Female & Male Asian American Business Owners sitting at table working on accounting using laptop and calculator

How Do I Clean Up My Accounting Records?

We get it. Accounting and bookkeeping are complicated.

Small business owners come to us all the time with questions like:

Women Owner of a flower business sitting at a table with a laptop, invoices and calculator doing her accounting records“How do I clean up old QuickBooks transactions,” “How do small businesses maintain their accounts?”, “Why is bookkeeping so hard?”

Your time running a business isn’t best spent reconciling transactions or cleaning up balance sheets. You simply don’t have the time to focus your energy on accounting, and maybe because of it, your financial records have gotten a little chaotic and messy.

It happens. But should it KEEP happening? No. Unchecked messes can devastate a small business. Having impeccably clean books is everything.

For your business to survive and thrive, you MUST have clean account records and books. You should be able to access your business finances at the drop of a hat if need be.

Let’s take a look at some things you can do to clean up your chaotic bookkeeping.

Table of contents:

 

Are your personal and business accounts separate?

 

As mentioned in our previous blog, entrepreneurs shouldn’t blend their personal and business accounts.Female Business Owner sitting at table working on accounting using phone in hand and laptop on table

Every small business needs to have its own business account, period. Several banks offer low to no-fee, interest-earning accounts for small businesses, and almost all of these accounts have ATM accessibility and online/mobile banking tools.

“It will save you lots of headaches down the road if you keep your business and personal banking transactions in separate accounts. You should run all business transactions through a business bank account or credit card. Personal expenses should be kept separate.” — Sarah Sinicki, Director of Business Development, Team 80 Small Business Accounting and Bookkeeping

 

My software receives transactions from my bank feed; why are none of them reconciled?

You understand the importance of reconciliations. You know that when you don’t conduct regular bank reconciliations, you lose insight into how well your business is doing. You integrated your bank feed with your accounting software for this reason.

female business owner sitting at table with laptop, papers and calculator working on accountingBut what if your accounting system shows you’ve reconciled nothing? There’s a good chance you thought integrating your bank feed was all you had to do.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

Importing transactions is only part of the process. No accounting software will do all the work for you. You still need to review, enter, and code each transaction into the correct general ledger account every time.

Compare transactions in your software with the same ones on your bank statements. Once you have reviewed everything, the difference between the ending balance in your accounting system and your bank statement should be $0.00.

 

How do I clean up old transactions in my accounting software?

Keeping your financial records clean is crucial for financial health visibility.

Purging old transactions by either deleting or voiding them out is a perfect way to unclutter and refine your reporting accuracy.

Doing so will ensure you have a true sense of where you stand when it comes to your finances.Senior Male Business Owner sitting at table working on accoutning

“If you are going to clean these transactions yourself, you need to make sure all transactions from your bank and credit cards are entered and coded in your accounting system correctly. The bank balance on your statement should tie to your books each month. If not, you will need to investigate and find out where the discrepancy is coming from.” — Sarah Sinicki

 

Is the balance sheet you manually keep track of missing entries?

You’re busy running your business. And you might forget to track an expense.

Errors happen - it’s human nature. But, when transactions fall through the cracks they can be hard to detect later. If you use an accounting spreadsheet, the best thing you could do is set it up as a check register, where you can enter each transaction and ensure it mirrors the bank statement like you would with your personal bank account.

As a quick fix, this method will suffice. In the long run, it won’t serve you well. For your business to grow, you need to invest in an accounting package and maybe consider hiring accounting professionals for help.

There is a lot at stake. If you make a mistake, you could be setting yourself up for incorrect tax filings or penalties.

If you don’t have the time, and you know you’re out of your element, it’s time to outsource your accounting to a trusted team.

We would love to bear your accounting burden! Get in touch with us today!


Coworkers looking at SBIR Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate Guide for SBIR

SBIR Ultimate Guide

You’re a small business owner with a brilliant idea that could turn into a marketable product or service. You know there’s funding available for research and development through the (SBIR) Small Business Innovation Research and (STTR) Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

But you don’t know how to set the wheels in motion.

Team 80, your SBIR accounting experts, have set up the ultimate guide for SBIR resources to help your small business along your journey to landing Phase I & II awards.

Compare our Prices and Expertise Today.


SBIR FAQs

We understand the challenges small business owners face when it comes to doing business with the federal government. So we decided to pull together a list of frequently asked questions and resources to help you secure SBIR funding:

What is the SBIR Program?

SBIR stands for The Small Business Innovation Research program. It’s a highly competitive United States government program that awards grants and contracts to small businesses conducting early-stage research and development.

SBIR programs encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R&D) for innovative commercial ideas.

SBIR Application Process Illustration

What are the three phases of the SBIR program?

Phase I

Phase I establishes the technical merit, feasibility, and commercial potential of the proposed R&D efforts. The government generally awards $50,000 – $250,000 for six months or one year.

Phase II

Phase II continues the R/R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. The government bases Phase II funding on Phase I results. They also base funding on the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.

Phase III

Phase III helps small businesses pursue commercialization objectives resulting from the Phase I/II R/R&D activities. The SBIR/STTR programs do not fund Phase III. At some Federal agencies, Phase III may involve follow-on non-SBIR/STTR funded R&D or production contracts for products, processes, or services intended for use by the U.S. Government

Do you have to be a Phase I awardee to be eligible for Phase II?

Yes, you must be a Phase I awardee to become eligible for Phase II. Typically, only Phase I awardees are eligible for a Phase II award. SBIR/STTR Phase II awards are generally $750,000 for two years.

Two Asian Researchers in laboratory glassware for the development of medicine

How do I apply for SBIR?

You can follow this link to start your SBIR application process.

How do I find an appropriate topic?

You can find a list of available SBIR topics here at the official U.S. government website for people who make, receive, and manage federal awards.

You can go here to explore the topics currently under trial.

Who is eligible to receive SBIR awards?

Small businesses must meet the following eligibility requirements at the time of Phase I and Phase II awards:

  • Organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States
  • More than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States, or by other small business concerns that are each more than 50% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens or permanent resident aliens of the United States.
  • No more than 500 employees, including affiliates

Are non-profits eligible for SBIR awards?

No, but small businesses can use nonprofits as subcontractors.

What is an SBIR funding agreement?

An SBIR funding agreement is a contract, grant, or cooperative agreement between a small business and a Federal Agency participating in the SBIR program for research and development.

What are the performance benchmark requirements?

Small businesses must meet minimum performance requirements – you can familiarize yourself with those requirements here.

What agencies participate in the SBIR program?

There are currently eleven agencies participating in the SBIR program. Each agency accepts proposals from small businesses that match an opportunity from a list of designated R&D topics.

Here is a list of participating agencies:

Women in robotics laboratory working on project

SBIR Deadlines

  • Department of Agriculture – 10/25/2021
  • Department of Commerce
    1. NIST – 03/16/2021
    2. NOAA – 02/13/2021
  • Department of Defense:
    1. DoD 21.1 – 02/12/2021
    2. DoD 21.2 – 07/02/2021
    3. DoD 21.3 – 10/24/2021
  • Department of Education:
    1. Contracts – 01/21/2021
    2. Grants – 03/03/2021
  • Department of Energy – 10/24/2021

  • Department of Health & Human Services (NIH, CDC, FDA):
    1. PHS/NIH (Grants – 3 Closing Dates) – 01/05/2021, 05/05/2021, 09/05/2021
    2. PHS/NIH (Contracts) – 10/22/2021
  • Homeland Security 2021.1 – 01/22/2021
  • Department of Transportation 2021 – 03/20/2021
  • Environmental Protection Agency – 07/31/2021
  • NASA – 03/29/2021
  • NSF (4 Closing Dates) – 03/03/2021, 06/03/2021, 09/03/2021, 12/03/2021


SBIR Grant Writers


SBIR Accountant

Navigating the SBIR program journey can be daunting and time-consuming.

With over 20 years of experience working with agencies that participate in the SBIR program, Team 80 is an SBIR-approved accounting team that offers remote SBIR accounting services to help you navigate your STTR / SBIR Phase I & II journey. Let us take over so that you can get back to focusing on what matters!

  1. Team 80

woman's hand writing on a paper and holding a receipt in other hand at a table wit a laptop and calculator

SBIR Additional Resources

Department of Energy Lab Partnering Service – this is a resource for connecting investors with DOE experts to quickly answer innovation questions.

FLC Business-Your One-Stop Shop For U.S. Laboratory Information – this is a comprehensive list of federal laboratory resources.


Get in touch today to learn  more about how Team 80 can help with your SBIR accounting needs. There’s money out there for you – it’s time to take advantage of it.


Indian American Small Business Man working on laptop at desk

8 Easy Accounting Tips to Help Small Businesses Maintain Their Books

Accounting is the language of business. Understanding that language is an essential part of keeping your small business alive.

Being a small business owner isn’t easy. And neither is being an unofficial accountant.

With the hectic day-to-day operations of running your business, how can you possibly make time to learn bookkeeping? The idea of sifting through endless stacks of financial documents and ledgers sounds overwhelming.

Still, you understand the importance of not letting your accounting fall behind. Because maintaining accurate financial records is vital to the health of your business.

That’s why you’re asking Google questions like, “how do small businesses maintain accounts?”

These simple accounting tips will help you and your labor of love succeed!

8 Easy Small Business Accounting Tips

  1. Invest in an accounting system
  2. Keep business and personal expenses separate
  3. Don't wait until the end of the year to do your accounting.
  4. Meet with your CPA throughout the year.
  5. Look at your financial statements monthly.
  6. You need to understand your cash flow.
  7. Create a budget.
  8. You should hire a professional.

1. Invest in an Accounting System small business owner using laptop at desk looking at accounting software

Small business owners with no accounting experience need a reliable accounting system because that system is often the difference between success and failure.

Many affordable options will simplify data and organize your financial information to track expenses, income, and other activities easily. Xero, Quickbooks, Intuit, and Wave Financial, are just a few of them. You can even link your bank and credit card accounts directly to the software.

An accounting system makes your life easier and helps you to focus on business growth.

2. Keep Business and Personal Expenses Separate

New entrepreneurs often dip into their personal bank accounts in the early stages of business development. The practice of intermingling expenses can be problematic for many reasons.

Here are some of those reasons:Women Owner of a Small Business sitting at desk organizing business and personal expenses

  • Personal and legal liability
  • Tax implications
  • Audit trail issues
  • Bookkeeping problems

You can avoid these issues by opening a business bank account and establishing separate credit card accounts. Keeping personal and business accounts separate also improves your business credit score, helping you secure better business loans and reduce business insurance costs.

Run all business expenses through the business, and pay all personal expenses from a personal account. Trust me, your CPA will thank you at the end of the year. You don't want to spend lots of extra money untangling combined finances.” - Sarah Sinicki, Director of Business Development, Team 80 Small Business Accounting and Bookkeeping

3. Don't Wait Until the End of the Year to do Your Accounting

Do you remember January’s expenses when you wrap up accounting in December? You probably don’t.

Male Small Business Owner working on end of year accounting his laptopBusiness owners will too often make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to start thinking about their accounting. And they usually suffer from financial troubles as a result because waiting can cause significant issues.

You can handle most finances monthly.

Taking control of your finances and keeping bank reconciliations up-to-date monthly saves you from frantically scrambling at year’s end. We suggest you set a schedule so that you are touching financials monthly.

Well-managed finances close the door to preventable errors.

4. Meet with your CPA throughout the year.

You should meet with your CPA to review your books no less than twice yearly to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.black man cpa meeting woman small business owner

Meeting at least twice a year also helps your CPA understand your business. The person handling your finances should know your company inside and out.

Be proactive. If you meet with your CPA at least twice a year, they’ll have time to review your finances, uncover missed details, and devise effective strategies that you can implement to help your business before the deadline.

Don't wait until tax time; it could already be too late.

5. Look at your financial statements monthly.

We can’t overstate the importance of understanding the real-time financial health of your business.

Black Eyeglasses Calculator and Pen sitting on paper financial statementUnderstanding your financial statements helps you discover where your business stands today and where it’s headed. It’s also an excellent way to learn if operations are running smoothly.

It's also essential to always understand your profit margins and net income. Generating a monthly profit and loss report and reviewing revenue and expenses is a best practice we advise.

Never neglect your balance sheet since it shows your cash balance, outstanding accounts receivable, and all other assets and liabilities. Your balance sheet is a current snapshot of your business’s financial health; use it, love it.

When you stay on top of your financial statements, you’re empowered to make timely strategic business decisions. These decisions can help business thrive today and into the future.

6. You need to understand your cash flow.

Small business owners that don’t track cash flow are on the fast path to becoming former small business owners.

You must understand and optimize your cash flow because cash flow measures the real-time movement of dollars in and out of your business.male small business owner sitting at desk looking at laptop with calculator and financial statements on desk with 3 employees in the background

Your cash flow is positive when there’s enough money in your business account to pay bills. If cash is rapidly dwindling, you could have a severe problem.

Cash flow visibility helps you grow operations strategically. You can start by monitoring and documenting your incoming and outgoing funds using your accounting system.

You should also prepare a cash flow projection looking two to three months out to avoid surprises. If there are cash flow constraints, it’s time to leverage a business line of credit.

7. Create a budget.

You can use your financial statement and cash flow information to create a budget aligned with your business’s economic trajectory.

concentrated female business owner holding pen working on accoutningEvery entrepreneur should develop a budget. It’s an essential tool for financial tracking, especially for smaller businesses with limited funds that can benefit from operating within their means. A realistic budget can also help you understand the appropriate actions to take when problems arise.

Budgets help you anticipate future needs like repairs, expansions, and improvements without relying on credit. Accurate budget forecasting can also help you plan for staff hires and product and service investments and establish earnings and sales goals.

Even a poorly executed budget plan is better than no plan at all. Take some time and plan out what you think your revenue and expenses for the upcoming year will be. Then compare the budget to the actuals monthly. The variances in these numbers can give you some great insight.” - Sarah Sinicki, Team 80

8. You should hire a professional.

It is okay to admit when you’re in over your head - it’s also understandable. You didn’t launch a small business to become a full-time accountant.  black accounting manager-shaking-hands-with-successful-small business owner

You started your business because you’re passionate about your offering, and you want to provide customers with exceptional products and services.

You should focus on growing your business and serving your customers. And that’s not possible when you’re mired in book balancing, payroll management, financial forecasting, and tracking your accounts payable and receivable.

We want to do this work for you. Get in touch with us today!


Business Man Meeting Virtually with SBIR Grant Writer

SBIR Grant Writers

Did you know that 85% of SBIR applications are rejected (you can find a list of common SBIR application rejection causes here)?

SBIR grants are excellent for small businesses like yours, but you need to ensure your application is submitted error-free and with all of the necessary information to win the grant. And to do that, you’ll need an experienced (and vetted) SBIR grant writer.

Use our list of SBIR grant writers to find a skilled writer that will help ensure your application is accepted, and the funds are awarded.

SBIR Grant Writer Resources

Professional Writing SBIR GrantAfter a skilled STTR / SBIR grant writer expertly crafts your application, you'll need an accounting team to finish the proposal requirements. We offer remote SBIR accounting services help guide you on your STTR / SBIR Phase I & II journey.

Get in touch today to learn  more about how Team 80 can help with your SBIR accounting needs. There's money out there for you - it's time to take advantage of it.


Women sitting at table looking at laptop

TABA Explained: The Best Kept Secret in Startup Funding

You may be eligible for a whole lot of extra money that you didn’t even know about.

Every great product or service starts as an idea - or a dream. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist with 3M, set out to create the world’s strongest adhesive. Eventually, the Post-It was born.

Dr. Silver had the backing and support of his employer to fund his research and bring the product to life (after years of R&D). We’ve simplified the journey from dream to iconic product, but your idea - your vision - is no different.team of four looking at research and development board

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you have a big idea that you’re passionate about bringing to market. But there’s also a good chance that you are missing out on a significant opportunity.

The government can fund your dream. Buckets of cash to help develop and launch innovative ideas are sitting unclaimed by dreamers like you.

