Cash flow forecasting can be tricky—it requires skills, attention to detail, and dedication. But when done right, cash flow forecasting can offer tremendous value and invaluable insight into the future of your startup business or project.
Many organizations face significant challenges while attempting this exercise, but some workarounds can help you achieve success in predicting your financial future with confidence.
In this blog post, we'll explore some common cash flow forecasting challenges and solutions for improving your forecasts' accuracy. With these tips, you'll have valuable information to make better decisions about where to allocate resources and set appropriate expectations for revenue and expenses.
As an owner of a startup business, at the beginning, your cash flow may be slow and manageable using manual bookkeeping and accounting. A common mistake would be sticking to this day-to-day cash flow monitoring system and not forecasting. Seeing only daily cash flow and having no visibility about your company's future income and expenses is like operating a business in the dark.
Understand that cash flow management is essential for all businesses, even startups. Know that with it, you can see how much income and expenses you’ll have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. As a result, you can use the data as the basis of your financial game plans. You can use it to decide the following:
Having limited historical data is common to startups either because owners have failed to store financial data in the past or because the business hasn’t been running for a significant period of time yet. Historical data is the most basic information needed when creating a cash flow forecast, and the absence of these numbers makes the forecast result less reliable.
Despite the absence of historical data, there are still ways to get a reliable cash flow forecast. To begin, whether you lack past numbers because of a personal choice or not, it is time to invest in software and applications to help you track your business finances.
These apps and software can also help you conveniently create simulations, or before and after trials. Use the following data for your forecasts:
The biggest enemy of a cash flow forecast is inaccurate data, which can happen when tracking income and expenses manually. Although Excel sheets are readily available (and free), they may lose your business money in the long run as human errors bring costly damages to your finances.
Inaccurate data leads to making bigger loans, being overconfident in forecasting income, making fewer investments, and saving less—all detrimental to your business growth.
The most efficient workaround to the data inaccuracy problem is bidding goodbye to your company's manual systems. Accept that part of growth is optimizing your bookkeeping and accounting technology so that you can track your finances better.
Accounting software is highly automated, and you can also integrate various apps. As a result, you can minimize or even eradicate manual inputs, which can cause inaccurate data.
If there are a couple of teams in your company, you’ll need input for their income and expenses. This task becomes a roadblock when there is no collaboration between different departments. When different teams do not practise open communication, you might get incomplete or erroneous financial data from them. Another challenge is not having an established system for workflow and data submission processes in the company.
Excellent accountants and bookkeepers need to be well-versed in their tasks or have certifications and training to perform them correctly. On top of that, they should have communication skills and be team players. This is to make sure that they can connect to the various departments in your company to get the needed data. They also need to be forward thinkers to suggest and enact the best systems to make this data acquisition as smooth as possible for everyone.
Expect that a cash flow forecast doesn’t mean you’ll get 100% accuracy, as the following variables are prone to changes:
As a result, the final accounts receivable and payable won’t be exactly as what you forecasted.
The best workaround to ensure that you get the forecast closest to the truth is keeping numbers and data updated. Be in the know with the latest interest and foreign exchange rates. Know if there are changes in sales taxes and other tax dues you need to pay. If there are updates on commodity and raw material prices, they should also be reflected in your forecast. And do not forget about your customers too. Check sales trends to know when your peak sales occur.
Successfully launching a cash flow forecast is not the end of the cash forecasting process, but it becomes a problem if you make it so. As we’ve learned, some variables are subject to change, so if one variable adjusts, the income and expenses will as well. If you keep on using the old data without any adjustments, your business finances will suffer these consequences:
The best way to do a cash flow projection and actual cash flow analysis is through the help of software. An accounting software already has the forecast and the latest data of your business stored. They also have templates to show a comparison of current cash flow and forecast data. With software, generating reports is easier, and you can regularly analyze data to see if you need to optimize your cash flow plans and strategies.
Creating and maintaining a cash flow forecast is a major task for every company. Not having a dedicated team to handle it makes report generation impossible. And if even one is created, there wouldn’t be anyone to update it and let you know the latest data analysis results. Like a snowball, a series of the above mentioned challenges will surely accumulate.
There are plenty of choices a company can go for to hire a bookkeeper and accountant to handle forecasts. An in-house accountant is the traditional choice, but you can also choose to work with remote team members and freelancers. With these choices, building a dedicated team to handle forecasting becomes easier.
Your finance team will ensure your business has a defined forecasting process, an efficient way to acquire and manage data, and the best software to make forecasting cash flow easier and more accurate.
With cash forecasting being so important to any business’s success, startups must understand common challenges and how to avoid them. We hope that these common challenges startups face when forecasting cash flow and some workarounds have helped you. At Unloop, we have seen firsthand how important cash flow forecasts are to businesses. Proper forecasts can help businesses stretch their budgets and stay ahead of payments. With that in mind, take advantage of our forecasting services to experience the power of having a reliable and secure forecasting platform at your fingertips. Call us today!
Many entrepreneurs are drawn to ecommerce because it's an easy start. Selling items online through big platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify seems like no challenge. This is partly true. You have the potential to earn big because there are millions of shoppers on the internet.
But at some point in running an online store, you will encounter challenges. Almost every business owner can agree that ecommerce accounting is the most tedious part of running a business. But the company's finances play a key role in ensuring the business runs smoothly.
This post will focus on ecommerce bookkeeping since it is the first step in building a reliable accounting system for your business. We'll look into the common challenges business owners face in bookkeeping and share some tips and practices to overcome them.
When you hear the word bookkeeping, the first thing that comes to mind is documenting all financial transactions around the business. Keeping track of your transactions may seem easy at first, but when they pile up, that's when it starts to get messy. So be a step ahead with these challenges, and take note of the tips we'll share with you.
