Solomon & Hoover CPAs, PLLC Blog - Financial Guidance to Help Your Business Succeed

Solomon & Hoover CPAs, PLLC Blog

Financial Guidance to Help Your Business Succeed

Archive for January, 2013

Using QuickBooks Mobile, you’ll improve business relations,

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Figure 1: You can see this screen no matter where you and your smartphone are. (The recently upgraded Android version is pictured here)

put out fires before they start and unchain yourself from your

office computer.

There are only a few reasons why you wouldn’t be using

QuickBooks Mobile on your smartphone. Maybe you don’t

have a smartphone. Or when you’re out of the office, you

don’t want to be available for accounting work. Or you might

not think that it has enough features to make it worth using.

While the first two reasons are matters of personal preference, the third just isn’t true.  Quickbooks Mobile automatically – – and almost instantly – – synchronizes the data from your desktop or laptop computer copy for Quickbooks.  While it’s only focused on sales, not payables or payroll, you can manage receivables quite nicely whether you’re in a customer’s office or at a trade show or community

event – – or sitting on the couch at home.

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Figure 2: You can record sales receipts and payments on your smartphones — even schedule appointments that move to your Google calendar.

  CountlessScenarios  

There are numerous situations where you might want

to access, or add or edit customers, estimates, invoices,

sales receipts or payments when you’re not near the PC

where Quickbooks is installed, like these:

  • You do a half day of onsite training and your client wants to pay you cash right then to qualify for a discount. You can record the payment and email a sales receipt.
  • You’re on the road and you want to see how well your bookkeeper is managing receivables. QuickBooks Mobile displays three views: recent activity, today and upcoming.
  • You’re with a client who would like to give you a check to get current, but he or she can’t find the invoice. Rather than calling your office and sitting on hold until someone has time to look, you can pull up the form on your smartphone to discuss it.

 

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Figure 3: Missed your flight and afraid you’ll miss the current payroll run, too? Intuit Online Payroll gives you access from your Android or iPhone.

 

 

The Perils of Payroll 

QuickBooks Mobile doesn’t support payroll, but Intuit Online Payroll does. Like QuickBooks Mobile, the app itself is free (of course, you have to pay for the service itself). You can view the most recent payroll run and employee information, as well as preparing, previewing and approving the current payroll.

Neither app is available yet for the iPad, though QuickBooks Online is.

Paper or Plastic?

If you’ve been in business for very long and still don’t accept credit cards, you have an idea of how many sales you’ve lost. And QuickBooks Mobile won’t let you do so, anyway. You’ll need to get a merchant account from Intuit Merchant Service for QuickBooks (fees apply). A merchant account allows you to accept plastic through QuickBooks itself, your web browser, your web storefront — and on your smartphone or iPad.

To do so, you’ll need to apply for a merchant account and download Intuit’s free GoPayment app. You can either swipe cards on the free mobile reader or type numbers in. Your customers sign their names on the surface of your mobile device, and you can print or email a receipt.

It would be nice if those credit card payments were just instantly zapped into the right places in QuickBooks, but alas, it isn’t so. You’ll need to do some setup and processing both within QuickBooks and in the online Intuit Merchant Service Center. We can help you with setup and your initial transactions to make sure all of your payments get through and are deposited and/or credited correctly.

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Figure 4: You’ll need to get acquainted with the Intuit Merchant Service Center
to work with credit card payments.

We think you’ll find that once you start using all of the mobile payments services that Intuit offers, you’ll wonder what took you so long.

If you have any questions, or need help getting set up, call us…

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2012 Michele M. Hoover, CPA. Alexander & Hoover, P.A., Certified Public Accountants, specializes in providing a wide range of diversified accounting, tax, finance, and consulting services to individuals and businesses. 

To learn more, contact Michele M. Hoover, CPA at 239.481.4114 or visit http://www.alexanderhoover.com

You work hard for your money. Strong internal controls can keep it from disappearing unnecessarily.

You trust your employees or you wouldn’t have hired them. That’s what everyone says as they watch a valued staff member being hauled off in handcuffs. But I trusted him.

Whether your accounting tasks are done on one PC or you

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have multiple users working on different screens, it’s critical

that you make use of all that QuickBooks offers in terms of

internal controls. You’ll also need to establish some common-

sense rules.

First Stop: Audit Trail

An audit trail is very large report that displays every addition,

deletion and modification of every transaction. In older

versions of QuickBooks you could turn it on and off, but it’s

permanently on now.

Because of its size, you’ll probably have to use QuickBooks’ filtering tools to zero in on the user and/or date(s) you’re looking for. Go to Reports | Accountant & Taxes | Audit Trail. Click Customize Report | Filters to set up your search.

Your audit trail won’t alert you when someone tries to enter a prohibited area, and it won’t detect changes to lists. Setting up permissions will help (Company | Set Up | Users and Passwords | Set Up Users), but you need more than that.

