Social security is one of those topics that seems to be minimized by statements like, “You can’t count on it,” and “By the time you reach retirement age, it won’t matter.” Those statements are not only incorrect; they contribute toward a lack of education on what’s possible.

Social security is still a large part of how most seniors will be able to fund their final 20 to 30 years of life. The options we take toward claiming the benefits that are rightly ours are often permanent and can affect our lives and our finances significantly, often by tens of thousands of dollars.

No matter your age today, here are three things you’ll want to dive deeper into when the time is right for you.

Claim date

For retirement purposes, most people will claim their social security payouts any time from age 62 to age 70. It’s your choice to decide when you make the claim and start your benefits. But, and it’s a very big but, the amount you get each month will vary depending on your claim date. Generally, the later you wait, the higher your payout will be.

The federal retirement age for social security purposes depends on when you were born and creeps up a little each year. If you were born in 1954, your retirement age is 66 years old. If you file your social security claim on your retirement age, you’ll get 100 percent of your benefit. If you claim at 70, you’ll get 132 percent of your benefit, which can make a huge difference in payout over your lifetime: tens of thousands of dollars of difference. If you claim early at age 62, you’ll get far less.

Taxability

Your social security income may be taxable if you earn income in the same years you are collecting social security and if you surpass an earnings threshold. This takes many seniors by surprise. There are ways to plan for this, and they are so specific to each family circumstance and often so complicated that software has been developed to calculate all of the situations.

Eligibility

The amount of your social security payment is affected by dozens of factors, including family members’ ages, how much they paid into social security, pensions, previous marriages, and disabilities, to name a few. If any of your family members are disabled, there are payments for that in some cases.

If you are divorced and were married for more than 10 years, you are eligible for spousal benefits. And if you are married, you are also eligible for spousal benefits. If your spouse has passed away, you are eligible for survival benefits, which could increase an existing payment if your spouse earned more than you did.

Social security is clearly a topic where you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s so complex at this point that most people should work with an advisor that has software that can show multiple claiming options that optimize their lifetime payout or meet their financial retirement goals. If we can help, please reach out.

NEW BUSINESS DIRECTION’S RHONDA ROSAND, CPA RECEIVES 2018 TOP 100 PROADVISORS AWARD

NEW BUSINESS DIRECTIONS is pleased to announce that Rhonda Rosand, CPA has been named a 2018 Top ProAdvisor by Insightful Accountant, an independent news and information source written specifically for the small business advisor who needs to stay current on the latest news and offerings in accounting technology, including updates from Intuit, Xero, Sage and the hundreds of add-on products serving small businesses. Rhonda was selected as part of the Top 100 out of the growing list of more than 100,000 ProAdvisors.

This list recognizes the leading consultants who have embraced the ProAdvisor program and have leveraged it in order to better serve their clients and grow their own business. “We’d like to congratulate everyone who made this year’s list,” said Insightful AccountantSenior Technical Editor, William “Murph” Murphy. “We had several new people join the ranks this year.”

“I am honored to have received the Top 100 ProAdvisor designation for the 5thconsecutive year.  We are inspired by helping small businesses, and we’re committed to their success. We find our work challenging and invigorating, and it shows in our results.”  Says Rhonda Rosand, CPA

New Business Directions, LLC specializes in QuickBooks® set up, clean up, consulting and training services, coaching small business owners and providing innovative business solutions.

“This is the fifth year of our ProAdvisor awards,” said Insightful AccountantPublisher and Managing Partner, Gary DeHart. “Each year the competition continues to grow and we appreciate the hard work and efforts of all of our winners.”

Learn How To Add & Edit Multiple List Entries in QuickBooks with Rhonda Rosand CPA and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor!

Accounting software continues to evolve decade after decade. It started out as one big massive complicated set of programs that only large companies could afford. Today, cloud accounting is the modern solution, and today’s accounting systems are designed to meet the core requirements of most businesses rather than doing everything.

Enter apps. Apps are the add-ons to accounting systems that can enhance functionality, and there are now literally thousands of them. In this article, we’ll look at some of the major categories of apps in the accounting marketplace.

Payroll

Probably the most common add-on to accounting systems is payroll. There are many payroll providers in the U.S. and Canada, including Intuit, ADP, Insperity, Paychex, Ceridian, and Nethris. In the small business space, Intuit, ADP, Paychex, SurePayroll, and Gusto are names you’ll see.

The payroll space includes other related offerings, including support for human resources functions, where you have Gusto and Zenefits, related payroll functions such as workers compensation, where you have AP Intego, and time tracking, where you have TSheets and many more options.

Selling, Collections, and Invoicing

Retail and other businesses will likely have a separate point of sale system consisting of a cash register to ring up sales and a payment collection process to take credit cards, cash, and other forms of payment.

Ecommerce businesses will have an online shopping cart connected to a gateway and a payment processor, and in turn, your bank.

Field service businesses may have a mobile point of sale system connected to a field service system like Jobber or ServiceTrade that lets them create quotes, present invoices, and collect payments.

Service businesses may use an invoicing system that may or may not be connected to time tracking if hourly billing is used. A calendar system might be connected in the case of coaches, hair stylists, massage therapists, and the like.

There are micro apps such as one that will connect your accounting system to Stripe, and major systems that do several of the above functions.

Cash Flow

There is a multitude of cash flow and accounts receivable collection apps that hep you get paid faster or start collection processes when you don’t. This category also contains lending apps in case you need a business loan.

Accounts Payable and Expense Management

On the expense side, there are apps to help you with entering, matching purchase orders, invoices, and shipping documents, approving, and paying bills. For businesses with a large volume of expense reports submitted by employees that need approval and payment, apps like Expensify, Concur, and Tallie are available.

Inventory

For businesses with inventory, there are several inventory apps that will manage the inventory and ordering process. Other apps will help with bar code functions, labels, and shipping.

Data Entry and Document Management

Apps like AutoEntry, ReceiptBank, and HubDoc will transform a cell phone photo of a receipt into a transaction in your accounting system with very little human intervention. Document management apps will help you stay compliant with the document requirements of the IRS, CRA, and other tax authorities.

Other apps like ScanWriter and Transaction Pro Importer can bring transactions into your accounting system from paper documents and other files.

Connectors

Apps like Zapier are available simply to connect one accounting app to another. For example, A2X brings Amazon data into QuickBooks.

Reporting

Dozens of apps are available to help you enhance your reporting, create a dashboard of metrics, plan a budget, or present a graphical view of your financial and non-financial key performance indicators. These include Fathom, Corelytics, LivePlan, Spotlight Reporting, and Qvinci, to name a few.

If you have a function in mind that you wonder if your accounting system can meet, give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options. There’s an app for just about anything these days.

Learn How To Write Off A Bad Debt In QuickBooks with Rhonda Rosand, CPA, Advanced Certified QuickBooks Proadvisor of New Business Directions, LLC.