Why Mixing Business and Personal Funds is Never a Good Idea

Why Mixing Business and Personal Funds is Never a Good Idea

As human beings, we like making things easy – which is why most people look at having separate accounts for their business and personal funds as a bad idea. “Two accounts?” we think to ourselves. “Double the bank fees? Twice the work for account reconciliation? No thanks! I’ll just do the smart thing and combine them – after all, it doesn’t hurt anyone…” Wrong. Mixing business and personal funds can hurt you quite a bit in the long run. Here are three reasons why this common misconception is never a good idea. Bookkeeping Will Take Twice as Long You may think that you’re saving time by combining your funds into one account, but once that account needs to be reconciled, you’ll have to enter all personal transactions besides those related to your business. Finding certain transactions will become more difficult as you’ll have to sift through twice as many non-related items, while keeping everything organized will become much harder. Save yourself the time and frustration by opening up a separate account for your business funds. Business and Personal Records Can Easily Become Confused with One Another Whether you’re trying to account for your business income statement or your personal expense sheet, the numbers will almost never add up correctly when entered into accounting software. Unless extensive work is put in to correct the issue, business records will show your personal deposits as extra income, while your personal expenses will be largely overstated due to business charges. Business reports will inadvertently display false numbers, while personal records will show large discrepancies in charges and payments. Prevent a small accounting error...
The South Bay Women’s Conference is Here!

The South Bay Women’s Conference is Here!

As a proud sponsor of the South Bay Business Women’s Association (SBBWA), here at AB&P we are so excited to announce that early bird tickets to this year’s annual South Bay Women’s Conference are now available! A local non-profit organization based in the South Bay, Los Angeles region, the SBBWA focuses on empowering and strengthening working women in the community by providing support, encouragement, education, and networking opportunities through their many monthly events and mixers. And as the crowning jewel of the SBBWA’s events, the South Bay Women’s Conference is no exception. Featuring keynote speakers, scholarship giveaways, networking luncheons, and plenty of like-minded businesswomen and vendors, the South Bay Women’s Conference is an all-day event that never fails to send its attendees home feeling refreshed, empowered, and brimming with new business connections. Plus, with ample sponsorship opportunities, the South Bay Women’s Conference makes for an excellent outlet to help earn a new business valuable exposure with the leading ladies in local business. The real beauty to the South Bay Women’s Conference, however, is that all ticket proceeds go towards funding scholarships for young, forward-thinking women in the community helping them to achieve their goals and attend the college of their dreams. However, as the scholarship amounts are entirely dependent on sponsorships and how many conference tickets are sold, we need your help to ensure the brightest futures for scholarship recipients. To help women in your community and sign up for a day of fun, laughter, learning, and lasting relationships, click here to purchase your early bird tickets today while rates are still low! This year’s South Bay Women’s Conference...
Understanding Bill.com — Our Trusted Tool

Understanding Bill.com — Our Trusted Tool

When it comes to managing our clients’ bookkeeping, we at AB&P trust Bill.com to help us securely and efficiently handle all accounts payable and receivable – saving us, and our clients, more time to help those they serve. We know that you care about your business just as much as we do ours.  This is why we value transparency and think it’s important that every client has the chance to understand how their finances are handled. So, if you’re curious how your bills are being paid and who works the magic of your cash-flow: we take care of it – through the use of Bill.com. While other firms are forced to outsource the different facets of billing and invoicing to multiple sites, or spend all day entering each item manually, at Affordable Bookkeeping and Payroll we help streamline the process for our clients by keeping everything in one place.  We do so with scheduled, hands-free, and automatic invoicing and billing all through Bill.com. As one of the few online accounting softwares capable of giving its user complete control over all aspects of billing, we use Bill.com to help our clients save hours of valuable time by scheduling automatic payments, sending automatic invoices and reminders (paper or digital), installing recurring customer payments, and more. Their format customizes for each client’s needs – accepting all forms of payment – and with the combination of our bookkeeping experts, by syncing Bill.com to our accounting software and your unique business needs, you can feel empowered with accurate, real-time cash-flow readings that are always up to date. With Bill.com, all documents and data are...
Keys to Small Business Innovation

