October is another month with some great new features and improvements that went live in QuickBooks Online. Here are some QuickBooks Halloween treats (no rocks). Thanks as always for your feedback!

Bank feed changes:

Recognized bank transactions. The Recognized view lists items that are already matched, have a rule applied, or use categories from related transactions you previously accepted (any item shown in green), making it easier to quickly accept bank transactions into QuickBooks! Transactions > Banking >  Recognized.

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Bank rule “or.” You can now apply a bank rule when a transaction meets condition 1 orcondition 2 or condition 3, etc. Transactions > Banking > ▼ to the right of Update > Manage rules > New rule > (2)  any. (If you missed it, here are bank rule basics.)

QuickBooks Online 2


Turn off automatic categorization
. When you change a bank transaction’s category, QuickBooks automatically uses that category for future transactions that have the same vendor name. You can now turn off that autocategorization. For example, let’s say you buy a lot from Mahoney Mugs; sometimes you want to categorize transactions as Promotional and sometimes you want to categorize them as Office Expenses, but you want them uncategorized to start. Transactions > Banking > click a transaction > (3) Leave uncategorized

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Import bank .csv files. If your bank supports it, you can (4) import a .csv file of your bank transactions. Transactions > Banking > ▼ to the right of Update > File upload.

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Other changes:

Receive payment on a batch of invoices: the Receive Payment form now has a (5) Batch checkbox that makes it faster to apply a payment to multiple invoices. Create (+) > Receive Payment.

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With more than 1.7 million users worldwide, QuickBooks Online is the global leader in cloud business management. Businesses around the world manage their finances, invoicing, bookkeeping and accounting with easy-to-use QuickBooks Online. Spend less time on accounting and more time building your business. Try QuickBooks today – now with FREE Payroll for up to 5 employees.

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Are you on Twitter? Want to connect to fellow QuickBooks users?

Then start following us on @QuickBooksUK and join our Twitter #QBOchat at 8pm on Thursday 18th of September.

Cathy from the Iconis group has been doing these Twitter chats for a while now so the chats are super organised, focus on a different topic every week, and the transcripts are even archived so you won’t miss a thing.

It’s a friendly and lively bunch, and as Cathy says herself, “We invite all types of QuickBooks users — small biz owners, bookkeepers, developers, and tax preparers to join our #QBOChat.”

Look through the archives — there are lots of ideas on how to run a business more efficiently. And, of course, QuickBooks tips!

Join the conversation

Search for #QBOchat on Twitter on Thursday or just follow and join the discussion with our Twitter widget here that collects all tweets around the topic. See you on Thursday.

What is a Tweet Chat?

A Twitter Chat or Tweet Chat is using Twitter to talk about a common interest with others during a preset time. It’s like an online chatroom where you add to the discussion by tweeting.

How do I join?

All you need is a twitter account to join the tweetchat! You also want to make sure you use our hashtag in your tweets – #QBOChat to make sure you are included in the feed.

I still don’t understand, can you recommend any articles about how to participate in tweetchats?

Why, yes we can!! Here are just a few:

- See more at: http://iconisgroup.com/resources/qbochat/#sthash.KZZHEmsK.dpuf

 

Stay up to date

With more than 1.7 million users worldwide, QuickBooks Online is the global leader in cloud business management. Businesses around the world manage their finances, invoicing, bookkeeping and accounting with easy-to-use QuickBooks Online. Spend less time on accounting and more time building your business. Try QuickBooks today – now with FREE Payroll for up to 5 employees.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube to get new content and deals first.

The type of funding that is right for your business is entirely dependent upon the type of business you are starting and your own financial means.

Some businesses, especially when providing expertise-driven services, require little to no capital to start. Some businesses, such as retail, or any form of manufacturing, may require considerable capital to open their doors.

This is an overview of the most common types of small business funding as well as some exciting new developments in crowd-sourced finance.

Pound

Do-it-yourself / Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping refers to starting and building a business without any external investment. Growth is achieved from resources provided by the entrepreneur, and later through revenue.

A resource does not have to be cash. For example, if you are setting up as an independent accountant, you might simply use a computer you already own, rather than providing the cash to buy new equipment.

Advantages of Bootstrapping

  • You control your own company and own it outright rather than giving away a slice of the pie before you even start.
  • People tend to be more frugal with their own money than with other people’s money.
  • No time is spent finding investors. All of your time can be focused on the business.
  • Should you require investors for expansion later, they will look favorably on the fact that you are a going concern rather than just a business plan with potential.

