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A Day in the Life: Accountants

The interesting thing about being an accountant is that no two days will likely be the same. So, technically speaking, this article should really end here. But instead, I’d like to offer you an idea of some of the common things you can expect if you become a...

How to Hire Your Perfect Accounting Team

How to Hire Your Perfect Accounting Team

When building a business, you want to surround yourself with talent. That’s what will get your business off the ground and into the stratosphere. Regardless of your business, you will more than likely need multiple departments to succeed, especially a...

Why Your Business Should use Cloud Accounting Software

Why Your Business Should use Cloud Accounting Software

Cloud computing technology is one of the key business automations that are trending across businesses and companies. The utilization of cloud computing technology allows businesses to reap various benefits and competitive advantages. There has been an increasing trend...

Brisk Business: Can You Start a Business in Just a few Hours?

Brisk Business: Can You Start a Business in Just a few Hours?

Starting your own business from scratch is a long involved process. It includes developing a solid business plan, writing proposals, getting funding, and finding the right location in addition to dozens of other considerations. However, once you have these resources...

How To Utilize Excel For Accounting

How To Utilize Excel For Accounting

he power of the spreadsheet sometimes escapes small business owners. It is understandable. Modern accounting can be perplexing even for people with unusually high intelligence and drive to succeed. The principles of basic accounting, however, are not all that...

Blackline: What Is It?

Blackline: What Is It?

BlackLine provides a host of services that help businesses maintain better control over financial actions. Additionally, the BlackLine applications streamline activities through enhanced automation. While services like accounts payable, fixed assets, and general...

Top 5 Major Benefits that the Big Four Offer

Top 5 Major Benefits that the Big Four Offer

If you are an accountant you may be wondering what the benefits of working for the Big Four are. There are many reasons to consider working for either Deloitte, EY, KPMG, or PwC. Here is a list of the top five as cited by staff who actually work there Time Off Most...

What is Double-Entry Accounting

What is Double-Entry Accounting

One of the key cultural advancements that made modern economies possible was the invention of double-entry accounting in the fifteenth century. The very concept of "owner equity" being reduced to a mathematical equation was a major advance that brought about the...

Consider a Career in Accounting

Consider a Career in Accounting

If you're like millions of people in the U.S., you're unhappy with your job. You might also be at a loss as to where to go next. Here are a few reasons you should consider a career change as an accountant. The Pay is Excellent When looking for a career change, one of...

A Few Basic Business Practices

A Few Basic Business Practices

If you're considering taking the path of entrepreneurship, you've probably developed a business plan and started to look into funding. That's not everything, though. You'll have to wear many hats and that means being well-versed in these basic practices. Accounting...

The Official Blog of Kewho Min

A Day in the Life: Accountants

The interesting thing about being an accountant is that no two days will likely be the same. So, technically speaking, this article should really end here. But instead, I’d like to offer you an idea of some of the common things you can expect if you become a full-fledged accountant.

The first thing to note for the entire accounting industry is that your entire schedule is based on the time of year. Your day-to-day work life has the potential to be very cut and dry and, quite honestly, relatively slow, at least for the majority of the year. However, once tax season rolls around (approx. January 1 – April 15), things can get hectic. You’ll especially notice an uptick in work towards the end of the season, seeing as how a large majority of Americans wait until the last minute to file their taxes. This time is probably the most busy you’ll be all year, depending on the firm you’re working for.

You can expect work hours to range into the double digits on weekdays, and maybe even a few extra hours on the weekend. You’ll mainly be working on auditing and collecting the appropriate information. Don’t let that stress you out; once tax season is over, you can likely enjoy a nice long vacation, again, depending on your firm.

Now, outside of tax season, that’s when your daily schedule will vary drastically. For example, Certified Public Accountant, Amy Zhang, is the founder and CEO of her own firm, and as the CEO she has a variety of tasks to complete within the month. She regularly checks client emails in the morning, then moves on to keeping up with the industry by reading multiple publications in accounting for about two hours. Afterwards, she takes that information and disseminates it through the firm’s social media accounts, ensuring that the public knows that her firm has its thumb on the pulse of the industry. 

