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Mistakes To Learn From

All business owners make mistakes. It is an unfortunate truth. After all, we’re only human! In certain industries, these mistakes can lead to serious consequences. It is the job of any good business owner to identify what these possible errors are, and avoid making them. Luckily, we have seen them all. Accountants and bookkeepers are very familiar with both extremes of running a business. We see everything from the totally unprepared, to the utterly flawless. In the midst of all of this, we have learned a thing or two.

 

Who You Gonna Call?

One of the most costly errors a business owner can make is overconfidence. Starting a business requires a great deal of dedication and knowledge. However, no one person is expected to know the intricacies of each aspect of business ownership. The wisest man knows that he knows not. It is important to swallow your pride (and cough up a few dollars) sometimes, and let someone who is trained handle the task. Every bookkeeper will tell you, starting new books isn’t difficult, but fixing old ones can be a nightmare. Hiring a subcontractor may seem like a major expense, but it is nothing compared to the damage control you will have to do if things go poorly doing it yourself.  

 

It’s Nothing Personal, Just Business

This cliche line has probably been uttered in a hundred different movies, but actually holds some merit. Something we see a lot, especially with new business owners, is that they often use their own personal funds to bolster their company. Owner investments are fine, they are a must. However, when it comes to using company money, things get a bit more complicated. Unfortunately, many business owners will use a company card for personal reasons, in lieu of taking draws.

This is costly for a couple reasons. First, it takes more time for your bookkeeper to sift through the transactions to find what is actually a business expense. Secondly, many say to themselves “I will pay it back”, and never do. Companies have been drained this way. Lastly, this sort of behavior, if paired with improper bookkeeping and poor records, can be a red flag for the IRS. And no one wants to audited. Business card. Personal card. Have two, keep them separate. 

 

Cash Is King

This one may seem obvious. The saying has been around for a while, yet people seem to forget it. There are so many ways to pay for goods and services now, that we often forget we need to have cash in the bank to back it all up with. In my bookkeeping years, I have seen companies pay thousands a year in bank overdraw fees. I have seen companies unable to make payroll because there are insufficient funds. I have seen owners buy things they don’t need, and spend far too long paying for it. The unfortunate truth is that many businesses operate at a loss for a while before they can start making money. However, you are only making money if it goes into the bank.

 

Organized Chaos

Let’s be honest, we aren’t as organized as we should be. Sometimes, we get lazy, and don’t put something back where we found it. This happens in business as well. We start off with the best intentions, and follow all the protocols, but after time complacency usually gets the best of us. Unfortunately, in the business world, this type of behavior can seriously hurt a company. It may start innocently enough, with little consequence, but over time it will bleed into the day-to-day functions, and efficiency of your work. Don’t let messy books, or a messy work space bring you down.

 

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s all common sense! Why would you make a post about that?” Well, when the number of times seeing these mistakes becomes too high to count, then maybe it’s time to address them. These are all easily solvable mistakes. Better than fixing them, is never making them at all. Hopefully this friendly reminder from your local accountants will help prevent them in the future!

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A Bookkeeper’s Tool

Bookkeeping always seems like a mysterious, dark art. It is never seen done in person, yet you give someone a bunch of transactions and receive a neat, orderly report in return. As confusing as it may seem from the outside, bookkeeping is very straight forward these days, with the help of some very useful programs. There are probably hundreds of bookkeeping programs available, each with their own pros and cons. At the Bean Team, we are QuickBooks fans.

So what can QuickBooks do that makes it so special, and universally used? The first, and arguably most important factor is usability. QuickBooks is marketed as a user friendly program. Which it certainly is, to a certain extent. The company that made the program is aptly named Intuit. And their programs are indeed, intuitive. Obviously, there is a learning curve, as with any program. But for most new users, they will find they are able to post invoices and deposits with very little  instruction. That being said, a basic understanding of bookkeeping goes a long way.

QuickBooks has also adapted a fair amount to the modern age. The program has been in circulation since the 90’s. Much has changed in the digital environment since that time. Intuit has done a very good job of keeping the iterations of QuickBooks modern, while still holding on to their more old fashioned customer base. It is a balancing act that many companies could learn from.

