~ What exactly is bookkeeping & why do I need it?
~ Why should I outsource my bookkeeping to CCBSI?
~ How much does it cost? (How long does it take?)

... These questions and more are answered below ...

Frequently Asked Bookkeeping Questions

What is bookkeeping?

To put it simply, bookkeeping is taking care and keeping track of money that flows in and out of your account(s). It can be as simple as making deposits and paying your bills. However, to be most effective, the money should be tracked, preferably in an electronic format, such as QuickBooks. This will give you the ability to know at any given moment and time whether you are making a profit or experiencing a loss. To take it a step farther, dividing up your money into its respective type of income or expense accounts can give you invaluable information. With this information at your disposal, you now have the ability to set up & maintain a budget, make tax time easier and basically know where your money is coming from and where it’s going to.

How does bookkeeping differ from accounting?

We like to compare bookkeeping and accounting to the micro- and the macro-approach. Bookkeeping is the micro-approach where all of the little details are tracked throughout the year, which will eventually come to year-end totals. Accounting is the macro-approach where the totals from all of those details are taken and used for tasks such as completing your taxes.

As bookkeepers, many times we serve as a medium between CPAs and our clients. Our goal is to set up your account in such a way that’s easy for you to understand. However, on the flip side, we want to make sure that it’s set up to accommodate the needs of your CPA as well. A common complaint we hear is that the accountant does not always speak in layman’s terms when people work directly with them. While this is not the case with all accountants, why not work with someone who can bridge the gap and understand your needs, as well as the needs of your accountant?

Why do I need bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping has many purposes and there should be no question why you need to track your income and expenses. A successful business will know if they are making money and where that money is going. As a business owner, you should be informed and stay up-to-date on your finances and how your business is performing. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.

In addition, good records are needed by the IRS for taxes; your local bank, should you wish to get a loan; your suppliers to establish credit; and by any potential investors, partners or buyers of your business when you want to expand or retire. Clearly, bookkeeping is a critical component that can establish or destroy any business, as well as add clarity to your financial picture.

Why should I outsource my bookkeeping?

Thankfully, most people understand the general fundamentals of bookkeeping. Unfortunately, many people who think that they can do the bookkeeping don’t understand the fundamentals well enough.

Bookkeeping principles are the same whether your company is large or small. Unfortunately, small businesses usually have limited funds to devote toward bookkeeping services. Many times, small businesses try to perform their own bookkeeping, thinking this will save them money. However, quite often the CPA has so many questions that the work has to be done over. Regrettably, the intended savings can end up costing the business owner not only more money, but lost time.

The other option is for you to have a professional who understands your needs, as well as the needs of your CPA, take care of your bookkeeping. Focus your time and energy on building your business and your profits; let us focus on your bookkeeping.

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just hire an employee to do my bookkeeping?

While it may initially sound less expensive to hire an employee at, let’s say $25/hour, don’t forget about some other key factors. First of all, you, as the employer, have to match your employee’s Social Security and Medicare withholdings. In addition, you have to pay federal and state unemployment for that employee. That’s just payroll…don’t forget about worker’s compensation insurance, benefits, as well as purchasing the tools they’ll need, such as a computer, printer, software and supplies. As you can see, it adds up quickly. Now, let’s talk about the cost of advertising the position, then the time spent interviewing people and training them in. With today’s employee turn-around time, as soon as they’re trained in, they quit and you have to advertise and start the interview and training process all over again.

For many companies it’s just more cost-effective to outsource the bookkeeping and tap into the resources and expertise of a professional. This will free up valuable time for you to focus on business strategy, goals, reduce operating costs, spend time with your current clients, obtain new ones or give you some much needed personal time. We’re always happy to help out with your bookkeeping needs, no matter what the volume is.

Despite the reasons listed above, if you decide to not outsource your bookkeeping, it’s certainly advisable to have us help train in the person who will be doing the work. This will help ensure the work is being done properly. We can also periodically look your accounts over to make sure everything is staying on track. Many companies like the idea of us reconciling their books monthly.

Why should I choose CCBSI?

We have been in the bookkeeping and administrative field since 1995. We customize our services to your needs, whether they’re big or small. Our services will adjust as needed to accommodate your needs if they change. We’re friendly and easy to work with and our goal is to exceed your expectations while maintaining complete confidentiality. Best of all, we leave you more time to concentrate on what you do best—running and managing your own business.

Do you do taxes?

At this time, we do not do income taxes. Instead, we work with our client’s existing CPA to get them the information they need. If you do not have an CPA or are looking for a change, we have several excellent recommendations. We prefer to do what we’re good at—organizing and entering all the details of your bookkeeping. We can, however, prepare and file quarterly and annual payroll returns as well as the sales & use tax returns.

Are you accepting new clients?

Contact us for more information.

What type of accounts do you work with?

We work with anyone who needs bookkeeping. Of course each industry has their own nuances, but the need to record income and expenses is one of the things all companies have in common.

When we work with an account, we typically divide them into the following categories:

Live: These accounts are where we’re very proactive with the bookkeeping. Tasks may include paying bills, sending out invoices, making deposits, cutting commission checks or processing payroll, just to name a few. The tasks we do depend on our client’s preferences and needs and can be all or just some of the above mentioned tasks.

