Improving financial processes and reaching break-even at a New York City non-profit
Problem: The executive director was spending over half of her productive hours managing the accounting, payroll, and reporting requirements with inaccurate results.
- Solution: Designed and implemented a new workflow using QuickBooks that simplified record-keeping, tracked all liabilities, managed restricted funds, and provided accurate performance reports supplemented by key ratios. The director was able to gain a much-needed overall perspective and delegated most accounting tasks. This enabled her to double the time devoted to programming and effective fundraising thereby doubling revenues in one year.
Problem: The non-profit needed to return to break even after termination of a large bequest that accounted for 75% of annual revenues, resulting in two consecutive years of losses.
- Solution: Carefully reviewed the needs of the organization and implemented $5,200 worth of annual savings in the first year. Created a detailed budget with reports that anticipated key issues. Through a combination of savings, tracking tools, and better fundraising, break-even was achieved within the first fiscal year. The non-profit was then able to focus on fulfilling its core mission.
Managing finances and contracts for a consultant
Problem: The consultant did not have a grasp on the finances and was spending a lot of time managing the process with poor results thus proving detrimental to core responsibilities.
- Solution: Took full responsibility of billing and contracts to free up the consultant’s time to focus on projects while giving a high-level view of the finances. Transitioned the accounting process to QuickBooks to efficiently manage all receivables and payables. By using spreadsheets and checklists, contracts were signed in a timely fashion, structured to ensure smoother cash flow, and the finances could then be accurately predicted for the next six to eight months. Additionally, by implementing calendar and technology solutions, the consultant was able to manage trips and data generated from projects with greater efficiency.
Advising a small business owner on key issues
Problem: The business owner lacked knowledge of important regulations and needed advice regarding special tasks.
- Solution: After taking over the accounting responsibilities, solved issues such as moving the company’s SIMPLE IRA plan, on-going payroll and sales tax inaccuracies, worker’s compensation procedures and audits, resolving IRS notices, preparing for important legal filings, tax planning, and liaising with the company’s CPA form to prepare corporate tax returns.
Estimating process at a small business
Problem: The business was not able to bill their customers their project expenditure in supplies. This was leading to lower profitability and hurting cash flow.
- Solution: Created estimating templates in Microsoft Excel with pricing formulae based on the company’s financial reports. This eliminated errors in the process, made sure that none of the essential components were forgotten, helped in ensuring project profitability since the estimated values were based on solid facts.
Managing cash flow at a small business
Problem: The business owner was tied up in daily operations and not able to efficiently manage the company’s cash position resulting in the costly use of lines of credit.
- Solution: Created easy-to-use reports in Excel to simplify the tracking of receivables and payables and forecasting of cash requirements. This led to smoother cash flow and saved the business over $10,000 annually in financing costs.
In-house payroll at a small business
Problem: The business was spending too much on outside payroll services.
- Solution: Moved the payroll process from the outside agency to in-house Quickbooks Payroll. Trained the staff to manage the process efficiently to reduce much of the labor involved. This resulted in average savings of $2000 per year as opposed to the previous solution.
Reduction in accountant’s fees
Problem: The business wanted to cut down on accountant’s fees which were billed at a very high hourly rate.
- Solution: Saved thousands of dollars in fees by determining exactly what the accountant needed to complete the corporate tax returns. This resulted in the preparation of a clear and itemized transmittal file with digital copies of all statements, tax agency documents, quarterly and annual tax returns, and a list of questions for future entries.
Managing logistics and receivables for a sourcing and importing firm
Problem: The business owner was not able to focus on a promising new exporting venture because of the responsibilities of managing an existing operation.
- Solution: Assumed responsibility for shipments of 80-100 containers per year and eliminated delays by ensuring customers, brokers, and vendors received accurate documents in a timely fashion. Customers were advised about unavoidable shipment delays leading to greater satisfaction. By transitioning to a server implementation of QuickBooks and using a document syncing solution, facilitated worldwide access leading to further delegation of the owner’s tasks.
Problem: Customers were taking more time to pay because of the lack of reminders causing cash flow issues and delayed payments to vendors.
- Solution: By using reminders, finance charges, and close management of receivables, achieved timely payments from 85% of customers, up from 50%. Vendors were then paid on time resulting in favorable credit terms and limits. This step was critical because revenues were growing at a rate of 20% per year.
Managing leases and legal filings for a NYC residential property management firm
Problem: The owner was busy managing the day-to-day building operations and was not able to focus on timely issuance of leases to tenants and filing requirements.
- Solution: Took over preparation, renewals, and signings of rent-controlled, rent-stabilized, and luxury leases while concurrently improving these processes. Ensured regulatory compliance by staying abreast of changes in law and timely filing of all real estate registration and legal documents.
Database Solution at a custom furniture firm
Problem: Management was not able to get a true sense of the financial implications of project overruns. Visibility did not exist at the department level to target inefficient processes and departments.
- Solution: Greatly modified an existing Microsoft Access database to incorporate accounting data to enhance a report to compute real time project costs versus budgets. Created additional departmental reports that clearly showed each department head the employee efficiency as well as overall project performance. This resulted in the targeting and modification of non-performing departments and processes, thereby vastly improving the estimating and overall operations thus saving tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Database solution to track inventory and samples
Problem: Since projects were not being well documented, supervisors were spending a lot of time searching for parts used in similar projects done in the past leading to wasted productive time. Samples were not being tracked leading to samples not being returned and resulting in wasted effort and expense in re-creating the work.
- Solution: Implemented a searchable database solution in Filemaker Pro to track purchased items. With the help of keywords, this helped reduce the time spent in searching for parts. Established flow charts to establish proper handling procedures for samples. Created a database to register check-ins and check-outs for samples.