Prioritizing Customer Service

We not only remember outstanding customer service, we talk about it. We tell family, friends, and people we work with about how someone working for a business made us feel special. It could have been a smile, a kind word, a discount, an offer of free delivery, or something totally unexpected. Whatever it was, it made us want to buy again from the business and talk the business up.

Research has consistently shown that the businesses that thrive and prosper are the businesses that emphasize giving customers a consistently superior experience. While satisfied customers are likely to relate their positive experience with a company to an average of nine other people, customers who have had a negative experience are likely to tell 16 people about it.

Given the impact that great customer service can have on a business’s bottom line, what should you be doing to ensure your customers are truly impressed by their experiences with your firm?

Focus on Your Employees

The fact is that the customer experience depends on the employee experience. Valued, trusted employees who are fairly compensated can make or break a business. Employees who feel empowered and valued will take the extra steps to ensure that customers get what they want — and then some. Think about what procedures or systems you can create that can help you identify your customer-focused employees early on and what measures you need to take to keep them motivated and enthusiastic. Pay and benefits matter, of course, but many people are motivated by respect, trust, encouragement, and increasing on-the-job responsibilities.

Offer Convenience

Look closely at how your business operates. Review your delivery, billing, and dispute-resolution processes to determine if they give your customers a seamless, trouble-free experience. Customers want convenience and will do business with companies that are easy to work with.

Provide a Customized Experience

How well do you know your customers? There are numerous tools available that can help you analyze the buying patterns of your customers and use that data to craft special offers and special pricing for them. You can segment customers into groups so that you can provide a highly personalized experience to each of them. Doing so makes your business stand out from the crowd and leaves your customers feeling special.

Make Your Business Accessible Through All Channels

If you are not using every communications channel available, you are probably not being as effective as you could be in reaching your customer base. Social channels, messaging apps, and online chat rooms all encourage customers to connect to your business. Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy what they need. Making your business accessible through every channel is just one other way of delivering memorable customer service.

Emphasize the Human Connection

Let your staff know that personal interaction is still critically important even in the digital age. Customers should be greeted as soon as they show up in person or contact the business. Follow-up calls to ensure that customers are satisfied with their purchase and their overall experience can help identify issues before they escalate into problems. They also serve to reinforce your business’s commitment to outstanding customer service.

Delivering superior customer service consistently is just one of the many challenges that businesses face. Other challenges — financial, strategic, and logistical — are always present. The input of an experienced financial professional can help business owners navigate these challenges.

Tips for Relocating Your Small Business

Is your business thinking of moving to a new location? No need to worry, we got you covered with some tips for the journey!

Why are you relocating?

It’s important that you first consider why it is necessary to change your location. If you’re certain about the move, you should be able to fully answer the following questions.

  • Are you moving for a new market to give you more opportunity than your previous one?
  • Are there lower costs to run a business in this new area? Following that, are there better tax rates in this new area?
  • Do you intend to keep the same employees or hire new ones?
  • Do you have access to a better hiring market for new employees?
  • Will there be a better quality of life in the new area?

Create a Moving Plan 

1. Figure Out a Specific Location

You need to figure out a specific office location for where you want to move. This space should be considerate of the market of clients you want your business to reach. You also should be paying attention to the leasing options, given that you most likely will be renting space in a new area. It’s also important to consider how far away this new location would be for your employees. Are the employees still going to be able to commute or will you need to give relocation bonuses to incentivize employees to follow your business?

2. Create a Moving Budget

Moving isn’t going to be expense-free. It is crucial to figure out the logistics of the move and calculate the expected expenses in advance. This also includes choosing a reputable moving company to help you move as easily as possible. It’s important to ask for quotes ahead of time so you can properly plan your budget, as well as read reviews so you have the best movers.

3. Give a Heads-up

You must let people know that you are moving before you do so. Tell employees and clients that you are changing locations. Give as much notice as possible so everyone can manage this situation in their own way. Some people are going to part ways with your business because they can’t also change locations. Be mindful and respectful of their decisions.

4. Dealing with Equipment

Make sure to have a plan when moving your important servers and technical equipment. Having IT support professionals create a plan for your move is very important. They can help create an easy transition that otherwise could have been a nightmare. It’s also important to figure out if you need more equipment and to order that ahead of time. Determining storage needs is also important because you may not need as much equipment if moving to a smaller office area.

