Back Office

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Back office is another way of saying "all those topics you didn't know you needed to know about until you started your business..."

Everyone starts a business feeling confident in their expertise, then reality hits. 

We all know how to use our computers, but what do you do when yours gets infected or dishes up a blue screen of death?

What about payroll and accounting? 

It's easy when you're accepting cash and just paying yourself, but what happens when you have to invoice or take credit card payments?

Then there is the whole issue of human resources.

It's very exciting to hire your first employee, but do you know anything about EEOC compliance? 

  • Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • IT & More!

Back office refers to any essential business services that aren't customer-facing. And when you think about it that way, back office covers a whole lot of territory.

Since nobody can be an expert at everything, we've put together a few online and real-world resources for all those tasks you wish you knew how to do to help with your back office questions. 

Remember, online sources are meant to be a starting point for gathering information. We try to provide links to professional, reputable sources for information, but nothing beats an expert opinion from someone who is speaking to your specific situation. Especially when it comes to human resources and taxes.

Accounting & Taxes

General Tax Help & Small Business Tax Specialist

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Skip the overwhelm, I can help you make sense of your taxes

I've been an accountant for over forty years. My experience from working with government agencies, non-profits, and large corporations has given me extensive knowledge of how to with the IRS and state tax agencies.

  • Small Business Taxes
  • IRS Audits & Demand Letters
  • Estates & Trusts

Owning a business is stressful enough without having to worry about an IRS demand.

I understand their policies and procedures and have helped many small business clients successfully challenge IRS audits. 

If you have received an IRS demand letter or are being audited, I can help.

Click the contact button below or give me a call (781) 799-1188

Tax Help

Accounting Programs/Platforms

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is the granddaddy of all accounting programs. 

Originally released in 1983, QuickBooks is probably the most familiar and widely used accounting software on the market today. 

With solutions for bookkeeping, general accounting, inventory, payroll, invoicing, time tracking, and payments, QuickBooks is positioned to tackle just about any business from occasional freelancer to large organizations with multiple users and complex accounting needs.

Pricing options include $15 per month for freelancers, $25 per month for small businesses, $70 per month for people who need more features, and $150 per monnth for advanced users. 

Note: In many cases your bookkeeper or accountant can offer you a coupon code for substantial savings on your QuickBooks subscription. 

*Updated 2/8/21

Wave

Wave is an online accounting platform created with small business owners in mind. 

With access through its online platform and mobile app, Wave makes it easy to manage all of your business accounting tasks. 

  • Create & send invoices
  • Accept payments online
  • Payroll & payroll taxes

Wave even lets you scan expense receipts right from your phone so you never have to worry about finding them come tax time. 

The cost of the basic accounting program is free, but there are fees for accepting payments and managing payroll. 

At this time* the cost for credit card processing transactions is 2.9% +.30 per transaction.   And payroll pricing is a $35 monthly base fee + $6 for each active employee or independent contractor. 

Visit Wave's website for information about their current pricing.

 

*UPDATED 2/8/21

FreshBooks

FreshBooks is an invoicing and accounting software for small businesses. 

This is another user-friendly programs that helps you manage the many financial aspects of running your business.

  • Invoicing
  • Expenses
  • Time Tracking
  • Projects
  • Payments
  • Reporting
  • General Accounting

Like Wave, FreshBooks is an online platform with a mobile app. They claim to "save users up to 16 hours a month with project proposals and estimates." 

They offer three subscription levels that range from $4.50 a month up to $15 per month.* With a custom option available for power users. 

  • Unlimited + Customized Invoices
  • Unlimited Expense Entries
  • Accept Credit Card Payments Online
  • Accept ACH Bank Transfers Online
  • Automated Bank Import
  • Unlimited Time Tracking
  • Unlimited Estimates
  • Insightful Tax Time Reports
  • Custom functionality and workflows with 200+ integrations
  • Team Members ($10/person)

The entry-level Lite version offers a nice array of features but is limited to 5 billable clients. It might be a good choice for a startup consulting firm with few clients, but companies with a larger client base will need to look at the Plus subscription at $7.50 per month and 50 billable clients, or the $15 per month for the Premium subscription with up to 500 billable clients. 

FreshBooks is a popular program and well worth a look for anyone DIY'ing their accounting. 

*UPDATED 2/8/21

Accounting Resources & Training

Accounting Terms - Cheat Sheets

Accounting Coach - Learn Accounting for Free

We like the Accounting Coach website because it is well-designed with easy to find explanations about general bookkeeping, financial, and business management terms. 

