We were happy to announce a couple weeks back that we are certified in QuickBooks Online. Once Certified by QuickBooks they call us Pro-Advisors. QuickBooks is the leading accounting software and as Accountants & CPAs we are working in QuickBooks constantly. So, we know the software & have the accounting knowledge to use this tool for your best benefit. Now as official Pro-Advisors we can better serve you by:
- Being trained by QuickBooks to better answer questions & help resolve issues.
- Having support help from QuickBooks.
- Offering discounts on QuickBooks online products.
- Offer QuickBooks classes so you too can have a better understanding of QuickBooks
We can now be found on QuickBooks “Find-a-ProAdvisor” website, http://proadvisor.intuit.com/quickbooks-pro/bridget-van-landingham. If you are looking for someone to help you with your QuickBooks, from taking it over fully for you to training you to do what you need to do, please contact us or another Pro-Advisor. We are here to help you keep an eye on the fiscal health of your business.
The holiday season is over, we have prepared all the necessary year end forms & now our minds turn to Tax Season. As small business owners this task, among all the others, can seem a bit much. Here are 5 tips to help in preparation for this year’s Tax Season & many more.
- Don’t mix business with pleasure – We have all heard that before. When it comes to your business finances that is very true. Personal expenses that you claim as a business expense are analyzed by the IRS and can create more issues than you think. Co-mingling your business & personal funds pierce the corporate vail. Which can mean that business audit now includes your personal records as well. You should always maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business.
- Record keeping is key – Proper record keeping can reduce your bill from your CPA as well as ensure your taxes are filed correctly & to your best benefit. Keep track of receipts for deductions as these are also needed in times of Audits.
- Don’t make mistakes that could really cost you…an audit, to be seen as non-compliance or even penalties and back taxes. – Be sure you are classifying your Employees & Independent Contractors correctly, there is a big difference in the eyes of the IRS. If you have a home based business be sure you qualify & that you know which deductions you can & can’t take.
- Get your credits – Be sure you are taking advantage of all tax credits available to you. From the Small Business Jobs Act to the Affordable Care Act there are still some small business tax credits to utilize. For example, the Affordable Care Act allows for tax credits to help small businesses cover some of their cost in health care. For 2014 the tax credit increased to 50%.
- Provide & update – If your tax professional sends you a tax organizer we recommend you fill it out & send it back. This allows your tax professional to be sure they have all the right answers. Schedule a tax planning meeting to discuss not only your current filing year situation, but plans for the future such as succession planning.
We of course recommend you work with a tax professional for the best results, but these are things you as a small business owner can do or should know. We wish you happy prepping & us a happy tax season. If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our tax professionals please feel free to contact us, we are here to help.
For additional information, tax tips and current year tax deductions visit:
Some people say January is a good month for reflecting. I do my reflecting in December so I can start making adjustments for the New Year. Either way, it is important to take the time to evaluate the past year, make clear decisions for the upcoming year, rally the troops & set sail for a better course.
End 2014 with a cleansing:
- Prepare to roll your old work files over – It feels less overwhelming when your files are not overflowing.
- Ensure your payables & billing are all in good order & you are ready to close your calendar year books.
- Review staff – As Small Business Owners we sometimes find it hard to be the bad guy, but eliminating staff that aren’t carrying their weight can lower overhead & boost morale.
- Review all your policies, from insurance to internal policies, we often forget to look back at these to ensure they are up to date.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis, this will ease the planning process.
- Create a marketing plan for the New Year, it isn’t that hard, “A dream written down with a Date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into Steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by Action makes your dreams come true”. Greg S. Reid
- Create a budget for the New Year too.
- Rank your clients & fire those “D” clients. They are not making you successful so make room for someone who might.
- Prepare a list of the clients you do want & develop a plan to go after them.
The list can & should go on. Once you have gone through the cleansing stage, you will feel more organized & empowered to tackle 2015. Spend some time thinking about what went well, what you wish to avoid, areas that need improvement, etc. The most important thing is to have a clear direction set in your mind. Then bring in the rest of your team & review the past year with them as well as the clear path to even greater success!
Come out swinging in 2015!
Be strong & determined to reach your goals. I have seen this saying on social media & have adopted it as part of my 2015 success campaign: “Be Stubborn About Your Goals, And Flexible About Your Methods”. I wish you great success in 2015!
As the end of the calendar year rapidly comes to a close, two things loom in the minds of people across the country: holiday plans and tax season! Tax preparation and planning should be well under way for both individuals and businesses. If not, you had better put that at the top of your list of things to start immediately!
As always, a new tax season means new and amended tax laws to consider. A major component of tax law this year is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its many aspects. Everyone should read up on the new provisions and how they may affect their personal or professional tax returns. In an effort to keep the small business community in St. Augustine, FL mindful of some of the key rules and regulations that may affect their businesses, we have listed a few main points of the ACA.
- Employer shared responsibility: the “employer mandate”: This mandate, which is also referred to as the “Pay or Play” regulations apply to employers’ group health plans. This will be effective in 2015 for applicable large employers (ALE) with an average of at least 100 full time or full time equivalent employees. Midsized employers (at least 50 but less than 100 full time and full time equivalent employees) will see this go into effect in 2016. This provision requires ALE’s to pay a penalty if they fail to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to all of its full time employees and their dependents. We encourage all businesses to speak with their tax professionals to calculate what their total full time and full time equivalent employee count is based on 2014 data.
- Code sec. 45R Credit: For our qualified small businesses that have fewer than 25 full time equivalent employees with average wages of less than $50,800 (for 2014), this tax credit may be taken to help offset the cost of health insurance offered to employees. Another qualification is that the employer must pay at least half of the cost of single coverage for their employees. Effective for tax year 2014, a credit of up to 50% of premiums paid for qualified small-business employers and up to 35% for small tax-exempt employers. Please check with us or your tax professional for accurate employee count calculations and whether your business qualifies for this credit.
- Self-insured individuals: Be aware that you may be required to pay a fee to help fund the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.
- Additional Medicare Tax: Another ACA mandate increases the employee share of Medicare tax by 0.9% on wages or compensation that exceed $200,000 (for single taxpayers), $250,000 (for married joint filing taxpayers). This is also the case with self-employment income.
- W2 Filing: You may be required to report the value of health insurance coverage provided to your employees on their W-2 form at year end.
As always, you should check with us or your tax professional for all your tax-related questions and concerns. Other sources of information can be found at www.irs.gov and www.healthcare.gov.
Accountingtoday.com,” Year-End Planning: Affordable Care Act Considerations”, George G. Jones and Mark A. Luscome
I have been lucky enough to have experienced working professionally in Corporate America, Government & Small Business. Believe it or not there are some similarities & of course big differences. I have now owned my own small business for nine years. I have seen it from all sides, however, I am naturally drawn to anything small business it seems.
How Eavesdropping Started It All
One day I was working in operations management for a particular industry. I often walked the halls when I had time to ensure I was visible & approachable to all staff members. Along a few of these walks, I overheard several of our staff in phone conversations that seemed to be about something other than the services we provided. I later returned & inquired. I was right, all about other operational issues of which I happened to be able to answer from the top of my head. I went back to my office & as I sat back down in my chair it was like the moons of my mind began to align.
- Over the years I have certainly found myself in situations I felt uneasy to handle due to lack of knowledge, time, resources, etc.
- I cannot begin to tell you the insanely wide range of issues I have & still deal with daily. At least I can say every day is truly a different day.
- I am most proud of my ability to build a strong, happy, talented team. That is evident in my own success.
- It can be lonely at the top. However, that cannot be a reason to begin to interrupt the needed employee/employer balance!
- The smaller the business the deeper the cut. Meaning, the effect of something on a Small Business can be much greater than on a larger business. For example, the employee pool may be shallow enough that the owner opens themselves or wasted money is truly money from the dinner table.
- Every (small) business owner needs a “business manager” or at least could benefit from one. Especially someone who understands all this & more.
At its peak, the thought was clear. “I will open a small business for small businesses, I can help them with so many operational issues”. Then I thought, “I could create a small business resource center based on their needs & requests”. By build a strong, happy, talented team of specialists in the main operational areas such as Accounting, Human Resources, Marketing & Management.” I love a small business win-win!
Years later, I am the CEO of BSU, a small business resource center headquartered in St. Augustine. BSU has grown and continues to grow as we help small businesses.