Proper bookkeeping is crucial in monitoring your cash flow. In order to create a working budget for your business operations and assess your financial health, you must know how the money goes in and out of your business. Unfortunately, according to research, almost 80% of small businesses have problems with their cash flow.
At the end of each accounting period, businesses tend to have unbalanced cash flow because they fail to keep tabs on their accounts receivable and payable. But there are still many factors that could affect your cash flow.
Here are simple tasks you can do to ensure your cash flow remains consistent:
Even seasoned small business owners find inventory management confusing. The more products you sell and the more sales channels you open, the harder it is to keep on top of your inventory management.
The basic task of inventory management is tracking the number of items you have, knowing their value, and tracking their location if you have multiple warehouses or are outsourcing to a fulfillment center. Every sale you make means a change in the number of inventory. Changes also happen when you have returns and refunds.
Your inventory is the backbone of your business's cash flow management. Manually tracking inventory is a difficult endeavor. To avoid any issues, it is best to have accounting software with inventory tracking features. The software will automate the whole inventory management process, so you can be in full control of the movement of your products.
Running a business is not all about income. Of course, gaining sales is the better part of running it, but you also have to manage and understand your expenses. If you don't monitor your expenses, you can spend over your budget, which could reflect in a negative income. Here are some types of business expenses you should consider:
These expenses can add up rapidly. If you fail to monitor them, they could exceed your profit margin. Fortunately, there are ways you can manage your expenses and build a working profit margin that suits your business.
The biggest challenge for ecommerce business owners is handling sales tax. Taxes, in general, are the most complicated part of accounting. Sales tax is the amount the government requires to be added to the cost of goods that consumers pay. Sellers are required to apply these taxes, collect them, and remit them to the tax collection agency.
The issues with sales tax start with identifying your tax nexus. Depending on where you belong, sales tax rates may differ. In bookkeeping, sales tax has its own ledger. This will help the owner track if they are collecting the right amount. But, if you don't know the proper rates, these mistakes can disrupt your cash flow.
You can overcome difficulties in sales tax by:
The most common scenario in selling online is paying monthly fees to continue selling on the platform. Unfortunately, these miscellaneous fees are difficult to track because they are applied differently. For example, there are fees for listing, advertising, shipping fulfillment, and other merchant fees.
When you have bulk orders, these fees may go unnoticed and unlisted. Failing to list them as expenses can reflect discrepancies on your balance sheets at the end of the accounting period. Fortunately, there are online calculators that can calculate fees in popular marketplaces like Amazon and Shopify.
But different selling platforms may vary in their fee structures. Tracking seller fees can be difficult if you're selling on multiple platforms. The best solution to not get overwhelmed by these fees is automation through accounting software. Don't play a guessing game with your fees. When mistakes pile up, it will cost you more money in the future.
We are not saying that the traditional bookkeeping method is wrong, but it's a thing of the past. Even if you have a small business, don't underestimate the number of entries you need to jot down for record-keeping. You may find manual entry easy at first, but as your business keeps growing, it will be harder for you to keep up.
Once again, the best solution for this problem is investing in accounting software. You don't have to worry about investing big money in an accounting system. Instead, take advantage of software you can use for free. Even free versions can do the basic task of ecommerce bookkeeping. So you don't have to spend much, if at all, to automate your record-keeping process.
Fraud is probably the biggest concern that will get your bookkeeping into shambles. Imagine your records being manipulated. This can affect your business's financial health if things get out of hand. According to research, small businesses are more prone to fraud compared to larger companies.
Small ecommerce businesses don't have as much security for their financial documents as big companies do, and that's why many people take advantage of it. Here are some common fraud cases you should look into:
You can prevent fraud by being consistent and transparent with your records. Furthermore, assigning a dedicated ecommerce bookkeeper for your bookkeeping process can keep your financial records secure.
If you're an ecommerce business owner, you must have many things on your plate. Managing a business has many aspects, and bookkeeping can be time-consuming and confusing for some. Instead of worrying about it, let Unloop handle it for you.
Our bookkeeping services include:
Bookkeeping for ecommerce may sound simple initially, but when your business starts to grow, it is better to let professionals handle it. This way, the process goes smoothly and without problems.
More than just bookkeeping, Unloop also offers different accounting services for small business owners. Book a call with our experts and work with us today!
If you start a business, whether putting up a physical store or selling things online, you can't run from the fact that you have tax obligations. Almost everything you sell is imposed with taxes, and as a business owner, it's important that you know how to navigate around taxes to operate your business properly.
Understanding your tax liabilities will help your business grow and even help strategize your next move to improve your income. Moreover, neglecting your taxes can result in fees and penalties that can damage your company and lead to your business’s closure.
To help you jumpstart your business, we'll give you a quick and easy overview about ecommerce taxes. So take down notes and carve your way up to success.
If you’re a business owner and a seller, it’s guaranteed that you will encounter sales tax. All the items you will put on sale will be levied with sales tax. These taxes are certain percentages added to the final bill of your consumers. Customers pay for the sales tax, and business owners act as the middlemen that collect the tax and remit them to the proper tax collections agency.
However, as an online seller, your potential buyers can come from different places. In different countries and across states, sales tax differs, which may cause confusion among the sellers. Here are some practices to keep you up on track with these ecommerce taxes to run your business smoothly and properly.
If you are a business owner in the United States, it's important to know that 45 states impose different sales tax percentages, and five states don't collect them. Understanding how the sales tax works in your economic nexus will help collect them properly. Here are some key points to help you further.
If you sell your products through online marketing platforms like Amazon, Shopify, or Etsy, make sure to be aware of their policies. Online marketplaces have different programs that can help you collect and remit taxes hassle-free.
