December 2015

Stayin’ Alive- How outsourcing can help keep you in business

Author: Linda S. Hopkins

There are two kinds of people: those who like numbers and those who don’t. But even if you are a mathematical genius, if you are in business for yourself, bookkeeping may be the paper cut that slowly bleeds you out.

While large corporations often have whole departments crunching numbers, many small business owners find themselves wearing one hat too many. According to Tammy Novak and Cassie Carstens, co-owners of Island Financial, even those who feel competent to handle the books can be overwhelmed by the many responsibilities of business ownership, and the paperwork is often the first thing to go on the back burner.

Two big reasons to outsource your bookkeeping:
1) To save time and money. “Many new business owners make the mistake of thinking they can just go buy Quickbooks,” Novak said. “While it might look like it’s easy to use, most people just make a mess. When tax time comes and you give it to a CPA to correct, they typically charge $200 and upwards per hour. So you’ve just cost yourself money and lost your time and energy.”

Ed Moody of Flowers by Sue and Valerie Deloach of H2O Pools, along with over 200 other area business owners, have learned that the bottom line improves when they hand over the tedious but all-important bookkeeping chores and put their time and energy into what they love instead. For example, Moody is in the business of selling flowers. He simply cannot afford to be in the back office pushing papers instead of upfront helping customers or in the work room assisting with design. While he still manages his own billing, he has been outsourcing payroll, bookkeeping and taxes to Island Financial for over 10 years.

Deloach, who has been in the pool business for three years, said she learned from her mistake in a previous business. “It’s not my forte,” she said of the bookkeeping. “Island Financial has helped us control our costs and our spending. They take it away so that we get to do what we do best. Without them, we would not be blessed to grow the way we have.”

Island Financial also saves business owners time and money by answering questions in a personable and efficient manner. “We want people to feel like they can ask anything. If we don’t know the answer, we can get the answer for them, and it doesn’t cost them extra money. We are affordable and approachable.” Novak Said. We work closely with a number of CPA firms.

“They [Island Financial] always makes me feel like I’m their only client,” Moody said. “Whenever I call, they are available. I can text or e-mail, and they answer all my questions right away.”

What further differentiates Island Financial from a typical CPA is the more continuous, hands-on approach. “We like to be a tool or a resource you can use throughout the year,” Novak said. “We help you on a monthly level to keep a pulse on your business vs. a snapshot at the end of the year.”

2) To stay out of trouble. Are you up-to-date on the latest financial reporting laws? If not, you could be in a world of hurt. Island Financial keeps business owners out of trouble by processing sales tax, payroll tax, hospitality tax, federal mandates regarding healthcare and more.

“If I were to give advice to any new or existing business, the payroll is the one thing I would definitely outsource,” Novak said. “It’s the biggest headache, and I’ve seen lots of businesses get themselves in trouble. The IRS does not give you a clear guideline, and it’s not information that’s easily found.”

Carstens has spent hundreds of hours educating herself and keeping abreast of ACA (Affordable Care Act) compliance regulations. “With this new reporting required, you need to know how many employees you have every month of the year. There are rules that apply regarding their hours—whether they are fulltime, part time or seasonal—whether you should offer them insurance or not,” she explained. “Maybe you have 25 employees in the winter, but in the summer you have 80. A business owner might have a difficult time trying to learn all these regulations when he is trying to run a business. Measurement periods, stability periods…these are specific requirements by the government outlining who is responsible for providing insurance. The spreadsheet you would have to build just to monitor this would be a nightmare. And even if you don’t offer insurance, you still have to report. If you don’t, the penalties are astronomical,” Carstens said—as much as $3,000 per employee per year. “2016 is going to affect businesses. We have tools that can help you monitor employees’ hours, and you can save a lot of money in the end.”

Island Financial operates like an accounting department would for a large company. They can handle accounts payable and receivable, prepare financial statements, help you develop a budget, and monitor the overall health of your business. Most business owners are having a hard enough time finding enough hours in the day without tackling a mountain of paperwork. If that sounds familiar, resuscitate your business and your entrepreneurial spirit by letting Island Financial do the math. Keep your company alive and well. Outsource, and don’t forget to breathe! 

For more information, visit, call (843) 785-4018 or e-mail

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