Author Archives: Fournier ABS

4 Things Business Owners Should Do at the Beginning of a New Quarter

Have you ever wondered if there were things you should be doing on a quarterly basis that maybe you were missing?   Here are 4 things you should be doing within the first few weeks of a new quarter to make sure your business and books won’t get behind and you are ready for whatever the next quarter brings.

  1. Reconcile ALL your accounts: Not just your bank accounts, but also your credit card accounts, loan accounts, petty cash accounts, and all other liability accounts.  Banks are staffed by humans and humans make mistakes.  If you have your accounts linked to your accounting software, there can be glitches, where transactions were never downloaded, or downloaded more than once.  By reconciling all your accounts, you can find and correct these errors, spot any fraudulent activity on your accounts, and discover where there may be inefficiencies or duplication of services.
  2. Compare your Quarterly Financial Reports to last quarter’s reports, and the same quarter in the previous fiscal year. This will give you a good idea of where the business is going, are you doing better than you thought?  Worse?  Are revenues up or down?  Are expenses up or down?  Are Revenue & Expenses the same or is one up and one down?  Do you need to adjust what the business is spending, can you hire, is your marketing plan working?  We can get so focused on the day to day that we assume we know how healthy our business is, but by taking time and really evaluating what has changed from quarter to quarter, or from this year to last year, we are better able to make decisions that will help us reach our goals.
  3. Review your Payables, Receivables, & Sales Numbers: Take some time and look at who owes you money and how long have they owed it, who do you owe money too, and are you late on those Payables? Staying on top of both Receivables and Payables will help keep your business strong. Run a report on Sales by Customer and Sales by Product or Service.  Which customers are purchasing the most, what product or service has been the most popular in the last quarter?  These can help you determine trends, marketing strategy, and possibly what products/services to discontinue, or add in as a regular offering.
  4. Pay your taxes. If you have employees, make sure you remit payroll tax returns and pay any quarterly payroll taxes due to both federal and state governments.  Pay your own estimated taxes for the quarter.  Pay any sales or meals taxes dues.  Getting behind on tax payments is a difficult hole to get out of.  If you have difficulty with keeping enough cash in your accounts to be able to pay your taxes when they come due, open a business savings account specifically for taxes.  Transfer funds regularly based on what type of taxes you are saving for: per transaction, weekly, monthly, etc. If you think that still won’t be enough, open the account at different bank than the one your business accounts are with, that way by needing to physically go to the bank to transfer funds it won’t be a tempting to use those savings for other expenses.

 

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

If you need support with your accounting and bookkeeping the experts at Fournier Accounting and Bookkeeping Services are here to help. We serve small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the U.S. Contact us today!

 

6 Things to Outsource to Save You Money This Year

Most small businesses start out on a budget and the small business owner tries to save money wherever they can, which means doing a lot of tasks themselves.  This can seem like cost savings at the time but in truth it can cost the business a lot of money in the long run.  Here are 6 things that if you are still doing yourself, you may want to consider outsourcing this year.

 

  1. Insurance — You can purchase most insurances online now without ever speaking to an actual person.  Search for the type of insurance you want, find the best price, enter a few pieces of information, and ta da you’re insured.  And it may not be until you need to submit a claim that you find out your insurance doesn’t cover what you thought it did.  Working with an agent who knows the insurance regulations in your state and gets to know your business can make sure you have the coverage you need and aren’t paying for coverage that you don’t.
  2. Internet Security / IT Services — Scams, Phishing, and Hacking are on the rise.  Dishonest people all over the world spend all their time trying to access personal data.  And they don’t care how big or small the business is, data is data, and data means money.  If you maintain any type of information on your computer or network and especially client or customer data, relying on an anti-virus software alone is probably not enough. There is so much more involved in protecting you and your customers from becoming the victims of a data breach. Having an expert help you maintain your network and internet security can save you thousands if there was ever an attempted breach.  These experts can save you money even in less nefarious scenarios.  If you have more than one computer in your office, having them set up to work together efficiently and making sure that the information stored on them is secure and backed-up can save hours of time, which in business equals saving dollars.
  3. Legal Services — Another quick search on the internet will result in template contracts for almost anything, do-it-yourself business entity filings, and lots of advice on what you should and should not do, most of it contradictory. Much like with your insurance, you probably won’t know if you did it all correctly until you need it.  Why risk finding out your contracts are not enforceable when you actually need them enforced.  Or that you don’t have the right to use your company name or logo after you’ve established your brand.  An attorney can make sure your company is established correctly, not only in your state but in any others that you may be working in, that you own your name and logo, that your contracts protect you and your business, and that any contracts you enter are fair and equitable.
  4. Taxes — The tax code is constantly changing.  What you could claim last year you may not be able to claim this year.  And there is the dreaded audit, that looms in every business owner’s nightmares.  Why try to navigate the ever changing and inflexible IRS by yourself.  The fees charged by CPAs and EAs are minimal in comparison to the time you will regain by having them do the work, the peace of mind that it was done correctly, and the savings of capturing every deduction you and your business are entitled to.  Not to mention having an advocate if the IRS ever comes back with questions.
  5. Bookkeeping – Doing your own books sounds so simple, keep track of your income and expenses, money in money out.  But there are so many places where bookkeeping can cost you money.  Like with the professions already mentioned you may not know the full cost of doing your own bookkeeping until it becomes a substantial loss.  Expenses miscategorized could mean missed or denied deductions at tax time or just higher tax preparation fees because your tax preparer had to do more research.  Not having a good bookkeeping system can cost you extra interest or fees on missed payments or reduced income on customer balances not collected. Not maintaining separation of business and personal funds or good records can cause the business to pay a much higher tax bill. You could also miss out on government programs and grants because you cannot show or just didn’t know that your business qualified.  And most practically the time you spend doing your own bookkeeping is time you’re not generating income.
  6. Marketing — Posting on social media, writing blogs, sending email newsletters, pay per click, websites, SEO, and the list or marketing tasks we should all be doing goes on.  It all sounds so simple.  But these things take time, time you are now not spending working with customers, which means it is time you’re not making money. Determining which platform, type of marketing, and effective SEO for the do-it-yourself small business owner, is time you’re not only taking away from customers but time where your marketing efforts aren’t producing new customers, so it is a double hit to your business’ wallet.  Working with a professional marketer will give you back that time while also making sure your message gets to the right prospects, that it produces results, and sounds like you.

 

Outsourcing can be scary.  Are you choosing the right person?  Can you afford them?  Will you lose control over this aspect of your business?  Take it one step at a time.  Pick one of the above tasks that you believe will have the biggest positive effect on your business this month, or this quarter, and work on finding the right person.  Not sure how to find them?  Talk to other business owners you know and trust.  Ask them who they use for that service, would they recommend them, and would they be willing to introduce you?

 

We at Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services have an extensive list of amazing professionals who provide the above services, and we would be happy to help you find the right fit for you and your business.

 

If bookkeeping is the service you choose to outsource, we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about how we can help free up your time, save you money, and reduce your stress.

 

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

If you need support with your accounting and bookkeeping the experts at Fournier Accounting and Bookkeeping Services are here to help. We serve small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the U.S. Contact us today!

What you need to know about the new 1099-NEC

If you own a business or are a freelancer/subcontractor to businesses, you are most likely very familiar with the 1099-MISC form.  This form has been used for the past 30+ years to report certain payments including payments to subcontractors, freelancers, service providers, landlords and attorneys.

As if there haven’t been enough changes in 2020, there one more, and it is an important change in how you will report those typical Box 7, Nonemployee 1099-MISC payments you made this year.  Those payments will no longer be reported on Form 1099-MISC but will now be reported on Form 1099-NEC.

What is reported on the new 1099-NEC? 

If the following four conditions are met, you most likely need to report the payments as nonemployee compensation on the 1099-NEC.

  • Payments made to someone who is not your employee
  • Payments made to services in the course of your trade or business
  • Payments made to an individual, partnership, estate or corporation
  • The payment totals at least $600.00 for the year.

Also, currently the IRS is not including the 1099-NEC in the IRS 1099 Combined Federal/State Filing Program.  Under this program the IRS forwards a number of key forms to the necessary state taxing entities.  They are not doing that with the 1099-NEC.  So you need to make sure your accountant, vendor, or software will also file the form with the appropriate states.

What is still being reported on the 1099-MISC?

According to the IRS, payments that should still be reported on Form 1099-MISC include:

  • Rent payments of at least $600.00
  • Prizes and awards
  • Payments to an attorney
  • Medical and health payments

 What has not changed?

What has not changed is the exclusion of payments made by credit card, payment card, or via a third-party network are not subject to reporting on Form 1099-NEC nor 1099-MISC.  Those payments will still be reported on the 1099-K by the credit card companies or third-party networks.

You can find the full list and instructions for both Form 1099-MISC and Form 1099-NEC at: https://www.irs.gov/instructions/i1099msc.

To sum up the changes, if you would have reported payments in Box 7 of the Form 1099-MISC last year, this year you will most likely be issuing a 1099-NEC instead.

 

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

If you need support with your accounting and bookkeeping the experts at Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services are here to help.  We serve small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the U.S.  Contact us today!

 

How to Stay Connected When Working from Home

 

I have been working from a home office for over a decade.  With the changes put in place right now and so many people being asked to work from home for the first time, cabin fever is going to become a very real thing.  There are a lot of articles about how to be productive, how to set up a home office, etc.  And I may write one of those too, soon.  But I really wanted to address how to stay connected, in this one.

If you are used to an office environment, whether it is a sea of cubicles, or just you and one other person, transitioning to working from home can be a challenge.  Here are a few things that I have done over the years in order to fight the feeling of isolation.

1 – Schedule social media chat time.  In order to be productive, you may need to reduce distractions by shutting off notifications from your various social media accounts.  However, scheduling a “coffee break” with a friend or co-worker who is also working from home through any of the numerous chat or even texting options will allow you that break and some interaction.  It can be as easy as texting or emailing a friend/co-worker and saying “Taking a 10-minute break at 10am, are you available to chat? Meet me on messenger”

2- Schedule video meeting with clients.  Would you normally go to a client’s office to meet?  Look into Zoom, or GoToMeeting, or Google Hangouts, and I’m sure there are many more.  Instead of chatting on the phone, send them a link, they can use a laptop, smartphone, or tablet and you can meet face to face.  It allows for that interaction and in some cases a more efficient and productive meeting.  There are options to share screens so you can both look at the same document, graph, image and interact like you were sitting in the same office.

3 – Schedule video meetings with co-workers or employees.  Instead of calling each other or just emailing updates back and forth.  Schedule a 30-minute check-in through the same platforms as suggested above.  Have a short agenda and update each other on projects, work, pipelines, etc.

4 – Get outside, even for just 10 minutes.  Without a commute, you may find yourself realizing that you haven’t been outside in a day or more. No matter how cozy, comfortable, fabulous your home or home office is, you will get tired of those walls. Take 10 minutes and go outside.  Sit on your porch or patio while you listen to your voice mails, walk around your backyard, go to the mailbox, wave at your neighbor who you’ve never seen before because you were both always out working.

Taking care of yourself is a vital part of having a successful business.  Maintaining interpersonal connections in an integral part of that self-care.  Add some, or all, of these to your daily schedule so you don’t find yourself feeling lost and alone.

 

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

If you need support with your accounting and bookkeeping the experts at Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services are here to help.  We serve small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the U.S.  Contact us today!

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

When An Expense Isn’t An Expense

 

As business owners and freelancers, we pay a lot of different vendors for a lot of different things.  Most of these payments wind up on our Profit & Loss / Income Statement as expenses.  But there are a few that do not.  And these are usually the ones I get asked about.  “Why isn’t that payment showing up on my P&L, I paid it?  How can I track how much I really made if that payment isn’t showing up?”

There are three types of Expenses that aren’t truly expenses, and instead of being included on the Profit & Loss / Income Statement, they are on the Balance Sheet.

1. Purchase of Equipment or Furniture. You replace your hand me down office furniture with all brand-new furniture from a catalog and pay for it all in-full from the business bank account.  This very large deduction from your account will not show on your Income Statement as the furniture is an asset, not an expense.  It is something tangible that is owned by the business, will be useful for more than a year, and will still have value at the end of the year.

2. Liability / Loan Payments. You’ve purchased a new business vehicle and have financed the purchase.  The loan payments will not appear on your Income Statement.  The total cost of the vehicle is posted as an asset, and the loan itself is a liability.  The loan payments are split into two pieces:  a) the reduction of the total loan or the principle payment which will reduce your Total Liabilities on your Balance Sheet, and b) the monthly interest payment on the loan which will be posted to Interest Expense on your Income Statement.  The total loan payment itself is not an Expense, but a combination of the liability reduction and interest expense.

