When Customers Are Running Hot

The newest iPad is not the only thing accused of running hot these days.

One hot (and by “hot” we mean MAD) customer can keep four potential customers away just by sharing their experience with family and friends.  Imagine the damage that can be done if the customer fires off an Internet rant — popping up on searches of your company’s business for years to come.  What then?  Here are a few tips to put out the fire:

1.  Stop the fire before it starts

Like a dependable smoke alarm, your customer service department should focus on the smoke before the fire’s ablaze.  Good customer service addresses customer’s issues and has the authority and tools to resolve problems.  Great customer service listens, fixes wrongs quickly, doesn’t over promise, and values their customer’s time by quickly responding to issues.  Your customer service’s department should be on your marketing and IT department’s radars so glitches are fixed, processes improved, and customers’ needs are met.

2. A customer’s bad experience travels like wildfire

 

Customers who just HEAR about a bad shopping experience will steer clear of that business according to a study by the Verde Group.  It’s like that old Faberge shampoo commercial

And I told two friends…

(Yes, that’s Heather Locklear, circa 1982) — “I told two friends and they told two friends and so on and so on…”

Give your customers a reason to tell people how great you are! Ben Franklin was right.  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

3. Clear the brush away

 

Google search your company’s name and also search Angie’s List and Yelp who rate products, services, and companies.  Negative reviews found on Angie’s List and Yelp can be addressed by the business owner.  These websites allow businesses to address the complaint publicly by replying to the comment FOR FREE or privately reaching out to the upset customer asking them to remove the comment.  If the negative review is accurate, make sure you have addressed the customer’s concerns and illustrate how the situation has been rectified.

 

What if the negative review is untrue?  If you find something libelous can you sue?  Lawsuits are rare, but have been filed. Initiating a conversation can usually resolve the situation.

If you’re doing everything right with your customers and there’s still negative press on your company’s Google search, there’s always fee-based services to help you manage your online reputation, like Reputation.com.

4. You’re in charge of your organization’s temperature

Be in the business of providing the services your customers want, need, and pay for!  A happy customer is a well-earned reward that keeps giving and giving and giving (just like that Faberge commercial).

Our nonprofit accounting software and church accounting software blog discuss accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

Good luck and remember this blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional services, just a helpful resource.  Always consult a CPA or trusted professional if you seek tax or accounting advice.

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$200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway #Expo 2012

Visa Giveaway

It’s National Start Your Business Month! Although $200 in Visa cash may only be enough to start a lemonade stand, Aplos Software still thinks it will help.  It’s definitely enough to buy a printer or two tickets to the Exponential Conference 2012 in Florida where our Founders will be in April.  We want to get the word out to churches and nonprofits that Aplos Accounting Software is made just for them—So to get help with that, Aplos is giving away a $200 Visa gift card to one lucky person!

Aplos is fund accounting software. We realize nonprofits and churches need to spend time on their mission – not on trying to figure out complicated accounting software. Click here to learn more about Aplos.

As for the giveaway, entering to win is simple, just like our software.

Official Contest Rules

$200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

No purchase is necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not increase your chance of winning. The Aplos Twitter Giveaway (Giveaway) is sponsored and run by Aplos. Participation in the Giveaway constitutes entrants full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules.

Giveaway Period. The Giveaway commences at 2 A.M. PST on March 9, 2012 and ends at 11:59 P.M. PST on April 20, 2012. There is no minimum number of entrants, so if you are the only one to post, you win. Sponsor shall select one (1) winner, at random, at the end of the giveaway period.

Eligibility. The Giveaway is open to anyone age 13 or older as of the date of entry who resides in the 50 United States, except where prohibited by law or in any state that would require advance registration of this Giveaway. The Giveaway is void in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and possessions. You are not eligible to participate in the Giveaway if you are not located within the 50 United States. Giveaway is void where restricted or prohibited by law. Employees of Aplos and their immediate families (parents, siblings, children, and spouses of each) are not eligible.

How to Enter.

1. Go to your twitter page, if you don’t have one you can start one for free. www.twitter.com

2. Make sure you are following Aplos_Software. This is the only way we can notify you if you win!

3. Tweet out the following message exactly as it appears only once. (Multiple entries could jeopardize your Twitter account)

#Win $200 Visa Gift Card. Aplos simplifies #fundaccounting. Follow @Aplos_Software & RT www.aplossoftware.com/blog/?p=798 #sifted #Expo2012

4. If you’ve completed ALL 3 steps prior to the cutoff date, as set forth below, you’ve successfully entered for a chance to win a $200 Visa Gift card from Aplos Software.

