RUBIXCLOUD BLOG

My Life as a Paper Bill

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="1560" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]If you are one of the companies that is waiting to be pulled into the cloud, I have some recommendations for you. Making a full conversion to cloud technology is ideal and will provide enormous benefits. But, if you need to take baby steps, there is ONE main process I would recommend you implement now. 1. I arrive in your mailbox outside the building on Monday, May 11th. 2. The receptionist opens me and puts me in Joe Bob’s mail slot on Tuesday. 3. Joe Bob is out traveling to clients for three days, so when he returns on Monday May 18th he finds me! 4. Joe Bob lays me on the corner of his desk and at the end of his to-do list for approval. 5. Joe Bob forgets I am there, because I get covered with other papers and he is knee deep in the middle of a huge sales deal. 6. It’s now been two weeks, (Monday June 1st) and Joe Bob finds me again, nearly three weeks after I was mailed from my home. 7. Joe Bob delivers me back to the receptionist and says “I don’t approve these- it should go to Steve”. The receptionist then puts me in Steve’s mail slot. 8. Steve gets me the very next day and puts pretty marks on me and gives me back to the receptionist. 9. I am back in a mail slot, very dark. But this time, it’s Amy in accounting! 10. Amy pulls me out one day later and lays me on her desk. It’s Wednesday June 3rd, and she does not input bills until Monday I hear her say, so I wait, on the desk, for five nights. 11. Monday, June 8th, Amy runs me through a weird machine with lights and then clips me to some other papers and delivers me to Jan’s desk. 12. Wednesday Jan moves me around a bit and makes some pretty notes on the papers clipped next to me, and puts me back on her desk, but this time, I am in a basket. It must be time! 13. Friday, Amy picks me out of the basket and makes a lot of noise after she unclips my paper friends. I will later discover this is when she is taking a check that was cut to pay me and stuffing it in an envelope with a copy of me (THAT was the weird light machine). 14. She then attaches some other papers to me with a (OUCH!) staple and puts me BACK ON HER DESK…… 15. Next Tuesday, June 16th, I move into my new home, a filing cabinet! Now if someone needs to find me, they can dig through a bunch of other files, and in a few years, they may even have to drive somewhere. So much fun! Now- compare that to this: 1. Upload your bills (vendor direct email, fax, message). 2. Approve your bill from your PC or mobile device. 3. Pay your bill from your PC or mobile device. If you are one of the companies that is waiting to be pulled into the cloud kicking and screaming, I am here to tell you that the “old” way, while comfortable, has to go. Making a full conversion to cloud technology is ideal and will provide enormous benefits. But, if you need to take baby steps, start here.  Call us, we can make it happen![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

QSR Managers: EXCEL is NOT your best friend

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In practicing more years of accounting than I would like to divulge, I have continually advocated the “misuse” of excel spreadsheets. My team will tell you that I am always pushing them to use the system, and not “work around it by going to Excel”. But, what if you believe your best system IS Excel? I have encountered so many franchise owners and managers who live by the data they are plugging into their excel spreadsheets. As a matter of fact, I received an email a few weeks ago from a potential client with “our new and improved tool” for managing stores. You guessed it- it was an excel spreadsheet. And not just any old spreadsheet- lots of formulas, colors, calculations, links- it is very fancy. I went through the tabs and did my usual due- diligence, internally questioning why anyone would ever institute something like this as a daily tool or required practice for their restaurant store managers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Picture for a minute as a store manager- you are in the middle of lunch rush hour and your DM is asking you if you filled out your sheets today. Let me give you some examples of data that should be input into these spreadsheets: • Daily gross sales • Sales tax • Credit card sales • Cash deposit • Total deposit • Cash over/ short • Gift cards redeemed • Invoice detail for food and supplies purchases • Daily scheduled labor[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="1550" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You get the picture- this list could go on for eternal blog posts. Ummm.. isn’t this data already captured in the POS???? From my perspective, this spreadsheet is actually not providing any valuable information, but draining the organization of efficiency, accuracy, and resources that could be devoted to getting good information. The goal of managing your store is to increase sales, decrease costs, and deliver great customer service, all while trying to turn a profit. Is transferring numbers from your POS or paper invoices to a spreadsheet really the best way to do that given today’s wealth of technology? The short answer is NO. If you are one of these owners, store managers, or other that is still managing the operations of your stores using excel, you need to recognize there is a better way that produces far superior results than your excel spreadsheets. It goes without saying the excel sheets are full of errors- even if one tab is right- statistics show that many of the next ( in this example 23!!) likely are not.  How can you expect someone to manually enter that much data in the middle of managing a store and get it right? Or not accidentally change a formula? Or wipe out a calculation cell? By the time they are done, assuming it’s correct, and it gets to who it needs to be to make decisions, the crucial moment has passed. The ultimate question you need to answer: What value is this spreadsheet bringing to you daily? Hourly? REAL-TIME? I can answer that for you- nothing comparable to a real-time solution that manages all of these metrics as well as your financial reporting for you. If you are using excel to manage ANY part of your daily restaurant business, including daily deposits, let’s talk. We can make it go away.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Success in Leadership: VISION

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="1539" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]I am very fortunate to have worked with a company for many years that hires team members in a non traditional manner. While sometimes we hire to fill a specific position, there have been just as many occasions that we simply hire because of the person. What that means is that when we are presented with someone who appears to be a good fit with our culture and is otherwise qualified, we may not have a need for them at the current time, but we hire them because they complement our team and deep knowledge base. Because of that practice, our culture is hard to beat and from my perspective there is a sincere level of appreciation and respect for all members of the team, no matter what technical level they fall under.  I was having a conversation with one of those team members recently about what it takes to lead an organization, and he made a comment that has resonated with me for several days. He said “You cannot lead an organization without vision.  I (referring to him) view the task at hand and how it impacts today.  A leader sees the impact of that decision and how it will affect the people, the process, and the organization with the end in mind”. He was spot on, and it has really made me think about what it takes to be a successful leader, especially when you are dealing with a business that is in the growth stage. My position is not unique – there are people everywhere leading the ultimate success, or failure of their organizations. The range is just as vast - small not for profits to billion dollar for profit companies. The job of leadership, at its core is truly about that vision. The vision that is transcribed from the leader must facilitate and manage the continuous improvement of the organization around a swirling mass of technology, people, processes and emotions that are constantly in a state of change. A leader that exercises good vision is able to see the potential in all of these dynamic forces and map them to their highest and best uses. Another way of saying this is that the best leaders share a very unique characteristic: VISION: They see things that others don’t or cant. The vision turns the potential into a reality.  It is a difficult job - mapping out the pathways to achieve that vision, and always being on top of the change to understand and try to imagine how it will impact the organization. From my perspective, it is a fine line to walk not to micro manage any member of your team, but each task, each conversation requires particular attention without perceived intervention. It requires me to always be asking “why are we doing this?” or “what is the end goal of this process/task/method?” Once you have analyzed your current position against the vision, you have to have the drive to make the change happen. Continually challenging the status quo without repatriation from your team, outside investors and naysayers, and displaying the strength and the fortitude to see those changes through. In summary, he was right, being a leader requires vision. That is the necessary starting point, but you have to drive all of your resources towards that vision, and a vision without action means nothing. What have you done to be a leader today?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Respect: The solution to QSR employee turnovers?

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="1522" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]Next to food, labor is the biggest cost for any QSR franchise restaurant. There is much written about the high costs of turnover and how restaurants cannot keep good employees. From the operations and accounting end, it’s no secret that turnover in a franchise restaurant causes significant work and cost. We deal with some of these issues every day. From paperwork for hiring and termination, updating the payroll systems, training a new employee on procedures- that is all a big investment. Whether they are teenagers or parents or retirees, why can’t store managers keep good employees? I have a unique perspective, in that my 16 year old daughter has worked for a few major brands for almost a year now. Recently, she took a job with a local restaurant as well, and she shared her perspective with me about why good employees leave. Unfortunately, it’s not groundbreaking. It’s the same concept as with any job you take at any level. She said to me that the one location she worked at where people stayed was where the manager treated everyone with respect. Is that rocket science? Granted, this is from the perspective of a four days shy of seventeen year old, but the message is the same. When I asked her for specific reasons, here is what she shared about what makes a good manager. 1. Managers can’t be your friends - It is ok to be friendly, but you have to be a leader. Making friends with store level employees often leads to the appearance of picking favorites, even if that is not their intention. Playing favorites leads to many other issues. 2. Be consistent - No shift, or day is ever the same. The Store Manager needs to lead the day with consistent communication to the team, and consistent expectations for each employee given their shift and assigned task. 3. Don’t be spiteful - This one took me by surprise. She has worked at three separate locations, two brands, and said that at each location the managers would exhibit behaviors that were categorized as “spiteful”. For instance, if you as the employee did something that the manager did not like (even if it was just requesting an extra day off) the manager would take it out on the employee in terms of scheduling, task placement, or just bad attitude. 4. Recognizing the differences in employees - This one requires some explanation. The team is made up of high-school and college students, single parents, retirees, and some in between. At any location, some employees are just looking for spending money, while some are using the position to support themselves or a family. The manager must understand the motivation for the job, and treat the employees accordingly in terms of scheduling, task placement, training, advancement, and expectations. When hiring your next store manager, the business side is important- they have to understand the operations, the accounting and have many other skills to be a successful QSR Store Manager. But at the end of the day, a business is successful because of its team. If your manager cannot lead and build the team and treat them with respect, your store will ultimately suffer from increased labor cost due to turnover.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Customer Experience - What Makes it Over the Top?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I recently had the pleasure of purchasing a new car. I had been watching and researching for a while, but not quite certain what I wanted to get. It just so happened that simultaneously my 16 year old daughter started driving so I needed to purchase something used for her as well. Knowing what I wanted to purchase for her, I kept my eye out and found the car at a local dealership. It was one of those “no-haggle” deals and within two hours of the test drive, we had sealed the deal. My customer experience for purchasing that vehicle was very positive, though not over the top. However, during the process, the salesman had dropped a few hints about some new cars on the lot and he was very personable and went out of his way to acclimate my daughter to her new car and follow up in the few weeks after. So, I called him the following week and told him exactly the car I wanted and the price I was willing to pay. He proceeded to make my customer experience the absolute BEST I have had in the history of purchasing a new vehicle. The question boils down to WHY? It was all in the details. It was not just the price or the timing or the person. Here is what made me believe it was over the top.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]• Attentiveness. Nick (the sales person) never stopped responding to emails or calls in a quick and informational manner. Every question I posed, every change I wanted, he accommodated without forward facing frustration. • Consideration. My time, my schedule, and what I needed was more important to him than seemingly making the deal. In fact, when I told him I did not have time to drive my car over to sit and wait for the appraisal, he drove to my office himself (30 minutes away), took the car for the appraisal, and delivered it back exactly three minutes before I had to leave for my next appointment. • Delight, or maybe better phrased: Personalized Experience. Every step of the way it was about what would satisfy me.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="1515" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]He went out of his way to find exactly the car I wanted, and had everything ready when I arrived at the dealership to sign the papers and drive away with the car. That final experience took a bit longer than in wanted, but my perception of the overall process was over the top. I would go there again, and recommend him to anyone. As I look at this entire process and apply it to my own business, I have to question my clients and my team. As with any business, we have values that we strive to maintain, and I want them to all have that customer experience that delights them. That might be stretching it when referring to delivering outsourced accounting services, but it got me to thinking, what can we do better to deliver a top of the line customer experience? No matter what business you are in, it’s important to ask yourself this question. Whether you are a QSR trying to compete in the current delivery wars, a new car sales person, or the deliverer of outsourced accounting services like myself, improving customer experience is now more important than ever. The objective? Consistently exceeding the needs and expectations of your customers so they become vocal advocates of what you provide.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Does your QSR store manager understand the numbers?

