Seven Year-End Adjustments to Make to Your Books

November 29, 2012 · Posted in Accounting, Bookkeeping Tips, Business Tips, Cost-Saving Tips · Comment 

Year-end is coming up for many businesses, and it’d be nice to know what your final revenue and profit numbers will be for the year.  Before we can calculate these key numbers, there are year-end adjustments that may need to be made to your books that will change the numbers. Here are seven common ones.

Bonuses

It’s great to give bonuses to employees at year-end, but it’s not so great to forget about the tax part of it. Bonus checks should always be run through payroll, but often are not, which requires an adjustment after the fact.

Retirement Plan Contributions

If cash is available at year-end, it’s a great idea to maximize the allowable deductions for the retirement plan you qualify for.  One example is a SEP IRA.  You can deduct up to 25% of your or your employee’s salary (up to $50,000 deduction maximum per employee for 2012, but please check with us or your tax professional for numerous exceptions and rules.

Withholding

If you are both the owner and an employee of your company and have not made enough tax payments throughout the year to account for all that money you’ve earned in 2012, you can adjust your last few paychecks to withhold the amount you need.  Sometimes, this also reduces or eliminates the penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes.   To find out more, please check with your tax professional.

Depreciation

If you have assets that will last longer than one year, such as factory equipment or a fleet of automobiles, an adjustment may need to be made to reduce the value of those assets.   This adjustment will reduce your profit and will also reduce your tax bill.

Amortization

If you have a loan of any type, the payment consists of both principal and interest.  Each time you make a payment, the principal and interest amounts can vary.  At the beginning of the loan, you pay more interest and less principal.  At the end of a loan, it’s reversed.  Each payment is different, and if they haven’t been recorded correctly each month, it’s time to make the adjustment so that the loan balance is correct.

New Acquisitions or Obligations

If you’ve made a significant acquisition, such as real estate, buildings, large equipment, or another company, and somehow the transaction did not get properly recorded on your books, then now is the time.   Similarly, if you’ve taken on new debt, the new liability needs to be put on the books.

Noncash Transactions

It’s easy to overlook transactions that do not require a cash outlay, but these need to be recorded as well.   For example, if you performed consulting services in exchange for a spa gift certificate, this transaction should be reflected in the proper revenue and expense accounts.

Year-End Profit

Once your books are adjusted for all of these changes, you’ll have all the information you need to find out how your business performed for 2012.  You can then use your 2012 revenue and profit numbers to set new goals for 2013.

Five Things You Can Do to Make Tax Season Smoother

November 15, 2012 · Posted in Business Tips, Management Tips, Time Management Tips · Comment 

We know we’ll never make tax season your favorite time of year, but perhaps we can make it easier.  Here are five things you can do now to smooth out the time required to pull your records together for your tax preparer.

1. Contractor Clean-up 

In preparation for 1099s, take a look at your vendor list now and identify who should receive a 1099.  Perform a mini-audit and ask for any W-9s that are missing so you can plug in your tax IDs without scrambling at the last minute.

2. Check or PSE

Also in preparation for 1099s, you’ll need to break out payments made to vendors by check versus by credit card, third party or what the IRS calls PSE, payment settlement entity.  You’ll only need to issue 1099s to vendors you wrote checks to.

3. Calculated Moves

Is there anything you can calculate in advance of crunch-time?  If you had loans, you can secure the appropriate amortization schedules.  If you have depreciable assets, some of these schedules can be prepared ahead of time.  Did you sell any major assets?  A summary of the transaction can be prepared and ready to go.

4. Playing Catch-Up

If you are behind in your bookkeeping, filing, bank reconciliations, or other accounting chores, it’s a good time to get caught up so all the routine stuff is out of the way.

5. Getting Organized

When the year ends and the tax documents start arriving, place them in a special folder or stack so that all the papers are together.  Scan them in and place them in a specially labeled folder on your PC.  You’ll be more organized than ever.