5. Update Location Online

Don’t forget to change your office location on Google and other local listings, as well as your social media profiles so customers will be able to find you after the move. You should update your company website and email signatures to reflect this. Another important aspect to consider is getting new business cards and signs to reflect your business move.

6. Final Details

Make sure your information is registered with the government so you have the correct tax information with the IRS. Also, be sure you understand the mailing situation with your new business location because you will get an influx of mail and shipments during the transition.

Good luck with your new business location!

5 Topics Every Business Owner Should Discuss with An Accountant

Coworkers team at work. Group of young business people in trendy casual wear working together in creative office.Your accountant or CPA is a business asset that you should put to good use year-round, not just at tax time. There are several topics beyond taxes that business owners should discuss with their trusted financial professionals. In this article, we cover five of them for you. While the new year is traditionally when business owners think of making financial, strategic, and other business-related plans, any time is the right time to speak to your accountant to discuss the following aspects of your business. You can’t begin the conversation too early, but it could be too late in some cases, so don’t put aside these five essential talking points.

1. Financial Planning

Budget is front of mind for business owners, but other financial issues impact your business, too. Consider a full portfolio review with your accountant to plan your financial future. Some critical topics to cover include strategies to improve cash flow, existing business loans, capital investment, charitable contributions, employee-related expenses like bonuses and health care, retirement planning, and asset management.

2. Company Growth

The goal of all businesses is growth. With growth comes change. As your business objectives shift, your valuation and tax liability often shift, too. Any changes you experience in your business should be conveyed to your accountant or CPA so that they can apprise you of liabilities or status changes. For example, suppose you plan to expand, add additional locations, make significant staffing changes, merge companies, acquire new businesses, or plan to sell your business. In that case, you should set up an appointment with your accountant to develop a logical strategy to address the change.

3. Inventory

If your business sells or resells tangible goods, inventory is vital. Sales tax laws and regulations can be challenging. Many states have rules about nexus (i.e., how much presence a business has in a city or state) related to where businesses warehouse inventory and fulfill orders. Your accountant can assess your order process to verify your restocking and ordering processes to maximize cash flow, ensure unsold inventory is accounted for, and ensure that sales tax is collected everywhere your company has nexus.

4. Risk Management

Do you have a plan in place to protect your business from disruption? Many do not. If that applies to your business, contact your accountant to discuss continuity planning to protect your business. They can provide professional insight regarding how to mitigate risks should a disruption occur. Some topics to address are whether your insurance policies are up to date, if all compliance, security, and privacy standards are met, whether your business has fraud protection in place, and if the existing internal controls protect your business. Given the time and capital small business owners invest in their passion, they must take time to manage any potential risk that could destroy what they worked so hard to create and build.

5. Tax Compliance

Lastly, as a business owner, you always want to be tax compliant. And this doesn’t apply only to federal taxes. It is just as essential to make sure state-imposed taxes are addressed on time. Regulations and tax laws change frequently, so it is vital to have a firm grasp on these. The best way to ensure you do this is to have your accountant guide you. They can inform you of any changes that affect your business and advise you on addressing them. Discuss collecting and filing W2s and 1099s for any contract employees; ensure exemption and resale certifications are collected and stored correctly; comply with online sales and nexus rules; and have an internal review to find any issues that might trigger a sale tax audit.


It helps to think of your business accountant as an extension of your team, an impartial adviser who will assess the risks and rewards associated with your business. They will answer your questions and illuminate unclear topics for you. They may bring up important points you’ve yet to consider, so make that call today and get a meeting on the calendar to discuss these critical points with your accountant. And remember, you can do your part by making sure you keep business and personal finances separate and maintaining complete, organized records.

Financial Analysis for Your Small Business

Businessman plan business growth and financial, increase of positive indicators in the year 2022 to increase business growth and an increase for growing up business "nComparing a business’s key financial ratios with industry standards and with its own past results can highlight trends and identify strengths and weaknesses in the business.

Financial statement information is most useful if owners and managers can use it to improve their company’s profitability, cash flow, and value. Getting the most mileage from financial statement data requires some analysis.

Ratio analysis looks at the relationships between key numbers on a company’s financial statements. After the ratios are calculated, they can be compared to industry standards — and the company’s past results, projections, and goals — to highlight trends and identify strengths and weaknesses.

The hypothetical situations that follow illustrate how ratio analysis can give company decision-makers valuable feedback.

Rising Sales, Rising Profits?

The recent increases in Company A’s sales figures have been impressive. But the owners aren’t certain that the additional revenues are being translated into profits. Net profit margin measures the proportion of each sales dollar that represents a profit after taking into account all expenses. If Company A’s margins aren’t holding up during growth periods, a hard look at overhead expenses may be in order.

Getting Paid

Company B extends credit to the majority of its customers. The firm keeps a close watch on outstanding accounts so that slow payers can be contacted. From a broader perspective, knowing the company’s average collection period would be useful. In general, the faster Company B can collect money from its customers, the better its cash flow will be. But Company B’s management should also be aware that if credit and collection policies are too restrictive, potential customers may decide to take their business elsewhere.

Inventory Management

Company C has several product lines. Inventory turnover measures the speed at which inventories are sold. A slow turnover ratio relative to industry standards may indicate that stock levels are excessive. The excess money tied up in inventories could be used for other purposes. Or it could be that inventories simply aren’t moving, and that could lead to cash problems. In contrast, a high turnover ratio is usually a good sign — unless quantities aren’t sufficient to fulfill customer orders in a timely way.

These are just examples of ratios that may be meaningful. Once key ratios are identified, they can be tracked on a regular basis.

Cash Flow Strategies for Cash-Strapped Businesses

Creative abstract money savings sketch on modern laptop monitor, accumulation and growth of money concept. 3D RenderingCash is critical to the functioning of every business. Maintaining a healthy cash flow not only allows a company to meet its financial obligations but also gives it the flexibility to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

All too often, however, small businesses find themselves in a cash crunch, struggling to pay the bills and stay afloat. The good news is that businesses can take various measures to manage cash flow more effectively.

Controlling Expenses

A good place to start is by reviewing expenses to determine if there are areas where you can shave costs by contracting with another vendor or renegotiating existing contracts. Costs for ongoing goods and services, such as utilities, shipping, and telecommunications, should be reviewed frequently to see if expenses can be reduced. And when paying suppliers, consider whether it makes financial sense to take advantage of any early payment incentives that may be offered.

Keeping Debt in Check

Debt can be a useful tool if used properly, so be sure to keep it at a manageable level. Before your business takes on a new loan, reach out to multiple lenders and compare the terms they offer. When acquiring equipment, consider whether leasing may be a better option than borrowing money to finance its purchase. For short-term financing needs, a line of credit is a helpful tool. The lender will base interest charges only on the amount your business draws from the credit line.

Managing Inventory

Maintaining excessive inventory can tie up cash unnecessarily. If your business carries inventory, avoid overstocking. Your inventory management system should be able to indicate the minimum quantities that you need to keep on hand in order to meet your customers’ needs.

Simplifying Billing and Collections

Employees who handle billing and collections should have specific, clear guidelines. By standardizing the process, you help ensure your business will be paid promptly. You can speed up payments by offering discounts for early payment or by encouraging your customers to pay using electronic funds transfer. To help minimize the problem of unpaid accounts, consider making follow-up calls or sending email or text message reminders within a set period after you have provided goods or services or when a bill’s due date passes. Minimizing Taxes When Possible

Deductions and credits can help your business limit its tax burden and boost its cash flow. A knowledgeable tax professional can keep you informed of any special tax breaks that may be of value to your business, such as the energy credit for the acquisition of various types of alternative energy property.

Make Planning a Priority

Identifying the causes of reduced cash flow and taking steps to rectify a cash flow crunch is critical to the ongoing success of your business. Proper cash flow planning can help you make better use of budgets and employ financing and capital more effectively to increase revenues as well as boost profits. If erratic cash flow is a recurring issue for your business, it can be helpful to gain the insights and the input from an experienced financial professional.

4 Tips on How Small Businesses Can Reduce Taxes

mid section view of a businessman using a calculator in an officeAs a small business owner, tax liability is the money you owe the government when your business generates income. With changing laws and gray areas regarding deductions, exemptions, and credits, it’s no wonder small business owners rank taxes at the top of the list of the most stress-inducing aspect of business ownership. To reduce that stress, taxes shouldn’t be something to focus on only at year’s end. Use these tips on reducing your business tax year-round and see your taxes and stress level decrease!

1. Business structure

Your company’s business structure is how it is organized – it answers questions like who is in charge, how are profits distributed, and who is responsible for business debt. The most common business structures are:

  • Sole proprietorships have one owner who takes all profits as personal income. The owner is personally liable for any business debts.
  • Partnerships are structured like sole proprietorships but can have an unlimited number of owners.
  • C corporations have unlimited shareholders who each own part of the company. Profits are distributed as dividends between them. Owners are not personally liable for business debts.
  • S corporations are structured like C corporations, but the number of shareholders is capped at 100.

In addition to affecting how a business operates, business structure impacts how much a company pays in taxes. The U.S. tax code is complex and includes four main tax categories:

  • Income tax – paid on profits
  • Employment tax – employee Social Security and Medicare contributions
  • Self-employment tax – Social Security and Medicare contributions for self-employed individuals
  • Excise tax – special taxes for specific goods and services like tobacco, alcohol, etc.

IA sole proprietorship or partnership is a good idea for businesses wanting tax simplicity. For those with less than 100 owners, an S corporation might be the right fit and best tax option. Again, business structure and tax laws are complex and are best determined by a qualified, experienced accountant.

2. Net Earnings

Net earnings (i.e., net income or profit) is the gross business income minus business expenses. Regardless of the business, it begins with gross income (the income received directly by an individual, before any withholding, deductions, or taxes), and allowable expenses are deducted to arrive at net income. How this figure is calculated is dependent upon business structure.

Net earnings are used to calculate business income taxes. Again, the calculation process differs slightly for different business structures. It is best to seek a professional to help with net earnings calculations for the proper calculation and maximum legal deductions.

3. Employ a Family Member

One of the best ways for small business owners to reduce taxes is hiring a family member. The (IRS allows a variety of options for tax sheltering. For example, suppose you hire your child, as a small business owner. In that case, you will pay a lower marginal rate or eliminate the tax on the income paid to your child. Sole proprietorships are not required to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on a child’s wages. They can also avoid Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax. Consult a trusted accounting professional for details about the benefits of hiring your children or even your spouse.

4. Retirement contributions

Employee retirement plans benefit employees, but they can also be good for your small business. Employer contributions to an employee retirement plan are tax-deductible. They can also carry an employer tax credit for setting up an employee retirement plan. Again, this is a task an accountant can handle for you. They can guide you on retirement plan choices based on your business’s situation, employees, and other factors.

As a small business owner, you can deduct contributions to a tax-qualified retirement account from your income taxes (except for Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s). Sole proprietors, members of a partnership, or LLC members can deduct from their personal income contributions to their retirement account.

As with any tax situation, consulting your trusted accounting professional is always best. They are up to date on the latest tax laws, information, and allowable deductions. By being aware of ways your small business can reduce taxes, you can bring these topics up with your accountant, discuss the best options for you, and be prepared long before tax time rolls around.


Contact our tax professionals to learn more about how you can control tax exposure for your small business.

Starting a Side Gig in 2022? Your New Tax Obligations

Business people Having Meeting Around Table In Modern OfficeIt’s not just self-employed individuals who must pay estimated taxes. Here’s what you need to know.

W-2 income tax withholding isn’t perfect. You’ve probably had years when you owed more than you expected to on April 15. Or you were pleasantly surprised to receive a sizable refund. The idea, of course, is to try to come out as even as possible. You can usually do this by adjusting your withholding when you experience a life change like taking on a mortgage or having a baby.

Income taxes are also pay-as-you-go for self-employed individuals – or at least they should be. If you’re striking out on your own by starting your own small business in 2022 or you’re simply taking on a side gig to improve your finances, your tax obligation will change dramatically. Your income will not be subject to employer withholding every week or two. In most cases, you’ll get it all. But the IRS expects you to pay estimated taxes on that income four times a year.