For example, when you sell on Amazon, the sales tax is automatically added to the final bill of your customer upon check out. Amazon will collect sales tax for you, and you can access the records of the amount collected in your Amazon seller profile to file the report at the end of each fiscal year.
According to Amazon policies, the sales tax rate they charge is higher than the law mandates because the collection service fees are payments for their simplified tax collection service. However, online platforms may vary in their policies, so it's best to check them out first to determine which marketing platform is best for your business.
If you already know your location and percentage of the sales tax, your next step is to register for a seller's permit so you can start collecting taxes. Not all states require permits, but it's best to check their local websites if they require one.
Furthermore, each state has different tax compliance and paperwork requirements. But, most states allow applications through an online process, so you can skip those long lines and hours of waiting in the revenue department.
There are different ways each state processes remittance of sales taxes. For example, some states require monthly and some allow for quarterly remittance. As a result, managing the collection and remittance of sales tax can be time-consuming and confusing. To help you manage the taxes, you can:
The ecommerce market is rapidly growing day by day. However, it's not enough that you know all the product trends to stay alive with the heavy competition. Other aspects of your business like inventory, advertising, finance, and taxes are also essential to keep your business on top. We hope this blog on the overview of ecommerce taxes helps you create a strategy for running your company smoothly.
If you need an extra hand to take care of technical stuff like finances and taxes, you can find your help here at Unloop. We have professionals who are experts on everything about ecommerce. Bookkeeping, income tax, sales tax, and even strategizing plans for your business—we’ve got them all. Your step ahead to success is with us, so what are you waiting for? Book a call with us now!
Tax is a word people don't like to hear—especially Shopify sellers. It's enough to make anyone feel nervous. But you can't avoid it if you don't want to pay penalties or possibly face jail time.
Fortunately, Shopify has robust sales tax collection software that collects sales tax on your behalf, but these software don't file or remit your sales taxes. So it's up to you to organize and take care of the nitty-gritty bit of filing your taxes, not to mention issuing tax refunds.
Sales tax compliance can be a daunting aspect of your Shopify business, but there are software apps that can help you with automation. Here are five software apps you can use to automate Shopify sales tax compliance in 2023.
TaxJar is a leading provider of sales tax automation services for eCommerce businesses. They help online sellers collect, file, and pay their sales taxes. TaxJar makes sales tax filing and payment easy, so shop owners can concentrate on what they should be doing: selling online.
Price: Starts at $19/month
Free Trial: 30 days
Zonos Duty & Tax is an eCommerce software developed by a team of professionals with extensive experience in the field. It can help you rest at ease with tax and duty compliance in the United Kingdom, Europe, and other international borders.
Customers won't be blindsided when they receive their items. There will be no unexpected taxes, duties, or other hidden costs. This should minimize issues with returned goods and costly returns.
Price: Starts at $20/month + 1.9% transaction fee for international orders.
Free Trial: None
Quaderno is a Shopify app that helps store owners with tax obligations and international compliance. It can help store owners who want to comply with international laws while also providing them with peace of mind that their enterprises' major tax, invoicing, and accounting concerns are taken care of.
It also helps owners keep track of their sales tax liability. The tool automatically calculates the sales tax rate for each state and jurisdiction and provides a streamlined way to file and pay taxes. Quaderno offers several other features, such as invoicing and reporting, that can help businesses save time and money. Quaderno is essential for any business that needs to manage its sales tax liability.
Price: Starts at $49/month
Free Trial: 7 days
LatoriApps' Tax Exempt Manager is a tax management software designed for store owners who want to stay compliant with the complex EU tax laws. Compliance with VAT rules for business-to-business transactions in Europe is tough. However, it's made a lot easier thanks to this software, which captures and verifies each customer's VAT ID automatically.
Free Trial: 14 days
Intuit's QuickBooks Online is a small business accounting software that gives users the ability to handle their accounting data in a single app. In addition, the software is accessible from any internet-connected device, making it a convenient option for business owners who are always on the go.
Price: Starts at $8.50/month
Free Trial: 30 days
If you're looking for a comprehensive sales tax solution or need help staying on top of your tax compliance, TaxJar or QuickBooks should do the trick. But as an eCommerce shop owner, you have a lot of things to worry about. From keeping up with inventory to managing shipping and customer service—there's a lot to stay on top of.
Of course, there's also the financial side of things. Keeping track of your sales, expenses, and profits can be daunting, especially if you're not accounting-savvy. That's where we come in. Unloop has a team of eCommerce accountants who are well-equipped and trained to handle accounting services in the US and Canada. Book a call with an expert today to learn more!
Financial forecasting is the backbone of good financial planning. It directly affects your budget planning, investments, and strategic decisions for your business. If you're not doing budgeting and forecasting for your business yet, this year is the time to start.
There's more to forecasting than spreadsheets. Many things can affect a financial forecast other than numbers and some formulas. Fortunately for business owners, technology makes forecasting easier.
Businesses can use several budgeting and forecasting software to help predict their finances. To help you choose which one is best for your business, we've listed some of the best forecasting software options in 2023.
Even a structured business model needs financial forecasting to prepare for the future. It's a big problem when businesses run out of cash or are not prepared for the surge of expenses to keep their business running and retain their clients.
Accurate financial forecasts are valuable to every business, may it be big or small. Most businesses start with an Excel spreadsheet to develop their financial forecasting. However, doing forecasting in spreadsheets can be complicated because of the following reasons:
Forecasting in Excel is doable, but it is time-consuming and tedious. Developers are continually making software solutions for more progressive, innovative, and convenient forecasting. With that, here are the top budgeting and forecasting software products you should check out.
Cube is one of the top-rated forecasting software for businesses. Here is a quick overview of the great features of Cube.
