Here are four steps to take:
Most of us breathe a sigh of relief after completing our taxes, knowing that they're done for another year. But for a few businesses and individuals, the tax season continues with an IRS audit. If your business receives an audit notice, it means the IRS wants to review some of your claimed income and deductions to confirm your tax return is correct. But what do you do if you get an audit notice?
Here are four steps to take:
At this point, we've all heard about the accounting firm's snafu that threw a wrench into the 2017 Academy Awards show. Although the firm, PwC, tabulated the results correctly, they accidentally gave the wrong results card to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Beatty and Dunaway announced the incorrect Best Picture result for the first time in Oscar history, causing chaos and panic to ensue.
The accounting firm's mistake teaches us important basic accounting lessons that go beyond crunching numbers. Here are a just of few to keep in mind:
Outsourcing can be a great thing for you as a small business owner. You might find your business growing when you finally accept help. With fewer responsibilities you can get more things done in a shorter period of time, allowing your business to make more money. However, it can be hard to transition and surrender control to others.
Here are some tips to make outsourcing easier:
Starting and running a small business can feel expensive. Along with taxes being high for self-employed entrepreneurs, business owners need to pay day-to-day costs running their business that companies cover.
The good news is, you can write off most or all of these expenses at tax time! With some basic accounting, you can write off business expenses and end up with a much lower tax bill, or even a refund.
You might be asking, what is a business expense? Business expenses are any costs you take on to run your business. They differ from personal expenses, which are expenses for your life outside of your business. Some examples of business expenses you can write off at tax time include:
One of the best ways to keep your company up to date is creating a small business culture that's focused on learning. When your staff continues to learn, they'll stay up on the latest skills and developments in their profession and industry and keep their minds sharp. Sharper employees means greater innovations and fewer mistakes, all important for keeping your company at the forefront of what you do!
Want to create a culture in your small business where staff stay as eager to learn as they were in Kindergarten? Here are 3 things you can do:
As a small business owner, your taxes won't get taken out of your paycheck. If your business owes more than $1000 at tax season, the IRS will require you to pay them by making quarterly tax payments. You pay the IRS and your state government taxes four times per year, based on your estimated annual tax. If you pay these taxes late, you'll incur penalty fees. Your state also requires similar quarterly payments, unless you live in a state without state taxes.
Do most, or all of your company's employees work remotely? If so, your business is a virtual workplace. Virtual workplaces are increasing in popularity with businesses of all sizes, but especially with small companies and entrepreneurs. All that's needed to create a virtual workplace is company software and an internet connection, so small businesses can save on office space and hire employees who live all over the world.
Having a mostly virtual workplace changes your company culture. Here's how to create a small business culture when your staff primarily connects online:
Have regular live video check-ins and meetings. Talking over the phone has its positive sides, but your employees will feel more connected to each other if they can actually see their co-workers faces. Tools like Google Hangouts and Skype make it easy for the staff to see each other and engage remotely. Make sure to plan a mandatory weekly virtual meeting at a set time, and add more as needs come up.
Find common interests staff can connect around virtually. Remote staff might not be able to go out to lunch together, but they can still connect online through a company culture and shared interests. Encourage staff to watch an online lecture or see a movie that's in theaters worldwide that reflects the company culture, and discuss it as a group at the next staff meeting.
Plan an annual in-person retreat. It's important for virtual workplaces to connect in person occasionally. Create a rejuvenating and fun annual retreat where your employees can connect and relax in person together for at least a few days. All of the money your business is saving from not renting office space will help you afford periodically bringing in your staff.
If your business needs any help with financial management and bookkeeping, contact us. We work with small businesses and entrepreneurs with a wide variety of unique cultures.
Starting a new business is an exciting time, full of possibilities. At every juncture, there will be choices to make and one of the decisions to be made in the very beginning is how the accounting will be handled. It's imperative that the company's income and expenses are properly documented. Businesses have the choice of two basic accounting methods, cash accounting or accrual accounting. This decision is often based on the company's resources as well as its financial goals.
For accuracy that leads to financial savings, one of the best decisions your company can make is to outsource the company's back office. An outside team not only helps your finances through reducing expenses and fees at tax time, it saves you all year round. For most small business and entrepreneurs, the day-to-day expenses of hiring an employee are far greater than contracting with another business.
These are four ways using an outsourced company will reduce your company's operating costs:
Tax season is here, and it's time to start getting your business ready to file. Taxes for entrepreneurs and business owners tend to be more complicated than for employees, so we recommend using an accountant to help you file. However, even if you work with an accountant, there are ways to prepare your finances using basic accounting skills that make the process easier and help lower your filing-related costs.