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="1502" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]It’s amazing how many QSR store level managers don’t seem to really dive in or understand their financial information. While we consistently provide this information and detailed cost reports to each store manager, very rarely do any of them ever question the information. I often wonder if they are just not looking at it, or they don’t understand it. There are a few rare occasions when we receive questions, and it’s typically the same group of people.  However, even when questioned, I recognize that the substance of the questions would likely be unfounded if the managers had some training on where the numbers were coming from and what they really mean. Recently, a store manager emailed me to tell me that her monthly financials were clearly wrong because food costs were too high. Her comment? “I only purchased $10,285 in food during this time period, my food costs are overstated at $11,174”.  For anyone familiar with how food costs are determined, this comment has no relevance, but all that she could see was that she had paid invoices of $10,285 for the time period so we clearly must have included something in error. Actual food costs is a pretty straightforward calculation, but it includes more than what was purchased for the month. You must also account for your beginning food items on hand (beginning inventory) and what you had remaining at the end of the period as well (ending inventory). Actual Food Cost = Beginning Inventory + Purchases – Ending Inventory. This is the number that will be represented on your financial statements. Of course this number can be misstated if the inventory counts are not accurate, or if the purchases have not all been accounted for either, so It is definitely important to monitor and question the actual food cost number. There are many topics I could digress to as they relate to food cost, but the point I am trying to make is that this particular store manager has historically dug into the details more than most.  I was somewhat shocked to see the question, and realize that she did not understand this basic concept. Without that knowledge, how can a QSR manager effectively analyze the true food costs for the period? Or against ideal food cost?  The short answer is they cannot. If you are an owner of a quick service restaurant, or many, and you are relying on others to manage them, make certain that your managers understand the POS metrics, the monthly financials, and the detailed cost control reports that are being provided.  Our outsourced accounting solutions provide significant detail, reconciliation, and transparency into transactions.  However, if the end user does not understand it, the store is not being managed as effectively as it could be.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Redundancy

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="1494" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"][vc_column_text]- pronounced /rəˈdəndənsē/ “the inclusion of extra components that are not strictly necessary to functioning, in case of failure in other components” OR “the use of words or data that could be omitted without loss of meaning or function; repetition or superfluity of information” How do you feel about doing things “the old-fashioned” way? I heard this word more times than I could count last week. I was fortunate enough to attend a franchisee convention where I had the opportunity to speak to many quick service restaurant owners. Rather than use that word, I also heard phrases such as:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]• I have this annoying feeling that I am doing things the same way my father would have done it years ago. • I find myself emailing the same .pdfs of receipts or invoices multiple times (to my accountant). • I am answering questions about the same types of transactions month after month. • The period end financial statement process is painful. I have to send a packet of information, and I don’t even see financials for six weeks or better. • Friday morning at 7 am comes too quick. It feels like Groundhog Day when I sit down to sign 65 checks for the bills that I have already reviewed once. • My accountant keeps sending me excel spreadsheets to update with the same information on bills that I am sending in emails. • Payroll is never right, every pay period we spend hours trying to fix mistakes and still end up with bad information. So, all the above comments quantify a perfect example of “redundancy” when it comes to performing the back-office accounting for an organization, NOT just a franchisee. If you are a business owner, and you can identify with any, or even all the above comments, the facts are that your accounting solution of choice is inefficient. What does that matter to you?  In these examples, redundancy means that the accounting function is reviewing, or entering the same data multiple times. That can lead the errors. That also leads to spending too much time dealing with details that can be transmitted through technology.  This time can be used to analyze your data and provide you with some insights, or better yet, get your financial statements back to you within a few days of period end and not a few mounts.  Your accounting team is including extra “components” that are not necessary. In today’s world of technology, why bother including redundant tasks that cause inefficiencies and error? Embrace the technology and build your workflows around it.  Utilize best practices, and outsource what OTHERS are best at so you can do what you are best at.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Setting yourself up for growth : from 1 store to 100

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="1471" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]What if you could easily expand the volume of your operations and reduce back office costs? Most franchisees believe that expanding from one unit to two or three to five has to be a significant additional investment in back office operations, meaning they need to hire more people and have more office and storage space.  That’s not true!!!! However, the facts are that is how many franchisees still plan for growth.  Accounting is a function of the number of transactions, and how many bodies will be needed to process those transactions.  Add to that fact pattern that the typical franchisee is also attempting to manage financials with a traditional accounting software program. Given these circumstances, it would take increased labor and a bigger building for that team to work in.  However, if you are trying to set yourself up for growth, let me propose a different way. Start by using a fully automated cloud based system. Regardless of how many locations you have, the cloud based system “listens” to your POS, your bank, your payroll system and your vendors by recording data they send over.  If you send the data, like a paper bill, the system can receive that too.  Payments are made to vendors electronically, and financials and other reporting can be accessed anytime, anyplace and can be automatically emailed to you as well. With a system like that, adding another location can almost be seamless.  Hooking up another location to your cloud based solution does not require hiring, training, learning, or additional document storage space. In addition, when you have a team of outsourced accountants managing that system, the possibilities for growth are endless.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]What does this really mean to you? You still need an accountant, just not as many. Using a traditional system, one accountant would be working a full 40 hours weekly to manage this for 10-15 stores.  Now, that same accountant can work 40 hours weekly to manage significantly more. You have the quick ability to exploit an opportunity when it presents itself. No more worrying about how you will get the back-office piece moving. Data integrity. When cloud based solutions speak to one another, it eliminates human error.  There is no “reconciling” to excel spreadsheets. Allocations of bills among various locations is also no longer a manual process. With a traditional system, these allocations are calculated outside of the system and manually posted. Overall increased efficiency, accuracy, and reporting capabilities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you are forward looking, and want to set yourself up for growth, consider your back-office operation.  Is it time for a change? If so, give me a call and let’s talk about how we might be able to help your business.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

IS RESTAURANT FOOD WASTE AVOIDABLE?

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="1400" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"][vc_column_text]According to a publication by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), it is conservatively estimated that U.S. Restaurants (full and quick-service) generate between 20 to 30 billion pounds of food waste each year. Combine that with Statista’s estimate of 647,288 restaurants in the United States and the result is about 33,987 pounds of food waste annually per restaurant. YIKES!?![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Are you doing everything you can to manage your inventory? Along with labor, it is the most important cost you have to manage to maintain profitability. Many restaurant owners find themselves swirling in a mass of paperwork each day related to taking physical inventory, recording the purchase and use of inventory, and trying to plan for exactly how much they will need on hand for the current day and weekly sales. That’s a tough job when you are doing it all by hand. If you manage a QSR, you know there is no crystal ball, but if you don’t have the right tools to help you manage your inventory and make these decisions, then you know that it can result in significant waste of product. Additionally, if you are relying on excel, gut, or just a weather prediction to make these decisions – there is likely room for improvement. What does that translate to in terms of dollars and profitability for your store? And what specifically is causing it? It would be wrong to say that it’s all on the “front end”, meaning before you make the sale. Some of that food is wasted by the consumer after they purchase it. However, a good store manager knows there are specific areas that can be managed to cut waste before it gets to the end consumer.
  1. Trim waste- This is especially important for those QSR’s that do a lot of their own food preparation. Some QSR’s get all of their buns ready to use. However, what if you buy bread and slice it? Who is monitoring the trimmed ends? At the end of the day, you likely have enough trimmed ends to make several more sandwiches.
  2. Mishandling- This can encompass many different meanings. It could be overcooking the food, not processing a customer’s order correctly, or even when preparing “pre-packaged” items they are put together incorrectly causing you to throw the food away before it gets to the consumer.
  3. Wide ranging menu choices- The more your customers have to choose from, the more ingredients you must manage.
  4. Making too much- This is largely dependent on your ability to forecast sales. Along with number five, this is one of the major downfalls of many QSR’s.
  5. Buying too much- Trying to predict sales and regulate your inventory purchases can be the most difficult part of the job. Many managers are still doing this in a very manual fashion which will inevitably result in errors.
All the above costs are manageable, but store owners need to implement a less labor intensive method to be able to quickly identify the high food costs and take action.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]My recommendation would be to stop taking inventory using paper sheets, managing reorders using pencil and paper combined with gut instinct and sometimes a bit of knowledge about last Sunday’s sales. This is not the best method. While it clearly is not providing the real-time data that you need to make quick decisions, it is also a huge waste of time, effort, manpower, and money. The solution? Invest in the technology that will enable your store managers to take inventory, manage counts, monitor ideal food costs, and forecast orders. With the right tools to manage this process and get actionable insights restaurant managers should be able to eliminate waste and increase profits as a result.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Are you ready for a new direction?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you google #OutsourcedAccounting the search results will inevitably return every accountant in the stratosphere that wants to take over your back-office bookkeeping and pay your bills. Chances are you might even return #WVCRubixCloud. We fall into the category of “taking over your back-office transactions”. However, I think it’s important to explain why we differ from the competition. Change is difficult and often requires a reality adjustment. Many organizations today are plodding along with processes that they have built, grown with, and sufficed. What I mean by that, is the processes to perform the accounting and related functions are serving the business purpose because the business purpose has also evolved with the processes. Until someone can show you a better way, you just keep doing it the way you are doing it. That’s where we are different. Many prospective clients assume that we are going to take over their accounting and do it the way they are doing it, but there would be little value in the service that we provide if we maintain the status quo. As a CPA, I have done a significant amount of traditional accounting work over the years, but my passion and specialty truly is transformation. What does that mean? First, let me define transformation. According to businessdictionary.com: “Transformation is a process of profound and radical change that orients an organization in a new direction and takes it to an entirely different level of effectiveness.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]I love the essence of this definition! Who wouldn’t welcome change that results in an entirely different level of effectiveness? That being said, many organizations are apprehensive to embrace the concept a new direction because they are afraid of change. It’s normal to fear change, but completely rejecting change can cripple growth and even sustainability. My skillset and experience have provided me with a unique ability to assess and detail the processes in your organization that are holding you back. Once I have uncovered the areas of improvement, then I will identify best practices with suggested solutions on exactly how and why you should change.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="1394" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]For example, while reviewing how you are currently processing daily transactions, I can trace where those transactions touch many other parts of the  organization.  The revenue cycle inevitably touches your customer- which is a forward-facing position. Do you want to appear to your customers as though you are plodding along? What about payroll? Your payroll process has a direct impact on your employees. How do you want to appear to the people who are helping to make your business successful? What about the accounts payable process? Are you still writing checks? Are you paying late? Are you filing paper invoices after you spend an hour signing checks? Is that how you wish to appear to your vendors (who are likely supplying your competitors as well)?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Appearances are important, but there is much more to gain from transforming your accounting and back office operations to be the highest and best.  At WVC RubixCloud, we are poised to help you get from point A to point B, not just by taking over the accounting function, but by transforming it to an entirely different level of effectiveness. Want to learn more?  Give me a call and let’s talk about how we might be able to help your business.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

POS Fraud: Four important pieces of data to monitor

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Restaurants operate with a Point of Sale (POS) system.  In general terms, it’s the back office recordkeeper for the restaurant. Many restaurant owners and managers use it for standard sales reports, customer reports, dashboards, and loads of information by transaction, by hour, by person, by day. I often wonder how many restaurant owners and managers are using “the rest of the data” to identify fraud or the potential for fraud in their quick service restaurant. If someone is motivated to commit fraud, technology can be underestimated in its ability to reveal the truth. Devoting four minutes a day to the following four data points in your POS may reveal fraud happening in your quick service restaurant:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]
  1. Consistent or multiple “no-sale” transactions: hitting this button allows the cashier to access the drawer without making a sale, and easily remove cash.
  2. Voided transactions: these can occur throughout the day (trends can be viewed by shift, by employee) but can also especially occur at the end of the day (after close).  Whomever is doing the end of the day reconciliation can void transactions and take cash equal to the amount of the sales.
  3. Excessive discounts: employees can input a discount for a customer but the customer pays full price, and the employee pockets the difference. This can also be accomplished through excessive coupons. You want to be able to identify the use of discounts to a particular product or employee.
  4. Labor exceptions: look for changes to time-clock information, WHO is changing it, and by how much.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="1429" img_size="large"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This data is readily available for you, whether it’s via dashboard, web-based, or an email alert, and someone should be monitoring these types of transactions daily so that action can be taken if/when something appears amiss. In addition, it’s important to review the trends of these transactions over time. Upon doing so, you will begin to see patterns occurring by shift, by register, by employee, or even product. Often the system can allow you to set parameters of what IS acceptable and what IS unacceptable for each variance being monitored. When the results are filtered and determined unacceptable, the system will identify those that fall outside of the acceptable limits with no effort from you. If you have implemented integrated video surveillance, then these reports become even more valuable. The POS will highlight transactions that you have identified as exception transactions (voids, no- sales, etc.) and it can pinpoint the surveillance footage to determine if a crime has truly taken place. Clearly, reviewing the POS data in tandem with the surveillance video is the ideal, because if employees know they are being monitored that closely, they may think twice before attempting any of these transactions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

DATA INTEGRITY and Closing the books

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="1276" img_size="large" onclick="img_link_large" css=".vc_custom_1522160034244{padding-top: 5px !important;}"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]If you know me, or have had the opportunity to hear me speak, you would know that before I made the transition to lead an outsourced accounting practice, my goal with my book of business was for them to “master” their internal accounting before the numbers came to me to prepare the financial statements and tax returns. I did not want to spend my time reconciling cash or trying to figure out why their retained earnings was off by $37,502.82 from where it should be. That being said, I often found myself diving into the weeds to untangle various account balances.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Eventually, I would uncover the error, post adjusting entries, and educate the client so that they could avoid this mistake in the future. WASH, RINSE, REPEAT – I found myself doing this over and over again throughout the years, but It never made sense to me how this could happen in the first place. Now that I am on the “other side”, I see how this can happen. There is a term in accounting, no matter what side you are on, called “closing the books”. What exactly does closing the books mean? Generally speaking, this is the point in time when no further entries can be posted to a period. For example, my team goes through a systematic process each month which involves finalizing bank/credit card reconciliations, tying out trial balance accounts to the sub ledgers, and review of the general ledger activity for accuracy. Once that process is complete the balances are physically locked down for that particular period. Best practices in accounting tend to lean toward the notion that once a financial report is generated (common balance sheet and income statement) for a period, you should no longer make changes to it. I knew this to be true from my experience in “public accounting”, but no matter how many times I would tell the controller not to change prior balances, inevitably, it happened. Regardless of the type of accounting software that was in place, there’s always someone with admin access that can unlock the books or the accounting team was unaware of how to properly execute the function, and they did not recognize the impact such changes can have. Now that I am leading an outsourcing practice, it was one of my highest priorities to institute this practice as part of my team’s monthly task. Once the reports are approved, the books are closed – no one can “get back into” the books and change them. If something truly needs changed, there is an option to post an adjustment to the period, but that adjustment must be approved by a CFO, and documented as well. Once the adjustment is posted, new reports are generated.  That does not happen often, and requires client approval. Why is this so important to me and my team? Data Integrity. In the simplest terms this phrase can be described as the prevention of unintentional changes to information to ensure that when the data is retrieved it is the same as it was when it was recorded. Without a formal process to close the books, augmented by technology, you will never have data integrity. Anyone can go to a prior period and void, change, or even delete transactions without these safeguards. Many executives don‘t have the time to review the prior month information as compared to current year to date – it’s a straightforward way to commit fraud![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Are you prepared to deal with changes in your financials that you did not even know about? If not, give us a call and let's talk about how WVC RubixCloud might be able to help you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Five Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Business Process Outsourcing

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image="1254" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]Over the course of hundreds (if not thousands) of conversations with prospective clients and referral sources – I have heard nearly every excuse in the book as to why someone might choose not to outsource their back office accounting function. I recognize and respect that business process outsourcing is not for everyone. However, I compiled a list of the most common reasons that I have heard over that past few years and added some commentary as to why the stated reason not to outsource might not be relevant.