Sponsor reserves the right to deny any entry based on submission of incomplete information or non-compliance with these Official Rules. Sponsor is not responsible for late, lost, delayed, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, or unintelligible entries.

Winner Selection. Sponsor will select one winner, at random, for giveaway. The cutoff date for posting a tweet for the giveaway is April 20, 2012.  The winner will be notified via twitter with a direct message. The winner has three (3) days from this direct message notification to respond and confirm the winning entry. If the initial winner does not respond within this period, then a second drawing will be held. If necessary, subsequent drawings will be held until there is a confirmed winner provided time permits. The winner shall be required to complete an affidavit or declaration of eligibility/liability and, where permitted by law, a publicity release, which must be signed and returned and received by Sponsor within seven (7) days of the date printed on the prize notification. Failure to comply may result in forfeiture of all rights to prize(s). Sponsor is not responsible for and shall not be liable for late, lost, misdirected, or unsuccessful efforts to notify winners. If a prize or prize notification letter is returned as undeliverable, prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner will be awarded.

Prize. $200 Visa Gift Card

General Terms and Conditions. By participating, entrants agree that Sponsor, its shareholders, agents and representatives, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies, and legal advisors are not responsible or liable for, and shall be released and held harmless from: (i) telephone, electronic, hardware or software program, network, Internet, or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties of any kind; (ii) any condition caused by events beyond the control of Sponsor that may cause the Giveaway to be disrupted or corrupted; (iii) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Giveaway; (iv) any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with or resulting from participation in the Giveaway, acceptance, possession, or use of any prize, including without limitation, personal injury, death, and property damage, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend and interpret these Official Rules at any time, and to terminate, suspend or cancel Giveaway at any time for any reason, including, without limitation, if a computer virus, bug, or other technical problem or security breach corrupts the administration, security, or proper conduct of the Giveaway. Participation in this Giveaway constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use winners name, hometown (including state or province) and/or likeness for promotional purposes without further compensation. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of participant and Sponsor in connection with the Giveaway, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions (whether of the State of California or any other jurisdiction), that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of California. Any claim arising out of the foregoing shall be instituted solely in a court situated in Fresno County, California, and entrant and Sponsor irrevocably agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of such court. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Sponsor. Aplos Software, Fresno, California.

Twitter Disclaimer. Multiple entries could jeopardize your Twitter account according to Twitter Terms and Conditions. Creating multiple accounts in order to obtain more than one entry is prohibited and could result in a suspension of all Twitter accounts.

Get the word out ::  Aplos Accounting Software

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Starting a Business And Hiring Part-Time Employees

More than half of the American workforce was punching a time clock in 2011 according to the latest report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The majority of these hourly workers were under 25-years-old and part-time employees.   If you are hiring an employee with no work experience or just out of high school how can you gauge whether that person will be a good employee?  (I define “good” as showing up on time AND—in proper work attire AND—capable of finishing the daily to-do list —oh yeah, and with a smile…or at the least, not a scowl).

While Craigslist may be a great place to find a used refrigerator or vintage comic books, I like to start my employee search through good old-fashioned social networking; getting the word out.  Letting people know that I’m looking for someone with “xyz” skill set.  There are pros and cons to this approach, but it can be a good place to begin.  Often the people doing the referring have a vested interest in the success of the person being referred.

Using job search engines such as Monster to find potential employees may lead you to an employment agency or talent broker instead of directly to the candidate.  Hiring through a third party usually means additional fees for your organization.

Once I have selected an applicant to hire, I am going to check references.  EVERY time.  No matter what.  Pareto’s Principle (more or less) says, 80% of my employee problems will come from 20% of my employees.  Anything I can do to avoid problem employees will save me tons of time and money down the road.

How can I check the references of someone who has never held a job?  Easily.  Search Google, Facebook, and Zoominfo for starters.  Keep in mind that today’s generation “shares” more than the generation of current hirers.  A basic Internet search should give you some idea if you want to spend your days with this potential employee and have them represent your company.

