Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finding Your Tax Records

There are times when we as taxpayers misplace some of our important tax documents making it difficult to accurately prepare our taxes. Casualties such as a flood or fire can destroy tax documents and if there was not a data backup plan in place, recreating documents can become very time consuming. If a taxpayer finds themselves in a situation like those previously mentioned; the IRS can be a good place to begin the task or reconstruction.

If you have lost your prior year tax documents, be sure to download and fill out Form 4506-T to request copies of your prior year’s tax returns. This is a good starting point to reconstruct your data so that you and your tax professional can prepare your returns. Form 4506-T can be used to request personal, business, and payroll tax forms and the forms can be certified for court or other administrative proceedings.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, July 27, 2009

Working Virtually Anywhere

Over the weekend there was a good article for small business owners in my local paper. The article dealt with the demand for virtual assistants by small business owners and how that demand has continued to grow (even in this economy). If you don’t exactly know what a virtual assistant or “VA” does be sure to check out the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) for details. In a nutshell a VA provides a small business owner with the necessary “back office” administrative services via the web so that the owner can focus on running their business.

VA’s can provide assistance in the areas of administrative, creative, technology, and financial skills and since VA’s are independent, the cost to a small business owner is less. Since VA’s work in the “virtual” world, small business owners can contract with multiple VA’s that can be spread across any boundary. The article got me thinking about the services that I provide and in many cases I guess I would have to consider myself to be a VA. Changes in the economy are causing small business owners to think of ways to cut costs and keep more of their hard earned money. Working with a VA or a firm that offers virtual services may be the key.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Georgia Refunds…Rotten Peaches

There has been a great deal of news on Georgia circulating lately and that made me feel that focusing a blog post specifically on Georgia would be a good idea. Typically being the bearer of bad news is not a desirable position to be in, but many Georgia taxpayers may already know about the state the economy in Georgia is in. As of July 15th, the Georgia Department of Revenue has not sent around 400,000 tax refunds to taxpayers and the interest clock is ticking. In a way there is a silver lining behind the dark cloud in that taxpayers finally will receive interest on money they have loaned the state the only question now is when will taxpayers receive their refunds and interest payments (which will come in separate checks)?

There is some good news coming out of Georgia however. The state will offer sales tax holidays for back to school shoppers from July 30th to August 2nd. Now wouldn’t it be nice if the Department of Revenue could give the taxpayers their money so they could shop for back to school? We will simply have to wait and see.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wamu/Chase, Economy and Change

Thanks to many small business owners and taxpayers bailout money, there has been a great deal of consolidating in the banking industry. One of the major consolidations is the merging of Washington Mutual (Wamu) and Chase banks and the change will have an effect on a lot of small business owners and individuals. If you have accounts with Wamu and you also use financial software like Microsoft Office Accounting, QuickBooks, or Quicken there are some important dates to keep in mind:

July 23 – be sure to schedule your payments and transfers online via your Wamu account or pass this information onto your bookkeeper to processing.

July 24-25 – you will be able to view information online at your Wamu account but you will not be able to make online payments or transfers

July 26 – All Wamu accounts will now transfer to

For more information on the Wamu/Chase changeover be sure to go to the Wamu website.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Little Humor (and I do mean little)

Poking fun at the economy is quite hard considering all the bad news that is occurring lately, but I did come across an article that makes a pretty good attempt. The article is entitled “Top 12 Indicators That the Economy Is Still Bad” and although the article does deal with some serious issues, the ending may give you a chuckle while reading it at your desk.

The main point for small business owners in this economy is to stay focused on streamlining their business processes and operations and look for additional ways to bring in more revenue. So now is a good time to take a look at your strategies and make sure that they are still viable in this economy. A slow economy is a great time to think outside the box and go against the grain. So take that leap of faith and it may produce the results you are looking for.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Your New Financial Advisor….The Government

If the government has it way, taxpayers will have a new financial advisor to assist them with their saving initiatives. There is current proposed legislation that would create the Consumer Finance Protection Agency (CFPA) and this agency would create a savings account for you that would automatically take your tax refund and deposit it into the account. Additionally any increases in your pay scale would also be added to the savings account thus the taxpayer would not have to worry about building a sound foundation of savings.

The rationale for creating the agency is that many taxpayers need the protection of the government from unscrupulous companies in the financial and credit markets and that most taxpayers need guidance when it comes to saving money. Many accountants and financial advisors feel that there is a better way to go about educating taxpayers about saving. Be sure to post your comments and opinions about this potential legislation and also write your congressional leader to express your opinions for or against.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Accounting Software Myths

Many small business owners use accounting software to run their businesses so that they will have the necessary information they need to make business decisions and file their taxes. Most software companies that advertise their products make the products appear to be so easy to setup and operate that they make claims that anyone can take the software right out the box, load it, and they are off and running. From an accountant’s standpoint, this is typically not the case.

Doing “clean up” work has become a lucrative area of specialization for many accountants and that got me to thinking about how software companies market their products to small business owners. I came across an interesting article about the myths of QuickBooks (although you could place any small business software title in its place) that I found interesting. The main point of the article is that if the software is not setup correctly from the start by a person with an accounting background, the end reports will be useless to the small business owner. Be sure that if you are a small business owner planning to use accounting software that you have it setup properly from the start. Proper setup will ensure that less dollars are spent down the line.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, July 06, 2009

Your Clunker is worth cash…maybe

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and got to relax and spend time with friends and family. While at a barbecue over the weekend, the topic of taxes came up when talking around the fire pit. Many individuals were asking about the new Cash for Clunkers Act and how it works for those interested in purchasing a new automobile. Here are the details:

The Consumers Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (Cash for Clunkers) allows taxpayers who purchase a new vehicle a voucher worth up to $4500 for their old automobile. The goal is to boost sales of newer fuel efficient vehicles and clean up the environment. Automobiles that are eligible for trade in must be in drivable condition, continuously insured and owned for one year, manufactured less than 25 years before the trade-in date, and have fuel efficiency of 18 mpg or less.

There are a few other details regarding the specifics of the automobile that is being traded in and how much the actual voucher amount will be so be sure to speak to your tax advisor before actually going to make a new car purchase.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Software Bites the Dust

As of June 30th, the market for small office home office (SOHO) financial software has gotten smaller. Microsoft recently announced that they will discontinue their MS Money software title, a favorite among many sole proprietors and personal finance software fans and yesterday was the last day it was sold. Those individuals that purchased the product recently still have until January 31st, 2011 to activate the product. This may be shocking news to many that use software to manage their finances, but there are still options.

One option is to consider migrating your data over to another software title such as Intuit’s Quicken (Microsoft and Intuit are currently working on a conversion). Another option is to simply upgrade you financial data to more robust software such as MS Office Accounting, QuickBooks, or others. Current customers of MS Money should contact Microsoft for additional information.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy