Monday, July 26, 2010

Tax Tools for Tech Savvy Accountants

Are you an accountant that ever needed access to tax code while at a client's office for research? Have you ever been in the middle of a tax audit and needed access to the tax code and regulations to support your position? Here's a quick video that will provide tech accountants and tech savvy taxpayers with a solution.

The Tech Accountant

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Phishing Expedition

Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for another slick e-mail scam. This one is centered on using the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) as a scare tactic to get a taxpayer’s personal information. The e-mail scam has a few variations but typically looks like this:

From: Internal Revenue Service

Date: July 19, 2010 7:48:08 AM EDT


Subject: W-2 form update

We would like to inform you that as of the 16th of June

you are late in updating your W-2 form submition with the new

updated version. Please send us your completed W-2 update form

by 01/07/2010. The updated version of the W-2 form is attached

to this message.

Internal Revenue Service

If you notice the word “submission” is spelled wrong. Misspellings are usually a good sign that an e-mail is a scam. The dates are another dead give away. The most important thing to know is that the IRS does NOT send out e-mail notification in this manner. If you receive an e-mail similar to this one, be sure to send it to the IRS.

The Tech Accountant

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time to start your business engines

Aspiring entrepreneurs that have been thinking about starting their own business are in luck if a current House Bill is passed. The Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010 (H.R. 5486) would increase the Code Sec. 195 deduction for qualified start-up expenses. The current law allows small business taxpayers to deduct up to $5,000 in qualified start-up expenses with the deduction being reduced by the amount of total start-up costs exceeding $50,000. For tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011, the proposed House bill would increase the start-up expense deduction from $5,000 to $20,000 and the threshold will be increased from $50,000 to $75,000.

The bill is an attempt to spur the economy by allowing small businesses to recover more of their initial start-up investment on the front-end (instead of spreading the expense over many years) increasing their cash flow, and giving them the ability to invest in the economy and hire employees.

We will keep our eyes and ears focused on the developments coming out of Congress for more information on planning to start a small business, be sure to speak with an accountant, attorney, and do your own research at the Small Business Administration and other small business resources.

The Tech Accountant

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Homebuyer Assistance

Individuals that entered into contracts to purchase homes but missed the June 30th deadline got a little assistance before the 4th of July holiday. The President signed the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010. For more information regarding the Act, listen to the audio clip below.


The Tech Accountant

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Five Trends Killing Horizontal Accounting Software

Blogger Austin Merrit of Accounting Software Advice had a recent post that discussed the 5 trends that are killing horizontal accounting software . Merrit states the 5 trends are:
1. Decision makers require more than a standalone system

2. Businesses want systems that fit their unique needs

3. SaaS emergence

4. Mobile Access and Social Media Integration with the enterprise

5. Software vendors fueling the switch

I would agree with Merrit that horizontal accounting software is quickly becoming obsolete and feel that the continued development of vertical software “flavors” are the driving force behind the switch. Software designed for small business (those that gross between $1 million to $5 million in revenue annually) currently on the market can be considered “vertical” once additional modules or “add-ons” are integrated with the existing software. If you take the major accounting software vendors (Intuit, Sage, Microsoft) each has what they consider a “middle” market product that can integrate customer management, financial management, operations management and employee/HR management. These systems are also currently providing advanced reporting, deeper sales and inventory management, customizable dashboards, collaborative workflow management and online training that further push their existing software into the vertical market.

The path to vertical accounting solutions for existing software vendors can be traveled down to major routes. One is to allow 3rd party vendors to develop add-on vertical products to use in conjunction with an existing horizontal software package. An example would be Intuit’s Marketplace and Worplace App Center. The Marketplace allows small business owners with horizontal accounting software the ability to add industry specific solutions that can be implemented via the desktop or the web. The Workplace App Center provides small businesses with software programs that can be loaded on the computer or smart phone to help save time.

The second route is to create an industry specific accounting software product that integrates other small businesses back office functions. Sage currently offers vertical software designed for the construction, real estate, and non-profit sectors. These software titles give small businesses the ability to focus on industry specific business management issues, operate their business in real time, and have all their back office functions in one package.

Small businesses using existing accounting software and third part add-ons are also pushing the industry to provide more vertical solutions to their business specific issues. The question is however; are these small businesses utilizing their existing software to its full potential. I personally have rarely seen a small business outgrown one of the higher level horizontal accounting solutions (QuickBooks Enterprise, Sage Quantum, and Microsoft Dynamics GP) when they are using all of the software’s features/modules/add-ons. A major problem is that many small businesses don’t take the time to learn how to use all the features in their accounting software. The key is that small business decision makers must prioritize their needs when considering an accounting software package. By focusing on the software’s features, implementation, technology, the vendor’s reputation in their vertical market and the small business’ budget a small business can turn their horizontal accounting software into a vertical accounting powerhouse.

The Tech Accountant

Saturday, July 03, 2010

DSL- "Do Suppliers Lie"

Many entrepreneurs operate their businesses from home or use a home office to conduct part of their business activities. Having a secure and fast Internet connection in your home office is critical to the success of your business, but there may be times when you are not getting what you pay for. Are DSL suppliers lying to us about the speed of the service we receive? I found this out the hard way and the brief video outlines my problems.

The Tech Accountant