Feb
03

Tax Tips for the Self-employed

There are many benefits that come from being your own boss. If you work for yourself, as an independent contractor, or you carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor, you are generally considered to be self-employed.

  • Self-employment can include work in addition to your regular full-time business activities, such as part-time work you do at home or in addition to your regular job.
  • If you are self-employed you generally have to pay self-employment tax as well as income tax. Self-employment tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners. Also, you can deduct half of your self-employment tax in figuring your adjusted gross income.
  • If you are self-employed you may have to make estimated tax payments. This applies even if you also have a full-time or part-time job and your employer withholds taxes from your wages. Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. If you fail to make quarterly payments you may be penalized for underpayment at the end of the tax year.
  • You can deduct the costs of running your business. These costs are known as business expenses. These are costs you do not have to capitalize or include in the cost of goods sold but can deduct in the current year. To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.

Dec
28

SMALL BUSINESS HEALTHCARE TAX CREDIT

Are you a small business owner that pays your employees health insurance premiums? If so, you need to make sure that you are taking advantage of The Small Business Healthcare Tax Credit. The credit is for employers paying health insurance premiums on employees. For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit is 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, the rate will increase to 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

Here’s what this means for you. If you pay $50,000 a year toward workers’ health care premiums – and if you qualify for a 15 percent credit, you save … $7,500. If you save $7,500 a year from tax year 2010 through 2013, that’s total savings of $30,000. If, in 2014, you qualify for a slightly larger credit, say 20 percent, your savings go from $7,500 a year to $12,000 a year.

Now that you know how the credit can make a difference for your business, let’s determine if you can claim it.

To be eligble for the credit a small business owner needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Pay at least 50% of the employees single coverage healthcare premiums.
  • Have less than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTE).
  • Pay an average salary of less than $50,000 a year.

Let us break it down for you even more.

You are probably wondering: what IS a full-time equivalent employee. Basically, two half-time workers count as one full-timer. Here is an example, 20 half-time employees are equivalent to 10 full-time workers. That makes the number of FTEs 10 not 20.

Now let’s talk about average wages. Say you pay total wages of $200,000 and have 10 FTEs. To figure average wages you divide $200,000 by 10 – the number of FTEs – and the result is your average wage. The average wage would be $20,000.

Also, the amount of the credit you receive works on a sliding scale. The smaller the business or charity, the bigger the credit. So if you have more than 10 FTEs or if the average wage is more than $25,000, the amount of the credit you receive will be less.

The credit is very helpful and can save an employer a lot of money given they meet the criteria for claiming this credit. Forgot to claim the credit for 2010? Don’t worry it’s not too late an amended return can be done to account for this credit. Make sure you are taking advantage of this tax credit. Need help calculating this credit or filing for this credit please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you.

Dec
09

Effective Personal Money Management Tips

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, J.D. Roth, a self-proclaimed accidental personal-finance expert, suggests five tips in securing personal financial security regardless of the flailing economy. I believe these are excellent tips to incorporate into some of your decision making when managing your personal finances.

1. Stash savings. Many individuals have lost their jobs with no savings buffer to fall back on.  While many different sources recommend how much money you should save in a fallback account, Roth says the exact amount doesn’t matter.  It’s just important that you have enough to prevent unemployment panic.

2. Limit debt. Roth explains, “A mortgage isn’t a bad thing, and neither are student loans.  A car loan is borderline, though, and borrowing to buy a television is foolish.”

3. Practice thrift. Some of the richest people in America are thrifty, so it shouldn’t be considered a poor-man’s practice.  In fact, frugality is a good habit even in economically “fat” years when most individuals experience “lifestyle inflation.”  To embark on a frugal life, Roth recommends starting by reducing regular monthly expenses.

4. Invest wisely. Roth says, “Don’t let the news lead you to make emotional decisions.  …be sure your investment portfolio matches your risk tolerance.”  Do the research and stick with those financial investments that best suit your financial philosophy.

