Small Business – Looking For Business Financing and Business Funding

Looking for business financing generally refers to entrepreneurs searching for funding resources for a business. Businesses need capital for start-up and operating expenses, and many financial institutions provide loan programs to fulfill that need.

When looking for business financing, most entrepreneurs go to the Small Business Administration (SBA) first. This government agency supplies funding to business that employ fewer than one hundred workers and that have been denied by traditional lenders, such as banks. Their most common loan program is the 7(a) loan, which guarantees a certain percentage of a loan provided by a traditional lender. The loan requirements for start-up and existing businesses differ somewhat, but both require applicants to supply personal and business financial documents along with a written business plan. If a business meets the criteria for a 7(a) loan, it can download and print the application available on the SBA’s website to give to a lender who participates in the SBA’s guaranty program.

Existing businesses looking for immediate business financing usually turn to factoring. With factoring, a business sells its accounts receivables to another company, known as a factor. Most factors require businesses to process credit cards and to have been doing so for a certain length of time, usually three to twelve months. Once approved, the factor collects the payments on the accounts from the business’s clients until the funds are repaid. Factoring is not considered a loan; therefore, no debt is incurred on the balance sheet.

Looking for business funding refers to entrepreneurs who are searching for ways to fund a small business. Funding is needed for start-up and operating expenses. Many lenders provide specialized loan programs to assist small business owners in starting and maintaining their business.

A majority of entrepreneurs go to the Small Business Administration (SBA) when looking for business funding. This government agency provides loans to small businesses that employ fewer than one hundred workers and that have been denied by traditional lenders, such as commercial banks. Their most common loan is the 7(a) loan. The application requirements for start-up and existing business differ, but both require certain financial documents and a business plan. Certain variations of this loan may require additional documentation. To apply for the 7(a) loan, applicants should collect all needed documents and take them to a lender who participates in the SBA guaranty program. With this program, the SBA will guaranty a certain percentage of a small business loan in order to alleviate the lender from unnecessary risk.

Another source to consider when looking for business funding is a private investor. A private investor will contribute large sums of capital to a business in exchange for a portion of the profits. The best way to attract potential investors is to have a well-written, feasible business plan. Before an investor contributes any capital, it’s best to make sure that he or she is providing equity, not debt. Debt means the investor expects the business to repay all or part of the given capital.



What Is a Balance Sheet and How Can I Use It for Investing?

A balance sheet is a financial statement that provides information about the company’s assets and liabilities and the shareholder’s equity. There is a specific formula that all sheets follow. Basically, the assets of a company equal the liabilities plus the equity of the shareholders. The point of a balance sheet is to ensure that both of the sides balance out to be equal. The company will have to pay for their assets by using loans or shareholders’ equity.

Let’s take a closer look at the three main components that make up the sheet.

Company Assets

A company’s assets are basically the items that the company owns that are valuable, and in most cases they were paid for by the company or donated to them. There are many different asset types. These include cash assets, receivables, property, and many others.

Company Liabilities

A company’s liabilities include the items that the company must pay out to other people, including other businesses, individuals, or government agencies. There are many different liability types. These include current liabilities, short term liabilities, long term liabilities, and many others.

Stockholders’ Equity

A company’s stockholder equity is basically the amount of money that investors have put into the company. Some of this will also include profits that the company has kept to use for new projects that are business related.

Sheets are used to reconcile accounts. Assets should always be equal to the amount of liabilities and equity. Therefore, the equation is A = L + E, or Assets = Liabilities + Equity. It is fairly simple to understand.

A balance sheet can also be used to see where a business stands financially. Investors should always be aware of the businesses that they entrust their investments with. A good way to ensure that you are making wise investment choices is to take a look at the sheet to ensure that they even out. Shareholders will definitely want to know where they stand on these financial documents.

Another group of people that commonly view these finances are potential creditors. Creditors that help out businesses will want to know that a business is able to check and balance their assets and liabilities. This helps to show them that they are making wise loans to the business.

Analyzing a balance sheet may not be as easy as it sounds. The best way to analyze these sheets is through the use of ratio analysis. There are three different ratios to consider. These include class liquidity ratios, solvency ratios, and profitability ratios. Each of these ratios shows a particular business aspect.