Cube is the best financial software for startups that want to quickly transfer their data from manual spreadsheets to forecasting software without having to study complicated interfaces. Cube is best for faster workflows and is optimized for easier collaboration. Some of the functions of Cube include:
AnaPlan forecasting software is designed to plan for complex scenarios and do intelligent forecasting for faster and more accurate decision-making. Some of the key benefits of using AnaPlan are:
AnaPlan is best for bigger businesses with a dedicated IT team that can handle the complex controls of the software. But for smaller businesses, Vena is a suitable choice and almost similar to AnaPlan.
Planful is an affordable cloud-based solution for structured and dynamic planning, consolidation, and reporting. Planful offers:
Planful has AI-enhanced operations and functions that allow businesses to lessen the number of people they need to hire in the financial department. This overall lessens expenses in hiring staff.
SAS Forecast Server is popular for businesses because of its ability to generate accurate forecasts in a short period. More than quick forecasts, SAS has many great features to let you be in full control of your finances.
The forecasting software has easy-to-use GUI that can:
Its scalability and modeling offers:
The SAS forecasting software has many great and advanced features which makes this forecasting software good for small businesses and large enterprises. It can take some time for business owners to familiarize themselves with the software, but the product has official demo videos to help new users out.
Bizview is another cloud-based solution that can streamline your planning, forecasting, and budgeting processes in one software. You can access this software anytime and on any device as long as you have a stable internet connection.
Here are some of the features of Insight Software's Bizview:
Bizview has an interactive Excel-like interface which is also why many business owners prefer to use this software. It is also the most affordable software you can use for small businesses.
Streamline is the leading forecasting software of the first quarter of 2023. Its revenue forecasting processes are realistic, innovative, and quick to ensure that your business is on the right track when it comes to planning budgets and making strategic decisions.
Here are some of the key features of this forecasting tool:
There are hundreds of financial budgeting software available for businesses to use. It is just a matter of choosing the right software for your needs. The aforementioned forecasting tools are some of the best examples you can get for your business, but don't be afraid to explore and find software to suit your liking and needs.
If you need a professional for your budgeting and forecasting needs, Unloop can do the job! Our services include revenue forecasting so we can help small businesses like yours in their growth trajectory.
We use your business's historical data to determine any pain points and fix them before they happen. We will also set your business up with reporting software for accurate forecasting. Monitor your financial performance today and book a call with our experts!
A common characteristic of an early-phase startup is that it is all cost. During the early phase, the startup founder tries to build a new product without the certainty of commercial value. Perhaps they even put their savings on the line to get to the product launch, and for most entrepreneurs, that's all they care about.
That's why accounting never crosses their minds. Yet, this can also be the key to measuring how far they've come and if they should continue. Let Unloop unpack the methods of startups and why founders should establish an accounting system early on.
A startup is a newly founded business, regardless of size and methodology. Until the late 2000s, most people's idea of a startup was just that—a new business. But since then, the idea of creating startups has become standardized and more focused on innovation. That's why people in the business world often associate it with big tech.
But the standard methods of a startup aren't exclusive. So whether you're a budding small business owner trying to launch a new product on Amazon or a group of co-founders creating a better AirBnb, you're most likely following the steps below, consciously or otherwise.
The founder sees the problem or the opportunity in the market, but there's no one offering a solution. If there's anyone offering one, it's ineffective. The founder sees this and knows there can be a better way, so they think of ideas on how to make things better.
They run every idea under the feasibility, profitability, and market reception criteria. Then a shortlist is created and screened until the founder decides on one solution to pursue.
After the founder decides on a solution, they may bring in more people to help materialize it. The team will conduct further research to flesh out the processes and features of the product.
The idea is to develop a product with all the essential features to make it functional. This is called the minimum viable product (MVP) or prototype.
During the beta testing phase, the founder and their team release the prototype to a select group of consumers. These people will use the product and give the team feedback about user experience and possible improvements relative to their needs.
This process can be a continuous cycle for each proposed product. Iteration means going back to the drawing board to make improvements to the product prototype or, if found unviable commercially, to scrap the product and move on to the next.
Iteration usually happens after beta testing, but it can still happen even if the product has already been launched.
Formally founding the startup by determining the legal structure is also flexible. It can happen even before the brainstorming process or after a successful beta testing. This step involves registering the startup as a formal business—usually a corporation—with the founders and the team getting a piece of the initial private stock offering.
The point of legalizing the business is to manage risk. For example, the founders can limit their risk exposure to the shares they own with the startup. The government requires that startups register for compliance and tax payments, while the consumers will see a legalized business as trustworthy.
Formal product development starts when the consumers see value in the product they're testing, enough to pay the price the startup is asking. At this phase, the team has gathered all data from the beta testing and all the necessary iteration data. They're now ready to build the product with more polished features.
The final phase is when the startup produces the final product and officially enters the market. If it's an application, consumers can download it for a price. If it's a physical product, it's put on the shelves or uploaded as a product listing on a website or an ecommerce marketplace.
Based on the methods laid out above, we can build a case for getting your accounting ready as early as possible. Here are some things that happen when you run a startup.
The development will take time, whether you’re innovating a disruptive solution or offering a simple product. Depending on the complexity of the product, it can be days or even years before you build your first MVP.
We've all heard of the adage time is money. So all the time spent renting a co-working space to brainstorm and develop a product will add up and cost the founder. In most cases, they will lose track.
Funding doesn't always come from the founder. In some cases, the founder may only have an idea, a skillset, and a few people willing to contribute labour. If they want the startup to take off, they'll need outside funding.
The best bet will be venture capitalists and private investors, and they will need to see how their investment is performing. So it's always a good idea to account for the money you're meant to grow.
In a typical scenario, people working in a startup are doing it part-time as a passion project. But once it gets off the ground, things can get more hands-on to the point that most or all the people involved in the project will need to work full-time.
When the founder and their team dedicate themselves to the project like regular employees, they'll need a salary. This means they have to pay taxes. That's where startup accounting can help.
If there's a single expectation you should have before performing accounting for startups, it is that profits may not roll in soon. Like product development, it can take months or years to realize a positive bottom line.
By establishing an accounting system early on in the startup, you'll know whether you're already making a profit from the day-to-day operations or are still on the road to paying your startup costs before the product launch.
When it comes to startups, the decision to establish an accounting system early on is a low-priority task. That’s reasonable, considering there is no business coming in yet. Everything is a study. It’s only when investors throw big money at it that founders begin to appreciate the benefits of accounting. But let us show you what getting your accounting fixed early will do for your startup.
For startups, establishing an accounting system can be as easy as subscribing to accounting software and having a team of experts run it part-time. An accountant or bookkeeper recording financial transactions of the startup helps place the foundation of the accounting process that will grow along with the startup.
This means no more headaches about planning the right processes later, as it can get more complex when the startup becomes a medium or large-scale business.
All the financial data should be recorded properly at the beginning. Even if it's all going to the expense account, it can become part of financial reports during the product development phase. This information is useful to the founders and other stakeholders as it gives them an idea of how the business is budgeting its startup resources.
Once the startup becomes a fully-operational business that earns profit, all the business transactions recorded also form part of the financial statements (i.e., the income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements). This information will be essential for evaluating how the business is doing.
Financial statements help owners make important business decisions, such as taking the company public, requesting another round of investments, or closing shop.
Another thing that happens with startups is disorganized finances. Some founders think that the money they toss into their de facto startup is unofficial as it isn't formally registered to any trade and commerce authority. So their personal finances and their startup are one and the same.
Employing an accounting system from the get-go helps founders separate personal and startup transactions. This makes reconciling bank statements and financial reporting for the startup smooth sailing in the long run.
Recall that when founders and the team start getting salaries for their work in the startup, they're obligated to remit payroll taxes, especially if the startup is already legalized.
Once the startup earns significant profits, it may be subject to different taxes. For example, an income tax is an obligation of any business entity. During tax season, they must file income tax returns to stay compliant. Establishing an accounting system early on and having it run by experts will make filing easier and more accurate.
To close, consider that even the smallest projects incur costs. To measure the project’s success, the cost incurred to pull it off is always part of the equation. That goes the same for startups.
So whether you’re in the ideation phase or already on your 100th iteration pre-product launch, an accounting system will help you count your costs. This gives you, the founder, the chance to recoup them.Unloop can help you establish an accounting system that fits your needs, whatever startup stage you’re in. So book a call with us if you want an accountant for your startup business, or check out our bookkeeping services now.
The wine business is one of the most vertically integrated businesses there is. A vineyard can work down the supply chain by building a winery. It can even go further and establish an ecommerce storefront!
This integration may come with reduced cost and higher profit margins, but it also comes with complexity, particularly in accounting. Having three businesses means having three separate accounting systems. Sounds daunting? Let Unloop show accounting for vineyards and wineries to you as simply as we can.
At the top of the wine industry supply chain is the vineyard. This business takes care of grapefruit planting up to harvesting, which wineries will use as a raw material for making wine. The following is the vineyard's production process.
Farmers plant rows of grapes on a vast land using machinery and direct labour, which takes days to finish depending on the vineyard's land area and available labour.
From the time when farmers plant the grapes, there's a period of dormancy that takes years. During these times, activity is focused mainly on pruning the growing branches to ensure high-quality grape yields.
Veraison is the peak period of growth for grapes. A time when the grapes are ripe and ready for picking.
Manual laborers select grapes and clip them off the branches. This is the final step in a vineyard's lifecycle. During this time the grapes are shipped to a winemaker or made into wine in-house.
A vineyard is heavy on agricultural activities. So the production is long-winding and it will take years before the vineyard realizes a profit. Given the situation, accountants follow these practices.
Accountants and bookkeepers use the cash accounting method, also known as the cash-based method. That's because this method makes it easy to record production costs accurately.
According to accounting principles, since a vineyard vertically integrates to a winery, accountants use COGP to allocate vineyard costs associated with growing grapes, such as direct labour, overhead, and other supplies and activities involved in the process. Accounting professionals do this to avoid any miscalculations and confusion between the cost pool of the winery and the vineyard.
Grapes take years to grow. As a result, the vineyard only gets revenue after several years. During that time, farming costs add up without any income to offset them. To resolve this problem, accountants may capitalize the vineyard's expenses so the business realizes a profit according to the total sales in the given period.
Harvesting the grapes is the departure point of the vineyard and the start of the winery production processes. In the winery, the grapes are turned into wine and are stored as collections for sale in the future.
In most cases, vineyards also have a wine production facility (i.e., winery)—that's why the two terms are often confused. But a winery has a separate process.
The winemaking process starts by pouring the grapes into a crusher to extract the juice and make the must.
After the winemakers extract the grapes to form must, they introduce yeast strains into the must to start the fermentation. In most cases, wine producers also purify the must of any unwanted natural yeast to achieve desired quality.
From the fermenting tank, the winemakers will filter out any unwanted debris or pomace from the wine. They do this by transferring the liquid to the barrel or filtering using chemical processes.
At this stage, the must becomes wine. If the winemakers want to age the wine for a better taste, they will put it in bulk wine barrels and store it for inventory.
If the wine producers want a quick turnover, they can transfer the wine to a green bottle and sell it in the market. The consumer can opt to bottle-age the wine or consume it after purchase.
As briefly shown above, wine production has a different behaviour compared to the vineyard. It has similar functions to a general manufacturing process, with some nuances. As a result, accountants adjust their practices according to the winery's needs.