We’re here to help your concept become a reality. You might already know about the SBIR and STTR award program, but do you know about TABA?

There are dollars available to you outside of the standard SBIR and STTR channels. But you need to know how to access those funds. That’s where TABA (and Team80) enter the scene.

Meet TABA, a resource that feels like one of the government’s best-kept secrets.

What is TABA?

Once referred to as Discretionary Technical Assistance (DTA) and Commercialization Assistance, TABA (the new term for this program) stands for the Technical and Business Assistance fund.

In simple terms, TABA helps you get additional funding over and above the SBIR/STTR grant budget cap so that you can pay for any commercialization and business costs not included with your SBIR/STTR proposal.

But you can only use SBIR award money for payroll, materials, supplies, and other business expenses or for the direct costs necessary to carry out your idea’s proposed research and development.

TABA is different. You cannot use TABA funds for research, development, and salaries, but you can use TABA funds for activities NOT covered under the SBIR grant, including (but not limited to):
Man and Women consultants for manufacturing looking at laptop in hardhats and safety jackets

  • Intellectual property
  • IP legal costs
  • Marketing
  • Market research
  • Customer discovery
  • Advisors and consultants for manufacturing plan development

Here’s another excellent TABA perk: you can choose your preferred professional to provide services. Legislation passed in 2018, allowing you to select an alternative vendor to assist you with commercialization. Now you can use someone you trust instead of a federal agency-selected professional.

Am I eligible for TABA?

If you have an active NIH, SBIR, or STTR Phase I award, or Phase I grant or contract within the last two years, then you could be eligible for TABA funds. However, you should know that if you’ve received multiple grant awards, they’ll only consider you for one project within the TABA program.

You’re also ineligible if you received TABA funds with your Phase I award. Still, you can consider requesting TABA in your Phase II application.

How do I request or apply for TABA?

“Generally, you must include TABA and vendor requests with your SBIR/STTR Phase I or Phase II proposal submission,” says Jim Casart, Team 80 founder and CEO. “However, some agencies, such as NSF and NIH, have made TABA available to any business with an active award within the past two years. The granting agency may restrict vendor selection for post-proposal TABA.”

The TABA application process is complicated since it varies among the participating agencies, but you shouldn’t worry. We’ll make the process easy so you can stay focused on realizing your dream.

What agencies participate in the TABA program?

There are nine agencies currently participating in the TABA program. Here’s a list of participating agencies and available funds:

AGENCY          PHASE I                  PHASE II
DOE                  $6,500                     $50,000
DOD                  $6,500                     $50,000
DOT                   $5,000                    $13,000
DHS                   $6,500                    $50,000
NASA                N/A                          $10,000
NSF                   N/A                         $50,000
NIST                  $6,500                    $6,500
NIH                    $6,500                    $50,000
USDA                $6,500                    $50,000

Why Team 80?

You have a dream, a big idea. And you have the opportunity not only to bring that dream to life but also to take care of your family, for generations in some instances.

Still, without an experienced partner to guide you through the SBIR, STTR, and TABA awards process, your big idea could wind up on the cutting room floor. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Carpe diem - It’s time to seize the day.

Through our participation in the GovCon Alliance, we can help you locate best-in-class assistance and coordinate the TABA section of your proposal submission.

We understand the confusing nuances of government accounting and have over 20 years of extensive experience working with agencies that participate in the SBIR/STTR programs.

And we’re also familiar with the different submission and solicitation processes among the participating agencies. We can quickly provide what you need, along with submission instructions.

Our TABA services include:2 female and 1 male marketing professionals at desk working together

  • Market studies
  • Installation of government-compliant accounting systems
  • Establishing required policies and procedures for government contractors
  • Intellectual property strategy and implementation
  • Planning for Phase II follow-up proposals, including budgeting and commercialization components

Our mission is bigger than helping you access free government money. We have the opportunity to change your life and the lives of customers who can benefit from your innovative product or service. All you have to do is get in touch.

Stop wasting time mired in applications and paperwork and stay focused on your BIG idea. Let Team 80 take the wheel! Get in touch today!