If you really want to improve your business and investment moves, then you will want to make sure that you focus on learning the in’s and out’s of the balance sheet and how they can affect you. Don’t glance blindly at a balance sheet without understanding how to properly analyze it. This can be very detrimental, especially for people who are new to investing.



Importance of Document Shredding Services in the Accounting Sector

Reports of identity theft and cases of fraud are on a steady increase. This is especially true in industries that handle sensitive documents such as the accounting sector. Criminals have a way of looking at documents, getting information from them and proceeding to use the same for personal gain. If you are in the accounting industry, the best way to ensure you protect your clients is by using document shredding services.

Importance of Such Services

The importance of such services is one that cannot be overly stressed and it is for this reason that you are encouraged to find a company that offers services tailored to your specific needs. Sensitive documents such as accounting reports, canceled checks, deposit or withdrawal records as well as other banking documents need to be shredded because if they fall in the wrong hand, things could end up being disastrous.

Other documents that need to be handled by paper shredding services include check requests, personnel files, payable invoices and other departmental information. To cap it all, documents from the government as well as from regulatory organizations that operate externally need to be shredded to ensure that they don’t fall in the wrong hands either.

Benefits of Using these Services

By using shredding services, you ensure the most important benefits, which is safeguarding your clients. Note that these services are carried out to perfection and as such, there is no trace whatsoever left that might betray important information to criminals. Every business has confidential information and while this is the case, the accounting industry suffers the most when the necessary measures are not put into place. By consulting with document shredding companies, you increase your chances of ensuring that identity theft does not occur and this increases the level of trust consumer have in your institution. This is unlike if there are reported and documented incidences of such occurrences.

Research has proven that most criminals obtain information from sensitive business documents rather than from information stored in electronic formats. This means that the shredding services can offer you an alternative of storing the information while ensuring they destroy any documents you have. This ensures you can still access vital information without exposing your clients to more harm.

By choosing a professional company to handle this, you not only get rid of sensitive documents but also eliminate the need to buy shredding machines and keep them in your office. Note that there are instances when the maintenance of these tends to be high and as such, the document shredding service provider is your best bet. They will destroy the documents to the last details at your own convenience and this lifts a lot of stressful situations off your shoulders.

Conclusion

Shredding services are the perfect solution for accounting businesses since they ensure that all financial documents are safeguarded from criminals. To cap it all, these services can also be put to good use in different business settings. In essence, it is the only way to increase the level of success recorded by your business.



Bad Credit Buyers Expect to Pay Higher Interest Rates

The first step toward improving your borrowing power is to know your rights and responsibilities. Nobody but you is usually to blame for your bad credit rating, so start out by assuming responsibility for your bad financial choices. Acknowledge that you’ve made some mistakes, and start working to improve those mistakes by addressing the problem head-on.

Know your credit score.

Get a FREE copy of your credit report and know the reality of what is showing up on your credit for collections, for late payments or for any other reason. If you have a good credit report showing up, know about it, point that out to your lender and remind the lender as you’re going through the process that you’ve been responsible on those areas.

Deal with bad credit reporting.

If some of your financial information is missing or miss-reported, correct that. Write letters to the reporting agency explaining or asking for bad information to be removed from your credit report. 30 days after disputing a report, if it isn’t confirmed, it will be deleted. Take advantage of that option to have bad reports deleted from your documents.

Pay off low balance debts.

If it’s a low balance, pay it off, and ask that it be removed from your report. Most companies will allow paid off debts to be removed from your credit report if they no longer have you as a liability on their records.

Request good reports.

If you’ve paid on time, and you have some good reports that aren’t on your credit report, this is the time to request those reports be placed on your financial profile. Do the work and ask your creditors to make those good reports too.

Keep track of changes on your financial documents.

By keeping track of your credit report and any changes in your credit score, you’ll be better able to prevent the possibility of identity theft, or at least identifying the source and cause of any identity theft problems that may arise on your accounts. This may come in handy if anyone ever does take your debit card, or steal your identity.

Maintaining a legal shield of some kind to protect yourself from identity theft is always a good idea, but in lieu of a specific paid program, keeping close track on your own financial documentation is the best option.

Don’t allow your identity or financial resources to be destroyed by others, be responsible for yourself.



Financial Planning

There are two kinds of People, first are those who do not know where their next pay check is coming from and the second are those who know where their next pay check is coming from.

