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IRS Audit: How to Survive the Stress of a Tax Audit

It often comes unexpectedly: you start a normal workday answering emails and talking with a few business contacts. Then, the mail delivery comes, and you find the dreaded notification letter from the IRS. They want to audit your company to make sure that the tax filings match your business records. This news can be terrifying for many business owners, and you might feel overwhelmed by thinking about the things that you will need to do to prepare for the audit.

There is no reason to stress if you have an experienced accounting team to help with your business finances. These ongoing services are essential so that you can stay current with the financial information for your company. At the same time, tax planning is important to reduce the likelihood that you will be audited.

Are You Running a High Risk of an IRS Audit?

How do you know if the IRS will be auditing your company? There is no certain way to determine if you will be the lucky person chosen for the auditing process. But, there are a few things that can be done to minimize your risk. An accountant can help you follow the important tax laws, helping you stay under the radar each year.

As a small business owner, you run a higher risk of an IRS audit compared to someone who files an individual tax return without business activity. This increased risk doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be pursuing your business efforts. Instead, you need to make sure that you are maintaining the right reporting and documentation to back up the financial claims if an audit happens.

Here are a few other red flags that might increase the risk of an audit:

  • If your profits were between $200,000 and $1 million in a fiscal year
  • Being a property owner and reporting rental losses
  • Showing a history of unaccounted income changes each year
  • Hiding foreign bank accounts or transactions
  • Large donations to charitable organizations

Even if these factors apply to your business, it doesn’t mean that you will be audited. In fact, it is estimated that less than 1% of small businesses are audited each year.

What is the Purpose of an IRS Audit?

If you have been selected for an audit, then you are probably asking a common question: why does the IRS want to review my business financials? The goal of the audit is to ensure the accuracy of the reporting, helping to claim unpaid tax funds if the paperwork was filed incorrectly. It has been estimated that there might be as much as a $125 billion gap in unreported income by business owners.

Just because you have been chosen for an audit, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem with your tax filing. Instead, the IRS is doing routine checks to ensure the validity of the paperwork that has been filed. The selection process is based on a few red flags that might come up in a computer screening. There is also a random selection element based on a statistical formula.

The algorithms compare your business tax return against the “norms” for other similar companies. If anything looks out of place, then you might be selected for the audit. You might also run a higher risk of an IRS audit if you have any relationships with transactions related to partners or investors who were also selected for an audit.

What to Expect with an Audit

After you have been selected for an audit, an experienced auditor is assigned to review your paperwork. Keep in mind that audit notification is always done by mail. You will never receive a phone call notifying you of the audit. There are common phone scams right now that claim that you are being audited, but these calls are hoaxes and should be reported.

The audit can be handled by mail, or they might schedule a time for an in-person interview. This interview can be scheduled in a variety of locations, such as the IRS office, your place of business, your accountant’s office, or at your home. When the letter arrives, it will have specific instructions that need to be followed, as well as the contact information to schedule the meeting if necessary.

For audits that are handled by mail, your notification letter will contain a request for additional information. The letter will specify the details that need to be provided, such as documentation for itemized deductions, expenses, or income.

Regardless of the way the audit is performed, you will need to provide the requested information. The records may vary depending on your individual circumstances. Sometimes electronic records can be provided, such as the reports that come from your tax software. Other times, hand-copy receipts might be needed. By law, you are required to maintain all of the records relating to your business. This information needs to be stored for at least three years after the filing of the tax return.

Tax Audit Myths

Don’t be fooled by some of the myths about tax audits. Here are some of the common misconceptions that small business owners hear about the auditing process:

  1. Myth: Your risk of an audit increases if you file an extension. The truth is that filing an extension is as easy as clicking a button on the IRS website. People who are in the military or living abroad automatically qualify for an extension. In the situation where you request an extension, it shows that you are thorough and careful with your tax schedule. So, it doesn’t impact your risk of being audited.
  2. Myth: More deductions will increase the chances that you are audited. As long as you are deducting transactions that make sense, they shouldn’t impact your risk of an audit. Something out of the ordinary might put up a red flag though. For example, if you spend $30,000 on new computers for an office with a hundred employees, then it will likely be viewed as a normal cost of doing business. But, $30,000 for a month of travel expenses and business meals for one sole proprietor might raise some questions.
  3. Myth: Amend your tax filing, and you will be audited. The IRS wants the tax filings to be correct, so they won’t punish you for an innocent mistake. If you are correcting your mistakes on a return that is e-filed, then it is viewed as a good step. Then, the filing will be treated as if it was a new submission and scans are completed to see if there is anything that looks unusual. In the situation where you need to change a filing, make sure that you provide thorough explanations for the adjustments.

What to Do if You Receive an Audit Notification

So, what should you do if you receive the letter in the mail saying that you are going to be audited by the company? The first thing is to take a few deep breaths and know that everything will be all right. If you are working with a good accounting team, then it shouldn’t be a hassle to provide the requested information. So, make sure that you are always staying current with your financial tracking to ensure that you are prepared in case you are audited.

An audit means that your files are going to be reviewed to make sure that everything matches your tax records. When you have good documentation, there is nothing to worry about!

Now that you know that there is nothing to stress about, it is essential that you contact your accountant right away. Together, you can verify that the request is an official document from the IRS, and not some type of phishing scam. Your accountant can help you see if the letter came from a documented IRS address.

You don’t need to carry the burden of navigating an IRS audit without the support from a financial professional. In fact, the outcome will be better if you lean on the expertise of your accountant during this process. Your accountant will understand the procedures and practices for IRS audits, and they can guide you through the steps to provide the information that is requested by the IRS.

An accountant will help you understand the audit and help you see any potential roadblocks that need to be addressed. Getting insight into the process will ensure that you are thoroughly prepared when it is time to sit down with the auditor.

It is important that you gather the requested documents. If you need to send the documents in the mail, then it is best to keep the originals and mail photocopies of the receipts and paperwork. You should always maintain the original documents in your files. Providing a detailed paper trail will ensure that the audit goes as smoothly as possible.

Do you have questions about tax planning, filing or audits? Then you need the support of an experienced accounting team. At Easier Accounting, we offer these services for small businesses and start-ups. Contact us to learn more about the ways that we can support your business efforts. We are here to help: (888) 620-0770

Legal Deductions to Reduce the Tax Burden on Your Business in 2018

Taxes don’t have to be difficult! When the topic comes up among small business owners, many people automatically think about stressful paperwork and unreasonable fees. Do you feel overwhelmed when it is time to file your taxes? Then it means that you are doing things wrong. Instead of carrying the burden by yourself, it is better to hire an accounting professional to handle the details.

People often assume that taxes are complicated. But, your accounting team can help to simplify the process, making it easy to maximize your deductions so that you can minimize your tax burden. The right strategy is necessary to support your business goals and improve the results that are available for your company.

Whether you are in the early stages of starting a company or you are going through growing pains as the business expands, an accounting team can support your financials during this time. We can put together a solid tax strategy, so that you have complete financial information whenever it is time to make big decisions for your business.

It is important that you take control of your financial tracking and documentation. Then, use these details to leverage your deductions in a legal, effective way. This documentation will back up the tax paperwork that is filed, so that there aren’t any discrepancies if the IRS comes to do an audit.

At Easier Accounting, we understand the tax laws. As a result, we can help you know the best ways to leverage your tax filing, giving you legal options to manage your tax burden. These savings can add up over time, helping to boost the profitability of your company.

Here are some of the legal strategies that you might use to minimize tax burden:

Understand Possible Deductions and Track Your Spending

Look at every penny that you are spending which could be a related business expense. If you are spending money on services, equipment, or supplies that are used to help your business efforts, then those costs can be added to your list of expenses for the year.