It’s not the right time.

To me this is like having children- is there ever a right time to have a child? Is there ever a right time to move forward with a major change to your business? Often we are forced to adapt because of an aging workforce, competition, technological advances, or a host of other external pressures. Outsourcing your accounting is not something you will ever be forced to do. On the other hand, choosing not to do it because of timing is not a good reason. If you have at considered outsourcing in the past, then it’s likely that the accounting function is no longer meeting your basic requirements. The longer you wait, the further your business will fall behind.

Quality Control

Fear of losing control over the accounting function is a normal response to have when confronted with the decision to outsource. As the Director of an outsourced accounting practice – I can assure you that our company was designed with segregation of task centric duties in mind, and we employ a diverse team to execute those duties. When considering long-term needs such as accounting, our business is built on creating processes to manage each client’s overall accounting function. It is those repeatable processes that also provide quality control. We have the procedures, technology, and a structure that envelops the entire process so that the service delivery is consistent, efficient, and accurate.

Confidentiality

Many business owners delegate way too much responsibility to lower level team members. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that an average company loses 5% of its revenues each year due to fraud. If you are not outsourcing, then you are sharing your banking credentials, payroll information, and check signing authority with staff members who are most likely reconciling your bank statement. I think that it is easy to see the correlation here. When you outsource with us, you can expect to work with qualified professionals with clear segregation of duties and internal controls over accessing your data. The most important piece is that you still maintain control and access to your most sensitive information while being able to leverage cloud-based data protection.

My team knows my business…

That may very well be the case, but let me just be frank: they don’t know accounting like we do. Much of the accounting function is made up of transactional processing tasks, and data entry specialists do not need to know your business inside and out in order to perform these tasks. Depending on the complexity of your business – your team might be faced with specialized tasks or even transactions that are beyond their skillset. When that’s the case one of two things happens:
  • • They must reach out to someone who does have the knowledge (typically your CPA that is billing by the hour) to ensure the transaction is recorded correctly, OR
  • • They go ahead and record the transaction incorrectly and the CPA that you are paying by the hour must untangle the mess at the end of the year.
  You can avoid the two scenarios above by choosing to outsource your accounting.

It costs too much

Most outsourcing relationships that are based purely on cost tend to fail. If you believe that business process outsourcing is too costly, then perhaps you have not considered all the costs you can potentially replace. Additionally, you must consider the potential value that your current team members might add by reallocating their talents to value-added activities. When we present prospective clients with the comparison of costs they are often surprised at the numbers. If the notion of outsourcing being too costly is preventing you from making the change, then you should consider speaking with a reputable firm like us so that we can walk you through that analysis.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In closing, if you have decided not to outsource your accounting in the past due to one of the reasons mentioned above, then we would love to speak with you to learn about your business and determine how WVC RubixCloud might be able to help you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

You may be overlooking one of the most significant reasons to outsource; the cost of losing someone on your accounting team….

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Finding and retaining the best talent is critical for a business to thrive in today’s economy.  According to data gathered  by CompData Surveys  the rate of voluntary and total employee turnover has incrementally increased by 1% over the last 4 years.  In 2016, the total turnover rate for all industries was 17.8%.  This growing trend, paired with the rising cost of losing valuable employees is enough to keep business owners up at night.  To better understand the impact of turnover, let’s dive into an exercise to identify direct and indirect costs of losing a valuable employee from your internal accounting staff. Assume you are paying an accountant $60,000 annually.  This is clearly above the bookkeeping rate, but well below a CFO cost.  For this exercise we will not consider the benefits, employer payroll taxes, or other special arrangements. Let’s also assume that this individual is primarily responsible for your accounting function and that you do not have an HR department within the organization.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]Here are some of the costs you may incur immediately to replace this individual:
  • • You may hire a recruiter at a cost of 20-30% of the first-year salary.
    • • Subtotal: $12,000 -or-
  • • You may choose to place an add yourself using Indeed or CareerBuilder.
    • • If so, you must consider the cost of the ad and the time involved to write one.
    • • In addition, you might have employment test or screening costs.
    • • Current employee time lost to respond to resumes and interview candidates
    • •Opportunity cost of the above depending upon their position
    • •Estimate: $2,000.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="1113" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
  • • If the accountant had accrued PTO – that’s cash out as well.
    • • Assume two weeks: $2,308.
  • • Getting the job done during the hiring process. These costs can end up being major, depending upon the time it takes to replace. Let’s estimate eight weeks. This is a big one- because there are a few different choices that can be made here:
    • •Current team picks up the slack. This could mean overtime paid by the hour or asking salaried employees who are already full to step in and fit the bill. Depending on how long it takes, overtime can be very costly, and you don’t want to upset the salaried employees.
    • • Overtime for an hourly worker who makes $20 per hour could amount to $300 per week, or about $2,400 for 8 weeks, being entirely conservative at 10 hours per week.
    • • Hire a temporary person to fill the basic accounting needs. This person will come at a premium rate, will not know your business, and will likely disrupt current staff asking questions about how to get the job done.
    • • Same scenario, but $20 per hour would be tripled- $7,200 for 8 weeks.
    • • Some companies look to their CPA to provide a temporary fix, and that is typically a premium hourly rate as well.
    • • These rates are typically over $150 per hour, so $12,000 for 8 weeks
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you consider some of the assumptions and estimates above and apply some simple math; the exercise demonstrates that you could potentially be on the hook for more than half of the lost employee’s salary during that 8-week period. To extrapolate that even further – you may end up paying 150% of the annual salary by the time the new hire is trained and fully productive in the position. Now consider this scenario from an investment standpoint – does it make financial sense? This is the textbook definition of being stuck between a rock and hard place. The two choices that come to mind are to attempt to proceed without replacing the lost employee (NOT RECOMMENDED!), or you can proceed with the above scenario (OUCH!). Are there any other options? I believe so! A third option might be to outsource the back-office accounting function. By choosing to outsource your organization would gain a team of professionals that have deep accounting experience, documented procedures, strong internal controls, and no future impact on your organization if there is additional turnover of accounting staff. Additionally, business process outsourcing firms tend to leverage technology that is designed to streamline processes and create efficiencies. These efficiencies eventually lead to a faster close process which translates to timely and accurate reporting. If you find yourself in this same scenario, then unstick yourself from that rock and hard place, and consider business process outsourcing as a viable third option. At WVC RubixCloud, accounting is what we do best, and we would love to talk with you about your situation.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What do Alignment and Change have in Common?

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="1029" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]It is no understatement to say that change is difficult.  We can define levels of change. Simple - Choosing to drive a different route to a “regular” client’s office one morning. Moderate - Adopting a modern technology tool to replace a manual task that is part of your daily routine. Advanced - Changing the processes and technology that your organization uses to record accounting transactions. The latter would be considered a transformational change.  Implementing new processes, technology, and workflows to make your accounting process more efficient, transparent, and effective. I am in the middle of trying to convince a professional services firm that this type transformation is necessary.  After having done a thorough discovery of the current accounting process, my definitive conclusion is that it’s archaic. In 2018, when someone looks at me and tells me they are monitoring daily cash using “an old six column”, it becomes imperative that I make the case for change. To make that case, you cannot single out the accounting process.  Sometimes those 6 or 12 columns might fit the bill, as much as I hate to admit it.  However, the need to rely on paper must be reviewed when looking at the current strategy of the company, the challenges it faces, and other business conditions. In this case, my professional opinion forces me to inform management that it is a necessity to update the process and the technology.  As a trusted advisor, I know and understand the Company’s future vision; therefore, it’s imperative that they begin channeling the proper resources to support that future vision and current goals. That being said, change comes with push-back, especially those that will bear the burden. This scenario is no different, and the team has risen to the occasion to defend the current state.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]What can make the difference here? ALIGNMENT... To ensure the highest success of this transformation, executives and the senior management team must present complete alignment with the goals.  Those at the top must embrace and be committed to the change and can demonstrate how achieving the goals will represent success to each employee, and the company. To fully engage and present such alignment, the executive team must first recognize the value.  In my experience, it seems that those who have the power to make the change are typically the ones pushing back the hardest.  To them “it works”.  They don’t see what the team under them is doing, or how, to make it happen. My job is to show leadership the powerful impact that this change will have to their organization if they accept the responsibility to lead this change and business transformation, and vice-versa if they fail to align themselves with these goals.  They can then be comfortable leading the charge with their teams for ultimate success.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

IT'S THE SAME STORY - AGAIN!

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="994" img_size="large" onclick="img_link_large"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]I had the pleasure of meeting with a potential new client last week, a referral from another CPA.  It was our first meeting, and I really did not know much about the organization or how they operate, but it did not take me long into the meeting to figure out that they were the typical small business trying to manage growth. As the processes that makes up their accounting cycle began to surface through conversation, I said to myself “This is the same story I hear every time”. Because it’s the same story, lucky for them I have the same answer- Outsource your Accounting! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I thought it might be helpful to share some of the specific characteristics and dialogue of this “same story” scenario. So, let’s start with your current financial statements, can I see a copy?
Um, as they look at each other, we don’t have those? We get them sometimes for a month, but we never really look at them because they don’t make any sense.
Ok, so how about your revenue cycle.   Is someone reconciling the billing record reports of receipts to the amount that is showing as revenues in your general ledger and ultimately cash deposits in your bank account? 
Now I have total blank stares at me, and then at one another.
So, this bookkeeper that’s writing checks, do you review the bank statements or the checks written?  
They look very proud as they say “We have delegated all of that responsibility to her! She took it completely off our plates.  We ship the invoices to her, she pays them and even reconciles the bank for us each month. We don’t have to think about a thing.” 
Are you thinking the same thing I am at this point? If there was something I was going to delegate regarding my business to one person, it would not be sole control of the bank account. That is merely a few sidesteps around a much bigger problem. Their accounting function was in complete disarray, nothing documented, somewhat managed by an external bookkeeper and the office staff, but no accountability to the owners.  That’s what I see, all too often, and then they are afraid of change as well.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Based on this “same story” scenario, the potential changes are all positive.  My team helps the business owners transition from the complete unknown to a system that is fully documented, laden with internal controls, and provides complete financial reporting and transparency at any given time. Do you find yourself in similar situation to this "same story" scenario? If so, it’s time to change your story![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

I’m Giving up…….

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]These are not exactly the words I wanted to hear from a prospective client.  I was knee deep in the selling process with this company, and the owner asked to meet for lunch.  Mind you, this prospect (as most seem to) would really benefit by outsourcing the accounting function. Over the last few years the business had grown significantly and was facing challenges with geography, staffing, and operations. It’s very difficult to make someone see the value you can bring, but that’s part of the passion of doing what I do.  In the first meeting we had months ago I could sense the frustration, and even pain that he and his management team was facing daily.  He went from a cash fat business to a cash strapped business. They were struggling to manage the bank accounts for multiple locations each day, and the stress was visible for all. While I always have the need to explain in general terms what “outsourced accounting” will look like, it is like trying to explain infinity to a child.  Unless you have experienced it, or even spoken to someone who has already done it, it is very difficult to imagine how it might work for your business.  Much like anything, that is just a lack of knowledge.  It does me no good to say “we will pay your bills, we will post your deposits, we will balance your books”.  That’s a given, and most business owners don’t understand what “balance your books” means, and they assume that’s already being done by their team internally, but that does not even matter, because with today’s technology, that piece is getting easier to do.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]What matters is the phrase I opened with: “I’m giving up”. What he meant by this comment was that he was ready to hand the reins over to WVC RubixCloud.  After weeks, even months of me trying to convince him there was a better way to manage, he finally understood the value that we could bring.  As the lunch proceeded, he made many comments that now justified his decision internally to himself, and they were spot on:

• I cannot keep this all in my head if I want to continue to grow and be successful;

• I know how to pay my bills, but it takes too long and now that I have grown so much the volume is too much for my team to handle, and we are making mistakes;

• Important details are slipping through the cracks;

• I think that we are overspending in certain areas, but we are spending so much time just trying to pay the bills that we cannot analyze how much we are spending or even build a budget;

• I paid my CPA well over $30,000 last year to “clean up” my books before they could even start to work on my tax returns; and

• We are using people on our staff that are not accountants to step in and help with accounting related tasks and I think they have just been making the process difficult.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="983" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Have you ever found yourself with these same thoughts running around in your head? We are the accountants, and we can and will solve those problems for his Company.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Employee time theft: 5 actions to prevent it

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="960" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]Employee time theft occurs when an employee gets paid for work he or she did not do. Can you prevent it? Not entirely, but you can mitigate it. IF it’s happening in your restaurant, that means it has been allowed to happen. Just like any other process that needs to be followed in your store, recording employee time is a policy that must be communicated and documented. So, what can you do?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
  1. Make sure there is a formal policy regarding recording time and that it is documented.
  2. This policy needs to be communicated to all employees via formal dissemination of published rules and a crew meeting to review.
  3. Employees should be required to sign acknowledgment of receipt and review of the policies to maintain employment.
  4. While this list is not all- inclusive, here are some of the more important topics regarding limitations on time recording that need to be covered in the policy:

a. It is the employee’s responsibility to clock themselves in and out. No one may clock another employee in. While it may be clear to you that it’s not ok to clock in a late coworker who has not arrived it, it may not be obvious to your team members.

b. If an employee fails to clock in or out, the store manager should be the only one who can change it in the POS system.

c. Daily break periods (meal, other) should be provided in compliance with any state laws but clearly defined in number of minutes and quantity as part of the verbiage.

d. Clear description that employees that are clocked in are not to have their cell phones on them during their clocked in time. They should only be allowed to use them during the prescribed breaks.

e. Extensive socializing with other team members or customers during working shifts will not be tolerated.

f. As has been discussed in previous posts, acknowledge that management has the right to conduct video surveillance of the interior working areas and parking lots of the restaurant to ensure safety and compliance.