Planning Financially is must for everyone from the lower right up to the Upper Class.

It has has been taught to every child, even you! Remember your Mom telling you don’t buy this don’t buy that it’s not good for you and stuff?? Yes! That was one of your important lessons.. But we as children ignored the important lesson and ran out and bought sugary candy which just made us Nuts and eventually drove our Parents Nuts (If you are laughing now don’t forget you will have kids of your own)

The Ideal expense to pay check ratio would be 1 : 2 or even better 1 : 3 and so on.

Every Company aims for it and so should you!

But unfortunately not many get it that way.

But roughly even if you are saving 1/3 of your pay check you are doing well enough.

People are spending a lot on Consultation, getting people to help balance their lives. Don’t forget you got to pay people for Financial help!

So instead of paying someone for a solution here are some rules, to keep your self balanced and live a Happy Life.

MUST-DO List for a happier life

Financial Planning rule no. 1

STOP using Credit Cards:

As convenient as it is, it’s an added expense and a very good reason to spend money. Only use Credit Cards where necessary. Consider this step as a bad habit and drop it where Financial Planning is concerned.

Financial Planning rule no. 2

Get rid of your Loans:

This is must you have no idea, how light you will feel.

Speak to your Bank and pay more to get rid of them faster.

Rule no. 3

Buy in Bulk:

When you buy grocery in bulk not only you get them cheaper you can use them for longer. For e.g. you use 3 soap bars in a week instead of getting just 3 next week, get a pack of 10 you will get it cheaper plus you will save time and money to go back to the Store the following week. Use this Financial Planning rule where ever possible.

Financial Planning rule no. 4

Cut down on luxuries:

You don’t need to eat out everyday, Cook at home sometimes, its healthy (that’s if you know how to cook) and cheaper, Apply this Financial Planning rule where ever possible.

Financial Planning rule no. 5

Get to the 1 : 2 Ratio:

Try as hard as you can to reach to this ratio, earning at least twice as much as your Expenses. This step is a very important step in Financial Planning!

Financial Planning rule no. 6

Save money on Gas.



8 Tips to Cut Your Divorce Costs

Good family law solicitors understand that not only is divorce very painful, but it can prove very expensive too. Apart from the fact that two households are more expensive to run than one, legal bills can escalate. However, if you follow these simple tips, you can help keep your legal costs down.

1. Prepare for your initial meeting

If you intend to divorce your spouse, it will save your solicitor’s time and your cash if you turn up at your first meeting with a brief written summary of your circumstances, and include the facts set out below. Your solicitor will then not need to spend time getting those basic details from you:

o Your full name and address

o Your date of birth

o The full name of your spouse

o The names and ages of any children you may have

o A rough summary of your family’s financial position, including details of any property, its rough value and any debt outstanding on it, details of any pensions, savings, shares, endowment policies or other investments, and any other family assets or debts

2. Obtain your marriage certificate

If you plan to file for divorce, provide for your solicitor either the original marriage certificate or a certified copy obtainable from your local Registry Office.

3. Get hold of your own pension valuation

A pension is often one of the family’s largest assets. Your pension is taken into account when looking at family assets and considering how they should be split between the two of you. Your solicitor will always need an up-to-date valuation of your pension. A simple letter from you to your pension company asking for its current transferable value will save you money.

4. Get hold of your own financial documents

When preparing to negotiate your financial settlement, your solicitor will need to see many documents. Ask your solicitor what is required in your case, but the list will probably include:

o A valuation of your house if you own it; we suggest you get hold of 3 (often free) market valuations from local estate agents

o A mortgage redemption statement from your mortgage company

o Bank statements for the last year

o Your P60 and 3 recent payslips

o Your latest credit card statement and redemption statements for any HP/loan agreements you may have

o Details of any substantial asset you may own (e.g.shares, life insurance policy etc)

5. Complete Form E

Form E is a very lengthy document required by the court in a set format listing full details of family financial position. By completing as much as you can yourself and by getting for your solicitor as much supporting documentation as you are able, you can reduce your legal costs. You should be aware that you must keep strictly to the various notes on Form E as to which documents are needed.

6. Promptly reply to any correspondence without being reminded

Don’t forget your solicitor will charge you for every letter and phone call they make so limiting them as far as you can will assist in keeping your bill down.