Many organizations, especially when hiring part-time employees don’t ask for references, but I encourage you to remember Pareto’s Principle.  Request at least two references.  Potential references may come from a teacher, coach, or member of an organization that the applicant belongs to.  Be sure to ask the references if the applicant is related to and/or lives with them (they may just want to get that person out of their hair).

Starting a business is challenging enough.  Most employees wear lots of different hats when a company is first taking off.  Every single position has the potential to affect your business.  Taking the time to find the right employees will help your company thrive.

Our nonprofit accounting software and church accounting software blog discuss accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

Good luck and remember this blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional services, just a helpful resource.  Always consult a CPA or trusted professional if you seek tax or accounting advice.

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Conference give away — need advice

If you saw Aplos at a conference, and we were giving something away at our booth, what would you like from us?
A couple ideas we had are:
1) 3 month free trial of our accounting software
2) Flash drive with all the business operational docs… like a step by step on how to form a nonprofit, including the forms, etc.
3) Skittles

- Other – do you have any suggestions? Please let us know if you like either of our suggestions or have another for us.

Our nonprofit accounting software blog discusses accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

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Do Nonprofits need to do 1099′s?

Do nonprofits need to do 1099′s?

Yes!  Nonprofits must file 1099′s, just like anyone else.  Kind of like a W-2, a 1099 is how you notify an employee of how much money they made, a 1099 is a tax form that lets people know other sources of income, such as contractor income.

There are many different types of 1099 forms.  These variants are based on the income source.  Here are just some of the more common ones:

  • 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt
  • 1099-CAP: Changes in Corporate Control and Capital Structure
  • 1099-DIV: Dividends and Distributions
  • 1099-G: Government Payments
  • 1099-INT: Interest Income
  • 1099-LTC: Long Term Care Benefits
  • 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income
  • 1099-OID: Original Issue Discount
  • 1099-PATR: Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives
  • 1099-R: Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement Plans, IRAs, or Insurance Contracts
  • 1099-S: Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions
  • 1099-SA: Distributions From an HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA
  • 1042-S: Foreign Person’s U.S. Source Income
  • SSA-1099: Social Security Benefit Statement

The 1099-Misc is probably the most relevant one for you.  Nonprofits will need to fill out a form 1099-MISC for persons, vendors, subcontractors, independent contractors, and others in the following circumstances:

$600 or more per year is paid for:

  • cash payments to fishermen
  • crop insurance proceeds,
  • medical and health care payments,
  • prizes and awards,
  • proceeds paid to attorneys,
  • rents,
  • services (including parts and materials), and
  • other types of payments not covered by another information reporting document.

1099′s need to be mailed by January 31, so don’t wait.  You can purchase the necessary forms at Office supply stores, like Office Depot or Office Max.

** Note – A 1096 will need to be filed with the government as well, which is basically a list of all the 1099′s you sent out.  Typically when you buy a pack of 1099s from the store it will come with the 1096 and instructions.

Our nonprofit accounting software blog discusses accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

Good luck and remember this blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional services, just a helpful resource.  Always consult a CPA or trusted professional if you seek tax or accounting advice.

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Posted in 501(c)3, Accounting, Aplos, Bank, Board of Directors, Church, Compensation, Contributions, Fund Accounting, Fundraising, Internal Controls, Legal, Non-profit, Organization, Tax, Volunteers, Web-Based | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aplos $200 Visa Gift-Card Giveaway

Visa Giveaway

What would you do with $200 dollars in Visa cash? Go out to a nice dinner? Buy yourself something? Pay your gas for the month… ok, couple weeks? Aplos is giving away a $200 Visa gift card to one lucky person!

Aplos is fund accounting software for nonprofits. We realize nonprofits and churches need to spend time on their mission – not on trying to figure out complicated accounting software. Click here to learn more about Aplos.

As for the giveaway, entering to win is simple, just like our software.

Official Contest Rules

$200 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

No purchase is necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not increase your chance of winning. The Aplos Twitter Giveaway (Giveaway) is sponsored and run by Aplos. Participation in the Giveaway constitutes entrants full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules.

Giveaway Period. The Giveaway commences at 2 P.M. PST on January 23, 2012 and ends at 11:59 P.M. PST on February 3, 2012. There is no minimum number of entrants, so if you are the only one to post, you win. Sponsor shall select one (1) winner, at random, at the end of the giveaway period.

Eligibility. The Giveaway is open to anyone age 13 or older as of the date of entry who resides in the 50 United States, except where prohibited by law or in any state that would require advance registration of this Giveaway. The Giveaway is void in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and possessions. You are not eligible to participate in the Giveaway if you are not located within the 50 United States. Giveaway is void where restricted or prohibited by law. Employees of Aplos and their immediate families (parents, siblings, children, and spouses of each) are not eligible.

How to Enter.

1. Go to your twitter page, if you don’t have one you can start one for free. www.twitter.com

2. Make sure you are following Aplos_Software. This is the only way we can notify you if you win!

3. Tweet out the following message exactly as it appears only once. (Multiple entries could jeopardize your Twitter account)

#Win a $200 Visa Gift Card from Aplos, simplifying #fundaccounting! Follow @Aplos_Software and ReTweet www.aplossoftware.com/blog/?p=752

4. If youve completed ALL 3 steps prior to the cutoff date, as set forth below, you’ve successfully entered for a chance to win a $200 Visa Gift card from Aplos.

Sponsor reserves the right to deny any entry based on submission of incomplete information or non-compliance with these Official Rules. Sponsor is not responsible for late, lost, delayed, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, or unintelligible entries.

Winner Selection. Sponsor will select one winner, at random, for giveaway. The cutoff date for posting a tweet for the giveaway is February 3, 2012.  The winner will be notified via direct tweet through the email associated with the corresponding Twitter Account. The winner has three (3) days from this email notification to respond and confirm the winning entry. If the initial winner does not respond within this period, then a second drawing will be held. If necessary, subsequent drawings will be held until there is a confirmed winner provided time permits. The winner shall be required to complete an affidavit or declaration of eligibility/liability and, where permitted by law, a publicity release, which must be signed and returned and received by Sponsor within seven (7) days of the date printed on the prize notification. Failure to comply may result in forfeiture of all rights to prize(s). Sponsor is not responsible for and shall not be liable for late, lost, misdirected, or unsuccessful efforts to notify winners. If a prize or prize notification letter is returned as undeliverable, prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner will be awarded.

Prize. $200 Visa Gift Card

General Terms and Conditions. By participating, entrants agree that Sponsor, its shareholders, agents and representatives, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotion and fulfillment agencies, and legal advisors are not responsible or liable for, and shall be released and held harmless from: (i) telephone, electronic, hardware or software program, network, Internet, or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties of any kind; (ii) any condition caused by events beyond the control of Sponsor that may cause the Giveaway to be disrupted or corrupted; (iii) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Giveaway; (iv) any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with or resulting from participation in the Giveaway, acceptance, possession, or use of any prize, including without limitation, personal injury, death, and property damage, and claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend and interpret these Official Rules at any time, and to terminate, suspend or cancel Giveaway at any time for any reason, including, without limitation, if a computer virus, bug, or other technical problem or security breach corrupts the administration, security, or proper conduct of the Giveaway. Participation in this Giveaway constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use winners name, hometown (including state or province) and/or likeness for promotional purposes without further compensation. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of participant and Sponsor in connection with the Giveaway, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions (whether of the State of California or any other jurisdiction), that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of California. Any claim arising out of the foregoing shall be instituted solely in a court situated in Fresno County, California, and entrant and Sponsor irrevocably agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of such court. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Sponsor. Aplos Software, Fresno, California.

Twitter Disclaimer. Multiple entries could jeopardize your Twitter account according to Twitter Terms and Conditions. Creating multiple accounts in order to obtain more than one entry is prohibited and could result in a suspension of all Twitter accounts.

Good Luck!

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Supplying W-2’s and 1099’s for employees

Written by guest blogger Michele Slayden:

Don’t let tax season scare you. As the bookkeeper for a small non-profit, my job description sometimes places me in situations where I lack experience. This year, our non-profit hired a grant writer as contracted labor. Because of this, we needed to supply the individual with a 1099. I was so excited to find a quick and easy way to have someone take care of the paperwork for me and answer my questions. If you are looking for a great resource to help you with your small payroll filings, I recommend a website, www.wagefiling.com. For a nominal fee, they will submit your W-2’s and 1099’s to the IRS as well as give you copies to send to the individuals on your payroll.

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Aplos is also planning on adding this functionality into our product, but since it isn’t ready yet, we wanted to make sure you were taken care of.

Our non profit accounting software blog discusses accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

Good luck and remember this blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional services, just a helpful resource.  Always consult a CPA or trusted professional if you seek tax or accounting advice.

