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Choosing the Right Type of Bookkeeping Service

Bookkeeping is a marathon, not a sprint. The task begins as soon as you start to put money towards your business and will follow you throughout your journey as a business owner. Just like a spouse, you don’t want to make this decision lightly.

Fortunately (unlike finding a spouse), there are only three options to choose from—each with its own strengths and weaknesses. It’s important for business owners to be familiar with each of these different options and how they will affect their business.

The “Traditional” Method: Accounting Firms

The most traditional method of bookkeeping is to hire an accountant or accounting firm, your traditional mom and pop shops/freelancers.These guys offer great benefits over the DIY self method—like the fact that you’ll barely have to lift a finger and you’ll also be privy to expert insight (pending they’re qualifications of course).

Of course there are also some drawbacks such as high hourly fees and slow turn around times. Transparency is low, many times business owners are never quite sure of what’s included in their services, and what’s being billed—causing a lot of anxiety when it comes to seeking out answers. Communication is also one way, meaning you send them your information and they send you their work in return. There is no way to monitor things as they progress, as is the case with digital dashboards. This lack of real-time analytics can make it difficult to set a steady course for your monthly budget.

When it comes to the traditional method, business owners will have to consider whether or not they want to hire an in-house bookkeeper or an external accounting firm.Both methods can be expensive with hourly consulting fees  and salary/benefit considerations for in-house hires. In-house accountants can be a solid option if you own a large operation and need constant oversight. Smaller businesses however, might find that costs don’t outweigh the rewards when it comes to hiring a full-time accountant.

The "Semi-Traditional” Method: DIY Software

DIY software is an increasingly popular option, giving business owners a great UI to track their finances. Companies like Quickbooks provide robust software that can help facilitate advanced accounting functions. Not only are many of these types of tools extremely helpful, they can also save money when it comes to hiring a traditional accountant. Although this is a great option for accountants, it may not be optimal for business owners.

Having a good piece of software doesn’t make you knowledgeable about the US tax code, regulations or requirements. Business owners can miss out on deductions, disqualify themselves as a compliant business, and face IRS auditing through improper tax filing. Having simply taken an accounting class in college is no substitute for the wealth of knowledge an accountant brings to the table. 

Even if you feel confident enough in your accounting, there is no more precious commodity than time. Any business owner will tell you, that as they’re business takes off—they find themselves being stretched in a million different directions. Knowing what your skill set is, and how best to add value is key. Bookkeeping is a time consuming task—business owners need to ask if reconciling transactions is the best use of their time. 

The "Fully Automated” Method: Software as a Service

The third and final option (which no suprise, we’re big proponents of), is SaaS (software as a service). This hybrid option provides the best of both worlds, giving users access to customized software as well as a dedicated bookkeeper. Instead of having to reconcile your own transactions, a bookkeeper (accountant) will do it for you. Some of these services like Bookly, offer unlimited consultation at no hourly cost. Instead they prefer the more modern “Netflix” model of a monthly flat-rate fee. This means business owners can ask away without fear of being billed.

This option will not be for everyone, for example—extremely large and complicated corporations or accounting firms. However for the other 90% of business owners—this bookkeeping framework is likely to be the most inclusive and cost effective. It offers all of the all of the aforementioned benefits without the bad, providing transparency, updated analytics, and a high tech solution with a human touch, not to mention it’s extremely cost and time effective.

If you’re interested in starting on your free trial with Bookly, or you just want to ask some questions—setup a consultation with one of their onboarding specialists today.

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How Virtual Offices Can Enhance The Meeting Effectiveness Of Remote Employees

Employees who are supported; perhaps encouraged or required to by some organizations today; and can work remotely, enjoy a number of advantages to bank on, as long as they deliver the goods on what’s expected of them to produce. Most relish the fact that they can work at their own pace and basically make their own schedule that suits their critically important work-life balancing needs. And they save on commuting time and costs, to boot. For the ever-increasing socially and environmentally conscious class of workers populating today’s newer working ranks, it saves on carbon foot-printing, which makes them, and Mother Nature very, very happy.

But, remote working, especially from home, isn’t always the utopia that many regard it as being. Meetings with colleagues and clients, for instance, often are inappropriate or inconvenient to conduct, or for a client or colleague to attend, at one’s home-office. And if the meeting is done virtually through Skype, FaceTime or some other basic, video-telephony, or even through some other more elaborate visual teleconferencing technology – some very vital communication cues often gets lost in translation.

Technology can remarkably replicate much, but not all vital communication elements when people meet and speak. Some claim that up to 50% of all vital interpersonal communications are non-verbal, and that is only in-presence capturing and emitting of such crucial body-language communication is the true way to optimize on the purpose and desired impact of a meeting. Reading and sending non-verbal reactions that can only be observed or delivered in-person are certainly key to a well-conducted, fruitful meeting.

Furthermore, the informal ‘before-and-after’ interfaces of a meeting, in many instances, are as critical, if not more, than the meeting itself. The natural flow of an appropriate, in-person greeting and ice-breaker; or maybe a post-meeting spontaneous cup of coffee, or invitation to lunch or a beer after-work, goes a long way to solidifying the impact that one is looking to achieve as the goal of meeting. A central purpose of a meeting is to establish or reinforce relationships, which is achieved much more effectively and poignantly in-person.

