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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

Accounting Tips for Work-From-Home Business Owners

Whether you are working on a tax filing or you are putting together an ongoing bookkeeping system, it is important that you consult with an accounting professional for help with your business financials. Staying ahead of the reports and tracking will set your company up for success.

Many business owners have great ideas for their company, but they don’t have the business or financial training to put together a solid system. So, hiring a qualified accounting team can be a valuable way for you to overcome the hurdles of good financial management.

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If you own a business and you work out of your home, there are even more considerations that need to be looked at. Here are a few things to think about when you are working on accounting and bookkeeping for your small, home-based business:

Stay Consistent with Ongoing Tracking

Bookkeeping often falls to the backburner because there are many other “front office” responsibilities that are demanding your time. Do you often find that you are falling behind on regular bookkeeping tasks? It might not seem like a high priority to update your financial reports or categorize recent spending. But, these things are critical if you want to optimize your tax return at the end of each year.

Instead of letting your bookkeeping efforts fall to the backburner, you might consider the advantages of hiring a bookkeeping service to help. Outsourcing the busy work will free up your time to focus on other responsibilities. Additionally, you will be able to cut back on your work hours so that you can focus on your family instead of working away all the hours of your life.

Separate Business and Personal

Most people know that they need to have a separate bank account for their business, but they don’t put in the effort to setup another account. As a work-from-home business owner, you should never let your business and personal finances mix! It is important that you keep a clean separation so that you can easily distinguish business transactions from personal spending.

The best solution is to set up a separate bank account as well as a checking account, credit card, PayPal account, and any other financial accounts that might be needed for your company. Then, you can cut yourself a paycheck or a make a monthly withdrawal that is transferred to your personal bank account when it is time to get paid.

Another important separation is to have a dedicated workspace. Even if you are moving from the desk to the couch with your laptop, you still need to make sure that you have an area that is a dedicated office. If you choose to use a portion of your rent or mortgage as a tax deduction, then you need to ensure that you have a dedicated space for business purposes.

KISSO: Keep it Simple Starting Out

If you are just getting your business off the ground, make it a point to keep everything simple and easy to understand. Some people jump in and complicate things with the formation of a corporation or other decisions that make it harder to keep up with the financial details of your company.

As your business is getting off the ground, you might consider keeping it as a sole proprietorship until you hit a certain level of growth. Your accountant can provide personalized advice to help you identify the best time to transfer from a sole proprietorship to a corporation or other legal entity.

By keeping it simple in the beginning, you will be able to avoid the headache of certain tax paperwork, multiple filings, and other legal requirements for small business owners.

Invest in High-Quality Software

In the beginning, it might be easy to track your business expenses on a spreadsheet. But, you will need a better financial system as your company grows.

Plan ahead for this growth by choosing a high-quality accounting and bookkeeping software. Even if it seems like overkill right now, you will be glad that you thought ahead when your business expands. It can be a hassle to transition from a spreadsheet system to an accounting program, so you can reduce your future stress by getting it done right in the first place.

One drawback to a spreadsheet system or another form of manual accounting is that you might easily miss transactions or lose important paperwork. Tracking everything is imperative, and you need to make sure that you can back up any tax claims in case you are ever audited in the future. Using a high-quality system will ensure that you are keeping up with the details, helping to protect yourself if any questions arise from the IRS.

Plan for the Future

Small business owners often get narrow-minded in their thinking. It is easy to be caught up in the current situations that you are working on, and forget how your decisions today will impact the success of your company in the future.

Each time you make a big business decision or you are working with your accountant, make sure that you have your future business goals in mind. Think about the things that you would like to do with your company in the future, and make sure that your decisions coincide with the goals that you are working to achieve.

An experienced accounting team can be a valuable asset to help you reach your goals. Since your accountant has worked with many other small business owners in similar situations, their experience can guide you through the process and help you avoid common roadblocks.

You need to be considering your long-term business plan for 5, 10, and 20 years in the future. At the same time, also look at the details to determine how your company will fare in the next 1, 3, and 6 months. If there are seasonal fluctuations in your industry, then you need to make sure that you are managing your cash flow so that you have the resources that will be needed during the slower season.