Disadvantages of Bootstrapping

  • If the business fails, you will lose most, if not all, of what you have put in.
  • Growing a company organically tends to be a slower path than using investment capital to accelerate growth.
  • Bootstrapping will not be an option for you if the business requires considerable capital investment in assets, machinery, stock, or staff, and you have limited personal resources.

Borrowing Money

Loans from friends and family

Many successful businesses have been built with money loaned from, or invested by, parents, aunts and uncles, or siblings. But this type of business financing comes with some serious risks.

Advantages of family financing

  • It may be easier to convince your family member to lend you the money than a bank as personal relationships take on a more involved form.
  • Repayment terms and interest rates may be more flexible and favorable than an institutional lender.

Disadvantages of family financing

  • Sometimes family loans lack the formality and documentation that are expected with other sources of finance. Should there be any disputes, or should the business struggle to meet repayments, this could cause considerable problems for both you and your relative. Ensure that legal documents outlining the terms and conditions of the loan are drawn up and ensure that they are legally binding for both parties.
  • Family members who lend you money sometimes think they now part own the business. This can lead to interference that takes time away from focusing on building your business. Make sure the loan agreement states which party is running the company.

Bank Loans

Banks are the most common organisation that entrepreneurs approach first for financing. Bank loans can be very hard to get with stringent requirements, although there are banks with dedicated small business lending specialists. Many more bank loan applications are rejected than are accepted.

Advantages of bank loans

  • You are not giving away any equity in your business and retain control.
  • Banks tend to offer lower rates of interest compared with other commercial lenders.
  • You may receive some tax relief on part or all of the repayments.
  • Banks are generally very convenient for businesses, especially if the same bank is being used for the business’ day to day banking.

Disadvantages of bank loans

  • Bank loans can be very difficult to get approved for. The application process may be complex and lengthy, and the evidence required may feel excessive and be more than you can produce.
  • Banks prefer lending to existing businesses, rather than startups.
  • You may be required to put down considerable collateral, most likely your house, if you own one. If you default on the loan you stand to lose it.

Investment

Angel Investors

Angel investors tend to be wealthy individuals that provide capital for start-ups. They usually provide the first round of funding for a business, also known as the seed money. Some angels band together to form networks where they collect and share intelligence. Sometimes they pool their investment resources. Angels are generally open to high risk, as they will spread their risk across multiple investments and expect most to fail. Angels tend to invest smaller amounts between £10,000 and £200,000.

Advantages of angel investment

  • When you find the right angel for your business sector, he or she will often make a decision quickly.
  • They will have knowledge in your sector, which can aid you, plus their interest should motivate you to remain focused.
  • You are giving away equity so there will be no loan repayments to make.

Disadvantages of angel investment

  • The right angel for your business can be hard to find, and then hard to approach. They receive many more proposals than they can accommodate so you will have to work hard to catch their attention.
  • The size of equity you may have to give up for the amount of money you receive may become problematic at a later stage should you require additional rounds of investment.

Venture Capital

Venture capital, also known as VC, is private equity money provided to early-stage businesses, usually after they have received seed money or have made some progress bootstrapping.  This type of investment targets businesses with high growth potential.  They aim to recoup a multiple of the original share value through an initial public offering or acquisition by another company.

Advantages of venture capital

  • Venture Capitalists often possess knowledge that can be transferred to the business. It is not uncommon for an executive from the VC firm to sit on the board of the recipient business.
  • They can help forge relationships with important stakeholders such as potential business partners and customers.
  • They have the expertise to facilitate exits, such as IPOs or acquisition.

Disadvantages of venture capital

  • VCs usually limit their window on realizing a return to 5 years or less. If your business plan looks to longer period, or you have no interest in an IPO, it is unlikely this is a potential source of funding for you.
  • They will place conditions on the deal. For example, restrictions on future dilution and executive pay, and will insist on some level of control over major decisions.
  • While it can be an advantage to have an expert on your board, it can also be a disadvantage if there are major conflicts, or differences over how to run the business.
  • You will be committed to providing regular reports on progress, which may feel intrusive to the entrepreneur.

Incubators and Accelerators

Incubators provide shared office space and facilities for up to 20 businesses at a time, all funded by the same private equity fund. On top of cash and facilities incubators provide mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and executives. They also encourage group learning and communication within the network of members. There is no limit on how long you can stay, but eventually your business should grow to the point where it strikes out on its own.

Accelerators are slightly different in that businesses are given space for a limited period of time, usually six months or less. The experience is best described as an entrepreneurs’ boot camp with a whirlwind of seminars and workshops.

