40 posts categorized "Profit Improvement Tips"

POOF! There went $100,000....

It was mid-afternoon, and the controller did a quick check of his e-mail to see if anything came in.

An e-mail from the CEO had arrived, so he opened it.

The e-mail contained instructions to send a wire transfer of $100,000 to cover a deposit for a deal the CEO was working on.

Knowing that the CEO was regularly involved in various transactions, the controller picked up the phone and called their bank to get the wire transfer underway to avoid any delays with the deal in progress.

The process with the bank was pretty simple, as wire transfers were sent regularly.

A couple hours later, the controller got a call from the CEO about another matter, and the controller confirmed with the CEO that he had sent the wire transfer he requested.

"What wire transfer?" said the CEO

"The wire transfer you e-mailed me about earlier this afternoon", said the controller

"I didn't send you any e-mails asking for a wire transfer to be made", said the CEO.

Silence followed.

Hauntingly dead silence.

The controller just realized he had been scammed by a well crafted and well executed e-mail.

Even worse, the funds had already left the bank.

Never to be seen again.

To repeat - never. to. be. seen. again.

Poof. There went $100,000!

Does this sound like some fiction to you?

Sadly, it is true. Very, very true!

View some additional real-life social engineering losses here.


The scenario above falls into what is being called "social engineering losses" by those in the insurance world.

In fact...

“We have seen social engineering losses for a number of our clients ranging from small business to publicly traded companies.   This is becoming common and businesses need to be sure to validate each transaction carefully.   Insurance is now available for this situation, however it is not automatically included on most policies and must be added by endorsement. Check with your insurance advisor to see if you have this coverage”  Lou Antonelli, Vice President, Practice Leader Risk Consulting, Oswald Companies

Whatever it is being called, it could mean a substantial loss to your business, just as the $100,000 was to the business above. That money is long gone, and isn't coming back any time soon.

Social engineering losses are just one form of cyber insurance coverage, as are system damage, system business interruption, cyber crime, multimedia liability and a host of other potential issues.

As businesses get ever more interconnected, it's essential to talk with your insurance agent to determine if this type of coverage is a good idea for your business. I've had that conversation with my agent recently, and I hope you take the time to do so as well...



Online Order Management System and Customer Portal for QuickBooks

Does your business focus on the Business-to-Business (B2B) marketplace?

Want to spend less time on data entry and related non-value added tasks and are looking for one or more of these solutions?

  • An easy way for your customers to enter their own orders, check order status and inventory levels?
  • A solution for your sales reps so that they can enter their own orders so you don't have to?
  • A link between your order system and your warehouse with full shipping integration?

AND have the ability to have all the above automatically sync with QuickBooks desktop software?

If so, you should take a closer look at Now Commerce.

 NowCommerce Logot


The Now Commerce customer portal feature brings the following possibilities to life for your business and allows your customers to:

  • View real-time pricing and inventory levels
  • Check shipping status
  • View pending orders
  • View account history

This is all done with customized order forms that can be tailored to the specific needs of each customer. These order forms can range from super simple to complicated matrix pricing.


The Now Commerce sales rep portal brings many time-saving features into the way sales reps take care of your customers, including:

  • View real-time pricing and inventory levels
  • Check shipping status
  • View pending orders
  • View account history

As well as:

  • Monitor customer activity
  • Set customizable alerts
  • Manage pricing and discounts
  • Only see their own accounts, and not those of other reps


This module provides you the ability to:

  • Share shipping information with your sales reps and customers
  • Electronically transmit shippers from QuickBooks to your third party warehouse
  • Automatically populate QuickBooks with critical shipping data


The Now Commerce products are set up in such a way that you can choose just the module(s) you want - if you only want the customer portal, that's all you'd pay for. If you want all three, they can do that as well.

Now Commerce offers a free trial so you can "kick the tires" before making any commitments. In addition, you can watch their video series to get a quick overview of just how these modules work, and the potential savings they can bring your business. You can also take a look at the wide variety of products they have helped their customers sell.


B2B businesses are at the core of my consulting practice, especially those in manufacturing and distribution. Feel free to contact me for more information on the Now Commerce set of tools as well as other QuickBooks and inventory concerns you may have.


Quick Tip for Reconciling Your Bank Account in QuickBooks

Reconciling bank accounts in QuickBooks can take some time.

It can take even more time if you accept credit cards, and your merchant service provider takes the credit card fees out of EACH transaction!

Spend less time on bank reconciliations with the following tip.


Let's say that you ring up a sale for $100 today and the customer pays via credit card.

When this deposit shows up in your bank statement, does it show up for the full $100? Or does it show up for something like $97.54 because the processor has taken their fee out of it right then and there?

If it is the latter where they are taking out the fees for each transaction, stop what you are doing and call them right now.

Ask to have your merchant service account fees set up on the "gross fees" basis instead of the "net fees" basis.

Under the "gross fees" basis, in the example above, you would see the full $100 being deposited into your bank account (the full "gross amount" is deposited). Your merchant service provider would then just hit your bank account once per month for the total of all the credit card fees for the month, and NOT take them out on a transaction by transaction basis.

Naturally, the merchant service provider normally defaults to the "net fees" basis, since they get paid faster that way. All it usually takes is a phone call to get it switched around!

The big benefit to you? Your $100 deposit will now reconcile on the bank statement in a nano-second!!



History of Items Purchased Report in QuickBooks

Many businesses that carry inventory need to run a purchase history of those items now and then for planning purposes.

If you are one of those businesses, QuickBooks delivers with the Purchases by Item Summary report.

Located by clicking Reports > Purchases > Purchases by Item Summary (there is a detail version too!), you'll unlock a report that looks like this sample (click the image for a larger view):

Purchase by Item Summary Report

Here you can easily pick the range of desired dates, and QuickBooks will then populate the report with the quantity of the item purchased and the total dollars spent on that item as well.

NOTE: This report works just as well for non-inventory parts too!


Here's a tip if you want to do a more detailed analysis of the purchase history of your items:

On the report above, look for the option at the top of the report that says "Show Columns" and change it to month. Here is how it would look once you do that:

Purchases by Item Summary by Month

In this view, you can see on a monthly basis exactly what is happening with the purchase history of each of your items!

Pair this with the ability to export this report to Excel, you have unlocked a simple yet powerful way to track the purchase history of your inventory and non-inventory items in QuickBooks!



Learn How to Get Paid Faster from Your Customers

Want to get paid faster?

Get a better handle on managing your customer accounts receivable?

Funding Gates is offering their Ultimate Receivables Training Management Program in February, and I wanted to be sure you knew about it. Here is your special bonus discount code to save 20% on your registration: ARPRO


The program consists of three key segments:

Part 1: Key Accounts Receivable Metrics

  • Master the A/R ratios that determine the health of your A/R
  • Run and analyze monthly reports and trends
  • Get actionable insights and develop a working game plan

Part 2: Setting Up the Right Receivables Management Process

  • Understand when and how to set the right payment terms and credit limits
  • Learn best practices around invoicing and electronic payments
  • Set up the right tools for managing this critical area

Part 3: Active Receivables Management

  • Flag problematic accounts that need attention
  • Gain the knowledge you and your team need to take action
  • Stay on top of your A/R tasks


Anyone can get trained -- whether it’s your staff, your accountant or bookkeeper, get the tools for your team to be super-effective in receivables management. Access your online training program from your home or office; all you need is your computer.


Funding Gates is extending a very special discount to you as a reader of my blog - just enter ARPRO at the registration page and you'll save 20% on your registration.

Learn more about the Funding Gates Accounts Receivable Management program and register today to take advantage of their early bird registration discount!


Getting Lenders to Compete for Your Business with Fundera

Pinch me.

I must be dreaming.

Lenders competing for my business?

No way.



As with many industries, the internet has proven to be a "disruptor" to the way things have been done in the past.

Fundera appears to be bringing this disruption to the process of getting loans and financing for small businesses.

In this case, disruption is a very good thing, as this process has traditionally been viewed as nothing short of a pain in the you know where.


The process of working with Fundera looks pretty simple...

  • Fill out one application
  • Choose the types of loan products you'd like to apply for
  • Choose the best rate from the offers you receive


During the application process on Fundera, you can select from the following options:

  • Traditional term loan
  • SBA loan
  • Short term loan
  • Line of credit
  • Equipment financing
  • Merchant cash advance

Fundera works with a number of financing entities such as: Fundbox, LendingClub, SmartBiz and many others.

These organizations then review your application, and if there is a match, present you with their offer for consideration.

All of your loan shopping done in one place, with one application. What a great idea!


To date, Fundera has closed loans for over 850 businesses with a total loan value of more than $42 million.

They are backed by some of the leading names in venture capital, including Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital and a host of others.