In addition to being an excellent free resource for accounting terms and concepts, Accounting Coach provides two budget friendly options for extended training, PRO and PRO Plus.* 

The free version of the Accounting Coach training should be more than enough for the average small business owner to understand general accounting concepts.

* 2/8/21 Current one-time pricing for the paid options are $49 and $99. 

Human Resoures

Regulations

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC's Small Business Resource Center is a fantastic resource for small business owners looking for guidance with the basics of hiring, firing, employee reviews, leave policies, accomodating disabilities, performance evaluations, training, and pretty much every situation you're likely to encounter as an employer. 

  • Small Business (Employer) Requirements
  • Making an Employment Decisions
  • Small Business Assistance
  • EEOC Resources & Fact Sheets

The EEOC offers a free outreach program to provide speakers and presentations about the EEOC and anti-discrimination laws to employee or employer groups, professional associations, non-profits, and community organizations

They even have a series of videos to help you through the hiring process.

If your organization requires more in depth training, please visit the EEOC Training Institute for a full list of courses, programs, and conferences.

US Department of Labor

Summary of the Major Laws of the Department of Labor (DOL)

  • Wages & Hours
  • Workplace Safety & Health
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Employee Benefit Security
  • Unions
  • Employee Protection
  • Garnishment of Wages
  • Family & Medical Leave Act
  • Veterans' Preference
  • Government Contracts, Grants, or Financial Aid
  • Migrant & Seasonal Agricultural Workers
  • Mine Safety & Health
  • Construction
  • Transportation
  • Plant Closings & Layoffs

Believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceburg. 

The mission of the Department of Labor is "To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights."

That means that the DOL is responsible for just about everything related to working in the United States. 

General Topics

  • Workplace Rights
  • Workplace Benefits
  • Getting or Leaving a Job
  • Information for Employers
  • Workplace Safety & Health
  • Statistics & Research

This is a great first stop for anyone looking for information about federal laws related to working in the United States. 

State Departments of Labor Websites

Looking for the Department of Labor and federal programs in your state?

Check out this list of state and federal offices by state.

 

Tip! Outsourcing HR is more affordable than you think.

Human resource and staffing services can provide a wide variety of assistance beyond helping you find employees. 

  • EEOC Compliance
  • Employee Policy Develompment
  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Onboarding & Orientation
  • Employee Evaluations
  • & Much More!

Save the hassle & headache of trying to do it yourself and outsource your Human Resources.

IT & Risk Management

Microsoft - Updates & Upgrades

Microsoft may be the most prominent operating system, but it's not without its challenges. 

We're not IT experts, but we are really good at finding solutions.

Here are a few sources for official Microsoft Windows updates, upgrades & security patches. 

We're also including a Windows 10 update guide from Computerworld that gives a nice breakdown of the various Windows 10 updates.

Always remember to back up your system before doing updates, adding security patches, or making any changes to your OS. 

Microsoft does their best to make the process of keeping your computer secure as easy as possible, but they can't guarantee agaisnt bad downloads, software conflicts, or user error.

The only way you can protect yourself from an expensive DIY nightmare is to have a pre-update backup. 

Ransomware & Viruses

The one thing you must understand about hackers, ransomware and computer viruses is that at some point or another you will be a victim. 

It doesn't matter what operating system, platform, or device you use. The only real protection you have against these malicious attacks is to keep a current, clean backup. 

There are plenty of best practices like applying security patches, using virus protection programs, and strong passwords, but at the end of the day they are just bandaids. 

If you're not tech savvy or don't have time to set up and manage your company's computers or network, it is well worth the money to hire someone to do it for you. 

The gentleman we interviewed for the ransomware article below charges $55 a year for 1 terabyte of backups. 

Insurance

Insurance is an often overlooked component of small business risk management. 

This is especially true for solopreneurs and non-employee startups who work remotely or have little physical interaction with customers. 

Depending on what your business does and how you do it, there are many options for commercial insurance policies. 

The most common policies are:

  • General Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Commercial Auto
  • Commercial Property
  • Commercial Umbrella

You can also find coverage for cyber protection, home-based business insurance, commercial flood insurance, and more. 

A basic general liability policy is going to cost an average of $250 - $500 per year and covers basic property damage and bodily injury claims.

  • Bodily injury or property damage
  • Reputational harm
  • Advertising errors
  • Medical payments
  • Damage to premises rented to you

It's also worth checking if your state requires some type of commercial policy. In most cases proof of insurance will be required before a business license is granted, but it's always better to do your due dilligence so you can avoid any potential fines or gotchas. 

The Hartford offers a list of insurance policies by state to see what requirements each state has, but it is always best to check with the Secretary of State or local business licensing agency.

© The Business Guild