5. Finally, a clear plan of the next steps of action if the employee is caught violating any of the procedures. Some examples might be:

a. Disciplinary action- additional days not scheduled; b. Suspension pending Termination; c. Termination; and d. Legal Action.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Taking these steps will let employees know that you are watching, and that it is a critical issue. Asking them questions about their time will also let them know that you are reviewing their time records, which will naturally result in employees taking fewer risks with stealing time.   You need to review the data that is available and start analyzing it to make decisions that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

DIVING INTO LABOR COSTS…. THEY ARE NOT STEALING, YOU ARE SIMPLY NOT MANAGING

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]With labor and related costs generally being the highest or second highest of your prime costs, are you spending as much time and effort managing it as your food cost? The reality of the situation is that using labor cost as a percentage of your sales is not the optimum indicator of how you are managing your labor resources. If your target as a percent of sales for labor costs is 25% and the numbers come in at 27%, what do you do? Most store operators might say one of the following:

• We had significant turnover this month, that’s likely the reason.

• Sales in dollars overall are down, so of course the percentage would be up.

• Let’s see if the trend continues next month (by now, it is next month and you won’t know for four more weeks).

That will get you no control, or change over your labor cost quickly… which can create a negative downward spiral.  Here are some of the comments/questions you should be considering:

Did we run a promotion for a menu item that took significantly more prep time?

Did we have too many employees working for the sales demand that was incurred (not just by volume, but by items sold)?

What was the ratio of sales dollars to labor hours throughout the day? (week/ month)

Did we have to pay overtime because of ineffective scheduling? Or employees not showing up for a shift?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]If you are not asking those types of questions, why not? Are you aware of the multitude of issues that impact your labor cost? Do you believe that there is no additional way to “control or manage” your labor cost? Are you still scheduling manually and don’t have access to the correct data to compile?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="912" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You need to review the necessary data that is available and start analyzing the data to make the proper decisions that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Four reasons to outsource your accounting with RubixCloud

[vc_row][vc_column width="11/12"][vc_single_image image="845" img_size="large" alignment="center" onclick="img_link_large"][vc_column_text]This can be considered a debatable topic, but it is hands down the most repeated question I hear – from other professionals, from friends, potential clients- you name it. “Why are you different?” Here are four very important reasons why: 1.    Continuous Accounting General accounting is transaction driven. The outsourced model is continually recording those transactions using technology and automation so that you and your team have access to real-time information such as bank balances, balances due vendors, amounts owed on customer accounts, and even net income daily. The traditional bookkeeper model is not continuous. These are often on-site visits to record checks written and revenues received at the end of each month or on some other pre-determined basis. This is historical transaction recording, so you are not ever receiving up to date information. Once the month has been recorded, you are likely well into another, or even second month past when the transactions occurred. 2.     Skill Level Your accounting data is only as good as the people touching it. The outsourced model consists of a team of providers with deep accounting and industry experience, technical proficiency, and the requirement to continually maintain those skills through training. The outsourced model typically has a transaction specialist with experience similar to a bookkeeper. However, the team members also encompass accounting managers, controllers, and CFO’s, which provide a much different result than simply a transaction specialty.  Many bookkeepers are “software” specialists (QuickBooks, Peachtree) and their expertise lies largely the transactional piece, and providing the standard reports from the system. In comparison, the outsourced team provides a full range of services, from transactional to acting as your internal controller, and even provide the ability perform CFO functions such as board presentations, budgeting, forecasting, and detailed analysis. 3.      Procedures and Internal Controls Part of the onboard process with an outsourced accounting team is to walk through your processes and document them and work to make them more efficient. As those changes occur, they are also documented. If turnover occurs, someone new on the team is easily able to pick up and continue the record keeping. The spread of tasks among a team and technology ensures that the duties to separate tasks for compliance with internal control best practices is met automatically.  With a traditional bookkeeper, the responsibility typically lies with one individual, which is often worse than having the accounting done in-house. A significant amount of reliance is put on that person, and generally the only information received back to management is a profit and loss statement and balance sheet. 4.      Scalability and Impact Because we use automation, best in class software, and a team of professionals, we are poised to grow with you, wherever your business plan takes you. The transactional piece is a given, but the insight, technology capabilities, and data that we provide can take you from a $1 million to $50 million-dollar company seamlessly.  The traditional bookkeeper is limited to technology (again, typically using QuickBooks or Peachtree), the time constraints of daily tasks, expertise and even checks and balances as described previously.  At the end of the day, running a successful business requires information to make decisions. A bookkeeper tries to cram several weeks of activity into a few days, and typically manually enters that data into a software package that is not capable of analysis, and even if it was, the bookkeeper does not have the time or the knowledge to dive into that piece because they are so frenzied trying to get the period end closed in just a few days. Where advanced technology and client service converge is where you will discover the accounting solutions provided by RubixCloud.  We would love to have a conversation with you to better understand your current situation and determine how we might be able to help.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Four Ways to uncover TIME THEFT in your restaurant

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Many weeks ago, I touched on six ways employees could be stealing time. One of the questions that you should have been asking yourself is, “Do I have the tools and resources to help me identify how much time is being stolen by my crew members?” It’s estimated that 20% of every dollar earned by a US Company is lost to employee time theft. According to a Robert Half study from years ago (Link to Article), employees were stealing 4.5 hours per week. Think of the impact on your profits if even one employee falls within that range. How can you find out? Here are some suggestions.
  • • Look in the POS system or build exception reporting for time edits by the manager
    • o How often are time edits being made?
    • o Is it consistently the same employee(s) performing the editing or getting hours changed?
    • o How much time is being edited?
    • o Is there a pattern on the shifts?
  • • Productivity reports for employees
    • o If they are running the register- how many transactions per hour?
    • o Is the employee productivity comparative to others at same day/time?
  • • Video surveillance of the interior of the restaurant and exterior and comparing to hours worked for suspect employees
  • • For employees asking others to clock in, implement a biometric time system OR many payroll companies now have geofencing- the employee cannot clock in unless he /she is physically present within a certain physical range.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]The key is that these tools must be utilized real-time. Life moves at the speed of light, and it’s difficult when you are managing many employees, often at different locations to remember. It’s very difficult to go back and take wages away, but if you see an employee taking an hour break using video surveillance on Tuesday when he recorded only 30 minutes, it can be confronted immediately and corrected in the POS before payroll is finalized. Finally, timeliness with offenders provides the perfect opportunity to make sure all employees know you are watching, and enforces a zero-tolerance policy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="803" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Will AI really take away my job?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Every day my google alerts tell that because I am an accountant, I am going to lose my job to artificial intelligence. I disagree. When I think about the tasks that I perform daily in my job, I wonder how AI could replace them. Let’s start with Monday, last week. A potential new client called and wanted to meet regarding the pain points that she faces while performing daily accounting tasks.
  • • Could AI have played a role in driving to her office and walking through her business processes? It's very likely.
  • • What about redesigning workflows and making recommendations for software and related third party integrations? Perhaps.
  • • What about having lunch with the owner of the business to recommend the overall project, timeline and cost? This might be where AI ends.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_height="yes"][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]My daily tasks consist of some “functional” that I would love for AI to replace. “Hey Jennifer, we need a report that shows how much each employee contributed their 401k by month this year.” While producing that report is not time consuming or difficult, it is transactional, and I envision that within a year I will be able to speak to my computer and it will generate that report and email it to where it needs to go. The part of my job that I love the most is telling the stories. You cannot tell stories without the data. As recent as five years ago trying to manipulate that data was very difficult. Even today, smaller businesses cannot get accurate data to analyze. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="784" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]That’s the role that AI will play. It’s not going to take my job, it’s going to make it easier to get the information to tell the stories. AI will be doing the routine and transactional work, the data mining, the assimilation. AI is taking accounting to the next level- where it should be. Preparing a tax return is a commodity- AI has already changed that. The value you gain from a true CPA is their ability to rise above the details and see and interpret the meaning in the data that the company holds. Finally, they must be able to educate you, through that trusted relationship on what that data means. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

BIG DATA: SEVEN QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU ANALYZE

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]While the infographic below has nothing to do with accounting outright, in many ways it does. I found myself drawn to the simplicity, but also the volumes of information that are hidden behind the chart. 2.8 billion tweets were analyzed- and someone narrowed them down to less than 25 major topics to provide meaningful information about 2017. We could not do this ten years ago, maybe not even five years ago. Analyzing “big data” is a BIG responsibility, and you can easily get lost in it. The volume of data that systems can digest with today’s technology is increasing at rates we cannot even comprehend. So, if you want to analyze big data, what does it really mean? I have been practicing public accounting and all the tenets that surround it for many years. For all those years, I have been fascinated with data. I like to make sense of what I am looking at- a better way to say it might be making the numbers mean something. I spent many years pursuing a method to analyze the data- from simple financials to manufacturing reports to excel spreadsheets. Twenty years ago, was a completely different ballgame than today. In today’s world, there are numerous of methods, software and people that claim they can do this for you. The bottom line is, if you don’t know what you are looking for, you will get lost in big data.
What do I mean by that? Take this infographic for example (The Year in News 2017, According to 2.8 Billion Tweets).
Let’s suggest that someone presented you will all 2.839 billion tweets and told you to analyze it. It’s easy to say NOW that this would be your conclusion, but you must ask yourself many questions before you START to analyze the data such as:

1. Why is this data important to me? It’s difficult to believe, but we often capture data that means nothing to anyone. 2. What information do I want to discover? This leads to the source of your data. More specifically, is it customer information from your CRM, or is it product mix from your sales information? 3. What information has the potential to impact the way I do business? 4. How might “x information” change the decisions I am making every day?

These are broad questions about the data being captured. However, if you are the one who is capturing or analyzing the data, the questions need to be more, well, “geeky”. Some might include:

5. What will it take for me to believe the data results have integrity? This refers to using current, relevant information, or “clean” data. 6. How are you going to analyze the data? Clearly viewing or sorting 2.8 billion tweets would not have resulted in this telling infographic! 7. How should the data be presented? And Who will be viewing it? This is important because people process information in diverse ways. Some understand line charts, some number graphs and some just want you to tell them “X number of people tweeted about healthcare in 2017”.

This is only the tip of the iceberg- it goes very deep, and involves curiosity and communication at many levels. Once you understand that it takes a certain skill set to know what data you need, then you can begin to research the methods, software and people that can be deployed to crunch the data.         Jennifer A. Kinzel, CPA, CMA, MBA Director, WVC RubixCloud[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text]
Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist
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Employee theft: When incentives are not enough to prevent it.

[vc_row 0=""][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="755" img_size="medium" css=".vc_custom_1513693618334{padding-top: 5px !important;}"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text 0=""]In a previous post, I addressed using incentives to prevent employee theft. While incentives are a form of positive reinforcement, they are not the only solution. Sometimes you must go the route of checking up on your employees, and the most impactful way to do that is through video surveillance. This is a great option to deter employee theft. Theft often occurs simply because there is opportunity. When employees know they are being watched, opportunity disappears.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=""][vc_column 0=""][vc_column_text 0=""]There are significant benefits when you make the decision to invest in IP based cameras and monitoring software. This is not the old-fashioned tape that you need to sit down and watch at the end of the shift. With today’s technology, you can access the live video feed from any mobile device. In addition, the business intelligence that comes from such a feed can be matched against transactions in your POS system to pinpoint exactly when and where the fraudulent event occurred, and most importantly, by whom. If you are going to go to the trouble to install, what specifically should you be monitoring?
  • • The cash registers- cameras should ALWAYS be installed for a clear picture of those handling cash at the register.
  • • Entrance and exit- you cannot get food and supplies out of the restaurant any other way.
  • • Office space and safe area
  • • Stockrooms and storage areas
  It’s clear that this is an investment of both money and time, and there are many price ranges and options to choose from, and you might think that theft is not causing you a significant amount of loss. However, Video surveillance can be used for MORE than just employee theft:
  • • In food prep areas, it can be used to monitor the adherence to procedures regarding safety and potential unsanitary working practices.
  • • Vandalism- cameras can be placed outside bathrooms or exterior or the building.
  • • Safety- it promotes a positive work environment for the employees when you care enough to monitor the parking lots late at night when employees are leaving after closing the store.
  If you are not using video surveillance already, it’s time to consider the investment.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sage Intacct Customer Profile: Laying a Foundation for Franchise Expansion

[vc_row 0=""][vc_column 0=""][vc_single_image image="707" img_size="full" alignment="center" css=".vc_custom_1513022282690{background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=""][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_column_text 0=""]

Executive Summary

Results with Sage Intacct:

  • •  Laid foundation to help franchise business scale
  • •  Saved GM hours each month to redirect into strategic work
  • •  Slashed monthly close cycles by nearly 2/3
  • •  Eliminated duplicate data entry and manual reporting, cutting up to 20 person-hours/month
"Overall, the biggest improvement since we switched to Sage Intacct is the higher-quality informationwe can leverage to positively impact our gross margin. With complete, immediate transparency, we no longer need to dig through paper files or log into multiple systems to find transaction details. The visibility and drill-down capabilities we have with Sage Intacct are better than I’ve seen in any other system."