Accountants use the accrual basis accounting method for wineries. It's a rational choice because obtaining the raw material for winemaking may not need to be paid immediately due to integration. On the other hand, getting cash from a sale of a barrel or bottles may also take time. To avoid any miscalculations, accountants record transactions once incurred.
Wineries use the common COGS system primarily because they have a tangible good that they can sell for a profit.
At present, many wine sellers take their products online. Ecommerce marketplaces offer a vast network of wine consumers, making it attractive for sellers of all kinds. Below we will discuss two models wine sellers can get into.
A third-party seller can offer a wide variety of wines from different wineries. They are strictly retail. A third-party wine seller must also follow the steps a direct-to-consumer takes to have an ecommerce presence (see next section), but they have two additional core steps they must do to enter the ecommerce market.
Source a Wine Supplier
Sellers search for wineries, wine wholesalers, and distributors to get their products. They buy bulk to get a lower price and sell for a profit.
Create a Brand
To get credibility, third-party wine sellers create a brand that will serve as their identity for doing business. This will help them differentiate themselves from the rest.
Wineries now have the ability to sell their wine bottles directly to consumers using the power of ecommerce. Smaller wineries are often the ones engaging in a D2C. This model offers a high profit margin and makes for a smooth transition, given that they already have the supply and the brand. All wineries have to do are the following.
Set Up an Online Store or Marketplace Seller Account
If they're selling their wine on Amazon, they'll have to register for a seller account and put all the necessary information about their winery. They'll have to wait for the account activation afterward.
Upload Wine Inventory
Once they have an active seller account, the winemakers can start taking photos of their wine inventory and post them online with full descriptions and other helpful content.
Plan for Wine Packaging and Shipment
Wine bottles are fragile, so producers must plan their packaging and shipping to avoid any in-transit mishaps. They also have to check state laws regarding alcohol selling and distribution.
Engage in Digital Marketing and Advertising
Once producers have an online presence and have sorted out their shipping and packaging, the wine producers can start marketing online. They can hire a digital marketer and other online professionals to find customers and turn their bottles and barrels to revenue.
The challenge of running a winery is that it has two different accounting systems in place—one for the vineyard and another for the winery itself. Plus, taking the business online will be like creating a separate retail business. Therefore, wine producers must establish another accounting system. Here's what wineries can get when they outsource their financial management.
Accounting professionals will record all the ecommerce business financial data using double-entry accounting software, such as QuickBooks. This service will include generating financial statements and other financial reporting documents as needed.
The ecommerce retail side of the wine business will have separate COGS recordkeeping. Accountants and bookkeepers report this financial data to you or include them in the income statement for your analysis.
The ecommerce business will have to pay different taxes for accounting compliance. The usual ones are sales tax and income tax. Outsourcing your accounting for ecommerce will give you a team of experts who can help your accountant with their tax filing obligations using an accurate record and other data as needed.
Whether you own a vineyard or are a third-party seller, outsourcing your bookkeeping and accounting will lift a huge burden off your back.
Ecommerce has a lot of potential to scale. If the demand for wine spikes, it will be more challenging to do your accounting on your own, so leave it to experts and focus on growing your wine business.Book a call with us if you want to discuss how this works, or you can also check out our bookkeeping services now.
Taxes are every business owner's legal obligation. In ecommerce, sales tax is one of the most prominent. However, not all ecommerce businesses, particularly those with a platform on Amazon, pay taxes on sales the same way.
Here's a quick guide on Canadian sales tax policies so you can manage your taxes better as an Amazon seller in Canada ahead of tax season.
A sales tax is a value-added consumption tax that tax authorities include in the sales price of goods and services. The sales tax is paid at the buyer's expense, which the seller must file to the appropriate tax authorities.
The sales tax, while consistent among countries as an attachment to purchasing goods and services, comes in different computations depending on a nation's tax policy.
The Canadian government imposes three different taxes for the computation of a sales tax:
The federal goods and services tax, or GST, is a value-added tax imposed by the government on goods and services.
Provincial sales tax, or PST, on the other hand, is a different value-added tax levied locally on the same goods and services that business owners have sold.
The standard rate for the GST is 5%, while the standard rate for the PST is 7%.
The Quebec Sales Tax is similar to the Canadian provincial sales taxes (PST) in function, with only the rate being different. If the provincial sales tax is at 7%, then the Quebec sales tax is at 9.95%
The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is a uniform rate for five of the thirteen provinces and territories of the Canadian government. In provinces following the HST, the GST or the provincial sales tax PST do not apply. Instead, there is a single rate for all five provinces, which is 15% (except for Ontario, which charges a 13% sales tax but is still under the harmonized sales tax).
With the harmonized sales tax (HST), you only need to file one (1) tax return for all five provinces, removing a bit of the hassle of doing your taxes.
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Alt name: The Canadian Revenue Agency in a heading.
Now, here's where it can get confusing. You can compute Canada's sales tax in three ways.
First, there is the standard federal sales tax plus provincial taxes. In these provinces, you must add the federal goods and services tax to the local taxes.
For example, the sales tax in British Columbia and Manitoba is 12%, coming from a federal sales tax of 5% and provincial taxes of 7%.
However, some provinces do not impose provincial sales taxes and instead collect only the federal sales tax of 5%. Such provinces include Alberta, Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
Second, there is the HST. Since the federal taxes and local taxes no longer apply, you can mark your sales tax in provinces under the HST at 15% (except Ontario, with an HST rate of 13%).
In case the numbers confuse you, we've provided a list of the different Canadian sales tax rates below:
Recent changes in Canadian tax policy have allowed marketplace facilitators (MPF) to handle tax work for third-party sellers. MPF legislation defines a marketplace facilitator as a marketplace that allows third-party sellers to sell physical and digital property, goods and services online. Amazon, being an MPF, can now collect, calculate, and remit taxes for their third-party sellers on taxable sales covered by MPF legislation.
