Archive for the ‘Bookkeeping Advice & Tips’ Category

A Great Article on When a Small Business Should Hire a CFO.

November 28, 2011

Growth of a small business is no easy task.

It takes strategic planning, market research and personal investment, both financial and emotional. There are so many questions small business owners have in regards to expansion and growth. Armed with the facts, good timing, and long term knowledge and support a company can go to the next level of production, income, and profit. It is important to choose leaders with the appropriate skill set to achieve the business goals. If you are wondering when your business should hire a Chief Financial Officer, or CFO, in order to take the next steps towards your company’s long term success then check out this article:

When Should a Small Business Hire a Finance Chief?

New York Times writer Darren Dahl, broaches this question in his October 26th, 2011 piece. This article clearly explains the role of the CFO and how it differs from the role of CEO. It is important these two positions be defined individually and not identified as exactly the same.

Accountants and bookkeepers are often asked for opinions regarding company finances, revenue, taxes, payroll and expenses. It is important to consult with an accounting and bookkeeping expert when making choices about business growth and development.

 

 

 

Starting a New Business in North Carolina

May 23, 2011

Starting a Small Business in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina has made many efforts 0ver the years to make the entire state a place where businesses of any size can expand or start up. There are a variety of programs from Raleigh to Asheville and throughout the state that support and facilitate the growth and success of business startups.

Find Small Business Startup Resources on ThriveNC.com

ThriveNC.com is a website that shows how much North Carolina is committed to helping NC entrepreneurs and business owners succeed with business start-ups of all sizes. The website includes information on the NC Department of Commerce, the Small Business & Technology Development Center, the NC Community College System’s Small Business Center and Incubator Network, the NC Secretary of State, NC Department of Labor, NC Rural Center’s Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship   and much more.

Business Startups in Asheville can visit AshevilleSCORE.org

If you are a new business or start up company in Western North Carolina one of the resources available is FREE business counseling from Asheville SCORE. SCORE is a network of volunteers made up of retired executives, men and women that have had great success owning, running and managing companies of all sizes. They are qualified to offer a variety of business workshops and seminars, as well as, one to one counseling sessions to start up businesses that need guidance and support. SCORE also has offices throughout North Carolina and the country.

The SBTDC Online Start Up Resource Guide

The Small Business & Technology Development Center offers a variety of tools and opportunities for startup businesses anywhere in NC. There is a local office in Asheville, NC for startups in Western North Carolina. If you have questions about funding potential, business plans, start up licenses and permits or other business oriented inquiries, you can find a great deal of information on the SBTDC Startup Guide.
On the SBTDC website you will find the SBTDC Start-Up Business & Resource Guide, websites and tools for writing a great business plan, online lists of state and federal resources, including local and state licenses/permits, links with information on how to find funding for your startup business, the Capital Opportunities for Small Business Guide, information on how to  find grants, educational links on how to do market research and more.

There are also seminars and workshops small business and startup business owners can attend to learn more.

Startup business counseling is available, as well as more specific and detailed assistance  for Technology Start Up Companies.

To learn more about bookkeeping and accounting and business start up advice and services visit our website www.WNCSnap.biz.

 




 

Quickbooks Tips – Keeping Your Quickbooks Data Healthy

May 8, 2011

quickbooks financial softwareMaintain a Healthy Quickbooks File – Tips from JustQuickbooks.Blogspot.com

Maintaining accurate healthy financial data in your Quickbooks file is essential in order t keep careful track of your business expenses and profits. On JustQuickbooks.Blogspot.com Shelly Robbins, speaker and Intuit Accounting Professionals Trainer and Writer, explains a variety of Quickbooks tools and features. She recently posted a blog titled:

2 Easy Steps to Maintain a Healthy, Lean, and Fast QuickBooks file

Here she explains that she “recently worked with a client whose QuickBooks reports were running slow, the file had lost data integrity, and upgrading was dicey. Now, the date file is healthy and the reports are running fast again.” She explains why it is important that you make certain  your Quickbooks data is not corrupted or damaged in any way.  Here is what she suggests:

1. Check for file damage, go to File > Utilities > Verify Data. The utility will tell if you the data file is damaged and lead you to the Rebuild utility. Do this repeatedly until the Verify Data tells you that there are no problems with data file integrity. (Verify and rebuild your company file)
2. Check for file fragmentationpress F2. The Product Information window will tell you the “DB File Fragments”.If the DB Fragments are higher than 10, create and restore a portable company file
(Replace your company file with a restored portable company file)

She also mentioned why she agrees with other experts that keeping client’s data file fragments at less than 10 is important.
To learn more about bookkeeping and accounting visit our website www.WNCsnap.biz.
To read more bookkeeping and Quickbooks tips from Shelly Robbins visit her blog JustQuickbooks.Blogspot.com.

Auditing Quickbooks – A How To for Small Business

April 25, 2011

quickbooks financial software Understanding Quickbooks – Bookkeeping Basics

Many small businesses struggle to keep up with the books without even thinking of how much time it will take to  review, evaluate and confirm their bookkeeper or accountants’s work. That is why there are a few basic things any small business owner can review and know in order to be sure their books are accurate and sound. Auditing your Quickbooks file can seem like a daunting task, but if you understand the power of Quickbooks as a tool you can learn to use it to empower and strengthen your business.

NerdEnterprises.com Tutorial on How to Audit Your Quickbooks File Simply and Easily

A great site for anyone looking to learn how to manage their own bookkeeping is NerdEnterprises.com. There are many blogs written about various bookkeeping and accounting topics, as well as video tutorials for various Quickbooks actions and features. The blog titled:

How To Audit Your QuickBooks File – 5 Things EVERY BUSINESS OWNER SHOULD KNOW how to do in QuickBooks is an excellent source of information when it comes to auditing the basic information in your Quickbooks file. According to NerdEnterprises.com when it comes to small businesses “there are 5 things you should know how to do in QuickBooks to be sure your bookkeeper(s) are doing their jobs properly.” NerdEnterprises lists these 5 things as follows:

  1. Run key reports including: detailed Balance Sheets, Accounts Receivable, and Accounts Payable Reports
  2. Drill into a transaction from a report.
  3. Drill around a transaction to see related transactions.
  4. Run the audit trail report
  5. On any transaction detail report, show “Last Entered/Edited (and by whom).

Watch the video included in the blog and find out how to do this in a practical way. The goal according to NerdEnterprises.com is to “protect yourself against costly mistakes as well as dis-honest employees. In smaller companies the management, particularly the ownership ARE the internal control of the company. This means they are the ones who protect the assets of the company.”

Learn how to maintain quality control when it comes to your bookkeeping and accounting. Be able to have a clear conversation with anyone helping you maintain  your financial data and expect them to speak openly, honestly and in detail to you about their work.

To find out more tips and tricks about accounting and bookkeeping for small business visit our website www.WNCSnap.biz.

To find out more great tips from NerdEnterprises.com visit their website and blog.

Quickbooks for MAC 2011 Update

April 10, 2011

2011 Quickbooks for MAC Update – Learn the Basics

MAC users have all the same benefits and advantages as PC users when it comes to using Quickbooks software.  Quickbooks for MAC is easy to use and follows the same basic set up and organization of features as the PC version.

In the spring 2011a new update for the MAC version of Quickbooks that all MAC users should install. The Sleeter Group Accounting and & Bookkeeping blog offers a list of benefits to installing the update and  steps to updating Quickbooks safely and securely without any loss of data.

Read the Sleeter Group’s blog post titled Quickbooks MAC 2011 R8 Update.

For more bookkeeping tips, Quickbooks News and accounting articles visit our website www.WNCSnap.biz.

 

Bookkeeping Tips: Tax Preparation Checklist

April 1, 2011

It is that time of year again and it is so important to have a plan in place when you file your taxes. You may need to consult with an accountant or bookkeeper. You may need to inquire about which deductions are the most advantageous for your situation. You may need to make sure you are not missing important pieces of paperwork. The simple tax preparation checklist below will get you started and on track.

1. Do you have copies of your W-2’s or 1099’s? There may also be additional paperwork related to investments of any kind that must be filed. If you are not sure ask an expert. .

2. Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule time with your accountant or bookkeeper. This time of year is crazy for people in the financial industry and you will want to make sure they have time to assist you. Last minute pressures can sometimes lead to hasty decisions.

3. Keep up on any tax credits you can take advantage of or ask an expert. New tax bills are always being passed and it can be confusing. The IRS website is a great resource for helping you stay up to date on the current tax laws. Of course there is no substitute for hiring a trustworthy accountant to stay on top of all the details.

4. If you are a W-2 employee there are deductions you can take advantage of. Ask your accountant about these and what you need to do. If you are self-employed there are a wide variety of deductions that can work for you. Be sure and keep all business related receipts and ask your accountant or bookkeeper what expenses can be used as deductions.

5. Compare itemizing your deductions vs. not itemizing them and see which scenario provides the best result for you. Again if you don’t know how to evaluate this then hire an expert.

6. Double check any exemptions you are claiming.

7. Check your eligibility for tax credits such as the child tax credit, adoption credit, education credits, etc.

8. Will you file electronically? Make sure you have everything you need in order to do so.

9. If you are a business or self-employed be prepared to make your tax payments on time.

10. Have a massage or night off planned once your taxes are done! Nothing is complete without a celebration. Enjoy that fact that another year has gone by and you have managed your finances.

Happy tax season!