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Posted in 501(c)3, Accounting, Aplos, Board of Directors, Church, Compensation, Contributions, Form 990, Fund Accounting, Internal Controls, Legal, Non-profit, Organization, Payroll, Tax, Web-Based | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do I need to do closing journal entries?

A customer asked me “Do I need to perform closing journal entries in Aplos, to close out my funds or balance sheet accounts?” This is my reply:

Click here to read about the accounting equation and the difference between an income statement and a balance sheet.

Balance sheet accounts (assets, liabilities, equity) always build on past numbers, since they are a snapshot… You can’t get to how much money do we have on 12/23/11 without knowing the sum total of all previous cash movements… since you need to know the amount ‘as of’ a certain day, these numbers will never clear out… they just build and build forever. So to answer your question – no, you would not create any closing entries to zero out assets, liabilities, and equity… they need to keep building on the past.

Now, the question about ‘closing entries’ is normally associated with income statement accounts… When accounting courses are taught, this is a key element of conversation because accounting is taught absence the features or functionality of any software that may be in use. If you were tracking your accounting by paper then your income and expense accounts would just continue to grow and grow (like your balance sheet accounts)… then when you would ask ‘how much money did we bring in (income) as of 10/1/11, your paper records would not know to exclude any thing prior to 1/1/10… you would end up with the total you ‘brought in’ since your org started through 10/1/11. So closing entries were used. At the end of each year a closing entry is used to zero all your income and expense accounts and bank any net income to your equity accounts…
So, if you had an income account with a balance of 10 (credit balance), and you had an expense account with a balance of 7 (debit balance).. then your closing entry would look like this:
income 10 (debit 10, so it offsets the 10 credit balance)
expense 7 (credit 7, so it offsets the 7 debit balance)
equity 3 (credit 3, so the transaction balances… the is moving the net income to equity).

Aplos does this ‘closing entry’ automatically in the report screen depending on the dates you pick for your report. The balance sheet is not affected.. The income statement knows that if you are asking for a report from 1/1/11 – 12/31/11 to create this ‘closing entry’ for the sum of everything prior to 1/1/11 and consider that closing entry when creating the report.

To sum it up: You don’t need to do anything at the end of the year regarding closing entries while using Aplos. Try Aplos free for 15 days by clicking here.

Our nonprofit accounting software blog discusses accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

Good luck and remember this blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional services, just a helpful resource.  Always consult a CPA or trusted professional if you seek tax or accounting advice.

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Posted in 501(c)3, Accounting, Aplos, Board of Directors, Church, Contributions, Form 990, Fund Accounting, Fundraising, Internal Controls, Legal, Non-profit, Organization, Web-Based | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How is a balance sheet different than an income statement

There are 5 basic types of accounts:
Asset
Liability
Equity
Income
Expense

Asset, Liability, and equity show up on the balance sheet.
Income and expense show up on the income statement.

The accounting equation is:
Assets = Liability + Equity

The balance sheet (and thus assets, liabilities, and equity) are based on a single point in time… consider them a picture or a snapshot in time. Income statement is based on a date range. So, for instance, you would ask how much money (cash – asset) did I have on 1/1/11 rather than asking how much money (cash-asset) did I have between 1/1/11 and 12/31/11… asset = balance sheet = snapshot.

But you would ask how much money did we bring in (income) between 1/1/11 and 12/31/11… you wouldn’t ask how much money did we bring in as of 12/31/11 (and even if you did ask that, what you really meant is “since 1/1/11″).

Our nonprofit accounting software blog discusses accounting, tax, and specific Aplos functionality issues.  Scroll the categories and click the topics that you are interested in.

Good luck and remember this blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional services, just a helpful resource.  Always consult a CPA or trusted professional if you seek tax or accounting advice.

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Posted in 501(c)3, Accounting, Aplos, Church, Contributions, Form 990, Fund Accounting, Legal, Non-profit, Organization, Web-Based | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the Accounting Equation?

There are 5 basic types of accounts:

Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Income, and Expense.

Asset, Liability, and equity show up on the balance sheet.

Income and expense show up on the income statement.

The accounting equation is “Assets = Liability + Equity”

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Posted in 501(c)3, Accounting, Aplos, Church, Fund Accounting, Legal, Non-profit, Organization, Web-Based | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment