A lot of times, new business owners ask us one question: How much will it cost for you to do my accounting or taxes? And, we’re happy to answer that question as soon as we find out more about your business and whether we can help you with what you need.
However, you might want to ask us more questions than simply inquiring about our fees. Here are some to consider. And yes, feel free to grill us. We appreciate your interest and want you to know us better. Setting expectations at the beginning contributes toward a healthy long-term relationship between a business owner and their accountant.
- How long have you been in business?
- What experience do you have with companies in my industry?
- What experience do you have with companies at my revenue level?
- What professional bookkeeping, accounting, and/or tax credentials do you have?
- How skilled are you with technology?
- What accounting software do you support?
- Have you earned any accounting software credentials?
- Do you partner with any accounting software vendors, and what benefits do your clients receive from your partnership?
- What accounting and tax services do you offer? Do you have a specialty or favorite service or niche?
- What services are inhouse and what is outsourced by you to other vendors? (example: payroll)
- Are your employees US-based or overseas?
- What size is your team, and who would support my business?
- How do you bill for services: flat-rate or hourly?
- How long is my initial rate locked in for?
- How often do you raise prices on clients?
- What price would you charge to perform the services I need?
- Do you offer a guarantee or warranty on your work?
- How do you protect and secure my financial data?
- Who in your company and supply chain will see my financial data?
- How secure is the accounting software you use?
- Do you require me to sign a contract or engagement letter?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- If I pay for software through you and decide to cancel, what happens to my software and data inside the accounting system?
- Is your firm environmentally-friendly?
- Does your firm support diversity and inclusion?
Qualifying small businesses can now apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through certain lenders. The Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened its PPP portal on January 11, 2021 after Congress passed and the President signed legislation in December 2020, authorizing the continuation of the program and an additional $284 billion in funds.
The program allows for two types of applications:
- First Draw Loans to qualifying entities that did not receive a PPP loan in 2020, and
- Second Draw Loans for previous PPP loan recipients and with a narrower set of qualifications.
First Draw PPP Loans for First-Time Borrowers
Borrowers that qualify for first-draw PPP loans can apply for up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs (with caps), for a maximum loan amount of $10 million. Generally speaking, the applicants must have been in operation on February 15, 2020 and be among the following types of businesses:
- Businesses with 500 or fewer employees that are eligible for other SBA 7(a) loans
- Sole proprietors, some self-employed individuals, and independent contractors
- Nonprofits, including churches
- Sec. 501(c)(6) businesses
- Food or lodging operations with NAICS codes that start with 72 and with fewer than 500 employees per location
- Certain news operations with qualifying NAICS codes in the 51 range
A number of entities are specifically prohibited from receiving loans.
The SBA application for First Draw Loans is here:
The applicant must attest to the necessity of the loan, among several other declarations.
Second Draw PPP Loans for Borrowers That Received a PPP Loan in 2020
Borrowers that qualify for a second-draw PPP loan can apply for up to 2.5* times their average monthly payroll costs (with caps), for a maximum loan amount of $2 million. Generally speaking, the applicants must qualify as follows:
- Employ no more than 300 employees
- Have spent all of their first PPP loan on eligible expenses
- Do not have to apply for forgiveness for the first loan ahead of receiving the second loan
- Can show a 25 percent drop in gross receipts in any one 2020 calendar quarter from 2019. If it’s easier to show a 25 percent drop for the entire 2020 year compared to 2019, applicants can submit their tax returns as proof.
*Companies with NAICS code 72, which generally speaking are food and lodging operations, can borrow up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs (with caps).
The SBA application for Second Draw Loans is here:
The applicant must attest to the necessity of the loan, among multiple other certifications and declarations.
PPP loan recipients can apply to have PPP loans forgiven if the funds are used within a specified covered period from 8 to 24 weeks on the following eligible costs: payroll (60 percent of funds), rent, covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, covered property damage costs, certain supplier costs, accounting (!) expenses, and a handful of other qualifying expenses.
The SBA portal opened Monday, January 11, 2021 for first-draw loans by lenders (about 10 percent) that cater to underserved communities. These include Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and Microloan Intermediaries.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2021, the SBA application portal began accepting applications for Second Draw loans. A few days later, additional lenders will be added to the portals.
SBA says it “plans to dedicate specific times to process and assist the smallest PPP lenders with loan applications from eligible small businesses.”
What to Do Next
Here are some suggested steps to get ready for this next round of PPP funds.
- Determine which lender you want to use to apply for PPP funds.
- Visit your lender website to see if they have a PPP notification signup so you can get notified of updates.
- Collect the documents you need for the application.
a. Payroll summary reports
b. Profit and loss statements
c. Tax returns
- Begin calculating the amounts you’ll need for the application:
a. Gross receipts by quarter for 2020 and 2019
b. Average monthly payroll costs, including cap limits for wages over $100,000, for the year you want to use (2020, 2019, or the year from the application date)
- Contact us if you need help with documentation or calculation or other advice.
- Contact your tax preparer about tax ramifications.
- Contact your attorney to evaluate the loan agreement.
Further PPP Resources
Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources are available at www.sba.gov/ppp.
CARES Act Treasury page: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/assistance-for-small-businesses
Jan 6, 2021 SBA PPP Interim Final Rule – 82 pages
Jan 6, 2021 SBA PPP Second Draw Interim Final Rule – 42 pages
Learn about the Audit Trail Feature in QuickBooks Desktop and Online from Rhonda Rosand, CPA from New Business Directions, LLC.
The Audit Trail tracks the who did what when: it tracks the history of a transaction, where it started, what changes were made and what it looks like now. This tool can be especially useful to accountants.
All business functions need to run smoothly, including your accounting system, to maximize profits in your business. Here are five signs you can check for to determine if it’s time to upgrade or replace your current accounting system, or if you need more training on the features of your existing software.
- Not enough users
If your current system limits the number of users you can have in the system at any one time, this could be a major enough reason to switch to a larger option. If you’re not sure how many users you currently have a license for, we can help you find out. It might be as easy as buying more licenses if you’re not at the maximum capacity. But if you’re already at maximum, it may be time to look for a better accounting system with room for you and your business to grow.
2. System is Outdated
If your accounting system runs on desktop-based software that’s upgraded every year and you have not paid for or installed the upgrades, then your system is outdated. If it’s been sunsetted, that means the software company no longer supports that version. You are at major risk for the software crashing, getting buggy, getting hacked, or worse, permanently breaking.
The cost of getting the system current may be better spent looking for a new alternative, or moving to a cloud-based system where updates occur automatically.
3. Lack of functionality
It is commonly the case that your business has grown so much that it’s outgrown your original accounting solution. That’s good news! It’s time to find a solution that will scale better for your business, as you might be missing important features that are costing you more time and money than if you were on a system that offered those features.
Something that we see regularly, is that there is existing functionality in a software solution that is not being utilized because users aren’t aware that the feature exists. Spend time learning everything you can about what your software solution provides for features.
4. Lack of reporting and analytics
If you’re unable to receive the reports and analytics you want to run your business better from your current accounting system, it may be time to switch. With better data comes better decision-making and if lack of data is costing you money, then it’s time to find a more robust system. Again, users may not have the knowledge or training they need to customize the reports and analytics that already exist in your software solution.
5. Lack of integrations
Thousands of apps exist to expand accounting systems’ core functionality. If your current accounting system lacks integration capabilities or does not have apps that are built to integrate with it, you may be missing out on additional functionality. This include mobile apps; it’s quite common now to do much of your accounting work from your mobile phone or tablet.
Does your current accounting system have any of these red flags? If so, please reach out. We can help you find a best fit for your accounting needs, and help you with additional training.
Join Rhonda Rosand, CPA and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor of New Business Directions, LLC, and learn how to Record PPP or EID Loans in QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online:
Join Rhonda Rosand, CPA and Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor of New Business Directions LLC, to set up your COVID-19 Expense account, payroll liabilities account, payroll items and tax credit in QuickBooks Desktop. See what it looks like when you process a payroll and where to go to find the remaining balance of your tax credit.
Mobile Accounting is Here, Now
Now that it’s officially 2020, it may be time to jump on that accounting app bandwagon if you haven’t already done so. The exciting news is you can do a lot of your accounting tasks from your phone instead of your computer.
Here are just a few examples of accounting tasks you can manage on your phone.
Are you still trudging to the bank to make your deposits? If so, there is a better way: Mobile Deposits. Simply download your bank’s mobile app, login, and look for the Make Deposit function. Follow the prompts to endorse and photograph your check through the app. Like magic, the deposit will soon be in your account.
Shoeboxes of receipts are a thing of the past. (Thank goodness, we say!) Send your receipts to your accountant simply by taking a picture of them and sending them via email or through a document entry system like Receipt Bank or AutoEntry. You’ll need to set this up to connect with your accounting system, but once it’s set up, it’s a real time-saver.
Wondering how much income you made last month? Download your accounting app on your phone and login to get many of the features that you have on your computer onto your phone. You’ll need to be on a cloud system like QuickBooks Online or Xero, or possibly have a hosted desktop solution in order to have this functionality.
There’s no need to be tied to your desk on payroll day if you can submit or approve payroll from your phone. Many payroll systems have apps you can download so you can be free of your computer.
There’s a mobile app for almost any add-on you might need, such as TSheets for time tracking and scheduling or Square for taking payments.
If you find yourself often on the go, having quick access to your business accounts will be beneficial. Feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to find out more or get help moving some of your accounting functions to your mobile phone.
Note: As of February 2021, TSheets is now QuickBooks Time. To learn more about this update, visit https://quickbooks.intuit.com/time-tracking/
There’s an App for That
Using apps can increase the functionality of your accounting system, saving you lots of time and frustration. Because every business is different, you may—and likely will—need add-on features that may not be included in the accounting system you currently use. The right app will provide deeper functionality in the areas you need them. Here are some examples:
These payroll apps were created to help you implement an easy and automated method of managing payroll and all things HR-related. Popular payroll options include Intuit’s many options, Gusto, ADP, OnPay, and Patriot.
2. Time Tracking
The best and most accurate way to keep track of an employee’s time is with an app. A wide range of apps can make not only tracking but scheduling your employees’ time simple, too. These apps include T-Sheets, ClockSmart, BigTime, Time Tracker and more.
Each app will offer different features. For example, most have timers, but only one might offer geofencing, so find the one that’s best for your business. Regardless of which one you choose to use, you will quickly discover how much time and energy you save without having to do time tracking manually.
Need more functionality to better manage your inventory? If you run an ecommerce, retail, or wholesale operation, you may need an inventory app to give you more features. Back order functions, drop ship handling, and recall functionality may be required depending on what you sell. Here are some popular apps for inventory:
- SOS Inventory
There are also many ecommerce apps in this space: WooCommerce and Shopify, to name a few.
4. Cash Flow
Dozens of apps exist to help you manage your cash flow as well as get funded:
- Cash Flow Frog
- Blue Vine
- Many others
Managing your cash and debt are important areas and ones that are easy to find to help you get quicker answers to your questions.
Now that it’s 2020, try working smarter, not harder. Add-on features can help! Remember, the examples listed above are just a few apps currently available. Determine what you need for your company to make better decisions, and then look around for the perfect app. Each app has different features. Explore them and find which one works best for you and your business needs.
And, if we can help you implement your ideas faster, feel free to reach out to us anytime.
Ever wonder why you’re so busy this time of year? As you probably already know, there are a lot of extra tasks needed to be completed for year-end. While much of it is required by the government, clean-up and adjustments are vital to keeping your books accurate.
Here are just some of the items that are performed at year-end:
- Just about every asset on your balance sheet needs to be verified in some way or other:
- Petty cash accounts need to be reconciled and reimbursed as of year-end
- Bank accounts need to be reconciled with the bank statements. This includes PayPal.
- Accounts receivable balances and all other receivables need to be tied to each customer and any amounts determined to be uncollectible need to be written off.
- A physical inventory count needs to be taken and the inventory account should be adjusted accordingly.
- Fixed assets need to be reconciled to their fixed assets ledger and depreciation should be properly recorded.
- Goodwill accounts need to be checked and amortization adjusted.
- Prepaids, deposits, and all other asset accounts need to be adjusted if necessary.
- Liabilities and equity need to be adjusted too:
- Accounts payable balances and all other payables need to be tied to each vendor.
- Credit card accounts need to be tied to the statements and reconciled.
- Liabilities that haven’t been recorded need to be added to the books.
- Loans need to tie to lender statements, and interest paid on loans needs to be properly expensed.
- The Equity accounts need to be checked and tied out to prior year balances.
- Corrections and adjustments need to be made:
- Any misclassifications and corrections need to be made on the books with adjusting journal entries or other classification tools.
- If the client is a cash-basis taxpayer, a reversing journal entry needs to be made to get the correct tax numbers.
- A clean set of reports can now be run and used.
- If you have payroll, employees need to be sent their W-2s before the end of January, and the federal and state government need a copy of the W-2s with a W-3 transmittal.
- For employees, you may also be required to have an up-to-date W-4 signed by them.
- For employers, your federal unemployment 940 return is due.
- If you have contractors, they need to be sent their 1099s before the end of January, and the IRS needs the 1099s and the 1096 transmittal.
- For contractors, you must also have an up-to-date W-9 form from them. You may also need to request an insurance certificate, or you may get a surprise at your workers compensation audit.
- For vendors who claim exemption from sales tax, you’ll need to be sure you have an exemption certificate in your files from them.
- If you pay sales tax annually, your return and payment are due.
- Your personal federal, state, and local income tax and returns are due in the spring, or they can be extended until later in the year.
- Depending on the type of entity your business is organized as, you may have franchise, federal and state tax returns to file. This deadline comes up sooner than the individual tax return due date.
- This is a good time to file and store your receipts in case you are ever asked for them. For long-term storage, thermal receipts should be copied or scanned in before the ink fades.
- This may be the perfect time to start thinking about paperless document storage!
We are often so busy this time of year because of all the extra work we must do over and above the normal monthly load. If you have questions about any of this, please reach out anytime.
Custom fields in your accounting software are data fields that you can define yourself. They are typically associated with customers, vendors, employees, and items, and they can help you store and categorize additional information about these stakeholders and your products and services in your business.
An example custom field that can be associated with customers is their anniversary date with you. You could also decide to store their birthday, their spouse’s name, their favorite color, or their shoe size.
Custom fields add functionality to your accounting system. Here are a few examples of practical uses for custom fields:
- Contact for customer – if customers are assigned a particular team member, you can add their name in a custom field
- Frequency of service – daily, weekly, monthly
- Warehouse location
- Type of customer; for example, non-profit, construction, retail, restaurant
- Referral Source
- Preferred method of contact: email, phone, fax, text, chat
- License number
Our customer custom fields track which version of QuickBooks you use, what payroll service is active, who your tax preparer is, etc. Then we can sort on any one of these fields.
Some software allows you to choose the type of custom field you want to add. In some cases, this allows for cleaner data as the data can be limited to a certain type or certain values upon entry. Here are the most common types:
- Free form text – this is the default type; it can come as a single line or paragraph
- Check box – choose one or more values from a limited number of choices
- Radio button – choose only one value from a limited number of choices
- Drop down – choose a value from a dropdown list
- File upload – add an attachment
- Image upload – upload an image that will be displayed
- Date/time – enter a date or time
- Number – enter a number; it can be currency, integer, or another mathematical type of number
Custom fields allow you to meet your company’s unique needs over and above what the software provides by default. It’s a great way to make your data more meaningful. If you have some ideas for custom fields in your accounting software and want help setting them up, feel free to give us a call anytime.