When all of the mundane items are completed early, it leaves time for the more important conversations, such as discussing new ideas for tax reduction, ways to operate your business more efficiently, and planning for your future.

If we can help make your tax and accounting tasks easier during any time of the year, please reach out and give us a call.

Xero Free Offer

November 6, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized, Xero · Comment 

Xero, the online accounting system that is perfect for small businesses, is now available for FREE for 12 months. Here’s how you can take advantage of this offer:

New clients

Anyone who becomes a Wow accountancy client before 21 December 2012 will get Xero FREE for the first 12 months. To take advantage of this offer please call 949 502-4680 and quote ‘Xerocode12’.

Existing Wow clients

If you refer us to a friend who becomes an accounting client before 21 December 2012, then you BOTH get Xero FREE for the next 12 months. We’d love to work with more people like you, so thought we’d give you a little incentive to spread the word about Wow.

 

Call  949 502-4680or reply to this e-mail to get your Xero FREE for 12 months

Are You Defining Items In QuickBooks Correctly?

November 1, 2012 · Posted in QuickBooks Help, QuickBooks Software, QuickBooks Training · Comment 

Create item records in QuickBooks carefully, and QuickBooks will return the favor by running useful, accurate reports.  

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Figure 1: Clearly-defined items result in precise reports. 

Obviously, you’re using QuickBooks because you buy and/or sell products and/or services. You want to know at least weekly — if not daily — what’s selling and what’s not, so you can make informed plans about your company’s future.

You get that information from the reports that you so painstakingly customize and create. But their accuracy depends in large part on how carefully you define each item.  This can be a laborious process, but it’s a critical part of QuickBooks’ foundation.
 
QuickBooks Item Lineup
 
You may not be aware of all your options here. So let’s take a look at what you see when you go to Lists | Item List | Item | New:
 
Service. Simple enough. Do you or your employees do something for clients?  Training? Construction labor? Web design? This is usually tracked by the hour.

Inventory Part. If you want to maintain detailed records about inventory that contain up-to-date information about value, quantities on hand and cost of goods sold, you must define these items as inventory parts. Before you start creating individual records, make sure that QuickBooks is set up for this purpose. Go to Edit | Preferences | Items & Inventory | Company Preferences and select the desired options there, like this:
 

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Figure 2: QuickBooks needs to know that you’re planning to track at least some items as inventory parts.   


Inventory Assembly. Just what it sounds like; it’s sometimes referred to as a Bill of Materials. Do you sell items that actually consist of multiple individual products, services and/or other charges (though you may also sell the parts separately)? If you’re planning to track the compilations as individual units, then you must define them as assemblies.  

 
Non-Inventory Parts. If you don’t track inventory, you can set up items as non-inventory parts. Even if you do track inventory, there may be times when you’ll want to use this designation. For instance, you might sell something to a customer that they asked you to obtain, but you don’t plan to stock it. In that case, QuickBooks only records the incoming and outgoing funds.  

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Figure 3: The New Item window looks a bit intimidating, but it’s critical that you complete it thoroughly and correctly. We can help you get started.
 

Other Charges. This is a catch-all category for items like delivery charges or setup fees. You can’t designate a unit or measure here; they’re just standard costs.    

Groups
. Unlike assemblies, these are not recorded as individual inventory units. Use this designation when you sell a combination of items together frequently but you don’t want them tracked as one entity.   


Discount
. This is a fixed amount or a percentage that you subtract from a subtotal or total. 


Payment
. Normally, you would use the Receive Payments window to record a payment made. But if your customer has made a partial or advance payment upfront, use this item to subtract it from the total when you create the invoice or statement. 

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Figure 4: Use the Payment item to record an upfront remittance. 


Sales Tax Item. One sales tax, one rate, one agency. 


Sales Tax Group. If a sale requires two or more sales tax items, QuickBooks calculates the total and displays it for the customer, but the items are tracked individually. 


Additional Actions  

The item menu provides other options for working with items. You can:

  • Edit or delete
  • Duplicate
  • Make inactive
  • Find in transactions and
  • Customize the list’s columns.

