Tag: accounts receivable

Is your small business prepared for the new employment tax filing deadline?

Be Aware of New W-2 and 1099 Filing Deadlines

In an effort to combat fraud, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 was enacted. It revises the filing deadline for Form W-2 and certain types of Form 1099.New Filing Deadlines for W2 and 1099s

Without proper planning, these revisions can cause some real stress for small businesses.

In the past, there were always two dates to consider when filing your employer tax forms. Forms were due to recipients on January 31st and forms were due to the government agencies (IRS and Social Security Administration) on February 28th.

Effective with 2016 tax forms, W-2’s and 1099’s with Box 7 entries are now due by January 31st for both recipient and government agency filings.  Form 1099 box 7 reports non-employee compensation.

In practice, we have found that many businesses do not have correct recipient information for employees and independent contractors, and unfortunately do not realize this until it is time to prepare the recipient copies of the forms. In the past, the issuer had until February 28th to track down or correct any incomplete recipient information.

If you fail to file a correct W-2 or 1099 information return by the due date, and you cannot show reasonable cause, you may be subject to a penalty. There are also penalties if you report an incorrect TIN (taxpayer identification number) or fail to report a TIN. Accordingly, collecting correct information timely is very important.

Complying with PATH

Our recommendations to businesses to assure compliance with the new due dates are as follows:

  • Verify the accuracy of all employee information NOW
  • Review all vendor files NOW and confirm that all applicable files include the vendor’s name, address and TIN
  • Obtain Form W-9, “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification”, for each new vendor PRIOR to issuing any payment to the vendor
  • Contact all vendors with missing information NOW to allow sufficient time to receive the correct information (it may be difficult to secure the correct information if you no longer do business with the vendor)

Due to the shortened filing deadline between the end of the year and the filing due date, it is essential that you have all the complete and accurate filing information by early January.

We’ve Got Your Back

At KRS we assist our business clients with employer tax reporting as well as tax planning and compliance. Feel free to contact partner Maria Rollins at 201.655.7411 if you have any questions relating to the filing deadlines or any tax compliance issues.

What Drives SMBs’ Accounting Software Purchases?


Software Advice™, a trusted resource for software buyers across industries, recently published a trend report on accounting software purchases by small and midsize businesses (SMBs). SMB Accounting Trends Buyer Report – 2016 was based on hundreds of consultations the firm conducted with SMBs over the past year. The report provides excellent insights into what business owners should look for when considering buying an accounting software system to replace outdated software or manual entries (e.g., pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets).

prospective buyers current accounting methods
Prospective Buyers Current Accounting Methods

Software Advice analyzed a random sample of consultations and found that nearly 60% of SMBs are looking to replace their existing accounting software with a more advanced system, while roughly 30% are first-time buyers.

35% of buyers seeking upgrades are now using some version of QuickBooks. This comes as no surprise. In my experience working with SMBs, I’ve seen that software packages such as QuickBooks and Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree) are very popular because they are advertised as relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use. Though these solutions provide the basic financial information owners need to prepare their tax returns, they do have limitations on the following:

  • The number of user licenses and the ability to set user permissions
  • Inventory items and SKUs that can be tracked in the system
  • Capabilities for tracking edited/deleted transactions (audit trail)
  • Integration with operational, industry-specific software

SMBs Requirements for Advanced Functionality

According to the trend report, the majority of buyers desire greater system capabilities. Buyers want the new software solution to be able to:

  • Handle multiple entities
  • Consolidate data and accounts
  • Run payroll in-house

At KRS CPAs, we’ve noted that handling multiple entities is often a tipping point for businesses progressing from basis to advanced accounting solutions. When businesses try to perform the function with a solution that isn’t designed to support multiple entities, the process is time consuming and error-prone.

For example, inter-company transactions processed by larger software applications are handled in one entry. If the application doesn’t offer multi-entity access, then the entry must be recorded in each entity separately, which is time consuming and can result in mistakes.

Software Advice also reported that the 21% of buyers wanting to automate processes correlates with the same percentage currently managing their accounting with manual methods, such as Excel spreadsheets. These buyers are looking to improve efficiency by reducing time spent on manual data entry.

Financial Reporting Capabilities Are Crucial for SMBs

82% of buyers wanted financial reporting in their new software solution in order to measure key financial and performance metrics. I typically advise clients to ensure their new system has basic reports, including the balance sheet, profit and loss statement (P&L), and cash flow report. The P&L acts as the starting point for tax planning, while the balance sheet reports cash levels, debt and retained capital in addition to assets and liabilities.

Accurately tracking and reviewing this financial data on a regular basis gives business owners insight into financial history, department efficiency and the profitability of different ventures. This allows them to make more informed decisions regarding cash flows, budgets and projections.

Cloud Solutions Grow in Popularity

Another accounting trend SMBs should be aware of is the growing popularity of cloud-based solutions. Software Advice identified these benefits of moving accounting to the cloud:

  • Greater ease of access
  • Better security
  • Improved ease of use

I’ve also seen that cloud-based systems provide more integration and add-on options, which allows users to extend the reach of their existing systems to serve many industry-specific needs.