5. Ignore financial news. Roth uses the example of the housing bubble during which time many individuals followed the media hype and invested in real estate only to encounter its collapse, a reality that has left many in foreclosure.  As mentioned in tip number four, it’s important that you ponder your financial decisions and how they relate to your personal situation without giving in to the media hype, positive or negative.

Dec
13

Bookkeeping

Too often business owners are so preoccupied with select parts of the accounting process that they don’t realize just how valuable all that financial information can be. Some business owners focus on preparing the yearly tax statement. Others may worry about that and their cash flow. And others still may just balance their checkbooks. If you choose to have us do your accounting, we can do all that and more. And most importantly, we can help you become more profitable.

It really is quite simple. First you need a reputable accountant, what we like to call a Profit and Growth Expert, to determine your business goals. These goals may include, but are not limited to, growth expectations, marketing plans, profit margins, and overall labor expenses. We ask important questions like, what do you want? And why do you want it?

Here is a technical way of looking at bookkeeping:

Bookkeeping: The practice involved in the systematic recording of transactions affecting a company, beginning with the data-entry process and ending with the preparation of financial statements. The art, practice, or labor involved in the systematic recording of the transactions affecting a business.
http://www.know-accounting.com/glossary/index.php?terml=b&termid=29

In layman’s terms, bookkeeping is the practice of determining which numbers are important to you and your business. Once that’s decided, we can set up a customized system that will organize the information you want and need. This is how we will come up with Your Accounting System.

Dec
13

Profit and Growth Expert

We trust that if you were forming a team for an upcoming golf tournament, you would want to recruit the best.

Although we may not be the best golfer, we do take our job as your Profit and Growth Expert just as seriously. While our goal is not to minimize your golf swings, we do aim to maximize your profit dollars. This entails a monthly analysis of your financial results, consultation in areas of profit improvement, and the implementation of strategies designed to lower your tax liability.

Together, we will examine past experiences, determine where you want your business to go, and discuss how that can happen. That’s our role as your Profit and Growth Expert.

Dec
13

Being In the Black

Being in the black can mean a lot of different things. For most business owners, it means being profitable. When a business owner sets out on a new venture, establishing a profitable business is one, if not the only, driver. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs get lost in the day-to-day tasks of running the business and forget their main purpose.

As your accounting professional and Profit and Growth Expert we apply The Universal Business Model to help maximize the profitability of your business. Each month we apply our financial expertise, combined with access to a variety of analytical tools, to assess your business’s financial position and progress.

wisdom-pyramidWith our help you can improve your business’s financial position using  The Wisdom Pyramid.  Here’s a short list of what you will accomplish:

  • Know how your business stacks up against the competition using the professional business assessment we provide.
  • Recognize your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and use that awareness to improve your profitability.  Consider this a Day with your CFO.
  • Identify trends that expose what is both helping and hindering to your business.
  • Take advantage of tax benefits through regular reviews of your tax position.

By gathering the necessary information through the bookkeeping and accounting process, we will analyze the data and help you make the changes required to improve your business’s profitability. Whether you need a financial audit or review, we can help move your business forward.

Dec
13

Tax Planning & Preparation

There’s one distinguishing difference between tax planning and tax preparation: December 31st. In order to be beneficial, tax planning must occur before the end of the year while tax preparation can only take place after year’s end. Although we can’t promise to eliminate taxes, our tax planning and preparation services will help you minimize them.

Tax planning is an important step in reducing taxes. Together, throughout the year, we will discuss various tax strategies that could potentially save you thousands of dollars. This will enable you to make all the necessary adjustments before the end of the year so that you have some control over how much you pay in taxes.

Then, after year’s end and with your help, we will see that your taxes are professionally prepared in a timely fashion in order to avoid ate fees. In order to provide you with such services, we have certified Professional Tax Preparers on staff that will assess your tax liability.

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Dec
13

Why Outsource Your Accounting

Accounting is a core business function. Without accounting, a business is sure to fail. With accounting, a business might survive. With accounting managed by a Profit Center Expert, a business is certain to succeed.