Let us know if you’re not confident about items you’ve already created or if you’re just getting started with this important QuickBooks feature. Some extra work and attention upfront can save you hours of back-tracking and frustration — and from reports that don’t tell the truth.

Is Your Business Missing an Accounting Skillset?

November 1, 2012 · Posted in Business Development, Business Tips · Comment 

In a small business, the owner ends up wearing many hats to get the product or service delivered, the customers served, and the accounts settled.  Within each functional area of a small business, there are even more hats.  Although the accounting function might be considered one big hat, there are actually a number of skills that make up “the accounting department” in a small business. Here’s a list to help you understand how it all works together.  As you read through it ask yourself how you are covering these functions in your workplace.

Data Entry Clerk

A data entry clerk typically knows how to do a few types of transactions that are routine.  Perhaps this is posting timesheets from source documents, inventory transactions, or keying in transactions from one report or system to another.  The data entry clerk usually has little or no knowledge of accounting or bookkeeping, and this person will need help when there are exceptions to the routine.

Bookkeeper

The main function of a bookkeeper is to post the transactions and reconcile the accounts of the business.  This can include a number of functions and areas:

  1. Invoicing and receipts in the accounts receivable area
  2. Checks and bills in the accounts payable area.
  3. Payroll.
  4. Inventory.
  5. Cash – bank reconciliations and necessary corrections and adjustments.
  6. Account analysis.
  7. Report preparation, but only to the extent that it rolls up the transactions.

Good bookkeepers will know how to work seamlessly with the CPA who is doing the taxes for the small business so that the books are in compliance with regulatory requirements.

Controller

A controller brings in advanced skills beyond bookkeeping, including financial statement preparation and analysis, budgeting and planning, cost control, risk assessment, internal control, segregation of duties, and industry knowledge.  A controller can bring valuable financial skills to a small business, and often do so by way of an outsourced part-time controller arrangement.

CFO (Chief Financial Officer)

The CFO is the highest level of accounting executive and is needed for complex strategies such as IPOs and financing for the larger company.  A small firm might need CFO-level skills in high growth situations to manage cash flow, debt ratios, and financing options.

Technical Accountant or CPA

Typically, an accountant will have a 4-year degree or a CPA or both.  In many states, the word “accountant” is reserved for CPAs.  Accountants have both education and experience in a wide variety of specialties, including taxes, auditing, cost accounting, bank financing, financial statement preparation, and more.

Tax Preparer, CPA, or EA (Enrolled Agent)

Typically a tax preparer offers tax planning, preparation, and filing in any or all of these areas:

  1. Federal and state corporate, partnership, nonprofit, or individual tax preparation, filing, and planning.
  2. Sales tax compliance and filing.
  3. Franchise tax.
  4. Payroll tax (although a good bookkeeper, controller, or accountant will know how to do this, too) and year-end requirements (W-2s and 1099s).

Management Advisory Consultant

One of the most overlooked roles an accountant can play in small business is in making process improvements in the way the staff and owner work in their business.  Often a management advisory consultant can review how a process is being performed, such as invoicing, and make suggestions on how to speed the process, bill more frequently, or other opportunity that significantly improves the cash condition.  The specialized skills of accounting, process knowledge, and software skills enable a management advisory consultant to save money for the business owner in many cases.

Accounting Software Consultant

An accounting software consultant has deep knowledge of one or more accounting software packages and can analyze the needs of the company to match them with the right accounting software.

Accounting Software Trainer

Just like any software package, and perhaps especially with accounting software, it’s not a good idea to guess how to use the software.  A software trainer will have in-depth knowledge of the tips and tricks inside the package that will save your bookkeeper (or you) time and money.

Adding Up the Value

The more of these roles you have covered in your business, the more your business will benefit.  If you have gaps, it’s likely you’re feeling the missing skillset and having issues around that area.

If we can help you fill any of these gaps, please let us know.  We’re at your service.

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