We all know how it goes – as soon as the New Year begins the tax forms begin filling up your mailbox. Just another year to throw the 1099s and W-2s in a pile and ship them off to your accountant just in time to throw a return together and be done with it. Many people see tax time as a necessary evil which they grin and bear their way through the steps in order to get it done and over with. If you are one of these people you may benefit from doing things a little different this year and seeing where it gets you.
There are many benefits to paying attention during your tax filing process if you have never cared or take the time to understand before. It doesn’t matter whether you are a wealthy business owner or just a normal guy or gal working for your paycheck – a good CPA can help you get the most benefit not only tax wise but possibly financially as well. Taking time with your tax preparer to understand the why’s and how’s can open your eyes to things you may be able to do differently to better your tax or financial position in the future. If your accountant does not have your best interest at heart then find a new one because a good accountant takes a personal interest in their clients and wants to see them do as well as absolutely possible. A good accountant will not only be able to prepare your tax return to its fullest potential but they are able to advise you on future moves and desires.
This year, make a resolution to spend some time with your accountant, learn something new, and solidify the relationship. Having a trusted advisor as opposed to a tax preparer on your team will take you a long way and be worth every penny.
It’s hard to believe we are two-thirds of the way through 2016 already. Seems like just yesterday you were gathering all of your tax documents and filing your 2015 return (or maybe you still are if it was extended). I know for a lot of individuals and business owners taxes are the last thing on their mind right now, but if you are willing to spend a little time in September it might save you some heartburn come next tax season.
For most business owners and self-employed individuals, September 15th marks the due date for your third round of 2016 estimated tax payments. Most simply rely on the vouchers printed out with their 2015 tax return. There is nothing wrong with this, but these figures are based on your 2015 income. If you have experienced changes in 2016, whether good or bad, the amount you are planning on paying on September 15 may require some tweaking.
We are far enough in to the year to put together a good picture of where you will be at the end of the year. Doing some quick forecasting now could save you from a big cash hit on January’s estimated payment (if you tax plan at year end) or on April 15th. If you take a look at your books and notice some big changes from 2015 now is a good time to adjust your payment.
Keep in mind that as long as you make the payment amounts on your current vouchers you will have met the withholding requirements and will not be subject to estimated tax penalties, but the consequence of withholding too little or too much hits the pocketbook down the line, and we all know the lifeblood of small business is cash.
If you have any questions or would like a qualified professional to take a quick look at your numbers to make sure you aren’t going to be forking out extraordinary amounts of cash come spring, give your CPA a call. It may be well worth it.
If you haven’t heard the buzz over the past few weeks, there has been a significant change in federal overtime rules for employees. For business owners it is important that you be aware of these changes. If you have employees you need to prepare to be in compliance and possibly fork out more cash when the law goes in to effect on December 1, 2016.
Under the current system, salaried employees earning in excess of $23,660 ($455/week) are excluded from time-and-a-half pay for hours worked over 40 in a week. Under the new rules the salary threshold more than doubles to $47,476 ($913/week). This rule does not apply to employees employed as bona fide executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees.
Business owners will need to prepare themselves to face these changes as they could have significant effect on cash-flow not only in the increased wages but in administrative costs of keeping track of time.
The first step an employer should take is identifying the workers who will be affected. Employers who are not currently keeping track of exempt employees’ hours should start doing so they can predict how much overtime they will owe under the new laws. This will give baseline with which to work with in planning on whether your business can handle the increased expense.
Once you have figured out if your business will be affected and if so whether it can withstand the increase expense, you will be faced with some decisions to make. Unfortunately if your business will not be able to tolerate the expense burden you will need to make some changes and cut some costs. Looking at your financials and budgets will be a first step. Many businesses may have to cut in other areas to balance the increase in wages. Businesses who cannot find places to cut will be faced with tough decisions on changing your pay structure. Here are some steps that can be taken to lessen the burden of the new rules:
You also may need to invest in a better time-keeping system so that should be kept in mind as well.
Remember when all is said and done, being proactive rather than reactive is going to benefit your business. Take your time to understand the rules and if they will apply to you and take the necessary steps to keep your business in the best financial shape it can be. If you have any questions about the law or need an expert to evaluate the potential financial impact give your CPA a call.
Small business accounting software that’s not available via the cloud can be tedious. Traditionally, it can suck up far too much of your business’ time and effort. This doesn’t add value, and takes the fun out of being in business. Cloud software can save your company time and money.
Think about when you use internet banking. Every time you access this data, you’re using the cloud. The cloud is a platform to make data and software accessible online anytime, anywhere, from any device. Your hard drive is no longer the central hub.
You can use cloud-based software from any device with an internet connection. Online accounting means small business owners stay connected to their data and their accountants. The software can integrate with a whole ecosystem of add-ons. It’s scalable, cost effective and easy to use. In the cloud, there’s no need to install and run applications over a desktop computer. Instead, you pay for the software by monthly subscription.
As a small business owner, you might be concerned about a cloud service provider storing your data. But the cloud is one of the most secure ways to store information. For example, using cloud software, if your laptop is stolen, no one can access your data unless they have a login to the online account. With cloud software, this is where the data lives – as opposed to on your hard drive.
In the event of a natural disaster or fire, being in the cloud means business productivity doesn’t need to be affected because there’s no downtime. All of your information is safely and securely stored off site. As long as you have access to any computer or mobile device connected to the internet, you’re back up and running.
In addition to this, if you invite users to view your data, you can control the level of access. This is much more secure than the old-fashioned way of emailing your files or sending out a USB stick with your data on it.
Cloud-based software companies ensure that the security and privacy of data about you and your organization is always airtight. If you use online banking, then you’re already primed to use cloud accounting.
The beauty of this software is the flexibility it gives you to run your business from work, home, or on the go. You can be confident that you have an up-to-date picture of how your business is doing, no matter where you are.
Software updates can be developed and delivered faster and more easily in the cloud. This means you don’t need to worry about installing the latest version and you’ll get access to new features instantly. With cloud accounting software, you have the option to run your business remotely, from anywhere in the world. And when data is fluid and accessible, the possibilities are endless.
If you want your business to work smarter and faster, cloud accounting software is a wise investment. Working in the cloud will give you a better overview of your finances, and improve collaboration with your team.
If your business is interested in cloud accounting services, please contact Barnard Vogler & Co. We can seamlessly transfer data from your old software and have a new system up and running in no time. We can also help with your back-office needs; from a fully outsourced accounting department to CFO level advice, we can take work off your hands and give tremendous insight in to your business.