You’re probably already familiar with the bleak forecast for new small businesses. While failure rates have decreased considerably in the last few years, recent studies from the Small Business Administration (SBA) indicate that one third of new employer establishments fail within the first two years, and 56% fail within four years.

Poor financial management is often cited as the reason for most small business failures. Often the business owner or a member of the business team manages this crucial function because they want to maintain complete control of their business, they’re afraid that outsourcing the accounting would be too expensive, or a combination of the two. What they don’t realize is that outsourcing is a useful management tool that can save a business both time and money while preventing potential failure. And when you outsource to the right accountant, it can be the difference between base survival and profitable success.

The Benefits

There are countless benefits you enjoy when outsourcing your accounting. Here are just a few:

Save Yourself Time. You’re in business because you’re good at what you do. Your expertise involves the product and/or service you offer. And we’re guessing your expertise is not accounting. So if you, or anyone on your team, spend time managing your business’s finances, that’s time that could be better spent building your business.

In order to be competitive you must constantly be looking for ways to improve and expand your products and/or services, better market your business, and stay ahead of your competition. When you and your team focus time and attention on the accounting, that’s time not spent on these crucial tasks. When you outsource the accounting to a trusted professional, you can use that time to make your business the best it can be.

Save Yourself Money. We all know time is money. The average small business owner spends over 10 hours personally, each month, accounting for the business. If your average billing rate is $50 per hour, you may be spending more than five hundred dollars’ worth of your time! Chances are you easily can pay for a good accountant and then some with all that money.

Gain Access to Valuable Accounting Expertise, Equipment, and Technology. Reputable accountants have the expertise to not only save you money, but to make your business more profitable. In addition to that, they have access to equipment and technology that most small businesses can’t afford. They will use their resources to your advantage and save you the time and headache of doing it yourself.

Gain Access to Profit-Building Information. A truly valuable accountant is also a Profit Center Expert. They analyze financial data in order to assist you in making profitable decisions for your business. A Profit Center Expert can inform you which products and/or services to expand, which to eliminate, whether your marketing attempts are successful, where you’re loosing money, and where to cut back in order to save and redirect funds in order to become more profitable.

Call us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can customize a package of services that is competitively priced and designed to save you time, energy, and headache. We offer the following services:

Accounts Payable

  • Input vendor invoices to payable system
  • Classify invoices to the proper G/L account
  • Request and maintain vendor W-9 information
  • Maintain vendor master files
  • Respond to vendor inquiries about payment status
  • Retrieve copies of payments as necessary
  • Prepare and file required 1099 forms
  • Process requests for stop payments when necessary
  • Cut checks to vendors based on due dates or client instruction
  • Reconcile vendor statements to accounts payable ledger
  • Reporting to organization on detailed aged payables and cash requirements
  • Process year-end 1099 forms

Accounts Receivable

  • Prepare and mail billings as needed (all billings provided to client for approval prior to mailing)
  • Record and account for revenue
  • Input receivable transactions into the accounting system
  • Prepare and deliver periodic statements
  • Issue client-approved credit memos and refund checks
  • Maintain subsidiary receivables ledger
  • Process client-approved adjustments
  • Apply cash received to customer accounts and resolve “short pays”
  • Perform low-level phone collections as needed by client

Cash management

  • Process daily sales and deposit reports
  • Verify daily deposits and report variances
  • Reconcile and verify credit card deposits
  • Reconcile monthly bank statements

Journal entry and general ledger

Account reconciliations

Payroll

  • Time cards, after approval, will be scanned and uploaded prior to payday
  • Complete payroll while client prints, signs and distributes paychecks
  • Prepare employee earnings statements complete with current pay period and year-to-date wages, taxes, and adjustments
  • Prepare department summaries of month-to-date payroll data in addition to customized reports specific to client
  • Prepares timely and accurate notifications of tax liabilities and deposits
  • Completes year-end W-2 forms
  • Respond to requests for employee verifications
  • Process and submit garnishment payments
  • Respond to employee payroll inquiries
  • Prepare and file new hire reporting to state
  • Prepare, file, and pay all federal, state, and local payroll taxes
  • Reconcile health insurance payments and make payroll deductions when required
  • Prepare necessary HR reports such as turnover
  • Allocate payroll expenses for multi-store employees
  • Prepare and process payroll accruals when necessary