One of the biggest mistakes made by small business owners is that they don’t track some of the small expenses that go into running their company. Whether you have a home-based business or a nearby office, it is easy to overlook some of the costs that come from your personal bank account. For example, taking a client out to lunch should be charged to the company, but it is easy to forget that expense and put the meal on your personal credit card instead.

Talk to your accounting team for a detailed list of things that can be written off. You can also find a list of potential write-offs on the IRS website. Each time you spend money on items for the company, make sure to document the spending and record the transaction in your accounting software. The data entry won’t be enough; you need to make sure to keep a copy of the receipt as well.

Even the smallest deductions can add up over time. If you saved receipts that averaged $5 per day, it could add up to $1,825 in deductions over a year! That money is better spent on business development. Or, put the savings into an untouched bank account for your emergency fund.

Use a Good Accounting Software

The most effective way to track your expenses is with a digital, cloud-based software. Gone are the days when hand-written ledgers were sufficient to run a company. Now, you need a software that will help with quarterly tax calculations, ongoing expenses, invoicing, payroll and more.

If you are behind the times and you haven’t implemented an intuitive software yet, then right now is a great opportunity to explore your options. Talk to our team to learn more about the recommendations that we suggest for your company and industry. We have experience working with a variety of small businesses in many different industries. This first-hand experience is a great way for us to offer suggestions that are based on first-hand results. We know what works, and we will always guide your company in the right way.

Be Creative with Employee Raises

Do you have employees who deserve a bonus because of outstanding performance? If your company is thriving, then it might be tempting to offer raises or bonuses for everyone. While these rewards can be a good way to say “Thank You,” you also need to consider the tax implications for yourself and your employees.

When the employee salary goes up, then you need to add in the additional expenses that are required for employment taxes and income taxes. On the other hand, certain types of benefits don’t need to be taxed. If you choose to host a company party, then employees won’t need to pay taxes on the bonus. Or, you might contribute more to the employee’s retirement fund or health insurance costs, helping to offset their out-of-pocket expenses without incurring the tax fees.

These creative bonuses will enable you to leverage the money that you are spending more effectively. Spend the cash on items that can be used as tax deductions, while minimizing the amount that you will need to spend on employment taxes.

Home Office and Business Expenses

It is common for small businesses to start in the guest room or garage of the owner’s home. In this situation, dedicate the space for business efforts. Then, you will have the option to write-off a portion of the costs of maintaining the household. The IRS requires that the area is devoted to your business, so you need to make sure that you aren’t using the room for both personal and business efforts.

Your accountant can help you with write-offs for the square footage that is used (as a percentage of your home), as well as the utilities that are related to maintaining the space. Don’t overlook other costs that might be incurred, such as cell phone use, internet costs, computers, office equipment, and more.

Many times, home-based businesses also have a greater need to spend time in the car for business purposes. Whether you are driving to the bank or going to meet a client for a consultation, make sure to track those miles. These expenses can help with the deductions that will minimize your tax burden when it is time to file your tax paperwork.

Put Together a Tax Plan with Your Accountant

Throughout the year, you need to be looking at anticipated profitability for the business, so that you know what to expect when it is time to file your taxes at the end of the year. If you aren’t tracking the numbers, then it increases the likelihood that you will face a few big surprises when it is time to file your taxes.

Lack of planning can lead to tax bills that are higher than you anticipated. Not only will it cause a strain on your cash flow. But, the tax costs could have been minimized if you leveraged the right deductions for the year. The only way to dial in these strategic deductions is by following a tax plan that was created by your accountant.

This strategy can be customized to match the needs of your company. You can evaluate the upcoming costs and anticipated income. Then, you can be strategic with the purchases of equipment and property to maximize the tax benefits that are available. Timing these purchases can help with the cash flow and tax burden on a year to year basis.

One strategy that you might consider is structuring the way the money is saved after it comes into your bank account. Instead of leaving the cash in the account to be spent on a whim, have a strategy that helps you save for upcoming taxes and potential expenses. You might have 10% that goes to savings, 30% for taxes and miscellaneous fees, and 10% that goes towards product development.

If you have the cash flow available, consider spending 10% on charitable giving. These funds can be used as tax write-offs for your company. Not only will you feel good about supporting your community, but the charitable gifts can also help to minimize your tax burden at the same time.

Talk to the Experts in the Industry

Is it time to improve your business tax strategy? Don’t leave money on the table by overlooking potential deductions that could be used for your tax filing. At Easier Accounting, we are dedicated to offering custom services to our clients. Talk to our team to learn more about how our packages can be catered to match your business needs.

Our team at Easier Accounting offers much more than just tax filing. We strive to support your business goals by providing financial insights and strategies that will help your company grow. We invite you to contact us to learn more about the ways that we can help your small business. We are always here to answer your questions and offer the support that you need: (888) 620-0770

2018 Tax Law Changes: How the New Law Will Impact Small Business Owners

It was a headline-making story to have tax reform go through in Washington D.C. While there are many news stories about these laws, it can be a challenge to find non-biased information that breaks down the facts. What do these new tax laws mean for your company?

As a business owner, you need to stay ahead of the changes that happen in the accounting and tax industry. But, you don’t need to do the footwork to read the fine print of the new laws. Instead, let your accountant do the hard work to ensure that your business is staying current with the changes that are happening this year.

The unofficial title for the new tax law is The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and these new rules went into effect on January 1, 2018. Accountants are facing the task of decoding the rules that have been established by the IRS. The document has about 1100 pages, although these changes may or may not simplify your tax filing. Here’s an overview of a few differences that could impact your business:

What Type of Business Do You Own?

The structure of your company will impact the way the tax changes will impact your business. For example, sole proprietors will experience a different change compared to those who have partnerships or corporations.

The good news is that there are potential decreases in the taxes that will need to be paid for your business. These changes are most favorable for large corporations.

Talk to your accountant about 2018 tax strategy to understand how these changes will impact the type of business that you own. Depending on your current business trends, it might make sense to restructure the company to strategically maximize the tax benefits that are available in the future.

2018 Tax Reform and Depreciations

There are some changes to tax rates, which will be discussed in more detail in the next section of this article. Here is a highlight of some of the other changes that have been put in place with this new tax reform:

  • According to Section 179, businesses could previously write off the cost of used or new equipment and property up to $500,000 in the year the acquisition occurred. This number has been changed, now capping the amount at $1 million.
  • Businesses can choose to speed up the depreciation amount when purchasing new equipment or property. Or, Section 179 expensing can be used if desired. 100% of the cost of the property can be used as bonus depreciation (compared to the previous rules of 50% depreciation).
  • Increases were made to the passenger vehicle depreciation limits.

Losers and Winners of Tax Reform

With the bill being so long, it can be hard to tell who the true winners and losers are. Many people have been asking the question about whether these changes will reduce their tax burden. But, there aren’t clear-cut lines about who will win or lose. As mentioned above, the business changes are impacted by the way the company is structured. There are also individual factors that need to be considered regarding the way your personal tax returns will be impacted.

Consulting an experienced accounting team is the most effective way to ensure that you have the right plan in place for your taxes this year.

  • Corporate Tax Rates: There is good news for you if you have a C Corporation. Instead of using tax brackets, C Corporations now follow a tax rule of a flat 21% rate on all taxable income. The new rates will likely decrease your tax burden, as long as the corporation has a taxable income of $90,385 or more each year. If your taxable income is less than that amount, then your taxes will likely go up since there is no longer a bracket system in place.
  • Pass-Through Entities: Sometimes, businesses are set up as pass-through entities, such as S Corporations, LLCs, Partnerships, and Sole-Proprietors. These types of companies will not be impacted by the changes to business taxes. But, there are individual tax changes that might affect your outcome each year. The deduction is based on 20% of income from the entity, which can be used as a deduction on the personal tax return. As an example, if you have an income of $100,000 in 2018, then your deduction would be $20,000. This deduction is calculated in before the calculations are made for your individual tax rate. There are many nuances to the tax law that need to be considered, but this simplified example will give you a general idea of how the system works.