Non-Live: This is where we’re given items such as bank and credit card statements to enter. Our clients can typically handle the day-to-day tasks themselves, but want the information entered in order to obtain financial reports, as well as make it easier for tax time.

Training: Perhaps you just purchased QuickBooks and want to learn the program so you can do the bookkeeping? Perhaps you’ve had QuickBooks for a while and you just can’t figure out how to do a certain task? Perhaps you just need some help with cleaning everything up? Whatever the reason, we can provide support remotely or on-site to go through whatever questions may pop up.

QuickBooks Review: We have several clients where someone within the company makes all of the entries themselves. However, periodically throughout the year, they like to have us review the account to make sure everything is being entered correctly. Many companies like the idea of us reconciling their books monthly.

How involved do I need to be?

That completely depends on you. Because it is your finances, there will always need to be a level of involvement on your part. However, we try to make bookkeeping as stress-free as possible. If you’re a hands-on person, then I would suggest something from the Training, Non-Live or QuickBooks Review categories. If you would rather focus your energy on running your business and let a professional handle the bookkeeping, then the Live category would be the way to go.

How much does it cost?

We like to the make our charges as straightforward as possible. Instead of a range of fees for various duties or charging per transaction, we charge by the hour for bookkeeping tasks (with the exception of payroll & QuickBooks training). Our current hourly rate is $95/hour, with the work done out of our office. This may not be as costly as you may think, as we’re very efficient. Because we do bookkeeping on a daily basis for many companies, we love streamlining tasks in order to complete the work as quickly as possible. More often than not, it will take us less time to do the work than it would take you. Generally, the cost for our bookkeeping services is offset by less demands on your time, which typically leads to increased sales and generally less frustration overall. In addition, if we have done the bookkeeping for the year, all of your financial information can be given to your accountant with the touch of a button. Because our rates are normally much less than what your accountant may charge, you’ll realize the additional savings of having us complete the bookkeeping for the year vs. your accountant.

How much time does it take?

Obviously, it’s somewhat difficult to pinpoint the exact amount of time it will take for your bookkeeping needs as every company is different. There are many X factors to take into consideration, such as how detailed do you want everything? Are the funds co-mingled (business & personal)? Are there multiple accounts with funds being transferred all over the place? In other words, the more we have to play Sherlock Holmes, the more time it will take.

The one thing you can count on is that the amount of time you’re charged is completely accurate. We use a stopwatch to keep track of the time spent working on your account. If we stop working on your account for any reason, the time is stopped and started again once the work resumes.

Can the work be done out of my office?

Currently, our on-site appointments are reserved for QuickBooks training and occasional check-ups on accounts. Unfortunately regular on-site work is something that’s not available at this time. However, with today’s technology, there’s usually no reason why the work needs to be done on-site. There are numerous options available to get the information back and forth, such as scan/email, fax, mail or pick-up/drop-off by either party.

What is your turnaround time?

Our turn-around time is somewhat influenced by tax deadlines. However, priority is always given first to payroll and then to our Live accounts. Non-Live accounts are worked on as time allows, as there are usually not a lot of deadlines associated with these types of accounts.

Normally, with our Live accounts, deposits are made and bills are paid (if your cash flow allows) within 3 days of receipt to our office. Of course we always strive to accommodate same-day processing. All we ask is that our clients be considerate and not wait until the last minute to send us information that would require immediate turn-around.

With the Non-Live accounts, as long as the information is given to us on a monthly basis, we can normally have it done within a month, if not a couple weeks or less.

What areas do you serve?

While the majority of our clients are in Minnesota, we do have (or have had) clients who have offices or operations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. With today’s technology, it’s pretty easy to accommodate your bookkeeping needs no matter what part of the country you’re in.

Where do we begin?

The first step is to identify what your needs are in addition to how much you want to give up. Once that is determined, we’ll then figure out what information is needed, as well as the best method of getting the information back and forth.

How do I get my information to you?

While there’s no cookie-cutter way of getting your information to us, the following is a list of the most popular ways that our current clients are using:
•Account Login ID & password - This allows us to go in to obtain the information we need and automate our processes. The benefit to you is that it’s less information you need to worry about getting to us and because it’s read-only, it’s secure.
•Email… Many people scan their documents in and email them over. This is preferred over faxing as the information is usually easier to read.
•Courier, priority mail or overnight service
•U.S. Mail

What we recommend is that you devote a bin, file or drawer to collect the information in (i.e. receipts, timesheets, deposits, bills, bank and/or credit card statements, etc.). Then, when you’re ready to send the information over to us, it will all be in one handy, convenient location. This system has proven to be very successful for many of our clients and we’re sure you’ll find it to work out well too.

How often should I send you my information?

If you are a Live account, we recommend that information be sent to us on a weekly basis. This will ensure people are paid and bill payments can reach their destination on time. If you are a Non-Live account, our preference is to get your information at least monthly. Obviously, the more often you get information to us, the easier and more manageable it is to keep up with. In addition, it keeps you up-to-date as to the state of your finances, plus it’s easier to remember what that mysterious expense was for.

What happens to my information after work is complete?

It really depends upon your preferences. Some of our clients who send original documents want us to keep them organized and they then take them back at the end of their fiscal year. Others want their original documents back as soon as the information has been entered or decide to pick them up at various times throughout the year. Documents that are not originals are kept (for the convenience of our clients, in case they lose the original) based on record retention schedules and are then shredded.

Helping you make sense of your cents