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A Tale of Two Financial Firms

A Tale of Two Financial Firms

It’s storytime on the blog this week! Do either of these tales sound familiar to you?

Flash Drives and Checkbooks

The advisors at Neighborhood Financial were losing their minds and perhaps more alarmingly, their valuable time.

It was the last Friday of the business month and, as was becoming far too common, financial advisors/business partners Jake and Lisa were scrambling to make sure their individual income accounts and their joint business account were correctly balanced.

As with most financial firms, bookkeeping needs at Neighborhood Financial were complicated. Along with individual income streams and expenses, the business partners’ joint venture account had to be regularly contributed to by both team members. They had hired an independent accountant to handle their books long ago – so why were they still not 100% sure of where their accounts stood and who owed how much to their joint account every month?

With the chime of the office doorbell, the answer to that question walked in the door with a flash drive in one hand and a stack of unsigned checks in the other.

Fred the accountant had years of experience and a winsome personality that built loyalty and trust with his customers. Unfortunately, he was falling farther and farther behind on the latest banking and bookkeeping systems and tools that make modern bookkeeping organized and efficient.

Fred the accountant still kept Jake’s and Lisa’s individual books on a flash drive that Jake and Lisa only had up-to-date access to whenever Fred was able to stop by. Fred still handled expenses and payments with paper checks, reports and receipts. It was simply the way he had always done things. 

It took up quite a lot of their valuable time for Fred to help Jake and Lisa figure out how much each of them needed to contribute to their joint account each month, and the sums varied so wildly month to month that neither of them were ever sure if they were over or under contributing. 

“There’s got to be a simpler, more dependable way to do this,” sighed Jake, rubbing his forehead after Fred left with the stack of freshly signed checks. 

“This is becoming too stressful for us individually, and for our partnership,” agreed Lisa. “I think we need to make a change.”

How much of a difference can expert help and up-to-date tools make for financial businesses?

It may surprise you that the answer is more than you might think.

Staying two steps ahead of the latest tools, systems and technologies for financial business bookkeeping is becoming a necessity for those who want to stay ahead in today’s quickly evolving world. More than ever, today’s financial businesses need expert help with a deep understanding of the most accurate and efficient bookkeeping tools on the market so that they can focus on what they value most: serving their customers.

Something we have noticed among our clients is that some businesses are leery of switching from old, manual ways of accounting because they are afraid they will lose the personal touch that comes with the long standing relationships that develop over years working with a single accountant. The learning curve of newer systems and technology seem overwhelming and businesses worry it will take too much of their time.

We believe you shouldn’t have to choose between personal attention to detail and the most efficient, up to date technology. You deserve both.

At System Six we work hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the best, up to date systems and tools available for bookkeeping so you don’t have to. We are also just as committed to building long lasting relationships with our clients – relationships built on great communication and personal attention to the details that matter for your business.

21st Century Solutions to 21st Century Challenges

Jake and Lisa made the decision to change how they were handling their business’ bookkeeping. 

By outsourcing their bookkeeping needs to a company that was up to date with today’s best technology, Jake and Lisa began to see immediate improvements in the areas that previously caused so much frustration and stress.

The new bookkeeping team used tools to analyze past years’ spending to project more accurately how much Jake and Lisa needed to be contributing to their joint account each month. Their payments became more consistent so there were no longer last minute surprises at the end of every month.

While trying to understand and manage the various streams of revenue and expenses at their firm had been a nightmare before, now Jake and Lisa received monthly, detailed reports broken down in a clear, concise way. Jake and Lisa finally had vital account information at their fingertips, up to date within ten days of the end of the month. No more waiting for and fussing with flash drives!

Moving their banking and bill pay systems online alleviated the need for paper checks and reports, which made Neighborhood Financial more organized and efficient than ever before.

All this led to surprisingly big benefits for Jake, Lisa and Neighborhood Financial: more peace of mind, better control of their account information, and best of all, more time to devote to their clients. 

Does this story sound familiar to you? Have you been wondering how updating the way your business handles partnership accounting would improve your work? If so, we’d love to connect with you!

5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Bookkeeper

5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Bookkeeper

We believe you started your business out of a place of passion and to meet a need in your community. As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats, juggling your time between owner, human resources director, marketing manager, and accountant, to name a few. Your time is valuable, but in light of all of your job titles, time never seems to be in abundance. Due dates loom, tasks pile up, details are overlooked, and stress begins to consume you. The solution? Delegate. Here are five signs it’s time to look for an outsourced bookkeeper so you can get back to dreaming and growing your business.