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Figure 1: Be especially careful when granting user access to areas that contain customer, vendor and employee information

Run the Right Reports

Other QuickBooks features can help prevent fraud. Review these reports regularly:

  • Closing Date Exception. Why were those changes necessary?
  • Voided/Deleted Transactions. Is there supporting documentation? Should you be reviewing these daily?
  • Expenses by Vendor Detail. Look for irregularities, especially multiple payments made to a vendor in a short period of time.
  • Check registers. Use the Balance Sheet for this. Go to Reports | Company & Financial | Balance Sheet Standard and customize the report for the correct period and — if necessary — for specific customers, vendors and/or jobs.

Adhere to Best Practices

You undoubtedly implement financial best practices in your personal life. You reconcile your accounts. You don’t give your online banking password to anyone. And you glance through your recently-posted transactions on your financial institutions’ websites.

If your company is large enough that you have multiple accounting employees, you probably can’t be as hands-on as you are at home. But you can still set up internal control procedures.

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Figure 2: Debit? Credit? Reverse the transaction? No one should be making General Journal entries but you.  It’s easy to err here; talk to us before using this feature.

For example, if your company has grown to the point where you’re removed from the daily workflow, you may still want to have approval rights for some procedures, like bank balance adjustments, refunds and credits, printed checks (you should still be signing them), timesheets and expense reports.

It goes without saying that you should password-protect your QuickBooks company file and change the password regularly, even — and especially — if you’re the entire accounting department. And protect yourself for external fraud. We can do a review of your security procedures and make suggestions.

Reinforce the rules  

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Figure 3: Anyone in your company who has access to accounting data should have a background check.

Know who your employees are (consider running background checks) and, if you can, rotate the duties assigned to accounting staff. If you have only one person managing all of your bookkeeping work, conduct an even more thorough background search: credit, references, criminal activity, etc.

Finally, make sure that all employees understand the definition and consequences of fraud. Let them know about the steps being taken to prevent it, but do some unannounced auditing on your own. Include a session on fraud in orientation and get current staff up in orientation and get current staff up to speed. Explain that this is necessary for their protection, too. Make it easy to report fraud anonymously, with no fear of repercussions.

This may seem like a lot of extra tasks in your workday, but imagine the time you’ll lose tracking down fraudulent activity if it occurs. So spend a fraction of that time upfront.

If you have questions on this subject, or anything else Accounting or QuickBooks related, give us a call or email. We’re here to be your partner.

© 2012 Michele M. Hoover, CPA. Alexander & Hoover, P.A., Certified Public Accountants, specializes in providing a wide range of diversified accounting, tax, finance, and consulting services to individuals and businesses. 

To learn more, contact Michele M. Hoover, CPA at 239.481.4114 or visit http://www.alexanderhoover.com

 

Tax Law Change Update

Posted by admin On January 7th

American Taxpayer Relief Act addresses the “fiscal cliff”

The American Taxpayer Relief Act averts the United States’ descent over the “fiscal cliff” — a combination of higher taxes and
forced spending cuts scheduled to go into effect in 2013. The act prevents income tax rate increases for about 98% of taxpayers
and makes other changes affecting individuals and businesses. Here’s a brief summary of the most important provisions.

Individual tax provisions

  • Makes permanent 2012 ordinary-income tax rates, ranging from 10% to 35%
  •  Increases the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% on taxable income in excess of the applicable threshold of $400,000 (singles), $425,000 (heads of households) or $450,000 (married filing jointly)
  •  Allows the scheduled 2013 return of the limits on certain itemized deductions and personal exemptions — setting limit thresholds of $250,000 (singles), $275,000 (heads of households) and $300,000 (married filing jointly)
  •  Makes permanent 2012 long-term capital gains rates of 0% and 15%
  •  Increases long-term capital gains rate to 20% for taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $400,000 (singles), $425,000(heads of households) or $450,000 (married filing jointly)
  • Makes permanent long-term capital gains treatment for qualified dividends
  • Makes permanent (and retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012) alternative minimum tax (AMT) relief
  • Extends the deduction for state and local sales tax in lieu of state and local income tax
  • Extends various child- and education-related credits and deductions
  • Extends the ability of taxpayers age 70½ or older to make a direct tax-free rollover from an IRA to charity
  • Extends certain home and energy-related breaks
  • Increases the top estate tax rate to 40%
  • Maintains the estate tax exemption amount at $5 million, inflation-adjusted annually

Business tax provisions

Several valuable tax breaks for businesses have been extended, such as:

  • Bonus depreciation
  • Enhanced Section 179 expensing
  • Accelerated depreciation for qualified leasehold, retail and restaurant improvements
  • The Work Opportunity credit
  • The research and development credit
  • Certain energy-related breaks

The impact on you

We’ve touched on only some of ATRA’s numerous provisions here. In addition, many breaks are subject to a variety of rules
and limitations. So be sure to discuss them with your tax advisor to determine exactly how they’ll affect you. We’d be
pleased to help.

© 2012 Michele M. Hoover, CPA. Alexander & Hoover, P.A., Certified Public Accountants, specializes in providing a wide range of diversified accounting, tax, finance, and consulting services to individuals and businesses. 

To learn more, contact Michele M. Hoover, CPA at 239.481.4114 or visit http://www.alexanderhoover.com