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2017 Midyear Financial Management Checklist

Leijun Campbell - Friday, June 23, 2017


 

This past Wednesday, June 21st, marked the first day of summer. Activity in your work or home office may have slowed down for the season, but this slight lull could be the perfect opportunity to review your company's progress for the first half of 2017 as well as refine your plans for the rest of the year.

Your financial management, in particular, should always be checked, measured, analyzed and refined. We will give you a few of the most crucial items to include on your midyear checklist. Keep reading for more information and be sure to let us know what you would add!

 

1. Check your prepared budget against your current spending: "Budget" may be one of the least liked, yet most important words in the business lexicon. Your business cannot survive without the creation of a budget and also the fulfillment of a budget. Bring up the documents you created at the beginning of 2017 or end of 2016 and cross-examine each category and item with what you actually spent on said items. If you're on your way to healthy year-end profit and positive cash flow, celebrate and keep pushing forward. If not, grab all of your head staff and determine what areas of spending can be cut or reduced. You still have a little over six months to turn things around, but no use in waiting.

 

2. Check your balance sheet for any missing or uncollected payments: If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, you are constantly being thrown new information about vendors and clients. Without proper systems in place for payables, receivables, bills and invoices, you can miss crucial payments and deadlines. Take time this last week of June to catch up on your balance sheets and income statements. Don't stop until each document is properly filled and all payments are made and received.

 

3. Make sure your tax documents are correct for all aspects of your business: We're just two months out of the dreaded tax season, but you cannot go wrong by trying to prepare for next year. You want to make sure no stone is left unturned with this side of financial management. Though some of you may hire an outside tax accountant for those first few months of each year, consider bringing one in for this next week just to audit your books and make sure everything is on track. You'll breathe easier knowing you have a rock-solid vision and strategy for the rest of 2017

 

Other important items for your midyear financial management checklist:

 

- Job-cost reports

- Estimates versus actuals details

- Profit/loss actuals

- Sales and marketing goals

- Customer satisfaction ratings

 

For more information on financial management, please email us today at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

Financial Fridays: Positive Cash Flow

Leijun Campbell - Friday, May 19, 2017

 

We want to give you something to look forward to every week, so starting today, we are unleashing our Financial Friday series that will feature a mix of blogs, infographics and more. Keep reading for the first post!
 
The four practical processes we advocate at Campbell Business Services are financial management, operations management, talent management and sales and marketing management. Today, we want to delve a little deeper into that first process with a look at cash flow.

 


 
We'll define cash flow as "the net amount of money that comes and goes out of a business during a particular period." The positive cash flow occurs when a business has more cash at the end of a period than at the beginning. The flip side would be to have less cash at the end of a period, indicating a negative cash flow.
 
Obviously, all of us would love a positive cash at the end of each period. However, with your many responsibilities as a small business owner, you may have a tough time establishing and maintaining a positive cash flow.
 
Here are a few tips for achieving this financial management goal:
 
1. Find ways to cut, or at least reduce, your major expenses: It's hard to maintain this objective in our personal finances, let alone for our businesses. Though this process will always be easier said than done, you must figure out at least a few items to focus on that could greatly impact your cash flow. Budget as much as you can each month (of course, there will be emergencies here and there). If you find a similar vendor who can reliably provide you the same product or supplies at a more affordable, consider that option and weigh out the pros and cons on budget sheet. Results will be small when you first start this process; however, continue to refine your process until you begin seeing the impact on your cash flow that you need.
 
2. Get cash faster from customers, clients and receivables: No business wants to feel like they are a collection agency, but no business wants to be bankrupt either. Before entering agreements with customers and clients, be sure to define your payment requirements and deadlines by sending out invoices as soon as possible. You can even include a percentage discount, or incentive, for clients who pay off their debt early. This process will also keep you and your accountant from sweating at the end of the month because you won't have several unpaid invoices.
 
3. Take loans with manageable payment options: In addition to invoices to clients, your business will receive monthly billing statements if you take out loans. These payments can put a strain on expanding your cash flow because you have to always meet these obligations first to avoid strict penalties. When applying for loans, be sure to only take out the ones with reasonable terms that will give you at least a small cushion for increasing your cash flow. Though a few exceptions exist, most of these loans will come with interest after a specified time period. Paying them off early can save you money that can be put towards your cash flow.
 