1. Receipts and bills are stacking up 

Is your desk becoming overgrown with bills and receipts? Does the paperwork feel like it never ends? Organizing your books can be discouraging when you are drowning in financial data. It becomes even more difficult if your business did not set up a proper system for bookkeeping from the beginning. Without a standardized approach, maintaining your books can be burdensome. Your employees rely on you for accurate and timely payroll and budgeting.

Organized books are critical for profit-loss statements, financial planning, and budgeting. Cloud-based tools like Quickbooks will make it easy to keep tabs on your finances without the mountain of papers on your desk. Don’t let those receipts get the best of you; hiring a professional bookkeeper can help. 

2. Tax-prep is stressful and overwhelming 

Does tax season stimulate anxiety? You took the right step in hiring a Certified Public Accountant to file your taxes, but tax preparation is still required. Someone needs to run reports, apply updated tax codes, and categorize paperwork. Doing this on your own can be intimidating. While financially savvy and experienced, your CPA is not involved in the ins and outs of daily business and doesn’t know what papers you filed where or how your business runs cash-flow through the weeks and years.

CPAs don’t typically do tax preparation, and it will require much more time, money, and communication to find all of the documents and data they need. Outsourcing all your business’s tax prep to a bookkeeper can alleviate the oppressiveness of tax season by streamlining communication with your CPA and increasing your confidence that your taxes will be filed correctly.

3. Financing is necessary for growth

Is your company looking to grow? Do you need additional financing options? For more financing, you must have organized and accurate financial data. Banks will evaluate your business on the organization of its financial records, debt repayment history, and reputation. By hiring a bookkeeper to execute financial tasks, your business will have a greater opportunity for increased lending. In doing so, you can know your profit and loss statements will be timely and accurate when submitting paperwork to a bank. If you need additional documentation, your bookkeeper is a call away. Don’t let approvals get in the way of your organization’s growth.

4. Every penny counts 

If you’re a small business owner, you know that every penny matters. Unanticipated fees and additional expenses are simply not an option. Avoiding unwanted costs is a must, and cash flow management is essential to running a successful business. By hiring a bookkeeper, your company avoids the risk of audits and late fees. In addition, bookkeepers can facilitate a more efficient business on your behalf by appropriately entering all information for your taxes, which saves money in the long run. Get back to looking at the big financial picture, let the bookkeepers handle the pennies. 

5. Dreaming for your business has become stagnant  

You didn’t go into business for the endless bills, crinkled receipts, and math homework. You became a business owner because you had a dream: a desire to change and serve your community and to build time and financial freedom. We believe you deserve to have the time and energy to focus on your goals and see them come to fruition. A professional bookkeeper grants you the mental space to be inspired again by maintaining the areas of your business that drag you down. Get back to dreaming, hire a bookkeeper.

You are one of your business’s most valuable assets.

By delegating the bookkeeping to a professional team like System Six, you regain time, energy, money, and most importantly, the space to grow your business. Are you interested in taking the next step to finding a trustworthy and dependable bookkeeper? Let’s chat. At System Six, we help business owners get back to what’s important, one line item at a time.

Small Business Success Stories: 10|10 Strategies

Small Business Success Stories: 10|10 Strategies

In this episode of Small Business Success Stories, Jeremy Allen of System Six Bookkeeping speaks with Heather Tuininga of Seattle, Washington. Heather is the founder of 10|10 Strategies which provides philanthropic advising to families and businesses. Her mission is to increase both the joy of giving and the impact of the donation. Through extensive research and analytics she is able to make educated referrals for businesses or individuals who are passionate about an issue, but don’t know exactly where to send their dollars. From one-off gifts to multimillion dollar portfolios, Heather is passionate about the ripple effect that generosity can have on communities. 

Heather Tuinginga and Jeremy chat about the power of generosity and philanthropy.

From Government to Giving

She began as a fiscal analyst for the government in the state of Washington. After several years of reviewing grants and budgets, she was introduced to Bill Gates Sr. and began advising the Gates Foundation. For several years she traveled the world learning, researching, and helping the foundation financially empower nonprofits and grassroots organizations. With a heart to help more businesses and families, she now runs her own philanthropic consulting firm. 

COVID’s Impact on Philanthropy 

Despite the dip in the market this past spring due to COVID-19, Heather has been inspired by the enthusiasm and generosity of so many people and businesses. Her clients have been giving beyond their annual goals and looking for ways to more personally engage. Because of how taxing the pandemic has been on caregivers, Heather recommends looking for opportunities to care for those on the frontlines. Supporting the staff of nonprofits, healthcare workers, or community program volunteers is a great way to provide tangible relief. In the end, Heather encourages people to trust their guts and give spontaneously! 

Social Justice and the Wealth Gap 

This year has also brought much needed attention to the struggle for equality for people of color, specifically in the black community. For Heather, an important step has been to continue to stay educated about the realities of white privilege, redlining, and historical policies that have kept minorities from thriving. She recommends looking for nonprofits that are seeking to bring representation and raise the voices of minorities in the workplace. Specifically she cites Black Girls Code which provides STEM education for young girls to increase the presence of black women in technical fields like technology and computer engineering. 

A Life Principle to Live By 

Finally, Heather shares an encouraging sentiment from her father that still guides her today: “Your spark can become a flame and change everything.” Combined with the generosity of others, she believes that we can begin movements that bring tangible change to our communities and the world. Oftentimes we believe that we need to start something to make a difference, but many frontline organizations simply need support, not competition. 
For more information about how System Six can help you organize and implement your business, family office, or giving head to www.systemsix.com and contact Jeremy!

Small Business Success Stories | The Fat Hen

Small Business Success Stories | The Fat Hen

Every industry, family, and individual around the globe has been shaken by COVID-19, but perhaps none more severely as small-businesses. But despite the financial strain, ever changing policies, and emotional heaviness, the entrepreneurial spirit has shone bright. Our clients continue to amaze us with their resilience, and resourcefulness in serving their communities and staff. From the very beginning of the crisis, System Six dedicated itself to navigating the ins and outs of the financial options to help our clients. But in the end it is they who are helping us remember that, regardless of where we all are geographically, we are in this together. We want to highlight the stories of clients who inspire us with their perseverance and creativity in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged to lean into your gifts and lead in your generosity. We are proud of the impact of the System Six family! 

The Fat Hen 

We are so proud to have our first featured small business be The Fat Hen in Seattle, Washington! The Fat Hen is a casual, european style restaurant that is famous locally for it’s cozy atmosphere and delicious breakfasts. Sammie and Cody are not just passionate about serving food, but serving their community. When COVID swept through Seattle abruptly closing restaurants, businesses, and school, Sammie and Cody also shut down temporarily. With the help of System Six, The Fat Hen was able to secure a PPE loan to buoy their business through the weeks it was closed. More than that, they were given advice on how to navigate the changing legislation and programs available to small business owners. It wasn’t long before the two of them took to the kitchen by themselves to fill orders, adjust their menu, and provide jobs to their employees as delivery people instead of using a third party service.

Pivoting their Business Model

Being such a tiny space, functioning at even half capacity wasn’t going to provide the revenue stream needed to sustain the business. But rather than get discouraged, Sammie and Cody began to dream. What if The Fat Hen could provide more than just seated service? What if there was a way for them to send The Fat Hen home with customers craving the comfort of their favorite dish? Out of these questions came The Fat Hen Bodega – a mini-market stocked with all of the ingredients of beloved dishes ready to be prepped at home. Sauces, delicious deli meats, fresh baked bread – it all became available to customers to build and bake their favorite dishes. For The Fat Hen, COVID-19 wasn’t a crisis that forced them to get smaller, it pushed them to dream bigger. 

Giving Back 

In times of great uncertainty it is instinctual to cling to every resource, but Sammie and Cody wanted to react in the opposite spirit and model generosity. Throughout the crisis, despite financial unpredictability, they found it important to raise money for local causes. Each week portions of the profits from specific menu items were dedicated to a community member or service that was providing crucial support. For them being a small business isn’t just about providing a service, it’s about building the kind of community that they want to be a part of. 

Biggest Takeaway 

Like all challenging seasons, there are lessons to be learned. For Sammie and Cody it was an opportunity to stop, be resourceful, and not second guess their entrepreneurial instincts. Focusing on their desire to bring a positive impact in their community allowed them to align their business choices with their mission and values. When it became about the people and the neighborhood, then making the best businesses choices became more simple and intuitive. For The Fat Hen, having an impact during COVID-19 didn’t look like massive changes to structure or systems, but simply asking themselves who they were serving and what those people needed to adjust accordingly. Sammie and Cody offer the same challenge to you! Who is around you that has a need and how can you creatively meet that during these difficult times? In that answer lies the inspiration you need to pivot your business, get resourceful, and make a difference. 

Update: Since filming this episode, The Fat Hen as finished construction on their market bodega and continue to donate to local initiatives that support their community. In-Home delivery is paused for now as they are able to serve customers in their store for the time being! 

Call us now!