Small businesses that are structured as pass-through entities will also benefit from the AMT relief as well as other provisions that might apply to the circumstances.

At the same time, certain deductions were reduced, which could impact your business taxes. For example, there is a limitation of $10,000 in deductions on state and local taxes.

Tax Changes for Individual Filing

In addition to filing your business taxes, it is also necessary to file an individual tax return as well. A few small changes might impact your personal filing, depending on your current financial situation.

The new tax laws maintained seven brackets for individual taxes, with changes to those tax rates. At the same time, many of the individual changes were focused on allowed deductions. Tax rates in all seven brackets have decreased, while the dollar amount for each bracket has increased.

Even though the tax rates have been reduced, you need to talk to an experienced accounting team to understand the full impact of these changes. For example, your rates have gone down, but you might be limited in the deductions that are used when calculating your income. As a result, there is a possibility that you might have a higher income on paper, which changes the rates that you will need to pay.

Standard Deductions for Individual Tax Returns

The standard deductions have been increased, which changes some of the itemizations that could be used on a schedule A. The standard deduction is the base amount that a taxpayer can deduct for tax liability if they don’t use a Schedule A for deductions.

Your accountant will help you compare the itemized deductions with the standard deduction; then you can choose the higher amount for the deductions that are used on the filing of your individual tax return. Using the standard deduction can simplify the process for many families because they don’t have to worry about additional tax paperwork and calculations. The goal of this reform to the tax law was to reduce the work that goes into the preparation of individual tax returns.

Whether you are single, married filing jointly, or head of household, the standard deductions have almost doubled. So, many people will find it beneficial to simply take the standard deduction so that they can manage their taxable income in the best way possible.

There were a few changes to itemized deductions. One notable change was the capped mortgage interest. The debt cap for mortgage interest write-offs is now $750,000. Also, joint filers can no longer use active passthrough losses of $500,000.

How Long are the New Tax Laws in Affect?

Most of the changes for business taxes are indefinite, which means that these changes will stay in place until the laws are changed at a future date. On the other hand, many of the individual tax laws have a deadline.

For example, many of the provisions for pass-throughs and individuals expire after December 31, 2025. It is possible that more adjustments could be made in the future which will make these changes permanent.

Putting Together the Best Tax Strategy for Your Business and Family

Taxes can be complicated and confusing, and many people get heartburn when they think about everything that needs to go into a tax filing. There is no reason for you to carry this stress! Instead, hire an expert who can handle the calculations, paperwork, and filing.

As a business owner, it is better for you to focus on the daily tasks that will help your business grow. It takes too much time and effort for you to read through and understand the laws. Instead, lean on the support of an experienced accounting team who will guide your strategy and ensure that you maximize tax write-offs as much as possible.

Outsourcing these accounting tasks will free up your time, giving you the ability to focus on employee management and product development. At the same time, you will be able to enjoy more time with your family because you don’t need to spend the long hours in the office. Let the pros handle your tax preparation so that you can stay focused on the most important aspects of your life.

For more information about tax preparation and accounting services, talk to our team here at Easier Accounting. We specialize in small business accounting, and we will gladly help you put together the best tax strategy for 2018. Call to schedule a consultation to learn more: (888) 620-0770

Practical Tips to Simplify and Organize Your Tax Documentation

As a business owner or entrepreneur, there are a few things that you should be doing to maximize your tax deductions. You have the benefit of writing off expenses that are related to your work. But, you need to maintain the right documentation to back up your claims.

If you aren’t familiar with the accounting industry, then it can be overwhelming to know where to start with the financial tracking. Don’t overlook the importance of keeping up with the finances! It is easy to let these details fall to the backburner. Then, you will be facing a difficult situation in the future when you need to file your taxes.

What is a Legitimate Write-Off for Your Taxes

How much can you write off? It makes sense to maximize your write-offs so that you can reduce your tax burden for the year. But, keep in mind that these expenses will cut into the profitability of your business efforts. So, you shouldn’t be spending money just to save money on your taxes.

The best way to determine the legitimacy of your tax expenses is to hire an experienced accounting team to help with your finances. You can focus on your business efforts and lean on the understanding of a skilled accountant. Since the accountant has been working in the industry for many years, they will be able to offer the insight that you need to determine the legal write-offs that are available.

These legitimate deductions can include many expenses that have been incurred:

  • Computers, cell phones, and any other electronics required for business activities.
  • Travel expenses for meetings or client reach-out, including airfare, hotels, and a portion of your food and entertainment.
  • Vehicle reimbursements based on mileage, or you might deduct the expense of purchasing a car as well as the cost of gasoline and maintenance.
  • Wages and salaries paid to all employees and managers, including employment taxes, benefits, and any other related costs.
  • Invoices that were paid to contractors or freelancers. If a contractor is paid $600 or more in a given year, then you will need to use Form 1099-MISC to document the expenses.
  • Rental payments for office space, factories, storage units, storefronts, or any other facility that was used.
  • Utility costs, including electricity, gas, cell phone bills, internet, and phone services, and more.
  • Office supplies, which might include everything from printer paper to cleaning products.
  • Insurance or business fees, such as licensing costs, city work permits, or anything else that was paid to ensure that you could work legally.
  • Marketing and advertising expenses, which could include a wide range of expenses: website design, hosting accounts, Pay per Click ads, social media management, software subscriptions, and more.
  • Client or customer outreach costs, including the expenses for mailers, holiday gifts, newsletter services, customer appreciation days, and more.
  • Home office space can be used as a deduction as long as the home is regularly used for business activities. The space needs to be dedicated exclusively for Both direct costs and indirect costs can be calculated for this write-off, usually based on a percentage of the cost of the home.

This list is a general overview of the types of expenses that can be used as tax write-offs. Your accounting team can help you analyze your transactions to find the things that can be included as legitimate deductions for your line of business.

Why You Need to Keep Documentation

The tracking system that you use will provide the back-up that is needed for these business write-offs. If you don’t keep documentation for every transaction, then you might be facing a messy situation if you are audited in the future. You can hire a bookkeeper or accounting team to help with the busy work so that you don’t have to worry about the day-in-day-out tracking.

It is essential that you save copies of receipts and invoices that are related to your business efforts. When you choose to claim something as a deduction, then you always need to have a receipt to back up the expense. So, the best thing that you can do is organize a system right now which will make it easy to add documents to your file as needed.

Even though you have digital tracking of your expenses, you also need to show the paperwork for each transaction. A credit card statement won’t be enough documentation. During an audit, the IRS wants to see details about each transaction. For example, if you bought materials at a local office supply store, then the credit card transaction won’t show details of the purchase. You will need to provide the receipt to prove that the office supplies were purchased for business activities.

Organizing Your Business Records

One of the problems with documentation is that business owners feel like they are drowning in paperwork. Do you have stacks of invoices and shoe boxes of scattered receipts? It can be a mess to sort through all of the papers that come through your office.

The starting point for organization is to make sure that you have a good bookkeeping and accounting software to keep track of the transactions. Many times, these programs will automatically pull the transactions from the bank or credit card statement. Then, a copy of the receipt or document can be attached to that file.

As the transaction comes through into the accounting software, someone needs to categorize the transaction. Why was the money spent? Where should the totals go for that cost? Other tasks need to be done on a regular basis, such as reconciliation and audits to make sure that nothing is missed in the transactions.

A filing cabinet can be used to sort through the paperwork. Files should be created based on date and category, making it easy to find paperwork if it is needed. For example, you might have a section of the filing cabinet for building costs, where you keep copies of the office rental agreement, utility bills, cleaning services, and more.

If you don’t like the idea of keeping a filing cabinet full of paperwork, then you could implement a digital tracking system. All of the paperwork can be scanned into a digital folder, making it simple to keep track of the information without managing all of the paperwork. There are many great cloud-based filing systems that can be used. For example, you can take a picture of a receipt when the purchase is made. Then, an app can automatically save that picture in the right file folder of your choice.

When you are using any type of online system, make sure that you choose a secure service. Since you will be storing sensitive financial information, you need the peace of mind to make sure that your business details won’t be stolen. Hacking and online theft is a growing problem, so you need to use an encrypted system for your company.

Employee or Outsourced Accounting Services?

Part of this organization means that you have assigned the responsibility to the right person who needs to handle the job. Some business owners have employees that can manage these tasks. But, if you hand the responsibility to an employee, then you need to make sure that you have someone who is experienced in accounting and bookkeeping. Previous experience is essential so that important details aren’t overlooked.

Sometimes, a business owner will give these responsibilities to an entry-level secretary or someone in an administrative support position. While this employee might be familiar with the office setting, they don’t likely have the training and skill set that is required to keep up with the financial tracking. As a result, mistakes might be made which could impact your tax filing and the profitability of the company.

Employees can be an expensive way to manage your business finances. If you don’t have an employee who can oversee your transactions and financial reports, then you might consider the option to hire someone. But, you need to understand the overall costs that will be required if you bring on another employee. Not only will you need to pay the salary or hourly wage, but you also have the carry the burden of employment taxes, benefits, office space, and more.

Many business owners find that it is cheaper to hire an outsourced accounting team to help instead. You can reduce the costs of keeping up with the financial system. These outsourced services are much cheaper compared to hiring an employee. At the same time, you can tap into many years of experience in the accounting industry.

Outsourcing often increases the quality of the financial services that are provided, while reducing the costs at the same time. As a business owner, it is easy to see why it is a win-win situation to avoid hiring another employee and still have the expert financial consultation that is needed.

Do you need help organizing your tax write-offs? Our team is here to offer the assistance that you need! For more information about the services that can support your business efforts, you need to call Easier Accounting at (888) 620-0770

2018 Trends in the Accounting Industry that Will Affect Small Business Owners

The business industry is changing faster than ever. The role of technology in accounting and other business processes has sped up the changes that can occur. Are you keeping up with the trends? If you are falling behind in important things in your business, then you might be setting your company up for failure in the future.

As we looked at the trends for the New Year, it seems as though the accounting industry will continue to follow a similar path that was traveled in 2017. But, there are definitely some new things that could be coming online this year.

At Easier Accounting, we always work hard to stay ahead of the industry trends, to ensure that our customers have the latest information. When you choose our team for your outsourced accounting services, you can rest assured to know that we provide the most relevant information in the industry. Our job is to make sure that your company is keeping up with the trends.

Here is an overview of some of the accounting trends that we anticipate in 2018:

Cloud Accounting Software

Now that the internet is such an integral part of our world, many tools are available which can help with your efforts. It makes sense to leverage these tools if they can help to boost the bottom line or improve your results.

Most companies have already transitioned to accounting software programs that use the cloud for the database and information storage. But, the slow-adopters are now seeing that they are missing the boat on some of the features that are available. Companies that haven’t made the transition yet will see the benefits of jumping on board this year.

Reduced Paperwork

Even though many people have been using online tools, they still often manage a filing cabinet of paperwork. Is it possible to run a business without having stacks of invoices, order forms, and pay documentation? Yes, it is possible… and paperwork is on its way out.

Papers can’t be avoided completely. But, technology and automation are making it easier to get rid of the filing cabinets. As business owners get more comfortable with the online management and filing options, it increases the likelihood that they will let go of the need to keep the paper copies.

In fact, many accounting software programs now use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This feature can scan a page and create a digital result. The technology can identify numbers and letters so that the information can be filed automatically. The conversion from a page to data helps to reduce the data-entry. For example, you can take a picture of a receipt and have it entered into your transaction register.

Certain originals should always be kept, such as signed contracts or financing applications. But, receipts, paid invoices, and other busy work doesn’t need to be filed and stored. Instead, you can create a digital copy to be filed in the cloud, then shred all of the papers that are cluttering your office.

If you are going to make the transition to a paperless company, then it is essential that you have a good system in place. Not only does your accounting system need to be handled virtually, but you also need to be prepared to manage some of the miscellaneous papers that come through the door. Our team can help you make this transition, to ensure that you don’t miss important details that will impact your company.

Greater Focus on Security

As everything is moving online, there is a greater need to focus on security. Not only is the business technology improving, but so is the hacking technology. Data theft is becoming more common, which means that companies need to rely on a trustworthy provider that will stay ahead of the potential weaknesses in the system.

If you are using accounting software, then make sure that it is a software provider who is offering active updates and servicing to the program. In the situation where a potential weakness might be identified, your software provider will correct the problem.

Security is quickly becoming a major focus in the tech industry. Small and large business owners are demanding unparalleled focus to reduce the risk of a breach. As companies make security a priority, they will naturally attract the customers who are concerned about security as well.

Increase in Outsourcing Services

The number of people engaged in “gig” work is increasing, which means that there are more opportunities for small business owners to outsource tasks as needed. This number continues to rise each year, and we anticipate that outsourcing will play a greater role in 2018.

Business owners are feeling the burden of minimum wage increases as well as the overhead costs of hiring an employee. In addition to salary or wage, it is also necessary to pay for benefits and other job-associated costs.

Instead of hiring employees, businesses are turning to freelancers to access the skills that are needed. Many people find it to be a win-win situation. Contractors love the flexibility of self-employment, while business owners like the savings that are available. Companies can bring on experienced workers without the need to pay a full-time salary.

Accountants are Moving to a Consultant Role

For many years, accounting was needed to keep up the books and crunch the numbers. The manual calculations took time, so it made sense to have a dedicated accounting team to help with the task. Most business owners don’t have the desire to work the numbers, and these accounting services were invaluable to assess the financial health of the company.

Now that accounting software is available, is it necessary for business owners to engage the services of an accountant? Yes! These services are more valuable than ever. Since the accountant doesn’t have to spend as much time on data entry, it frees up their skills to focus on strategy and consulting.

Your accountant will oversee the transactions that are moving through the accounts. At the same time, important reconciliations will be done to catch any potential errors along the way. Finally, an accountant can look at the reports and help with the financial strategy that can lead your company to success in the future.

Accountants aren’t just ticking boxes and entering receipts. These modern services offer unbeatable value for your business. They help with tax strategy, compliance, investment strategies, and more. You can work with your accountant to anticipate future cash flow and evaluate revenue possibilities. These consulting services offer a powerful way for you to up-level your company and reach higher levels of success.

Improved Accounting Reports

As the technology gets better, business owners will benefit from improved accounting reports that show an overview of cash position and other important financial matters. Many people agree that financial reports can be boring. But, a visualization with graphs will make it easier to digest the information.

If you are a visual learner, then you will love to see how the reports are becoming simpler to understand. Color-coding, images, and charts make it easier than ever to visualize the financial changes that are happening in the company. As a result, you will be in a better position to make wise financial decisions for your company.

Your accountant will oversee the generation of these reports, then help you interpret the information that is available. But, many business owners are finding it easier to access the information online. The visual cues on the automated reports simplify the information so that you don’t have to rely on someone else so that you can understand the details.

Changes in the Tax Bill

Some of the recent news headlines have been focused on the changes that are happening on a federal level. This new tax bill has overhauled some of the taxations and the way things are structured for businesses and individuals. Experts in the industry are still working through the details to understand the full implications of these changes.

Are you finding it hard to keep up with the new tax laws? There is no reason why you should spend your free time combing through hundreds of pages in the new tax bill. Instead, you should focus on building your company. Our team makes it a priority to stay current with tax laws that apply to your company. So, we will keep you informed about any changes that might impact your business.

