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Bookkeeper Answers Pet Sitter’s Most Important Questions:

bookkeeper

bookkeeper

I have the most incredible bookkeeper. you have probably heard me talk about her a bunch of times, already.  many of you have even asked questions and she has agreed to answer them all. Below, you will see the answers in no particular order:

When doing payroll, what are things that are constantly changing that you need to be aware of?

To ensure that your company is in compliance and good-standing, it is critical to stay up to date on changing laws, tax rates, and payment/filing deadlines.

 

 

My expenses are phone, payroll company, Google Apps, software, maybe computer equipment, wages when I have that and mileage. So why do I need a Bookkeeper?

Not only does hiring a bookkeeper ensure that you have easy access to accurate up to date financial reports, but it also frees up your time so that you are able to use your strengths and skill-set to build and grow your business rather than having to worry about day to day accounting tasks.

What is the one best practice you would advise all of us pet sitters?

Proper accounting should be a priority from the start, it is much easier to do things right the first time versus correcting mistakes down the road.

Travel expenses: Can the owner of the business use the business account to by air tickets to travel if it’s business?

Yes, according to the IRS, “travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job.” However, for these expenses to be deductible, you must be away from your tax home (the town where your business is located) for a period longer than one day’s work, and you must be away overnight. Be sure to document everything associated with your business travel expenses. Keep receipts and maintain a centralized spreadsheet of all your trips, individual line items, dates and the reason for your travel.

Sue asks: How to find a good book keeper? I’m serious. I have no clue what questions to ask to see if they know what they are doing.

Most bookkeepers will have the following basic skill set:

– Add vendors and customers to your books
– Be proficient in QuickBooks
– Reconcile bank statements and credit card statements
– Manage accounts payable and receivable
– Familiarity with financial reports 

In choosing the right person to work with you’ll want to go beyond this basic list and look for someone who can provide the following:

– Extreme attention to detail
– An analytic mind aimed at handling bookkeeping discrepancies
– A keen understanding of financial accounting systems and related procedures
– Good communication skills
– Experience

Use your business network for recommendations on who they use. (Bella note: That is how I found Darcy!)

Shelly asks: When interviewing a bookkeeper what questions we should be asking to know whether the person we’re speaking to is right for a petsitting business. Also, what exactly does a bookkeeper do?

A good bookkeeper will ask questions so that they are familiar with your industry and your individual business, they do not necessarily need to have previous experience in your industry.  

A bookkeeper’s responsibility will vary from company to company depending on the need and demand. Typically they are responsible for some or all of an organization’s accounts, known as the general ledger. They record all transactions, post debits and credits, reconcile accounts and check for discrepancies. They also produce financial statements and other reports to help keep the owners and management team up to date on the company’s financial health.

 For more on what bookkeeper’s do you can see here

 

Jan asks:  What exactly does it mean when they do our “monthly reconcile”?

In accounting, reconcile means to compare two sets of records to make sure they are in agreement.   In other words, it is the process of comparing each transaction in your financial statement with the same transaction in your accounting records.

 

Damiane asks: How do I not get audited?

To help your small business avoid an audit and to ensure a smooth process if you do receive an audit, the following strategies are recommended:

 

  • Keep detailed records, the NFIB advises keeping records and receipts for at least seven years.
  • Always meet deadlines, don’t give the IRS any reason to look twice, always file complete forms on-time and always make sure they are signed
  • Report all income
  • Accurately assess independent contractors vs employees
  • Proper deductions – The IRS is strict about not mixing the personal and the professional when it comes to write-offs.
  • Out of Proportion Deductions – Large deductions that reduce the amount of your taxable income may raise a flag if they are out of proportion with your income. If these deductions do occur, be sure to have detailed records to back them up.
  • Excessive entertainment deductions – Tax returns including higher-than-average entertainment expenses will increase the chances of an audit. If you’re going to deduct these types of expenses, you must keep records for each write-off that includes when and where it occurred, who was in attendance, the purpose as it relates to your business, and a record of what was talked about. 

 

Kelly asks: Should I have a monthly or quarterly bookkeeper help me? I am not very good at it & it takes me forever!

Hiring a bookkeeper frees up your time so that you are able to focus on your business. If day to day accounting is not something you are comfortable with and it is taking up too much of your time I would recommend hiring a bookkeeper to assist on a monthly basis.

 

Jennifer asks: what are the most common errors business owners make?

  • Mixing business and personal transactions – not having separate bank accounts for personal and business activities
  • Failure to file and pay sales tax – Oversight in collection and correct reporting of sales taxes can result in significant fines and penalties.
  • Improperly categorizing expenses – Accurately tracking income and expenses will allow you to maximize your tax savings
  • Not classifying employees correctly – misclassification of employees and independent contractors can result in overpayment of taxes
  • Not using their time wisely – many business owners do not put enough value on their own time. A bookkeeper will be able to perform your daily accounting tasks faster and more efficiently, freeing up your time to focus on the business.

 

Those are great questions above, huh? Even better is having a bookkeeper that wants to HELP us! Imagine that? I had a bookkeeper and she had to resign due to family medical issues. Then, I went searching for another. I was terrified!  I would wonder:  Who would I choose? Would they understand my business? Would they know what to do? Would they do a good job? Would they pay attention to the details and keep ME on my toes? 

I put it out to my personal network and got a lot of  responses. I contacted a lot of people and then, I didn’t even know it, but Darcy said she had a background in that. Darcy was actually a client of my pet sitting company before she moved out of town, and we found out we had a friend in common as well. She was someone I knew in my network and that I trusted. When we interviewed on the phone I was impressed. She asked intelligent questions that made me feel like she understood what I needed and most importantly was on time and very professional with her proposal and follow up. Since then, Darcy and I have had a super relationship and I HIGHLY recommend her!

If you want a connection, let me know. You know me, I love connecting and helping people! What other questions do you have for a book keeper? Maybe we could do a PART TWO blog?

 

Why You Should Care About Your Holiday Cover Profiles & Blogging

This took me 5 minutes to create.

Every time there is a holiday coming up, I always remind the pet sitters in my coaching group “Show me your [INSERT HOLIDAY HERE] photos!” 

Most of the time, I am met with either the same people posting or even no response. This time I was actually told I was depressing them because they hadn’t done anything with it.

Why not? Come on everyone! Let’s go! This is an exciting time! A chance to be noteworthy or share worthy. A chance to really separate yourself from the “competition” and show that you are a hip, happening, brand who has the time and energy to care about the things that your clients are caring about.

After all, if you are a pet sitting company, most of your clients are travelers, right? So why not enhance, remind, celebrate, or give suggestions on how to do this?

Shows That You Are Not A Stale Brand

Being a part of current events will help show that your brand isn’t flat. It isn’t just out there and only about me, me, me. It shows that you take the time, energy, and money to put current celebrations into your brand. It is the same thing as Macy’s decorating for Christmas. They want to be inviting for people to come and shop and BUY!

Reminds People About The Holiday Coming Up

With so many pet care companies being focused on pet sitting, they attract a LOT of travelers. How about promoting a summer special with awesome rates to entice your followers to take a stay-cation (a vacation where you stay in town). The winter holidays is when a lot of people travel. Or school holidays is when the school aged families travel. Or the single middle daggers taking a short three day weekend trip on Labor Day or Memorial Day? Let’s celebrate these moments.

Gives You Something To Be Relevant About

While everyone else is squawking about “look at the pets we are pet sitting for”  …. YOU can be showing 5 Extravagant Christmas Gifts for your Pets or doing a simple graphic on 4th of July pet tips to be shared around.

This took me 5 minutes to create.

This took me 5 minutes to create.

You can even pitch these tis bits of juicy secret’s to the local media and maybe they will pick it up to do a story! You never know when you start posting and tweeting!

Reuse & Recycle

The VERY BEST part of this entire thought process is that it can be reused over and over and over again! Just think, every 365 days this event comes around again. Every year, if you create a few blogs, graphics, covers, all of a sudden you have an entire arsenal of things each year to share. It builds on each other and you can NEVER go wrong. It NEVER gets old.

 

But Bella, “I don’t have the time or creativity to do all of this stuff!”

Really? I know how you feel. BECAUSE I DON’T EITHER. But I am sure you can afford $15 for one blog or $5 for one cover profile or graphic right? Hire this task out if you can’t find the time or just plain don’t want to! This day in age, that excuse is just you giving excuses. I won’t accept them! You can:

  1. Go to Fiverr.com and find someone to do a cover profile or graphic.
  2. Hire one of my bloggers to write an article for you (email me for the hook up)
  3. Talk to Kate at www.pawsomemedia.com and grab one of her packages that she has for sale. (Guaranteed to actually WORK!)
  4. Talk to Kayla at iSpotMedia (again, email me for the hook up)
  5. You can also do www.canva.com for graphics.

See? there really isn’t any reason to not be able to do it all. You CAN.

 

Just Remember That Whatever You Put Out There

1. Reflects your branding colors and font and logo
2. Looks PROFESSIONAL

So what do you think? Easy enough? I want you to get involved. In the comments below, I want you to link a cover profile, graphic, or blog that you have done for a recent holiday so everyone can see the variety of options out there. Do you have any tips or resources for them?

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