Add all these factors up and the sum points to the fact that some meetings don’t lend themselves for home-office treatment. Even the most devoted and frugal of home-based employees need to have a Virtual Office somewhere that’s convenient for them, and for the bulk of their clients and colleagues, to at least occasionally meet at when face-to-facing it is really the prescribed way forward for optimal results.

Go ahead – work from home. But also make sure you, like most astute businesspeople today, get yourself a professional Virtual Office that can serve as your home-away-from-home officing base and provide you with the services, reliability, the spark that’ll lift you on the V.O. Operator’s shoulders, and serve you well when you need to meet and impress others -- at a fraction of the cost of what a full, dedicated, yet often unused office, will run you.

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“Walking the Talk” When It Comes to Customer Experience

Talking and walking should be synonymous when it comes to customer experience. But the reality is that many businesses fail when it comes to “walking a good talk.” And money talks in this case. More than 90 percent of marketing budgets is spent trying to get customers to call; only six percent is actually spent on the operations for handling the call.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that customers are letting their feet do the walking as a result. Sixty-seven percent indicate they hung up on a customer service call when they couldn’t get a live human on the line. And when prospects have a poor engagement experience: 78 percent bail on completing a transaction.

The number-one thing customers cite that companies can do to create better experiences is to respect their time. This makes a lot of sense. Consider that the average consumer spends 1.2 years waiting on hold—phone and live web chat—during their lifetime. And it simply isn’t a B2C problem: business leaders spend 60 hours waiting on hold each year!

Giving your customers—and prospects—a great experience begins with a multi-channel (or omnichannel) approach. You cannot rely on just one method of engagement. Companies that excel at delivering great customer experiences offer their customers multiple engagement options—self-service, phone, email, and live web chat. Social networks are also a channel of preference for a growing number, particularly the Millennial demographic—those between the ages of 18 and 34.

When your customers engage, they buy more, they are more loyal, and they advocate more often on your behalf. The following are some things that you can do as a business leader to ensure that your organization is walking the talk when it comes to customer experience.

  1. Digital Personalization. Not every customer who comes to your website will do so with the intent of initiating an engagement experience. They may be looking for information and quickly go elsewhere when they cannot locate it. You often have less than 90 seconds to make that connection. This is where intelligent digital engagement comes into play. Based on the identity and/or behavior of the visitor, you can proactively offer them content or even engagement options (e.g., phone, live web chat, etc.). With Davinci Live Web Chat, small businesses have the ability to do so without incurring large overhead or acquiring expensive technologies. Check it out today.

  2. Digital Self-Service. Self-service is most certainly the cheapest engagement channel, and it is the preferred option of customers—nearly three out of four want to solve their problems and answer their questions via self-service versus live human engagement. Customers need information and often require guided navigation. Embedding a knowledge base and integrating it into your website, online community, or even product is a great starting point.

    But, an online knowledge base or community may not be enough. Customers sometimes need digital directions, and this is where real-time content personalization can make a big difference—in terms of both giving customers exactly what they need and deflecting customer service calls or even chats. This can be proactively presented to customers via content personalization.

  3. Live Web Chat. Sometimes it requires live human engagement. Traditional engagement channels through phone and email are not only more expensive, but they are sometimes not the most effective mode of engagement. The majority of Millennials prefer live web chat over phone or email. This compares to just a little over one-quarter of those age 35 and older.

    When it comes to offering your customers and prospects live web chat, a static “Chat with Us” button is a starting point. But it should be much more than a one-directional engagement offer; rather, companies must engage with their customers based on their behavior. Conversion rates go up, bounce rates go down, and satisfaction ratios for customer service increases. And with our Live Web Chat service, small businesses don’t need to worry about the technology or staff to make live web chat a reality.

  4. Live Receptionists. Live human engagement through phone is sometimes a requisite. Some problems simply require phone to achieve an appropriate resolution. In other instances, certain customers simply prefer phone. For small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to manage inbound and outbound calls, Davinci Live Receptionists are a great option.

    Portability between each of your engagement channels is important; it needs to be a seamless experience where customers transfer between each channel without repeating information and each engagement channel experience builds upon the previous one. With half of call centers admitting they do not use end-to-end workflows to keep track of interactions and information, there are substantial opportunities for businesses that create seamless channel portability—and big challenges for those that fail to do so. As all of our different engagement options are integrated—from Live Receptionists, to Live Web Chat, to Virtual Offices, to Meeting Rooms, Davinci Virtual’s customers know their customers receive outstanding engagement experiences.

Davinci Virtual has helped tens of thousands of businesses to walk the talk of great customer experiences for more than a decade.

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Overcoming The Challenge Of The Need For Physical Office Space

The demand for Virtual Office space continues to gain momentum. The ‘must have a physical office’ paradigm is losing oomph. Truth be told, the traditional 9-to-5, full-time, presenteeism work model started losing its must-ness grip just as home-based and portable, electronic gadgetry and computers, along with more-affordable broadband availability, blasted off in popularity during the 90s.