Advantages of incubators and accelerators

  • They are ideal for first time CEOs/entrepreneurs who lack general business knowledge.
  • As well as providing seed capital they provide all the facilities you need to get to work, from desks to printers to meeting rooms. You just have to show up.
  • They run their own PR & Marketing programs which have trickle down benefits for their members.
  • They usually have a network of experienced and successful CEOs and entrepreneurs that provide expertise and mentoring.
  • These programs can open many doors for the budding entrepreneur.

Disadvantages of incubators and accelerators

  • A large number of mentors often have a large number of differing opinions, which require critical appraisal before they affect your actions.
  • Sharing space is not always idea, especially if someone is potentially competitive to you. And fighting over use of the meeting rooms can become tiresome.
  • The investments amounts are often small but the equity stakes can be high.
  • The network of companies in the program may offer little benefit to you. It is important that you research the program and its current members thoroughly.

Government Grants

The UK government operates hundreds of funding and assistance schemes for small businesses.  There are regional schemes to encourage establishing businesses outside of the South West, especially in the North, Scotland, and Northern Ireland; grants for research and development; capital grants for purchasing plant and machinery; and industry specific grants in fields as diverse as marine biology and the arts.

At the time of writing there are 809 available schemes on the Gov.UK web site, too many to write about. You can research available options here

Advantages of government grants

  • They incur no financial liability.

Disadvantages of government grants

  • They can come with strict restrictions on how the money is used.
  • The processes for application can be long, bureaucratic, and littered with red tape.
  • There is often stiff competition for government grants.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding enables businesses to receive funding from large groups of people, each donating small amounts. Typically the process is conducted over the Internet.

Through sites such as Kickstarter.com, entrepreneurs can promote their business and set a target amount of investment. Individuals, who collectively make up The Crowd, can donate as much or as little as they wish to this business in return for equity, rewards, or special consideration, like being the first to receive the finished product.

Advantages of crowdfunding

  • The act of promoting your business through a crowdfunding web site exposes you to large numbers of potential customers as well as investors. It is a great form of publicity.
  • It can be used for almost any type of project, from setting up a business, to funding an independent movie.

Disadvantages of crowdfunding

  • Instead of large amounts from a small number of investors, or just one, you are receiving very small amounts from a very large number of investors.
  • Most projects fail to reach their investment target.
  • You will miss the important feedback and knowledge transfer that comes with traditional financing means.
  • Crowdfunding can expose the inner workings of your business, or just the fact that it exists, to potential competition.

Summary

There are many different ways to obtain small business funding. You can borrow money but your business must be able to support the repayments. You can receive investment but in return you will have to give up some of your company and possibly some of your control.

Deciding which course is the right one for you is something that only you can do, based on the uniqueness of your needs and your business’ needs. Always seek advice and expertise.

Whichever course you take, it is important to remember the following:

  • Your money is always at risk. Businesses fail and not always for reasons internal to the business.
  • If you have agreed a loan or investment, do not spend the money before it clears in your bank account. Things can go wrong with loan and investment deals.
  • Never spend other people’s money without clear legal documentation than spells out the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

 

Stay up to date

With more than 1.7 million users worldwide, QuickBooks Online is the global leader in cloud business management. Businesses around the world manage their finances, invoicing, bookkeeping and accounting with easy-to-use QuickBooks Online. Spend less time on accounting and more time building your business. Try QuickBooks today – now with FREE Payroll for up to 5 employees.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube to get new content and deals first.

 

At Intuit we value spending time with our accountants and making sure they get the best out of QuickBooks Online. Throughout September and October we are hosting a number of events across the country to help you make get most out of the time you spend with your clients – QuickBooks Get Connected. You can find your nearest event here.

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The QuickBooks Get Connected series launched earlier this summer with a fantastic event at Vinopolis, London. By gathering 50 accountants as well as some of our add-on partners we were able to gain insights into some of the key business challenges accountants face and provided tips to make the most out of using QuickBooks Online.

Hosting events such as this gives us the opportunity to listen to accountants and find out your true business needs and what your pain points are when growing a practice.

By hearing more about QuickBooks Online, accountants are able to use the platform to better effect to make the most of the time you spend with your clients.

 

Sharon Schofield of Myers Clark (Turnbull Associates) believes that working in the cloud has allowed her extra time to focus on her clients:

“I’m not waiting for month end reports to come to me which takes considerable pressure off financial reviews.”

By working in the cloud, Accountants have more spare time to build stronger relationships with their clients as business advisors, which is fast becoming the expectation of the small to medium size business owner. Gerhard Visagie of Exceed UK commented:

“The solutions and future development of QuickBooks Online are very beneficial to our clients and free up our staff to do more valuable client work, guiding them in their business – that’s where we want to play.”

We also heard from some of QuickBook’s ecosystem partners, who bring complimentary services to our product. PaySuite’s Stuart Hall and Receipt Bank’s Nelson da Silva spoke about how they have integrated into the QuickBooks system and gave an overview of their apps. These help clients manage their payroll and expenses and make sure they are logging into QuickBooks Online ready for you.

 

Marketing Director David Walsh summarises the key findings from the event and customer panel discussion in the following video.

Join one of our next events

We heard nothing but praise from the attendees who were genuinely impressed with the opportunities QuickBooks presented in helping them drive business efficiency and develop customer relationships. We’re already looking forward to the next event; make sure you sign up here


Stay up to date

With more than 1.7 million users worldwide, QuickBooks Online is the global leader in cloud business management. Businesses around the world manage their finances, invoicing, bookkeeping and accounting with easy-to-use QuickBooks Online. Spend less time on accounting and more time building your business. Try QuickBooks today – now with FREE Payroll for up to 5 employees.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube to get new content and deals first.

 

SAB

As the UK economy shifts back into recovery, the start-up scene is booming. 4.6 million people are now their own boss,  and this trend certainly isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, particularly in hot spots like London’s Silicon Roundabout, Birmingham and Manchester.

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Going solo can bring the ultimate reward: you can become your own boss as well as innovate and think of new ideas. However, there’s no escaping the fact that starting a business can also be inherently risky, with 25% of businesses failing in their first year.

So what are the major pitfalls to avoid and is there such thing as a born entrepreneur that will always get it right?

Identifying common stumbling blocks

You need to have the right reasons to start a business. Doing it because you hate your boss and aren’t happy in your current job is not the answer. Without a genuine passion and belief in the product you want to provide, you’ll never get your business off the ground.

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Developing a product that already exists in the market is something else to avoid. While taking on an industry rival might seem like an appealing challenge, if there is nothing unique about your business model, your opponent, with the more established following and reputation, will always come out on top.

Linked to this is developing a product for which there is no market need. Simply having a game-changing idea isn’t enough to succeed: hundreds of hopefuls fail on Dragon’s Den because of one reason – lack of necessity. The same is true of the real world. Without a market hungering for your product, it simply won’t sell.

Once you’re up and running, you need to ensure that you have processes in place to grow the business: a solid plan, a promising customer pipeline, a strong team to support you and perhaps, most importantly, a robust financial management model. Research we recently carried out found that 44 per cent of SMEs had either run out of cash or come very close within the first three years of trading. And, when poor financial management is one the key reasons why so many businesses fail in their early days, ensuring your books are in order from the outset will be critical to your success.

Tied into this is ensuring you always have insight into your business’ performance. Having a single clear view of your finances, and being able to access them rapidly from any location, allows you to make more informed business decisions. For example, you might look at your healthy pipeline and decide it’s time you paid your staff a bonus or ploughed some more investment into R&D. At the other end of the scale, you could avoid a nasty surprise by staying ahead of the game and realising you need to bring in some new customers quickly before it’s too late.

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What makes a good entrepreneur?

While the stereotypical entrepreneur might be a 20-something gambler who likes to take risks, the reality is somewhat different. Of course, any successful start-up owner will want to get involved in what’s different, untried and untested, but they will avoid an un-wise gamble at all costs. And, while people aren’t necessarily born entrepreneurs, there are some requisite traits that are often found in entrepreneurs.

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Most will display tenacity, a dogged attitude and a tolerance for an uncertain future and risk of failure. What often distinguishes the successful entrepreneur is their genuine refusal to give up, a level of agility to try new ideas at the drop of a hat and a desire to continuously review and improve their model.

 

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Constantly innovating requires a degree of creativity – not to mention energy -and nurturing that trait will be critical to success. Good entrepreneurs can often visualise how they want their future to unfold. They will have a clear picture of what direction they want their company to take and how they will guide it from conception to realisation. Finally, they have self-confidence in bucket loads. They have to be 100 per cent certain that their product is something that the market needs.

So if you think you have what it takes to start a business, now is the time to do your due diligence. Immerse yourself in your product, the market and your competitors to ensure you have all bases covered. Above all, preparation is key: only once you’re absolutely certain you’re ready should you open your doors for business.

You can see the full infographic here or just click on any image above.

Stay up to date

With more than 1.7 million users worldwide, QuickBooks Online is the global leader in cloud business management. Businesses around the world manage their finances, invoicing, bookkeeping and accounting with easy-to-use QuickBooks Online. Spend less time on accounting and more time building your business. Try QuickBooks today – now with FREE Payroll.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube to get new content and deals first.