You may already be doing your part to help save the planet. From recycling to driving electric cars, to avoiding the use of plastic bottles and carrying reusable bags to the grocery store, there are myriad ways for all of us to make a difference—both big and small. However, it may be important to stop and ask ourselves: Are we currently doing enough?   

If you have considered pursuing an even more sustainable lifestyle, guess what? There’s an app for that! Actually, there are a few different apps to help you accomplish the goal of tracking your carbon footprint. In doing so, you can physically see your carbon environmental impact.

Below, we have detailed some of these apps and their benefits. Take a look! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Capture

Capture is an app that calculates users’ monthly CO2 targets by asking a series of questions. These questions include things like, “How many flights a year do you take?” and “What kind of diet do you adhere to?” Capture also utilizes GPS tracking to predict emissions from transportation.

Specifically, the app was designed to not only make planet-friendly living possible, but also make the process easy—or, easier—for those interested. With the capture app, users can conveniently “track, reduce, and remove CO2 emissions from everyday life.”

Interestingly, the app can be used single-handedly or with colleagues. If you are a numbers person who likes measuring and tracking, Capture is for you.

Almond

UK-based, Almond’s mission is simple: to help as many people reach Net Zero carbon emissions as possible, and in just four easy steps:

  1. Understand your carbon footprint
  2. Discover responsible brands
  3. Earn offset coins when you make a switch
  4. Offset your carbon footprint

Almond allows you to scan products to not only learn about that particular item’s story but also see what’s in the product (i.e., if it’s environmentally-friendly). Then, you can earn money with crypto rewards to plant and protect trees, which offset your carbon footprint. The more you earn, the faster you can grow your forest to achieve a carbon-balanced lifestyle and reach your personal CO2 Net Zero.

Pawprint

Pawprint allows individuals to fight climate change in the palm of their hands. This online tool helps to measure, understand, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Known as the “Eco companion,” this app delivers the following:

  • Science-based data you can trust
  • Carbon-reducing tips and challenges that suit your particular lifestyle
  • Better insight into how your carbon footprint measures up to the rest of the UK (this app is also UK-based)

One factor that sets Pawprint apart from other carbon footprint tracking apps, is that all of its data is validated by Mike Berners-Lee’s Small World Consulting, an expert in the industry.

Of course, there are plenty of other smartphone apps and tools available to help you better track and reduce your carbon footprint, including The Extra Mile, My Planet, and Carbon Footprint. The trick is to find the app or tool that works best for you and your lifestyle.

While we all have to keep our monthly books up to date for tax and other compliance reporting purposes, we should never stop there. Your books hold a wealth of information that you can use to run your business better.  Here are five reports you should never be without.

Budget-to-Actual Profit and Loss Statement

Hopefully, you’ve already seen how powerful the Profit and Loss Statement is. Let’s take it a deeper level and add budget comparison to it.  With this addition, you can plan your way toward the sales and profit figures you want. You’ll know every month whether you’re on track, ahead of the game (give yourself five stars!), or need to hustle to make it up next month.

Most accounting systems allow you to enter monthly budget numbers for your sales and expense accounts.  You can enter them at the beginning of each year and adjust them throughout the year. It’s kind of like having Google Maps on a cross-country journey. You will be able to see where there is construction and traffic, so you can take another route. You can also see where there are cool places to stop, so you can take advantage of the fun. Your numbers tell a story.

Actual-to-Prior-Year Profit and Loss Statement

This is an easy report to generate, assuming you have at least two years’ worth of information in your accounting system. This report allows you to compare your business’s results for this year with how you did last year.  Are you ahead? Behind? Have new products and services? New employees?  New expenses?

With this comparison, you can take action based on how you would like your business to perform this year versus last year. While this report is readily available, few businesses study it to glean the insights available, so be sure to spend some time analyzing the data in this report.

Sales by Item, Customer, or Division (or All Three)

Inside every business’s sales information is a treasure trove of possibility. Where are you seeing growth, and how can you capitalize on it? Where do you see a slowdown, and can you run a promotion to juice things up?

Choose the breakout – customer, item, division, or another – that is meaningful to your business type. If possible, arrange for a searchable database so you can drill down into the detail even more. What trends do you see?  What opportunities do you see?

Operations Reports   

To find out more about your profitability and to get into the details of how your expenses are matching up with your sales, you need to review your operational accounting reports. The exact report will depend on the type of your business.  If you are in services, you’ll need payroll reports and time sheets. If you are in retail, you’ll need inventory reports. If you are in construction, you’ll need job cost reports. And if you are in manufacturing, you’ll need cost of goods sold and other reports to evaluate assembly and production efficiency.

Cash Reports

The last report that is essential for good business management is all about cash. There is more than one option here, and these reports can include Accounts Receivable Aging, Accounts Payable Aging, cash flow forecasting, and various cash flow reports.

If you grant customers credit, you’ll want to actively make sure that money is collected on time from clients. If customer balances get too old, action must be taken. Even if you don’t grant credit, transactions such as returns, expired credit cards, and bounced checks need special attention.

The same is true for amounts you owe to vendors, with the Accounts Payable Aging report.

If you run tight with your cash balance, you may want to have a cash flow forecasting report on hand. This report gives you good warning as to when your bank balance may dip below your needs.  You can then delay vendor payments or find an infusion of cash to cover the shortfall.