- David Hammack, President & Owner, NWO Penn Acquisition LLC

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Laying a Foundation for Franchise Expansion

A few years ago, an investment group called NWO Penn Acquisition LLC was formed to purchase four existing franchise units of the number one sandwich concept in the United States – Penn Station East Coast Subs. Since then, the group has opened two new quick service restaurants and made plans to build at least ten more stores in the Columbus, Ohio region. Initially, they brought on an outsourced accountant to manage day-to-day bookkeeping and manager bonuses across the multiple franchise locations. For the first year or so, she worked with on-premises software and several manual, paper-based processes, but this approach was ill equipped for a growing business. The team went in search of a more robust cloud-based solution that could integrate with Penn Station’s custom point of sales (POS) system, while streamlining accounts payables and enhancing reporting. “In preparation for our continued growth, we needed to transform expensive, manual tasks into efficient, automated, integrated workflows that could scale with us over time,” said David Hammack, president and owner of NWO Penn Acquisition LLC. “We wanted adaptable financial management software that was well-suited for a franchise business like ours, and chose Sage Intacct for its multi-entity, multi-dimensional general ledger approach.”

Streamlining Financial Processes with Best-in-Class Integrations

NWO Penn Acquisition worked with Sage Intacct partner, WVC RubixCloud, to implement the system and configure several automated financial processes. Previously, one of the biggest back office productivity drains was a significant amount of duplicate data entry required in both the franchisor’s POS system and the franchisee’s accounting software. Every month, the accountant had to gather sales data from each store, create accounting journal entries, and manually prepare profitability-based bonus reports. Now, WVC RubixCloud runs a simple import from Penn Station’s POS system into Sage Intacct in just 30 minutes, and the team has this important data by the second day of the month.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=""][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_column_text 0=""]
“I no longer need to spend an hour writing checks every week or worrying about whether our books are tying out at a high-level,” noted Hammack. “Now that we’re on Sage Intacct and Bill.com, everything’s automatically reconciled and I just spend 15 minutes or so approving financials and payables – a substantial time savings in my busy schedule. We’ve removed all of the mundane impediments from our financial processes, which allows me to give my team more autonomy and focus on higher-level strategic thinking.”

-DH

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text 0=""]In addition, they eliminated paper-based workflows by leveraging Sage Intacct’s best-in-class integrations and capabilities. Seamless connections with Bill.com and ADP – along with Sage Intacct’s easy-to-use expense report software and powerful bank reconciliation capabilities – enable quick mobile bill payments, faster manager reimbursements, better cash flow visibility, more efficient financials, and enhanced reporting for individual restaurants. In just a few short months, WVC RubixCloud is already realizing day-to-day accounting efficiency improvements of over 25%. As a result of these productivity improvements and the increased data accuracy they bring, NWO Penn Acquisition slashed its monthly close from eight to just two or three days.

Accelerating Growth through Timely Financial Insights

“Sage Intacct has opened up a world of new possibilities for our business. A year ago, if you’d asked me whether we would grow up to six stores, with plans to build many more, and look at new franchise concepts and cities to add, I’d have said we could never scale at that pace using our old system and processes,” shared Hammack. “With Sage Intacct, I have full confidence the solution will be able to handle our accelerated growth because we have more bandwidth to evaluate new franchise opportunities, and more informative data with which to do so. We can easily compare new concepts to real data, rather than relying on just the projected information that’s included in franchise disclosure documents.” Using custom reports built with the report writer in Sage Intacct, the team now accurately calculates royalties, advertising fund contributions, sales taxes, and store manager bonuses without cumbersome data manipulations in Excel. These reports, along with monthly trend information and store-specific operating income, P&L statements, and balance sheets, are automatically emailed to Hammack each month, making it simple to report applicable data back to the rest of the investment group and to Penn Station’s corporate office. The entire organization also has better visibility into cash flow and potential cost control issues, which holds store managers more accountable for their daily operating decisions. Next up, the team is preparing dashboards to track various vendors and expense types, so managers can compare spending across locations and find opportunities for cost savings during contract negotiations. Hammack concluded, “We’re probably avoiding tens of thousands of dollars in finance personnel costs each year because we have a strong foundation like Sage Intacct and great outsourced accounting services – that’s a significant savings for a company of our size.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=""][vc_column 0=""][vc_column_text 0=""]

About NWO Penn Acquisition LLC

NWO Penn Acquisition is an investment group in Columbus, Ohio that operates several franchise quick service restaurants under the Penn Station East Coast Subs brand. Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985, Penn Station now has more than 310 locations in 15 states, and is known for its outstanding franchise profitability and return on investment. Link to PDF[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

JENNIFER A. KINZEL RECEIVES CLIENT ACCOUNTING ADVISORY SERVICES CERTIFICATION

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Maumee, Ohio November 27, 2017 – Jennifer A Kinzel, CPA, CMA, MBA has recently completed and received her certification from The American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) in Client Accounting Advisory Services (CAAS). CPA.com and the AICPA collaborated with nationally recognized leaders to design and instruct learning modules to better educate and increase accounting professionals’ competencies in workflow analysis and design, consultative client interactions, emerging technologies, onboarding clients, and performing impactful client assessments. Aaron D. Swiggum, Managing Partner of William Vaughan Company, lauded Ms. Kinzel’s accomplishment. “Jennifer’s certification is a formal way of recognizing her tremendous skill and ability to service our clients in an effective, consultative way.  She has a high level of expertise and success working with our clients to understand and improve their financial metrics.” The American Institute of CPAs is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 412,000 members in 144 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]About WVC RubixCloud An affiliate of William Vaughan Company, WVC RubixCloud provides financial insight and leadership to help entrepreneurs, executive teams, and investors achieve new levels of success for their organizations. Services include a range of outsourcing solutions, from high-level CFO services to day-to-day accounting and everything in between. Identifying challenges and developing solutions that will help propel organizations forward is the goal of the organization.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="701" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jeff Meyer at 419-891-1040 or email at meyer@wvco.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Partnering with WVC RubixCloud using the Sage Intacct Platform

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="696" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"][vc_column_text]WVC RubixCloud is a member of a select group of outsourced accounting firms that are Sage Intacct Accounting Partners. We don’t sell software, we simply utilize the benefits of this platform to deliver high value financial services to our clients.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You may argue that you already have a software or you already have an internal team that can provide what you need when it comes to internal accounting. However, I would challenge that thought process. By partnering with WVC RubixCloud, we can offer so much more! Here are some of the unique benefits you may not have considered:  
  • o Process Improvements – Part of our process when partnering with you is to work closely with you to understand your business. This includes processes, people, workflows and needs. This allows us to identify opportunities for improvement, utilizing best practices combined with our platform and knowledge. The result is high value to your organization, creating maximum efficiency, productivity, and accuracy with the new workflows.
  • o Consultancy Services – We are laser-focused on providing quality outsourced accounting services that are far more than “traditional bookkeeping”. Our goal is to continually improve the value that internal accounting provides to all facets of your organization. In the case where processes span into Sales and Operations, we have impact there too.
  • o Localized Support – We will provide localized support at all levels. Our reach is not limited geographically, and we manage processes at the entry level, as well as top of the line with the owner of the firm. For something as important as accounting and finance that kind of accessible expertise proves to be a significant asset.
  • o Customization Options – Because we are so deeply engrained in technology, we are always seeking to improve our platform with integrations based on your unique specifications. If specific features and functions need to be adapted to better integrate with existing workflows or organizational structures, a we can do that.
  • o Client Growth– Some businesses cannot afford a deep accounting staff so we are an excellent choice for outsourcing the day-to-day accounting function. However, if your accounting staff is internal, there is expected high growth, and/or a need for strategic leadership, then working with WVC RubixCloud to outsource the pieces that will help your organization excel is also a great option.
  The key to success is to find a Partner for your organization that is committed to serving your needs. As you begin to consider your options, contact WVC RubixCloud for a complete discussion of your needs at no cost.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Labor Costs: Six ways employees are stealing time

[vc_row 0=""][vc_column 0=""][vc_column_text 0=""]If you are monitoring overall labor costs, you are starting in the right place. However, if your idea of monitoring the labor costs is reviewing the cost as a percent of sales each month, you are likely giving up profits to your employees for work not done! Let’s start with some of the ways that employees can steal time from you.
  1. The Buddy System- Using a co-worker to start the meter on the POS before said employee arrives. Basically, one employee (or friend) punches in for another when they are not there, or will be late. The best part? It likely goes both ways- so TWO employees are stealing time.
  2. The Cell Phone – calling, surfing, texting, playing…I cannot count how many times I have been in a drive-through and waited on an employee to finish a text before taking my credit card or handing my food. In addition, as I sit there and wait, I see other employees standing behind the counter using their phones as well.
  3. Clocking out for a half hour meal break, and taking an hour.
  4. Socializing with other employees or with friends who stop in to say hi instead of taking orders or preparing food or whatever their job responsibility is.
  5. “Forgetting” to clock in or out at the beginning or end of a shift.
  6. Unlimited access to edit time in and out in the POS after the fact.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text 0=""]Studies have shown that this time can add up to nearly five hours per week per employee. Do we even need to do the math? Yes, let’s. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Make sure you add 15% for payroll taxes, worker’s comp insurance and other benefits that you are paying for, so your full cost per hour is $8.34. For one employee on a weekly payroll schedule, that’s $41.75, or monthly, roughly $170, annually, $2,171 per year. How many employees do you have? Can you afford to pay $2,171 each year for each employee that is not really doing their job? Do you want to?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="688" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The next two questions you should be asking yourself are:
  1. How can I determine if employees are stealing time?
  2. How can I prevent it?
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Who Did it?

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4"][vc_single_image image="656" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4" css=".vc_custom_1511295944690{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_column_text]The Chamber of Commerce has done research that indicates three out of four employees will steal from you at least once. 50% of those same employees will steal again! Look at your crew….. which ONE is not the thief? What does that mean for your quick service restaurant business? [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]These employees might be walking out the door with cash- losing revenues is the most obvious. But what happens when they are stealing products that you must pay for? In quick service restaurants- that can amount to anything, and whatever they take adds up quickly. Some of the more obvious items that employees are stealing might be cash, office/ kitchen/paper or Janitorial supplies, coupons, perishable and non- perishable food items… the list goes on. Again, consider putting numbers on any of these items and see what the impact is to a single store location. Assuming that for every dollar in sales your food costs are at 21%, what happens to your profit margin if an employee steals $50 worth of food at the end of his shift tonight? For simplicity purposes, let’s assume your sales for the day were $500, and your normal food cost at 21% would be $105. However, because the employee stole $50, your food cost is now $155, or 31% of your sales. It appears that should be a glaring deviation when reviewing your daily food costs. However, many franchisees are NOT reviewing daily costs. Some only look at this information once each month and by then it might have smoothed out a bit so the food cost is only up 2% for the entire month. That 2% is easier to explain than ten, but if it is up consistently over averages then you want to find out which three out of four are stealing! How long would it take you to notice that food cost is 31% instead of the expected 21% on any given day? It is possible that sales of higher margin items just happened to spike at the same time, so unless you are diving in and looking at the details, you might not notice it. The real issue here is that $50 of product is $50 of product. It is cash out of your pocket because you must pay for it, and you are not able to sell it. You will never realize a return on that product. It’s important to recognize that theft occurs at ALL Levels- front line cashiers, janitorial, even store managers. The reality is that you will not be able to tell by looking at the person, or even by comparing the “historical ethical” background of the employee. If you are not aware of the 10/10/80 rule, you should educate yourself about who may be stealing and why. This rule states:
  • • 10% of employees are always honest
  • • 10% of employees are always dishonest
  • • The remaining 80% can be swayed based on opportunity and circumstance
  Bottom line, don’t give them the opportunity, and if it happens, you need to be prepared to catch it and stop it right away. Any operator that says it doesn’t happen in their operation is simply naïve or ignorant. When employee theft is estimated to amount to up to 10% of your revenues, find it![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Can incentives deter employee theft?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There is no way to prevent every possible scenario of theft in your restaurant. However, you can put programs in place to discourage your employees from stealing from you. A good place to start would be to simply educate your staff. This education should begin with your policies and procedures related to theft, what controls you have in place to prevent it, and what the consequences are. Providing guidelines and expectations makes your team more aware as they go about their daily tasks. Employees should be trained and updated annually on these policies, and sign an acknowledgement each time that they have received the information and will comply with it. As part of that process, you can make them aware of the impact that theft can have on the bottom line and what the ultimate consequences for everyone will be. Educate your employees on how theft can affect your company in either increased costs or lost revenues. They may know that, but they might not understand the overall impact on the business. It is your responsibility to make them aware how quickly this number can multiply based on the number of team members who might be engaging in this type of activity and /or the types of theft. To discourage or practice prevention of employee theft, consider giving them incentives. It’s important that the incentives are relevant to your crew, which is another reason to have the discussion with them. A program won’t work if the result is an envelope with something in it that no one wants. Some examples might be:
  • • Set a target time frame that you are trying to achieve zero tolerance. Remember that the general rule is the shorter the better. It will not be helpful to set a six-month target. If, within that time frame nothing has been discovered (surveillance, register monitoring, employee monitoring) then give all crew members a small incentive.
  • • Reward employees that speak up and turn others in. Anonymous tip lines are great, but employees will be motivated to speak-up if there is something in it for them.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]The incentives don’t have to be monetary. Here are some ideas:
  • • Choice of shift
  • • Choice of station (drive-thru/register/prep)
  • • Choice of location (if multi-unit)
  • • Gift card
  • • One hour of pay
  • • Other as customized to your team!
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="639" img_size="full"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It is management’s responsibility to communicate this to the team and support it. IT might take a bit of administrative work or even a small investment in technology to assist in the monitoring, but the time invested will have big returns for you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What is this Cost For?

