Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tax Credit Window Pains

Use this video to gain insight into the energy efficient tax credit and how to use it to minimize your window pains.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hire Ground for SBO’s

New bill signed into law for SBO’s looking to hire new employees.

The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE), also known as the "jobs bill," signed by the President on March 18, 2010, is a plan to create jobs by providing a temporary tax break to small businesses that hire the unemployed.

How is it planned to help SBO’s (2 Ways)

Payroll tax exemption– SBO’s that pay wages after March 18, 2010, and before January 1, 2011, to qualified individuals are exempt from the (i.e., the Social Security portion) of the FICA employment tax for those qualified unemployed workers they hire.

Watch Your 1st and 2nd Qtr. Payroll Tax Forms (Form 941)

For wages paid prior to April 1, 2010 (1st Qtr.), the exemption comes in the form of a second quarter credit. That is, wages paid prior to April 1 that would otherwise qualify for the exemption are subject to regular payroll tax rules. However, the amount by which an employer’s payroll tax would have been reduced under this provision will be treated as a payment against tax in the second quarter of 2010.

Business Tax Credit

Tax credit for retaining new hires– For tax years ending after March 18, 2010, a business tax credit equal to the lesser of $1,000 or 6.2% of wages paid to the worker during the 52 consecutive weeks of employment, and is allowed for each employee in the taxable year in which the 52 consecutive week period is first satisfied will be allowed for each qualified individual.

The Tech Accountant

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Entrepreneur Insight Teleconference - Start Your Business Right

I recently had the pleasure to be a guest speaker on a local teleconference recognizing small businesses and entrepreneurs and how they got their start. The main point was to introduce the speakers "P.I.P.E. H.I.T." strategy to help aspiring entrepreneurs transition from the workforce to working on their own. Good information is packed in this 30 min teleconference. Enjoy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fire and the Clouds- A Client Story

As many of you out there in blog land know, I am a supporter of using technology to make life a bit easier for myself and my clients. One of the more common technology products that I currently use is a cloud (online) backup and data storage solution. We have been using it for quite some time now and since it has been integrated within my firm’s daily processes, we think nothing of it. At least until recently…

A client of mine had a house fire back in 2009 and is still in the process of putting their life back together. As I met with him and his wife recently, we were all trying to piece back their businesses and personal financial information only to find out that the majority of their statements and contracts were destroyed. Luckily this client was having us scan all of their important financial data since 2004. I was able to pull out my trusty smartphone and login to our data storage and pull up everything we needed to get their taxes completed and provide them copies to recreate their records.

As I was leaving, the client told me that from now on he wanted to have me scan every piece of paper her ever receives. That way he would have no worries.

Just another example of how cloud data storage can save you and your small business. Stop by our website for more information on how you can protect you and your business.

The Tech Accountant

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3 Ways Accounting Systems Can Save Your Small Business

Small Businesses are the backbone of our economy. Being that small businesses play such an important role in the American economy, typically what affects the economy will affect the small business owner. In the wake of large businesses financial scandals that are changing the way the government and regulatory agencies mandate new regulations, one would think what are the consequences if small businesses fall prey to similar scandals. The small business owner must take these issues into consideration for accurate financial reporting is not only a “Wall Street” problem, but a “Main Street” problem.

When a small business owner tries to tackle the financial problem alone, they are usually too caught up in the activities of bringing in new business to take any time out to “look over the books” or balance the checkbook. It is also difficult for the small business owner to stay current on all the new changes in the tax law that may affect their business. Despite all the government talks of tax simplification Congress has made more than 5000 changes in the federal tax law since 1986. Small business owner must take into account these issues to ensure a solid future.

Typically a small business owner may attempt to alleviate the problem by purchasing an easy-to use software program to in a sense “do the work for them”. This usually only puts the small business owner back into the same loop of trying to bring in new business at the same time managing day-to-day activities. The time training on the software and entering the data alone could be spent on revenue producing activities which is why often time a small business needs to develop a system of financial record keeping.

