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Keeping a Great Work-Life Balance While Working from Home

Whether working from home is your normal routine, or you recently started working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to be proactive in maintaining a good work-life balance. There are definitely benefits from commuting from the bedroom to an office just a few doors down the hallway. But you are likely facing common drawbacks as well. It can be hard to maintain work boundaries when there isn’t much distance between your home life and workplace.

If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, then you likely have a lot of experience working from home. Additionally, many corporate businesses have been shifting to offer more work from home positions for their employees. We live in a time where the internet keeps us connected from any location, creating more flexibility and creativity for the way the workday is structured.

The Perks of Working from Home

Working from home is a dream for many people. The idea of schedule flexibility and staying in sweatpants all day sounds dreamy, and there are notable benefits you can enjoy when working from home:

  • More Time: How much time do you usually spend getting ready for work and commuting to the office? Some people have a short 10- or 15-minute commute, while big-city workers sometimes face a commute of 1 – 2 hours each way. Eliminating the hours you spend in the car or on public transportation means that you have extra time to spend on activities you enjoy. You literally add more hours to your personal time by skipping the commute.
  • Family Support: Depending on the ages of your children, working from home might enable you to cut childcare costs. If your children are old enough to be self-sufficient during portions of the day, then you might have the option to keep them home with you while you are working. Not only will you save a significant amount of money on childcare expenses, but it’s nice to have family bonding time when you have a moment to step away from the computer.
  • Flexibility: Lunch breaks can be much more productive when you aren’t tied to a cubicle. Working from home means that lunch is easy to grab from the fridge, leaving you with the rest of a work break to use as you wish. Even half an hour can make a big difference when you need to clean up the kitchen or fold the laundry. Many people working from home also find that they have more flexibility with the start/finish time of their workdays. This flexibility is a valuable benefit that can help tremendously with work-life balance.
  • Exercise: Have you found that working from home is playing a positive role in your health? It’s easier to fit in a quick workout when you are at home. For example, when the commute is eliminated, some people use the extra time in the morning to exercise before sitting down at the computer.
  • Nutrition: Another notable benefit is how much easier it is to manage your menu when you don’t have tempting foods near your desk. Many office workers find it challenging to stay on track with their dietary goals because coworkers bring treats and extend lunch invitations. When you stop eating fast food every day and instead choose healthy meals at home, it’s easy to cut calories and choose the menus that best fit your health goals.

Setting Boundaries While Working from Home

While there are great benefits that come from working at home, it’s also important to recognize potential drawbacks that can occur. Being aware of these issues and setting clear boundaries is key to optimizing your work-life balance.

Many small business owners and employees find it challenging in the beginning to set healthy boundaries. But creating a few rules is just what you need to ensure that you stay at the top of your game. Here are a few suggestions to help:

  1. Designate a Workspace: Without a dedicated work area, then you will find your work and home life mixing together in every room of the house. Instead of turning the house upside down because you can’t remember where you set down the contractor paperwork, be deliberate in confining your work activities to a specific part of the house. Ideally, this workspace is separate from your family life, such as an office where you can close the door. If you like the flexibility to work on the couch, then use the desk as your home-base with a change of scenery when you need something different.
  2. Look for Other Working Spaces: Do you feel cooped up when you are spending the whole day at home? You might consider the benefit of locating an office nearby. For example, co-working spaces offer plenty of room for social distancing, giving you a quiet place to focus away from the house. Working from home doesn’t mean that you must stay home all the time. Instead, it opens up a variety of options for working anywhere you desire – away from the office.
  3. Respect Your Work Hours: While flexibility is a notable benefit of working from home, there is something to be said about maintaining boundaries with your work hours. Even if you don’t want to stick with the traditional 9-5 schedule, decide on the hours that are best for your family and your ideal focus time. Whatever your preference, mark it on the calendar and treat those hours as sacred – as if you weren’t home during that time. When it is time for work to end, be proactive in stepping away from the computer and turning your attention back to the family again.
  4. Walk Away from the Computer: Once surprising report from the mass work-from-home transition that occurred due to the pandemic is that many companies found that productivity increased. Since employees always had their work equipment on hand, it was easy for work to fit in along with other daily activities. Yes, it’s good to stay connected. But you should also be deliberate in creating time when you are away from the computer. Block out your lunch break to give yourself a mental rest during the day. Also, be serious about respecting your days off so that you can recharge your mental health before a new week begins.
  5. Communication with Others: Daily social interaction is one thing that many people miss when stepping away from the office. Even though you aren’t talking with your coworkers face-to-face, be deliberate in reaching out regularly. A quick email, text, or Slack message can go a long way to maintain those relationships and help the team feel connected.
  6. Get Dressed for the Day: It might seem blissful to spend the entire workday in sweat pants, but there is something to be said about getting dressed for the day. If you are looking for ways to separate your work life and home life, then your clothing can play a role. Put on your work clothes before sitting down at the computer. Don’t assume that you need to wear a tie, put on makeup, or button up a power suit. Instead, make sure you are changing into something different from what you slept in.
  7. Create daily routines: What are the common rituals you enjoyed when working in an office? Some people have their favorite coffee mug, turn on a specific playlist in the morning, or love to start the day with an empty inbox. Find the routines that work best for you so you can start the workday with the right mindset. Building in rituals can help your brain distinguish the difference between work hours and home hours.
  8. Know When to Say No: If you are working from home, then it’s likely that your family, friends, and neighbors assume that you have unlimited time on your hands. If you have people often asking for favors or help during your work hours, then it’s important that you learn to say “no.” Yes, there are times when it makes sense to take a break and lend a hand. But you treat your daytime hours the same as if you were at an office building all day. One easy way to respond is by telling someone: “No, I’m not available during business hours. But I’m available to help when my work ends at 5pm.”

Finding Your Preferred Work Routine

Ultimately, the best way to succeed when working from home is to find the perfect balance between your work responsibilities and your family life. Every person is unique, which is why there isn’t a right or wrong way to structure your work-from-home schedule. Instead, create a vision for your routine and goals, then find the best way to optimize your daily habits so you can create the ideal lifestyle.

At Easier Accounting, we’re here to offer the accounting and bookkeeping support you need. If you are a small business owner who is working from home, then tap into these important resources to stay ahead of payroll, invoicing, tax strategy, and more. Call our team to learn more about outsourced accounting services: (888) 620-0770.

Accounting Tips to Prevent Fraud in Your Small Business

While you want to believe the best in everyone you meet, at some point it is likely that your small business could be vulnerable to fraud. The truth is that scammers often target small- and medium-sized businesses more frequently than large corporations because these small companies don’t have the same security measures in place. Unfortunately, the effects could be disastrous to your company – which is why it is essential to be proactive to prevent fraud.

Fraud: Will it Bring Down Your Company?

Too often, small businesses are running on thin profit margins and tight cash flow. Whether you are trying to get the company off the ground, or you are working through growing pains to expand, every penny matters in the long-term success of your efforts.

Regardless of the size of your company, fraud could be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. Losing money due to theft or scams might bring down your company. As such, you need to have a solid system in place to not only detect potential fraud cases, but also prevent fraud whenever possible.

A shocking report from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) shared that most businesses lose around 5% of annual revenue due to fraud that is committed by managers, employees, executives, and owners. Even if you think that you have a good relationship with every member on your team, you can’t make assumptions that your company is immune from fraud. Smart business owners develop policies and stay up-to-date to ensure they are protecting their livelihood from theft.

Common Types of Business Fraud

The term “fraud” covers a range of dishonest activities that could occur within a company. Business fraud means that one or more people are committing illegal acts for financial gain. Often, these activities are hidden in daily activities or legitimate business transactions.

