Pittsburgh Accounting – How To Find The Best Accounting Firm In Pittsburgh For Your Small Business

If you are looking for the best accounting firm in Pittsburgh for your small business, here are five definitive facts about the city and five sure-fire ways to find the accounting firm there that best meets your small business needs.

Pittsburgh — The Most Livable City In The U.S. Pittsburgh is Pennsylvania’s second largest city, population 311,647. The seven county area surrounding the city boasts a population of 2,354,957. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, is by far the biggest and most prosperous. In these seven counties, there are over 1,000 accounting firms, 40% of which are in Pittsburgh. Over half of them cater to small businesses.

In 2005 and again in 2009, The Economist ranked Pittsburgh the top most livable city in the United States. In 2007, Pittsburgh claimed the number one spot in Places Rated Almanac. In 2010, both Forbes Magazine and Yahoo! had Pittsburgh at the top of their lists. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Pittsburgh as one of the best for entrepreneurs.

Pittsburgh –The City Of Bridges. Pittsburgh is the world record holder for bridges with 446 of them contained entirely within the city limits. These bridges cross the Allegheny River from the northeast and the Monongahela River from the southeast to form the Ohio River and the Downtown area of the city known as the Golden Triangle. They link the city to the four areas surrounding it, namely the North Side/North Hills, the South Side/South Hills, the East End and the West End. Four interstates (I-376, I-79, I-279 and I-579), known to Pittsburghers as the Parkway East, the Parkway West, the Parkway North and Crosstown and two major expressways (Route 28 and Route 22) connect 237 boroughs and 202 townships with each other and with Downtown Pittsburgh.

Most of the larger accounting firms serving Pittsburgh’s major corporations are in Downtown Pittsburgh. However, virtually all of the accounting firms serving the city’s ever-growing small business population are located in the areas north, south, east and west of the city. These firms serve small businesses in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and also offer their services to the other six counties that make up the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The small business accounting firms in these areas have deep-seated ties to the community, the people and the businesses residing there.

Pittsburgh — A City Transformed. Thirty years ago, Pittsburgh was a dirty, smoky steel town, known as the Steel City, because of its predominance as a mighty steel-making hub. When that industry collapsed and Pittsburgh lost its manufacturing base, its blue-collar workers and corporate giants like Westinghouse, Gulf Oil, Koppers and Rockwell International, the city faced its first economic crisis in more than a century. To its credit, though, the city transformed like none other in the country and emerged twenty years later as a thriving white-collar metropolis.

Today, Pittsburgh is still a steel city. US Steel, the 10th largest steel company in the world, is headquartered there. Allegheny Technologies, a world-class steel maker, has eight manufacturing plants in the region. The city still employs 7,000 steel workers and another 12,000 in the primary metals sector. Though the area lost 100,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 30 years, that sector is still one of the biggest contributors to the region’s economy. What changed is how diversified that sector is now. Cutting-edge companies in life sciences, robotics, information technology and research have joined ranks with eight Fortune 500 companies. Health care, education, research, financial services and entertainment/tourism are the newly emerging industries that are driving revenue and employment for the region.

One of the fastest-growing fields supporting the city’s transformation to a white-collar economy is accounting. This is especially true as the city continues to move away from industry to service and technology. Many of the newly emerging companies across all sectors of the local economy are small businesses. Though there are already over 400 accounting firms in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County alone servicing those businesses, that number increases dramatically as you move into the other seven counties surrounding the city.

Pittsburgh — A City Of Growth. The local economy mirrors the nation’s economy as it continues to battle the recession. However, the region has fared better than most places in the country and is poised for substantive growth in 2011. Economists from the city’s largest financial institutions predict that the Greater Pittsburgh Area will add 13,000 new jobs this year. Unemployment is expected to drop below eight percent as larger corporations begin to hire and newly established businesses begin to grow. Additional hiring will also be evident as new companies locate there.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the city’s largest employer, is currently in a hiring mode. Retail giants like Dick’s Sporting Goods and General Nutrition Center (GNC) are growing. Google now operates a 40,000 square foot office in Pittsburgh and recently announced plans for expansion. Marcellus Shale natural gas will be a major contributor to the local economy. The Cultural Arts, including film production, continues to blossom and dozens of new information technology firms are emerging to support the growing research activity at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

Most of the new companies being created in the area are small businesses supporting these major industries. As the area grows, these businesses will grow as well and their need for more specialized accounting services will become increasingly evident. Presently, accountant firms in the Pittsburgh area offer 18 different types of accounting to small businesses, income tax accounting and project accounting to name a few.

