Most shipments from Shows To Go Backdrops require a signature for delivery. Signatures are a requirement from FedEx for any package valued at $500 or more. Many times customers ask us to “waive” or remove the signature requirement. Unfortunately, FedEx does not allow the sender to “waive” the signature requirement for high-value items. Luckily FedEx has many options for people who won’t be able to accept a “signature required” shipment in person, including signing for the package in advance online or through the FedEx app.
Don’t Sign In Advance If You Don’t Have To
At our office, we regularly get calls from customers who are in “panic mode” because FedEx tracking said “delivered,” but they have not been notified by anyone in their receiving department. Even worse, sometimes customers will have their order dropshipped to a hotel or event venue, and they can’t find any employee that knows anything about it.
If a packaged is delivered to a building with a required signature, you will be able to see the name of the person who received the delivery and at what time. This information is available to you when you track your package through FedEx online or the FedEx app, and it shows “DELIVERED”.
A name and time of delivery are usually all that is need to locate your missing shipment in a hotel, large office or exhibition center.
The Low Tech Pen and Paper Approach
If you know a FedEx package is coming that requires a signature, you can usually just leave a note for the delivery driver given permission to leave the package. The note must reference the tracking number, delivery address, and name and signature of the person signing. Your cell phone number is also a good idea.
Something like this works fine:
DATE: (Date of Delivery)
RE: TRACKING NUMBER 1ZAITJGL837381437
I give permission for FedEx to leave this shipment at my front porch.
If you are really in a hurry, we created a template for the note to leave for FedEx to sign for a package. (Link Opens PDF) Print. Fill-In and Done.
You may want to call FedEx and have them note in the delivery information that you will be leaving a signed release. FedEx customer service: (800)463-3339.
Your delivery should be waiting for you when you return. “And that’s why you always leave a note!” – George Bluth, Sr.
If You Can Spare An Extra Day – Sign The Door Tag
If you have not signed in advance or made other delivery arrangements, FedEx will attempt the delivery as usual. If nobody is available to sign for the package, they will leave a door tag saying that they attempted delivery. FedEx will try to deliver your package again – usually the next day. To make sure you don’t miss the redelivery attempt, sign your door tag in the spot indicated, and stick it back where the FedEx driver left it. Your backdrop package should be waiting for you after the next delivery attempt.
Recently I offered Everything We Know About the Coronavirus Stimulus Payments. Here’s some good news! TurboTax and the IRS have announced a partnership to launch a free stimulus registration website so that Americans who do not file tax returns can go online to get their CARES Act stimulus checks faster. Here are the details on how to register for your stimulus payment if you are not going to file a tax return.
UPDATE: “Get My Payment” IRS Web App Launches for Quicker Stimulus Payments, Plus Check Status Online!
Simple Steps: Register for Stimulus Payment
Stimulus Check Web Portal
Where to Register
If you are not required to file taxes and don’t receive Social Security benefits, use the free Stimulus Registration for non-tax filers. This form gives the IRS your current mailing address and direct deposit banking information. The registration is free to use. Besides the Stimulus Check Web Portal, TurboTax also includes a payment calculator. The calculator helps you determine how much you should receive from the government with your stimulus payment.
If you did file a 2018 tax return or have already filed your 2019 tax return, the IRS will use those federal tax returns to determine and send individual stimulus payments. Those will be sent using the banking information provided on those returns. Those who didn’t file (or will not file) are at risk of not receiving a stimulus payment since the IRS has no way of knowing how to get it to the eligible persons with only a social security number.
Some Debit Cards Are Eligible to Receive Payments
Debit cards that are used by many tax preparation companies such as H&R Block and Intuit’s TurboTax as well as the Direct Express programs do qualify to receive these direct payments. That’s because these cards (H&R Block’s Emerald Card, Direct Express and TurboTax’s debit card) are linked to an actual bank account (with routing numbers) and all should qualify for the economic stimulus direct payment. This is relatively new information.
Social Security Recipients Will Automatically Receive Payments
On April 1 st , the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.
“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take any action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account.”
The IRS says it will begin sending electronic payments to those who qualify and have direct-deposit information on file on April 9th. Those who qualify but haven’t provided the IRS with bank information through a tax return, TurboTax’s online stimulus check web portal, Social Security or railroad retirement benefits tax form will begin receiving paper checks beginning April 24th.