Learn more about the Fundera philosophy and team members as you evaluate how their service can work for you.

Also, be sure to take advantage of their Small Business Loan Toolkit to help you get ready.


I'd love to get your thoughts on the Fundera approach and if your business would use them the next time you need a loan or financing. Please drop you comments into the box below or post them directly.

Have direct experience with the Fundera process? Even better. Let us know how it worked out for you - thanks!



Creating a Profit and Loss Report by Location, Division, etc. in QuickBooks

For some businesses, the Profit and Loss Standard report in QuickBooks is all they need to track their results.

For others, they may have an interest in breaking down the profit and loss report by some additional type or metric such as: location, product line or customer type.

If you are looking for more detailed insights into the profitability of your business, the Profit and Loss by Class report is definitely an option to consider.

This video provides an introduction of the "class" feature of QuickBooks and how it can be used to enhance your decision-making. View the profit and loss by class video or watch it below:






Do You Use the Job Profitability Summary Report in QuickBooks?

If you are running jobs and projects on a regular basis, understanding your gross margin dollars and gross margin percentage on those jobs is a critical key to your success.

However, if you run the Job Profitability Summary report in QuickBooks (via Reports > Jobs, Time and Mileage), all you see is the total revenue, total cost, and gross margin dollars ($ Diff) for the job on the report, as shown below:


With just two clicks, you have the ability to add a "% Diff" column to this report.

  • Run the same report as above
  • Click the "Customize Report" button
  • Click the % Difference check box on the "Display" tab

Here is how the report looks now:

I would think the "% Diff" column represents the gross margin % of the job. It doesn't appear to do that.

In the "family room" job above, I would figure the gross margin % at 29.7% (profit of $911 / revenue of $3,061). QuickBooks is showing 42.4%, which is the profit of $911 / the cost of $2,150.

Does this seem a bit odd to you? Sure does to me!

Am I missing something here?

If you want to see the calculation of gross margin %, looks like the Job Profitability Report needs to be exported to Excel for additional calculations.


Be sure to grab a copy of my "27 Power Tips Every QuickBooks User Should Know" guide for more ideas on how to get the most out of your QuickBooks.



Powerfully Simple Dashboard for Your Small Business

Score some bonus points with your boss...

If you know they are frustrated trying to pull together reports and key metrics from a number of different sources, they will want to know about the Grow Dashboard (feel free to check it out yourself too!)


The Grow dashboard offers a simple way to select the metrics that are important to running your business...

  • Need information from QuickBooks? (desktop or online)
  • Want to pull information from a customized spreadsheet or database?
  • Interested in pulling together information from Salesforce, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other places?

If so, Grow is for you...


If the built-in dashboard connections mentioned above are close, but not quite good enough, the support team at Grow can help you construct the perfect dashboard - no internal IT team required.

Grow allows you to connect your data, wherever it lives, and get the key metrics needed to monitor, manage and improve your business...

Take a closer look at the Grow dashboard solution today...



17 Things You Should Be Doing to Reduce Accounts Receivable

My friends at Anytime Collect have put together a terrific resource guide titled "17 Things You Should be Doing Right Now to Reduce Outstanding Accounts Receivable."

Bookkeeper - July 2014As you think about your accounts receivable (you are thinking about them, right?) and the systems you have in place to monitor them, one key fact stands out:

  • Every dollar outstanding in your receivables is a dollar that is NOT sitting in your bank account to fund your operations!


Having an effective credit and collections strategy and related applications has been shown to have the following benefits:


To get you started, here is a short list of ideas:

  1. Create a plan - this becomes your road map to success in managing your receivables
  2. Provide accurate and timely information - this step covers not just those internally that are managing receivables but also to your customers as well
  3. Set up Key Performance Indicators (KPI) - your favorite NFL team is evaluated by their won-loss record and and other statistics, right? So should your credit and collections systems.

Here are 14 more ideas on how to reduce your accounts receivable.


QuickBooks can provide you with some of the core reports to begin the process of managing your receivables such as:

  • The A/R Aging Summary
  • The Collections Report


QuickBooks is really not so hot at handling the automation many businesses need to see real improvements in reducing the money they are owed.

Enter Anytime Collect.

Anytime Collect is a budget friendly and rich suite of tools you can rapidly implement to start putting a dent in your receivables and keeping them under control.

Anytime Collect has full integration with your QuickBooks as well, so put your worries about double-data entry to rest.

Get more information on Anytime Collect for QuickBooks today or contact me with questions.