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1510258500707{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="258" img_size="full"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text]When I worked as a “traditional” CPA helping clients clean up their monthly numbers and dealing with year-end tax and accounting issues, that question was echoed repeatedly by business owners EXCLUSIVE of industry. The owner/ management team delegates the financial controls to an in-house team of one or many and as a true business owner should, trusts that internal controls and procedures are helping to validate the final numbers. Of course, that’s IF final numbers are received. My experience is that financials in small to medium sized businesses leave a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy and timeliness and generally require significant amounts of clean-up work.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When the statements finally reach their destination (owner/management team) the questions start coming.When the statements finally reach their destination (owner/management team) the questions start coming.  
  • • Who is the vendor XYZ?
  • • Why did we spend $6,000 on advertising last month?
  • • Why did we pay vendor ABC $3,231 in July?
  • • Why am I paying for laser lights? Do we use those in our business?
  • • What is that cost FOR??????
  The scariest part?  No one generally knows the answers without a substantial investment in time to look up the detailed information.  By now, it’s likely three to four months AFTER the expenditure was incurred. Wouldn’t you like to know those answers BEFORE you make the decision to approve the bill? Clients that have transitioned to our services find that they have a deeper knowledge of the costs that are being incurred by their organization as a natural consequence of our process and solution. Even if you are not the individual approving the bills, the business insight that we provide is real-time and accessible from anywhere, even your smartphone.  You do not have to rely on your team to wrestle with the stacks of invoices and filing cabinets or wait two weeks when you want to know “WHAT IS THAT COST?” With a quick click, you can immediately have:  
  • • The pdf of the invoice
  • • Who approved the invoice
  • • Review requirements
  • • History of all payments made to the vendor
  Wouldn’t it be nice to have the answer in your hands before the question arises? Outsource your accounting to us, and you will! Jennifer A. Kinzel, CPA, CMA, MBA Director, WVC RubixCloud[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Employee Theft: The “Regular” Customer

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/4" css=".vc_custom_1510078259622{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="531" img_size="medium"][/vc_column][vc_column width="3/4"][vc_column_text]According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 5% of your revenues are going to go to someone else in your business INSTEAD of YOU! If right now- you could reclaim that 5% of your revenues for yourself, would you know where to start? The list is extensive- ranging from the obvious fact that employees can steal cash right from a sale in the drive through to less obvious transactions hidden in your POS system. Do you have a drive-thru that you frequent?  Let’s say, you visit a local fast-food joint every morning for your regular $1 coffee and $1 breakfast sandwich. You know that the total is always going to amount to $2.14, so you have it ready for the cashier.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This cashier has worked here for six years, and while you don’t know each other personally, she recognizes you and your order and is prepared to give you the total and take your money. However, she never rings the order into the system, so she can pocket the cash. WAIT, you say- technology dictates that the order must show up on the screen so the employees in the back can make the sandwich and the automatic beverage dispenser can pour the drink.   At this point, a few different options can occur:
  1. She has a co-hort in the food prep area who is preparing the food and giving it to her so they can split the pocketed cash.
  2. Coffee does not get run through the “automated beverage system”- so if the order is just a coffee, she runs and grabs it herself and pockets the $1.07 with no help from a co-worker.
If there is only one drive through window, no one will ever notice unless they are watching physically or with a surveillance system.  If there are two windows, one to pay and one to pick up, it’s not uncommon to get a beverage in the first window if that’s all that you ordered. Let’s put some numbers to that $2.14 breakfast transaction.  Assuming that’s the only one and it’s a daily occurrence, your store has lost $781.10 in revenues for the year from that one customer. WAIT- there’s more.  Not only did you lose the revenues, you also must pay the food and paper costs for those items given away, and the labor time spent making it and transacting it. WOW.  Eyes open now.  And let’s assume if there is at least one regular customer, there might be five.   You have now lost almost $4,000 of sales for the year.  For those stores that only average $35-40,000 sales each month, that’s 1% of your annual revenues. For an industry where 1% can make or break you, this is significant. Is your financial system strong enough to tell you when these types of transactions might be happening? Follow our blog to help you dig deep and watch what’s happening in your quick-service restaurant that is cutting your profit margins.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

WVC RubixCloud Director's Discourse: The Journey To Clarity

[vc_row 0=""][vc_column width="1/3" css=".vc_custom_1510262461881{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_single_image image="446" img_size="large"][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3" css=".vc_custom_1510262483877{padding-top: 10px !important;}"][vc_column_text 0=""]  As Director of WVC RubixCloud, I am dedicated to helping my clients achieve financial clarity and efficiency. I take my job personally and enjoy making a positive impact on the financial health of businesses so they can ultimately make quality decisions about their future. The journey to WVC RubixCloud has been a long one, but one that has been the most gratifying in my twenty plus years of accounting experience. Here is my story.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row 0=""][vc_column 0=""][vc_column_text 0=""]My experience as an accountant started fresh out of college with William Vaughan Company. For the first three or so years, I was the traditional accountant. Submerged in the world of financial statements and tax returns, I did not really enjoy what I was doing. After collaborating on a few consulting engagements, I realized there was a whole new realm of accounting that I needed to be part of. Today that world is the part of CPA firms that is “not the compliance piece”. I helped lead that charge for WVCO. I started spending my time working as an outsourced CFO for William Vaughan Company. I spent weeks, sometimes months, working for clients to “right” their accounting processes during a transitional period. I really enjoyed my job and it provided me great insight into the multitude of inefficient workarounds created to perform daily accounting and administrative tasks. I used this knowledge along with my Master of Human Resource Administration to begin performing operations reviews for businesses. An operations review was essentially a walkthrough and documentation of the accounting function, which generated a few tangible products to the client:

• A detailed analysis of the overall function including what was being done in accordance with best practices and what should be modified

• Suggestions on how to incorporate best practices

• For those that engaged, detailed standard operating procedures manual that served as a resource for staff turnover or absence including screen shots and formal written documentation of each step of the task.

I always came away with at least one of, or all the following similar promulgating conditions:

• Those performing the functions were under-qualified, but the business could not afford higher paid, more qualified employees.

• The software being utilized was not the best choice for the Company. As a result, external steps were being utilized to achieve the desired results.

• The data being generated was usually untimely, confusing, and often misstated.

I spent many “public accounting” years helping clients with both the operational and the financial aspects of their business or organization. I provided numerous presentations on business financial reporting and the true meaning of the numbers delivered by internal accountants. I have worked with various software packages and completed countless training sessions. However, I always concluded that the people AND the software, even the million-dollar ERP packages, fell short. So, what changed? A few years ago, I learned of a new approach to help my clients. I found an innovative tool to help me do what I love the most: solving problems. Welcome to the creation of WVC RubixCloud! Numbers often present a puzzle, a problem to be solved. They tell a story that needs to be mapped out. I ultimately love designing that map and making the numbers portray the story effortlessly. Using reports, dashboards, performance cards, and KPI’s that mean something and allow the user to see and understand what is really happening to drive the success of their organization is what brings me the most satisfaction. While you may think WVC RubixCloud is new in town, the reality is, we have been around for over fifty years! I am now able to utilize my vast years of experience and significant resources that come with being part of William Vaughan Company to make businesses work smarter. I can offer those resources and experiences to my clients in manner that provides expertise way beyond the traditional bookkeeper that most organizations already employ. I am proud to be a part of a revolutionary movement towards financial clarity utilizing cloud-based advanced technology. My extensive accounting background combined with the long-lasting reputation of William Vaughan Company has offered WVC RubixCloud the chance to positively impact businesses in a significant way. This is not your ordinary outsourced accounting solution, but rather a game changer for the future of your business. Jennifer A. Kinzel, CPA, CMA, MBA Director, WVC RubixCloud[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

5 Outsourcing Mistakes To Avoid

Mistakes If you have landed here, you are probably looking to outsource some function of your business, specifically accounting. With today’s advanced technologies, many companies are enjoying the benefits of outsourcing. Whether you're outsourcing your accounting, human resources or IT function if an experienced firm can do it smarter and faster, why not let them do it, right? Experience has taught us that this theory may have significant truth, however, if you do not completely understand outsourcing and what it entails, success can be hindered. Whether you are new to outsourcing or considering switching providers, it is important to avoid these five outsourcing mistakes to ensure a successful outcome. Internal disorganization. If you are looking to outsource simply because everything is in disarray, it is time to “straighten up your house” first. Using outsourcing as a quick remedy may generate other obstacles which ultimately leads to poor results. Outsourcing the accounting function provides great standardized procedures for the pieces that are being outsourced, but if part of the workflow starts or ends in your office, you must first build your internal workflow to support the outsourced process. Focusing solely on the price. While outsourcing is generally much more efficient than in-house processing, the old adage “you get what you pay for” is applicable. You should look for cost-effectiveness combined with accuracy, not necessarily cheaper. Inability to identify your outsourcing needs. In some situations, it is not best to outsource every function. Only those processes outside of your core competencies. For example, a nonprofit that has customized contract billing on a governmental website. Is this something you want to outsource? One wrong entry and your funds could be held up for months. Let the program manager continue to do the invoicing and your outsourcing team can record the receipt of the funds! Eliminating company guidance. If you choose to outsource your accounting function, you have moved the functional task from your plate onto another. But don’t kid yourself into thinking that you never have to think about it again. Your company must be involved with the numbers on a daily basis. The end goal is to have a clearer picture and be able to make quality business decisions based on real-time data. Communication and collaboration are key to ensuring your objectives and goals are being achieved and this involves internal participation. Lack of internal processes. Outlining guidelines, processes and procedures are necessary to ensure success. Internally, these procedures must be set in place. If you have major cash flow challenges or a complicated and unique system that requires day-to-day decisions about what to pay and what to hold, outsourcing may complicate your system. If your challenges are a result of poor processes or lack of transparency, having a plan in place will make your outsourcing experience efficient and painless. Remember the goal of outsourcing is to eliminate inefficiencies and provide clarity to make better business decisions. Taking the time to prepare your organization and avoid common mistakes will make the process much smoother and less costly. Now that you have taken the time to recognize what to avoid, download our presentation on how cloud accounting services can change your business.
WVC-RubixCloud
WVC RubixCloud
 

Paradigm Shift: Moving Beyond A Bookkeeper

Business ThinkingIn a society of evolving technology, we are constantly faced with new ways to make our lives easier. Whether it be mobile check depositing or online prescription refills, our world has developed into one of instant information and gratification. No longer do we need to anticipate the delivery of data, it is now at our fingertips. Financial information about your organization should be no different. As technologies have advanced, the prior notion of “write-ups” and bookkeepers has evolved into real-time accounting, or cloud outsourced accounting. There has been a paradigm shift, one that moves beyond the traditional capabilities of a bookkeeper. For decades, businesses and organizations have employed bookkeepers and “write up” firms to maintain their financial books. The typical scenario usually employs someone to perform the day-to-day accounting functions such as paying invoices, writing payroll checks and performing other back office accounting duties. Most often, this internal staff member wears many hats for the organization including that of a receptionist, an administrative assistant, IT, or even the owner. Nevertheless, this individual is attempting to manage the organization's books based on limited knowledge. To supplement, a bookkeeper or a “write-up” firm is hired to close monthly books and prepare tax returns. The first scenario is utilizing your CPA firm to do “bookkeeping”. This is generally done at year-end when the financial statements and tax returns need to be prepared. A staff accountant is responsible for reviewing an entire year’s worth of general ledger activity and making sure that the postings are accurate, consistent, and the ending trial balance figures agree to all supporting documentation. Speaking from experience, it is not easy to untangle or remember transactions from twelve months ago. It is not the most efficient process, and what’s worse, the data is not accurate until the staff accountant has finished the reconciliation which is sometimes months after year end. What decisions can management make based on data that while accurate, is now historical? Another familiar scenario more common in the early days of my career was bookkeeping known as “write-up”. Clients wrote checks each month and at the end of the period forwarded the check stubs to an in-house bookkeeper. Those checks would be coded in a software, questions resolved, and a “management use only” financial statement generated. Again, accuracy may be achieved, but the financial statements for the month were not received in a timely fashion. There is a real disconnect between real-time business transactions processed daily and the after-the-fact financial reports received months later. Organizations accept this archaic model because it is all the have and know. This model is outdated! Stop seeking the help of a bookkeeper. Look to WVC RubixCloud to leverage advanced technology to provide your organization with a dedicated accounting specialist and a CFO to deliver real-time actionable financial and operational data. Customize your reporting to meet your needs and gain insight into your organization you never imagined possible. If you are ready to change your game and remove the burden of bookkeeping, then download our 9 Signs Its Time To Outsource Your Accounting handout below. Don’t rely on your historical data any longer! Move beyond the capabilities of a bookkeeper and engage an effective outsourcing team.  
9-signs
9 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Accounting

WVC RubixCloud "The Game Changer"

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There Is Gold In Your Numbers

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9 Signs It’s Time to Outsource Your Accounting

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There Is No Magic Formula for Small Business Success -- Only This

Robert-Reid11By: Robert Reid, CEO of Intacct I've been asked many times to lay out my magic formula for building a successful small or medium-sized business. I usually respond by saying there's no magic, only hard work and experience. While this is certainly true, the success of a small or medium-sized business depends on dedicated execution of the following: articulating a clear mission, hiring the right people, setting goals and measuring progress toward them -- and then resolving the inevitable conflicts that arise. The latter task is truly the tricky part! With that in mind, here are the five ingredients in my "not really" magic formula for small or medium-sized business success. 1. Develop a compelling mission. A clearly articulated, compelling mission attracts talent to the organization and encourages strong commitment to the team. It also acts as glue to keep members of the team unified over time. When formulating a mission, start with the why not how. Why is the company here? Why have other companies been unable to solve the problem? 2. Find the right people. Locating talented people with the right skills and experiences is essential, but that's the easy part. The hard part is finding people with the right character traits. I look for people who like working on a team. Many smart and successful people don't work well in teams, and it's harder to create a successful organization with them, in part because as the organization grows in size, conflicts become harder and harder to resolve. I also want to hire people who are champions of change and with a natural ability to establish plans, structures and processes. These traits are critical because people lacking them simply won't be able to support a rapidly growing organization. Ultimately, it's the personality traits of staffers (their attitudes, beliefs and actions) and their commitment to the mission that results in a company culture that's capable of fostering successful execution. 3. Set clear goals. The process of creating long-term goals and short-term objectives to support the mission is also essential for successful execution. Clearly articulating these goals helps ensure that the people and processes will be geared toward moving the organization in the right direction. Consider a school of fish or a flock of birds: If the goal is to move from Point A to Point B, no progress is made if each individual creature moves in a direction of its choosing. In a workplace each member of a company's team should strive toward the same goals. 4. Measure progress. Setting goals doesn't mean much if its not possible to measure progress in achieving them. Attach specific financial, operational and process-oriented performance targets to specific activities supporting the objectives. Measuring these activities against the targets offers a clear picture of the progress toward the long-term goals. Based on the picture that develops -- and with input from the team and the marketplace -- continually refine the objectives, supporting activities and measurement targets to ensure continued successful execution. 5. Be prepared to resolve problems. No matter how successful a company is in developing a compelling mission, hiring the right people and measuring progress toward goals, problems will arise related to strategy, execution and culture. To tackle problems, I like to start with the empirical data. I look at the progress made toward the measurable targets to determine what the problem really is. Is there a profile of the customers not adopting the company's solution? Are partners not moving forward with the company because of an unforeseen problem? Finding empirical data points can help in determine how big the issue is. Then I address the root cause. Did the company not understand the opportunity? Did team members not communicate effectively internally or have the right processes? Did the organization not provide enough services to customers? Has the competition successfully countered the company's messaging? With all the key stakeholders gathered in a room, I ask them to write down what they think is the problem's root cause. We brainstorm for a while to be sure every possible issue has been surfaced. Then I ask everyone to rate each suggested cause on a 100-point scale. We focus the discussion on areas of disagreement. This process enables us to quickly expose and address the biggest issues first. This is contrary to the practice at other organizations (focusing on agreement and ignoring outliers). But those who use this sometimes difficult problem-solving process say it can facilitate an alignment. Ultimately, ensuring agreement from all stakeholders about the approach and encouraging their contributions are the only ways to help an organization efficiently execute its plan and produce something better than what any other company can produce. --- Rob's content was originally published here.  

Security in the Cloud

Cloud Security As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a number of security implications to consider when converting to the cloud. Most cloud computing providers have already gone through a rigorous vetting process for their applications and data centers. Some provide their own data hosting center while others contract it out to a third party. The term security may refer to the physical security of your data in the cloud, the ability to access data from your own mobile devices, or even the protection of individual applications specific to your business. The following is a cloud security checklist of some essential questions and details regarding data center that you should consider when partnering with a cloud computing provider. • What class of data center do you use? The optimal answer would be a Tier 4 data center which offers built-in redundancies such as power supplies, internet connections, and hardware. These "redundancies" also refer to automatic backups.
  • - A redundant power supply means if the power goes out at the data center, a diesel generator takes over immediately to keep your system running smoothly until electricity is restored.
  • - In the case of internet connections, a tier 4 center has multiple internet connections to prevent the loss of data resulting from weather or service interruption
  • - Finally, redundant hardware means the data center has multiple drives, servers, etc. which guarantees an available backup file at all times.
  • How do I know the data in my applications is secure? There are multiple answers to the question. A reputable data center and cloud service provider will have some of the following characteristics:
  • - Policies and procedures are set in place to protect your data. These include administrative controls at the data center, as well as on-site to permit limited access to those who have rights to particular files and functions within your applications.
  • - Firewalls should be in place to protect against unauthorized third parties from accessing your data during transmission.
  • - Anti-virus detection software and data encryption software. These detect and remove viruses during transmission of the data, as well as encrypts the data when it's going from your provider to the data center.
  • If someone steals my computer or phone, can they access all my data from the cloud? Data is actually housed at the data center, not on the internal hard drive of your computer or mobile device. The beauty of the cloud is the ability to access your data from anywhere with an internet connection. A log-in and password will be required, therefore you are not at any more risk than you would be with traditional methods of online activity. • Make sure you have the terms of your engagement set in writing. The data provided is your, not the providers. Make sure there is documentation in place to retain your data if and when it comes time. In addition, you should also specifically outline a time frame for retrieving your data and a method. The choice to outsource your accounting services to a cloud-based provider is a big decision. Take the time to evaluate your options and to ensure each provider has the necessary standards in place to protect your data. For more information, check out our previous blog: Top 5 Myths About Outsourced Accounting.

5 Questions To Ask Your Controller

Controller QuestionsAs the office of the controller becomes ever more strategic—creating higher levels of financial visibility to help drive growth and profitability—the financial organization's relationship to the controller role must evolve as well. Specifically, today's CFO needs to work closely with the controller to ensure that, one, the organization gets the full benefit of the controller's talents and knowledge and, two, the controller's office is operating at the highest levels of efficiency and accuracy. Exploring the answers to these five questions with your controller will help create a stronger, more effective financial structure. In fact, your entire organization will benefit from a finance team that understands and controls sources of financial risk, implements more efficient processes, and develops deeper insight into both the financial and operational metrics of the business.
  1. How many manual journal entries are we making during the closing process?
  2. Have you reviewed compliance with local jurisdictions?
  3. How long does it take to close our books? What's holding things up
  4. Are we still using excel? If so, why?
  5. Can we integrate our financial information and our operating metrics?
To read the full whitepaper, click here.  

Sage Intacct's 7 Reasons to Move to Cloud Financials Now

The frantic pace of modern business shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, it is accelerating. Enterprises have to operate in an always-on, digital world in which we all expect results on demand. But their incumbent systems are letting them down. Traditional financial systems were typically designed in an era when it might take days or even weeks to collect and process information. The mismatch to today's high-speed expectations means the right answers don't arrive when they're needed. Modern, ambitious businesses need a financial system that's designed to operate the way they do – one that's adaptable, responsive, and ready to deliver timely answers on demand.   It's always tempting to postpone the necessary action – to put off change until another day. But when colleagues don't have up-to-date information, they risk missing crucial warning signals or remaining blind to developing trends. Margins stay under pressure because it's so hard to chase down costs. Customer billing questions are left unresolved. Key performance indicators constantly lag behind the curve. Every month that passes is yet another missed opportunity. Don't wait until a crisis forces your hand. The time to act is now. Fast-moving enterprises understand the importance of right-time information to compete successfully in a digitally connected world. They recognize the risks of delay and the rapid advantages a cloud financial system brings their business. There are seven reasons now is the time to move to cloud financials.     Click here to read Sage Intacct's complete whitepaper!  

Director's Discourse: What Is The Cloud?

Where advanced technology and client service converge is where you will discover the accounting solutions provided by WVC RubixCloud. As Director of Cloud Accounting Services, I have made a commitment to embrace innovative technology as our business operates through the integration of cutting-edge software and programming. One of the most common questions I receive is "what are cloud accounting services?" To acknowledge the efficiencies our solutions provide, it is essential for you to understand the cloud and how it works. Whether you know it or not, you use the cloud on a daily basis. If you log onto Facebook, pay your bills online, or surf the internet, you are using the cloud. Cloud computing, or the cloud, is the general term for anything involved in delivering hosted services over the Internet rather than on your local desktop. The cloud involves multiple remote servers which are networked to allow the sharing of data-processing tasks, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources. The cloud permits higher volumes of information to be shared than the traditional direct connection to a server. What is cloud accounting? As Cloud-Computing-Converted Cloud accounting serves the same function as the accounting software installed on your computer. However, the program runs from outside servers and access to the program involves using your web browser, over the Internet. Cloud accounting employs the cloud to process your accounting transactions. Traditionally, businesses and organizations purchased accounting software, installed it on internal computers or networks, and processed transactions with the program. WVC RubixCloud provides an application (general ledger software) which is hosted on someone else's system, allowing you to complete your processing by accessing the program online. All of your data is securely stored and processed on a remote server in the cloud. How secure is my data? The cloud is often times more secure than being on your own network. In fact, cloud computing offers a level of physical and electronic security that an on-site server or a locked file cabinet cannot begin to approach. It's important to understand that data hosted in the cloud is managed by a data center. All data centers are different and independent. You need to make sure the data center you choose can manage the data you are processing. There is a whole checklist of security measures you should be aware of, and I will address those in a future post. Cloud computing offers more reliable protection from internal data loss than other communication methods because it gives you centralized control over your data. It's much easier to establish and enforce policies for a cloud-based system than for the individual silos of email accounts, physical media, applications and flash drives that handle on-site data storage. Is cloud accounting expensive? Computing in the cloud has proven to be significantly inexpensive compared to traditional methods. There are fewer overall costs associated with cloud computing. There is no software to install and maintain. The IT infrastructure required is simply a connection to the internet, whereas traditional methods include a series of networks, applications, and workarounds. Cloud computing provides you the flexibility to utilize only the services you want, when you want them, and at a fixed monthly fee. So, now that you know more about the cloud and cloud accounting, why should you make the transition? Check back later this week to find out 7 reason to move to the cloud! JAK

On-Site or In The Clouds?

Leaders of both large and small nonprofits face a myriad of challenges when it comes to selecting the "right" financial application(s) for their organizations. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, CFOs cited staying current with changing technology as their greatest source of pressure. Nonprofit organizations are not exempt from this notion and typically face even greater pressures due to limited resource availability for technological upgrades. There are numerous packages available today which are specifically directed toward the various nuances of nonprofit accounting. While these systems may vary when it comes to functionality, the most important factor when choosing new software is the method of deployment. There are two main methods of deployment for new software applications: one is the traditional on-premise deployment, and the other, more modern approach, is cloud-based deployment. The traditional on-premise approach in simple terms is installing the software on YOUR server and networking it to YOUR team. This comes with the burden and additional cost of supporting the necessary IT infrastructure. Without a dedicated IT team, the risk involved in supporting and maintaining the infrastructure may outweigh any benefits. The cloud-based approach does not require the same infrastructure, but simply an internet connection and a device. This route offers the ability to shift the cost and risk associated with the IT infrastructure to the vendor. This makes more sense for nonprofits with the limited resource because cloud vendors have superior IT operating capabilities. Ok, We have decided on the cloud. What next? The cloud-based approach allows nonprofits to take advantage of real-time financial and operational reporting as a result of the accessibility – anytime, anywhere. However, not all cloud vendors are created equal. In fact, there are two very specific and different methods of using software in the cloud. One approach is a single-tenant hosted environment and the other approach is a multi-tenant or SaaS (software as a service) environment. A single-tenant hosted solution is defined as an application that is housed on a dedicated or shared server, but unique for each customer. In contrast, a multi-tenant environment represents one version of the software for all customers or users. When comparing the different deployment options for cloud-based software, multi-tenant solutions tend to have considerable advantages over single-tenant hosted solutions. Below are a few of the key advantages.   Multi-Tenant SaaS Solution:
  • Applications are more scalable, resulting in lower costs for the end user.
  • New customers or users get access to the same basic software, so scaling has far fewer infrastructure and maintenance implications for vendors.
  • It is easier to maximize the performance of the different elements in the technology, so optimum speed and reliability can be ensured at all times.
  • Ongoing maintenance and updates are typically included in the cost of the SaaS subscription, so end users don't need to pay costly maintenance fees in order to keep their software up to date.
  • When there is an update or upgrade, the vendor only has one installation of the software, compared to multiple installations in a hosted environment.
Single-tenant environments represent many different installations of the application which require independent management of each installation for every customer. Whereas, a multi-tenant environment represents a single platform to maintain which creates a much more efficient and effective support experience for the end user. When the time comes to test drive new financial software for your organization make sure you think about more than just functionality. The decision to move to a cloud-based solution can provide significant value to your organization if you have properly evaluated the scalability of different deployment methods. To find out more about WVC RubixCloud and our services, check out our presentation today. By: Nicholas Rediger WVC-RubixCloud
WVC RubixCloud
 

Does Outsourcing = Offshoring?

In some instances, outsourcing can be done offshore but by definition, they are not the same thing. Many business owners use the terms outsourcing and offshoring interchangeably. However, when examined more closely, it becomes clear that both have different in meanings. Outsourcing refers to work that is contracted out to a third party while offshoring is work that is completed in another country. You can decide to outsource, but not offshore.
OutsourcingvsoffshoringOutsourcing
Typically when a business or organization decides to outsource it is to fulfill a specific set of needs in a more efficient manner than can be done in-house. This might mean gaining access advanced skill sets and experience, advanced technology, and more competitive costs, just to name a few. A huge range of tasks can be outsourced and, therefore, many businesses find it to be a cost-effective option. In addition, outsourcing specific areas of a business provide greater efficiencies. Some of the most common areas to outsource include, human resources, information technology and accounting.
Offshoring
Offshoring is the process of outsourcing work to a country other than where your business is based. Work can be contracted out to an agency or individual. Businesses looking to offshore their work generally do so because they believe that it will reduce their costs. While that may be true, it has become apparent over the past few years that the cost analysis associated with these decisions is often missing relevant information. In addition, offshoring presents other obstacles. The transfer of work to another part of the globe results in time differences, communication issues and in some cases political unrest. While it may cost less to offshore business efforts, in some instances project quality suffers. Offshoring has become the hot topic of political debate in America as some argue it creates a loss of jobs in the U.S.
As the world continues to become more connected, understanding the difference between outsourcing and offshoring may prove to be important for your business. The best solution for your business or organization will be determined by the necessities. If your business requires high-level expertise and an expanded team of professionals, outsourcing is the best option. WVC RubixCloud is your answer. We are a game-changer for businesses and organizations looking to gain a partner in their financial well-being. WVC RubixCloud creates transparency and accuracy so your organization can focus on your mission. Click here to download 9 Signs It's Time To Outsource Your Accounting.
 