She will then spend another couple of hours in the day dedicated to networking and marketing. She does this by attending various conferences and meeting with clients, both current and prospective.

This is only one example of how a CPA’s day can look. Obviously, your mileage will vary. If you’re starting your career, then your day will have a bit more structure and, admittedly, repetition. But once you’ve earned your stripes, so to speak, then you’ll see some variety.

How to Hire Your Perfect Accounting Team

How to Hire Your Perfect Accounting Team

When building a business, you want to surround yourself with talent. That’s what will get your business off the ground and into the stratosphere. Regardless of your business, you will more than likely need multiple departments to succeed, especially a finance/accounting department. So how exactly can you attract top-notch financial talent? Here are some tips and tricks.

Be Clear on Your Company

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re running a small-to-mid-sized business. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But, if you’re on the smaller side, then prospective employees probably aren’t terribly familiar with your company. And you need to communicate that. Clearly. No one wants to step into a new job at a company only to find out a month later that the company isn’t a proper fit. So, before you even enter the interview process, make your company’s vision and brand very clear through websites, promotions and general public-facing content. Showcase your company culture, and you will find the right people.

Network

This may sound like common sense, but utilize your network. It’s a great way to bring in top-notch content. You’ve hired the best of the best, right? Chances are your employees associate themselves with like-minded, top-notch individuals as well. So take advantage of those connections. Ask employees for any leads on new faces that can perform the needed duties. It can also cut down the hiring process, which is helpful for everyone.

Clarify the Job Description

Prospective employees need to know what they’re applying for. Again, no one wants a “bait and switch” situation on their hands. If you can craft a thoughtful job description, with duties and responsibilities for the immediate and near future, then job seekers should have a clear understanding of what they’re getting themselves into. If your company is small, then there’s a high chance for rapid change and growth, and employees need to be alright with that. Make that clear. Transparency with all employees, even the soon-to-be ones, is key.

Admittedly, these tips can be used for just about any department, but you’ll need a strong financial/accounting team in order to thrive. Make sure to follow these tips and find your superstars.

Why Your Business Should use Cloud Accounting Software

Why Your Business Should use Cloud Accounting Software

Cloud computing technology is one of the key business automations that are trending across businesses and companies. The utilization of cloud computing technology allows businesses to reap various benefits and competitive advantages. There has been an increasing trend of businesses preferring to use cloud accounting software in their operations as they pose numerous benefits.

Being able to work remotely

Cloud accounting enables businesses and their accountants to work from anywhere in the world. The storage of accounting records across the web ensures that the businesses can remotely access their financial information whenever the need arises.

Convenient sharing of information

In situations where a business needs to share its financial records with key stakeholders such as shareholders, managers, investors, and advisors, cloud accounting comes in handy. In this regard, the business can make it possible for stakeholders to gain access to internal business records. It is also possible for the business to remotely update such records at the click of a button.

Access to all cloud computing benefits

Cloud accounting gives a business the chance to benefit from additional cloud computing benefits. Firstly, the business will not be vulnerable to common risks such as data theft and loss of information through computer crashes. Secondly, the business will have access to enhanced data security measures such as data encryption and data backup to maintain the integrity of the financial records.

Customized reporting and financial analytics

Cloud accounting software can be customized to give businesses an opportunity to make various financial disclosures and computations easily. Businesses using cloud accounting software have access to powerful dashboards that come with customized features that can help visualize various key performance metrics and indicators. This makes the accountants’ work easier and seamless.

Integration of machine learning

Cloud accounting platforms allow businesses to reap additional benefits such as access to auto-allocations of transactions into a business template. For instance, as financial transactions occur, the accounting software can remotely and automatically allocate the transactions to the correct books while computing tens of other calculations to ensure a real-time update of the business’s financial records. This convenience makes it possible for businesses to make accurate financial decisions at any time.

Brisk Business: Can You Start a Business in Just a few Hours?

Brisk Business: Can You Start a Business in Just a few Hours?

Starting your own business from scratch is a long involved process. It includes developing a solid business plan, writing proposals, getting funding, and finding the right location in addition to dozens of other considerations. However, once you have these resources lined up, the actual launching of your business won’t take long at all.
Pick a Company Name
Spend as little time as possible doing this, because dwelling on it can hold up your entire project. You can always change the name of your business later if you come up with a better name. To get started, just pick something simple and go with it.
Get an Employer Identification Number
This is something you will have to do before you can hire employees or build a partnership. However, you may want to do this even if you don’t plan on hiring employees right away. By obtaining an EIN, you can keep your personal tax number (social security number) private.
Get Registered Under a Trade Name
Depending on your situation, you may want to operate your business under a pseudonym. Registering a trade name can often be done easily and getting approval is fairly easy.
Get Your Business License
Both city and county governments require business owners to be licensed. Obtaining your license is as simple as filling out a form, which takes just minutes. While completing the application, be sure to use the EIN instead of your SSN when asked for your business’ tax identification number.
Find Out About Other Business Permits
You may need to file a personal property tax form on items used for your business or you may need to get a home occupancy license if you plan to operate your business out of your home. You may be able to find out what other permits you will need by consulting local and county offices or by visiting government websites.
Separate Your Business’ Finances
Finally, you will want to divide your business financials from your personal accounts. This means opening a bank account to be strictly used for your business and starting a simple accounting spreadsheet. You may upgrade these services in the future, but set them up as simply as possible to start.
These steps are necessary for launching your business, but they can also be done simply and in a short period of time. As you reach a stage at which you have everything you need in terms of resources, taking care of these legalities is the next step. While these details may be tedious, you can get them done in just a few short hours.
How To Utilize Excel For Accounting

How To Utilize Excel For Accounting

he power of the spreadsheet sometimes escapes small business owners. It is understandable. Modern accounting can be perplexing even for people with unusually high intelligence and drive to succeed. The principles of basic accounting, however, are not all that difficult to understand provided enough time is taken to practice the art of getting all the right numbers into all the right accounts. Understanding which accounts do what also helps quite a bit.

While Excel and other spreadsheet software can’t help with this kind of knowledge directly, it can perform many of the tasks required for double-entry accounting, for example, if it is set up properly and every transaction is recorded in the right place. If you plan to use spreadsheet software for your accounts, here are some things to consider.

Design

The key thing to remember is office programs like Excel were designed to support functions like preparing balance sheets and other necessary financial documents. There is a high likelihood you will find both templates and working documents that help you perform all the basics of small business accounting without having to re-invent the wheel. Start by looking for tutorials, as they will often have a long list of resources available to anyone with compatible versions of office software like Excel.

Functions vs. Scripting

All spreadsheets have both basic and advanced formula functions. These are the automatic arithmetic and calculation shorthand features most people who have used spreadsheets are familiar with. What many people likely haven’t used as much are the scripting languages built in to spreadsheets like Excel.

A scripting language allows a developer to embed business logic into their documents, allowing the calculation and display engines to be updated based on arbitrary conditions outside the document itself. This is a key area of knowledge for anyone interested in budgeting in particular, as it allows developers to establish thresholds and trigger logic based on them.

Built-In Facilities

Excel in particular ships with a wide variety of standardized document types, including cash-flow, profit and loss and various kinds of budgets from personal to business and many types in between. These work alongside the basic charting functions which allow a rudimentary type of reporting based on both raw data and calculated data on each document type.

A comprehensive reference would be more than a little daunting, even for an advanced user, but it is quite possible for a beginner in Excel and a novice accountant to be up to speed on the software quite rapidly, and then work methodically to make progress from there.

Blackline: What Is It?

Blackline: What Is It?

BlackLine provides a host of services that help businesses maintain better control over financial actions. Additionally, the BlackLine applications streamline activities through enhanced automation. While services like accounts payable, fixed assets, and general ledger are left to other applications, BlackLine is more concerned with maintaining established controls, particularly where it’s vital to ensure closings are accurate and complete.
Additionally, the BlackLine applications are capable of incorporating balances from different subsystems and reconciling the discrepancies. The program can also be used to enhance the sharing of data between legal agencies and other entities, such as ERP systems. This makes financial reporting more efficient than in many other applications from other developers.
While it may sound like BlackLine is little more than a reporting tool, it does much more than that. It reduces the work usually assigned to accountants by completing routine monthly, quarterly, and yearly tasks. Generating these reports does little by way of helping the business grow, so, by leaving these tasks to the BlackLine application, company personnel can be assigned more productive tasks.
The application has already generated plenty attention from business owners with an interest in the services provided. One reason may be the cloud solution that BlackLine provides, currently available in more than a hundred countries. This means data can be addressed by any subsidiary in almost any country and all that’s needed is a device and an internet connection. For this reason, companies with a worldwide reach and multiple subsidiaries can reap the most benefits from using BlackLine.
Previously, ERP applications have sought to provide a complete accounting platform, but most fell short in several key areas. BlackLine developers identified those shortcomings and based their product around supplying those unmet needs. While previous platforms focused primarily on the transactions involved in accounting, BlackLine pays closer attention to the processes involved in completing those transactions. This gives the user greater control, sharing data across multiple systems and in various geographical locations.
As businesses spend more time and resources in digitizing their records and transactions, BlackLine may soon become the benchmark for future financial software applications. Greater control will need to be granted to the business, so data can be shared across a range of diverse platforms. Additionally, adapting applications to be accessed via the cloud is becoming increasingly more important. By already incorporating these factors, BlackLine is poised to lead the way in the next phase of the digital revolution.
Top 5 Major Benefits that the Big Four Offer

Top 5 Major Benefits that the Big Four Offer

If you are an accountant you may be wondering what the benefits of working for the Big Four are. There are many reasons to consider working for either Deloitte, EY, KPMG, or PwC. Here is a list of the top five as cited by staff who actually work there

Time Off

Most employees who work for one of the Big Four work a lot of hours and this is recognized and appreciated by the management. In order to keep the staff from burnout, especially during the busy tax season, an average of five weeks fo vacation time is given to accountants to keep them well rested. This is a huge perk and is well above the national average of vacation time given to entry-level corporate workers.

Remote Work Opportunities 

Working remotely is coming into more prominence in the 21st century and the Big Four are shifting to meet this trend. They offer flexible hours in which their accountants can work from home in order to meet their obligations. This is appreciated greatly by the staff, especially by those who have previous family commitments.

Casual Dress Policy 

Not having to wear a suit and tie every day is an important perk for those accountants working for the Big Four. The management emphasizes that they want people to be comfortable when they are putting in their long day at work. Having more relaxed standards of dress helps ease the stress of accountants for these firms.

401(k) Match

When saving for retirement all accountants know the benefits of compound interest. It doesn’t take a math whiz to realize that when the company is going to give you free money to match all of your contributions to your retirement account then you can reach your retirement goals a lot faster. This is a true benefit that helps the employees of Big Four firms to build real wealth that they will depend on for a lifetime.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Having children is a huge milestone in your life and Big Four firms understand the need for bonding and family time that comes when there is a new addition to the family. They offer some of the most generous maternity and paternity leave plans in the country.

With these five benefits, working for a Big Four company is an enticing way to increase your benefits and career satisfaction at the same time.

What is Double-Entry Accounting

What is Double-Entry Accounting

One of the key cultural advancements that made modern economies possible was the invention of double-entry accounting in the fifteenth century. The very concept of “owner equity” being reduced to a mathematical equation was a major advance that brought about the corporation, the idea of a shareholder and the relationship between owner’s equity and a company’s assets.

As important as this mathematical advancement was, it is a subject that few people outside the accounting profession understand. Given the centrality of money, business and ownership in a society and economy dominated by private enterprise and the public markets, the language of business expressed in double entry accounting is not only necessary, it is crucial.

The Equation

Double entry accounting boils down to one equation and one rule. The equation is assets = liabilities + owner’s equity. The rule is both sides of the equation must balance at all times. This is accomplished through a system of debits and credits.

A Ledger Entry

The process is called “double entry” because every transaction must be “entered” in at least two accounts. One is a debit and the other is a credit. By combining these two entries, the central equation is balanced along with the ledger itself. When the equation is in balance, it means all the funds transacted have been accounted for. It is not possible to hide entries or tamper with the ledger, as it would cause the central equation to be out of balance, meaning the books would not be in order.

Accounts

The locations in which entries are made are called “accounts,” like assets, cash, expenses and so on. When a transaction takes place, an entry of either a debit or credit is made in at least two accounts to make certain the equation is balanced. For example, collecting $1.00 in sales revenue would debit the “cash” account for $1.00 and credit the “revenue” account for the same amount.

Accounting is a lot like any skill. It requires basic knowledge and considerable practice to understand well. There are a lot of details involved in keeping the books for even a modest enterprise, which is why the accounting profession is unlikely to fade away any time soon. Everyone should take at least a basic class in accounting, as it is a skill that can be used on an almost daily basis.

Consider a Career in Accounting

Consider a Career in Accounting

If you’re like millions of people in the U.S., you’re unhappy with your job. You might also be at a loss as to where to go next. Here are a few reasons you should consider a career change as an accountant.
The Pay is Excellent
When looking for a career change, one of the biggest concerns is probably the salary. You will want to know the starting salary and the earning potential as you gain more experience. Straight out of college, most entry level accountants earn around $50,000 annually. After just five years on the job, you can be earning a six figure salary. That’s in addition to the benefits package that many employers add to sweeten the pot.
Will You Be Able to Get a Job?
Along with salary expectations, this is another big concern. While many jobs are being mechanized, accountants will always be in demand. Every business, new and established, needs people who can balance books and track expenses and inventories.
What Industry Can You Choose?
Suppose you’re looking for a way to break into filmmaking or you want to start your own fashion boutique. Whatever industry fascinates you also has a need for accountants. By learning about the financial side of the business, you’ll be training yourself to start your own business. In fact, many accountants eventually start their own businesses down the road.
Will You Enjoy the Work?
Accounting isn’t for everyone. There are long hours at times and it requires spending your days sitting at a desk. If this sounds unappealing to you, maybe this isn’t the right career change. However, if you enjoy working with numbers and don’t mind a stationary position, accounting may be just the change you need.
The Educational Options
Of course, the longer you go to school, the higher your earning potential. That said, you can pursue your CPA certification in grad school or you can get a Master of Accounting degree in just one year. There are also more traditional degree programs. You can attend a brick and mortar college or obtain your degree online. Just as there are many career paths for accountants, there are many ways to get yourself qualified to do the work. It really depends on your other things obligations and how eager you are to start your new career.

A Few Basic Business Practices

A Few Basic Business Practices

If you’re considering taking the path of entrepreneurship, you’ve probably developed a business plan and started to look into funding. That’s not everything, though. You’ll have to wear many hats and that means being well-versed in these basic practices.
Accounting
This isn’t something you can just throw together at the last minute. You will need to know how to balance your books and generate reports on a daily basis. You’ll also have to know how tax laws will affect your business and what documents you’ll need to regularly submit to the IRS. The better you balance your books, the easier it will be to manage your business.
Marketing
This is vital to the success of your business and it embodies everything from maintaining a website to paying for advertising. You’ll also need to maintain a presence on the big social media sites, so you can build your brand. In today’s digital landscape, every business is a part of the global marketplace, so you’ll want to know your way around.
Sales
Connected to marketing, you’ll have to be able to encourage sales growth. In today’s market, that involves building long-lasting relationships with your customers, as well as reaching new consumers. Instead of the hard sell of days gone by, consumers want to know what your product can do for them. Be prepared to answer some tough questions.
Customer Service
There’s been a greater demand for quality customer service in recent years and you’ll want to devote serious time to that. The advent of online customer reviews has put business under a harsh light and the online community pays attention. This is why it’s important to address concerns and bad reviews, but without losing your own cool. Communicating publicly and attempting to address complaints without letting customers walk over you is a challenge, but, done correctly, it can work for your business.
Eventually, you’ll want to hire staff that can take on some of these duties for you. However, if you’re just launching your business, you’ll want to do as much of this for yourself as you can. Taking on these tasks personally can benefit you in the long run, because it will give you a view of these duties from the ground. This can help you identify and address problems early on and you’ll be a better entrepreneur for it.