Who Else Must Pay?

There are other situations where you’ll be expected to make quarterly payments. In fact, the only individuals who aren’t required to pay estimated taxes (besides W-2 employees whose withholding is on target) are those who meet all three of these conditions:

  • You owed no taxes the previous tax year (line 24 on your 2021 1040—total tax—is zero, or you weren’t required to file a return).
  • You were a resident alien or U.S. citizen for all of 2021.
  • Your 2021 tax year covered a 12-month period.

tax tips

You’ll find your total tax for 2021 on line 24 of the Form 1040. Notice, too, that line 26 asks for 2021 estimated tax payments.

There are numerous situations where individuals who have payroll taxes regularly withheld on their income may still be required to submit quarterly estimated taxes. For example, did you receive income from rents or royalties? Dividends or interest? Income from selling an asset? Gambling?

If you have an employer who withholds taxes, but you don’t think you’ll be paying enough given the deductions and credits you might receive, you need to plan for estimated taxes. Self-employed individuals are almost always required to submit them.

Special Rules for Some

As with all things IRS, there are many exceptions to the rules regarding estimated taxes. For example, there are special rules for:

  • Fishermen and farmers.
  • Some household employers.
  • Certain high-income taxpayers.
  • Nonresident aliens.

How Do You Estimate Your Quarterly Taxes?

That’s the hard part, especially if you’re new to the world of estimated taxes. There is no magic formula, no way to calculate to the penny what you’ll owe. You’re basically making an educated guess. Since you won’t know for sure what changes to the tax code will be put in place until the end of the year, you can’t be absolutely certain that you might get a particular credit or deduction.

But you know roughly what your income will be for a given quarter once you’re nearing the end of it. Do you have a lot of business-related expenses? Keeping track of those is critical, as they’ll offset your income. If you don’t, you’ll have to budget for a heftier quarterly payment. And you must keep in mind that you’ll be paying self-employment tax – that portion of your income taxes that your employer used to pay.

Once you’ve been self-employed for a full tax year and have seen what your tax obligation was, it will be easier to estimate in subsequent years. But you may have a difficult time your first year.

How Do You Pay Estimated Taxes?

tax tips

Individuals and business that had to pay estimated taxes in 2021 submitted the Form 1040-ES four times. If you’re self-employed in 2022, you’ll need to submit similar vouchers with your payments, unless you’re paying online.

If you’re self-employed and you anticipate owing $1,000 or more in taxes on your 2022 income, you’ll need to file quarterlies using IRS Form 1040-ES vouchers (available on the IRS website) along with a check or money order. There are also ways to pay online using a credit or debit card or direct bank withdrawal. Corporations would file the Form 1120-W if they expect to owe $500 or more.

Estimated taxes for the 2022 tax year are due:

April 18, 2022 (January 1-March 31, 2022)

June 15, 2022 (April 1-May 31, 2022)

September 15, 2022 (June 1- August 31, 2022)

January 16, 2023 (September 1-December 31, 2022)

A Challenging Task

Estimated taxes are not precise. And it may be difficult to set aside money for them if your income is not where you’d like it to be. But as you might expect, the IRS will levy penalties on you if you don’t.

Year-round tax planning can help you in this critical area. We’ll be happy to set aside time to consult with you about estimated taxes. We’re also available to do tax preparation and to look at how your taxes fit into your overall financial situation. Contact us soon to get a jump on the 2022 tax season — or to finish up 2021.

How to Overcome Accounting Challenges Most Small Businesses Face

employee-handbookPerhaps the number one action you can take to support the financial health of your small business is to stay on top of accounting. Make sure you’re aware of most small businesses’ accounting challenges and learn how to overcome them. We’ll tell you how here!

Banking

You’ve been banking for years, and you know how to manage the task. However, when you own a business, banking isn’t like managing personal checking and savings accounts. Unfortunately, many small business owners use their personal funds to pay for business expenses, especially when first starting out. Even small costs add up over time. This “cross contamination” of spending between personal and business accounts can lead to costly mistakes, not to mention headaches for your accounting team. Keep personal expenses, and business expenses separate all the time. Have dedicated bank accounts and credit cards only used for one or the other. If you need to track down an expenditure, you only need to look in one place.