People no longer needed to be tethered to their desks full-time (sometimes a status-rewarded office), and when they were able to be comparably productive remote-working, their office desk-time needs shrunk, to the point where some workspaces were not utilized 50% or more of the time. Enter the Virtual Office, Telecommuting, Home-working and Touchdown Space revolution.

The thinking, especially among the more recent work tribes, was: “Why routinely trudge to work and lose time and fare/toll money commuting, or poison the atmosphere with carbon emissions, when neither might be necessary if people can achieve the required work results, doing so part-time or full-time from home, or from a convenient, closer-to-home Touchdown Space? Good question!

The simple answer is – many don’t need to have a full-time office these days, and it makes little sense to have one if it’s preferable, convenient, economically more attractive, and equally (or sometimes more) productive to work out in the field, or from home. But if you grew-up working 9-to-5 in an office, the transition to home-working is not the ‘snap’ that all might presume. Most people still need to meet others, and a meeting at a home-office is not optimal or appropriate.

Besides that, people are social creatures that need to get out and about, and at least occasionally mix it up in a business and office community. Some home-workers find it hard to pull away from the ease of watching the latest episode of ‘One Life To Live’ or ‘The Price Is Right’ – and they need the triggering mechanism to get them up and out of the house to work, at least from time-to-time (and in some instances, it’s the spouse or partner that appreciates the ‘break’ of a home-worker plying their trade elsewhere for the day).

Add to that the fact that, while most interpersonal meeting features can be replicated through phone and conference calls, Face-time, Skype or other telecommuting applications – even the most advanced video-conferencing capabilities don’t capture the whole ball of wax that goes into true, total, interpersonal communications. Some claim that quality communicating is upwards of 50% physical – not just verbal.

The bottom line is that people emote, respond, and send valuable and sometimes critical messages in mysterious, subliminal ways – ways that can’t always be duplicated by phone or video feeds. People value from interfacing with each other in-person … which is where Virtual Officing shines as the cost-effective, flexible solution in today’s workspace and work-way scene.

Virtual Officing allows you the best of both worlds: to be able to work lean and thrifty from home … yet provides you an hourly or daily home-away-from-home based office option when face-to-face meeting, or a break to sharpen that office-persona edge is optimal.

The secret to ‘overcoming the challenge of the need for physical office space’ is to never give up entirely on the ability to work at an office when needed. The answer to that challenge is to have a professional, reliable Virtual Office as a base where meetings, and face-to-face, human, business dealings can be provided on-demand and at a fraction of the cost of a little-used, traditional office.

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7 Workplace Health Hacks

At Davinci Virtual we are advocates for healthy living and work-life balance. In partnership with Nuts.com we have created a great checklist for ways to stay healthy at work!

Stretches at Your Desk

WebMD posted an article stating "People who sit at their computers for hours every day -- they're in for serious medical problems," says Sharon Hame, MD, associate clinical professor at UCLA's department of orthopaedic surgery.  A lot of us have sedentary jobs and we need to make sure we are taking care of our bodies.  Themuse.com has posted a great infographic you can print off or "pin" with some great stretches to try.  We suggest you start by setting a reminder to do stretches every 2 hours and then go from there.

One-Minute Fitness Breaks Every Hour

Ever heard of minute-to-win-it games?  At Davinci we love playing games.  Each day write down a list of 8 exercises to do that day.  Set yourself a reminder to go off once an hour and then time yourself.  Here's a list from greatist.com to get you started!

Pack a Healthy Lunch

Being busy at work makes it hard to eat healthy.  Grabbing a burger takes a lot less time than waiting for a salad to be made.  A great alternative to eating out is packing a healthy lunch.  If you bring your food to work, you'll be less likely to go out.  Easier on your waistline and easier on your wallet.  It's a win-win!  Check out this great post from Popsugar.com to find some ideas.

Stay Hydrated

When you are busy, keeping yourself hydrated can be the last thing on your mind. Water is one of the building blocks of life.  An easy fix to staying hydrated is to keep a large mug at your desk full of water.  You can add flavorings or ice, whatever it takes to keep you hydrated.

Take a Walk

Getting up and moving is one of the best things you can do for your body.  Instead of sending an email to the person sitting across the office, walk over and tell them you like their new hair cut.  If you work out of a Virtual Office, take a moment to get up and move around during the day.  

Keep Healthy Snacks Handy

If you keep a stock of snacks at work you will be less likely to overeat at lunch or dinner. Nuts.com offers a wide variety of healthy and filling snacks, from nuts to dried fruits and more.  They also have great ideas for snacks on their site.  If you fuel your body throughout the day, you will be able to be more productive.  Harvard Business Review offers this tip: "Instead of letting your glucose bottom out around lunch time, you’ll perform better by grazing throughout the day."

Take the Stairs

There are a lot of benefits from taking the stairs.  Start your day out right by getting your heart pumping and your brain ready to take on the day.

Take advantage of a Live Virtual Receptionist and get out and move!  Let us do the work so you don't have to.

To share this infographic, please use the image below:

Healthy Hacks Infographic

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