However, some third party sellers are required to collect, calculate, and remit their own taxes. Regardless of how you go about collecting taxes, as an Amazon seller in Canada, you are expected to fulfill your tax obligations.
Fulfilling your tax obligations as a Canadian seller can be tedious, but it must be done. Failure to file and remit sales taxes could lead to criminal charges and could foresee the end of your time as a business owner.
As the business owner of a Canadian company, you're obligated to pay your taxes. But for your sales to be taxable, you'll have to open a sales tax account with the Canada Revenue Agency, also known as a GST/HST account.
Even foreign Amazon sellers with an online store who have a gross income of over $30,000 in Canadian sales are required to open a sales tax account to pay HST/GST.
If you're a Canadian seller with worldwide sales less than or equal to $30,000 for a period of 12 months, you're considered a small supplier and are prohibited from filing for and charging sales taxes. You can collect and remit sales taxes on the product or service that surpasses $30,000.
So, regardless if you're a Canadian seller or an international seller, you're going to have to pay GST/HST.
Sales tax filings in Canada usually run from January 1 until April 30, with income tax returns collected around February.
On the other hand, payment for Canadian taxes is usually collected monthly or annually. If your business income is less than $1.5 million in sales, then you can pay annually. In some provinces, however, the cap is lower.
Manitoba has a ceiling of $75,000 dollars before being required to pay annually; for Saskatchewan, it is $60,000. In British Columbia, you pay your sales taxes monthly during the first year of your business. Then if your taxes are paid on time during the first year, you'll be paying the next few years annually.
You can pay your GST/HST in three ways:
You can pay your GST/HST using a financial institution's transaction methods or online banking services. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has also established a new online payment method called MyPayment. You can try different payment options using MyPayment. Check their website for different payment options for businesses and individuals.
On the other hand, if you want to pay your GST/HST through a financial institution, use Form RC158, Remittance Voucher - Payment on Filing to pay the amount you owe. These forms aren't available online since they come in pre-printed format.
The following tax-related forms are also available in financial institutions:
You can also send your payment by mail. However, payment sent by mail should be under $50,000, regardless of currency. Any mail equal to or above $50,000 should be remitted electronically or through a financial institution.
If you're not paying in Canadian dollars, simply pay the equivalent amount in the available currency.
There are so many things to think about when it comes to taxes. Worse, getting something wrong can mean hefty penalties for your business. We understand that filing taxes can be complicated, especially for new ecommerce sellers like you. If filing your taxes is making you dizzy, then you might need the help of a tax professional.
Unloop can help you file your taxes and more! Our team of professionals can handle any accounting problem you can give us—just give us a call and see what we can do for you.
Are you a small business owner in need of an efficient and secure way to manage your finances? Peachtree accounting software is the answer! This powerful software provides unmatched capabilities when it comes to safeguarding financial data, due to its use of cloud-based solutions.
In this blog post, we'll explore five key benefits you can take advantage of by using Peachtree software (now known as Sage 50cloud). From accounting, bookkeeping, automation and scalability to allowing collaboration and the peace of mind of knowing that all your data is securely backed up—there's something in the software for everyone! So don't wait around any longer—read on for all the details about how Peachtree accounting can help make your life easier.
Peachtree accounting, like any other software, is a tool that assists small, medium, and different-sized businesses in their accounting needs. The tool offers accounting, timeslip tracking, human resource management, customer relationship management, and construction and real estate-focused assistance.
The tool was only available on desktop, but now you can access it on your mobile phone. Regular tasks like accessing contacts, creating invoices, taking receipt images, managing cash flow, and bank integration and reconciliation can all be done on-the-go.
When you have complete financial data in a single software, the generation of reports will be easier. And, as a result, getting a view of your business's financial health will be easier, too. You can use the software for managing your small business, tracking projects, managing your payroll, checking your inventory, and ensuring payments are made and recorded on the books automatically. You’ll also have visibility when it comes to your workforce and customers through Sage 50cloud.
With the plethora of features, one of the most enticing offers Sage 50cloud has is its operations on the cloud. This feature brings peace of mind to business owners like you who know the importance of protecting financial data from corruption or hacking. In this part of the article, we’ll discuss five benefits of Peachtree’s cloud-connected features. Let’s begin!
Accounting data includes income, expenses, assets, fixed and current assets, liabilities, equity, capital, sales, cost of goods sold, and net income. When you use Sage 50cloud, your software will also have information about your company's human resources and customer management, making the stored data even more precious. However, with Sage 50cloud, you know that this information is protected as it operates on the cloud.
Aside from its built-in tools, you can widen the data you store in it through integrations. The following are some of what you can connect to Sage 50cloud:
By integrating these apps with Sage, all the data from these tools will also be stored in the cloud.
Because there are a lot of integrations you can use, the need to manually input data is minimized or even zeroed out. As a result, you can always be confident about the accuracy of the data in the Sage 50cloud system. You can enjoy seeing a realistic view of your business finances in real time, and you can prevent audits because of erroneous tax reports.
Scalability is something manual accounting cannot offer. Although Excel sheets have evolved to add integrations, it is still not as flexible as what software like Sage 50cloud can do.
Sage 50cloud offers different plans: Pro Accounting, Premium Accounting, and Quantum Accounting, which have different accounting, HRM, and CRM features. When your business grows, so do your accounting needs, and you can easily adjust through Sage.
Another great feature of Sage 50cloud, which works because it operates on the cloud, is its accessibility to key members of the team. Individuals concerned with business finances can have access to financial data anywhere, anytime as long as there is an internet connection. They can update and change any detail and everybody accessing the file will see the updated version in real time. This is unlike an Excel sheet that can only be accessed on a single computer.
Peachtree’s complete accounting software provides an efficient and secure option for businesses that are looking for a cloud-based and cost-effective solution to manage their data. From accounting to HRMS and CRM, Peachtree’s automated and accurate features ensure consistency across your business functions. With the wide range of available integrations, scalability options, and team collaboration capabilities, you not only save time, but can also trust that your processes will be reliable and result-driven. Unloop takes pride in knowing the importance of cloud accounting, and we use the same software to manage the accounting needs of different businesses. With this comprehensive approach to accounting software, you can rest assured knowing that all of your valuable data is securely protected, and easily accessed, on the cloud!
An ideal way to start every workday is to perform a business health check. It involves analyzing data and financial reports about income, expenses, sales, clients, suppliers, your team, and the different projects you run.
It will greatly help if you can get all this information not by opening several spreadsheets but by opening just a single software that instantly pulls up the reports. That software is QuickBooks.
This article will discuss the best QuickBooks for small business features and the ten advantages of using this accounting and bookkeeping software for your business in 2023.
The first benefit you’ll reap in signing up for a QuickBooks online plan is a partnership with bookkeeping experts whose first task is to handle your bookkeeping backlogs. Get all your files and documents from the past months ready so that your partner bookkeeper can categorize and track each transaction.
After doing so, you’ll receive Live Bookkeeping, as QuickBooks calls it, which includes tracking income and expenses and storing important data like invoices and receipts in one place. Aside from these, you’ll have at least two video calls with your bookkeeper per month to ensure that you are updated on the different areas of your business finances.
Cash flow management is one of the essential tasks you need to do for your business. It ensures that the money coming in and out of your business is all accounted for. Also, through cash flow monitoring, you’ll know if your business is profitable, or you can plan ways to make it one.
The QuickBooks software monitors your cash flow, from capturing images of receipts and automatically categorizing the transaction to ensuring all income from sales and client payments are reported. It records all transactions in real time, especially bank integrations and automatic invoices.
Speaking of invoicing, skip the hassle of printing them, as you can create one-time-only invoices or recurring documents electronically through QuickBooks. You can request payment from your clients by adding a “Pay Now” button to the invoice. Your customers can then conveniently pay through this method, and their payment will go straight to your account, recorded as income.
Do you manage a team and have several employees relying on the monthly salary they earn from you? QuickBooks can also assist you in paying them on time by recording employee timesheets and automatically computing them. Then, you can send your payments in a few clicks.
Many businesses cram tax calculations or hire bookkeepers or accountants only when tax season comes. This practice may work, but it is not effective in getting an accurate view of your business to calculate your profit. It would be best if you also deducted the tax you need to pay.
QuickBooks promptly tracks all data needed for tax calculation, such as receipts, expenses, and payroll taxes. Data accuracy is the priority of the software, so it assures you of $25,000 tax penalty protection for any tax penalty you receive.
Whether you have staff working in-house or remotely, you can manage your team and monitor project progress through QuickBooks.
QuickBooks is also a payroll software that has a time tracking feature your employees can use. It automatically generates an invoice for the hours they render, calculating their salary, taxes, and other details about their payroll. After payout, it categorizes the transaction under expenses. All these happen in using just a single small business accounting software!
For team and project management, QuickBooks allows you to see your team’s progress. You can check out how your teams are faring on their tasks and cut the hassle of contacting team leads one by one.
Linking your bank account to the QuickBooks accounting software has many advantages. Here are some of them.
What is cloud-based accounting? It is an accounting type in which all your data is stored not only on your QuickBooks desktop app but also in the cloud, allowing you to access it anywhere on the Internet.
This data storage type is safe because only you and the people you give access to can see confidential financial data about your business. You and other people accessing the cloud can see the same data updated in real time. Data is always backed up, too!
QuickBooks is an example of an accounting solution using cloud-based accounting. You do not have to worry about your data security as it has 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer encryption, making it safe.
Do you perform weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual reviews? Good news: even daily reports are possible since QuickBooks tracks all your business transactions.
Some of the information you can generate, thanks to the complete data you have, are as follows:
In addition, your partner bookkeeper in the Live Bookkeeping service will also give you reports, insights, and even consultations about your business at least twice a month.
Most likely, you are using other applications in your business processes. To ensure that you do not need to access them one by one to check them, integrate them into the QuickBooks accounting tool.
Here are the integrations you can include.
These integrations will make payment transactions and inventory management in different e-commerce sites easier. Because of integrations, you can access your inventory data, order fulfillment, sales information, and other essential statistics about your business in a single software.
How much is QuickBooks for a small business? The pricing varies depending on the services you want to enjoy.
QuickBooks has four basic plans you can choose from.
All these plans include free setup, which allows you to connect banks and credit cards to the system; discussion of QuickBooks best practices; and automation of tasks. If you want to know how the software works, you can also sign up for a 30-day free trial.
Do you want to enjoy the benefits of using QuickBooks, but you still have questions about how to use QuickBooks for a small business? Then, delegate your business accounting and bookkeeping tasks to QuickBooks experts here at Unloop. We have a team of bookkeepers and accountants who are well-versed in the software and can get your business data organized.
If you are looking into using alternative accounting software like A2X or Hubdoc, we can give you a hand too. Contact us now so that we can discuss your needs! We’d love to offer you our solutions!
Unloop is the first and only accounting firm exclusively servicing ecommerce and inventory businesses in the US and Canada. With the power of people and technology, our team dives deep into COGS and inventory accounting.. You are paired with a dedicated bookkeeping team that prepares accurate financial statements, financial forecasts, and can also pay bills or run payroll for you. Come tax time, everything is organized and ready to go, so you don't need to worry. Book a call with an ecommerce accountant today to learn more.