Here are four things we recommend doing before meeting with your accountant:
It's important to have a good business plan for your company, but not all business plans are created equal. The best business plans stay sharp, clear, focused, and manageable. Unfortunately, many business plans instead are vague and unrealistic. Business guru and manager Peter Drucker invented the principles behind SMART goals, goals intended to be more easily achievable for individuals and businesses. When you follow the SMART rubric when creating business goal plans, your business is more likely to succeed.
Here’s what to focus on as you create a SMART business plan:
It's time for a new year, the perfect opportunity to make changes in your business that will help it succeed. If you're a newer or relatively small business, there's a good chance you don't have an expert bookkeeper on your team. If it isn't right at this time for your team to hire a permanent back-end bookkeeper, outsourcing these tasks is a wonderful solution.
Here are three reasons to seriously consider outsourcing these tasks this year:
When your business or venture remains on the relatively small or new side, it often makes great sense to hire your first employees as part-time. The US government defines a part-time worker as an employee who works under 30 hours per week. If you have tasks that need to be done but don't take a full work week to complete, a part-time employee will get the job done without costing as much as a full-time hire.
When working with part-time employees, here are ways to make sure they receive fair employee compensation:
Being a solo entrepreneur, or a small business with just a few employees, can feel a little lonely sometimes. Not having to answer to a boss, and the opportunity to work from anywhere is great, but having a small business culture gets a little difficult.
Fortunately, there's a solution to the loneliness. Did you know that you can work next to other solo entrepreneurs and small startups for a reasonable price? Co-working spaces allow small companies to work together, alongside each other, for less money and more opportunities for fun than traditional office space. At most spaces, you have the option to rent unreserved space, dedicated desks, or even private offices.
Here are three ways a co-working space can help you build an office culture:
Many business owners are finding out that allowing workers to telecommute is one of the best business decisions they can make. The reason is simple: We all want happier staff.
Happier workers are more productive and more appreciative of their jobs. They work harder and stay with companies longer.
Managers and business owners alike are finding that allowing workers to telecommute full-time or even part-time is an easy way to increase employee satisfaction across the board and improve small business culture throughout their organization.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, about half of the US workforce has a job that could easily allow for partial telecommuting and 20 to 25% of workers are currently telecommuting part-time. Of course, 80 to 90% of workers want more telecommute options and would like to work 2 to 3 days or more per week from home.
When you're starting to hire employees as an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may be uncertain how to compensate your employees. Most likely, you've done your research and decided on a ballpark figure of what you'd like to pay each employee, but you may be getting bogged down in different employee classifications. You can make your employees non-exempt or exempt. We'll define each of these terms for you, and how it impacts employee payment.
These employees are classified as nonexempt because they aren't exempt from the Fair Standards Labor Act. In all states, this means your employee is entitled to overtime pay at 1 1/2 times their hourly wage if they work over 40 hours a week. Additional rules apply in certain states, and generally speaking these employees are entitled to a break after a certain number of hours working.
If you hire non-exempt employees, be certain to carefully calculate their overtime pay to avoid running into legal difficulties. You'll also need to keep in mind that it's usually illegal to compensate for overtime with comp time instead of additional pay.
During the holiday season, most entrepreneurs and their employees work harder than ever to make sales during this critical time of year. The holidays also bring an air of festivity and celebration, and a desire to appreciate and give thanks.
Here are some ways you can compensate your employees to thank them for having been a great part of your team this year:
Mel Robbins created the premise for one of the most powerful TED Talks of all time when she couldn’t get out of bed.
Mel is a Human Behavior Specialist and entrepreneur, and created the Five-Second Rule while her and her husband were going through a difficult time in their professionals lives. Today, the video of her TED Talk has clocked more than 7,000,000 views.
Speaking at Xerocon in San Francisco, Mel told how the Five-Second Rule means every time you have an impulse to act on a goal you must physically move within five seconds and act on it in that time frame.
Thinking about calling someone? Five, four, three, two, one, do it. Thinking about going to the gym? Five, four, three, two, one, do it.
As an entrepreneur herself, Mel knows what it’s like to struggle with hesitation. She shared two areas small business owners can use the Five-Second Rule.
Focus - Mel said small business owners are constantly struggling with where to focus their time and their energy. The moment they walk into work, they feel they have lost control of their day. Small business owners should take time at the start of their day to prepare for what’s ahead.
“Force yourself to spend 10 to 15 minutes planning your day and working on the one strategic objective that you keep avoiding before you leave for work,” Mel said.
“Most small business owners wake up, look at their phone and start panicking. You want to grow your business, you’ve got to put the phone down, you’ve got to get up… you’ve got to sit down with a notebook and spend five minutes and think about what you are going to get done today that will help you expand your business.”
Mel said small business owners should clock this time in the morning and use the Five-Second Rule to do it. When your alarm goes off in the morning? Five, four, three, two, one, do it. Get up.
Self-doubt - Mel said small business owners need to put a stop to the self-doubt that will ultimately cripple their small business if it isn’t stifled. The biggest obstacles small business owners face is the worries they place in their head.