Monthly Closing

Fixed assets accounting & depreciation

Monthly financial analysis and reports

Yearly Business Assessments

Don’t wait another day to partner with a Profit Center Expert (PCE) and make your business more successful. Do what you love to do more; let your PCE take care of the rest. Call now for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Dec
13

Your Own Accounting System

You want an accounting system that gives you peace of mind while increasing your bottom line. We’re guessing that you also want to reduce taxes, improve cash flow, and manage your business more profitably.

That’s what we do best! Work with us, and select the accounting system that best suits your business’s needs:

  1. Receive training to use a system exclusively designed for your business, OR
  2. Have us completely manage a custom-designed system at an affordable cost

What Can We Do for Your Business

Wholesale / Retail / Service
Have complete control systems for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Inventory.

TV / Automotive / Furniture
Properly account for Contracts in Transit, Bank Reserve Accounts, and Flooring of Products for Resale (inventory financing). Maintain control of income and expenses.

Manufacturing
Control Raw Materials, Direct Labor, Work in Progress, and Finished Goods. Keep expenses categorized into Manufacturing and General Overhead areas.

Construction
Easily track profits or losses on each job in progress. Control cash flow based on percentages of completion. Minimize losses from under-billings created through change orders.

Professional
Control expenses and income for year-end savings. Take advantage of conversion from cash-to-accrual accounting. Manage Accounts Receivable and improve Collections.

Food / Cafe / Beauty
Utilize a combination of Cash and Accrual statements. Have a low-cost, low-maintenance accounting system.

Enjoy an accounting system designed specifically for your business that shows where you stand at all times. Simplify the books that maintain all your financial data:

  • Cash Receipts
  • Deposits
  • Charge Accounts
  • Credit Purchases
  • Cash Purchases
  • Bank Reconciliations
  • Depreciation
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Inventory Control
  • Reconciliations
  • Income Statements
  • Balance Sheets
  • Individual Accounts Receivable Records
  • Individual Accounts Payable Records
  • Payroll Journal
  • Individual Payroll Records
  • Property, Plant and Equipment Records

Incredible Benefits You Will Enjoy

Your accounting system will be tailored to your business. You can do it, I can do it, or we can do it together.

Your bookkeeping/accounting costs will be substantially reduced.

Your personnel will be free to produce more profits for you.

We can help you acquire funding for your business through financing, investors, and other means.

You will receive properly-designed financial statements that will allow you to manage your business efficiently and help you better plan for the future.

Choose from hand-posted or computerized programs specifically tailored to meet your accounting needs.

Streamline the accounting task, and free up your valuable time. [Consider this: the average small business owner spends over 10 hours personally, each month, accounting for the business. If your average billing rate is $50 per hour, you may be spending more than $500 of your time per month.]

How Would You Describe Your Business?

  • Steady and stable
  • Growing fast
  • Hanging in there
  • Brand new

If your business is steady and stable or growing fast, then congratulations! But IT IS POSSIBLE for your business to improve and generate more profits!

If you’re just hanging in there, you can turn things around . . . FAST!

If your business is brand new, don’t make expensive mistakes that will mean be the difference between success and failure!

No matter which of these groups describes your business, you can benefit from these small business services that can save you both time and money!

Dec
13

Your Management Controls

Would you ever drive your car blindfolded? Obviously, not!

Nonetheless, every day millions of business owners drive their businesses without knowing their financial locations: where they have been, where they are, and where they are going. That sure sounds blindfolded to us.

As your profit and growth expert, our primary role is to ensure that you have the historical data that will tell you where you have been and where you currently are. With that information we can provide a professional consultation that will help you determine where you want to go while creating an action plan that will help you get there.

With this 360 degree view of your business, you can plan effectively and then track your progress against your goals. It will also help you anticipate obstacles so that, when encountered, you can easily maneuver around them rather than allowing them to slow you down.

With our help you can’t go wrong.