In Pursuit of Profit
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Most business owners are familiar with the concept of internal financial controls, but there is often confusion around who needs them. We hear this every day in the conversations we have with the leadership teams of small to mid-sized business.
There is widely held a misconception that only publicly traded companies need to worry about internal controls. Private companies often assume that because they do not need to file their financial reports with an external entity or report them to shareholders that they do not need to implement the same types of controls that larger, public organizations do. The confusion here stems from the that many people view internal controls as a piece of the regulatory puzzle, when in reality internal controls are “The policies and procedures used to ensure accuracy and reliability across accounting reports.”
Last year $2.47B was donated to US nonprofit organizations on GivingTuesday, a whopping 19% increase over the previous year. Only time will tell if this year surpasses last year’s record-breaking numbers. But what we know for sure is that on this GivingTuesday both individuals and companies nationwide will give to their favorite nonprofit charities.
As a business owner, you need to be aware of how these charitable contributions will be accounted for on your books not just on GivingTuesday, but year-round.
The last decade has ushered in a digital revolution across all business areas. However, many businesses are still dragging their feet when it comes to automating their accounting and finance activities. In fact, 58% of finance teams surveyed indicated that they do not feel their finance back office is “sufficiently automated.”
Despite a plethora of tools and platforms available to help streamline these critical business areas, it seems many businesses are stuck in the past, relying on manual processes for their daily accounting functions. But organizations can use automation to drive profitability if they understand its benefits and can identify areas where AI will help them the most.
Don't wait around for "the right time" to improve your accounting functions! Now is the time to stop putting off the planning and cleanup work that always seems to get pushed to the backburner. Commit yourself to embracing a culture of continuous improvement – looking for places where you can overhaul whatever is broken and streamline areas that are not working optimally.
So, how do you identify where your accounting department needs to improve?
Ask your accounting team and any staff that deals directly with them where their pain points are and what they would prioritize fixing. By including both the team’s feedback and the rest of the organization’s perspective, you will get more balanced input on what kinds of changes should be prioritized.
Focus on operations, processes, and policies with the potential to have a big impact on either efficiency or accuracy. Possible areas to focus on include:
Accounting is a necessary evil for most business owners – they understand that optimal cash flow requires accurate accounting, but they are often unsure of their own abilities when it comes to keeping their books. Even business owners that outsource their bookkeeping and accounting functions still need to understand accounting principles and practices to oversee the work that is being done on their behalf.