Anticipate Major Expenses

How often do you feel that you are just getting ahead of the cash flow problems when another major expense pops up? If you aren’t expecting these big expenses, you might be running into issues that could have been prevented.

What types of expenses are we talking about? It depends on your industry. But, examples of big expenses that might catch you off guard include tax payments, buying computers, payroll, major events, machinery upgrades, travel costs, and more.

Look ahead to see if you can identify any specific expenses that are on the horizon over the next few months. Then, talk to your accounting team to be sure that you are managing your cash flow in a way to support these expenses as needed. These major expenses are often unavoidable, but you can avoid the stress by preparing with appropriate budgeting and a back-up reserve of cash.

Track Your Deposits

Your business account might have a variety of deposits coming in, such as income, loans, or even a cash infusion from your personal savings account. Make sure that you track these expenses to avoid paying taxes on money that isn’t income.

At the end of the year, it is common to include all deposited funds in the income totals. If some of the transactions weren’t actual income deposits, then you can exclude those numbers from the tax calculations. But, the only way to know this information is to stay consistent with your tracking throughout the year. If you mistakenly count a non-income transaction as income, then you will be paying taxes on money that has already been taxed in the past.

Stay Ahead of Tax Deadlines

Everyone knows that their taxes need to be filed by April 15th each year, but many people have a hard time keeping up with other tax deadlines that are due throughout the year. Most small business owners need to send quarterly tax payments, and there might be other deposits for employee withholdings and more.

It can be a challenge to keep up with everything that you need to know. That’s why the simplest solution is to hire an experienced accounting team to handle these details for you. These outsourcing services will ensure that you never miss a deadline, helping you to avoid headaches, penalties, and fees.

Talk to the Experts at Easier Accounting

Are you ready for more information about how you can improve the financial outlook for your small business? It is essential to have an experienced accounting team available to help you.

Here at Easier Accounting, we specialize in small business financial services. We have many years of experience in this industry, and we would love to apply that experience to help your company. Instead of only offering basic tax filing once a year, we provide a fully-supportive accounting team that is available to you all year long.

Learn about how these services will help you prepare for future growth in your company! We will gladly customize our accounting services to meet your needs. You are welcome to contact us anytime to learn more about how our services can help your business: (888) 620-0770

Day-To-Day Accounting Tips For Small Businesses

Accounting is an important function in any business. The right accounting processes and practices are critical to the smooth running of any company, no matter its size. In this blog post, we are going to focus on important accounting tips that small businesses can’t afford to ignore

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Stay on top of your payments

With a small business you can keep track of your day-to-day finances by keeping an eye on your bank account. However, when you need to qualify why big purchases were made, it’s important to have accurate records of purchases and any cash that is reimbursed to employees. By keeping a close eye on your cash flow, you will never be in a position where you don’t have enough funds to cover your costs. It’s also a good practice to uphold even when your business starts to grow, and you no longer have to worry about meeting your running costs.

Invoice regularly and accurately

One of the most important accounting tips to remember is that invoicing is the lifeblood of any business. Clients will only pay when they receive an invoice. Invoices are not just payment prompts, they are also an accurate record of the work performed by your business. They are important records of your transactions and as such should always be accurate.

Check on the health of your business

Regularly scheduling profit and loss statements help to keep track of how your business is performing. They give you an overview of all the areas of your business and can indicate areas where more attention is needed or highlight under-performing sectors that could become bigger issues in the future.

Keep track of your taxes

One of the most sensible accounting tips and a common practice in the accounting industry is deducting taxes at the time of sale or when the payroll is generated. If this is not done promptly, it opens up a wider margin for error. It can also place you in the position where you are liable for a large tax lump sum at the end of the tax year, which could jeopardize your business’s cash flow.

Ensure you receive receipts

If your business contributes or makes donations to nonprofit organizations or charities, you could be eligible for a tax deduction. Ensure you receive a valid receipt for every contribution you make, otherwise you might not enjoy the tax write-off.