We hope these tips help. Feel free to email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com if you'd like more information on establishing positive cash flow. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Three Things to Consider When Hiring A New Accountant

Leijun Campbell - Thursday, April 13, 2017

 


Tax season 2017 is finally coming to an end, and we hope you have been able to get everything correctly filed on deadline. Whether you are a detailed individual versed in important tax policies for your small business or you took the step of hiring an outside accountant, everyone can bring a sigh of relief knowing that another year of filing has passed. If you fell into the latter category and experienced a negative or slightly uncomfortable time with the accountant you hired for this past year, we can give you a few tips to make sure the next selection process is much more pleasant.

 

- Hire someone who communicates with you on a daily or weekly basis and has a quality reputation in your state: Reliability in financial management is crucial for any business, especially when you are running most of the operations by yourself or with a small staff. You want an accountant who you can trust with communicating with the right people, compiling the right documents and filing the right reports. Also be sure to check with your state's accounting board to make sure your new accountant will provide you the best experience.

 

- Hire someone who knows the rules of your industry and stays up-to-date with both the big and small changes: Knowing all of the tax and financial guidelines/rules related to your company makes an accountant a viable asset for your small business, especially if your focus is on a niche product or market. You also need an accountant who will keep a pulse on any changes to procedures that could directly affect your business, so that you can focus on making your company the best it can be.

 

- Hire someone who is willing to explain your financial statements fully and answer any questions you may have: Though you will want to spend most of your energy on your company's daily operations while delegating the important details and financial processes to an expert, make sure you hire an accountant who is willing to keep you informed on a regular basis, especially when a potential problem or issue arises. Make sure your accountant has an open door policy when it comes to questions about your company's financial health. No one enjoys shocking surprises when it comes to money.

 

For more information on how we can help you with your financial management, email us at leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com!

 

Why Use Campbell Business Services for Your Accounting Needs

Leijun Campbell - Thursday, February 23, 2017

 

As tax season continues, you may need to consult with an accountant to make sure everything is correct for your business before you file.

Check out the ways Campbell Business can help you below and contact us if we can help you in any way!

 


 

Four Practical Points to Prepare for 2017 (Infographic

Leijun Campbell - Thursday, December 22, 2016

Practical Points to Prepare Your Small Business for 2017

Leijun Campbell - Friday, December 16, 2016

 

We have two weeks left in 2016. I don’t know about you, but this year has flown by. Now is the time to start building momentum for 2017. Before the holidays really take hold, I am looking over what all has happened over the last 12 months, and I want to give you some tips on how you as a small business owner can evaluate and improve your practical processes for the new year.

 

 

1. Analyze your day-to-day operations and procedures manual - Though surprises always reveal themselves in sometimes inconvenient ways, your business maintains a level of routine. If you run a small business, you may have an easier time adjusting this routine than a larger corporation. If you have hourly team members, evaluate your scheduling practices to see if you utilize their abilities efficiently (i.e. seeing if a shift requires two people or four people for optimal customer service). If you have more of an office environment, look at how you can improve your task management system or if you can implement a regular meeting format. Keep a monthly journal of how each change provides or detracts value, so you can have something to review at the end of next year.

 

 

2. Get all your financial statements prepared for tax season - The first of the year can be incredibly hectic and stressful as you try to navigate new procedures, new hires or new clients. In addition, you need to take care of your employees and provide them their tax documents by the end of the month. Instead of letting everything build up, why not start taking care of those responsibilities now? Enlist the help of your in-house accountant to verify everything is correct. If that option is not available, plenty of outside resources exist specifically for this purpose.

 

3. Know how you will expand your brand and profit in the next year - Hopefully, you set some marketing and sales objectives at the beginning of this year. If so, use these last few days to truthfully evaluate your successes and failures. Even if you missed some opportunities, include them in next year's list. Plan out your marketing budget and include a portion for digital strategy, website development, email marketing and social media. Develop a content calendar and stick to it. Set up quarterly meetings to check on the analytics and progress of these initiatives. If you have a customer or client mailing or email list, send them a Christmas card and include an end-of-the-year survey that asks for feedback on how to provide better service in 2017.

 

4. Discover more about  your team - Your team is the heartbeat of your company, so decide on ways to help them feel valued on a daily basis. Engage them with a year-end review, help them find and schedule professional development training or conferences for the new year, throw a Christmas or New Year's Eve party and if you can afford it, a Christmas bonus. January 1st marks a fresh start and you want to have everyone on the same page and buzzing with excitement.

 


 


Raise The Bar with Your Practical Processes

Leijun Campbell - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

 

 

No sooner do businesses open their doors or offer services and they are already looking to the future growth and scale of the business. Most likely the owner/founder is aware of all the responsibilities and tasks that need to be managed. They may even delegate some of these responsibilities. As they look to future growth they may also look into financing. All of these are important to a strong business, however, to have a strong foundation built for that business is best. Remember that your company will never grow to be bigger than the strength of its practical processes.