Here is an overview of some of the most common types of business fraud:

  • Personal Purchases: Using business funds to purchase services or products for personal use. For example, an individual might add personal spending on a corporate credit card, or approve his own expense reports to cover up the transactions.
  • Asset Theft: Employees can steal office equipment, inventory, or any other assets from the business. Often, these items are stolen, then sold for cash.
  • Fake Payments: The creation of fake invoices can be one way to move money out of the company. Another common practice is to use “ghost employees” on the payroll, fake people so someone can collect the paychecks.
  • Skimming: Collecting a little off the top can go unnoticed for a long time, especially if you don’t have a good accounting system in place. For example, a person might take a portion of the funds before the transaction is listed in the accounting records.
  • Identity Theft: Sometimes employees access the personal information of other employees or customers, then use the identity to access credit lines. If someone gets their hands on bank statements, tax ID numbers, or financial reports, then they might be able to steal enough money to commit identity theft.
  • Fake Bills: There is quite a bit of fake cash circulating around the United States, and it’s possible that these bills could come through the doors of your business. Most counterfeit bills are high-valued, such as $100 bills. Accepting fake money means that you will lose out on the cash, which cuts into your profit margins. If you want to prevent fraud, then it is important to have systems in place to check these bills at the register.
  • Return Fraud: Customers can also commit fraud against a business using various return fraud strategies. Common issues include customers who buy an item, use it, and then return it. Or, sometimes people steal products from the business, then attempt to make a profit by “returning” these items to the store.
  • Digital Fraud: Someone doesn’t need to be in your office or workplace to commit fraud. Scammers can hack into different computer and software systems to steal valuable information, such as customer details, credit card numbers, bank account info, and more.
  • Workers’ Compensation Fraud: While it is important for employees and customers to be protected on your property, some people take advantage of the system by claiming injury or illness to get money through Workers’ Compensation insurance. For example, a person might be injured outside of work, then claim it is the result of work activities. Some employees are even bold to the point where they make up an injury or illness.

Since fraud is so prevalent among businesses of all sizes, it is impossible to list all of the potential fraud situations that might occur. The above list gives you an idea of the many ways someone might take advantage of your company. Your responsibility is to be proactive to prevent fraud, helping to reduce the likelihood that these issues will happen to you.

Tips to Prevent Fraud

Where should you start if you need to implement new fraud prevention systems? Here are a few main categories that need to be addressed:

  1. Digital Security: Scammers have more access than ever to private information because they can hack in through internet connections. Don’t leave your company exposed digitally! Choose software programs that have built-in security features, such as encryption and two-step verification. Also, talk to your tech team about proactive digital security on all servers, computers, cell phones, and internet connection points.
  2. Accounting Services: Don’t make the mistake of having only one person managing your accounting and bookkeeping. Often, small businesses only need a single person to keep up with client payments, receivables, invoicing, managing cash, and other accounting-related tasks. When one person is handling the finances, it increases the likelihood of fraud to go unnoticed. You can prevent fraud by assigning multiple people to oversee the financial reports. Or, consider hiring a trusted outsourced accounting team to implement checks-and-balances, as well as regular accounting audits.
  3. Background Checks: A formal hiring process can be a valuable step in knowing the people you are bringing into your company. Even though a background check is an extra cost when hiring a new employee, it is essential to know the history of every person you entrust with financial records or cash. The more an employee interacts with finances and sensitive information, the more scrutiny you should put in regards to their background check. Personality isn’t enough to prevent fraud – the truth is that most employees committing fraud are well-liked by their managers and coworkers. These fraudsters are proactive in endearing themselves to others so they can gain trust.
  4. Internal Audits and Controls: Setting up systems can be a critical step to prevent fraud. For example, it’s appropriate to restrict access for employees who don’t need information about inventory or financial details. Design multi-person checkpoints for payroll processing, check writing, and reimbursements. Have a solid plan in place for regular accounting audits to review bank account statements and activity.
  5. Lock Up the Files: Not only do you need to password protect digital files, but it is also important to be sure that paper records are kept under lock and key if needed. Invoices, customer information, bank records, and other sensitive documents can be used for fraud. If a paper is sitting out, an employee could easily snap a picture on their cell phone to collect the information undetected.
  6. Employee Training: Not only do you need fraud prevention training when onboarding new employees, but it is also important to offer ongoing fraud training. Your employees should be taught how to identify the warning signs of fraud. If an employee suspects suspicious behavior among customers or coworkers, then they need to feel comfortable to report the situation without worrying about their job. Create a code of ethics and maintain open communication so employees can share information safely.
  7. Take it Seriously: One of the fastest ways to discredit your fraud prevention efforts is by dismissing reports of fraudulent activity. When there are suspicions about things that are happening in the office, then you need to be proactive in researching the situation to see if it is a valid claim. Regardless of the size, each case should be given its due based on your no-tolerance fraud policy.

Prevent Fraud with Good Accounting

A solid accounting system provides a good foundation to help you prevent fraud and avoid issues in the future. When you are tracking the transactions and you have systems in place to reduce the risk of skimming, you can rest assured to know that there is a low likelihood of losing money due to fraud.

How are you protecting your company? If you need assistance with general accounting services and fraud prevention, then Easier Accounting is here for your business. We offer the support you need for everything from payroll processing to tax strategy: Call to learn more about why accounting is an important service to compliment your other efforts to prevent fraud: (888) 620-0770.

Proper Accounting for the Paycheck Protection Program Loan

News related to COVID-19 is constantly changing, especially related to the stimulus payouts and Paycheck Protection Program. While our team is working hard to keep you up-to-date, keep in mind that some of the following information could potentially be out of date (depending on the time when you read this article). The information in this article reflects current circumstances on June 4, 2020.

If you’ve been following the progress of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), then you’ve seen that several iterations of this program have been rolled out in recent months. Some of the stimulus money went directly to families, while a large portion of the funds was earmarked for small businesses.

The Paycheck Protection Program is the most applicable option for businesses that were affected by the closures and shutdowns due to the pandemic. Were your cash flow and business sales affected?

Overview of the Paycheck Protection Program Rollouts

This loan program was designed to offer forgivable funds to small businesses across the nation. Initially, the first loans were offered starting in March 2020. This portion of the stimulus package provided $349 billion in the economy to support small businesses.

Even though it was a significant amount of money provided for small businesses, the economic fallout was so big that the funds were depleted in a short 12 days. When the money ran out, some business owners thought that they missed out on the available money. Those who were slow to apply for loans seemed to be on their own at that point.

Then, new funds were added to the Paycheck Protection Program in an updated proposal that was passed on April 24, 2020. This infused more cash into the fund, giving small business owners another opportunity to apply for this much-needed support to get through the lean months.

At this point, a portion of the Paycheck Protection Funds is still available, which means that you still have an option to apply if your small business is suffering due to the current economic situation. But some business owners have been hesitant to apply because of the strict regulations that determine whether the loan money will be forgiven. Business owners are concerned about the idea of piling on the debt, only to be left with the bill down the road. This large loan could be the final nail in the coffin that brings the business down.

So, additional legislation was passed in the House on Thursday, May 28, 2020, known as the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. Then, the Senate passed the program on Thursday, June 4, 2020. The next step was to pass the act to President Trump for the last signature needed to implement these updates.

The goal of this Paycheck Protection Program update was to make the money more accessible for small businesses. These proposed rule changes were designed to relax how the PPP funds could be used.

What You Need to Know About the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

The overall purpose of this updated Flexibility Act for the PPP is to make it easier for small businesses to use the money that is offered. The original terms of the loans were quite demanding, so it makes sense that many people were worried about the administrative burden that came with the loan funds.

The newest measures through the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act soften the rules so that small businesses have more options in the way the funds are used. Here’s what you need to know about some of the changes that were passed through this new plan:

  • According to the rules of the original plan, 75% of the funds must be spent on payroll. The Flexibility Act drops this amount to 60% of the loan. The intention is to give companies an incentive to keep more employees on the payroll. Additionally, a larger portion of the remaining money can be used to pay rent, utilities, and other overhead costs as needed.
  • Originally, the distributed funds needed to be used within two months. This plan updates the use of these funds to six months.
  • The deadline to rehire workers has been pushed back to June 30, 2020.
  • Businesses that receive the funds have more time to repay the loans in the future.
  • If a business receives the loan, then they also have the option to defer payroll taxes if needed.