Consider online accounting services

If you have a small business, it may not make sense to retain the services of a full-time or even part-time accountant. One of the best accounting tips is to consider using online accounting services. All you then have to do as a business owner is log on to access all your digital accounting records. Other benefits include:

  • Time-saving: Using online accounting services frees you up to focus on more important business and financial matters, knowing that your accounting is being taken care of by a team of professionals.
  • Skilled expertise: Online accounting services give you all the expertise of having a highly skilled and knowledgeable accounting team always available, without you having to pay for it 24/7.
  • Top systems: Online accounting services give you access to the top tools in the industry. By using their services, you are essentially investing in their tools and knowledge without having the huge expense of having to buy them for yourself (or do the work yourself).
  • Extra security: Online cloud-based systems create nightly backups and keep track of your records and books, offering you completely encrypted, password-protected security.
  • Complete scalability: With online accounting, you can choose to expand or cut back your services whenever you want – ensuring you always have the financial services you need to achieve your goals.

Companies like Easier Accounting offer flexible online accounting services that businesses of all sizes can use to improve productivity and enjoy significant cost and time-saving advantages. We offer flexible plans that cover services including monthly bookkeeping, audit support, business tax preparation, annual tax planning and payroll.

For more information about the top trends affecting the business and finance world in 2017, download our guide:

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How To Develop A Powerhouse Financial Strategy

Creating a financial strategy is an essential part of any business’s success. A financial strategy often forms part of a much larger business plan and sets out how your business plans to finance its overall operations in order to meet its objectives now and in the future. It also helps to establish and communicate your business’s operating costs to company executives and investors.

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Accounting Tips: 11 Blogs You Should Be Following

As we approach 2017, we can see that it looks set to continue some of the biggest accounting trends that emerged in 2016 and some interesting new developments are also predicted. To stay on top of what’s happening in the world of accounting and finance, it’s important to have access to the latest accounting tips and industry news.

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To help you with this, we’ve put together some of the most interesting and informative blogs that cover accounting tips and financial information. All these blogs provide well-researched information and insightful opinions that can help you grow your business and attract more clients.

1.  The Accountex Report

The Accountex report is written by Chris Horner and provides technical and marketing information about accounting solutions for small to medium-sized accounting firms. Read it to discover the latest technical information on accounting software, best accounting business practices, and reviews on the latest solutions that will improve your productivity and workflow.

2.  The Accounting Onion

The Accounting Onion literally peels away financial reporting issues one layer at a time and gets right to the heart of every matter. It’s written by Tom Selling, an accounting professor who holds a CPA license. This blog offers well-informed accounting tips and advice.

3.  The Barefoot Accountant

For an “irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, straight-up blog” that gives an insightful yet light-hearted view, read this blog written by William Brighenti. Despite its lighter tone, Brighenti is a public accountant who has taught at many colleges and universities, so you can be sure you’re getting solid advice.

4.  Accounting Web

Edited and primarily written by Seth Fineberg, Accounting Web is a community site for tax and accounting professionals of smaller firms. It offers practical and useful accounting tips coming from the community itself and other thought leaders.

5.  Growth Force

The writer of this blog is Stephen King and it provides up-to-date accounting tips and news and information on how small businesses and nonprofits can use management accounting and financial tools to succeed. Read it to understand how accounting best practices can help your company get to grips with key topics like managing cash flow and bookkeeping.

6.  Accounting Today

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and articles about the accounting and finance world. Used as a resource for CPAs, this blog has lots of useful content for all accountants, no matter what their level of experience.

7.   Going Concern

Caleb Newquist is the writer of this blog and it provides ‘hip’ accounting information. In fact, people have labelled it as the accounting world’s answer to TMZ or the Daily Show. Read it for current topics, including why “dressing professional” is no longer required for the average accountant.

8.  AccountingDepartment.com

The leaders of this blog share their wide experience and industry knowledge in order to cover the most important topics and best practices for small financial businesses. Read it for bookkeeping and controller services advice, and discover the right way of doing things and how to avoid the biggest problems many larger businesses encounter.

9.  Accountant By Day

Written by Kelly, this blog covers the life and musings of the everyday life of an auditor and tax consultant. It is the follow-on of her previous blog, AccountingElf.com, where she wrote about her experiences as an accounting student. Read it for insights into daily accounting and tax issues and the valuable and practical advice Kelly offers.

