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Want to Streamline Your Business? Hire a Pro

By Intuit


When it comes to setting up the nuts and bolts of a business, budding entrepreneurs often don't know what they don't know. Though experts in their product or service, new small business owners have to quickly become a jack-of-all trades, switching from manager to bookkeeper to marketer and back several times a day. For people who don't have business experience, keeping track of everything can be a challenge to say the least.

According to a survey conducted by Intuit, two thirds of small business owners wish that they knew more about their finances. Financial literacy—having the knowledge and understanding of how to make the right financial decisions for your business -- is essential to the long-term success of a business. This is more than reading your financials, it's about knowing what they mean and how you use these numbers to make smarter decisions about your future.

Entrepreneurs who wish to have a deeper understanding about their finances thankfully have a simple solution waiting for them: they can bring on an expert to train them in the best practices of bookkeeping. An expert can help small business owners maximize their success by tracking and understanding the most important numbers for their business – and what these numbers indicate for the future of their company.

Leila Douglah, owner of a design-build construction firm near San Francisco called Douglah Designs, has been using Intuit QuickBooks for managing her finances since she started her business in 1997. As her company grew, Douglah and her bookkeeper became increasingly concerned that they weren't using the software to its full potential. They were struggling to stay on top of the growing number of orders, and their processes for tracking and selling inventory were becoming more complex and frustrating.

"We felt we were in over our head," Douglah said.

Wanting to base her business decisions on hard numbers and data as well as streamline her workflow, Doughlah connected with Amanda Douglass, a QuickBooks expert - also known as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. ProAdvisors like Douglass make it their goal to help their clients find simple, elegant solutions for organizing and tracking their business. They are certified and most knowledgeable about how to use QUickBooks in a way that will truly provide insight into the performance and health of a small business.

When working with a new client, Douglass' method is to first listen to the client's top concerns and figure out what their sticking points are. Then she leverages her knowledge of QuickBooks to show her clients the most efficient ways to handle their day-to-day processes.

When Douglass started helping her company, Douglah felt like she was finally maximizing the potential of her operations. Though learning on your own can be an option, Douglah feels strongly that working with an expert is worth the cost.

"No matter what your business is, it's not to know QuickBooks in and out," Douglah said, "So hire a professional who can tailor the program to your business and train you on it."

Now, Douglah said, every employee has access to the firm's bookkeeping system, but not every employee can see every aspect of it, allowing Douglah to limit who has access to sensitive information like banking and employee payroll. This interconnected method of financial management has allowed the company to move quickly and be more efficient.

More than two-thirds of QuickBooks customers who use an outside accountant or book keeper agree that working with an expert has helped them feel more confident managing their business. Furthermore, working with an accountant helps small business owners save time-over 4 hours per week.

Douglass estimates that she has helped around 300 small business owners like Douglah over her past 10 years as a ProAdvisor, with approximately 100 clients still current.

"Clients kind of graduate after they figure out what they need to do," Douglass said. "But some check back in, and I have a lot of repeat work that way."

In Douglass' experience, many of her clients are good at and passionate about providing their core products and services, but without a background in business, they sometimes flounder when it comes to things like setting up and processing orders, handling payroll, and doing other kinds of bookkeeping.

"A lot of businesses think that they can do it themselves right off the bat, but it takes a while to learn the software and you're probably going to be focused on generating business," Douglass said. "If you don't know where you are, it's going to be hard to know where you want to go.

Intuit QuickBooks is built to fuel small business success by providing a robust ecosystem of cloud-based financial management solutions. Follow this series to learn about resources available to new and aspiring small business owners, including tips, tricks and anecdotes about financial management, aligning yourself with the right partners, and using the cloud and new tech innovations to achieve long-term success.