Outsourcing & Innovation

As technology continues to advance and market trends fluctuate, innovation is a must. Organizations must consistently re-invent and transform to ensure they meet the needs of their constituents. For some organizations, change is difficult and requires a complete shift in culture. However, for those organizations who embrace the future, innovation is natural and welcomed. Cloud-based outsourced accounting leverages advanced technology and innovation to bring clarity and efficiency to your accounting function. Here a just a few of the innovative technologies supported by outsourcing. Custom Reports & Dashboards One of the biggest obstacles facing nonprofit organizations is the unknown. The inability to predict grant funding, donations or other monetary gains makes program planning difficult. The lack of consistent funding makes current data essential. If this data is available, often times, it is disorganized and incomplete. With outsourced accounting data is processed in a timely manner so current data can be utilized when making decisions about the future of the organization. Client specific dashboards are available to access reports and analytics about revenue, cash balances, budget comparisons and trends. An organization’s dashboard is the nucleus of all transactions where data can be reviewed in real-time. In addition to the dashboard, outsourced accounting software has the capability of creating customizing reporting. No matter how unique the desired financial metrics required by an organization, tailored reports can be created to display specific information. Outsourced accounting is all about matching the needs of the organization to ensure their financial health is clear and accurate. InnovationTracking Apps Imagine a world where you don't have to rely on paper reporting to track transactions. Cloud outsourced accounting supports the innovation of apps which streamline your accounting function. Various tracking apps will support an organization's day-to-day functions and dramatically improve efficiencies in management and reporting. Executive Directors and other decision makers can track an organization’s cash flow and payments from the ease of their cell phone or tablet. The data is accessible from anywhere that has an Internet connection. Tracking your financial data through the use of apps will increase the accuracy of financial reporting and may also prevent fraud as your data is visible and transparent. Virtual Meetings Quality of service will no longer be limited by geography. Outsourced accounting offers a virtual workforce, one that is highly qualified and experienced. Utilizing advanced communication technology such as video conferencing and instant messaging, meeting with the team of professionals is simple. Organizations can now have access to high-level expertise, extensive resources, and quality training. It’s time to embrace innovation and experience the clarity and efficiencies cloud outsourced accounting delivers. Nonprofit organizations must adapt to new technology and its higher standards. Cloud outsourced accounting and the innovative technology it supports are the key to financial well-being. The ability to see numbers in real-time and know where an organization stands financially is something everyone should experience. Take the leap and let the innovation of WVC RubixCloud be your game-changer. Here are "10 Reasons You'll Love WVC RubixCloud"  

Top 5 Myths About Outsourced Accounting

MythOutsourced accounting is changing the way organizations do business. Not only can it provide clarity to how costs are incurred, where revenues are earned and highlight areas for growth, it can also make organization’s stronger. However, some are reluctant to explore the option of cloud-based outsourced accounting based simply on common misconceptions. Here are the top 5 myths and the truth about outsourced accounting and its benefits. Myth #1: Losing Control Of Your Organization Outsourced accounting actually enhances the control you have over your procedures and accounting data. Your financial processes will be standardized and established guidelines will be followed rigorously. You will have real-time data at your disposal providing you greater control of your cash flow and other performance indicators. Time and time again, our clients t feel they are no longer alone and have gained their own personal team of experienced accountants. Outsourcing has offered our clients the ability to work collaboratively and more efficiently to establish greater control over their financial well-being. Myth #2: Outsourcing Eliminates Jobs Many organizations have limited resources and as a result they rely heavily on their employees to perform multiple functions. Often times, employees are acting in roles in which they do not have any formal training. Wearing too many hats can lead to inefficiencies. Not only does this hinder growth within the organization, but it also adds stress to the employee. Outsourcing your accounting function allows your staff to be refocused on efforts that are more suitable for their skill set. Furthermore, the organization can now direct its resources towards their mission, funding and grant writing. Myth#3: It’s Not Secure Besides transforming how businesses function internally and externally, the growth of cloud computing also has a consequence on outsourcing data management. By partnering with WVC RubixCloud, your security can and will be improved. Security is a top priority and we have partnered with the leading software company to ensure data is protected. Furthermore, as a result of the shared access of real-time data, transactions are visible from any source with an internet connection. If a transaction has been completed and you are not sure of its nature, you can instantaneously take action. Myth #4: Outsourcers Don’t Understand My Business When you partner with WVC RubixCloud, you will gain a well-rounded team of financial experts who have worked in a variety of industries both in public and private sectors. We will collaborate with you to develop a comprehensive plan to maximize your organization's financial success. Myth #5: Outsourcing Is Only Viable For Large Organizations No matter the size of your organization, outsourced accounting options are flexible. One of the main advantages of outsourcing is the streamlining of processes to attain business efficiencies and actionable insights. Smaller organizations can benefit tremendously from the economies of scale offered through outsourcing. Frequently, the cost is considerably lower compared to having the work completed in-house. In conclusion, don’t fall victim to the most common myths of cloud outsourced accounting. Take the time to research the facts. Download our whitepaper, "There Is Gold In Your Numbers," to learn more about outsourced accounting and how it can be the game changer for your organization. there-is-gold
There Is Gold in Your Numbers

Is Your Accounting Team Rock Star Quality?

RockstarRock Star. Professional. Thoughtful. On your game. Wonderful. Detail Oriented. Thought leader. Dedicated. Proactive. Thorough. Late. Inaccurate. Slow. Inconsiderate. Second best. Painful. Careless. Incomplete. Unsure. Which words would you use to best describe the individual who is guiding the financial strategy of your organization? If you did not associate any of the words from the first list, then it’s time to evaluate your direction. The first list contains the words our clients have been using to describe WVC RubixCloud as we assume the role of their accounting function and alleviate their financial stresses. As recently as yesterday, a client expressed that she could not and would not make a cash deposit without first reaching out to the WVC RubixCloud team as we have become such an integral part of her everyday process. This is huge! This indicates our team is delivering the service and value that we intended to. When you make the decision to team with WVC RubixCloud you can expect game-changing results. Here are just a few of the personal testimonials about the ways in which WVC RubixCloud has positively impacted our current clients. On Your Game “A vendor incorrectly charged our organization more than three times than what was expected. The WVC RubixCloud team instantly recognized this erroneous charge. They were proactive in reaching out and scheduled a call with our organization and vendor to discuss the issue at hand and we were able to reach a successful resolve." Clarity I Didn’t Know Existed “Our organization has had unknown liabilities hanging over our heads for two full years. We had received notice after notice with no one able to untangle our issue. Within one week of onboarding with WVC RubixCloud and receiving the correct information, we have cemented 90% of the liability and are making payments to rectify the situation.” Dedicated Team “From Executive Director on down, my organization greatly appreciates the personal attention and energy expended by the WVC RubixCloud team to make our transition as smooth as possible.” Elite Professionalism “Thank you for your elite professionalism and research. Your financial summaries ease my mind and provide me the opportunity to confirm our improved practices with billing this year.” The decision to engage with WVC RubixCloud has proven to provide to our clients exactly what we set out to do: 1. Eliminate the stress of the accounting function 2. Provide timely, easily accessible and transparent financial information 3. Access to and reliance on a committed team to handle the day-to-day accounting duties 4. Access to a dedicated CFO to provide high-level guidance on issues previously undetected or overlooked 5. Dedicated time and ability to focus on important organizational issues such as fundraising, programming, or grant writing. WVC RubixCloud has become an integral part these organization’s successful financial future. If you are wondering how WVC RubixCloud can be a game-changer for your organization, check out the "10 Reasons You'll Love WVC RubixCloud" or call (419) 891-1040 to schedule an appointment today.  

Five Common Drains on Your Accounting Function

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  1. Your staff complains that they don't have enough time to simply process day-to-day accounting transactions.
  2. You are rarely able to access basic reports in your system with real time information.
  3. When you ask for information or reports of any nature it takes days or even weeks to receive it.
  4. Your network drives and employee desktops are clogged with Excel spreadsheets.
  5. The monthly reports are not timely, are not directly generated from the system, and /or provide very limited data.
It is time to get into the 21st century! In years of performing operations reviews I have consistently seen organizations operating like "SALY"- same as last year. Unfortunately, it's now 15 years later and it's time to change! Many of you might argue that you "HAVE "to work outside of the system, and for a select few, I might agree. However, the majority are refusing to move outside of their comfort zone and replace the antiquated accounting process. What causes this? It's simple really. Your accounting team has chosen to work outside of the system. What does this mean exactly? You spend months trying to decide on a software package that best suits your business and after the financial investment and training all seems to be working like a champ. Six months after implementation the accounts payable clerk is trying to generate a specific subset of data through a report and cannot figure out how to make the system generate it. Instead of calling support, he exports the data and begins to manipulate it in Excel. This is the beginning of the entire organization shifting to a mindset known as "The system CAN'T do it." Hence, the new trend becomes to export the data to Excel and utilize Excel as the software. Believe it or not, this problem spreads with each passing month, ultimately resulting in turnover of low level AND key employees, and is virtually impossible to reverse without external intervention. Eventually, the Company does not pay for software updates or outside support because the accounting team has decided "it's not worth the money". The result? Instead of using current, efficient software, the accounting team has now "replaced" the software with Excel and designed new processes and procedures "outside of the system," not to mention the months of wasted time they spent learning the system in the first place. This leads to:
  • Inefficiency! - There is no time to process day-to-day accounting transactions when you are working outside of they system.
  • Lack of Financial Information - Though much of the transactional data might be in the software, it has not been pulled together because that is how the software is being used. Reporting is being done in Excel so there is no timeliness, visibility or drill down capability, and the nature of the reports are very limited.
  • Every Man for Themselves - Each employee is working with his own silo of information that he has exported, manipulated and saved to his hard drive. There is no consistency in the numbers, and there are hundreds of spreadsheets located on hard drives, networks, and flash drives that are difficult to index.
  • Errors - Excel is not error proof, and so many of these spreadsheets become overly complicated with users that are not overly sophisticated. Links get broken, formulas don't make sense, and data is not updated as it should be.
  • Stacks and stacks of PAPER - Because processes are not being followed in the system, accountants have this built in need to generate their own audit trail of everything that is being done- files, binders, reports- you name it. It's NOT necessary- not in today's digital age.
Solving this problem in your organization should be the highest priority. Unfortunately, most business owners don't even know it exists. Ask your accounting team a few simple questions to see if you need to dig a bit deeper:
  • Were all of the reports that I have received in the last three months generated directly from our software or Excel? If even a small majority originated in Excel, you need to investigate.
  • How current is the update on our accounting software? If the answer is more than six months ago, you have an issue.
  • Can you email me a copy of the income statement right now that is up to date? If the result is no, you have a problem.
Once you have identified that you have the problem, you can move on. Consider reaching out for help.

What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You. Until It Does!

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How many times have you heard someone say "You ask too many questions?" As a mother of four children, some days I feel as though my entire day is nothing but answering questions, and while I am thinking that very phrase, I would never say it. As an adult, I have always been very inquisitive - wanting to dig deeper and know more. It is how I understand whatever it might be that I am observing. Two weeks ago while holding a conference call with a client, she expressed to me that she was "very grateful for my questions." What a perspective for me! Because of my straightforward personality, I often find myself just shooting off questions left and right to gain an immediate understanding and apologizing later. That seems to be what I have done with her repeatedly, as I feel I have much to learn in a very short time regarding some of the specifics of her business. In this particular instance, and like many before her, she was never placed in the position to "need to know" the information I was requesting, and did not see the relevance of my thought process. As our relationship has evolved, and she sees the contribution that I am able to make to her organization, she is very appreciative of my perspective and never ending questions. Acting as her CFO and studying her business, financial, and operational data from a new and unique perspective has allowed me to expose to her what she never knew. What are some of the questions that are forcing her to take a different look at her business?
  1. Which of your greatest expenses provides the least amount of return? For example, if you are a distributor, your greatest expense is the product you are distributing, and second greatest is likely wages. After that, is it advertising? Are you able to measure the returns on that expense to see if the efforts should be redirected?
  2. What are your goals for growth? If you are a not-for-profit, you need to identify specific sources of revenue and develop a plan to pursue them whether it is contract funding or fundraising events. If you don't have a plan, it will not happen.
  3. What services should you no longer pursue and why? This is a tough question for most executives. It is usually difficult to answer because they don't have the information ready and available that is need to make the decision. There are places the company should "stay"- for instance, a product line that might be breaking even on the net income side, however, it is the "icon" of the brand and all orders include this product, so it needs to remain. Diving deeper will help you to understand how to maximize the benefit of that product that must remain. For a not for profit, it's assessing the social impact of your program against its cost.
  4. What was THIS cost for? You would be amazed at how many times NO ONE knows the answer to that question. If the numbers are small, and especially when they are big, there is no comprehensive oversight. How can you possibly cut costs or track spending when you don't know where the money is going?
  5. Are you constantly given little information and expected to make big decisions? Most business owners and directors will tell you they have the necessary information to make big decisions, but when you spend the time to go over their existing meager reports with them you will find that they know very little about what they are receiving, and more importantly, they don't know what to do with it. I ask questions that are specific to what they are trying to monitor daily. What plans do they have to grow or change? What is going on with the industry or technology that might significantly impact the future of the organization? These are thoughts that the management team is having, but not putting together collectively to inspire strategy for the organization.
CFOs should not to be left on the boundary of an organization simply to report on "bottom-line beliefs." CFO's should dive deeper. They should break the foundation. They should ask questions: Strange questions; Simple questions; Robust questions; Thought provoking, difficult questions. This will enable them to be an effective strategic partner, and show you what you have not seen before.