As of this writing, billions of dollars were still available in the fund. Even though more than 4.4 million loans were given in the first two rounds of the PPP, there is still money offered for companies in need.

PPP Loan Forgiveness

If you are a business owner who has accepted loan funding through the PPP, it’s important to know that this money isn’t a free-for-all offering. In a few months from now, you will need to show the Small Business Administration (which is overseeing the distribution of these funds) and your bank or lender how the money was spent.

It’s your responsibility to show that your company complied with the regulations of the loan. You need to have documentation and accounting records to back up your spending. This information will determine the amount of the loan that will be forgiven for your business.

To put it simply, if you received the loan money and you have a good accounting system in place, then there is a possibility that up to $100,000 (or more, depending on upcoming rule changes) could be forgiven. In this case, you won’t need to pay back the money.

On the other hand, poor accounting practices could result in you being held liable to pay either a portion or the full loan back. Right now is the time that every business owner needs to be proactive in maintaining the documentation and accounting strategy to provide evidence in favor of the loan forgiveness.

Accounting Tips for Your Paycheck Protection Program Loan

Here are a few things you need to think about as you are preparing your documentation related to how the loan money was spent:

  • Payroll Tracking: A large portion of the loan money must be used on payroll, which means that you need to have an accounting record showing your payroll costs during this time. As a simple example, if the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act goes through, then you need to pay a minimum of $60,000 or your $100,000 loan on payroll. If you don’t already have a good payroll system in place, then it might be time to talk to an experienced accountant for recommendations.
  • Accounting Software: You need to be able to show how the money was used for business-related expenses. Most businesses already have good accounting software to track expenses and profits. If not, then act fast so that you can run the reports to show that you are spending the loan money on qualified business costs. One option is to set up a tracking category or tag in your accounting system to show the forgivable spending. Or, some businesses are choosing to set up a new bank account specifically for the PPP money.
  • Document Everything: Every penny that is received and spent must be clearly documented. Take this as seriously as if you are planning on an audit in the future. Not only do you need to record the dollar amount and purpose of the spending, but you should also have details about the payment date. Always keep copies of the electronic payment receipts or printed paychecks if needed. It can also be helpful to hold onto other supporting documentation, such as employee time cards, utility bills, mortgage costs, etc.
  • Professional Help: Most small business owners don’t have the knowledge or experience to implement an effective accounting system without assistance. If you want to minimize the likelihood of paying back your Paycheck Protection Program loan, then it is smart to invest in the services of a trusted accounting team. These professional services ensure that you’ve “dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s” for every detail of the loan money, which helps you avoid paying the funds back in a few months.

Ongoing Accounting Services

Not only does our team offer tax strategy and ongoing accounting services, but we are working hard to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in the industry. We know how much of a challenge it can be for small businesses to manage accounting and bookkeeping while juggling other business responsibilities.

The best thing you can do is invest in outsourced accounting services to oversee the financial management of your company. Whether you need support with your Paycheck Protection Program funds, or you are looking for assistance with tax strategy and other financial reports, we are here to help. Our team at Easier Accounting focuses specifically on the needs of small businesses, giving you access to industry experts who understand your unique needs.

You are invited to contact us at any time. Easier Accounting offers the support and services you need for your small business accounting systems. Call our team at (888) 620-0770.

Small Business Owners: What to Do During a Temporary Closure

Millions of businesses across the nation were forced to close their doors during the stay at home orders with the COVID-19 pandemic. Was your company one of the many that had to implement a temporary closure? At this point, restrictions are being lifted which means that you might be open again. But some industries are still affected and haven’t been able to open for business yet.

Temporary Closure or Permanent Business Loss?

The problem with a temporary closure is that some businesses can’t carry the overhead costs without money coming from customers. In some cases, these temporary closures could result in permanent closure for companies that were already financially unstable before the pandemic occurred. The closures were the “tipping point” that put businesses over the edge.

Another factor that could affect the long-term sustainability of your company is how much business picks up when you reopen. For example, some companies have opened back up again, but the customers aren’t shopping like they did before. Consumers are being careful with their spending, and many people are choosing to avoid public spaces because they are worried since the virus is still spreading.

At the same time, certain industries are still affected. For example, entertainment venues such as theme parks and movie theaters are still closed in certain parts of the country. In areas where these businesses are allowed to re-open, the businesses are running with a much smaller group of customers each day. Social distancing needs to be maintained at all times, which means that some companies are only running at a 15% capacity. A little money is better than nothing, but when these slow months are on the tail of a few months of temporary closures, it can be hard to sustain the overhead costs that need to be covered.

Your unique business decisions could be the factors that determine whether your business can keep going as the pandemic dies down. With a few specific strategies, you can keep your company strong and weather the storm.

Your Responsibilities During a Temporary Closure

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an unexpected temporary closure for millions of businesses. But it’s not the first time when companies have needed to close their doors due to unforeseen circumstances. Even when this pandemic is over, you need to have an emergency plan in place so that you can recover after other situations that might result in temporary closure. Common examples are slow seasons, natural disasters, or national emergencies.

During this temporary closure and any other closures that might happen in the future, here are a few responsibilities that you need to maintain as a business owner:

  • Employee Notifications and Communication: Updating your employees is key during a time of closure. You need to keep your staff in the loop and let them know what is going on in the business. If you are closing the doors temporarily, you might still have the option to offer work-from-home opportunities, depending on your industry. Share the options with employees who could potentially continue working. Otherwise, do your best to give as much notice as possible to employees so that they can look into COBRA benefits and unemployment as needed. Even though it is hard to have these conversations, it is important that you take care of your staff by sharing details about the situation. Remember that your response to the temporary closure could influence their decision regarding whether or not they decide to come back to the company again when you reopen in the future. You can schedule virtual meetings, hold phone calls, send text messages, or keep employees updated through email communication.
  • Customer Notices: At the same time, your customers need to know whether your company is open for business. If you need to shut down temporarily, then you might send a newsletter notification regarding your current circumstances and potential plans for the future. Post notifications on the storefront, website, and social media profiles. At the same time, it is just as important to share details about when your business is open again. Or, if your company falls into the “essential” category during this pandemic, then it is smart to let customers know that you are still open. Many businesses have adjusted daily hours, which is another important detail to share with your customers.
  • Talk to Vendors: Do you have suppliers or vendors that regularly offer products or services to keep your company running? If you need to temporarily stop the replenishing of inventory, then it is essential to contact your vendors as soon as possible. Ideally, you can use what is left of your inventory without the need to restock the shelves during a temporary closure.
  • Coordinate with Banks and Lenders: How will your cash flow affect your ability to keep up with bills and loan payments? It’s likely that a temporary closure will result in low cash flow, which means that you might need to explore your options for financing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many options have been offered for small businesses, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. Talk to your bank to explore the best possibilities for your business needs during this time.
  • Maintaining Accounting Records: Just because your business is closed, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about keeping up with bookkeeping and accounting. It’s important that you continue tracking transactions as they come through, especially if the funding is related to the Paycheck Protection Plan. Loans through PPP could potentially be forgiven, but you must have detailed documentation to show that the money was used according to the restrictions of the loan terms. Additionally, maintain records about other information related to the temporary closure, such as when the business closed, which employees were furloughed, which employees were paid while the business was closed, and strategies used when the doors opened again.

How to Bring Your Business Back After a Temporary Closure

Opening back up isn’t as simple as unlocking the doors and resuming regular business practices. Your company needs to determine what the “new normal” looks like to ensure the safety of customers and employees. It’s likely that you will need to implement strict cleaning and health policies to avoid the risk of having COVID-19 spread in your business place. One positive COVID-19 test among employees or customers in the business space could result in another closure – and thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in professional sanitation services.

Consider how your employees interact with customers. Also, look at the ways your staff interacts with each other. What are systems that can be implemented to maintain social distancing and limit contact between people? Some businesses are restructuring the layout of the store or business space to make it easy to keep distance between people. Others are limiting the number of people in the office.

You might also consider implementing a quick health check for employees and customers. For example, some businesses are choosing to do a temperature check at the beginning of every shift, as well as a symptoms questionnaire to identify potential risk.

