Category Archives: Business Accounting

Articles and tips related to business accounting by James E. George, CPA

A Lack of Documentation can Cost You!

A Lack of Documentation can Cost You!

I met with a number of clients in the last couple of months who are very tech savvy and utilize a lot of the current technology available in running their businesses. Some deposit their customer checks by taking pictures of them with their phones. Others track their auto mileage by using the GPS app on the phones. Almost all pay their bills via online banking or with a debit card.

While this may seem cutting edge cool and very convenient, it could come back to haunt you later if you don’t fortify your business recordkeeping by performing a few additional procedures. Mileage logs should be downloaded and stored in a digital format on a local computer no less frequently than once a month. You need to document the business purpose of every single debit card transaction by making notes on a copy of your printed or online bank statement. You may have to prove to the tax authorities later the business purpose of those expenditures.

I have spoken with Accountants who have terminated their cloud software subscriptions and were unable to access vital records that were stored in their cloud application’s files. I have also spoken to business owners whose phones were lost or damaged and rendered unusable. All the information stored on their phones was no longer accessible. When you utilize your devices to run your business, you still need to assure that all business transactions are supported by some form of documentation and, if your device is lost or damaged, you can still access the information.

When a business owner comes into my office to have their income taxes prepared, I want to see reports, spreadsheets and summaries. For many types of transactions, such as the purchase of large depreciable items, I also want to see the receipts. I need to scan them into my digital file cabinet as support for how I prepare their income tax returns. If the majority of your business records reside in the cloud or on your telephone, I will recommend you print them out or e-mail them to me. This will help minimize the cost of my services to you. The more time a Tax Preparer spends accumulating your support documentation, the higher your fee will be.

Employing your child could be a win-win strategy

Employing your child could be a win-win strategy

I met with one of my higher income clients this morning to discuss tax saving ideas. She operates a business out of her home to keep the overhead low. This year her income has increased about 20 percent and it looks like the growth will continue for the foreseeable future. We discussed a number of… Continue Reading

The Balance Sheet: The Unappreciated Statement

The Balance Sheet: The Unappreciated Statement

I have prepared financial statements for business owners throughout my entire career. A standard set of financial statements can be a wealth of information when it comes to operating a successful business. Too often the value of these tools is unappreciated by the business owner. Many times, their attention goes straight to the bottom line… Continue Reading

Don’t be Afraid to Raise your Prices!

Don’t be Afraid to Raise your Prices!

This morning I met with a small contractor to review his year to date results of operations and compute the income tax he should submit by Sept. 15th. During the meeting he mentioned how busy he has been and that he is turning down offers to look at more work because he is already scheduled… Continue Reading

Tax-Related Telephone Scams

Tax-Related Telephone Scams

This week our area has been hit with an increased number of tax-related scam telephone calls. They are starting to sound much more realistic than similar scams in prior years. Usually the caller will identify themselves as a member of an enforcement division of either the IRS or Maryland State Police. They will inform you… Continue Reading

We can’t do it all…well

We can’t do it all…well

As business owners, we do our best to minimize our expenses while trying to maximize our revenues. Too often we become revenue-focused and pour the majority of our time and energy in to producing more revenue. This naturally leads to a decline in the aspects of our business that don’t directly produce the revenue. We… Continue Reading

IRS to Audit More Small Businesses!

IRS to Audit More Small Businesses!

The 2018 IRS Forum was a valuable source of information regarding the upcoming tax filing season. Among the many tidbits I gleaned were issues of IRS concern relating to small businesses. The IRS has announced they are going to scrutinize such things as: personal use of the business assets such as cell phones and laptops,… Continue Reading

Many New Tax Law Changes are Just Around the Corner!

Many New Tax Law Changes are Just Around the Corner!

Last week I spent three fantastic days at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum! Many new tax laws and changes to the tax forms are slated for the next filing season. The amount of new information, procedural changes and tax form modifications discussed was at times, overwhelming. The increasing number and types of new tax scams… Continue Reading

New Tax Warning to Employees

New Tax Warning to Employees

Employees beware! The new withholding tax tables that have been published may cause your employers to under withhold the federal tax from your paychecks. If your employer utilizes these new tables, they are doing nothing wrong. However, the tables incorporate the tax cuts under the new law by lowering the withholding amounts. While this gives… Continue Reading

Hired Guns

Hired Guns

When you operate a seasonal business, your workload is concentrated into a few months out of the year. The very nature of this beast makes it difficult to assemble a talented workforce. Most experienced employees desire year-round income. This limits the business to finding seasonal help. Every year we experience a backlog at the review… Continue Reading

Good Employees Make a Big Difference!

Good Employees Make a Big Difference!

Most small businesses don’t have employees. The owners perform all the duties of the business. However, that type of business model restricts growth. If you want a business to grow, the owner must be willing to delegate most non-essential functions to an employee. A good employee who competently handles the clerical and administrative functions can… Continue Reading

Employees’ Business Expenses Must be Documented

Employees’ Business Expenses Must be Documented

A deduction is available for money an employee spends to perform their duties in the course of their employment if they are unreimbursed by their employer. This includes mileage, licenses, union dues, education and out of pocket expenses. The expenses must be incurred as a condition of employment or utilized in the performance of the… Continue Reading

Business Tip: Customers Don’t Want Equal Treatment

Business Tip: Customers Don’t Want Equal Treatment

The advice we give our clients is personalized to their situation and circumstances. No two clients are the same. We may recommend one course of action for you and the opposite for your neighbor. The key is to listen to your client. Learn their goals and question any limitations to achieving them. Customers don’t want… Continue Reading

Beware of Tax-Related Identity Theft Scams

Beware of Tax-Related Identity Theft Scams

Deceitful communications come via phone, email, postal mail, and sometimes even a knock on your door. It’s important to know that the IRS does occasionally contact taxpayers, but when they do, it’s most often by mail. Sometimes the IRS needs to verify a taxpayer’s identity and will do so by sending a Letter 5071C. This… Continue Reading

Do You Need to File a Form 1099 Misc?

Do You Need to File a Form 1099 Misc?

A Form 1099 Misc should be filed for every unincorporated vendor or contractor who you paid $600 or more during the calendar year 2017. The amounts to be reported are for services only. If you paid someone for products and services, only the labor charges are to be reported in box 7 of Form 1099… Continue Reading

Due Date for Payroll Reporting

Due Date for Payroll Reporting

The due date for filing your form W2’s with the Social Security Administration is January 31, 2018.  Extensions to file these forms are much more difficult to get this year.  The IRS is only granting extensions in cases of extreme hardship or uncontrollable circumstances.  The penalties for failure to file the forms on time have… Continue Reading

Biggest Audit Risks for Business Owners

Biggest Audit Risks for Business Owners

The Schedule C for an unincorporated business and the Schedule F for farming activities are the forms MOST AUDITED by the IRS! The IRS has published the following list of issues they scrutinize when auditing the Schedule C and the Schedule F: Lack of record keeping for automobile use – no mileage logs. Personal phone… Continue Reading

Make 2018 Your Business’ Best Year

Make 2018 Your Business’ Best Year

All of us here at James E. George, CPA would like to wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous new year! At this time of reflecting on the past and planning for the future, I’d like to suggest making 2018 the year you get your business finances in order. Not just for your… Continue Reading

Should You Use Technology for Record Keeping?

Should You Use Technology for Record Keeping?

Technology can be helpful when it comes to bookkeeping! There are many new gadgets and applications on the market that assist with tracking business expenses. While these “apps” eliminate paper, they do not eliminate the need to provide your tax preparer with the records they deem necessary to prepare your income tax returns. For example,… Continue Reading

Would Your CPA Approve of How You Organize Your Files & Receipts?

I recently met with a contractor who had very organized files. You could tell he spent a lot of time assembling his receipts. The problem: they were organized in a manner that was not efficient for preparing a tax return. Instead, the gentleman had organized his records by vendor. The solution: The income tax return… Continue Reading