Pittsburgh — The City Of Champions. Pittsburgh is home to three major league franchises — the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two of those teams have graced the city with championships, the Steelers winning six Super Bowl titles and the Penguins winning three Stanley Cups. Thanks to the ingenious idea of a beloved Pittsburgh sportscaster and his Terrible Towel, the Steelers have given Pittsburgh fans reason to proclaim their hometown pride by simply waving their Terrible Towel. This marketing icon singlehandedly created Steeler Nation, a brotherhood of loyal fans across the country that has quietly and selflessly raised millions of dollars for a local charity in Pittsburgh.

This hometown pride, this brotherhood, this spirit of generosity is championed in almost every neighborhood and community in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Pittsburghers are proud, industrious, friendly and generous people. Many of them have lived in their hometown for years and have established hundreds of small businesses to support their families, their communities and the city they call home. Accounting firms throughout the area have their roots in these same neighborhoods and have managed to successfully guide and support these businesses and the local communities and organizations they serve. Because of their efforts, these small businesses continue to prosper.

With a good working knowledge of the city, its economy and its people, you can easily find the accounting firm in Pittsburgh that best meets your small business needs. Here are five sure-fire ways to help you do that.

Pay close attention to your location and the location of the accounting firm with whom you choose to work. Pittsburgh is a large metropolitan city with over 400 neighborhoods and communities as diverse as the people living there. These neighborhoods and communities are what make Pittsburgh unique and it is important that you find an accounting firm who knows these places and the businesses that reside there. Pittsburgh is also a city, like many other big cities in the country, plagued with traffic jams, construction delays and bad weather. These conditions cause havoc on the roads in and out of the city at any time in the course of a regular business day. Don’t waste time driving all the way across town to meet with your accountant. Besides, if your accounting firm is close to you, they should be willing to come to your place of business.

Focus your attention on only those firms in Pittsburgh specializing in small business accounting. Small business accounting firms keep track of salaries and wages, deductions for federal, state and local taxes and Social Security, utility costs, maintenance, depreciation, amortization, interest and rent. They also prepare your tax returns and administer payroll, health insurance and 401K retirement programs. These are the responsibilities you will want your accounting firm to handle for you. If they can also provide sales, marketing and financial services to meet the ever-growing needs of your small business, so much the better.

Think about the things you know you want to receive from your accounting firm on a regular basis. Do you want them to reconcile your business checking account each month so that you know how your business is doing and you can manage your cash more effectively? Do you want an income statement itemizing your revenue and expenses every month or every quarter so that you can determine how effectively your business is performing? Do you want to receive a balance sheet giving you a snapshot of the financial condition of your business at any specific point in time so that you have the proper financial reporting to give to banks, investors and vendors who are considering how much credit to give you? Any accounting firm in Pittsburgh that professes to be a small business accounting firm should be able to provide you with all of these things as a matter of course, including as many consultations as you might need to run your business effectively and efficiently.

Get answers to all of your questions before you commit to any one accounting firm. Here are questions you might consider asking:

• Where exactly is your accounting firm located in Pittsburgh?
• What accounting services do you provide for small business owners? Can you take care of me and my accounting needs?
• What ties do you have to the community? Have you ever been recognized by your Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Administration for outstanding service to a small business owner?
• What kind of monthly/quarterly/yearly reports can I expect to receive from you? How will these reports help me to better manage my business? Will I be able to understand them without your help?
• How and in what format will you want to receive information from me? How often will you want that information?
• When I have a question or concern, how best can I communicate with you? How quickly will you respond?
• How can you help me to grow my business?

