As a small business owner, it’s tempting to try and do everything yourself. You really can’t wear every hat in your business and give each role the professional attention it needs. One of the best things to outsource is your bookkeeping and business admin. This is a technical and time consuming area of your business that often requires a lot of specialist knowledge. This is time and energy that you should be giving to the things you love doing. Outsourcing to a Certified Bookkeeper is a great way to relieve some stress and keep your business books up to date and accurate.

Trust Your Business Books to a Certified Bookkeeper

A Bookkeeper deals with the organisation, recording and reporting of the financial transactions in your small business. But most importantly, a Bookkeeper clears the way for your accountant and business advisor to work with your business strategically.

Having up to date and reliable data, processed by a certified bookkeeper, is the best way to keep on top of your businesses financial performance. Cashflow issues are the largest risk to small businesses. A certified bookkeeper helps you to keep an eye on your cash flow. Your business will be set up for success with up to date and accurate accounts receivable, payables and payroll.

How are they Different to Accountants?

A Certified Bookkeeper is a vital service provider fro your small business. But how do they differ from an accountant? Accountants and bookkeepers are often compared as being quite similar. However, they are actually very different but complementary:

  • Your Bookkeeper does the day-to-day work bringing the accounts up to a high standard of detail and accuracy. They can also advise you on issues that might affect you in the near future. For instance, issues such as cash flow problems or late invoice payments.
  • Your Accountant will assess the financial information that has been processed. They will review and advise often on a bi-monthly or quarterly basis. Your accountant will make any adjustments required. They use the information in the accounts to file tax returns and other official reports. In addition, they also provide high level business advisory and planning services.

For your business to run smoothly, ideally you need both people. You need a certified bookkeeper to look after the day-to-day work. And you’d hire an accountant to handle official reporting and high level business advice.

What is the ICNZB?

Since 2010, the ICNZB has been the leading body advancing professional bookkeeping in New Zealand. The ICNZB is New Zealand’s only member-driven professional body dedicated to the local bookkeeping industry. It provides its members with access and guidance to educational and compliance resources. This gives you the certainty that you’re dealing with someone who will provide you with a quality, expert service. Certified Members of ICNZB are dedicated to the professional code of ethics and their ongoing professional development.

How to Spot an ICNZB Certified Bookkeeper

To find an ICNZB Certified Bookkeeper, jump online to the ICNZB website and use their Find A Bookkeeper tool. In addition, you’ll want to keep an eye out for ICNZB Certified badges. Certified Bookkeepers will often have these on their websites or promotional materials.

 

If you’re ever in doubt if you’re dealing with a professional bookkeeper, ask them about their professional membership. They should be able to identify themselves as a member of ICNZB.

If you are still unsure about a bookkeeper’s skills, you can use the ICNZB testing service to put them through their paces and ensure they know their stuff to help you do what you need them to do best in your business. This testing service is ideal for when you are either outsourcing or hiring internal admin professionals for your business. As a result, you can have confidence you are dealing with a professional.

Work With the Best Certified Bookkeepers

We’ve all heard a lot of horror stories about cheap fly-by-night ‘bookkeepers’. These rogue bookkeepers often do damage to the small businesses they should be helping. The team at MBP end up cleaning up their messes.

All MBP Bookkeepers and Business Support Administrators are ICNZB Certified, or working towards certification. This is just part of ensuring we are the certified bookkeepers you can entrust with your business.

If you’d like to get your bookkeeping and business admin sorted and sleep easy knowing you’re dealing with some of the best professionals in the country, get in touch with the team at MBP today. Book a chat with an MBP Business Advisor to explore your needs, give the team a call on 0800 86 85 86 or flick an email through to bookkeepers@mbponline.co.nz.

We’re all looking for effective ways to reduce business expenses, save money and increase our profits. We’ve also all got our own ideas on how to do so. Every business will have expenses that must be budgeted for in order to help it run smoothly. Depending on your industry, those expenses will differ in both type and quantity. Rather than focus on a specific industry, we’re going to look at the most common business expenses and suggest ways you can lower your outgoing costs for them.

