With 2016 just around the corner, and the holidays looming, you should be planning for year-end. Don’t you just love that phrase…”plan for year-end”. You hear it all over the place at this time of the year, on the news, from your accountant, on social media, but what does it really mean? What should you be doing to “plan for year-end”? Personally, I hate hearing a phrase like that, and having no clear steps or tasks to point me in the right direction. So, here are four to dos that I recommend to my clients to help them “plan for year-end”.
- Confirm you have a current W-9s on file for all your contractors and non-employees. You are required to send a 1099-MISC form to any person you have paid $600 or more to for rents, services, prizes or other income payments. You don’t want to be scrambling for tax id numbers and addresses in January from that consultant you used back in May. Getting this information now, will make the 1099 process smooth and effortless.
- Ask your employees to confirm their personal information on their next paycheck. Employees move and forget to inform their employers of the change of address, or there could be a typo in their social security number. A quick note in each paycheck asking your employee to review the information and inform you of any changes can save a bunch of headaches in February, not to mention the cost of revising and sending a W-2.
- Get caught up on your bookkeeping. If you are behind, schedule time to get caught up NOW, or hire a bookkeeper or bookkeeping firm to get you caught up. Either way, knowing where your business stands before the end of the year will help you make decisions about bonuses, potential equipment purchases, and lets you make better plans and goals for the upcoming year. It also helps you avoid putting yourself and your business in a cash crunch to start the year.
- Set up a meeting that includes both your CPA and your bookkeeper. Talk about plans for the last 6 weeks of the year, should you upgrade the equipment, give out bonuses, pay off a debt, increase inventory; or are you better off waiting. Set goals for next year, discuss changes you see happening in your business, and talk about the nagging fears as to how you’re actually doing. Get everyone on the same page, and working towards the vision, so you can start 2016 confident in your plan and your path.
We are happy to assist you with any or all of the above items so you can end 2015 with confidence.
Some of the most common complaints I hear about QuickBooks Desktop is that it isn’t acting “right”. It takes forever to open, it opens but the window isn’t positioned correctly on the screen, there are hiccups, or it crashes and closes all by itself.
There are four possible reasons for why QuickBooks stops acting like it should:
- Not Installing Updates: Intuit periodically sends out updates to the QuickBooks software to fix glitches that have been found, improve the way the software functions, or make other changes to the way the software works. I find that clients often “Install Later” for months (or sometimes years) because they are in the middle of something and don’t have time to wait for the updates to install. But by putting off the updates or maintenance releases indefinitely, you could be costing yourself more time (and money…because we all know time is money in business) by using a slower, less productive software platform.
- Not Upgrading the Software: I am not a proponent of upgrading your QuickBooks software every year. I don’t see a need for that. However, I would suggest that you consider upgrading every 3 years, 4 at the outside. Why? Intuit stops supporting software that is over 3 years old. What that means is that certain services are discontinued like the Accountant’s Copy File Transfer, the 1099 Wizard won’t launch, Online Banking downloads will no longer work, and live technical support from Intuit will no longer be available. And you will not have the newest features and functions that are included in the newer software.
- Closing your Software without Closing the Company File: This may seem minor, and for the most part it is. However, this is the one that will cause QuickBooks to open in a strange place on your desktop (like half off the screen) or in a tiny little box. Not critical to the usage, but frustrating just the same. And why be frustrated, when it is a simple change in closing you company file, then hitting the x to close the software.
- Not Verifying Your Data: There is a lot of “stuff” going on in your QuickBooks file. Data being entered, reports being populated, etc. And as with anything, the more information you put into your QuickBooks file, the more opportunity there is for things to go wrong. You data can become corrupted and then it is a HUGE headache. If you file is corrupted your reports may become out of balance, you may not be able to upgrade to a newer version of QB, or worst of all your file may just not open. The good new however, is that QB has a “Verify Data” option that will let you know if everything is running smoothly, and it is easy to do on a regular basis. Just Back-up your file once month and the Verify Data will automatically run before the back-up is completed. If all is well with your file, the back-up will run and you can go on with the rest of your day. If all is not well, then you will be prompted to rebuild your data, a simple menu option under File>Utilities. This will re-organize everything back to how it should be, you can back-up and move one with your day, knowing that you have avoided bigger problems down the road.
Keeping your QuickBooks software running smoothly and efficiently will only help to keep your bookkeeping functions doing the same. Like with your car, if you want to get from Here to There without any breakdowns, then you need to keep on your vehicle maintenance; if you want to be able to do your bookkeeping without unexpected breakdowns, you need to keep up on your software maintenance. A few minutes now and then can save your hours, days and dollars in the long run.