Begin your search with Google, not the Yellow Pages. Start by searching for “Pittsburgh Accountants” or “Pittsburgh Accounting Firms.” Narrow your search, if necessary, by location and type of accounting services provided; for example, search for “Accounting Firms In Kennedy Township” or “Small Business Accounting In Pittsburgh.”

Realize early on that accounting is the foundation upon which your success, in large part, will be determined. And remember, for the small business owner, it is all about saving time and saving money. Using these five sure-fire ways to find the best accounting firm in Pittsburgh for your small business will save you both and your company’s success depends on it.

American Express Small Business Credit Cards – Time To Get Ahead

Amex boasts an inventory of American Express Credit Cards suited for both businesses and consumers alike. American Express financial services has some of the finest rewards and cash rebates cards in the credit card industry. They also include low rates, 0 percent introductory offers and cashback, which are applied directly into your account.

Blue from American Express offers 0% intro rates on everything you buy for 15 months with a low balance transfer APR of 4.99% fixed APR until the debt is retired. Rewards from American Express is an added component to these credit cards. The regular rate of 12.24% APR is charged following the expiration of the grace period. You will also enjoy superb shopping deals and other venues.

American Express Blue Cash gives card holders 0 percent intro annual percentage rate for 6 months on your new purchases and a fixed rate of 4.99% APR on balance transfer until the balance is paid in full with application. The predetermined interest rate of 12.24 percent APR is established upon the termination of the intro period. You can get 5% cashback with no restrictions on the amount of rewards you can accumulate. This offer has no annual fee. It stacks up rather well with American Express Platinum as an outstanding credit card.

The Amex Clear Card offers 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 months with a low rate of 5.99% APR on transferred balances from other credit card issuers that are good for as long as you are cardholder in good standing. The standard interest rate of 13.24% APR begins when the introductory period expires. You will receive automatic rewards for whenever you spend $2500 you will receive in the mail an American Express gift card. There are no fees associated with this card, this includes annual fee, late fees, over the limit fees, balance transfer fee or cash advance fees. The payment terms are flexible: the option is yours to pay in full or carry a balance. World Class Cardmember bonuses also apply to this card including Purchase Protection, Buyers Assurance Plan and Return Protection.

American Express BlueSky has a 0 percent intro rate for 6 months on purchases and a low interest rate of 4.99% annual percentage rate on balance transfers. The standard interest rate of 12.24% APR is charged following the expiration of the introductory period. You will earn one rewards point for every dollar you spend. You can take advantage of your points to save on travel including airfare, hotel and rental cars with no blackout dates or travel restrictions. The World Class reward program are a feature of this credit card, including Travel Accident Insurance, Buyers Assurance Plan, and Return Protection. No annual fees are charged on the American Express Business Cards.

The Top 7 Questions Small Businesses Ask About Social Media

Presence on social media is gaining importance as more and more small businesses are realizing the benefits they can gain from it. They are increasingly using platforms such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, to mark their presence in social media.

Those who are not yet used to the effect internet has had on marketing, are daunted by the technology of social media marketing. They find comfort in doing business the traditional way, in the safety of a building.

Novelty seems intimidating in the beginning, until you explore it. Similarly, small businesses have concerns for which they require reassuring answers. More and more people are accepting social media and small businesses are realizing that its presence is not temporary.

The following are the most frequently asked questions of small businesses. Maybe one of the questions below will address any of your concerns:

1. What is Social Media Marketing?

Communicating with stakeholders through social networking platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, is called Social Media Marketing.

You use the pages made on social networking sites to share information about your business, customer feedback, guidelines for using your products/services etc. By doing this, you not only allow the customers to get to know you better but provide a platform to them to share their opinions also. All this helps in building relationships with customers.

2. Why does my business need to get involved?

Business and marketing has become fast paced due to the increased access to information. Customers get real-time information through their smart phones and tablets. In today’s era, customers want convenience; therefore, they expect your business to be present online.