Stimulus Checks For Individuals And Joint Taxpayers
Stimulus checks — up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for joint taxpayers and an additional $500 for each qualifying child — will be based on information from your most recent tax filings, either (now) 2020 or 2019. This only applies if you haven’t filed this season yet.
Will You Have to Pay Back the Money?
Many people have questions about the economic stimulus payments. The CARES Act makes it clear that the stimulus payment is a unique fully refundable tax credit. Recipients are getting this special tax credit in advance.
Tax filers will technically claim the tax credit on their 2020 taxes, provided one earns enough in 2020 that requires filing a tax return. This ‘advance tax credit’ will basically wash itself out so filers will not be able to benefit from it twice (once in the form of a payment now and again later to lower a 2020 tax bill).
The stimulus checks are nontaxable. As such, they will not be included in 2020 as reportable income. They are officially described in the CARES Act as a “Recovery Rebate for Individuals.”
Caveat: I am not a professional tax preparer or tax attorney.
If you have done everything right, you will get this final payment method confirmation screen. You can also set up a paper check to be mailed to you.
Whatever your situation, you may be able to use this site to register for your stimulus payment online for free, making the process faster and easier for those that qualify.
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
The e-commerce market continues to expand, and there is no sign of its growth slowing. In the US alone, 16% of all retail sales were made online.Those who want to set up an online business themselves can consider selling physical products, as this is a relatively simple way to sell online. Your upfront investment needn’t be large, and the world is big enough for someone out there to be interested in the products you’ve got to sell.
Here’s our step by step guide on how to start selling online, paving the path for you to celebrate your first sale. We’ll give you an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the best ways to sell online, so that you can find out in advance which method suits you best.
Pros and cons: is e-commerce right for you?
For some, selling products online is a dream job. For others, the excitement of starting an adventure fizzles out after a few months, and they realize that e-commerce is not their calling – even if it was a success in financial terms. Think about the following pros and cons to see if this is the right thing for you.
|Working from home. Save the time you’d spend on your commute and have an extra half an hour in bed or with your family.||Setting up an online shop and winning customers on the Internet takes time. The profits of your online business won’t compete with your last salary at first. You need patience, the right product, and a good strategy.|
|You’ll be in a position to increase your income independent of work hierarchies. Unlike when you’re employed, you decide how much you want to earn – more work equals more money.||There is no fool-proof formula for success in the world of e-commerce. Acquiring know-how through self-study and learning from your mistakes is a must. You must be patient and persevere.|
|You have the freedom of choice, at least when it comes to deciding which products to sell online. Combine personal interests with business. Ideally, you’ll enjoy your work, rather than it being a chore!||One of the most important things when considering how to sell online is realizing that you won’t generate a ‘passive’ income at first. All the work which generates and supports income has to be done by you. Later on, you could consider hiring to delegate these tasks, but you’ll still need to stay involved.|
|Unlike starting a ‘normal’ company, selling online doesn’t need much start up cash. You can start with little to no investments.||From finance, marketing, and sales to product selection, you’re responsible for everything. If you run your business on your own, you must be prepared to take this on. It’s no easy feat.|
You’ve decided you want to learn how to sell online? Don’t rush into it but figure out a step by step guide instead. We’ve got one prepared for you.
Step 1: Market research and product selection
Product and market selection are arguably the most important factors in learning how to sell on the Internet. Reflect on how the market is changing before committing to an idea. Using different methods of market research can help: Conduct surveys of potential customers, read current market studies, and analyze competitors.
Beginners in the online business world often incorporate too many of their own interests and neglect to find out whether there is demand for their product.
If you find online shops that sell the same type of products as you plan to, consider this good news. Some competition shows that you have discovered a lucrative market niche. If there is too much competition, however, you should reconsider. If the market is already saturated, it will be difficult for you to start selling online.
When selecting your products, also consider the possible margin. Demand is good, but if high prices don’t follow through on the market, you may end up making very little profit – or even none at all if you’re unlucky or badly prepared.
In order to be considered worthy competition, it is a good idea to look for a small niche of products. Instead of opening an online shop for accessories, you could specialize in socks; instead of selling different types of tea, you could sell only green teas.
Sell on your existing website or blog
Turn the platform you’re already using into a store without building a separate eCommerce website!
If you’re a record collector or you sell records online and you’re looking for the best way to ship vinyl records in the US or overseas, then you’re in the right place.
A box of records can be surprisingly heavy and expensive to ship, but you can find the cheapest way to ship vinyl records quickly and easily by comparing shipping prices with Parcel Monkey.
How to mail vinyl records
Before you can work out the cost of shipping a record or a whole record collection, you’ll need to think about how to package vinyl records for shipping. When you send a record in the mail it can get easily damaged if not enough care has gone into the packaging, so this is really important if you want your LPs to arrive in the condition you sent them.
How to pack vinyl records for shipping
Here is a quick five-step guide on how to pack a vinyl record for shipping. If you have more than one record, keep reading to find out how to ship vinyl records in bulk.
Step 1: If the record has a printed inner sleeve, place the record in a clean inner and put the empty original inner inside the outer sleeve.
Step 2: Keep the record outside of the outer sleeve. This prevents the record from moving around inside the sleeve during transit, which can scratch the record and damage the outer sleeve.
Step 3: Put the record on top of the outer sleeve and place both inside a plastic/PVC cover. If you don’t have something suitable, bubble wrap is a good alternative. If you’re using bubble wrap, be sure to secure it with tape.
Step 4: Sandwich the package between two pieces of heavy-duty cardboard. You can buy special record strengthening stiffeners online, so if you’re sending more than one record it might be worth investing in a pack.
Step 5: Put the sandwiched record inside an LP Mailer. You can buy a variety of styles and sizes of vinyl record mailers online for sending single and multiple records. Seal with heavy-duty packing tape.
How to ship multiple vinyl records
As mentioned above, a quick Google search will help you purchase a variety of LP Mailers, with the capacity to hold anything from 1 to 100 records. Some have built-in stiffeners, so you don’t need to purchase these separately. We would always recommend that when shipping vinyl records you use the specialist packaging available, especially if you’re sending more than one.
Our most popular courier services for shipping boxes of records include Ground Drop Off for cheap domestic deliveries and International Drop Off for reducing the cost of shipping vinyl records internationally. Both services are fully tracked and can also be booked as a package collection service if your box is too heavy to carry to a drop-off point.
TIP: If you have multiple LPs to ship to a number of addresses, then our bulk shipping tools can help you save both time and money.
How much does it cost to ship a vinyl record?
If you’re only posting a single record, the cost probably won’t be excessive as shipping companies charge based on the weight and size of your package. However, if you’re sending multiple records or a whole collection, this can get expensive, as the weight will increase significantly.
Luckily, Parcel Monkey offers some of the biggest savings on shipping heavy boxes, so we’ll help you find the cheapest rates available.
The quickest way to work out the cost of shipping vinyl records is to enter the dimensions, weight and destination of your packaged item into our shipping calculator. In seconds you’ll see quotes from multiple shipping companies, so you can compare prices and select a service that meets your needs and budget.
How much does a vinyl record weigh?
LPs come in several different sizes, most typically 7, 10 and 12 inches. The weight will vary from around 1.41oz for a 7" to 3.88oz for a 10" and 5.29oz for a 12".
Don’t forget that if you want to know the weight of a vinyl record for shipping, you’ll need to include the weight of the packaging too.
Selling LP’s on eBay?
When using Parcel Monkey, retailers and eBay sellers can enjoy not only some of the best delivery prices with trusted and reliable couriers, but we can also help them find ways to deliver vinyl records to customers all around the globe, including Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
The used vinyl and record market on eBay is huge, with popular, rare and limited edition LP’s being sold every minute. Sellers on eBay use our door to door shipping services, protection cover and tracking for the peace of mind that vinyl records can be sent safely and quickly via courier at an affordable rate.
If you’ve been reading The Budget Savvy Bride for a while you know that we’re all about sharing ways to pull off a luxe wedding for less. We love sharing DIY wedding alternatives that you can tackle on your own if you’re looking for ways to cut costs.
One element of the wedding day that tends to be a bit pricey (but is oh-so-meaningful) is wedding videography.
Hiring a professional wedding filmmaker isn’t cheap. While having a cinematic style wedding video (like the ones seen on LoveStoriesTV) may not be a priority for you, we can’t emphasize enough how special it is to be able to relive the moments of your big day via moving pictures.