You see, while many of the basic functionality of the program has remained the same, new add ons, integrations, and internet linked features have been added to keep it up-to-date. These changes aren’t solely for appearance’s sake. With QuickBook’s success, has come a throng of followers that aim to create a shinier, more modern take of double entry accounting programs. And for the most part, they have succeeded. Web based bookkeeping programs like Xero, have taken many customers away from Intuit. Lured by a whole host of integrations, and streamlined bank feed downloads, many amateur bookkeepers have jumped ship.

While I, and many other bookkeepers, may concede that Xero is in fact easier to pick up and use, it is far less comprehensive than QuickBooks. Following a trail of transactions can be difficult, and often makes any form of forensic accounting painful. It lacks the tools, and ability to enable a bookkeeper to truly be in control of a company’s finances. If all you need is a place to download your bank feed, and assign them to an account, then Xero is perfect. 

When it comes down to it, QuickBooks is the most versatile. It can be used by many different skill levels, and is very in tune with what most accountants, bookkeepers, and business owners need when maintaining healthy books, no matter the industry. Obviously, it is important to do your research, and see what fits best with your business. Don’t blindly take my word for it. And no, I’m not getting paid by Intuit to plug their product, but if that is an option, I’m game. Really, I have used a hand full of accounting and bookkeeping programs, and always come back to QuickBooks as my go-to. Don’t get me wrong, it has its quirks like any other computer program, but at the end of the day it does the things I need it to, and without too much fuss.

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Preparing for 2018 Taxes


As we approach the end of 2017, tax time is around the corner. The changes of the Trump Tax Plan and the post card tax return will happen in 2018. So, we have another year of the old rules and forms. While taxes can be really complicated, getting your taxes done can be a breeze, you just need to hold on to a few pieces of paper and be prepared to answer a few questions for your accountant. Here are few tips for making sure this tax season is pain-free.

 

  • Form Numbers Are Your Friend! Trying to decide what to hold on to for your tax return can be overwhelming. Many times, tax preparers will get a stack of every piece of paper that has a number and a dollar sign on it. While we do appreciate detail, we also appreciate getting you a return as quickly as possible! The most important tax documents will have a form number. These are the most important things to hold onto. If you get something in the mail that says “Tax Document” on the envelope, chances are it is a form of some variety and it should be kept.
  • The Many Faces of 1099s. 1099s come in all shapes and sizes. The type will be designated by either a letter or a word added on to the end. For example, a 1099 that tells you how much money you earned in bank interest is a “1099-INT”. The most common type is a 1099-MISC, or Miscellaneous. This is typically used to show money made as a subcontractor, or someone who wasn’t having taxes taken out of their earnings. If you receive any form of 1099, hold on to it. You will need to report it on your tax return.
  • Do you C? If you run your own business as a sole proprietor, you don’t need to file a separate return. You do, however, need to fill out a Schedule C on your individual tax return. The Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business, requires your yearly numbers pertaining to income and expenses. Completing this schedule will be much easier if you have a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper will track your income and expenses by type, often corresponding with the required fields on the Schedule C. If you do not have a bookkeeper, and have not been tracking your expenses, you will have to provide your company’s bank and credit card statements for the year.
  • The Venerable W-2. Chances are, you will receive this in January or February. In short, the W-2 shows you how much you made, and how much was taken out for Federal taxes, Social Security and Medicare, and State Taxes (if applicable). It will also show you how much was taken out for any sort of health plan, or dependent care, along with several other items if they pertain to you. The W-2 is the backbone of your tax return. You should receive one from any job you worked at over the course of the year in which you were officially on a payroll. Basically, if you filled out a W-4, you will receive a W-2.

 

Filing your taxes doesn’t need to be some mystery. More than anything, it is about being prepared, and following instructions. Well, and having a great deal of patience. But as long as you have everything you need, and are willing to take the time to read items over, you will be able to file your taxes without any major hiccups.

 

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Outsourced HR Specialists


 

HR is one of the rare parts of business that is so extremely important, yet almost always gets overlooked. Why is this? Well, most companies believe they don’t have any HR issues. Business owners tend to think that they have a firm grasp on what is happening within their business, and if anything were to happen, they would be able to handle it. This is reactionary, rather than preventative, and is rarely a permanent fix to the problem.

Here are a few reasons why we think having an outsourced HR specialist on call is a good idea.