Also, look at the ways your policies are influencing employees in coming to work. The best practice right now is to encourage people to stay home if they have any symptoms, or if they have been exposed to someone else with COVID-19. Employees might be tempted to come to work if they are worried about losing their paychecks and/or jobs. Have a good policy in place that makes it safe (and encouraged) to stay home when there is a possibility of infection.

The overall goal of these tips is to minimize the likelihood that you will have COVID-19 spreading through your workplace. If you are proactive, there is a way to find the balance in keeping the business running while also managing risk at the same time.

It’s a Great Time for Innovation

The businesses that are thriving through the pandemic are those who are looking at possibilities to innovate. More than ever, it is important to anticipate the needs of your customers and find ways that you can provide the products and services that they desire. Customers still have money to spend – you just need to find solutions to close the gap and maintain a safe environment where people can access the things that are needed.

Depending on your industry, there might be ways that you can adjust business practices to optimize your systems after a temporary closure. For example, restaurants and retail providers are offering curbside pickup options if customers aren’t coming into the stores. Other examples are limits on the number of people allowed in the stores, switching to online ordering solutions, or even providing teleconsultations for services that can be done over the phone or through video conferencing.

Having the right support team can also help you get through a temporary closure. If you need accounting or bookkeeping support, then our experienced staff is here to offer services for your business. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve provided outsourced accounting solutions that can be completed without face-to-face interactions. For more information about these services for your business, call Easier Accounting at (888) 620-0770.

How You Are Saving Money by Staying Home

While the Coronavirus pandemic has caused financial concerns around the world, many businesses and families are finding that the stay-home orders are saving money. How have your finances been impacted by the recent economic changes?

Millions of people are out of work. Some businesses are closed, while others are busier than ever. While everyone is adjusting to the “new normal,” it is helpful to look at the ways this pandemic might be beneficial for your business or personal finances. Saving money right now can help with immediate cash flow, and at the same time set you up for better financial success in the future.

Here are a few ways that small businesses, large businesses, and individuals are saving money because of COVID-19:

Working from Home

State mandates and social distancing guidelines resulted in many businesses sending employees to work from home. Of course, only certain industries could have employees at home, but companies of all sizes quickly made the change to accommodate work-from-home employees. For example, essential services such as grocery stores, hospital workers, and utility providers have maintained in-person employment – but changes have been made to protect employees each day.

Working from home has been a huge success for businesses of all sizes. Employees feel good knowing they are not being exposed to illness in the office. If employees don’t need to meet with customers or coworkers in person, then working from home can be an effective solution to keep the company running.

We don’t have exact numbers, but it is estimated that millions of professionals made the shift to work remotely within the past two months. This change can save employees quite a bit of money over time:

  • Commute: Cutting out the commute reduces expenses on public transportation, personal vehicles, gas, and more. Not only are employees saving money, but they are also saving the time that would have been spent commuting each morning and evening. Eliminating the commute time frees up more hours in the day to focus on work projects or family time. Some families find that if one partner is working from home, then the family can get by with one car (instead of two). Not only does this change reduce the cost of the monthly car payment, but you also save money on insurance, maintenance, taxes, and more.
  • Food: Spending time in an office each day often increases food and coffee purchases. How many times a week do you usually leave the office to grab lunch or stop at Starbucks on your way to work? $5 here and $10 there can really add up over the time, resulting in hundreds of dollars a month in spending on food and drink. On the other hand, employees often find that their eating out budget shrinks when working from home because of the convenience of grabbing food from the kitchen.
  • Clothing: The cost of professional clothing can add up, especially in fashion-focused industries. Working from home doesn’t mean that fashion is no longer a concern, especially when meetings are happening over video conferencing. But, it is common for remote workers to spend more time in yoga pants and comfy clothes. Working from home reduces the amount you need to spend on clothing purchases, plus you are saving money on dry cleaning and laundry services.
  • Childcare: Depending on the work from home schedule, some employees have been able to reduce or eliminate childcare costs. For example, if the work from home hours are more flexible compared to the in-office schedule, then a remote worker can adjust their work times around a child’s nap schedule or bedtime. Additionally, spouses or partners have found ways to tag-team child care while the other spouse is working.

According to FlexJobs, it’s estimated that remote workers can save as much as $4,000 per year. Even though remote workers are saving money on commuting, food, clothing, and more – there might be additional costs incurred. For example, some employees are now spending more on home internet services. Families who previously didn’t have internet at home had to have the connection installed to accommodate a work-at-home environment. Others had to increase the internet service plan to ensure fast enough speeds to accommodate the workload.

Office equipment is another cost incurred by working at home, such as laptops, cell phones, and more. Many employers have been stepping up to provide the right equipment, as well as reimbursements for internet fees and other job-related expenses.

Businesses Saving Money

There’s no doubt that employees have benefitted by saving money while working at home. These financial savings essentially give employees a pay raise since their spending is lower. At the same time, employees often report higher work satisfaction and improved work-life balance when they have the option to work from home.

But the financial benefits aren’t reserved only for employees. Businesses are also saving money because of the changes related to Coronavirus. Here are some of the ways your business might be benefitting financially:

  • Reduced Utilities: If employees aren’t in the office, then it means that utility costs will go down. These reduced utility expenses can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your building and the number of employees that were previously working in the office.
  • Office Space: Even though COVID-19 restrictions are starting to lift in many states, some companies are considering the option to continue a work-from-home program. Companies have found that business continued as usual, with some instances of increased productivity by having employees at home. As a result, money can be saved by continuing to have employees work remotely. This shift means that you might have the option of saving money by relocating or reducing the size of the office since employees no longer need to have desk space each day.
  • Furniture: A smaller office means that costs will go down since you no longer need to fill the space with office furniture. Some employers have provided workers with office equipment at home, but the overall costs are much lower compared to everything required for an in-office staff.
  • Paperwork: A digital work environment has pushed many companies to reduce paperwork, which is a cost-saving measure when you consider how much printing costs add up over time. Because people aren’t working face-to-face in the office, it’s more efficient to maintain digital files that can be shared through the cloud or email. Reducing or eliminating the need for printing can save a lot of money on ink, paper, and machine maintenance.
  • Travel Costs: The travel industry has been impacted in a big way due to travel restrictions and canceled trips. Not only are individuals changing their vacation plans, but many companies are re-thinking business trips as well. As companies shift to doing business virtually, the need for business travel is reduced… which can save thousands of dollars throughout the year.
  • Insurance: How much does your company spend on insurance costs each year? Changing the way you do business means that you might be able to start saving money by switching insurance coverage as well. You can’t cut this expense, but you can find ways to reduce spending. For example, car insurance can be reduced if there is a reduced need for a company vehicle. Or, building and liability insurance costs might be reduced with a smaller office and fewer employees on site.
  • Freelancing Services: The shift to remote working means that many companies have re-assessed their workforce. Instead of bringing on full-time staff, some businesses are choosing to hire freelancers as an alternative. Outsourcing some of the daily work means that you can tap into the skills that are needed without carrying the financial burden of another full-time employee. Hiring a freelancer can save money on overhead costs such as employment taxes, benefits, and more.

As a business owner, not only do you need to look at the ways you are saving money, but it is also important to consider how workflow and productivity are impacted as well. During these unprecedented times, many companies have had to be flexible in implementing new systems that keep the business running under different circumstances.

Strategic Planning to Improve Your Finances

Have you noticed that the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up options to save money through a work-from-home staff? As you evaluate the way the business has been managed in recent months, it could be a good indication to help you see ways to save money in the future. Look at the possibilities and you will see that there are new ways to save money and boost the success of your business at the same time.

If you are looking for support with ongoing business finances, then our team is here to assist with accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, tax strategy, and more. We specialize in small business services and offer personalized solutions to help your business stay strong through the current economic challenges. You are invited to reach out to our team at Easier Accounting to learn more about the available services: (888) 620-0770.

How Small Business Owners Can Save Money by Having Employees Work from Home

The way business is done has changed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses are implementing new safety protocols to minimize the risk of virus exposure for both employees and customers. How have your business practices changed in recent months? One common trend is that companies are encouraging employees to work from home when possible.

The Shift to Work from Home Positions

While there has been a big shift to work from home employment opportunities in recent years, the COVID-19 situation has pushed employers to implement these practices unexpectedly. Some companies have been on the fence about employees working outside of the office. But we live in a digital world, which means that many of the projects can be completed off-site without a disruption to productivity.

One benefit of the COVID-19 outbreak is that many business owners are seeing that work from home positions are a smart business decision. This trend is turning into the “new normal” to reduce exposure in the office and maintain social distancing between employees.

Because of the current pandemic situation, there are no signs that telecommuting will slow. It is anticipated that these work from home arrangements will continue after the virus has been contained.

Both Physical and Online Businesses are Affected

If you own a physical location, then it is obvious that these in-person interactions can increase the risk of virus exposure. Since it is an airborne illness, the virus can be transmitted by spending time in close proximity with other people who are infected.

Even if a person isn’t displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus, it is possible that they are a carrier and spreading it to other people. There are reports of asymptomatic patients, as well as carriers who are contagious before they start displaying symptoms. Businesses with physical locations, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, are implementing new practices such as mask policies, social distancing, and other practices. Some employees have been sent to work from home, such as inventory managers and other employees who can complete their jobs remotely.

While it is obvious that physical businesses would be affected by the current pandemic, don’t underestimate the impact on online businesses as well. Customers are minimizing the time spent in local stores, which means that more people are turning to online shopping options. Even though there is no face-to-face interaction between employees and customers, employees still need to be in the workplace to fulfill orders and manage shipping. Not only can employees be at risk in the workplace, but reports have warned about the possibility of contamination on the shipping packages.

As you can see, this pandemic is having a far-reaching effect in many industries. As such, companies are looking for new ways to keep the business running while practicing safety protocols at the same time.

Financial Benefits of Employees Working from Home

Have you decided to shift to a work from home situation for some or all of your employees? As you have made these changes, notice the financial benefits that are available for your company. In fact, many businesses are deciding to change their policies going forward. When the pandemic is over, employees will continue working from home instead of bringing everyone back to the office again.

This shift in workspace reduces the need for desks in the office. Employers can save quite a bit of money on reduced expenses for:

  • Office space
  • Utilities
  • Desks and chairs
  • Breakroom maintenance
  • Cleaning and janitorial
  • Office supplies
  • Coffee and water
  • Transit subsidies

One report suggested that if employees work from home only half the time, the business would save $11,000 per year. Consider the financial impact on your company if the majority of employees start working from home full-time!

Working from Home: Part Time or Full Time?

Even if you don’t move to a full-time work from home situation, financial benefits can still be gained by having employees at home on a part-time basis. Spending a few days a week away from the office makes it easier to maintain social distancing, because employee schedules can be staggered throughout the week.

On the other hand, if there is no need to have employees in the office, then shifting to a full-time work from home status could be beneficial for everyone involved. As a business owner, you can save a significant amount on office space, while providing ongoing work opportunities for your employees.

Other Financial Benefits of Working from Home

It’s easy to add up the savings that come from cutting office space and decreasing utility expenses. At the same time, there are other financial benefits that are harder to quantify. For example, many employees report higher job satisfaction when working from home, which reduces employee turnover. Happy employees stay with the company for longer, helping you avoid the need to spend money on recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

Employee turnover costs companies thousands of dollars in recruiting and onboarding. Additionally, you need to calculate the cost of lost productivity as well. These expenses can add up quickly, which cuts into your profits and makes it harder to keep your company viable in a slow economy.

If you want to help your business thrive through the current economic downturn, then you need to implement all of the ways that you can cut costs and boost sales at the same time. This current pandemic can be viewed as an opportunity to optimize your current business systems. Many companies are adjusting their business practices and finding ways to decrease inefficiencies.

Maintaining Productivity When Employees are Working from Home

You can tally up the savings of having employees work from home because of the reduced costs for office space and equipment. At the same time, it is important to ensure that productivity is maintained when the employees are out of the office. Good systems and communication can keep the employees in a proactive mindset with their work tasks, ensuring they are staying on-point throughout the workday.

Additionally, you should consider the type of work your employees are doing each day. If employees need focused time free of distractions, then some people experience an increase in productivity when they are working out of the office. While it is nice to have the social interactions in an office space, the wasted water cooler time can definitely add up. Stepping away from the office distractions can have a positive impact to boost productivity.

The key to maintaining productivity with work from home programs is to ensure that your employees have access to quality digital tools. Many companies are using high-quality video conferencing to keep team members connected from different locations. Additionally, messaging tools, email, and ongoing communication can keep everyone connected, even if they aren’t meeting in person.

Accessing the Talent Needed for Your Company

Not only can your business save money on overhead costs, but it is possible that work from home opportunities can also help your business grow. When you are no longer limited by geographic location, you can tap into a larger pool of talent for your company.

Hiring a range of skill sets can boost overall performance within the company, helping to bring innovative thinking and increased productivity to all departments. Dialing in the right team for business support can be a valuable way to move the company forward and help you reach higher levels of success in the future.

Financial Benefits for Both Employers and Employees

Overall, financial benefits are available for both employers and employees. As a business owner, you can save money on all of the things listed above. At the same time, your employees benefit because they can avoid the costs of transportation and commute. The average employee spends an hour each day commuting to and from the office. Eliminating this commute results in a smaller personal transportation budget, and frees up time to spend with family. This commuting time can also be spent on work-related projects if extra hours are needed during a busy season.

Optimizing Your Business

There are two important keys to optimize your business: reduce costs and increase revenue. The foundation of these changes needs to start in your financial management. It is important to monitor the money that is flowing in and out of your accounts so you can identify areas of opportunity. If you are looking for new solutions, then it might be time to bring on a financial expert for assistance.

At Easier Accounting, we offer tax strategy and financial support for small businesses. Whether you have a workforce in the office or a group of work from home employees, we can assist with everything from payroll management to tax strategy to annual filings. If you are interested in learning more about how your business can benefit from accounting services, then we invite you to contact us for support. We provide personalized solutions to support your business finances throughout the year.

Call us at Easier Accounting to talk to a financial expert who specializes in small business services: (888) 620-0770.

Finding Tax Relief During Coronavirus

Has your business been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic? While many companies have experienced a slowdown or complete loss of income, some businesses are busier than ever trying to keep up with the demand (grocery stores, hospital workers, and more). If you are experiencing a negative impact on your cash flow, then you might be looking for solutions to keep up with overhead costs and ongoing payments. Don’t overlook the benefits available from various tax relief programs that could be used to help your business get through this challenging time.

Why is Tax Relief Available?

Not only is the government working to stimulate economic activity, but these funds are designed to protect vulnerable businesses and individuals. These tax relief programs provide the space and liquidity needed to make it through the reduced spending that is happening due to the virus outbreak. As businesses are closed for health reasons and families are sheltering in place at home, the overall spending has dropped.

It’s a cycle that needs to be corrected: businesses close due to health concerns, causing many employees to lose their jobs. As millions of people across the country are out of work, it slows down the spending happening in all industries. There’s no question that this economic situation will have a trickle-down effect that could last for years.

These tax relief programs are designed to infuse more cash into the economy, helping to mitigate the current concerns and avoid bigger economic issues down the road. The purpose of the programs is to assist with immediate needs and also decrease the potential rebound time as we return to “business as usual” when the crisis is over.

CARES Act: Support for Employers

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as well as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act have been designed by the federal government to support the economy.

Refundable tax credits are offered for certain employers who continue employee payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, penalty relief is offered through the Internal Revenue Service if employers are unable to make timely deposits for employment taxes.

The initial program authorized $2.2 trilling in spending to stimulate the economy, with ongoing decisions to add more money to the fund as needed. The goal is to provide meaningful tax relief to help businesses weather the storm of slow sales or closed doors.