What Are the Most Common Business Expenses?

When we talk about business expenses, we’re thinking about things such as:

  • Home office or rent
  • Phone and internet
  • Electricity and power
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Recruitment and uniforms
  • Professional development
  • Tools, machinery and maintenance
  • Computers, devices and internet
  • Stationary and postage
  • Insurance
  • Bank fees
  • Interest and loan repayments
  • Furniture
  • Vehicle expenses and parking
  • Product purchasing and storage
  • Accounting, bookkeeping and professional services
  • Entertainment

You’re not necessarily going to have all of these expenses, and the amount you pay will be different from others. What you will need to have done though, is identify your expected business expenses and ensure you have money allocated in your budget to cover them.

Ways to Reduce Business Expenses

Here comes the fun bit; working out where you can cut costs, save money and increase your profits. From number crunching to switching insurance companies, there are plenty of things you can try. Some of our favourites include:

  • Marketing – from print to radio and internet, you have a few different options to try when marketing. The traditional print, radio and tv are normally highly-priced, with online advertising usually at a much lower level. However, as well as being selective with the place where you spend your dollar, there are other types of low-cost marketing you can try. Content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, word of mouth and competitions are generally quite effective.
  • Negotiating – now, you’ll not be able to contact your power company and ask for a discount, but a landlord just may be more receptive. Negotiating for a lower rate by signing a longer lease or purchasing in bulk is a valid and effective way to reduce business expenses.
  • Share office spaces – instead of renting an office alone, why not use a coworking space? There are many places offering either fixed or hot seat offices, which also have the advantage of letting you network with other business owners too.
  • Perform a regular cash flow analysis – each month be sure to track where your money is being spent. Having a clear understanding of where your costs are, helps you identify where your money is going. This means you are able to target those expenses specifically if necessary.
  • Go paperless – photocopying and filing are expenses you don’t necessarily need to pay for anymore. Instead, you could keep all of your documents digital by using secure cloud storage.
  • Reduce power consumption – an oldie but a goodie, this means turning off lights and heaters when you’re not in the room etc. Also using energy-efficient appliances can save significant amounts too.
  • Equipment and tools – depending on your industry, it may be possible for you to purchase high-quality secondhand tools, machinery and computers. This can save you considerable amounts of cash but has the potential to cost you some too. If the machinery was not well maintained, then you may be chasing good money after bad. It would pay to do some serious due diligence first. Purchasing used furniture is another way you could cut your costs too.
  • Office supplies – do you really need to purchase brand name paper, or will a budget version suit? Here it is all about taking a look at the brands and quantity of supplies you purchase and identifying areas where you could purchase less or swap to a cheaper brand. This could mean changing suppliers also.
  • Preventative maintenance – it is far cheaper to be proactive and undertake a regular maintenance schedule with your equipment than to wait until something goes wrong.
  • Fees and charges – credit cards and memberships are two areas where you’ll be charged fees for being able to use the services they provide. Analyse the services you are subscribed with to decide if they are truly necessary for you. If not, then cancel them. If they are, see if you can negotiate a lower rate or swap to another service provider.
  • Outsource – it may seem silly paying for someone to do something you could do, but it’s actually being strategically smart. For instance, you could do your finances each month. The problem is though, it takes you hours, you hate numbers and you are much better at writing content for your website. This is when you would be strategically smarter to hire a bookkeeper to keep everything on track and who could do it in a shorter time than you could. You’re left with time where you could create website content which helps you bring in new customers instead.
  • Reducing inventory levels – do you really need 20, 50 or 100 blue teddy bears sitting in storage? They’ll be a balance to work out, but keeping fewer products in your inventory can significantly save on costs. This is especially important if you have products which are seasonal, can expire or become unfashionably quickly. It would be better to make regular and smaller orders (but double-check this as buying in bulk can also make financial sense).
  • Online meetings – rather than travelling to meet clients and business professionals, chat online with them instead. This saves travelling costs, and also entertainment costs too. Also take note of the number of meetings you have, and see if you can reduce those too.
  • Work remotely – why not work remotely for one day a week, or let your employees do so? This can save on electricity and consumable costs.
  • Four day work week – could you limit the days your business is open for? This could mean you work longer on those four days, but you get a day off to compensate for it. This can reduce office consumables, electricity and travel expenses.
  • Sponsoring – is being sponsored by other businesses or agencies a possibility for you? This may fit when holding events or fundraisers.
  • Automation – what can you set in place to automate repetitive tasks in your business? Automating tasks can cost you initially, but pay you back in both time and cash in the future.