Keys to Small Business Innovation

One of the keys to any successful business, regardless of its size, is innovation. Developing new ideas is the fuel which will keep your business up to date. Innovation will keep operations, products, and services fresh. Adding this fuel will make your business more competitive. According to a study from PwC, an overwhelming 93 percent of business executives believe that “organic growth through innovation will drive the greater proportion of their revenue growth.” But, what exactly is innovation? The answer to this question can and will vary depending on your industry or market. Want to encourage innovation in your small business? Here are a variety of ways to do so:   1. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Keep innovation simple by improving your existing products or services, trying out a new marketing strategy, or finding a supplier that is offering you a better rate. 2. Make innovation a routine. Schedule an hour or so each week to brainstorm and exercise you and your team’s creativity and establish goals that encourage you to improve your business through techniques like mind mapping. 3. Solicit suggestions. Ask or survey your employees, customers, and even vendors or suppliers if they have any suggestions on how you can improve your business. 4. Get your team on-board. Have them involved in the entire innovation process, such as solving problems during a meeting, providing a suggestion box, rewarding them for their ideas that become implemented, and providing creativity or innovation workshops. 5. Invest in innovation. Purchase technology and equipment that can improve your business operations. Also invest in developing new products and services. 6....
Optimism for Small and Medium Sized Businesses in 2018

Optimism for Small and Medium Sized Businesses in 2018

Optimism is growing among small-to-medium sized businesses in 2018 in light of new tax reform legislation, according to a new survey of accounting professionals released by Right Networks. The survey, which sampled 365 accounting professionals at CPA firms and small-to-medium sized businesses, revealed that nearly 54 percent of SMBs felt “very confident” about the economy heading into 2018 compared to a year earlier. Over 70 percent of SMBs responded that they were either “very confident” or “moderately confident” in their business prospects for the upcoming year, compared to a year ago. Customer Retention/Acquiring New Business Tops SMB Priorities for 2018 The survey found that an overwhelming percentage of small-to-medium sized businesses cited winning new business and clients – while retaining existing customers – to be the top challenge for 2018. Over 44 percent viewed this as a priority in the coming year, with finding and retaining talent (19 percent) and dealing with rising health care costs (18 percent) as next in line. Cloud Functionality Drives SMB Growth The survey found that cloud applications are at the heart of expected SMB growth in 2018. Two-thirds of those responding reported they already use or plan to roll out a cloud based accounting application in the coming year. Another 57 percent of the overall respondents indicated that they either use cloud storage or plan to this year. Not surprisingly, over 57 percent of responding SMBs indicated they work remotely every day, with another 21 percent indicating that they work away from their central office at least several times a month. Proposed Tax Reform Spurs Growth in Confidence The survey found that nearly...
2018 Estimated Income Tax Refund Dates

2018 Estimated Income Tax Refund Dates

Are you expecting a tax refund for 2017? The IRS started processing returns on January 29. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are asking, “When can I expect my income tax refund?” we have the answer. It depends on a couple of things, but the good news is that there are several tools to help find out. First of all, taxpayers who use a professional, such as a CPA or EA, can ask that professional for an estimated date. Taxpayers who’ve already filed can also go to the Internal Revenue Service’s website, which has a tool designed specifically for that called, “Where’s My Refund?” [For the latest information on deductions and tax brackets in the 2018 GOP tax reform, go to this article: www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/12387105 or our index of articles about the tax reform law: www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/12390237.] There are also apps for Apple, Android and other devices that help track refund status. Note: The IRS will not start processing returns with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February 2018.   IRS Accepts between these dates Direct Deposit Sent Paper Check Mailed 1/29/18 – 2/2/18 Friday 2/9/18 Friday 2/9/18 2/5/18 – 2/12/18 Friday 2/16/18 Friday 2/16/18 2/10/18 – 2/15/18 Friday 2/23/18 Friday 2/23/18 2/15/18 – 2/24/18 Friday 3/2/18 Friday 3/2/18 2/24/18 – 3/3/18 Friday 3/9/18 Friday 3/9/18 3/3/18 – 3/10/18 Friday 3/16/18 Friday 3/16/18 3/10/18 – 3/17/18 Friday 3/23/18 Friday 3/23/18 3/17/18 – 3/24/18 Friday 3/30/18 Friday 3/30/18 03/24/18 – 3/31/18 Friday 4/6/18 Friday 4/06/18 03/31/18 – 4/7/18 Friday 4/14/18 Friday 4/14/18 4/7/18 – 4/14/18 Friday 4/20/18 Friday 4/20/18 4/14/18 – 4/21/18...
Budgeting for a Promising Marketing Plan (Pt. 2)

Budgeting for a Promising Marketing Plan (Pt. 2)

In our first blog post, we set up the foundation that building a successful company almost always involves successfully marketing your product, your service, or yourself. We talked about the importance of budgeting wisely in establishing a marketing plan because it can be easy to misuse and waste a lot of money without prior preparation. We discussed the three important first steps of knowing your sales funnel, knowing your operational costs, and setting your marketing budget based on business goals. Here are the three final steps to developing a marketing budget as part of your marketing plan: 4. Position Marketing as an Investment, Not a Cost More often than not, marketing budgets descend from the top of the organization where marketing teams are considered cost centers and the marketing budget is perceived to be an expense. By this thinking, organizations will look at last year’s marketing expenditures and make a decision about where they want to spend more or less. Instead, your marketing budget should be treated as an investment, something that will bring a quantifiable and ascertainable return on investment over time. 5. Consider Your Growth Stage Setting your marketing budget will also be influenced by whether your organization is in growth mode or planning mode. Growth Mode. If you’re in growth mode, you’ll need to generate top-line revenue at a faster rate, so you might consider deeper investments in more of the quick-win marketing techniques.Take an iterative approach in further developing your website, so your website can become a central marketing hub rather than an online brochure. Iterative development and maintenance could consume a significant part of...
Budgeting for a Promising Marketing Plan (Pt. 1)

Budgeting for a Promising Marketing Plan (Pt. 1)

Building a successful company almost always involves successfully marketing your product, your service, or yourself. It is important to budget wisely when coming up with a marketing plan, because it can be easy to spend money in vain if planning is not involved. For example, if your target audience is older consumers, marketing money spent on social media campaigns may not be effective in reaching them. One of the best ways to make sure that your marketing money is being well spent is to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy and come up with a solid marketing plan. Here are the first three of six steps to developing a marketing budget as part of your marketing plan: 1. Know Your Sales Funnel Building an effective marketing budget requires a deep dive into your sales funnel, where you’ll track results throughout the revenue cycle, from prospect to customer. Harvesting this data from your marketing automation software or CRM makes this process relatively simple: How many site visits do you have per month? How many leads are you generating per month? How many of the leads convert to sales qualified leads (SQLs)? What’s the cost of generating these SQLs? (e.g., website development, outsourced content creation, Pay-Per-Click, time spent by marketing and/or sales to nurture these leads, etc.) How many leads convert into opportunities? How many of those opportunities close as new deals? What’s the typical value/revenue of a new deal? 2. Know Your Operational Costs Next, you’ll need to understand your operational costs: How much would it cost in time and labor to deliver contacts? Does your internal staff have the bandwidth...
The New 2018 IRS Payroll Tax Withholding Tables

The New 2018 IRS Payroll Tax Withholding Tables

The Internal Revenue Service has released Notice 1036, which updates the income-tax withholding tables for 2018 reflecting changes made by the tax reform legislation. This is the first in a series of steps that IRS will take to help improve the accuracy of withholding following major changes made by the new tax law. The updated withholding information shows the new rates for employers to use during 2018. Employers should begin using the 2018 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than Feb. 15, 2018. Many employees will begin to see increases in their paychecks in February to reflect the new law. The time it will take for employees to see the changes in their paychecks will vary depending on how quickly the new tables are implemented by their employers and how often they are paid — generally weekly, biweekly or semi-monthly. The new withholding tables are designed to work with the Forms W-4 that workers have already filed with their employers to claim withholding allowances. “The IRS appreciates the help from the payroll community working with us on these important changes,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “Payroll withholding can be complicated, and the needs of taxpayers vary based on their personal financial situation. In the weeks ahead, the IRS will be providing more information to help people understand and review these changes.” The new law makes a number of changes for 2018 that affect individual taxpayers. The new tables reflect the increase in the standard deduction, repeal of personal exemptions and changes in tax rates and brackets. For people with simpler tax situations, the new tables...
How to Avoid or Survive A Sales Tax Audit

How to Avoid or Survive A Sales Tax Audit

Many small and mid-size businesses hire accountants and bookkeepers with the expectation they’ll help prevent an audit. Unfortunately, it can’t be guaranteed you won’t be audited for sales and use tax. States need sales and use tax revenue to fund essential services, and tax authorities are tasked with ensuring businesses collect and remit the taxes they owe. What you can do is institute best practices, avoid common audit triggers, and position yourself to sail through an audit as painlessly as possible. Who Gets Audited Although any business can be audited at any time, certain industries are more vulnerable to audits than others because of how sales and use tax regulations impact their business. In fact, more than half of all audits in the United States target just a handful of industries: construction, food service, manufacturing, retail, and wholesale/distribution. In addition, auditors often focus efforts on businesses with a high volume of exempt transactions. Specific events, such as late filing or a dramatic change in taxable or exempt sales year-over-year can also draw an auditor’s eye. Perhaps most surprisingly, many audits are aimed at out-of-state companies with ties to the state. The more you institute best practices, the less likely you’ll raise the red flags auditors seek. Top Errors Audits Uncover There’s no one reason businesses are found liable. However, different businesses are prone to different errors, and auditors tend to scrutinize these areas. For example, retailers that sell to consumers in multiple states may not collect and remit tax wherever they have nexus (an obligation to collect). Companies that sell to non-profit entities may not properly charge those entities...

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