Ready to Get New Accounting Software?

If you’re ready to start evaluating accounting software, Software Advice offers an online accounting software questionnaire that can help you match your business needs with several products for you to assess.

Once you have your new software installed, KRS CPAs can help you set up your bookkeeping, accounting and financial reporting processes so that they deliver the insights you need to manage your business more effectively.

Ten Tips for Choosing a Reliable Payment Processor

Choosing a credit card processor can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know to get it right.

Since businesses usually cannot withdraw funds directly from a customer’s bank or credit card account they rely on payment processors as the middleman. These payment processors connect you to merchant accounts such as Visa or American Express.

Tips for choosing a credit card processorThere are many ways to obtain payment processors. For example, they can be found through banks, online providers and companies such as PayPal. They all have different rates. Some may require contracts or mandatory leasing of their equipment (credit card machine), so it is very important that you choose one that will work best for your company’s needs.

Finding the right credit card processor is important and there are many points you should consider. For example, mobile businesses must consider the ability to accept credit card payments from anywhere. For these businesses, a mobile credit card processor would be best. Also consider integration with your accounting system and CRM software to ensure efficient processing and recording.

Selecting Your Payment Processor

With the help of Christopher Mammaro, CEO/President of Integrity Card Systems, we have listed 10 tips to consider when selecting your payment processor:

  1. Don’t be sold/fooled – Make sure you are not being set up with equipment you do not need. Quite often representatives will indicate that you need new equipment that is proprietary in nature and only works with their processing system. If you do need such equipment, are you paying for it? Often merchants will offer a “FREE” terminal when in fact you are actually paying for it through unexpected monthly or annual fees, or costly termination fees.
  2. Bigger does not always mean better – Just because a bank is larger does not mean that it will provide better service. Inquire if your bank uses a third-party provider and be sure to get comfortable with them. As a third party, they may not know anything about your business.
  3. Availability – Make sure the processor you choose can be reached in a timely manner. Inquire about their customer service and response times. Common complaints are in the area of support as many do not have local representation and you will not have a dedicated service representative.
  4. Trust –Referrals from people you trust or respect are more likely to place you in front of a good payment processor.
  5. Rates – Understand your current pricing structure and what type of pricing structure the processor suggests for you. Here are some examples: flat rate, tiered, interchange plus, and surcharge.
  6. Education – The processor should listen to the needs of your business and, afterwards, present a few solutions. Make sure their processing solutions are PCI (payment card industry data security standard) compliant and utilize current technology.
  7. Beware the contract – Avoid a long-term contract. If there is a contract, find out the term and if there is the penalty for leaving before the end. You are looking for a client relationship, not a hostage situation.
  8. Reputation – Do your homework. Make sure the company is reputable. Look for ratings and referrals.
  9. Sales rep vs sales partner – A sales rep may have a quota to fulfill and will be very accommodating during the sales process only to never be seen or heard from again. Make sure the person you deal with has a vested interest in your satisfaction.
  10. Bait and switch – Have a frank discussion about fees. Inquire as to any extra fees there are and how often they are charged. Request this information in writing. You do not want to be sold on a monthly savings only to be charged another “non-disclosed” fee.

Accepting credit/debit cards can increase sales, help you better compete with your competitors, have quicker access to funds, and avoid the cost and time of collections. Choosing a payment processor is perhaps the most difficult task in any businesses decision to accept credit cards. Mammaro’s advice is to take your time, comparison shop and search for the one that best suits your needs and business operations. Credit card processing companies are competitively priced, yet each may have a unique set of fees and contracts; it’s important to understand those nuances so you find the processor that’s a good match for your business needs.

At KRS CPAs, we work with businesses to provide the bridge from operations to financial reporting. Our accountants and bookkeepers understand the sales and collection process and assist our clients in evaluating merchant services and integrating these services with their accounting systems. If you need help, contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected].

Choosing The Right Accounting Software

Get the Accounting Software Your Small Business Needs to Succeed

If you are looking for an accounting system for a small business you may want to start by reviewing the features included in prepackaged solutions such as QuickBooks or Xero. These are relatively inexpensive and can be set up and functioning quickly with some user training.

Businesswoman working on laptop.Depending upon the version purchased, these packages will offer the user the ability to perform basic bookkeeping functions such as

  • Creating estimates and invoices
  • Syncing bank or credit card accounts
  • Printing checks
  • Reconciling bank accounts
  • Exporting data to Excel
  • Maintaining a General Ledger
  • Providing basic financial reports such as Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss statements.

If not offered in the basic versions, more advanced features may include preparation and printing of 1099’s, payroll, inventory tracking, time & billing, budgets, and enhanced financial reporting. In addition to the pre-packaged accounting software, there are many add-on applications that can automate many business processes.  For example, applications are available to provide point of sale solutions, enhanced inventory management, paperless bill-pay processes, employee expense/reimbursement processing and sales tax automation. There are even CRM and document management add-on applications available to help manage and grow your business.

