so divers can resume searching for four missing workers who are presumed dead.

Two other workers were rescued from the water in the hours following the bridge collapse, and the bodies of two more were recovered from a pickup truck that fell and was submerged in the river. They had been filling potholes on the bridge and while police were able to stop vehicle traffic after the ship called in a mayday, they could not get to the construction workers, who were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The crew of the cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, remained on board with the debris from the bridge around it, and were safe and were being interviewed. They are keeping the ship running as they will be needed to get it out of the channel once more debris has been removed.

The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

Assuaging concern about possible pollution from the crash, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there was no indication in the water of active releases from the ship or materials hazardous to human health.

REBUILDING

Officials are also trying to figure out how to handle the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Maryland transportation officials are planning to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or building materials to hopefully shorten a project that could take years.

President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and promised the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild.

Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

___

Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, D.C.; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.

Read More

Continue Reading

Austin Local News

The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

Avatar photo

Published

on

The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into a key Boeing supplier that is already facing scrutiny from federal regulators over quality of parts that it provides to the aircraft maker.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said it began looking into Spirit AeroSystems because of “apparent manufacturing defects” in parts that “have led to numerous concerning or dangerous incidents.”

In a statement Friday, a Spirit spokesman said, “While we do not comment on investigations, Spirit is wholly focused on providing the highest quality products to all our customers, to include the Boeing Company.”

Paxton asked the Wichita, Kansas-based supplier to turn over documents produced since the start of 2022 about communication with investors and Boeing about flaws in parts and corrective steps the company took.

The request goes into detail in seeking internal discussions around Spirit’s efforts to create a diverse workforce “and whether those commitments are unlawful or are compromising the company’s manufacturing processes.” Paxton asked for a breakdown of Spirit’s workforce by race, sexual orientation and other factors, and whether the makeup has changed over time.

Since a Spirit-made door-plug panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max in January, some conservatives have tried to link aviation safety to diversity at manufacturers.

Paxton is a conservative Republican who this week agreed to pay $271,000 in restitution to victims and take 15 hours of training in legal ethics to settle felony charges of securities fraud. Paxton did not admit wrongdoing in the 9-year-old case.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation into Boeing Spirit after the Alaska Airlines incident. An FAA audit of manufacturing procedures in Spirit’s factory gave the company failing grades in seven of 13 areas.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Boeing is in talks to buy back Spirit, which it spun off nearly 20 years ago, as part of a plan to tighten oversight of manufacturing in its supply chain.

Read More

Continue Reading