  1. If you have employees, you have HR compliance issues. It’s that simple. Between hiring, pay practices, benefits, and leave administration, there is a lot that can go wrong. Being prepared costs far less than the toll of any repercussions.
  2. A component of a healthy workplace environment is creating a clear, and transparent employee handbook so all guidelines are easily accessible. This is best done by a manager in tandem with an HR specialist.
  3. Discipline and termination are unfortunate facets of running a business. HR specialists can educate and guide business owners through the proper processes so as to avoid any compliance issues.
  4. Another key factor in covering your bases in all matters, is proper documentation. Having someone who knows the correct way to document all HR related issues will make ensure that there are no legal ramifications.

HR is always more than people think. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you have it covered. It is always better to be prepared, and go by the book. Hiring a professional who knows the laws and has the experience, is a valuable investment that will save you time, and a lot of hassle.

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Streamline Your AP Process


The Accounts Payable process can be difficult to manage. Business owners will often complete one step of the process but forget to record it properly. Mistakes like this can result in accidentally over- or under-stating your expenses. When the process is poorly managed, bills can get misplaced, overlooked, or paid late. All of this reflects poorly on the business.

At the Bean Team, we believe very strongly in having an efficient AP process. With our system, there are fewer errors, quicker turn-around time, and everything is recorded and documented for future reference. Here is an example of what our process typically looks like:

  1. Bills from vendors come directly to us.
  2. We scan and save copies of each bill.
  3. Each bill is entered into QuickBooks.
  4. We get approval from the manager or business owner to pay the bill.
  5. We print a check using checks the business owner provides, or pay with an approved credit card.
  6. The bill is then marked as paid in QuickBooks.
  7. If a check is printed, it will be mailed straight from our office.

 

We also incorporate Bill.com into our workflow to further automate the AP process. With this web-based payables solution, managing your AP can be done with ease via a mobile app. We also can assist with setting up bills to be paid on an automatic schedule. This ensures that nothing will be paid late again.  

Most issues that arise related to the vendor will be handled by us, unless instructed otherwise, or if we do not possess the needed information. When we are the point of contact, the AP process can move more quickly. Constant back and forth between business owners and vendors can interrupt the flow of work, as well as cause friction between the two. Having an intermediary, like us, helps ensure good business relationships.

For any business, maintaining an effective AP process is a key to success – ask us about how to get started on streamlining your Accounts Payable today!

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outsourcing accounting

6 Benefits of Outsourcing Accounting


Providing Outsourced Accounting is one of many services we provide at the Bean Team. Complete outsourcing of accounting makes the most sense for business that don’t have enough accounting tasks to occupy 2 or more employees.

Here are 6 benefits of outsourcing accounting to a qualified firm:

  1. Save Time and Focus: By outsourcing, the business owner and management can focus on the operations of the business. They don’t spend time doing accounting tasks that they don’t like to do and are likely not qualified to do. The business owner saves the time and focusses on the business. You are good at your business, we are good at accounting.
  2. Save $: After taking into account the time you would save, the cost to outsource is typically less than an in-house solution, especially when cost of the business owner’s time is considered in managing or doing the accounting tasks. The Bean Team understands that time is money.
  3. Team vs. Individual: When you outsource, the work is done by a team of professionals ranging in skill sets from entry level accounting, up to a seasoned CFO or CPA. This allows a team approach to enable a system of tasks and cross training. The team completes the work on time even if one member is out or if a team member needs to be replaced. The outsourced model provides for a process based on a system instead of the knowledge being possessed by one person a defined skill set.
  4. Customized and Staffed Solution: Clients receive a customized solution that allocates the accounting tasks done by the firm and those tasks done by the client. The firm recruits, vets, hires, and manages the team to deliver the offered services. The client doesn’t need to do any of these HR or management tasks as it pertains to accounting tasks. The end result is less stress and  peace of mind for the client.
  5. Best-in-Class Systems: The outsourced solution offers the best people and the best systems. The outsourced firm tests, vets, purchases, and then rolls it out to clients in a way that spreads the cost and spreads the benefits to all. Systems that are online, mobile, secure, backed-up, and integrated are requirements in the systems used. Knowledgeable, qualified, and conscientious professionals.
  6. Scaled Solutions: The outsourced solution can scale up or down as accounting volume increases or decreases. Scaling can be done quickly without the need for the client to go through a recruiting process or laying off personnel. This is all done quickly and seamlessly by the outsourced firm.
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IRS Phone Scammers Demand Payments — Don’t be fooled!!

Don’t be fooled with what may sound like a legitimate phone call.   Imagine that person on the other end of the phone is actually sitting next to you and speaking to you in person…would you believe them?    The IRS, specifically the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued an Alert last Friday about this.   Do you know what to do?

 

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued an alert Friday warning that it has received information that callers impersonating IRS employees or the Treasury Department are demanding payments on iTunes Gift Cards.

TIGTA noted that the scam callers may also request payment of taxes on Green Dot Prepaid Cards, MoneyPak Prepaid Cards, Reloadit Prepaid Debit Cards, and other prepaid credit cards.  The alert stressed that these are fraudulent calls, and any call requesting that taxpayers place funds on an iTunes Gift Card or other prepaid cards to pay taxes and fees is an indicator of fraudulent activity.

TIGTA pointed out that no legitimate U.S. Treasury or IRS official will demand that payments via Western Union, MoneyGram, bank wire transfers or bank deposits be made into another person’s account for any debt to the IRS or Treasury

[Accounting Today, Michael Cohn, IRS Scammers Demand Payment]

 

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$2.3 Billion Lost!! Don’t be fooled by email SCAMS, no matter how real they look!

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week warned about a “dramatic” increase in so-called “CEO fraud,” e-mail scams in which the attacker spoofs a message from the boss and tricks someone at the organization into wiring funds to the fraudsters. The FBI estimates these scams have cost organizations more than $2.3 billion in losses over the past three years.

[http://krebsonsecurity.com/tag/ceo-fraud/, Brian Kebs]

 

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, there has been a CEO email scam going around the past few months where the email directs you to send a wire transfer on the orders of the CEO.  The email often appear to come from somebody higher-up but in reality this is just spoofing, or pretending, to be from a legitimate account. 

Here are some details on the scam for your knowledge:  http://krebsonsecurity.com/tag/ceo-fraud/

As always, if something looks IN ANY WAY fishy (even 0.000000000000001% doubt), do not open the email and contact Epyon for all your IT needs.  Epyon Website

Cristian Clements

IT Consultant

Epyon Technologies
2001 Thomasville Rd Tallahassee FL 32308
850.391.3666

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Should Law Firms Outsource Accounting?

Today law firms face many financial-related obstacles that impede their growth and ability to provide a better service.

These issues may include

  • Difficulties with payroll and salaries
  • Partner profitability
  • Financial statements
  • Invoicing
  • Malpractice insurance
  • And trust accounting

As you know, dealing with all of these issues can take up a lot of paperwork and time. Is there an easier way to get around these accounting issues? The answer is yes, and it’s called outsourcing. 

Now the question is, should your law firm outsource its accounting?

What is Outsourcing All About?

Outsourcing can be a cost-effective and efficient solution to delegate tasks that take up so much of your valuable time. One of the best examples of outsourcing is accounting and bookkeeping. Lawyers should focus on what they are good at, and that’s working towards winning their clients cases in court.

It’s not uncommon for law firms to hire a local part-time bookkeeper to keep records and bank statements in order.

But now, there is another option to outsource your accounting and bookkeeping tasks to a company, one that specializes in working with law firms specifically.

What to Look For When You Outsource Your Accounting

You should expect to find, a good accounting firm that will provide professionalism on all levels. A top-notch company will offer multiple services that revolve around accounting such as payroll, HR, bill payments, and tax services.  

Look for accounting companies that offer:

  • GAAP Accounting Services
  • Bookkeeping Services
  • Tax Management Services
  • Human Resources Services
  • Reporting Services
  • Cloud Services
  • Trust Accounting Services

Conclusion

So, should law firms outsource accounting? As you can see, it can be an excellent solution to the countless hour’s of paperwork headaches.

[http://blog.lucidbooks.com/should-law-firms-outsource-accounting – Nicholas Bird on June 18, 2015]

 

Contact the Bean Team today to discuss your Law Firm and how we can help with your Outsourcing Needs

Bean Team – Contact Us

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