7. Ask your solicitor if there is anything else you can do yourself

8. Make sure you choose a specialist and experienced family law solicitor

Picking a solicitor who specialises in divorce and has plenty of experience should keep your bill down. Avoid solicitors, however cheap they may seem, who don’t really know what they’re doing — by picking someone without experience or family law specialisation you may end up paying a lot more in the long-term.



Budgeting – No One Likes To

Budgeting is the backbone of a good debt management plan. Without first setting up a budget you do not know what your financial situation is actually about. You need to know how much money you will have each month to meet your expenses.

You can start by gathering all your financial documents, bills and all other expenses. Determine your income from all sources. Determine your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are items like your mortgage payment which remains the same each month. Other fixed expenses include cable, internet service, student loan. Now determine the amount of money you spend on variable expenses which include things like groceries, gas, eating out, clothing and entertainment. Variable expenses are ones you can control and cut back on. While groceries are a necessity you can stop going out for dinner and save the money for your grocery bill.

After looking at the financial documents and income and expenses you can compare your income to your expenses and see where you end up. You now know how much money you have left over after paying all bills and expenses. If the end result shows more income than debt then you are off to a good start. If your income is less than your monthly expenses then you will have to find places to cut. The first thing you do is stop going out to eat, stop buying the $4 cup of coffee every morning and get some special coffees like Starbucks from the grocery store. You do not have to go without you just have to scale back all variable expenses.

After having set up a budget you will need to monitor it monthly. Make sure the amounts are adequate to pay the expenses. You can track your expenses on ledger paper by outlining income and expenses and verifying there is enough money available to pay all bills. The money that is left over should be put to good use or go into a savings account, not into higher variable expenses.

Review your budget and make adjustments where needed. Make sure the income is providing enough funds for the expenses. Make sure your budgeted cost and actual cost were the same or if not why not? You will find that you are tweaking the budget periodically to reflect new debts or reflect paid off debts.

The backbone to debt management is the budget. By setting up a budget, monitoring it and most important sticking with it you will find your debt is under control and you will not have to worry about the stress of being in debt.



How to Get the Best Out of Financial Aid

If it were not for grants, student loans and financial aid, getting a college education would have only been a dream for a lot of people. Despite the availability of these opportunities, some students do not take full advantage of them or do not know the best approach to take to keep them focused and provide them a means to get an education. To be ready to grab the opportunity and receive fund distribution at the right time as not to compromise your education, the students should:-

oBe Responsible

oKnow The Deadlines

oDo Not Limit Your Application

oSubmit All Documents

Be Responsible

The first step is to be an active and informed applicant. Parents who are putting together the application for their children should get them involved. It is a lot easier for financial aid workers in colleges to help a student who understands what is going on and is knowledgeable enough to provide answers to their questions. It is in the student’s best interest to know how to apply for aid and be an active and informed participant.

Know The Deadlines

As you start your application for financial aid pay attention to when the submission deadline is. You do not want to miss the deadline and penalized unnecessarily for turning in a late application. In the broad scheme of things it is better to turn in a late application than not to turn it in at all.

Do Not Limit Your Application

As you start to apply to schools, do not be deterred by the high cost of the schools tuition and other fees. Always apply early to such schools and also apply to schools which are more affordable so that you will be in a sweet spot if you should get into all the schools you applied to. Gaining acceptance into all the institutions you applied to and then deciding on which one to go to, is way better than wondering if it was a good idea not to have followed your dreams by applying to that ivy league school.

Submit All Documents

Financial aid is distributed by Federal Student Aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires that you submit some documents. Always give them whatever they ask for. If they asked for it, they definitely need it, and if you do not provide it with your application it will only slow the process done for you.



Some Basic Estate Planning Guidelines

There’s no negating the importance of establishing an estate plan. Whether your net worth is gargantuan or whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s critical that you have at least a basic estate plan in place. Doing so will ensure that your financial goals are met after you pass away. This kind of financial planning can provide payment of your debts, education or trust funds for your children, and much more.

Estate planning has the primary purpose to determine what you want done with your ‘estate’ after you die. In addition to that, effective estate planning can offer the following benefits:

* Ensure that you remain in control of the distribution of your assets

* Protect any wealth from expensive estate taxes

* Ensure that your family is taken care of after you die

* Avoid the complicated and expensive probate process

* Outline the care you want and oversight of your affairs should you become incapacitated

* Allow you to create special trusts for loved ones or organizations you care about

Below are some guidelines on how to get started.