Business Credit Cards are also a liability.  The payments to the credit card company are not expenses, they are a reduction of a liability.  The individual charges made on the card are the expenses, unless you made a large equipment or furniture purchase as described above, then that would be posted as a new asset.   Any interest charges on the credit card balance is, however, an expense.

3. Payments to Yourself. If you are a Sole Proprietor, Freelancer, or a Single-Member LLC you probably don’t get what we would think of as a paycheck, with payroll taxes taken out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  You most likely just withdraw money from your business on a semi-regular basis or even just when you need it.  These withdrawals are not considered expenses as they are not paying for something related to the business, but instead are a reduction in your Equity in the business.  These also appear on the Balance Sheet under the Equity section, usually as a negative number as you are reducing the equity in your business.

All three of these types of expenditures either add or reduce the overall net worth of the business, not just the profit or bank balance.  If you are unsure if you have correctly accounted for these types of transactions a conversation with your bookkeeper or your tax preparer will make sure you remain on track.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Services in NH

Fournier Accounting & Bookkeeping Services provides personalized bookkeeping  and QuickBooks® Consulting services to a wide range of clients in New Hampshire and throughout the U.S. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in your path to business success.

 

5 Reasons You Should Take Time Off

“I haven’t had a vacation in years.”, is a sentence I’ve heard many clients and potential clients state throughout the years I’ve been in business.  As a small business owner myself, I understand how difficult it can be, especially if you are a one-person operation, to take time off.  You feel guilty that you’re thinking of taking time away from you customers or clients, you worry you will miss a sale or deal while away, and the thought of what would pile up on your desk and in your in-box makes you lose sleep.  It is no wonder that I’ve heard the opening phase so often.

But I’ve also found that once one of those clients takes some time off, they come back grateful they did it.

Here are 5 Reasons to take time off.

  1. RECHARGE: We all need time to recharge our batteries.  Going years without a vacation can do more harm than good for you and your business.  You can start to resent the business, lose perspective and make bad or at least not the best decisions, have a reduction in quality of goods or services, and could even lead to health issues.  Stepping away often leads to coming back with renewed energy and enthusiasm for our business.
  2. REFOCUS: By stepping away for a little while, you give yourself time to reflect on what you are doing and what you want to change.  Being in it day after day, month after month, year after year, with no break we can lose sight of our vision and make wrong turns.
  3. INSPIRATION: You often hear how great ideas come in the shower or at 3 am.  That is because our brains are resting at those times.  We aren’t multi-tasking or thinking ahead 4 steps.  We are just “being”.  The same thing can happen on vacation, new inspiration can hit while sitting on the beach, or hiking, or exploring a new city, or standing in line for the next ride.  Your brain has been freed up to make those new connections.
  4. RECONNECT: Taking time away from your business will allow you to reconnect with your loved ones.  This will help you strengthen and nurture the most important relationships you have.  And having that support, makes getting through the stressful times a lot easier.
  5. DISCOVER: The preparation for and the actual time off can help you discover tasks that can be automated and others that can be delegated, so that you no longer have to DO IT ALL.  These discoveries can help make the day to day running of your business more efficient and help you free up some of your time to implement the new ideas you came up with on vacation.

Taking time away, especially if it has been years, can be a scary step.  There are a few ways to help you get ready to make that step.

  1. Choose a slower time of year. We all have times of the year when we seem to be busier than others.  Taking time off when it is slower, can help alleviate some of the worry over missing a client’s request.
  2. Take fewer days more often. Instead of booking a 10-day cruise right off the bat, start with a 4-day weekend instead.
  3. Prep your clients and customers. I know of a family owned restaurant that closes for two-weeks over the 4th of July holiday.  The signs go up in late May so that all their customers know when they are closed and when they’ll be back.  They have been doing this for over 10 years.  They said the first year was the scariest, after that it got easier.  And now their customers look forward to their re-opening, not just for the food, but to hear about the current year’s vacation.

Taking care of yourself is a vital part to having a successful business.  So, if you are one of those business owners who hasn’t taken time off in a long while, try to fit in a few long weekends, this year.  Your business will be better for it.

Accounting & Bookkeeping Services in NH

If you need support with your accounting and bookkeeping the experts at Fournier Accounting and Bookkeeping Services are here to help. We serve small businesses throughout New Hampshire and the U.S. Contact us today!

 

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels