It’s that time again and the holidays are fast approaching.  It’s a time of excitement, family, get togethers, and…finances!  For most, year-end is the time when we start thinking about taxes and our financial situation for the year.  December 31st is too late, but if you’re reading this now, you have a good chance to get things in order to make tax time and other year-end tasks less stressful.  Keep reading to see how to get ready!

Catch Up Your Bookkeeping

If you have some a back log of bookkeeping to do, now is the time to get caught up and ready for January.  Bookkeeping can be as simple as a spreadsheet if you’re a sole proprietor, or if you have LLC or Corporation, then you really should use software like Xero.  Don’t spend hours and hours on this.  Technology is come along away in the past 5 years so chances are “there’s an app for that”!

Having your books caught up will tell you how much income and expenses you have for the year.  Once you know that, then you’ll have a good idea of what your tax bill is going to look like.

Taxes

If you’re self-employed chanced are that you should be paying estimated tax payments–which are basically tax prepayments.  Reviewing how much you’ve paid in, and making any necessary catch up payments will help ensure you don’t have a large tax bill and will help you avoid any pre-payment penalties.

Additionally, you should review your net income to ensure you aren’t getting caught with a large unexpected tax bill.  Reviewing this will help you know what to expect when it’s time to file taxes.  And if you have extra cash, you can even pay some or all of your tax liability before you file your return.

 

Retirement Accounts

Saving for retirement has almost become a cliché term.  But did you know most business owners aren’t taking advantage of having their company pay themselves for retirement?  It’s one of the great tax planning tools that a business owner can use!  The company (which you own) pays into a retirement account for you.  So it’s like getting a double benefit!  Every business owner should be doing this.

There are many different options for retirement accounts.  Whether it’s a 401K, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA, find the one that works for you and get it started.

Re-evaluate Your Pricing & Costs

End of year is a great time to look at your pricing and costs.  It’s also a great time to review your Gross Profit % and make sure you’re charging enough for your products/services, or adjust your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS).  Keep in mind that generally speaking, your COGS should be no more than 30% of your revenue.  If it is, you could be bleeding cash and you may soon run out.  If you run out of cash, guess what?  The jig is up and you may be out of business.  In order to do this you’ll need to of course have your bookkeeping caught up so do that first, and then review these numbers.

 

…your COGS should be no more than 30% of your revenue

Review Your Systems and Processes

Finally, review your internal systems and processes.  Or, maybe this is the time where you commit to write them down.  Mapping out your systems and processes does a few things for you:

  1. You can discover inefficiencies that you may have never seen.  Writing something down  has the amazing effect of providing objectivity!  You can use paper or online tools like Google Docs or Evernote to do this.  That way, if you ever have staff taking over certain jobs, they’ll know what to do.
  2. It also prepares you to be able to hire staff and delegate tasks or jobs.  Doing this allows you to take on more of a managerial/strategy role and be less of a technician.  As business owners, we should all be moving away from the technical side of the business so we can work on the vision and growing the company.

 

As business owners we should all be moving away from the technical side of the business so we can work on the vision and growing the company

 

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list by any means, but it should get you started.  If you need help, just ask!  We’ve helped countless businesses do these things and we can offer down-to-earth advice that will make doing this, easy!

 

 

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modern-bill-paying-dashboard

How many paper checks do you write per month?  15, 50, 100?  If so, then you’re not along.  Most US based businesses still rely on paper checks to pay bills, employees, and contractors, and it’s costing you hundreds of dollars!  Keep reading to find out how.

Moving Paper Costs Money

Processing checks isn’t that simple.  Think about all the work that goes into writing a check.  From getting an invoice, to entering it into your accounting system, to printing the check, and then finally mailing it.  That process takes time and multiple people touching it, which costs money!  And don’t even think about errors and mistakes that are made due to having so many people involved.

Beyong staff costs to make that workflow happen, how about paper and postage?  Now, you may say that a stamp doesn’t cost that much, but how about the other costs?

  • Stamps
  • Paper supplies
  • Staff time to process
  • Approvals

The cost for each busienss will be different based on how many checks you write and your process.  But, those costs up and I’m sure they’re substantial.

 

Use a Modern Solution to Save You Money

Like we said, “moving paper costs money”, so stop and integreat a modern service like Bill.com to help save you headaches and money!  Using a cloud-based system like Bill.com will help you do just this.  Recording, paying bills, approvals, documents storage, and syncing with your accounting system all from within one login is what makes Bill.com such a powerful and time saving tool.

This is how it works:

  • Scan, email or fax your bill into Bill.com
  • Process the bill and assign the vendor and expense account online using their easy to use dashboard
  • Gain necessary approvals
  • Schedule the payments to go out ACH or by check (yep Bill.com will handle printing and mailing the check for you)
  • Sync bills and payments happens automatically in the backround

That’s it–only 5 steps all from within one system!

 

Stop Bleeding Money and Make the Switch

 

photo-1441015401724-70d16b783f5c

Switching to a new Accounts Payable system/workflow can be scary and daunting.  We can help!  We can help you find out if it makes sense for your organization, develop an implemenation plan, and even provide ongoing support.

Contact us for a free consulation and learn more about how much you can save by switching to a modern solution and by ditching the paper!

 

 

 

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App PowerPack Post

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past 5 years, I’m sure you’ve noticed the era of cloud-based apps has far outpaced its desktop counterparts.  We like cloud-based apps a lot—for good reasons that are too many to go into here.  You can check out this BLOG POST  to see a previous post about cloud-based apps. We like them so much that we’ve completely transitioned our business to using cloud apps for us and our clients.  We spend lots of time vetting out the ever growing list of cloud-based apps, and have come to rely on 3 core apps.  These apps are our top pick to make our “PowerPack” of apps that we set up with each client.

  xeroXero – Accounting

Xero touts itself as “beautiful accounting software”, and we agree.  From the first time you log in, you can tell right away that Xero has taken design pretty serious.  But that doesn’t mean that it lacks in power and functionality.  Features include: invoicing, quotes, purchase orders, A/P (bills), document management, real-time cash flow tools, contact management, powerful reporting, and much more.  Perhaps one of it’s best features is the eco-system of software add-on’s that integrate with Xero.

hubdoc_logo_full  Hubdoc – Receipt and Statement Management

Trust us, we know how daunting it is to manage all the paper for running a business!  Hubdoc solves this issue with automation and storage.  The idea behind the system is:

  1. To be a repository for your bank and utility statements by connecting to your online accounts and pulling the statements automatically
  2. To serve as an easy way to get the information from receipts, into your accounting system.  Simply snap a pic of any receipt using the mobile app on your device, and Hubdoc will read the date, amount, and vendor.

 

By integrating with Xero, Bill.com, and Google Drive, you can have a completely paperless system that allows you to automatically keep bank, utility statements, and store digital copies of your receipts.

 

 

download

Expensify – Expense Reports and Mileage Tracking

Expensify has revolutionized the way you track and submit expenses for reimbursement.  From single to a team of several employees, expense reports for mileage, personal expenses, and travel can easily be imported into Xero and even reimbursed via ACH straight from within the app.  For most of our single-owner businesses, it works perfectly for keeping track of money you spend on personal accounts.  Enabling GPS on their mobile app makes it a breeze to track your auto mileage as well.

 

 

Want to know more about these “Power Hitter” apps?  Leave a comment or reach out to see how they can benefit your business and even get them for free as part of one of our monthly service plans.

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“My bank says I have $5000, but my Profit and Loss says I made $10,000… huh?!”

Ever asked this question?

With this post, let’s dive into one of the most mis-understood and under-used reports that you have in your accounting software arsenal: Statement of Cash Flows (aka Cash Flow Statement).  This statement will answer the very question may have plagued you for some time now.

In short, this report follows one of the most important things in your business: CASH.  It tracks where the cash came from, and where it went.  The report breaks up your income and spending into three different categories: Operating, Investing, and Financing activities.

Here’s a brief explanation of each:

  1. Operating Activities: this is income and expenses from regular revenue and expenses in your business.  For example, sale of services/products that you provide, and money spent on supplies.
  2. Investing Activities: this is money spent on selling and purchasing assets.  For example, you buy a new computer and sell an old vehicle that the business owns.
  3. Financing Activities: this is money that you or an investor infuses into the business, or money taken out by owners.  For example, you contribute money into the business to cover expenses, or you take money out of the business to pay your self as an owner/shareholder.

Now, let’s show you what a statement looks like.  For this post, we’re using a statement from Xero.  QuickBooks will give you one that looks a little bit different, the differences are minor, and it tells you the same thing.

Xero Cash Summary Demo Company US

Or, here’s a downloadable version of the same report:

Demo Company (US) – Cash Summary

This report answers the question “where did my cash go?”, and will show you where the cash went.  At the very least, this report should help you understand your business activities so that you can make better decisions.  If you need further help making sense of this, or maybe your business has a unique situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us.

So now that you know more about your cash, what are you going to do with it?
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Having the ability to process your accounting, payroll, CRM, etc., on any computer (PC or Mac) is all within reach now for any business starting out.  And since we’ve helped many businesses setup cloud-based processes, naturally we’ve done a lot of trial and error on what applications work.  These are many out there, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 favorites for most small businesses.

1.  Google Mail (Gmail):  Since email is the center of most business, we figured that it should be #1!  Google mail, aka “Gmail”, has been the go-to mail app for a lot people.  And rightfully so.  It’s spam filters are superb, and you can customize it how you like to read/process emails.  Google even offers a business class version called Google Apps.  And while this version is not free, it offers no advertising and increased storage amounts.  The learning curve is very short.  Some of our favorite features:

  • Gmail is FREE (Google Apps is $60 per user per year)
  • Excellent spam filters
  • Good mobile app
  • Free access to Calendar
  • Free access to Google Drive (cloud file storage)
  • Free access to Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Google’s equivalent to Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)

 

2.  Google Calendar:  A sister app to Gmail (above), let’s you keep track of your schedule using a number of tools.  Integration between Gmail and Calendar is tight, and has a host of solutions to run many types of businesses.  Some of our favorite features:

  • Meetings are easy to setup and invite attendees
  • Visibility into who has accepted/not accepted meetings
  • Can schedule recurring calendar events (i.e. once per month, week, every 2 weeks, etc.)
  • Can create calendar events directly from an email in Gmail
  • Can create and share different calendars for different purposes (i.e. calendar for each team member, company wide vacation calendar, personal calendars, etc.)

 

3. Xero Accounting Software: Designed to give the small business what they need within a few clicks, is our top choice.  With solid functions like invoicing, bills, quotes, and real-time bank feeds, you can manage your business from your computer, iPad, or any iOS or Android device.  One of the things we love about Xero is it’s add on ecosystem.  Want to see if your client paid you, from your CRM?  You can do it with their add on’s.  You can build out really smooth business processes this way.  We really like:

  • Online invoicing
  • Connect to payment services like PayPal and Stripe
  • Customer/Vendor Management
  • Bank transactions directly imported from bank
  • ascetically pleasing and just looks good
  • Reports exportable to PDF, Excel, and Google Sheets
  • Easy to collaborate with your accountant or other people

 

4.  Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll):  Designed for just one person, or scales up to several employees, this payroll has direct integration to Xero and QuickBooks Online.  With it’s great feature list, and straightforward pricing, it’s hard to beat.  Here’s a few of it’s valuable features:

  • Direct Deposit
  • Employee self on-boarding
  • Simple and easy to use interface
  • Full service payroll – they process all the payments and file all the returns for you
  • Can pay contractors along side employees
  • Integration with Worker’s Comp Insurance and soon, Health Benefits
  • Integration with Xero

 

5. Evernote: We’ve come to use Evernote every day here at the firm.  Mainly because we can access it from any device we’re on.  No matter where we are, we can get to our notes!  Evernote is great for just jotting down a simple note, or connecting to other services like Uber Conference to keep track of phone calls, meetings, you name it.  You can build out folder and tag structure, or just starting taking notes that are searchable.  Some of the best features are:

  • On any device (windows, mac, android, iOS)
  • Can create any type of note (meeting, to-do list, etc.)
  • Can set due dates for notes (great for to-do lists)
  • Can add attachments like PDF’s
  • Can email a note directly into Evernote
  • Can share and chat about notes, directly from within Evernote

 

Believe me, we could go on and on about other apps and the great things they can do.  But for any one looking to start, or run their existing business more efficiently, these apps are more than adequate to get you started.  We love talking to folks to help them make their business run smoother and get you back to doing what you love.  So feel free to leave us a comment, or give us a ring if you if we can help.

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Here at iAccounting Solutions, Xero is our first choice in helping small businesses keep better track of of their finances.  That’s why when Xero announced the Business Performance Dashboard, we were pretty excited.

What Is It?

In short, the Performance Dashboard is a simple way to check the health of your business.  By using simple formulas, you can measure Key Performance Indicators, aka KPI’s, to know how your business is fairing.  However, instead of running complex spreadsheets or doing it by hand, in true Xero fashion, they have built them in so you can find and use them easily.

Xero   performance db

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do They Mean?

That’s really the important question isn’t it?  In the world of Financial Analysis, there are thousands of ratios.  But here are the top 4 that we think are most useful to small businesses.

1. Current Ratio

This ratio (also sometimes called the “Quick Ratio) measures your ability to pay your liabilities.  A healthy range is 1.5 to 3.  Any score below 1.5 means that you may have a problem paying your debts.  And anything above a 3, means that you may not be using your assets wisely.

Xero   Business Performance   Demo Company  US

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Gross Profit % (or Gross Profit Margin)

This is where the numbers get fun!  This percentage tells you the amount left over, after you’ve paid for all your costs that are associated in making that revenue, or Cost of Sales.  Healthy Gross Profit % generally changes from industry to industry.  If you don’t know what your standard should look like, reach out to us, we can help you with that.  Comparing it to industry standards can help you determine if you’re paying too much in costs, charging enough for services/products, and a whole range of indicators that show how the health of your business.

Xero   BD Gross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Net Profit % (or Net Profit Margin)

Perhaps one of the most popular metrics–this tells you how efficient your business is when comparing your expenses, to your net sales.  Although, this number varies from industry to industry, 10% or better is considered to be good.  You can gauge your overall business success with this %.

Xero BD Net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Accounts Receivable Days

This measures how fast you collect on your invoices.  Knowing this allows you to plan around your cash flow very effectively.  Knowing this can even prevent cash flow disasters from happening to your business.

 

Xero BD AR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, these ratios and percentages are only as good as the information you put into your accounting system.  Good reporting is the backbone of any business that wants to grow and succeed.

 

What Does This Mean For My Business?

Want to have a more in depth conversation about these topics and what they mean?  Just fill out our “Contact Us” page and we’ll get in touch.  Or, give us a ring.  We can explain of these topics common language so you can understand them.

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Whether you you have 1 or 30 employees, payroll is often synonymous with big costs and lots of headaches.  And rightfully so.  For a small business, payroll is often the #1 expense, and if you’ve ever tried to run and file payroll returns your self, you know how complex it can be.

In the last few years a new breed of cloud-based payroll companies have emerged into the small business services market.  Not only do they cater to the small business, but they make it easy for a small business owner to run their own payroll.  Here are some features that we like, and that can benefit your small business:

Cloud (Internet) based software

Since these services are cloud based, they’re accessible from any computer with an internet connection.  They also follow the “Software as a Service”, or “SaaS’ model.  Which means you pay a monthly fee for access to the software, with no IT or other software costs to you.

Direct Integration With Your Accounting Software

A good majority of them integrate with some of our favorite cloud-based accounting systems like Xero & QuickBooks Online.  This means that every time you run payroll, the entries are automatically entered into your books with no complicated manual entries required.

Time and Attendance that Integrates Directly with Your Payroll

Along side cloud payroll, are time and attendance solutions that integrate directly to your payroll AND your accounting software.  Again, this saves you tons of time with calculating hours, and inputting onto a time sheet.  Approving hours and paying your employees is often just a few mouse clicks.

One Cost for Everything

Cloud-based payroll systems have cut and dry pricing.  One fee per month, for unlimited pay runs and no extra hidden charges.  Some of the big players, charge you per each pay run, charge you for quarterly returns, and even W-2’s at the end of the year.

Direct Deposit and Online Pay Stubs

Direct deposit means that you don’t have to spend hours cutting checks for your employees.  And often, cloud payroll services give each employee their own access to view and print their own pay stubs.

Collaboration With Your Accountant

Not only is cloud payroll easily accessible, but it’s also easily shared with your accountant.  This allows for quick, and easy help when you need it.

 

Cloud payroll services may not be the best fit for everyone, but for most small businesses, they offer what you need at a fraction of the cost of some of the big players.  Here at iAccounting Solutions, we’re experts in cloud payroll services.  Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions, or need some advice on which service to choose.

 

 

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22495836-tax-documents-with-accessories

 

 

 

 

If you run a small business, then chances are you maybe required to file 1099’s.  These are probably one of the most misunderstood forms business owners file.

Here’s the scoop:

What are they for?

Form 1099 is used to report money paid to individuals who are not your employees.  The IRS uses your 1099 to make sure the people you pay are reporting the income on their tax returns.

Who should I file a 1099 for?

File a 1099 for everyone that is not an employee (individuals you’re not withholding taxes for) that you pay more than $600 to in a calendar year.  You are not required to file 1099’s for money paid to company’s (LLC, Corps).

 How do I file a 1099?

There are many service providers that will do this for you.  Whether it’s your accountant, or a web service, we recommend using one to assure that they are accurate, and filed timely.  All 1099’s should be filed and in the mail by Jan 31st.  But if you’re a DIY (do it yourself) type of person, there are plenty of services on the web that do this for you at a very reasonable cost.  Our favorite is Track1099

How do I keep track of how much and who to file 1099’s for?

This is easily done in accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks.  You can designate contacts/vendors as 1099 recipients, and as long as you record all your transactions, you can run a report at the end of the year that will tell you how much to file them for.  We recommend using Xero for this.  It’s easy, and will be a breeze to setup and do.

What happens if I don’t file 1099’s?

You may get away with it…for awhile.  But if the IRS decides to audit you, and you didn’t file, then watch for penalties coming your way!

What do I do if I have no clue what to do?

Easy, reach out to us and we can take care of from start to finish!  We can help no matter what state you live in.

 

Have questions, feel free to leave comments and we’ll answer them ASAP.  Want to reach out directly, fill out our “Contact” page and we’ll get back to you within 1 business day.

Thanks for reading!

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Welcome back to our “Making the Switch from QuickBooks to Xero” series.  In this post, we’ll talk about what Step 2.  In case you missed it, click on Step 1 to start from the beginning.  So now that you’ve cleaned up your lists, now it’s time to look at a few financial reports and make sure your numbers look reasonable.

Step 2: Review your Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statements for completeness

Run a Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statements.  What you’re going to do here is use your trained eye to spot any inconsistencies.  YOU, will be able to do this much easier than any accountant as you know your business better than anyone else.  And, YOU also know what your expenses look like from month to month, so it will be easier for you to answer any future questions by your accountant.

Scan the Balance Sheet.  If there any negative numbers besides the bank balance, you may want to drill down (double click on the number) and see if there are any blatant mistakes.  Having a negative asset or liability is generally not normal and can be indicative of mistakes.  If you spot it and can fix it, go ahead and do so now.  If you see it, but don’t know how to fix it, start a list for your accountant.  If you don’t know why it is negative, just leave it and tell your accountant about it.

Next, Scan the Profit and Loss statement and do the same thing.  There should be no negative numbers on this.  If there are, repeat the steps above in reference to the balance sheet.  Also, look at the expenses accounts and make sure they look “reasonable”.   For example, if there is $20,000 in the Meals and Entertainment account, take a look and make sure something didn’t get expensed incorrectly.  Doing this will help you review what’s there, and answer any questions the accountant has when it’s tax time.

Step 2 is complete.  Stay tuned for Step 3 and more to come about switching from QuickBooks to Xero.  Have questions?  Don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a ring or shoot us an email.

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QuickBooks giving you a headache?  Or maybe you’d rather listen to nails on a chalkboard rather than do your accounting.  Either way, switching to Xero Accounting will set you on your journey to an easy, and even enjoyable way to get your accounting done.  Even if you are paying an accountant to do this for you, it will still require some input from you, the small business owner.  We’ve worked with lots of small businesses in converting from QuickBooks to Xero.  So we decided to post some useful tips on how to start, and carry out this process.

Step 1: Clean up your QuickBooks company file

Ok, so if you’re not an accountant, and you’ve been doing your own bookkeeping, chances are that you’ve made some “boo boo’s” in your books.  QuickBooks is a very forgiving program.  Meaning that it allows you enough freedom to hang your self…so to speak!   DON’T WORRY…Even if your QuickBooks is a mess, you can still get useful information out of it and get it in shape to transfer to the easiest online accounting tool: Xero Accounting.

Here’s what to do:

Clean up your contacts, vendors, and other lists.  Go through and merge, or archive the ones you don’t need.  Whittle your  customer and vendor lists down to only what you use now.

Next, go through your chart of accounts and do the same thing.  Make sure your chart of accounts is up to date, accurate, and that there aren’t too many accounts that you’re not using.

Lastly, make sure all your transactions are entered into QuickBooks BEFORE  you get the file converted.  Whether that’s bank transactions, credit card transactions, or whatever else, just make sure they’re all in there.  If you want the “extra credit”, reconcile your transactions with the “bank reconciliation” feature.  This is not absolutely necessary, but will make future steps a bit easier.

Once you have done these things, go to Step 2 blog post (coming soon).  If you need help along the way, just reach out to us and we’ll be  happy to help!

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