Components of an Estate Plan

Your estate plan will include a will, copies of all financial documents, a durable power of attorney, and a health care proxy.

Factors to Consider

Before you can really start to lay out your plan, you’ll have a lot of thinking to do. Some of these factors will vary a bit depending on how large and complex your estate is, and what stage of life you are in. For example, if you are young enough to have small children, you must determine who would care for and raise your children if you should die. If you are married, you and your spouse must discuss how assets should be distributed if one of you should die. You’ll have to decide who will receive your life insurance when you pass away. You’ll also have to consider who should care for you if you become unable to care for yourself. This part of the process involves much discussion with loved ones and much tough decision-making.

Get Your Plan Together

After having gathered copies of all financial documents including life insurance policies, all bank and investment account information, all debt information, you can reasonably estimate how much you’ll have left over to leave to loved one. List all assets and liabilities. Your liabilities will have to paid at death. What’s left over is what will be distributed between your heirs.

Write your will according to the amount you estimate will be left over. In addition to leaving money to loved ones, you can make contributions to charitable organizations. You can also lay out conditions for receiving the cash. Once you have established your will and basic estate plan, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

Formalizing Your Estate Plan

Once you feel comfortable with the will you have put together, make sure to notarize the documents with at least two witnesses present. Keep in mind that no beneficiary should serve as a witness. Next, you’ll want to name an executor who will be in charge of making sure that your final wishes are met. Make sure the person you name as executor is willing to do the job and is someone you trust. In many cases, attorneys or other impartial parties are named as executors.

Review and Re-review Your Plan

After you’ve drawn up and formalized an estate plan, you might think you’re all set. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Unless you know that you will be passing in a short amount of time, it is important to go back and review your estate plan every few years. Many factors can change over the years which might require some basic adjustments to your estate plan.



Get Organized by Managing Computer Files

Do you save your documents and spreadsheets into your computer’s My Documents (or Documents depending on your version of Windows) folder? While this folder is intended for storing an individual user’s files in one central place, simply accepting the default folder can lead to a disorganized file system where you may have to scroll through thousands of files to find the one you are looking for. Much like a kitchen’s junk drawer soon becomes disorganized and filled with clutter, your My Documents folder soon becomes unwieldy.

A better way to organize your documents is to create your own set of folders and subfolders. You can either start with the My Documents folder and then create different subfolders or you can create your own primary folders such as Personal Documents and Business Documents. In this example, we’ll use the My Documents folder and create a series of subfolders.

Start by launching Windows Explorer (right-click Start and choose Explore) and navigating to the My Documents Folder. Once there, either go to File > New > New Folder or click on the New Folder option in the menu bar (depending on your operating system). Alternately, you can right-click a blank area in the My Documents main pane and choose New Folder from the submenu. A new folder appears, aptly named “New Folder.” Give the folder a meaningful name such as “Personal Documents,” “Business Documents,” “Financial Data,” “Recipes,” or any other category that makes sense for you.

Now, you have a new subfolder within My Documents where you’ll store documents that fall into that category. This new subfolder can contain subfolders and those subfolders can contain subfolders of their own. You can create as many subfolders as practical.

Consider creating a Personal subfolder that contains the following categories:

  • Financial – Store you financial documents in this folder and consider creating separate subfolders covering: Banking, Insurance, Taxes, Estate Planning, and so on.
  • Correspondence – Store letters and other correspondence in this folder. You can create separate subfolders for Personal Letters and Official Business if desired.
  • Recipes – Store your favorite recipes in this folder.
  • Travel – If you travel a lot, create a Travel folder and use it to store documents such as travel itineraries, rental car confirmations, e-tickets, copies of condo rental agreements, and so forth.
  • Ideas and Dreams – Use this folder to store lists of ideas, journals, sketches, and related documents

If you use your computer for your business as well as for personal use, create a separate folder for your business. Like your personal folder, the Business folder can have subfolders. You may want to create subfolders for: Financial, Correspondence, Invoices, and Projects. Again, create subfolders as needed. For example, you might want to create subfolders under Projects for each of your clients or for specific types of projects.

The beauty of creating your own folder structure is that all related documents are grouped together and you know exactly where to look for a particular file.