As mentioned earlier, to be able to reduce business expenses, you first need to understand what they are, how much they are costing you and analyse your usage of them. That’s where we can help. Our business development team can help you identify ways in which you can lower your expenses, helping you to raise your profit margin. Let’s get together and chat: get in touch today.

You’ve got a business, so you need to post on all of the social media platforms, right? Wrong. In New Zealand, the four main social media platforms used are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (Social Media Stats).  This doesn’t necessarily mean they should be your default platforms though. Picking the right social media platforms involves first understanding who your target audience is and identifying the platforms they use.

How to Choose Social Media Platforms for Your Business

You’ve probably got a go-to social media account where you go to catch up on what your friends and family are doing. It would be normal to think that you should have a business account on there too. The issue is though, your audience may use a completely different one! Of course, the far simplest way would be to ask your audience what they use. The problem is though when you are in the early stages of setting up a business, real customers are short on the ground. You could ask those in your target demographic though.

Assess Your Demographics

To make an informed social media decision, you will need to look at your audience’s demographics, including:

  • Age
  • Male or female
  • Where they live
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Finances
  • Education and career
  • What content they like to see and share

Assess the Social Media Platforms Demographics

From here, you will need to choose platforms based upon your analysis of your target audience’s demographics and the types of user each platform tends to attract:

  • Facebook – over 60% of all men and ¾ of all women over the age of 18 use Facebook. This tends to be an informative platform, used a lot for visual and text-based information.
  • Instagram – most users are under 30 years old, and it’s reasonably evenly split between males and females. Instagram is a highly visual platform popular with artists and those selling products to consumers.
  • Pinterest – a highly female-dominated platform, with 44% female and 16% male. Around 37% of all adults under the age of 50 use Pinterest regularly.
  • LinkedIn – a business-orientated platform, users are evenly split between male and female. LinkedIn is mostly used for networking with other business owners and employees, making it great for B2B promotions.
  • Twitter – a very American based social media platform, but one which is growing in usage by NZers. Slightly more men than women use it, and it is predominately text-based.

Get Started With Your Chosen Social Media Platforms

Your next step is to get started using your chosen platforms, and for that, we’ve got just the article for you. Our Beginners Guide to Social Media for Your Business will walk you through the benefits of using social media, developing a plan to use it and how to create content for it. What are you waiting for: get started now!

If you’ve been waiting for a sign telling you it’s time to smarten up your financial literacy knowledge, this is it. Financial literacy, or the skills and knowledge to make informed decisions about money.

What is Financial Literacy?

  • Being able to set and keep to a budget
  • Understanding how different taxes work
  • Filing a tax return
  • Reading financial statements
  • Creating financial reports to make decisions from
  • Being able to pay all your bills when they are due
  • Protect your personal information from identity theft
  • Knowing how loans work and which types suit your needs best
  • Understanding how compound interest and interest rates work
  • Being able to work on reducing debt
  • Having a fully-funded emergency fund
  • How life and other insurance policy types work and benefit holders
  • Making regular contributions to a retirement fund
  • Paying cash rather than with credit
  • Identifying if something is a need or a want
  • Being able to comparison shop for a major purchase
  • Understanding the pros and cons of debit and credit cards

It would be fair to say that financial literacy means different things to different people. We can also say that a person can be financially literate in both their personal and business lives too. All too often though, neither occurs and what results is life harder than it needs to be.

Being accountants, bookkeepers, business advisors and most of all, real people with a genuine desire to help, we’ve put together some simple ways you can improve your personal and business financial literacy.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Personal & Business Financial Literacy

The truth is, matters and it affects every part of our daily lives. From where we live, what car we drive and how much we spend at the supermarket, we’re seemingly ruled by how much money we have and what we choose to do with it. By raising our level of financial literacy, we are better placed to make informed decisions which will benefit rather than hinder our lives.

How to Build Your Financial Literacy

  • Taking a workshop or course – both Westpac and ANZ offer free training, be it a webinar, a course or a one to one meeting.
  • Using free financial tools – ASB and Kiwibank both have free software available on their websites which will help you track your spending and help you understand what to do regarding budgeting, dealing with debt and saving.
  • Reading up – there are many great resources available online which contain information on all sorts of financial matters. For starters, the information available right here on our website is something you must check out. Sorted is also a good one which springs to mind, and they offer a large range of free tools and guides on everything from retirement planning to getting out of debt.
  • Ask for expert help – if there is a specific area you need help with or even a general introduction towards understanding finances in general, see us first. We look beyond the numbers to identify the gaps you need help with filling and create a plan to help you achieve your financial goals.
  • Get a handle on your budget – a budget lays out how much money you have coming in and what is going out. By writing down what money you have coming in, and allocating each dollar to a specific thing (food, petrol, housing, debt repayment, savings etc), you are taking control of your money and making it work for you.
  • Set SMART financial goals – a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-limited increases the likelihood that you will reach it.
  • Listen to financial podcasts – Dave Ramsey is an American guy who is 100% committed to teaching financial literacy, so is worth listening to. A quick search on iHeart or Spotify will bring up others too.

If you’re sitting on the fence as to whether it is worth the effort to grow your financial skills and knowledge, keep reading. We’re moving on to explaining the reasons why you should boost your financial literacy next.

Why Financial Literacy Is A Must Have Skill

The benefits of building up your financial skills and know-how include:

  • Being able to repay and avoid debt
  • Gaining control over your money
  • Being able to live the life you want to lead
  • Understanding the importance of saving as soon as possible
  • Setting and working towards achieving financial goals
  • Having no worries about where the money is coming from to pay bills
  • Being able to retire without relying upon the government for a pension
  • Knowing how to cope when life throws you expensive challenges
  • Ability to be able to save for major purchases without needing a loan
  • Knowledge to make investments which give you a good return

No matter what state your finances are in, it is never too late to start improving them. It is also a great time to start teaching your children about making smart money choices, helping them avoid costly mistakes and decisions in the future.

Specifically Looking at Financial Literacy Requirements for Business Owners

As a business owner, a different or wider set of skills and knowledge is required to be financially literate. A 2014 NZ study asked small business owners what financial literacy skills were necessary to run a business successfully. They said:

  • Understanding how to price products accurately – having a price which customers were happy with, plus which covered costs and provided a profit
  • Keeping accurate records of income – this could be from a cash register or internet banking or using software such as MYOB or Xero.
  • Managing debtors – knowing what to do to get paid by debtors or creditors.
  • Manage expenses and control outgoings – paying rent and taxes, machinery upgrades and power bills, having enough money to pay for expenses is essential.
  • Maintaining accurate accounting records – choosing to use the services of a professional bookkeeper or accountant made running a business far easier.
  • Understanding the requirements around having staff – sick and holiday pay, KiwiSaver and overtime.

The good thing about being a business owner is that you can always outsource the management of your accounts and paperwork. What you can’t outsource though, is the need to understand (at least in general terms) your business’ financial state. Rather than struggle alone trying to understand all the terms and numbers, come and have a chat with us at our Taupo office, via phone, email or web-based. We would love the opportunity to make managing your personal and business finances as pain free as possible.