Everyone starts a business feeling confident in their expertise, then reality hits.
We all know how to use our computers, but what do you do when yours gets infected or dishes up a blue screen of death?
What about payroll and accounting?
It's easy when you're accepting cash and just paying yourself, but what happens when you have to invoice or take credit card payments?
Then there is the whole issue of human resources.
It's very exciting to hire your first employee, but do you know anything about EEOC compliance?
Back office refers to any essential business services that aren't customer-facing. And when you think about it that way, back office covers a whole lot of territory.
Since nobody can be an expert at everything, we've put together a few online and real-world resources for all those tasks you wish you knew how to do to help with your back office questions.
Remember, online sources are meant to be a starting point for gathering information. We try to provide links to professional, reputable sources for information, but nothing beats an expert opinion from someone who is speaking to your specific situation. Especially when it comes to human resources and taxes.
Skip the overwhelm, I can help you make sense of your taxes.
I've been an accountant for over forty years. My experience from working with government agencies, non-profits, and large corporations has given me extensive knowledge of how to work with the IRS and state tax agencies.
Owning a business is stressful enough without having to worry about an IRS demand.
I understand their policies and procedures and have helped many small business clients successfully challenge IRS audits.
If you have received an IRS demand letter or are being audited, I can help.
Give me a call (781) 799-1188
Do you know why big businesses seem to benefit from all those tax breaks? It's because they know about them.
They have the money to pay teams of lawyers and accountants to go out and comb through decades worth of tax law and tax court decisions to find opportunities.
We're not tax professionals, but we know how to do research. The Business Guild has a regular tax/IRS column in Flackery magazine to share information about tax topics of interest to solos and micro-buisness owners.
Specific topics may not apply to your situation, but they do open the door to having a conversation with your business attorney or accountant.
QuickBooks is the granddaddy of all accounting programs.
Originally released in 1983, QuickBooks is probably the most familiar and widely used accounting software on the market today.
With solutions for bookkeeping, general accounting, inventory, payroll, invoicing, time tracking, and payments, QuickBooks is positioned to tackle just about any business from occasional freelancer to large organizations with multiple users and complex accounting needs.
Pricing options include $25 per month for Simple Start, $50 per month for Essentials, $80 per month for Plus, and $180 per month for the Advanced plan.
Note: In many cases your bookkeeper or accountant can offer you a coupon code for substantial savings on your QuickBooks subscription.
Wave is an online accounting platform created with small business owners in mind.
With access through its online platform and mobile app, Wave makes it easy to manage all of your business accounting tasks.
Wave even lets you scan expense receipts right from your phone so you never have to worry about finding them come tax time.
The cost of the basic accounting program is free, but there are fees for accepting payments and managing payroll.
At this time* the cost for credit card processing transactions is 2.9% +.60 per transaction for Visa, Mastercard and Discover . And payroll pricing is a $35 monthly base fee + $6 for each active employee or independent contractor.
Visit Wave's website for information about their current pricing.
FreshBooks is an invoicing and accounting software for small businesses..
This is another user-friendly program that helps you manage the many financial aspects of running your business.
Like Wave, FreshBooks is an online platform with a mobile app. They claim to "save users up to 16 hours a month with project proposals and estimates."
They offer three subscription levels that range from $15 a month up to $50 per month.* With a custom option available for power users.
The entry-level Lite version offers a nice array of features but is limited to 5 billable clients. It might be a good choice for a startup consulting firm with few clients, but companies with a larger client base will need to look at the Plus subscription at $7.50 per month and 50 billable clients, or the $15 per month for the Premium subscription with up to 500 billable clients.
FreshBooks is a popular program and well worth a look for anyone DIY'ing their accounting.
The EEOC's Small Business Resource Center is a fantastic resource for small business owners looking for guidance with the basics of hiring, firing, employee reviews, leave policies, accommodating disabilities, performance evaluations, training, and pretty much every situation you're likely to encounter as an employer.
The EEOC offers a free outreach program to provide speakers and presentations about the EEOC and anti-discrimination laws to employee or employer groups, professional associations, non-profits, and community organizations.
They even have a series of videos to help you through the hiring process.
If your organization requires more in depth training, please visit the EEOC Training Institute for a full list of courses, programs, and conferences.
The Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor (DOL)
Believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The mission of the Department of Labor is "To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
That means that the DOL is responsible for just about everything related to working in the United States.
This is a great first stop for anyone looking for information about federal laws related to working in the United States.
Looking for the Department of Labor and federal programs in your state?
Check out this list of state and federal offices by state.
Whether you're hiring your first employee or your fiftieth, The Business Guild has the latest news, tips, and trends to help you attract and retain the best employees for your business.
With some help from our experts in human resources, taxes, and accounting we've put together a timely selection of articles sure to help you with your hiring process.s.
There are a lot of state, federal, county, and municipal laws that govern employees rights, employee taxation, and a multitude of other employment related topics. If you don't have an in-house expert, think about talking to your business attorney, human resources provider, or accountant before you post your first ad.
Human resource and staffing services can provide a wide variety of assistance beyond helping you find employees.
Save the hassle & headache of trying to do it yourself and outsource your Human Resources.
Microsoft may be the most prominent operating system, but it's not without its challenges.
We're not IT experts, but we are really good at finding solutions.
Here are a few sources for official Microsoft Windows updates, upgrades & security patches.
We're also including a Windows 10 update guide from Computerworld that gives a nice breakdown of the various Windows 10 updates.
Always remember to back up your system before doing updates, adding security patches, or making any changes to your OS.
Microsoft does their best to make the process of keeping your computer secure as easy as possible, but they can't guarantee against bad downloads, software conflicts, or user error.
The only way you can protect yourself from an expensive DIY nightmare is to have a pre-update backup.
The one thing you must understand about hackers, ransomware, and computer viruses is that at some point or another you will be a victim.
It doesn't matter what operating system, platform, or device you use. The only real protection you have against these malicious attacks is to keep a current, clean backup.
There are plenty of best practices like applying security patches, using virus protection programs, and strong passwords, but at the end of the day they are just bandaids.
If you're not tech savvy or don't have time to set up and manage your company's computers or network, it is well worth the money to hire someone to do it for you.
See the Winter 2021 issue of Flackery for more information and actionable tips about minimizing risk and responding to ransomeware.
See the Winter 2021 issue of Flackery for articles about cybersecurity and risk management!
Be prepared. A lot of risk management is simply a matter of being prepared for the unexpected.
The Business Guild has a variety of easy to read articles that break down what risk is and how to respond when things happen.
Ransomeware & Viruses
Insurance is an often overlooked component of small business risk management.
This is especially true for solopreneurs and non-employee startups who work remotely or have little physical interaction with customers.
Depending on what your business does and how you do it, there are many options for commercial insurance policies.
The most common policies are:
You can also find coverage for cyber protection, home-based business insurance, commercial flood insurance, and more.
A basic general liability policy is going to cost an average of $250 - $500 per year and covers basic property damage and bodily injury claims.
It's also worth checking if your state requires some type of commercial policy. In most cases proof of insurance will be required before a business license is granted, but it's always better to do your due dilligence so you can avoid any potential fines or gotchas.
The Hartford offers a list of insurance policies by state to see what requirements each state has, but it is always best to check with the Secretary of State or local business licensing agency.