Monthly Archives: May 2014

Reaping the Rewards of a Sunny Life – and Other Green Initiatives

Sunshine seems to be a given in California, as there is even the rumor of a law that grants sunshine to all citizens. (Unfortunately that law is just that, a rumor, and may be based on the Sunshine Act, which refers to government transparency.)

According to the Current Results website, downtown L.A. receives an average of 292 days of sunshine in a year – that’s an 80% chance of sunshine! Even the lowest ranked, Eureka, receives 179 days of sunshine – or almost 50%.

The high chance of sunny days makes California the perfect place for solar power. And for small- and medium-sized businesses, solar power can not only cut down your electricity bills, it can increase your standing in the community by that much more.

Solar Power – the Fiscal Returns

In California, residents – and businesses – can receive a guaranteed return on investment from their solar installation, because of a feed-in tariff. The tariff is similar to a power purchase agreement (where the government or the local electrical utility buys back electricity at a certain rate) but at a much higher rate. At the end of 2012 (according to Wikipedia) California had 364 megawatts of concentrated solar power and 2,559 megawatts of photovoltaics.

An article on the Clean Technica website from earlier this year (http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/03/much-can-solar-panels-save/) shows a very interesting info-graphic – even though California is at the low end of the spectrum, it is estimated that you can save just under $40,000 over 20 years – that’s an average of $2,000 a year!

Increase Your Social Stock

Solar power isn’t just about cash flow, either. By installing “green” devices in your small business, you are shown to care about the environment – and the environment is very “sexy” nowadays. Customers will flock to you because you have a sustainable model – and word of mouth will make your social stock soar.

There are other ways to be more “green” in your business. Instead of sending out paper invoices, use e-invoicing – it can also save time, and make filing your taxes a lot easier. But you must advertise that you do this – at the bottom of your e-invoice, state, “We save X number of trees per year with our paperless invoicing.” Any kind of replacement of paper with e-mail is a good idea; you can send out e-cards instead of Christmas or announcements, send out an e-blast or an e-mail newsletter instead of paper advertisements. E-mail can replace many types of communication.

No matter what kind of business you run, small or medium, there are always ways to make your organization greener. From something as simple as planting trees near your business’s office (or planting them elsewhere and advertising that you are planting them) to going for LEEDs certification, every little bit counts. LEEDS – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – has different levels of certification, and includes solar power installations, construction of the building to let in the most light (without use of office lights) and much more.

It’s all up to you – greener is better; it can save you money and increase your standing in the community.

 

Balance Your Books? Hire An Accountant!

The running of a business, whether large or small, can take a huge amount of your time. From managing employees to the day-to-day activities of your company, balancing your book and dealing with payroll can be a real frustration. If you are having problems making time to handle your finances, why not hire an accountant?

An accountant can take over simple but mind-numbing jobs such as payroll processing and bookkeeping – whether monthly, quarterly or annual. By giving these tasks to a professional, you are not only saving time, but also ensuring that everything is done correctly. After all, an accountant is in the business of providing financial services; it’s their job!

General ledger and financial statements are extremely important in running a business. A balance sheet shows that you have a good idea of where you stand, a cash flow statement outlines the amount of money coming in and leaving your business, and a statement of earnings or net income statement provides the bottom line of your business – whether you are earning money or posting a net loss. Simple mistakes in these financials can be quite harmful to your business, so it is imperative that each part is done correctly.

Payroll is one of the most involved tasks of owning and running a business, especially if you have multiple employees. This is also important of course to the employee themselves – everyone expects timely payment of their salary or wages; a mistake or missed payment can cause unhappy employees, which in turn creates tension in the workplace. An accountant can take all of the information needed to pay your employees, including overtime needing to be paid, vacation pay and sick pay, and make sure that everyone gets paid on time.

If you have difficulty budgeting your money in your business, or have no idea why at the end of the day you’re in the red, an accountant can help! He will go through your cash flow statement – or create one if you do not have one – and show you where most of your money is going, and what you can do to either increase your revenue or lower your expenses. An accountant’s best asset is their experience and knowledge, and no matter your industry or how small or big your business is, he will be able to provide you some guidance.

Do you have employee benefit or a profit-sharing plan? Are you interested in setting one up for your business? This is also something an accountant can help you with, whether you just want to hand over the details or want some more information on if this is a valid option for you. If you are having to deal with legal issues, an accountant is also someone you can go to for advice on this point as well.

A good accountant is someone you can count on to help you in any part of your financial situation, whether you are a large business, an individual or a sole proprietorship.