“The moment you feel yourself doubting yourself, push it out of your head,” Mel said. “Five, four, three, two, one. Your self-doubt has no place in your business.”
If small business owners use the Five-Second Rule in their business and do away with hesitation, they are sure to thrive.
When you're a new company or a small business, it's tempting to want to try to cut costs by not offering certain employee compensation. Since small businesses with under 50 employees aren't required to offer their employees health coverage, many simply forgo the additional expense. In reality, though, it can save you money in the long run to provide employee health insurance.
Here are three reasons why providing health insurance can save you in the long run:
It's closing time on the last day of a long string of seemingly endless busy days. The last customer walks out the door. As the lock clicks behind them, there is a collective sigh of relief. Another great holiday season is wrapped up (pun intended) and high-fives abound!
As wonderful as that is, the work for an owner/manager is far from done. Now is the time to begin planning how to make next season just as spectacular. With so many things yet to be done, there are certain priority items that need to be checked off the list before you start right in on the next go 'round. Listed below are 3 top items to invest in after the busy season.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, small businesses are gearing up for what many say is their peak time.
According to our recent Holiday Hiring guide, as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales can come in November and December. And with so many people out and about, running errands and doing their Holiday shopping, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) can also experience an uptick in business during the holiday season.
With such a busy period to contend with, many small business owners might need an extra pair of hand to ensure operations run smoothly.
We teamed up with Square to create an ebook which covers how to hire solid seasonal workers, train them quickly, and manage your holiday payroll and cash flow. Download the ebook here.
Here’s a quick summary:
Many seasonal businesses are now entering their busiest seasons. While that's great for your current income, it's also critical that you manage income effectively in order to ensure your cash flow for the entire calendar year. If you're struggling with managing a seasonal business, these tips will help.
1. Prepare Your Budget Early
When you run a seasonal business, you need to create a budget forecast for a year at a time. Then, during your busy season, you'll know how much money you can reasonably allocate to incidental expenses and how much money you need to set aside for expenses that may come up during the rest of the year. Be clear about what things really cost during the off season, whether you're dealing with a store that you shut down when the holidays are over or a rented storage space for unsold merchandise.
Small businesses focus most of their energy and resources on saving time and ensuring that none of their resources go to waste. As much as this is beneficial to them, when it comes to finances, it takes more than savings for these businesses to thrive, and failure to give this aspect due consideration is detrimental to the operations of the firm. Here are some of the common accounting mistakes companies make.
Mixing business and personal finances
It’s easy to grab the wrong card and make a personal purchase on your business card, but don’t make a habit of it. Using your business accounts for personal use, or not creating a separate account will make tracking cash flow a challenge and could suck profit out of your business. Separate your accounts and write yourself paychecks, but don’t mesh your accounts together.
It is no secret that cash-strapped businesses opt for cheap solutions when hiring employees, purchasing technology and buying products, but in the end this becomes expensive for them. When you don’t pay employees enough you will see turnover, which is expensive. Buying low quality technology means having to buy everything again sooner rather than later.
Going it alone
The assumption that one can manage everything in their business either to save on cost or as a passion is a total misconception. Divided attention becomes the order of the day, and this affects operations. If you can’t afford an employee you need to enlist a mentor or someone to run ideas by.
Failure to keep a backup
With so much living in the cloud or as digital files it’s easy to forget to create a backup. When it comes to financial information, client contact information and other important data you want to keep a backup. Data can be lost through computer crashes, accidents and more. Prevent yourself from saying “I should have” and backup today.
Failure to maintain records and receipts
There is a lot of money in and out of business, and you need to know where it’s going. Keep your receipts and keep track of your expenses. Using a bookkeeping service can help to keep you in the black and ready for tax season. It may sound like a lot of work up front but in the end keeping your books up to date will save you time and money.
If you’re ready for help with your business, get started today!
Every business must cope with the issue of keeping track of the budget and money flow both in and out of the company. The best way to handle what can sometimes be a complex, time-consuming job is with a good accounting software, but the options seem endless and the variety of software is astounding. So how can you choose the accounting software to best fit the needs of your business? Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Set a budget
Before you even begin to look at accounting software options, you need to set a budget. Available software ranges in price from less than $100 to more than $1000. You’ll need to decide what your business can afford. If you own a small business, for example, you may be fine with a less expensive option, but if you have a large business with a large amount of accounting needs, you’ll want to budget more. Do not simply go with the least expensive option, but do know your limits.
Wouldn't it be nice to simplify the back-office so other parts of the business can be focused on? Small business owners may find themselves in between hiring a comprehensive CPA service and using their own unique systems, neither fitting their businesses' needs very well. Really, saving time is the same as saving money, and making workflow processes easier saves time and energy. This is how cloud-based accounting software simplifies the back office.