Budget

When bank accounts are separated, budgeting becomes exponentially easier. You can even use an accounting software program to help you keep up with money coming and going to and from your business. However, recognize that simply entering information into a software program is not the end of the work when balancing a budget. Thinking that is true ends up being the downfall of many small businesses. Budgeting for a business means forecasting to ensure that unexpected expenses can be covered, managing inventory, taxes, and more. A shift in any direction can throw off any budget. That’s why many small businesses opt to outsource their accounting. The known upfront expense of doing so can far offset costly budgeting errors down the road.

Unexpected expenses

As mentioned above, you must consider the unexpected as part of your budget. Additional (new) taxes, payment delays from customers, rising costs of materials and supplies, new employee training, etc., are all possibilities. A qualified accountant is aware of these unexpected expenses and others that your business could face and knows how to prepare you for them. Awareness of what could financially happen in business is crucial to long-term profitability.

Payroll

While unexpected expenses are likely the most daunting for a small business, payroll is almost always the most significant. Payroll entails more than what you pay employees. New employee classification, if incorrect, could cost you a bundle in penalties. Other payroll-related accounting challenges are pay accuracy, proper tax filing, compliance, and paid time off tracking.

Unless you’re an HR professional, and chances are you’re not if you’re the business owner, consider recruiting a qualified accountant to help you manage payroll. It will save you headaches in the short term and money in the long term.

Taxes

A conversation about accounting and small business isn’t complete without discussing taxes. The tax struggle can be daunting, from filing to making sure you pay enough but that you don’t overpay. A significant challenge regarding taxes is merely keeping up with the ever-changing tax laws. A qualified accountant or CPA will be up-to-date on new regulations and guidelines so that you don’t have to be.

Overcoming accounting challenges like these is easy with a qualified accounting team on your side. Consider outsourcing your accounting needs so that your focus remains where it should – on running your business your way.


Contact our accounting professionals now for help managing your small business finances.

Getting Started with Reports in QuickBooks Online

You should be running reports in QuickBooks Online on a weekly—if not daily—basis. Here’s what you need to know.

You can do a lot of your accounting work in QuickBooks Online by generating reports. You can maintain your customer and vendor profiles. Create and send transactions like invoices and sales receipts, and record payments. Enter and pay bills. Create time records and coordinate projects. Track your mileage and, if you have employees, process payroll.

These activities help you document your daily financial workflow. But if you’re not using QuickBooks Online’s reports, you can’t know how individual elements of your business like sales and purchases are doing. And you don’t know how all of those individual pieces fit together to create a comprehensive picture of how your business is performing.

QuickBooks Online’s reports are plentiful. They’re customizable. They’re easy to create. And they’re critical to your understanding of your company’s financial state. They answer the small questions, like, How many widgets do I need to order?, and the larger, all-encompassing questions like, Will my business make a profit this year?

Getting the Lay of the Land

Let’s look at how reports are organized in QuickBooks Online. Click Reports in the toolbar. You’ll see they are divided into three areas that you can access by clicking the labeled tabs. Standard refers to the comprehensive list of reports that QuickBooks Online offers, displayed in related groups. Custom reports are reports that you’ve customized and saved so you can use the same format later. And Management reports are very flexible, specialized reports that can be used by company owners and managers.

Standard Reports

The Standard Reports area is where you’ll do most—if not all—of your reporting work. The list of available reports is divided into 10 categories. You’re most likely to spend most of your time in just a few of them, including:

  • Favorites. You’ll be able to designate reports that you run often as Favorites and access them here, at the top of the list.
  • Who owes you. These are your receivables reports. You’ll come here when you need to know, for example, who is behind on making payments to you, how much individual customers owe you, and what billable charges and time haven’t been billed.
  • Sales and customers. What’s selling and what’s not? What have individual customers been buying? Which customers have accumulated billable time?
  • What you owe. These are your payables reports. They tell you, for example, which bills you haven’t paid, the total amount of your unpaid bills (grouped by days past due), and your balances with individual vendors.
  • Expenses and vendors. What have I purchased (grouped by vendor, product, or class)? What expenses have individual vendors incurred? Do I have any open purchase orders?

