It’s generally a good idea to keep overhead costs low so that your business profits will be higher. This is especially true with items that are fairly standardized, such as utilities and rent. But there are times when increasing expenses pays yields nice dividends like investments. Here are four areas to consider so you can reap the rewards.
Whether it’s for you or your staff, good training can pay back for years to come. Having untrained staff, whether office or field, impacts
- Getting work done on time (or early)
- Getting it done well or correctly, and
- Your reputation.
You might get training to increase your skill in your profession. I know many of you need to maintain certifications; that provides both opportunities and impetus for training. Not only do you learn new “tricks or tools” of the trade, but it provides another benefit when marketing your business – especially if you are compared to those without your credentials.
Sometimes that training includes helping to run your business, such as general business skills, new technology, marketing, finance, and leadership. And just about everyone can benefit from learning more about project management, communications, and negotiations, to name a few more.
For many of you, that’s the tools and equipment while out in the field as well as the tools in the office. Old or cheap equipment often affects how quickly work gets done as well as your maintenance costs. The last thing you want is to have to postpone work because you don’t have working equipment!
In the office (and for some field staff), it’s a great idea to provide your employees with the most powerful computers and software on the market. The cost of labor outweighs the costs of the computers, so it makes sense to load employees up with the best tools you can. An employee with a slow computer, through no fault of their own, is not giving you their best, and that will cost money in lost productivity. One of the reasons they went to larger monitors and dual monitors was they found the cost of an employee having to scroll or wait for something to load affected productivity. While it may seem small, multiplied over the day/week and year, it definitely adds up.
Personally, because I know I’m going to load new software every year that won’t care about the age of my computer, I get plenty of RAM and go with a faster computer (not the top, but definitely above the middle). If you’re the owner, you can spend your time fighting with a machine or getting a ton of work done. I’m pretty sure the latter is more profitable.
With software, there are two areas to consider: your existing software and software that solves for a pain point.
In the case of existing software, I often see businesses fighting upgrading software, such as their QuickBooks. I always recommend looking at what the new version offers. If there are features that help you get your work done faster, or being able to do something you’ve wanted for years, it usually makes sense to upgrade so you and your staff can get work done more easily.
In the case of software that solves for a pain point, you have to ask what’s the cost of doing it the “long, slow” way compared to the new way. While you may not need software with all the bells and whistles, you may find that some version will streamline your workflow, which will save you money in the long-run. It may even help you make more money because you can get more done! Some examples include estimating software, CRM (lead and opportunity tracking), time tracking, inventory, reporting, etc.
If you are interested in software that integrates with QuickBooks, check out our article.
The most successful companies invest in accounting technology, accurate bookkeeping, thorough reporting, tax minimization, and professional consulting. When business owners cut corners in any of these areas, it usually costs them more money in the long run to clean up the problems that result. I certainly see this with users who set up poorly (because they didn’t know better) and missed out on tools in QuickBooks to help them get their work done faster.
An up-to-date version of QuickBooks minimizes maintenance and troubleshooting costs. Making sure the bookkeeping and reconciliations are done properly is essential for compliance reporting(such as payroll and income taxes) and decision-making. Reports easily accessible help a business owner make smart decisions about running their business, and minimizing taxes helps you keep more of what you make (yeah!!).
Since accountants see thousands of financial reports in their careers, they have developed an eye for opportunities that a business owner may not see. Bringing an outside perspective into your business is a good investment that can help you discover great opportunities in your business.
Measuring the Payoff
Your accountant can help you measure return on investments in many of these areas. If it involves QuickBooks we can help in a variety of ways – obtain a version of QuickBooks that suits your needs, customize settings and features to fit your business better, train staff to use it correctly and effectively, streamline your QuickBooks workflow, set up custom reports and more – just ask!