Do your homework before buying accounting software

Not every app will integrate with every software package or version so it is important to do your homework. And if remote access is important to you, many packages offer both cloud-based and desktop versions of their software. Be sure to compare the features offered in each since certain functionality may be available in one and not the other.

It is also important that the system you use for your business provide an audit trail and the ability to lock down closed accounting periods. These functions will protect the integrity of the data and limit unauthorized posting or deletion of data.

Accounting software for a growing business

So what do you do when you believe you have outgrown the small business packaged software solutions such as QuickBooks or Xero?

First, be certain that it is the accounting software that you have outgrown and not your operational software. For example, a large volume distributor may have intricate inventory management, markup and costing operational needs that are best managed through industry-specific operational software. If this is your dilemma, then it is not only necessary to evaluate the accounting functions of the software; most often, the operational functionality will take the lead in the selection process.

Although they are getting better, we often see excellent industry-specific operational systems that lack functionality and integrity on the accounting and financial reporting side. In these circumstances, it is important to determine if the benefits of operational reporting outweigh the accounting functionality. If so, some customized software enhancements may be needed at additional cost. These operational and accounting software packages will be much more costly than packaged software and require significant training for all users. Most often it is recommended to run a new system simultaneously with the prior system until the integrity of the data can be tested and trusted.

In either scenario your accountant should be able to help you in the software selection process. He or she should understand your business operations, user needs and reporting requirements and be able to offer valuable insight in your selection process. Your accounting software should allow you to process transactions efficiently and provide financial reporting that will help your business be more profitable.

If you have questions about choosing the right accounting software for your small business, KRS CPAs can help. Give me a call at 201.655.7411 or email me at [email protected]

Valuation Considerations in Selling a Business

 

The most important tool in helping evaluate cash flow and risk is good accounting records. If the business has five or more years of good accounting records, the buyer’s perception of risk is reduced, because the records will tell the story of the company’s cash flow, and make it easier to project future cash flow.

Price and Value balance conceptIt is unlikely that any single action will result in a significant increase in cash flow, but the here are some areas where improvement may be achieved:

Expense Reductions – Review your financial statements line by line. Can the company operate with less payroll?  Fewer vehicles?  Can you reduce your space and related rent expense?

Have employee contributions to health insurance costs kept up with rising premiums?  I once assisted with a business sale in which the owner’s mantra was “find an expense reduction or become one.”  Every dollar that is added to the bottom line may increase the value of the business.

Revenue Increases – Can the customer base be expanded?   How will the company’s market share be affected by a price increase?  What about a price decrease?  Can the company take on new product lines?

Accounts Receivable – Can customer payments be accelerated? Money that is not in accounts receivable will be in your bank account, available for the business to use.  For example, a business that has $10 million of annual sales will gain approximately $385,000 of cash by reducing its average collection period by 14 days.

Inventory – Are you carrying obsolete or slow moving inventory? If so, it should be sold at a discount to reduce inventory and raise cash.  This step is also necessary so that prospective buyers of the business will have an accurate picture of normal inventory levels.

Common risk factors

Although different businesses may have different risks factors, some risks are common to all businesses. In evaluation of risk, we identify factors that may cause cash flow to not be received in the amounts expected and when expected. Following are some risks common to many businesses:

Customer Concentration – Is the business dependent on sales to one or a few customers? What would happen if one or more of those customers were lost?

Supplier Concentration – Are business operations dependent upon one supplier? If that supplier ceased to exist, could it be replaced?

Key Employees – Do the key employees have employment agreements and/or non-compete agreements? If not, and they went to work for a competitor, would the business suffer?

Obsolescence – Are your products or the processes used to produce your products approaching obsolescence, or are you updating your products and processes to stay competitive?

To understand the value of the business and how to increase it, a business owner considering selling should have the business valued. This will help him understand the factors that drive the value of the business.  If this is done long before the contemplated sale, this will give the owner and management team more time to make the changes necessary to increase the value of the business.

For more about business valuation, read the posts, “Why You Need a Business Valuation,” and “Goodwill and Your Business.” Also visit the KRS Business Valuation and Litigation Support page.

Does Your Small Business Need Help with Bookkeeping Tasks?

Outsourced bookkeeping
Outsourcing your bookkeeping and back office tasks can free you up to focus on your business

Small-business owners bring expertise and commitment to their companies, but many find they are often too busy running their operations and taking care of their customers to deal with paperwork. We all know how quickly those stacks can pile up, and unfortunately, it’s all too easy to lose track of bills that must be paid. And what about reconciling the corporate checkbook on a timely basis?

Continue reading “Does Your Small Business Need Help with Bookkeeping Tasks?”

Cross-Reference Your Cash Receipts for Easier – and More Accurate – Bookkeeping

bookkeeping tipsReconciling your company bank statements does not have to be an onerous chore. Of course, it’s much easier to track customer payments by credit card or check. But what about reconciling your bank statements when it comes to cash receipts? Continue reading “Cross-Reference Your Cash Receipts for Easier – and More Accurate – Bookkeeping”