The Business Overview contains advanced financial reports that we can run and analyze for you. The same goes for the For my accountant reports. Sales tax, Employees, and Payroll will be important to you if they’re applicable for your company.

Working with Individual Reports

To open any report, you just click its title. If you want more information before you do that, just hover your cursor over the label. Click the question mark to see a brief description of the report. If you want to make the report a Favorite, click the star so it turns green. And clicking the three vertical dots opens the Customize link.

When you click the Customize link, a vertical panel slides out from the right, and the actual report is behind it, grayed out. Customization options vary from report to report. Some are quite complex, and others offer fewer options. The Sales by Customer Detail report, for example, provides a number of ways for you to modify the content of your report so it represents exactly the “slice” of data you want. So you can indicate your preferences in areas like:

  • Report period
  • Accounting method (cash or accrual)
  • Rows/columns (you can select which columns should appear and in what order, and group them by Account, Customer, Day, etc.)
  • Filter (choose the data group you want represented from several options, including Transaction Type, Product/Service, Payment Method, and Sales Rep)

Once you’ve run the report, you can click Save customization in the upper right corner and complete the fields in the window that opens. Your modification options will then be available when you click Custom reports, so you can run it again anytime with fresh data.

QBO tips

You can customize QuickBooks Online’s reports in a variety of ways.

We’ll go into more depth about report customization in a future issue. For now, we encourage you to explore QuickBooks Online’s reports and their modification options so that you’re familiar with them and can put them to use anytime. Let us know if you have any questions about the site’s reports, or if you need help making your use of QuickBooks Online more effective and productive.

Congress, Don’t Give the IRS More Responsibilities by Mark Bailey CPA

Tax season can be a stressful time for many hard-working Nevadans. Our tax code is complex, and taxpayers can wait months to receive their tax refunds. As a long-time certified public accountant in Reno, I have spent my career helping businesses and residents navigate our complicated tax code. That is why I am worried about proposals being debated in Washington, D.C., that would expand the authority and mandate of the Internal Revenue Service to automatically generate tax returns on behalf of all Americans. Although this proposal may seem like a way to streamline the tax collection process, it would overburden an already strained IRS and create a conflict of interest that would harm taxpayers.

The IRS serves an important role in our country. The federal government needs an agency that can effectively and efficiently collect revenue to fund social spending programs, national defense, and other critical government functions. The IRS getting its existing mandate right is and should always be the priority.

Adding more responsibilities to an already overstretched agency is inviting disaster. A recent report from the Treasury Department’s independent Taxpayer Advocate Service found that the IRS is woefully unprepared for the 2022 tax season. The agency warned taxpayers to expect, “one of the worst filing seasons.”

Under a government run tax preparation system, taxpayers will likely have to deal directly with the IRS to correct any mistakes or have any questions answered. A 2021 report from the Washington Post found that only 1 in 50 calls to the IRS help line was actually answered by a human representative. If one of my clients calls my office, or that of any CPA or tax professional, they know they will get a timely response.

On the other hand, as of December 2021, the IRS had yet to finish processing 6 million tax returns filed last season. This is especially concerning with the start of this tax season already underway.

Taxpayers will likely be forced to wait even longer to receive their well-deserved refunds. The same report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service found that tens of millions of taxpayers had to wait to receive their refund checks in 2021. This can cause real financial pain for families struggling to deal with rising inflation.

Proposals to create a government run tax preparation system present a clear conflict of interest. The IRS cannot be asked to collect revenue or audit taxpayers while simultaneously fighting for deductions and refunds for those same taxpayers. As a long-time CPA, I have experienced first-hand how many of my clients appreciate having an independent expert on their side when it comes to dealing with the IRS.
Whether it is a CPA or even a cheap private online tax preparation software, Americans want someone fighting for their financial interests. Our tax collection process should have a system of checks and balances.

U.S. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, both Nevada Democrats, have always been pragmatic legislators who fight for sound policy. They know when a proposal is well-intentioned, but misguided. I urge both of our senators to work with their colleagues to reject any proposals that add additional burdens and responsibilities to an already overstretched IRS.

Mark Bailey is a certified public accountant and managing partner of the Reno-based financial consulting firm Excelsis Accounting Group.