 

Bookkeeping Tips: Commmon Tax Questions

March 25, 2011

Every year tax questions pile up, not only for individuals but also for businesses. It is essential that you complete thorough research and if necessary consult an expert, such as a bookkeeper or accountant.

The IRS website provides a list of frequently asked questions for anyone to review and use as a guideline when working on personal or business taxes.

FAQs from the IRS

Find answers to the following questions:

What are the tax changes for this year?
What are itemized and standard deductions?
How to manage Social Security Income?
What are child care credits?
Earned Income Tax Credits explained.
Information on IRAs.
Electronic filing how to’s.

 

Bookkeeping Tips: Filing Your Taxes after April 15th

March 25, 2011

Protocol for Filing Taxes After the 15th

What do you do if you can’t meet the IRS filing deadline? How to file an extension on your 2010 tax return.

The federal tax return filing deadline for tax year 2010 is Monday, April 18, 2011

If you miss the deadline and do not file for an extension, it’s very important to file your taxes as soon as possible. One way to file that is fast and easy is to use TurboTax. TurboTax offers some great tips on how to file your extension and what details you must remember in order to comply with IRS requirements.

Why file for an extension?

Filing an extension automatically pushes back the tax filing deadline until the fall and helps you avoid late-filing fees.

If you file an extension by April 18, 2011 you have 6 months. The late filing deadline is October 17, 2011. Keep in mind an extension of time to file does not mean you are not responsible for paying your taxes. If you owe money you are expected to pay by the April deadline, but paperwork can be filed as late as Oct. as mentioned above.

If you don’t ask for an extension the consequences differ depending on whether you owe the IRS money or the IRS owes you a refund.

If you expect a refund and are correct there is no penalty for failing to file your tax return by the deadline, even if you don’t ask for an extension.

Ask your accountant or bookkeeper if an extension is right for you and be sure and make your payments on time if you owe the IRS.

To learn more visit TurboTax and read their article on tax filing extensions for 2011.

Bookkeeping Tips: Maximize Your Tax Deductions

March 25, 2011

Understanding tax deductions can be difficult. Each year IRS tax law changes and knowing which itemized tax deductions are legal and offer the greatest potential for reducing tax debt can be nearly impossible for the average person. There are additional non-itemized deductions

According to an article on WalletPop on AOL written by Kelly Phillips Erb, “While it’s true that many taxpayers rely on popular itemized deductions, those aren’t the only deductions available. Taxpayers who file a form 1040 may also opt to claim a number of what the IRS calls ‘adjustments to income’ — that’s another way of saying non-itemized deductions. Since deductions reduce your taxable income, they’re a relatively painless way to chip away at your tax bill.”

Erb goes on to explain a variety of ways to maximize your tax deductions

1. Educator Expenses. People working for schools such as teachers (grades K-12), counselors, principals or aides who work in a school at least 900 hours during the school year in 2010 can take a deduction of up to $250 for qualified expenses.

2. Alimony. Alimony payments can be deducted on your federal income tax return. There are parameters to follow so make sure you understand how the alimony payments can be deducted properly.

3. Student Loan Interest Deduction. Anyone paying off college loans can claim interest on a qualified student loan as a deduction. Again be certain to review the tax law so you make certain your loan interest can be legally deducted.

4. Career-Related Moving Expenses. In 2010, if you moved for job or career reasons you may be able to deduct your moving expenses. Ask your accountant or bookkeeper.

5. Health Savings Account Deduction. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are tax-favored accounts that you may be able to take a deduction for those contributions that you make to a HSA during the year.

There are a a variety of ways to maximize your tax deductions. For more information read the rest of “10 Ways to Maximize Your Tax  Deductions Without Itemizing“, by Kelly Phillips Erb on WalletPop.  You can also speak with your bookkeeper or accountant about the options for non-itemized deductions.

Common Bookkeeping Mistakes Small Businesses Make

January 25, 2011

wn snap bookkeeping services asheville In an article on AllBusiness.com entitled Top 10 Bookkeeping Mistakes Made by Small Businesses some common issues are discussed. As many of us are aware small businesses are always looking for ways to save money, increase efficiency and improve profitability and performance. It is not surprising that so many small businesses often forget to keep receipts on every business related transaction, take on too many tasks themselves, and sometimes don’t communicate clearly because of their busy schedule. Some more specific mistakes you want to avoid  are:

-Listing transactions in the wrong categories on QB.
-Not having a backup system for QB files.
-Forgetting to track reimbursable expenses.
-Not properly classifying employees.
-Not properly reconciling the QB files with monthly bank statements.

These are just a few of the things you should be careful of when managing your own financial tracking and bookkeeping.

To learn more about how to keep from making common mistakes check out this great bookkeeping and financial tracking article on AllBusiness.com.