How Accounting Systems Help

When a small business utilizes an accounting system in conjunction with an accounting software package, all financial issues can be addressed. This will ensure that the most prudent course of action is taken when making business decisions. At the same time the small business owner can focus their efforts on the revenue producing activities that will help the company grow. The three main ways an accounting system can help a small business owner are:

• Have more efficient tax planning- By preparing year round
• Improve cash flow- By knowing where the business stands at all times
• Have better insight as to where it is going- By utilizing accurate reports for decision-making.

Tax Planning

By utilizing an accounting system, a small business will be able to uncover potential tax savings they can apply throughout the year instead of only at tax time. An accounting system that closely monitors the potential tax implications of various transactions during the year will assist the small business owner with the timing of those transactions to reap the best tax benefit.

Cash Flow

Cash is the life-blood of any business especially a small business. Without cash the business will suffer and will possibly be forced to cease operations. By implementing an accounting system a small business’ cash flow position can be improved. The system can provide the small business owner with the numbers beyond just the bank balances so cash and/or financing needs can be addressed efficiently and effectively.

Management Controls

Many small businesses operate under a blindfold when it comes to planning for the future. By having an accounting system in place, the small business owner will have a better grasp on where they are and where they plan to go. By focusing on the business growth strategy, in conjunction with financial reports the accounting systems can “forecast” potential business scenarios before they occur. This will empower the business owner with the necessary information they need to stay in line with their strategic vision.

Accounting Systems are Important

By implementing an accounting system a small business can improve its tax planning, effectively manage their cash flow, and improve their management controls. It will also allow the small business owner to spend more time on revenue producing activities. Small business is a contact sport, it is important for the small business owner to make new contacts, cultivate their present contacts, and keep in contact with their bottom line. By using an accounting system, small businesses can effectively manage these contacts and continue to be the backbone of the economy.

The Tech Accountant

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Start Your Business Right

As the economy continues to decline, many people are looking for other ways to make a living. Jobs are still hard to find for most and the opportunity to start your own business is becoming a viable option. For those that are interested in hanging out their own shingle, there are some very important steps one must take before starting their business to better of chances of success. As I was going through some of my group discussions on Linked In, I came across a lady named Silvia Johnson who operates a coaching and consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay area. She will be conducting a 60 minute teleconference on March 10th to help those people who would like to start their own business on the right track. Be sure to stop by her site for more details and to sign up for the teleconference. Hope those in blog land can make the call.

The Tech Accountant

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tweet Birds in the Clouds

Would you like a way to export all of your tweets, here is a nice cloud product that may be for you. Check out the video below to find out how you can save your tweets as csv files within your cloud data storage which can then be edited, stored, sorted, and more. There is the change that social media networks like Twitter, You Tube and Linked In will not make it as businesses, so be sure that you have a way to get access to your data. Sign up for a free cloud storage account to back up your tweets here.

The Tech Accountant

Monday, March 01, 2010

Your Data Can Be Hacked

As I sit in the office starting off my Monday, I overheard an interview on our local news morning show with a gentleman name Greg Evans of Ligatt Security discussing how most computer data is not secure. This got me thinking about how small business owners secure their data and what measures they need to take to ensure that their data is difficult to hack. Mr. Evans did make some very good points regarding how one should go about protecting their data and computers. The first is to ensure that you have spyware and malware detection software loaded on your computer in addition to antivirus software. He also mentioned ensuring that your firewall is enabled as a precaution too.

What really caught my attention in the interview was the following link that was given to check and see if your computers are hacker proof. Be sure to stop by and enter your computer vitals to find out if there are any additional measures you need to take to protect your computer and data. Finally I need to check on a new iPhone app that has been introduced recently that will maybe help protect some of the shortcomings of the iPhone.

Enjoy your week

The Tech Accountant