 

Solid processes offer a systemic approach to operating the business as well as a more organized business creating less chaos at growth time. Here are a few steps to creating a process for each area of your business.

 

1. Better out than in

 

Get all of that information about your business and how to run it out of your head and down on paper or recorded digitally. Include everything that you can think of to establish the basis for a manual format (this will serve as your company’s operations manual).

 

2. Start things right on Day One, not later

 

Think back to Day One. Think of of the steps/procedures it took to get the business running (most importantly, the procedures that are done regularly and that are vital to the business). You need to refer back to your Day One philosophy on every procedure.

 

3. Shadow yourself

 

Start writing down every literal step you take a given day running the business. Take time to “shadow” yourself; it will be frustrating but well worth it. An intern can also help you establish these processes. Hiring someone who is interested in your type of business creates a win-win situation.

 

4. Fear the worst, Hope for the best

 

Think of any possible problems that could come up, identify those specific to your company and develop a process for dealing with them. Include these issues and concerns in your eventual Operations Manual.

 

5. Ask for help

 

If you are a solopreneur, ask a friend that you know will provide sound, objective advice; if you have a manager or employee ask them to review the information you have and provide feedback. It is possible that you missed something or they may have information to add.

 

6. Sharing is caring

 

Create and share your processes or the full Operations Manual you have now created. If you are a solopreneur you will now be ready when growth happens.

 

 


Infographic: Four Practical Processes for Your Business

Leijun Campbell - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

 

Operations Management, Sales & Marketing, Financial Management and Talent Management are the four practical processes your business needs to establish from the beginning. See above for how these apply to your company and email leijun@campbellbusinessservices.com if we can help you in any way.

Taking Stock of What You Have: The Need for Process

Leijun Campbell - Friday, September 16, 2016

In any Small Business, there is a prevalent set of business processes that must exist for a strong foundation. These practical processes provide more than a set of rules for you and your employees, but help create and solidify the consistency, efficiency and innovation of your company.

 


 

Here are four essential examples.


1) Of course the goal of a business is to make money; therefore, you need a strong process for your Financial Management. The size of your small business/solo venture will determine how extensive this will need to be. Take the initial steps of setting up a company bank account, ordering a company credit card, choosing your bookkeeping software, creating a budget and documenting your financial procedures. Using the right technology combined with the right professionals allows you to automate this process for the most accurate results, and knowing the amount of assets, liabilities and equity your company has equips you to make smarter financial decisions.

 

2) In order to keep the cash flowing, every business needs to utilize a Sales & Marketing process to keep their name in front of potential clients/customers and service then in good standing. Develop your brand through a mix of traditional approaches and digital practices with a decidedly personal touch; your customers and clients want to know that they matter and that the information you provide benefits them beyond the product or service. For sales, create and maintain a schedule of measurable objectives, goals, benchmarks and checkpoints along with specific procedures for documenting new and current clients. However, give yourself and your sales staff the flexibility to adjust the process if something isn’t working.

 

3) At some point even the solopreneur will find the need for outside help, and for those small businesses that rely on employees, a proficient process for dealing with Talent Management will help ensure less problems. If you haven’t already, create an employee handbook and//or specific orientation process for every new hire. Provide opportunities for professional development and training as often as you can, so that all team members feel invested in the company, no matter how small or large their role actually is. Have weekly, monthly or quarterly “all-staff” meetings as well as an open door policy for feedback and evaluations. Many employees desire to know how they are performing in their position, but often feel too afraid to ask.

 

4) Finally, your company must have an exhaustive Operations Management process that makes everything flow together, bringing all of the above into your products, the who, what, when and even why to your business. Establish essential daily operation policies for employee benefits and sick leave/vacation time, create company objectives and select and cultivate healthy relationships with your vendors. If need be, hire a reliable, coachable and client-oriented operations manager.

 

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Financial Management Part One

Leijun Campbell - Tuesday, August 09, 2016

 

Financial Management is an important Practical Process that should not be treated as an afterthought. You should never be haphazard in your planning and strategies because one major error in accounting or sales can deeply impact your company’s past, present or future.


Here are some important facts you should consider for keeping your company financial healthy.


1) Have a specific bank account for your business only
2) Have a one specific credit card for the business only
3) Have a designated software for financial record keeping, i.e., Quickbooks, Freshbooks, etc.
4) Have a designated financial point person. If this is not your avenue of expertise, hire a reliable trustworthy person to assist in this arena.
5) Have a documented financial process in place
6) Have a system for filing financial paperwork
7) Have a budget – this is a crucial step in the planning

 



Look out for part two of this series later this month.

 

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