Hire the Right Outsourced Accounting Team

If you aren’t already enjoying the benefits of working with an experienced accounting team, then right now is a great time to contact us. Here at Easier Accounting, we are working hard to provide top-notch services for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Call to talk to us about the ways that we can improve your financial future.

Our services are catered to match the needs of your company. In addition to general accounting, we can also provide tax strategy, ongoing consulting, and more. Easier Accounting makes it possible for you to have the benefits of professional accounting services, without paying the expensive costs of hiring another employee. Call to learn more about the ways that we can help: (888) 620-0770

New Year’s Resolutions – Financial Goals for Your Business in 2018

The New Year is often considered an opportunity for a fresh start. People begin the year with the best intentions to improve their lives and overcome bad habits. Talk to anyone that you know, and most people will have a theme for the year or some sort of personal goal that they are focusing on.

Personal Goals Impact Business Results

Often, these goals are centered around health and fitness. For example, people set resolutions to exercise more and eat less to achieve their desired weight loss results. Or, these goals might be focused on overcoming addictive behaviors, improving sleep habits, or buying a new home.

As a business owner, these personal goals can be important to help you feel better about yourself. By improving your physical and mental health, you will be in a good place to improve your business as well. Many entrepreneurs know that their business results are directly related to their personal successes.

But, setting personal goals won’t be enough to maximize the business results that you desire. If you want to increase your income this year, then you need to be willing to put in the work. It all comes down to the daily, weekly, and monthly systems that are in place to manage your business finances, inventory, client management, and more.

Do you need help choosing the right resolutions for your company this year? Here are a few suggestions to help you start 2018 on the right foot:

Resolution #1: Put a Stronger Focus on Customer Service

The satisfaction of your customers is one of the most important things that will affect your business results. If you have happy customers, then they will continue coming back to your company when they are ready to buy again. It is easier to maintain a list of satisfied customers than it is always to generate new leads.

The business world is shifting from basic customer service to personalized relationships. Instead of a scripted phone call to handle a customer inquiry, customers want to know that the company has a vested interest in the outcome of the situation.

So, companies need to step up and show customers that they are putting in the effort to outshine the competition. A few small changes in your customer service systems can go a long way to help you create the life-long relationships that you need for business success.

Also, remember that many customers are turning to the internet to share their experience with others. If someone has a good interaction with your company, then it increases the likelihood that they will share a positive review online. On the other hand, a negative experience could be detrimental to your company because of the bad review that drives other potential customers away.

If you want to succeed in this social world, then you need to be willing to put in the work that will create a good environment for your clients and customers.

Resolution #2: Strengthen Your Online Presence

There is no doubt that the internet is now an integral part of the business world. As mentioned above, many customers turn to the internet when they are looking for a local company or service. If you put in the effort to create an online presence, then it is easier to bring in customers who are interested in the things that you are selling.

Not only do you need to maintain a social media presence, but you also need a website that outlines the products and services that are available. These tools can be used to feed people into your sales funnel, resulting in an increase in your sales for the year.

There are other ways that you can leverage the internet to improve your business results. Sometimes these tools aren’t about customer interactions. Instead, you can find tools that can be used for team management and financial tracking. The dynamic nature of the internet makes it easier than ever to oversee the company success from anywhere in the world. You can go on vacation and still view reports about sales numbers, cash flow, and more.

Resolution #3: Improve Financial Tracking

Business finances are often the details that people push to the backburner. When you are facing immediate needs, such as stocking shelves and inventory orders, then it is hard to find the motivation to tally receipts or enter expenses into the financial system.

Even though these boring tasks seem like busy work, they are essential to ensure that you are meeting requirements for taxes and financial reports. The details will have a big impact on the long-term results that you achieve in your company.

If you are stuck in the rut of procrastinating your business financials, then you need to set a goal to make it a priority this year. Keep track of the costs that are incurred every day. These expenses are important business write-offs so that you can minimize your tax burden.

At the same time, you need to look at cash flow projections to determine the anticipated costs that are coming up. These factors can help you make big financial decisions so that you can improve the overall results for your business. If you don’t know the current cash standing for the company, then you could be making the wrong decisions that can have a negative impact on your cash position in the future.

Resolution #4: Outsource the Busy Work

Do you feel overwhelmed as you are trying to find the time to keep up with the data entry and financial tracking? If you are already loaded down with too many responsibilities, then it could be beneficial to outsource some of the busy work.

Some business owners choose to hire employees who can take over these tasks. But, then you still carry the responsibility to make sure that the employees are performing the work correctly. Plus, you will need to bring on the added costs of salary, benefits, office space, and more.

A cheaper solution is to outsource the tasks to an outside team instead. For example, you can hire an accounting service to oversee the financial tracking and tax preparation details. These services might cost a little money and impact your overhead costs. But, they are cheaper compared to the cost of bringing on another employee.

It is hard to quantify the benefits that are gained from these outsourced accounting services. Not only will you have an easier time tracking cash flow and other business details. But, you will also be able to maximize tax write-offs. Calculate the savings that are available for your company, and you will likely see that it is worth the investment to hire these financial services.

Resolution #5: Commit to Simplification in the Workplace

One of the drawbacks of workplace initiatives is that these goals can complicate the processes that need to be followed in the workplace. Even though your intentions are good, you need to be careful so that employees aren’t overloaded with unreasonable expectations. Employees still need the time to focus on the core job duties, instead of getting distracted with other tasks to meet the required goals

So, as you are choosing goals for the year, look for ways that you can simplify the process for everyone involved. Outsourcing is a great example of simplification. You can assign the tasks to a professional team, and let go of the worry about how these tasks will be completed. In most situations, outsourcing is an effective way to simplify your business efforts and still achieve the results that you desire.

Also, consider simplification for your daily tracking. For example, if you are still keeping financial records by hand or in a spreadsheet, then you are missing out on the benefits that are available from a good accounting software program. There is no reason why you should be doing these calculations by hand if there are tools that can do the difficult work for you.

If you don’t already have a good financial tracking system, then right now is the perfect opportunity to talk to our team about the options that can be implemented. We are focused on streamlined business solutions. Hiring an accounting service means that you can simplify your business finances, and at the same time free up your responsibilities to focus on business growth.

We have proven systems that will transform your finances and help with your goals this year. There is no reason for you to re-invent the wheel when we already know the best systems in the industry. If you want to tap into this expertise, then contacting us is the best thing that you can do for your company.

Are you ready to make 2018 the best year yet? Our team here at Easier Accounting wants to support your business goals for the year. If your resolution is to improve your accounting and financial systems, then right now is the perfect time to call us. We will take care of the financial details so that you can grow your company to higher levels of success this year. Call to learn more: (888) 620-0770

Good Accounting Practices: Make a List and Check It Twice

In the month of December, most people are putting together their Christmas list and focusing on time with the family. It is important to spend the holiday season with people that you love. But, don’t overlook the essential tasks that need to be handled for your business.

Failing to keep up with business tracking and information during the last month of the year can be disastrous for your company. Make sure that you finish the year on the right foot so that you can set your company up for success next year. The progress that you make each month will have a cumulative effect on the possibilities that are available for the future.

Accounting and financial tracking create the foundation that you need to build on for the future. While you are putting together your holiday list and checking it twice, also look at these accounting tasks that need to be addressed:

Check the Cash Position of All Accounts

As the business owner, you need to know the cash position of all of your business accounts. This information can impact the flow of money for deliverables and expenses. Without the right accounting practices, you could face a cash flow issue that results in overdraft fees and unhappy vendors.

One of the top items on your accounting to-do list should be to log into the banking websites to see a quick snapshot of your accounts. Many times, this information can be viewed through your accounting software as well. But, you need to make sure that the daily data entry tasks and regular reconciliations are done to ensure the accuracy of these reports.