Credits for Leave Wages

Leave wage credits are also offered as a way to minimize the risk of sick employees coming to work. Since the virus can be spread through airborne particles, it is important to keep employees out of the workplace if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or they are exhibiting symptoms of the virus. These tax relief programs encourage employers to maintain good sick leave programs to minimize the chances of employees passing the virus to other employees or customers coming into the business location.

This tax relief is offered in the form of two refundable tax credits:

  • Qualified Sick Leave Wages Credit
  • Qualified Family Leave Wages Credit

Employers are provided with the funds to pay their employees for sick and family leave between the dates of April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. These credits are calculated against the portion of Social Security taxes due on wages paid during this same time. In the situation where the credit exceeds the employer’s liability for Social Security taxes, then the credit will be treated as an overpayment – which means the difference will be refunded. Employers must be found eligible to qualify for these tax relief programs.

Employee Retention Credit

One important detail of the CARES Act for employers is a refundable tax relief credit known as the Employee Retention Credit. This tax relief is offered for “eligible employers.” You must pay “qualified” wages to employees between the dates of March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

The credit can cover up to 50% of the paid wages. There is a cap of $5,000 per employee as a maximum credited. As with the Credits for Leave Wages, the Employee Retention Credit is calculated against the Social Security tax due for wages paid during this time. If the tax credit is more than what the employer owes in Social Security taxes, then the difference will be refunded as an overpayment.

Employers can access this credit through their Form 941 filing. But a faster benefit of the credit can be accessed by reducing the amount paid for federal employment tax deposits. Instead of paying the full amount due, employers can decrease their deposits based on the amount they are entitled for Employee Retention Credits.

Employers must meet specific eligibility requirements to qualify for these tax relief credits. For example, the credits are generally offered to businesses and tax-exempt organizations who meet either of these qualifications:

  • Partial or full suspension of operations in the 2020 year because of a “Shelter in Place” or “Stay at Home” order in the local area
  • A significant decrease in gross receipts is experienced in the year 2020

It is also important to note that if an employer received money through the Paycheck Protection Program, then they do not qualify for the Employee Retention Credit. Even if the above eligibility is met, employers can’t receive funds from both tax relief programs.

Tax Filing and Payment Delays

In an earlier blog post here on Easier Accounting, we shared details about the way the economic downturn impacted the tax filing deadlines and payment due dates. Many businesses and individuals have taken advantage of the opportunity to wait on the payments.

To summarize these tax relief deadlines, the due dates for 2019 filing, payments, and estimated tax payments were pushed from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. This change in payment schedule relieves some of the current financial pressure on businesses of all sizes, as well as independent contractors and families. The delayed policy covers most taxpayers – anyone who has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Other related payments have also been postponed to match the change in tax filing and payment dates. For example, many states have followed suit to push back state tax deadlines to July 15, 2020. Additional postponements include deadlines for HSA and IRA contributions. If you would like to contribute for year 2019, then this deadline has been postponed to July 15th as well.

Individual Economic Payments

Even though many of the tax relief programs are designed to support businesses so paychecks can continue, the stimulus plan also includes economic impact payments paid to individuals. This aspect of the program has been highly publicized through the news outlets, with many families counting on these payments to pay rent and buy groceries.

The payout is $1,200 for an individual or $2,400 for a married couple. Dependent children under the age of 17 qualify for $500 payments per child. Keep in mind that the payments are phased out based on the adjusted gross income (AGI) of the household). The payments are distributed as a tax credit, so you do not need to include the payment as taxable income on your tax filing for year 2020.

Millions of Americans have already received these stimulus payments, with additional checks on the way as the IRS works to distribute the funds across the country.

Personal Tax Guidance for Your Business

Even though we have shared important information about the tax relief programs that have been implemented, you need to be aware that specific eligibility requirements need to be met. Unless you are following the new tax guidelines and ongoing changes closely, and you have a trained background in accounting and finance, it is best that you talk to an experienced accountant for personal recommendations.

Yes, there are tax relief programs available to help employers and individuals. But it is essential to understand the full scope of the programs to ensure proper implementation for your tax credits. Our team is working hard to stay current with all of the changes happening in the accounting industry, giving you access to a trusted group of accounting experts. If you are wondering about your options for tax relief or tax credits, then contact us for more information.

At Easier Accounting, we offer much more than basic tax filing services. We are focused on the ongoing tax strategy you need to keep your business up-to-date with whatever might be happening in the economy. Not only do we evaluate the overall picture, including policies and available tax credits, but we also consider your unique situation to support your tax strategy. The goal is to help you stay within the guidelines as set by the IRS and other government entities, while minimizing your tax burden when possible.

If you are interested in more information about tax strategy, or other accounting services, then feel free to contact us to learn more. We offer a range of accounting services, with a focus on small businesses. Over the years, our team has established a strong reputation in the industry. We’d like to show you the potential benefits your business can receive through our available services. Contact us at Easier Accounting by calling (888) 620-0770.

Small Business Relief Programs During the Coronavirus Pandemic

With government-mandated shutdowns and “Stay at Home” orders across the country, many businesses are taking a hit in this Coronavirus pandemic. Are you worried about the future of your company? Right now is the time to learn more about small business relief programs and how they can provide much-needed support during this challenging time.

Small Business Reality During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The current global health concerns and economic downturn are taking a toll on businesses of all sizes. But small businesses are feeling the biggest burdens since they don’t have the reserves to weather such a difficult environment.

Depending on your industry, it’s likely that you’ve laid off staff, adjusted services, or even closed your doors indefinitely. Just because the business needs to be closed, doesn’t mean that you get a break from overhead costs for your rent/mortgage, insurance coverage, business loans, and more.

In fact, many business owners have their hands full right now trying to figure out how to buy enough time to make it through the economic downturn. If you are sheltered in place at home (as many people are across the US), then your time is probably dedicated to business activities to coordinate orders with suppliers and stave off the debt collectors.

Not only are you facing the challenge of navigating the immediate needs of your business, but you are also likely feeling the stress of the future. What will it take so you have the cash to open the doors again when we get ahead of this pandemic? If you are struggling to pay your bills right now, then it might feel impossible to think about what it is going to require when things go back to normal again. Many business owners have the shared mindset that the “new normal” will be different than what we knew before the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a Goldman Sachs survey, only 50% of small business owners will be able to make it through three months of the current pandemic and economic downturn. Almost all businesses are being affected, and many business owners are struggling to know what to do when the cash reserves are gone.

Are Bailouts Available for Small Businesses?

The news headlines have announced that a $2 Trillion bailout has been approved by the Federal government to help the United States through this unprecedented challenge. Checks are being sent to individuals and many bailouts are available for some of the largest industries being affected, such as the cruise companies and airlines. It leaves many of us wondering if small business relief programs will be offered for locally owned companies as well.

Rest assured to know that part of the bailout package includes $300 billion in the form of small business loans. These small business relief programs are designed to help companies with 500 employees or less.

The trick is to know where to look and what you need to do to qualify for the programs that are being offered for small businesses. Also, remember that we are only a few weeks into this pandemic, which means that many of these small business relief programs are still in the beginning stages. It will take some time to determine how the programs will be implemented.

Small Business Relief Programs: Options to Consider

Here are a few possible programs that might be beneficial to help your business during this challenging time:

Small Business Administration Loans:

Normally, the Small Business Administration (SBA) here in the United States offers a funding pool of $20 billion for small businesses. This pool has been increased to $50 billion to providing funding for business owners who need help. For example, if your business is suffering losses because of COVID-19, then low-interest disaster loans can be accessed up to $2 million per business.

This money can be used for whatever is needed to get through these hard times, such as paying bills, keeping up with debt payments, or covering payroll. To apply, the governor in your state must submit a declaration of emergency. Then, the application process can be done online or via mail. Also, don’t hesitate to contact your local SBA office to learn about potential services that might be available in your area.

State Funded Loan Programs:

While the SBA is a nationwide program, there are other local options that might be helpful for your small business. For example, some states have created small business relief programs to help with the Coronavirus pandemic. Visit your state’s website to look for information about available programs. City-based business loans have also been implemented in some of the largest cities in the US, such as New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago.

Private Grants and Loans:

Other financing opportunities can be accessed through private lenders. Contact your business banking service or look to other offers that might be available for discounted business loans during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Private relief programs and waived service fees are being offered through large companies, such as:

  • Facebook: Ad credits and cash grants are offered for up to 30,000 small businesses.
  • Amazon: Cash grants offered for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and $7 million or less in annual sales.
  • GoFundMe: A small business relief fund has been set up to provide millions of dollars in small business relief programs.
  • Google: G Suite customers have free access to the advanced services through Hangouts video conferencing.
  • Uber Eats: Delivery fees are waived for orders coming from restaurants that are independently-owned.

If you are searching for new financing, be cautious and remember that scammers are actively trying to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals and business owners during this time. Never provide sensitive financial information without first verifying the reputation of the loan provider.

Tax Deferrals:

With the annual tax deadline looming, it might be hard to come up with the cash that is needed by April 15th. The IRS pushed the tax deadline back to July 15th, giving people more time to file their taxes and pay the amount that is owed. If you have pressing bills, then it makes sense to take advantage of this extra time. Business owners who need more time also have the opportunity to apply for a tax extension, which would push your filing due date to October.

Keep in mind that the automatic July 15th deferral applies for federal taxes. Many states have followed suit and extended state-level tax deadlines as well. You’ll need to check your local state guidelines to know when your taxes need to be filed and paid this year. The simplest solution is to talk to your accountant for personal recommendations regarding your filing and payments.

Also, if you are anticipating a tax refund, then it doesn’t make sense to wait on your tax filing. Instead, finish the paperwork as soon as possible so you can get the refund and use the money for your immediate business needs.

Credit Payment Deferrals

It’s worth your time to reach out to your individual creditors, including your mortgage company or any other lenders that you need to pay each month. Many of these financial institutions are offering payment deferments. For example, you might be able to skip a mortgage payment for 60 days if the cash isn’t available.

Consider the long-term effects of not paying a loan though. The interest costs will continue to accrue. You might be able to avoid late fees, but the interest can add up over time. Additionally, you need to be sure that you are prepared with cash in hand when it is time to pay the mortgage again. It might be a challenge to get caught up on two or three mortgage payments after the deferral period is over.

We’re in This Together

Even though the economy is slowing and sales are suffering, rest assured knowing that small business relief programs are available to help you get through whatever might happen in the upcoming months. It is important to know that you don’t have to navigate this challenging road without support. Tap into the resources that are available to keep you afloat until your business doors can open again.

Our team at Easier Accounting is here to assist if you need financial help during the current economic downturn. We understand the challenges that you are facing, and offer proven accounting services for businesses in all industries. If you need assistance with cash flow management, tax strategy, or anything else related to managing your business finances, then we are just a phone call away.

Whether you need information about small business relief programs or immediate accounting services for your business, we are working hard to keep our customers up-to-date in the financial industry. We invite you to schedule a consultation with our team at Easier Accounting to learn more about the ways your business can benefit from our services. We’ll gladly schedule a consultation to help you see why every business should be leveraging outsourced accounting for financial strategy, payroll, tax preparation, and more. Contact us at (888) 620-0770.

Why Outsourced Accounting is the Best Solution for Social Distancing

The current Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do business. While there are often times when face-to-face meetings are preferred, in many situations it makes sense to handle business dealings via technology. Outsourced accounting is a great option to consider if you want to stay current with your business finances while maintaining social distancing at the same time.

Why Social Distancing is Key for COVID-19

The main concern about COVID-19 is the concern about how fast the virus moves through the population. Most people experience minor or moderate symptoms and then recover at home. Older generations and people with pre-existing health conditions are at higher risk for serious complications from the illness. Thousands of patients worldwide have died from this upper respiratory illness. Not only is it important to prevent the sickness for yourself and your family, but you also need to consider how you could potentially pass it on to other at-risk people that you know.

In-person interactions increase the likelihood that you could be infected by Coronavirus. The virus can be spread through droplets in the air, which can remain airbound for several hours after a person coughs. If you breathe those droplets in, then you could be infected.

This virus can also be passed through contact with someone who has COVID-19. For example, if an infected person touches a keyboard and then you come in contact with the same surface, it’s possible that you could pick up the infection. It’s important to wash your hands and avoid touching your face since the virus can enter through the mouth, nose, and eyes.

Even if you feel fine, it is possible that you are a carrier of the virus. As such, it is important for everyone to be proactive in social distancing and isolation if they suspect they’ve come in contact with someone who has the virus. Everyone is being encouraged to work from home whenever possible, and our team at Easier Accounting is here to assist if needed for your business.

How Outsourced Accounting Works

The benefit of outsourced accounting is that you can take care of bookkeeping and accounting tasks without leaving your home. An accounting expert is always just a phone call away to answer your questions and assist with your personalized accounting strategy.

To get started, you just need to give us a call. We will discuss your needs and design the perfect service plan based on the unique requirements of your business. These services can be managed in the cloud. You always have access to view your financial information and reports, and there is no need for our team to meet with you in person. You get the benefit of full-service accounting solutions, without the concern about the potential risks of face-to-face meetings.

We specialize in small business accounting solutions and know the best systems to ensure that nothing is overlooked in your business finances. Just because we are working remotely, it doesn’t mean that you will receive subpar services. In fact, we are proud to be one of the leading providers of outsourced accounting services. Our team has helped many business owners create financial systems that are built to last.

Why the COVID-19 Pandemic is the Perfect Time to Start

If you haven’t already taken advantage of the benefits of outsourced accounting, then right now is a great time to get started. Here are a few reasons why you should consider outsourced accounting for your small business:

  1. Time at Home: Is bookkeeping often pushed to the backburner because you don’t have enough time to get everything done in the week? With the “Shelter in Place” and “Stay at Home” orders across the country (and throughout the world), many people are finding that they have more time to work on the projects that have been pushed to the backburner. Use this extra time to create systems that will help your business thrive when we are back to business-as-usual after the pandemic is over. Yes, one option is to create an accounting system from scratch – but it’s more effective to let the pros take care of the details. Set up a consultation to get the project off the ground while you have the time available right now.
  2. Save Time in the Future: Being proactive with creating outsourced accounting systems right now will pay off in the future. If you have a good financial tracking software in place, then you don’t have to tie up hours every week. Add up the time savings, and you will find that it is a great investment to free up your efforts for other tasks that need to be handled. Outsourcing is a powerful way to increase your capacity because you can focus on the tasks and responsibilities that fit your unique skill set.
  3. Overhead Costs: Many business owners are concerned about their cash flow, especially if sales have slowed or the doors have closed during this pandemic. You need help with accounting and bookkeeping, but you are probably feeling the pinch of cash flow due to the economic impacts of this pandemic. Instead of putting a bunch of cash into a full-time employee to handle the accounting, you can save thousands of dollars by hiring an outsourced accounting team. Plus, you don’t have to pay for additional costs like office equipment, desk space, benefits, and paid time off.
  4. Preparing to Scale: Anytime changes happen in the economy, it is an opportunity to grow your business if you adapt to the new market. Even though some businesses are losing money right now, there are many companies that have adapted to provide customers with the products and services that are needed. If you position right, then you can be ready to scale your business by matching the demands. But, before you can scale successfully, it is essential to ensure that you have a solid financial system in place. Developing your accounting system right now will ensure that you are ready to scale when the time is right.
  5. Employee Management: Do you have employees who have recently shifted to work from home? It will only add to your stress if you are increasing their workload with bookkeeping and accounting tasks. Any time you keep these services in-house, you will carry the responsibility of training and management. A better solution is to hire an outsourced accounting team that already has experience in the industry. Then, you don’t have to worry about the accuracy and systems followed by your employees.
  6. Risk Mitigation: Another aspect that needs to be considered in a rocky economic environment is risk mitigation within your company. Hiring on outsourced accounting firm can be an effective way to decrease the risk of embezzling or theft within your business. These accounting systems are designed with proven systems and built-in auditing to catch potential issues in the earliest stages. With the right approach for outsourced accounting, you can decrease the likelihood of issues with theft and fraud.
  7. Tax Compliance: Tax laws are always changing on both a state and federal level. It can be hard for small business owners to stay up-to-date with the moving target, especially if you don’t have a formal training in finance or accounting. There’s no reason for you to spend your free time trying to understand how tax law applies to your company. Instead, hire an outsourced accounting team so you can be sure that your annual tax filing, quarterly payments, and other tax details are in compliance with the requirements for the IRS. You can’t put a price on the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your tax filing is accurate and in compliance.
  8. On-Time Invoicing and Payroll: Another notable benefit of outsourced accounting is that your business will always be on-time with payroll processing and invoicing. A bookkeeping system can keep you current with both Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, which helps with cash flow. Additionally, you can avoid potential penalties that come from overdue payments.
  9. Informed Business Decisions: Finally, consider how powerful your decisions will be when you are informed about the real-time financial health of your company. When big decisions need to be addressed, it is important that you have a clear picture of the money that is coming in and how much is owed. Outsourced accounting will help you stay ahead of this information because you can run reports and know that they are accurate.

Talk to the Outsourced Accounting Experts

Are you ready to enjoy these benefits for your business? As you are exploring your options for an accounting service, consider the services available from our team here at Easier Accounting. We’ve been working with small businesses for years and offer a personalized approach for every client. Our goal is to help you feel empowered with your business financial system. We create solutions that work for your unique business needs. Learn more about available services by calling us at (888) 620-0770.

What to Know About the Delayed 2020 Tax Filing Deadline

If you’ve been watching the news headlines with the Coronavirus pandemic, then you’ve probably seen that the federal government here in the United States pushed back the tax filing deadline for this year. Many states have followed suit, giving tax payers an extra few months to take care of the tax filing and submit their payments for year 2019.

It isn’t common for the tax due dates to change, which is why it is important to stay up-to-date on the current situation. Your accounting or tax filing expert can provide advice to help you manage the correct timing and filing strategy for your small business taxes.

IRS: National Emergency Declaration

The IRS has the authority to call a National Emergency Declaration, which is the decision that has been made regarding the current Coronavirus pandemic.

It is rare for tax deadlines to be changed. But the federal task force can see how the current economic situation and emergency needs have affected the population as a whole. Many areas are under “Stay Home” orders, which impacts businesses, individuals, and typical daily activities.

There are extraordinary times, and the IRS is providing a bit of relief by pushing back the standard deadlines.

Tax Returns and Tax Payments

The IRS has offered relief for taxpayers by changing the normal deadline of April 15th to 90-days later. This year, federal tax returns need to be filed by July 15, 2020. Additionally, tax payments are also due this day.

Why was the decision made to push back the tax deadline? Here are some of the factors that played into this decision:

  • Social Distancing: Citizens have been asked to practice social distancing or to stay at home, depending on your location. For some people, social distancing makes it a challenge to get the taxes prepared and filed on time. If you usually meet with your accountant in person, then you might need a little extra time to work through the necessary details so your taxes are accurate and ready for filing by the deadline.
  • Economic Support: The economy has been impacted by the Coronavirus, and the federal government is looking for ways to put money back in the hands of taxpayers. Millions of people are out of work because businesses have been closed. Pushing back the tax payment deadline means that more people can keep money in their bank account to offset the unexpected costs of living right now. This delay in tax payments will make it a little easier for families to keep up with rent and groceries.
  • Interest Delay: Usually, a late tax payment accrues interest costs and penalties. With the current deadline delay, tax payers have an extra 90 days to pay before the interest and penalties are accrued.
  • Timing of Processing Returns: Spreading out the tax filings might also be beneficial for the IRS so the processing and accepting tax refunds can be spread out a little more. It is important to note that the IRS is still working on tax refunds in the current situation, so it might not make sense for you to wait on your filing. For example, if you are anticipating a tax refund, then it is smart to file your tax return as soon as possible so you can receive your refund check.

As you can see, the people who will benefit the most from delaying tax filings and payments are those who need to send money to the IRS for the current tax return. Also, if you need more time to complete your tax filing, then you can file for an extension which will push your filing date back to October 15, 2020.

Tax Filing Deadline: Who Can Delay Filing?

This change in tax filing deadline applies to many people across the country, including “All tax payers who file and pay their federal income taxes on April 15,” and “All individual returns, trusts, and corporations.” Basically, the changed deadline applies to every business and individual in the United States. The new tax filing deadline affects you if you fall into any of these categories:

  • Form 1040 Filers (Individuals)
  • Form 1041 Filers (Trusts)
  • Form 1120 Filers (Corporations)
  • Fiscal Year Partnerships

The new filing deadline on July 15, 2020 should be treated the same as the normal deadline on April 15, 2020. All tax returns and payments should be submitted by July 15, 2020 unless you have made other arrangements, such as a payment plan or tax extension through the IRS.

Keep in mind that this news should not affect you if you are anticipating a tax refund. If you delay your tax filing, then it will delay the time in which you receive your tax refund as well (if owed one). In fact, it is recommended that you file as soon as possible so you can receive the refund without delay. Most tax refunds are received within 21 days of filing the tax return.

Other Notable Details about the New Tax Filing Deadline

Here are a few other notable facts about the tax filing deadline for this year:

  • Tax Deferrment Limits: There are no limits on the amount of money that you can defer. The full tax payment can be pushed back by 90 days without a concern about interest and fees.
  • Estimated Payments: As a small business owner, you likely have estimated payments that need to be sent several times a year. This deferral applies to some of the estimated payments, including self-employment taxes. It is based on the deadline for the payment date. For example, the first quarter estimated payment usually needs to be sent by April 15, 2020 – but this estimated date has also been pushed back to July 15, 2020. The deferral does NOT apply to the second quarter tax payment, which is due as-usual on June 15, 2020.
  • State Tax Deadlines: Every state is different in the way the tax deadlines are handled. Usually, the state deadlines line up with the federal deadlines. But these state-to-state decisions are made on a case by cases basis. It is important to check on your state guidelines and deadlines so you don’t miss due dates that might be different between states and federal departments.
  • Interest Accural: Just because the tax deadline has been delayed, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay taxes on 2019 income. Instead, you have a little more time to figure out the tax return filing and prepare the payment that needs to be sent. If the owed amount is not paid by July 15, 2020, then interest costs and penalties will start accruing beginning July 16, 2020. If you are required to file taxes, this deferral does not make you exempt or excluded from the need to file this year.
  • Is it Automatic? Yes, the new tax filing deadline is automatic. There is no need for you or your accountant to apply for an extension. You have an extra 90-day period to complete your tax return and payment.
  • Tax Extension Deadlines: If you need additional time after April 15, then you can file for an extension by using Form 7004 or Form 4868. The new tax return extension request is July 15, 2020. In the case where your request is granted, your payment still needs to be submitted by July 15, 2020. But you have until October 15, 2020 to complete your tax return. Filing for an extension might be needed if you have a complicated return that will take a little more time to complete.

Why Hire an Accountant for Tax Prep Services

When you have an expert helping with your tax preparation, you can rest assured knowing that you are avoiding some of the most common issues encountered with DIY tax filings. Missed deadlines, mistakes on the tax forms, and other issues can result in expensive fees and interest costs.

It can be hard to maintain the responsibility of running a business while still keeping up with the tax deadlines that need to be addressed throughout the year. Plus, it is a great investment to hire an accountant for professional tax services because you can maximize the potential tax writeoffs that are available for your small business.

Need More Information about Tax Filing Deadlines?

You can find plenty of information online about filing individual or business taxes, but it can be hard to sift through the information and find the details that apply to your unique situation. If you don’t have formal training in accounting and you don’t keep up with the changes in the tax industry, then the best solution is to hire an experienced accounting team to assist with your tax preparation, tax filing, and ongoing financial support.

The simplest way to get more information about the new tax filing deadlines is to pick up the phone and call our experienced team at Easier Accounting. We specialize in small business accounting services and can assist with all of your bookkeeping and accounting needs. Contact us any time at (888) 620-0770.