Tips for Minimizing Your Merchant Fees

These days, nearly every business accepts credit cards. Paying with plastic is the preferred method of many customers worldwide. However, by offering credit card payment methods for your business, you’ll also be required to pay fees for payment processing services. Such fees can quickly add up, especially for small to mid-sized businesses.

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Tips For Managing Your Business Finances

When you run your small business, you have a lot on your plate. That makes it tempting to let some tasks slide, especially tasks that are related to finances, which can be challenging and is often outside your preferred skill set or experience.

There are some tips you can follow that keep your finances healthy and enable you to thrive. Here are some financial best practices for managing your business, so you can have the best chances of success.

Pay yourself

As a small business owner you may be tempted to keep putting every cent you earn back into your small business, but it’s important to compensate yourself as well. You need to pay your own bills and be financially sound personally. You’ll also need to have money set aside for your retirement.

Make sure you draw a regular income from your business that you use to take care of your personal expenses.

Have a separate business bank account

Keeping your business and personal finances together makes it more difficult to track how your business is doing, and how you’re doing. When you have separate bank accounts for your business and personal finances you can more easily monitor where and how you’re spending money. Finally, it makes things easier to track for tax purposes.

Have separate accounts for your business and for your personal finances and deposit your salary (see the above tip) into your personal account.

Have a good billing strategy

When you own a business you’ll deal with clients who are slow to pay their bills. Money your clients owe you isn’t accessible to you until it’s in your bank account. Monitor your invoicing system to see which clients pay you on time and who takes their time paying your invoices. If you have too much money tied up in unpaid invoices, you may need to adjust your payment policies.

Consider charging interest on late payments or giving more strict terms. Or you could offer a slight discount if they pay within 10 days of invoicing. See if you can charge a deposit for your goods or services so you still have some cash flow while waiting for clients to pay the remainder.

Remember to invoice immediately and follow up before the payment deadline, so you aren’t stuck waiting for payment. If your clients are large companies with their own payment terms, find out what those are and be mindful of them when billing.

Keep your receipts

Now that there are digital platforms for managing the financial aspects of your business, you don’t have to have physical receipts taking up space in your office. Instead, you can go paperless, and keep all your receipts digitally.

Make sure you know the laws in your area for how long you have to hold onto receipts, pay stubs and other financial documents and keep them for at least that long. If you do still use paper receipts, make sure you have a way of storing them so they’re easy to manage and find when you need them.

Have a budget

Your budget is your plan for success. It shows how much money you expect to bring in and how much you might spend in a given period. You can anticipate times when your profits may be higher and times when you may have a surge in your expenses. Additionally, bankers, investors, and other stakeholders may ask for a budget when they consider financing your business.

Final thoughts

There are other strategies that can help you run your business and set yourself up for financial success. Those include automating your bill payments, having a cash flow statement, and choosing the right business structure for you. But as a place to start, creating a budget, keeping your receipts, adjusting your billing strategy and drawing a salary that you keep in a separate bank account are important first steps.

Want to learn more about how Accountants 2.0 can help you stay on top of your finances? Contact us to learn more.


cyber-attacks

How To Protect Your Passwords From Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks Can Be Avoided By Not Reusing Passwords

Last week, the CRA announced they had a series of cyber attacks that comprised usernames and passwords of thousands of accounts. This was a result of “credential stuffing” where the affected accounts login and password were retrieved from another website. So how can we prevent this from happening to ourselves? It’s simple, stop reusing passwords

Now I know what you are thinking, everything these days requires a login and having to remember dozens of passwords is not practical. But there is a simple solution to help with this – use a password management service.

Between SRT Accounting and our partner platforms (Accountants 2.0 and Covid Tax Triage), our accountants and bookeepers, along with the entire staff have to rely on dozens of passwords, that is why we use a password management service that stores website credentials in an encrypted vault. Here you can store all your username and passwords safely and you only have to remember ONE password. You can easily access your passwords using your browser or through their mobile app. There are many other options available for password management services, some that also include a free tier such as Bitwarden, LastPass or Keeper. Mcafee is even going further to develop security for businesses that are moving more towards cloud based applications. Whether you’re using it for personal use or business purposes, you can compare each to see which would work best for your needs.

Once your password manager is set up, I recommend you change the passwords to all your accounts as you add them – there is a chance your existing login credentials have already been compromised so an attack could be on the horizon. Each account should have a unique password with AT LEAST 8 characters and it should have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. Since you are not memorizing these passwords, you don’t have to make them easy to remember. Many password management services include a random password generator that can be used to help create unique and secure passwords for all your accounts.

Taking these simple steps can save you from costly headaches later. Next time you go to create a new account online, make sure it’s for a password management service.