Preserve your Wedding Memories on Film for Less
Being able to hear you and your partner exchange your vows and share your love for one another is one of the most meaningful and powerful things we can think of. At the end of the day — this wedding is happening because of the love the two of you share. Being able to experience the joy of your wedding day on film is truly priceless.
So as a budget savvy bride, what’s the best way to get footage of your big day without the hefty price tag? Allow us to introduce you to Wedit – the DIY solution for wedding videography!
Wedit is a service that allows you to DIY your wedding video with the help of your family and friends!
Wedit is a fun and interactive way to capture your total wedding experience, from the rehearsal dinner to the day-after brunch!
When you book a Wedding Package with Wedit, you receive 5 HD cameras in the mail for your guests to use to capture every moment, from the rehearsal to the after party.
All the captured footage is stored online, so you can view, share and download the files at your convenience for 12 months.
Their team of professional editors can even turn your raw footage into a personal, professional and priceless finished product!
They’ve got options to suit your budget– choose from rental only packages or edited videos. When it comes to edited wedding videos, they have options for a snappy highlight reel video or a full-length wedding film, so you can select the option that works best for your budget.
Why You Should DIY Your Wedding Videography
We LOVE Wedit because their service makes wedding videography affordable, efficient, and effective.
- Affordability – Wedit’s packages are insanely affordable for the value. It includes the price of the camera rentals and there are even packages with professional video editing included!
- Efficiency – With free shipping both ways and hosting of your footage online for one year, you don’t have to worry about a thing! Get your fully edited videos back within 4-6 weeks.
- Effectiveness – Five cameras allow for your guests to capture multiple angles on the big day, meaning you’ll get more video coverage than hiring a professional videographer. You can even place a camera on a tripod to get footage throughout the entire event!
Let us be clear: we think having video footage of your big day is truly priceless . But why spend more when you can get a quality product for less with Wedit?!
Choose Your DIY Wedding Video Package
Want to give Wedit a shot for your big day? Choose the option that best suits your budget and reserve your spot for an affordable but priceless wedding video today!
Because you’re a reader of The Budget Savvy Bride, we’ve got *exclusive* pricing just for you!
Preparing orders for shipment and sending out packages for delivery are two of the most important aspects of your business.
Whether you use a third-party shipper or deliver these goods yourself, a lot can go wrong when you’re racing against the clock. Inventory hiccups, travel delays and poor communication can easily prolong your packages which may tarnish your reputation among consumers.
According to a recent study, nearly half of consumers (44 percent) stated they were willing to wait for two days for orders delivered via fast shipping, but just 25 percent said they were willing to wait three or four days for their packages to arrive. You may lose access to large portions of the market if your packages are delayed just a day or two.
With so many variables to be aware of and mistakes to avoid, shipping is not for the faint of heart. Use these tips to make sure your packages arrive on time.
Backorders and Lack of Inventory
Not having enough inventory on hand will delay your packages. One of your customers may place an order online, only to discover it’s no longer in stock. This means they’ll need to wait for you to replenish your stock, which could take several days or weeks.
Solution: Increase Inventory Visibility
Use inventory management software to get rid of backorders once and for all. You can track every item as it enters and leaves your warehouse so you’ll know how many items you have on hand at any given time. The system should update inventory listings on your website automatically, so you don’t have to worry about your customers buying products that are no longer in stock. Set up automatic alerts so you can restock your shelves before you run out of items completely.
Missed Deadlines and Drop-Offs
You and your team need to work with different carriers if you want your orders to arrive on time. However, carriers aren’t willing to wait when it comes to picking up packages. If your packages aren’t ready for delivery when the truck arrives, you and your customers will be out of luck.
Solution: Coordinate with Carriers and Suppliers
Communicate with your carriers and suppliers to avoid this nightmare scenario. You should know when the truck is arriving at your facility so you can get packages out the door on time. The same goes for your suppliers. Send demand forecasts to your suppliers to make sure you have enough materials on hand to meet the needs of your customers.
Traffic and Weather-Related Incidents
Some things are beyond your control when it comes to shipping packages. You can’t control the weather and traffic is just a fact of life, especially in urban and congested areas.
Solution: Pop-up Distribution Centers
To reduce delays, coordinate with your drivers to help them avoid hectic throughways and traffic jams on the road. Use the latest traffic and weather information to better guide your drivers.
You can also invest in additional distribution centers to keep your inventory closer to your customers. You can always share distribution space with another retailer to reduce costs. Look for low-cost warehouse space in urban areas so your packages won’t have to travel as far during the last leg of the journey.
Delayed at Customs
Customs can be a nightmare for some international shippers. Customs agents will need to inspect everything coming into the country before it can move on to its destination. Getting through customs at some ports and countries can take longer than others. You’ll need to research your destination to make sure your packages comply with international trade laws.
Solution: Better Shipping Containers
To speed up the inspection process, it’s best to steer clear of wooden containers and shipping materials, such as wooden crates and pallets. Wooden materials need to pass what’s known as the ISPM 15 to prevent the spread of wood-borne pests and bacteria.
When preparing for international shipping, switch to plastic pallets and other types of shipping containers to get your goods through customs as fast as possible.
It’s also a good idea to use bulk shipping containers so customs agents don’t have to inspect as many containers when reviewing your inventory. Carriers can load and unload your inventory in just a few minutes instead of having to handle dozens of smaller containers at the same time.
Failed Delivery Attempts
Even if the package arrives on time, there’s always a chance the customer won’t be around to sign for it. You may be able to leave the package at the front door, but you’ll probably have to send the package back to a local distribution center and try again tomorrow.
Solution: Better Customer Communication
Don’t leave your customers in the dark when it comes to delivering your packages. Choose a carrier that keeps your customers in the know. The carrier should be able to send an alert, such as a text message, email or push notification, to the consumer alerting them that their package is about to arrive. The carrier should also update the customer if the package gets delayed for any reason. This way the customer isn’t standing around waiting for their package to arrive.
Ideally, the customer should be able to track the location of their package online so they can watch it progress through the supply chain. If your current carrier doesn’t offer the latest technology, consider partnering with a carrier that does. It’s always best to have a back-up plan if your preferred carrier is running late. Your customers like having options, as well. According to a recent study, 70 percent of U.S. consumers choose to purchase goods from one online provider over another because they provided more delivery options.
Making sure your packages arrive on time is one of the best things you can do for your customers. The faster your goods arrive, the more loyal your customers will be. Use these tips to overcome any challenge that comes your way.
People across the country have been receiving a strange text message the past few weeks. It claims a package is waiting for you to pick up.
David Landeen was tossing wood on his fire pit the other evening when his phone buzzed with a text message.
“It came from this phone number that I did not recognize, area code 470,” he said. That area code is one from Atlanta.
The text said, “David, we came across a package from June pending for you. Kindly assume ownership and confirm for delivery here.”
A second version now includes USPS in text, making it appear the text may be from the Postal Service.
This is no generic “Dear Customer” scam that many of us have received, claiming to be from our bank, credit card or even Apple.
“This was different from those e-mail scams,” Landeen said. “I had never received a text scam before, so I wasn’t sure if that was what it was.”
Landeen was tempted to click the link, because the sender knew his name.
“They had my name, and of course had to have my phone number to send me a text,” he said.
It turns out, it was a good thing he didn’t click.
What happens if you click
Tech expert Kim Komando investigated and learned that people who clicked the link were told they had won a gift card.
It asks you to fill out a form, and give your credit card number. And the fine print says that you agree to some monthly “discount” subscription.
So you could be scammed twice, Komando says.
Police agencies across the country are telling people to simply not click the link at all, because you don’t know if that exposes your phone’s information to hackers.
Police believe the sender may have purchased your name and cell phone number from a data breach. Luckily, it appears they don’t have your other information, unless you click through and give it to them.
But with most of us shopping online so much these days, this package-pending scam is an easy one to fall for.
“We’re getting lots of packages these days delivered, and I thought this could possibly be one of those,” Landeen said.
So resist the urge to click, so you don’t waste your money.
Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”)
Have you ever walked into a Costco or some other type of wholesale store? If so, you’ve seen firsthand how much cheaper it is to buy something discounted instead of at the retail price. Believe it or not, buying postage isn’t any different. If you look hard enough, you can find some deep USPS discounts out there! Most people don’t know it, but USPS offers two different pricing tiers for postage. This article is all about navigating the different postage pricing tiers and where you can find them. First, we want to kick things off by listing the different tiers below:
- Post Office Retail Rate
- Commercial Pricing
You might be asking yourself right about now, “Why should I care about all of this?” Well, if you’re an eCommerce business owner, you simply CAN’T afford to overpay for postage, especially when you’re competing against larger businesses that are almost certainly getting a better deal than you. In fact, buying discounted postage could mean saving thousands of extra dollars! If that’s something that interests you, then you should follow the late, great Michael Jackson’s advice and “keep on” reading!
Post Office Retail Rate
If you’ve ever shipped something in your life, chances are you’ve walked into a USPS Post Office and bought postage at the counter. If that’s the case, that means you paid the Post Office Retail Rate. In reality, that’s the way most everyday consumers pay for postage. While this is convenient, the retail rates the Post Office offers are expensive, since you’re essentially paying for the overhead of a physical location (rent, mail clerks, utilities, etc.). Needless to say, paying full retail price adds up fast if you’re shipping lots of packages.
Oh, and one more thing. The retail rates are exactly the same at USPS.com as they are if you buy postage at the post office. Therefore, you might save time if you buy postage online through USPS.com, but you ultimately won’t save any money.
Commercial Pricing (Top USPS Discounts)
And behind door number two is…Commercial Pricing! Commercial Pricing reflects the deepest level of USPS discounts available. Think of this rate like “wholesale” prices for USPS. If you’re an eCommerce business owner shipping lots of packages, you’ll ALWAYS want to buy postage at the Commercial rate. To speak frankly, it’s the only way your small business has a shot at competing. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run, and you can thank us later!
Here’s the thing, though: you can’t just waltz into the Post Office and ask for postage at Commercial Pricing. Typically, the only way to access this deep level of USPS discounts is to enter into a contract directly with USPS. Those contracts have requirements like shipping a minimum of 50,000 packages a year. That’s a tough mark for a lot of small businesses to hit. Lucky for you, there’s free USPS shipping software out there that lets you access Commercial Pricing rates without any contracts, markups, or hidden fees, so you can get the best USPS shipping rates immediately!
Wait—What Happened to Commercial Plus Pricing?
Good question! USPS changed the name of Commercial Plus Pricing to simply “Commercial Pricing” at the start of 2019. Technically, they’re the exact same thing! They both represent the same level of discounts. We suspect that you’ll still see the term “Commercial Plus Pricing” around a lot online. So, whenever you do, don’t be confused! Just remember that it still signifies the highest level of USPS discounts.
Introducing Priority Mail Cubic
Congrats! You successfully navigated through the different USPS postage pricing tiers. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now that you have a basic understanding of those different pricing tiers, we want to share a secret with you called Priority Mail Cubic. Fasten your seatbelt, because once you learn about this, you’ll be speeding straight for a town called Cash City, USA.
Priority Mail Cubic—or “Cubic” for short— is a “secret” mail class of USPS that you won’t find at the Post Office, but it’s the cheapest and fastest way to ship small packages. Priority Mail Cubic isn’t priced based on weight—instead, the outer dimensions of your package determine the price of postage. Like all Priority Mail services, delivery occurs between 1-3 business days, it comes with free package tracking, and even includes $100 in insurance at no extra cost.
Why Does Priority Mail Cubic Matter?
We’ll break it down for you as simple as possible. If you’re an eCommerce business owner shipping with USPS, you should ALWAYS ship Priority Mail Cubic. Cubic is BY FAR the cheapest way to ship small packages under 20 pounds (like a subscription box). However, this mail class isn’t something USPS offers to the public. You can only access it through certain online shipping software options…and there are a ton of different ones out there. To find out which one best fits your needs, our Reviews page is a great place to start!
Looking for the right shipping software for you?
To get the deepest discounts on all USPS shipping services, check out our guide:
When set up right, your nonprofit accounting system will help you manage your nonprofit and streamline processes like budgeting, projecting cash flow, and even hiring.
The problem is that if you’re like most, you haven’t paid a lot of attention to your accounting system.
Most people who start or lead nonprofits aren’t numbers people.
In fact, they’d rather do most anything else than manage numbers. Maybe that’s you!