With these five categories of reports, you will have dozens of opportunities to be proactive about running your business and improving your results.  And if we can help you find or generate them, please reach out anytime.

The Chart of Accounts is the backbone of your accounting records. It is a list of all of the accounts – bank, loan, asset, revenue, and expense – in your General Ledger, which holds all of your accounting transactions.

Think of your Chart of Accounts as a collection of buckets that hold dollars of items related to your business. Each bucket should be meaningful and have a purpose. For example, if you have three checking accounts, you need three buckets on your Chart of Accounts to hold the transactions for each bank account.  It would not make any sense to have more or less than exactly one bucket for each checking account.

While it’s standard to have certain buckets or accounts for assets, liabilities, and equity, the number of buckets that you create for revenue and expenses can vary greatly from company to company.  It makes sense to create and design your accounts for what you need for tax, accounting, and decision-making purposes in your business.

Let’s say you are a hair stylist.  Do you want your revenue to be in one big bucket? That’s all that Uncle Sam requires. But for decision-making purposes, you may want to break out men’s and women’s services, or cuts versus color and other treatments, or both. In that case, you would have four revenue accounts: men’s cuts, men’s color, women’s cuts, and women’s color.  This type of detail would help you see where your revenue is highest so that you can better manage your supplies as well as target your marketing to that group.

Having certain expense accounts matched to the tax requirements can reduce extra work at tax time. For example, separating travel costs – hotel and airfare – from meals and entertainment is a common one, as is keeping meals and entertainment separate.

The goal is to get your Chart of Accounts working for you. If, when you first set up your accounting system, you accepted the default Chart of Accounts, it may be time to redesign and restructure the list so it serves your needs better. Here are some additional considerations.

  • What revenue or expenses do you want to watch more carefully? Should they be broken out in more detail?  You can also use subaccounts to group transactions.
  • Is there cleanup work to do due to misspelling or other duplication?
  • Have you interviewed all the financial information users in your company to see how they need the data organized?
  • What spreadsheets could be eliminated if the Chart of Accounts was better organized?
  • Does your Chart of Accounts support your budgeting process? If two people are responsible for controlling spending from one account, would it be useful to break it out?
  • Do you have too many accounts?  Or too few?  (Most people have too many due to poor data entry hygiene.)
  • Are you properly using other categorizing features in the accounting system, such as classes, divisions, and custom fields?
  • What reports could produce better information for taking profit-focused actions in your business if the Chart of Accounts stored the transactions differently?
  • How could key performance indicators be better linked to the Chart of Accounts?

These questions can help you begin thinking about how your Chart of Accounts can better serve you.  After all, it’s your business, your accounting system, and your Chart of Accounts.

And if we can help you through the redesign process, please let us know.

Are you familiar with Clubhouse? This social media platform is still pretty new, but currently picking up steam. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to describe Clubhouse is like this: When you were a kid, did you ever hold a glass to a wall with your ear glued to it in order to hear the conversation in the next room? Clubhouse is kind of like that, only scaled and organized.

Clubhouse is an audio-only platform where you can start a room based on a topic and others can join the room and conversation. You can bring people up to the “stage” who have raised their hand. The platform supports multiple languages, and at any one time, you can see rooms in Russian, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Japanese, English, and many more.

Think of Clubhouse this way: It’s like an interactive live podcast. The platform hosts both personal and business conversations, so there is a lot of noise to wade through, but that’s true of every social app. Many people love the lack of video that is so pervasive on other platforms.

The main newsfeed in Clubhouse shows active rooms that you might like. To join a room, just click anywhere on the room description. Once in a room, you should hear the speakers talking, or you might hear music if it’s a concert. You are muted until you are invited on stage.

In a room, everyone can see everyone else’s avatar. Clicking on other people’s avatars is encouraged and brings up a bio and direct links to the person’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.  You have lots of space on Clubhouse to build an extensive bio, and this is primarily how other people in the room can get to know you, along with hearing what you have to say if you participate.

Clubhouse is an entirely new and fresh way to market your business and let people know about your products and services.

When it comes to running a successful business, how important is it to be organized? In a word: very. Now, how would you rank your organization skills? Honestly, the answer really doesn’t matter. We can always get help from technology, and this is where Airtable comes in.

Airtable goes beyond spreadsheet solutions when it comes to tracking teams, projects, tasks, dates, and other information in your business. Cloud-based, Airtable allows you to organize information in a database – they call them bases – of tables. While databases can be complicated, Airtable makes it easy because it looks just like a spreadsheet.

Airtable allows users to create a flexible database that fits their particular needs. Some of the use cases include project tracking, product development, event management, team collaboration, lists, planning, pipeline management, calendars, and so much more. Templates are available to jump-start your project.

Because Airtable is like a spreadsheet, it has been compared to Microsoft Excel®. However, it is important to remember that Airtable is like a spreadsheet and like a database. Further, Excel can function only as a traditional spreadsheet, while Airtable gives its users more options, especially when it comes to customization.

Getting into the details of Airtable, fields can even be added for attachments, long text notes, checkboxes, links, and barcodes. It provides options for filtering, sorting, and grouping data.

Airtable also provides for integrations with other applications in case you need to move information from one place to another or add functionality.

Airtable has both free and paid plans.  You can find out more here: https://airtable.com/