By having a presence your business will:

  • Be readily available online
  • Be able to introduce/promote products and services
  • Be able to strengthen bond with present customers
  • Be able to capture potential customers
  • Be able to enhance customer traffic through social interaction.

As your presence increases through your online interaction such as likes, posts, comments, tweets, it will have the added advantage of increasing your search engine rankings.

3. HELP! I don’t know where to start

Social media marketing works the same way as traditional marketing. Begin with a plan and chart out your goals and objectives for the campaign.

Losing focus is easy when you are marketing using social media. A well laid-out plan will assist you in concentrating.

4. How much time should I spend on each platform each day?

When you concentrate on the target, you need not spend excess time on social media marketing. It does not demand much time. As long as you remain focused, 10 to 20 minutes, twice a day would suffice in running a profitable marketing campaign.

5. When should I post?

Your timing should depend upon the schedule of your target audience. Research into the lifestyle of your target audience follows and post accordingly. For instance, if you were targeting business-people or the working-class, morning would be the best time to post. They mostly check updates on their way to work. Similarly, communicate during lunch-hour as well as after office hours, when they will be travelling back home.

You can post mid-morning, afternoon and evening if your target audience is the non-working or the retired individuals. As you learn more about social media marketing and your audience, you will become better at your timing. You will have to monitor the responses your posts generate (or do not generate) and see what timing generates the most responses.

6. Which platform should I use?

Out of the numerous options, keeping the usage in mind, Facebook is the apparent choice. It already has more than 1 billion users; and the number is growing daily.

Most of the people on Facebook are regular users, checking updates throughout the day. The diversity of users makes it a good platform for small businesses to be able to use varied advertising options. Tweets are gaining popularity. People follow tweets more than they follow the news, since it is faster. So that is another good option for you.

You need to be able to communicate effectively in limited words, because tweets’ characters are limited to 140. Considering the enormity of information people sift through online, the character limitation is in line with the short attention span of people. People do not read details, they just overview.

It’s worth mentioning 3 relatively platforms gaining popularity.

  • One of the visual platforms is Pinterest. It allows the uploading and sharing of photos concerning any possible subject. Starting off by capturing the interest of female audience, the platform has now started capturing the interest of male audience as well.

  • The second one, Google+ (Google+) is also in the phase of stretching its branches in social media. Google+ with the advantage of strong financial backing of its giant owner Google is expected to contest Facebook in becoming the leading social network.

  • The third one, LinkedIn is popular as a platform for professionals. It allows for business-to-business interaction and is brilliant for connecting with colleagues and building professional network.

There are other social media platforms present, but these are the ones on top of the list.

7. How much does it cost?

It costs in terms of time. So, even if you are a small business with no or limited marketing budget, no need to worry, all you have to do is take out time. However, if your budget allows for moderate spending on marketing, then you can spend on placing advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook. This would increase reach of your business at an affordable cost.

Remember, this list is not exhaustive of all the possible frequently asked questions small businesses might have or the answers to those questions. Just like traditional marketing, successful social media marketing demands customization as per your business, degree of competition, target audience, industry, budget, time and other factors affecting your business.

Engage with customers and grow your audience… The sheer quantity of information available on the social sites requires you to be quick at disseminating relevant content to customers. Sharing of irrelevant information will fail in engaging customers.

All businessmen know the importance of image and reputation. Dissemination of information, views, feedback has become quick and easy due to the Internet. Customers can now post comments in real-time and other customers can read those comments and in real-time too.

Whether you are getting positive reviews or negatives ones, it is essential to be aware of the customer views so that you can respond appropriately and timely.

Make sure you keep the following in mind:

  • Encouraging your customers in spreading good feedback on social media about your business
  • Keep an eye on what the people are saying about your business on the different social media platforms
  • Manage your online reputation by responding timely and accurately to feedback, reviews and posts by the customers
  • Be active in responding to the positive reviews by customers so that relationship with them can be strengthened
  • Timely detect negative feedback so that they can be responded to as soon as possible
  • Appreciate customers giving feedback after using your products/services.

Hopefully, through this article we have proved our point and made you realize the value of social media marketing for your business.