But you must learn to manage numbers if you want to grow your nonprofit, fulfill your mission, and make a big difference in the world.
The best time to implement and start using a good nonprofit accounting system is from the beginning.
It should be part of your organization’s internal culture.
If you don’t yet have good accounting systems in place, NOW is the time to correct that.
We’ve worked with nonprofits that ignored their Quickbooks and just did the minimum to get by.
Not only is it a mess to get accurate financial reports, you can’t get the data you need for grants which can wipe out your chances of getting grant funding.
So, it’s best to take the time to get your financial house in order.
Starting or fixing your accounting system BEFORE you have a problem is just smart planning.
Because believe me, without a good nonprofit accounting system in place, you WILL run into problems later. I promise you will.
What a Nonprofit Accounting System IS
What do I mean by “nonprofit accounting system?”
I mean two things: One is the actual software you use like Quickbooks or Aplos that is meant for nonprofit use, and two, the actual processes you use to manage your accounting.
It’s best to get both in place as soon as possible.
Even if you have a tiny nonprofit and everything is recorded neatly on spreadsheets, you need more.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you will need more.
And going back to retroactively enter data is a huge time-consuming headache.
We’ve tried to help small nonprofits with messed-up accounting systems raise money, and it’s extremely difficult. We always have to hit the “pause” button while we clean up the accounting mess.
It’s best to set things up right and follow nonprofit Accounting best practices to keep your system working well.
So, let’s talk about what it takes to put a good nonprofit accounting system in place, starting with some common misconceptions and fears related to accounting.
Myths About The Nonprofit Accounting System
MYTH: I already have a Donor Management System, so I don’t need an accounting system.
FACT: Donor Management is NOT the same as Accounting. While Donor Management is crucial, it’s crucial for different reasons. The sole purpose of a Donor Management system is to track donors, track your communication with donors, and track donation information. Accounting on the other hand, tracks how those donation dollars are allocated and spent. Your Donor Management system helps you identify potential major donors and spot trends in giving. Your Accounting system helps you manage cash flow and prepare your 990.
MYTH: I don’t need an accounting program to tell me how much money I have. I can look at our bank account anytime and know exactly where we stand.
FACT: A properly managed nonprofit accounting system tells you much more than where you are today or this month. It will give you a historical view of your income and expenses and tell you exactly where your money is going each month. You can run reports and see quickly the key pieces you need to monitor to assess the nonprofit’s financial health. Financial management is about much more than just dollars in the bank. It’s about spending patterns, revenue projections, and the likelihood of reaching financial goals. These are all things you should be carefully monitoring as your nonprofit grows.
MYTH: Nobody has time to enter data into an Accounting program.
FACT: Most Donor Management Systems automatically integrate with the most-used accounting programs, including Quickbooks. This means that when someone donates online, that information automatically transfers from your Donor Management software to your accounting software. There’s no need for duplication of effort with the automation that’s available through most programs. Plus, once you set it up and map the fields (i.e. how they “talk” to each other), the information will always be coded and categorized correctly and not subject to human error. For information that does need to be entered, Quickbooks remembers how you coded items last month and will offer those as suggestions for any new entries, making data entry pretty fast, especially if you spend money with the same vendors each month.
MYTH: We don’t have much money right now, and we just have a few donors. There’s nothing to really manage and definitely not enough to justify spending money on Accounting software.
FACT: This is EXACTLY the time when you need Accounting software. Here’s a visual example for you.
Imagine you have a pile of marbles, and they need to be sorted out by color.
Is it easier to sort them now?
Or is it easier to wait until you have more marbles?
It’s easier with fewer marbles right?
Let’s take it a step further.
Let’s say you run an animal shelter. And everyone who has donated a red marble says they want that marble to be used for spay/neuter surgeries.
Without an Accounting system, how will you know how many red marbles there are?
You can’t use those red marbles to buy food or supplies because they have been earmarked for spay/neuter.
To make matters more complicated, some people donated green marbles to pay for dog and cat food.
How in the world are you ever going to keep track of all this?
With a properly functioning Accounting system, that’s how.
Different categories can be set up in the software to track exactly how much you’ve designated for specific purposes and to fulfill your obligation to the donors who wanted their dollars to go to a specific cause.