10.  The Dancing Accountant

Nancy McClelland, CPA, MAFM, is the writer of this blog, which offers advice and industry news to other accountants and financial professionals. Read it for a wide variety of posts covering real-world challenges reflecting Nancy’s extensive experience gained from working with well over a hundred businesses.

11.  His CPA, P.C.

This blog is written by John Dillard and is a financial guide to entrepreneurship in America. If you’re a business owner, read for wisdom and guidance in order to make informed business decisions as you work with best practices and tax laws to build your business.

For more up-to-date information about the top trends affecting the business and finance world in 2017, download our guide below:

 

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What Makes Our Accounting Services Stand Out from the Competition?

Even though there are many accountants available to choose from, it is important that you understand the difference in services that you will receive. As a small business owner, it is essential that you have a financial professional to talk to about your accounting needs. When you are turning to someone for financial advice, you need to make sure that they have the right experience and qualifications to help.

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Modern Accounting Services

Here at Easier Accounting, we are focused on delivering the best quality services to each of our clients. We stay up to date with the trends and changes in the accounting industry, giving you the opportunity to get real-world advice for your business.

Our specialty is accounting services for small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs. We are experienced with specific strategies that can help maintain balance in your business. This strategy can be used to help your business grow to higher levels of success.

Accounting Advice All Year Long

Do you currently have an accountant that is MIA throughout the year? Some accountants only show up when it is time to file annual taxes, and then their time is limited because it is the busy season. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, it can be frustrating to feel like you have nowhere to turn when you have a tax or financial question.

Instead of hiring an accountant that only shows up at tax time, it is better to have a team who is there to offer support throughout the year. Tax time is important, but you need to make sure that your business finances are organized all year long so that you are ready when tax time rolls around.

High-Quality Outsourced Accounting

There is no need to bring in another employee to manage your business finances. Even though it might seem logical to hire an employee, there are many benefits to choosing outsourced accounting instead. An outsourcing service is cheaper than an in-house accountant, helping you to save money on the expenses.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity of tapping into the accounting expertise of a team that has worked with many other businesses. This real-world experience goes a long way to help us offer the best accounting services for your businesses.

Here at Easier Accounting, we have worked hard to be the leader in the accounting industry. We want to show you why our services stand out from the competition. Contact us today to learn more about the options that are available: (888) 620-0770

Holiday Hiring: Employees or Contractors?

The summer is winding down, and the kids are back in school, which means that the holiday months are coming soon. Do you have an increase in sales during the busy holiday months? Many companies find that it is beneficial to hire extra help during the busy season. These people are brought into the company as seasonal help to offer assistance for a specific period.

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Setting the Right Expectations for Holiday Help

If you are hiring seasonal employees or contractors, then it is essential that you set the right expectations from the beginning. It will kill employee morale to be hired and then let go a few months later when the busy season slows down. Don’t mislead the new employees! Instead, explain your intention and share details about the time frame that is available for work.

Analyze Job Description and Daily Work Flow

It is easy to see why some companies choose to hire contractors for seasonal help because these individuals are self-employed. As a result, you don’t have to worry about the headache of employment taxes, new hire paperwork, or any of the other onboarding practices for new employees.

Make sure to look at their working hours and how the individual will be managed. If you are planning to have specific hours that the person is required to work, then you likely need to hire them on as an employee instead of a contractor. Additionally, contractors work unsupervised, and they often have their own work space.

Take some time to understand the differences between an employee and a contract worker. Anytime there is a question about how the person should be hired; you can talk with an accounting professional for advice. This information can help you to have the peace of mind to know that you are staying within the boundaries of the law.

Laws are Different for Contractors and Employees

Employment laws are different for employees and contractors. As the employer, it is your responsibility to be sure that you are keeping up with the laws for the people who are on your team.

Here at Easier Accounting, we can offer the assistance that you need to keep up with the requirements for your employees and contractors. It is important to be sure that you are handling payroll or invoice payments in the right manner to avoid tax problems. For more information about the accounting services that we offer, we invite you to contact our experienced team today: (888) 620-0770