You should never make major financial decisions without knowing how much cash on hand. In addition to the bank account balances, you also need to have a clear picture about the upcoming transactions that will be moving through the account in the future. Know how much you expect to receive, as well as the amount of money that will need to be paid for outstanding invoices and vendor costs.

Documentation and Filing of Receipts

Are you keeping a good record of all business-related expenses? Documenting every transaction is essential so that you can maximize the tax write-offs that are available. This documentation needs to be kept on file so that you can provide the records if needed.

Even small transactions can add up over time. So, don’t overlook the importance of keeping your receipts and recording these transactions. For example, if you spend $5 on coffee at business meetings three times a week, then it could be a $780 write-off at the end of the year. $5 seems trivial, but the long-term accumulation of these costs can impact the bottom line and profitability of your company.

If you are going to write off a transaction, then it needs to be recorded in your accounting software. Additionally, you need to be sure that you keep track of the receipts for these transactions. Many companies are working with digital databases, and they don’t like holding onto the paperwork. So, you might find it beneficial to snap a quick photo of the receipt. Then, you can throw away the paper receipt and keep digital records instead.

Assessing Tax Burden for the Year

One of the most important tasks for the month of December might be assessing your tax burden for this year. Are you set to show a strong profit for the year? Look at the reports to see where you are regarding profitability, tax brackets, taxes that are owed, and more.

Most business owners don’t have the time or experience to assess this information in the right way. So, the best solution is to lean on the expertise of your professional accounting team for help. We can assist by crunching the numbers to see if there are any tax options that you can use before the year is over.

For example, sometimes it might make sense to purchase equipment before the end of the year so that you can maximize the write-offs for the calendar year. If you can see that your profits are coming in high and you want to minimize your tax burden, then the timing of these purchases can be done strategically.

Don’t spend money that you don’t have available. But, don’t be afraid to make a purchase before the year-end if there are items that you need and you have the cash. It might be a great time to take advantage of the holiday sales to get new computer equipment, office furniture, or anything else that is needed to support the activities in your office.

Review Accounts Payable and Receivable Invoices

Maintaining good relationships with your customers and vendors is a foundational principle of business success. So, you need to make sure that you are keeping up with the invoices that are coming in and going out. Late payments on vendor invoices can cause people to be unhappy and decrease the likelihood that they want to provide products or services in the future. When you are running through your accounting checklist, make sure that paying these invoices is a priority.

Also, don’t forget to send out the invoices that need to be paid by your customers. It is easy for some business owners to be so busy focusing on business growth that they forget to send out the invoices that are due. As a result, incoming cash flow is negatively impacted, and it can have an impact on the growth of your company.

In most situations, there are 15-day or 30-day windows of time when the invoices need to be paid. But, sometimes payments are due immediately. So, make sure that you have the cash available to meet all of the payments that will be coming up.

Payroll Processing and Employee Benefits

Consistent paychecks are a foundation for employee satisfaction. It is important that you pay your employees on a reliable schedule. Not only do the checks need to go out at the right time, but you also need to make sure that the details are accurate.

Even though payroll is an important part of employee management, unfortunately it sometimes falls to the last priority of the day. Don’t make your employees wait for their paychecks! Instead, make it a priority to send the payments on a schedule. This consistency builds trust among the employees, helping them have more confidence and satisfaction in their employment.

Measuring the impact of employee satisfaction is hard. But, you can know that happy employees will result in the long-term results that you desire. This company culture is important for retention, helping you avoid the long-term problems that result from high turnover. If people aren’t happy with their work, then it increases the likelihood that they will leave the company. As a result, you will need to pay the costs of marketing, hiring, training, and onboarding the new employees.

These issues can be avoided by building trust and a good company culture with your current employees. Consistent, accurate paychecks should be a part of this strategy.

Set Monthly and Annual Goals

You will have a hard time hitting the target if you don’t know where you are aiming! It is obvious that you want to grow the company and increase profitability. But, do you have specific goals in place to help you reach the future success that you desire?

As you are going through your accounting checklist, it is important to make sure that you have tasks on the list that will help you meet your monthly and annual goals. But, first you need to identify these goals so that you have a clear understanding of the things that you are trying to accomplish.

Work with your accounting team when you are setting financial goals. Together, you can create a realistic budget and anticipated cash flow. These details build the foundation that you need so that you don’t have to worry about the smaller details of running the company. Outsourcing the accounting tasks will enable you to focus on the big-picture marketing, growth, and management.

Create these goals in a way that is achievable, and yet pushes your team to reach higher levels of success. People can get lazy if the goals are set too low. At the same time, goals that are too high might cause people to be overwhelmed and get stuck in over-analysis when they are working on the project. Find the middle point to create goals that can be reached, and use these goals as stepping stones for the future milestones that you want to achieve.

If you are looking for help with your accounting checklist, then you need to talk to our team here at Easier Accounting. We offer the best services in the industry, helping small business owners take control of their financial futures. Our services can be catered to match the needs of your company. Call us right away to learn more about the things that we can do to help with your accounting needs: (888) 620-0770

Infuse Your Business with the Thanksgiving Spirit to Boost Success

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many people are thinking about the time away from the office to spend the holiday with family and friends. Whether your business will be closed for Thanksgiving weekend, or you are ramping up for a big Black Friday sale, look for ways that you can use the holiday spirit to boost your business results.

Express Thanks to Customers

Every holiday is a great opportunity for you to reach out to current and potential customers. You can build the relationship each time you send an email, talk on the phone, or send something through the postal service. These interactions might seem small, but they add up to the long-term relationships that will help your company succeed.

Use Thanksgiving as a motivation to talk to the people that have bought from your company in the past. Even a small Thanksgiving message can go a long way to let them know that you still want to maintain the relationship. It might cost a little bit of your marketing budget to send a Thanksgiving message, but it is worth the cost to strengthen the ties with people who like your products or services.

Showing gratitude to your customers is a great way to be genuine in your interactions. As you reach out to people in this manner, they will associate gratitude with your company brand. As a result, they will think positive things when they see information about your business.

A personal interaction is always a great option when you are talking to customers. But, don’t be afraid to use a mass message if you don’t have time to reach out to people individually. Post a Thanksgiving message on your blog and social media accounts. Don’t forget to send a short Thanksgiving thought through your newsletter as well.

Gratitude for Vendors and Business Contacts

Another way that you can build positive relationships is by reaching out to vendors and other business contacts. Let these contacts know that you are grateful for their support and the ongoing business relationship that you share. These interactions are helpful to ensure that you maintain the connections that you need to keep going with your business in the future.

Keeping your vendors happy and maintaining good relationships are essential to help with inventory and other day-to-day processes for your company. So, use Thanksgiving as a time when you can reach out to strengthen those connections.

Another idea is to send a Thanksgiving gift that can be shared in the office. A fruit basket, chocolates, or a gift card can be great options to show your gratitude. Make sure also to send a card to say “Thank You” and “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Thanksgiving for Employees

Don’t forget to show gratitude to your employees this season! Everyone in your company is essential to the daily tasks that are completed. From the people on the front-lines managing customer service to the managers working behind the scenes to oversee the teams, each person brings unique traits and skills to the team. Recognizing their accomplishments and value to the company is a great way to boost employee morale and help people see that they are appreciated in their workplace.

You should say “Thank You” without expecting anything in return. But, you can know that improving employee morale is important for retention. Ensuring that your employees are happy is a good strategy to reduce turnover so that you don’t have to hire new people to back-fill open positions. So, even though you are sharing your gratitude for the season with no expectations attached, know that your business will benefit because the employees will feel valued and happy in their jobs.

Most non-retail businesses will give employees one or two days off for the Thanksgiving holiday. But, there are many companies in the retail industry that need employees to work the day after Thanksgiving for the Black Friday sales. If you need to have employees come in on that day, look for ways to find a win-win solution for everyone who is working.

Remember, the way your employees feel will impact the way they treat the customers. So, you need to be sure that your employees are maintaining a good attitude when they are at work so that the positivity can spread to the customers they talk to. These happy emotions will help everyone feel good, which can lead to higher sales because the customers are satisfied with the experience they have in your store.

Boosting Thanksgiving Attitudes on Black Friday

Most people don’t want to work on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday. So, how should you handle the situation if you need to have people come into work? If your business is open on both of these days, look for ways that you can divide the responsibilities so that everyone still gets some time with their families. For example, you might have people work only a half day shift instead of being in the store for the full day. Or, you can discuss scheduling with the team to find ways to cover the hours and still work around holiday plans.

When people are in the office or the store on a holiday weekend, put in the extra effort to make it a festive experience for everyone involved. Small things can go a long way to make the day feel different compared to a regular workday. You might cater in meals and have the food available in the break room so that employees can get a good meal when they are between shifts. If you don’t want to bring in a full meal, then consider offering treats and snacks instead.

Black Friday is often one of the busiest days of the year. So, you need to make sure that you are supporting employee efforts since they will be putting in long, hectic days with customers. Make sure that breaks and lunch hours are respected so that people can take a few minutes to themselves in between the rush of customers coming through the door.

If you know that you are going to be understaffed, then look at options to bring in temporary help. Reach out to a temp agency in your area to find people who can offer skills that will be supportive of your business. Simple tasks can go a long way to reduce the stress on the other employees. For example, you might hire a temp employee to gather carts in the parking lot or to direct traffic in the store.

Reflect on Gratitude in Your Own Life

As a business owner or entrepreneur, there are many things that you can be grateful for in your experience. Don’t forget to take time to reflect on the benefits of self-employment, so that you can see all of the ways your life benefits from your company. You have taken time to say thank you to employees, vendors, and customers. But, don’t forget to have gratitude for yourself and the long road that you have traveled to get where you are right now.

Running a business takes a lot of work, but it is worth the effort because of the long-term benefits that are available. Many business owners can reach higher levels of success if they focus their attitudes on positivity and gratitude. These thoughts show in daily actions and employee management, which will have a trickle-down effect on employees and customers.

If you want to see a change in your small business, then that change needs to start at the top! Lead with the attitude that you want your employees to have. This example is a valuable way to create the company culture that will foster success and growth in the future.

Even though gratitude and Thanksgiving can’t be measured on your Profit and Loss report, these things can go a long way to boost your bottom line. Company culture is a critical factor that will impact the success of your business. So, you need to be looking for ways to develop these strengths in your company, so that you can achieve the future results that you desire.

Happy Thanksgiving From Our Team at Easier Accounting!

Here at Easier Accounting, we want to take a moment to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! We know that our customer relationships are important, and our team is working hard to offer the best services that are available in the accounting industry. We are always here to support your business efforts.

Whether you need help sorting through the Black Friday transactions or you are looking at upcoming tax payments, we offer the support that you need. Feel free to reach out to us anytime for more information about the ways that we can offload the financial tracking so that you can focus on other tasks that will help your business grow. We specialize in small businesses and start-up businesses, and this hands-on experience has helped us identify the best practices in the industry.

For more information about the services that we provide, contact our team at Easier Accounting: (888) 620-0770

Hiring a Business Accountant? Look for These Important Qualities

It is easy to see the many benefits that you will experience when you choose to hire a business accountant. Not only will you save time on the daily financial tasks, but you can also tap into the skills that are needed to maximize the future success of your company. If you don’t already have an accounting team to help your small business, then you need to pick an accounting service as soon as possible.

Do You Need a Business Accountant?

The size of your company doesn’t matter, because you still need to track details such as payroll, expenses, sales, taxes, and more. Most entrepreneurs or small business owners don’t have the knowledge or experience to stay ahead of the numbers. So, they fall behind in the books and face a financial mess that needs to be cleaned up. Instead of getting caught up in these details, hire a business accountant who can track the financial information so that you can focus on other tasks that will help your company grow.

Not only will these business accounting services reduce your stress levels, but they also ensure that you are staying current with local and federal tax laws. You need to make sure that you are staying compliant with the laws to avoid potential fines and problems in the future.

Some business owners see the benefits of working with an accountant. But, they get overwhelmed with the task of choosing an accounting firm. Instead of over-analyzing the options, look for these important factors that will help with your decision:

Consistency and Reliability

When it comes to business financials, the details need to be looked at regularly. It is a bad habit to look at the numbers once and then neglect them for a few months. Instead, these details need to be managed all the time to ensure that reports and details are accurate when making big financial decisions.

Consistent service means that you talk to your accounting team throughout the year. If your current accountant only touches base when it is time to file your annual taxes, then you are missing out on many of the benefits of having a business accountant. Instead, you need to find a team that offers ongoing support and advice throughout the year. These services will ensure that you are staying on track with your business goals.

Look for an accounting team with a long history of success in the industry. This reliability will ensure that the accountants will stay consistent with the services that are offered for your business. You deserve an accounting team that offers timely, efficient services to support the needs of your company.

Industry Experience

Hands-on experience in the industry is much better than anything that can be learned in a book or classroom lecture. Choose an accounting team that has experience with other similar businesses. For example, if you are managing a start-up company, then it might not be the best solution to hire an accounting team that has been supporting large corporations with hundreds of employees. Instead, you will find more benefit by hiring a team that specializes in small businesses.

This industry experience will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that new businesses face. Since the accounting team knows the potential problems that could come up, they will use proven systems to reduce the risk of these issues.

Systems and Organization

It is a red flag if you walk into an accounting office to see a mess of papers and files. If you are looking at an online accounting service, then you might be able to identify organizational factors in the way ongoing tasks and customer service are handled. Make sure that the team is staying ahead of the requirements, instead of missing deadlines and dropping important things that need to be addressed.

During your consultation with the accounting team, ask about checkpoints and reconciliation strategies that are used to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. These details are important to ensure that your business receives the attention that it deserves.

Modern Tools

If you talk to an accounting team that suggests implementing a manual spreadsheet tracking system, then it is a good sign that you need to walk away and find another accounting service. Manual financial tracking is a thing of the past! There are so many great accounting software programs that will improve your results and maximize the future success of your company.

Using manual accounting methods means that you will miss out on important information that can be gathered from ongoing financial reports. It is hard to get a clear picture of the financial standing of your company if you are trying to crunch spreadsheet numbers or doing the math on a piece of paper!

The right business accountant will integrate a software program that will stay ahead of the reporting and reconciliations. This system will allow you to see real-time financial details. You have the opportunity to customize the analysis to match the needs of your company.

One benefit of the right account system is that you can avoid potential filing errors and reporting issues. This computerized program will systemize the process to reduce the risk of a manual error. As a result, you can maximize tax savings and avoid potential fines or fees associated with mistakes that could be made on the forms or tracking information.

Current Industry Knowledge

There is no doubt that the bookkeeping and accounting industry has become more complicated over the years. Business owners see the benefits of hiring an accountant because they are unable to keep up with the changing laws and trends in the industry.

So, you need to be sure that your accountant is proactive to pay attention to the changes in the laws and regulations. Tax laws change every year, and there are often small adjustments to employment tax rates, tax filing forms, and more. Unless you are focused on the accounting industry, you won’t be able to keep up with everything by yourself! Instead, you can lean on the expertise of your accountant to ensure that the team is taking care of the details.

Ongoing Strategy

Working with an accountant who focuses on the big picture can be a valuable way to help your company grow. This accounting advice is more than just basic information about how to fill out a tax form. You need a team who can assess the cash flow and current growth of your company, and then make recommendations to match your needs.

These accounting recommendations can be anything from tax advice to ways to changes that are needed for your financial system. Improving your daily habits and regular business practices can go a long way to boost your future success. For example, your accountant might help you see the way your company is struggling with cash flow, then make recommendations about the steps that can be followed to help you keep cash in the bank.

Many aspects need to be considered for future growth. Not only do you need the cash flow and investments to support growing inventory and workforce, but you also need to think about other overhead costs and maintenance. An experienced accountant will help you see the big picture so that you are prepared for any potential roadblocks that might be in the future. Managing the costs and income of your business will help you stay ahead of the trends so that you can take advantage of opportunities when they come along.

Personal Attention

You have unique concerns and requirements for your company, which means that you need personalized service from your accounting team. Choose a business accountant who is willing to have a conversation to understand your needs. Then, the services can be catered to match your business plan and requirements.

These personalized services are important to ensure that you aren’t getting a cookie-cutter approach that won’t work for your company. Instead, the systems will be designed to fit around your business goals, helping you achieve the long-term success that you desire.

Talk to the Leading Team in the Accounting Industry

If you are looking for a business accountant, then we invite you to talk to our team for more information. Here at Easier Accounting, we are working hard to provide the best small business accounting services that will support the needs of your company.

Before you decide to hire an outsource accountant, it is important that you learn more about the company that you would like to hire. As you research our business, you will see that we have built a solid reputation in the industry.

We understand the importance of a solid relationship with our customers. You can rest assured to know that someone is always available to answer your questions and offer the advice that you need. Not only will you receive honest, caring service from our company, but you will be working with a team that specializes in small businesses.

When you are ready for more information, talk to the experts in the industry: Easier Accounting. Call today to learn more about the ways that we can help your company: (888) 620-0770

Easy Steps for Small Business Automation

Starting a business is a hands-on experience. Many times, small business owners find themselves working on accounting in one moment and customer service in the next moment. When your company is in the start-up phase, then it is necessary to have all-hands-on-deck to make sure that you are starting in the right way. But, don’t overlook the importance of implementing small business automation to set up for future success.

As your business grows, it is common to feel like your schedule is getting busier and busier. But, the truth is that you should be doing LESS as the company gains momentum. Setting the right systems in place will allow you to step back from the daily grind. Instead, you can focus on the overall strategy that is implemented throughout the company.

Here are a few options that you should consider for small business automation:

Software Solutions

There is no reason that you should be manually tracking details in a spreadsheet. Instead, find the right small business automation tools to manage the information so that you can reduce the busy work and free up your time. We live in an incredible digital era that makes it easier than ever to manage business expenses and other information. Consider using some of these automation tools:

  • Cloud-Based Accounting: All of your expenses and income can be tracked through a cloud-based accounting program. For the best hands-off solution, pair the automated software with an experienced accounting team. Your accountant will oversee the transactions that are moving through the account, complete regular reconciliations, and finalize the numbers to ensure that you have accurate reports. You can access this information anytime, anywhere through the online software.
  • Invoicing and Bill Tracking: Falling behind on your invoicing means that you will have a hard time managing cash flow. Unfortunately, invoicing sometimes falls to the backburner when other matters are more pressing. Instead, look for a solution that makes it easy to automate your invoicing. Often, this feature can be incorporated into your accounting software. You can also talk to your accounting team to get recommendations that work well with the rest of your accounting system.
  • Tracking Receipts: There is no reason that you should have a shoebox full of receipts and spending documents. Instead, implement a paperless filing system so that you don’t have the clutter of so much paper in the office. Dropbox can be a great solution to consider. Sign up for paperless statements, or take a picture or scan of each receipt/invoice, then file everything in an organized folder. This information can be shared easily with your accounting team for reconciliations.
  • Password Manager: Do you have the same password for every account so that you can remember the logins? If you are still using your pet’s name for your password, then it is time to make some changes. Passwords should be long and strong with multiple letters, numbers, and characters. Use an encrypted tool such as 1Password or Roboform to keep track of the credentials. Never store your passwords on a Post-It note or in a spreadsheet that can be accessed by other people.
  • Admin Tasks: Simple tasks can be outsourced to freelancers. For example, you shouldn’t be dedicating time to write blog posts or social media updates. Hire a freelancer to handle these tasks so that you have regular online publishing without spending hours every week on the task. You can find affordable help through freelancing websites, allowing you to access people with applicable skills and many years of experience with the tasks that you need.

Daily Tasks

Other tasks need to happen around the office to keep things going. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the tedious work. Instead, assign tasks to your staff or bring in outsourced services to help. These are some of the daily tasks that you can automate so that you don’t have to worry about the details:

  • Office Cleaning: You shouldn’t have to take out the garbage on your way out the door at night. Hire a cleaning service to scrub down the bathrooms, manage the garbage, and water the plants. These baseline tasks should always be addressed so that you don’t waste brain power thinking about these things.
  • Lunch Orders: It can take a lot of time to leave the office so that you can find something for lunch. Instead of spending an hour away from your desk, consider the option to have a pre-paid meal delivery service. You can submit your order in advance, and then the meal will show up in your office at the planned time. This service allows you to take a shorter lunch break because you don’t need to spend any time in the car.
  • Landscaping: If you own the building for your company, then it is essential that you invest in a good landscaping team. These services are helpful so that you can keep up with the outdoor appearance of the building. Remember: the curb appeal of your office will set the first impression when people come to visit. So, you need to make sure that you are setting the right tone for current and potential customers.
  • Snow Removal: Businesses located in cold areas need to also think about snow removal services. Often, these services are offered through landscaping companies. Instead of showing up an hour before the office opens so that you can shovel the sidewalks, it is nice to come to work and find that the snow has already been cleared.

Customer Management

There is no doubt that your customer relationships are the most important resource to your company. Maintaining positive relationships with your customers will increase the likelihood that people will come back in the future when they are ready to purchase again. Because customers are so important, business owners often dedicate a lot of time to customer management activities.

These are a few ways that you can automate customer interactions to reduce the time that you need to spend on these tasks each week:

  • Customer Service: It is important to provide fast, quality customer service. But, that doesn’t mean that you need to spend your day responding to emails or answering the phones. These tasks can be assigned to an employee. Or, you can outsource using websites such as Help Scout or Ruby Receptionist. Basic admin tasks can be handed off to these services, freeing up your time to focus on other important tasks for business growth.
  • Managing Communication: You need to be proactive to manage communication with your current and potential customers. One of the best things that you can do is put together an autoresponder series so that regular emails are sent. These messages should be personal and engaging, helping customers see that you are interested in their satisfaction.
  • CRM: One way that you can improve the personalization in your company is by implementing a database that tracks customer information. A good system will help you keep up with details such as the person’s birthday, their shopping history, and how much they have spent with your company. Then, you can send out personalized emails on birthdays or anniversaries. Additionally, you can offer discounts or coupons that are catered to their shopping habits.

Why You Need Small Business Automation

Automating these tasks in your company can give you the time and energy to level up your business results. If you are micro-managing every small detail, then you are stunting the growth of your company. Instead, you need to put the right systems in place so that you can automate these tasks. Letting go of some of the daily busy work will free up your schedule.

What will you do with the extra time? When you aren’t loaded down with busy work, then you can spend that time on business development. Research new product ideas, look for ways to boost your current services or optimize the office to improve results for your customers.

Another option is to spend your time building relationships. Forming the right business relationships is a valuable step to open up options for the future. You can’t put a price on important relationships. But, it can be hard to form these solid relationships if you are too busy working on the minor details in your company.

Our team at Easier Accounting understands the importance of small business automation. So, we are working hard to make it as easy as possible for you to manage your accounting and bookkeeping. We offer a wide range of services that will simplify your business management and make it easier than ever to help your business grow.

Whether you need help with basic bookkeeping tasks or you are looking for tax-strategy advice, we are here to offer the assistance that you need. You are welcome to contact us anytime for more information about the services that we offer. We’ve worked hard to identify the best solutions that will maximize results for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Call our team at Easier Accounting to see how we can help with your business automation systems: (888) 620-0770