Is Your Accountant Efficient?

Some small business owners put their accounting at the bottom of their to do list and do not attend to it until they receive letters from the IRS charging penalties and interest.  If you are looking for an accounting firm to catch up your books there are a few items you should consider:

Creating Import Files – Does someone at the accounting firm that you are considering using have experience creating transaction files that will import into QuickBooks?  If you want to minimize costs you should find a firm that can create import files if you have a year or more worth of data to catch up and each month has a large volume of transactions.  I have a client that I created several import files for instead of inputting over 1,000 transactions into QuickBooks.

Accountant’s Premier Edition – You should ask the accounting firm if it uses QuickBooks Accountant Premier edition.  This is a QuickBooks program that ProAdvisors receive each year and there are many handy tools to help save them time and you money.  For example, there is an accountant’s menu that lets the person reclassify many transactions at the same time.  Usually transactions need to be changed one at a time, and if there are many to change it is time consuming.  The Accountant’s edition lets a user change accounts on many transactions at the touch of a button.

Another neat feature of the Accountant’s Premier edition is the ability to enter in checks or credit card charges in a batch.  This allows a user to use one screen to enter in multiple transactions instead of entering in each check or credit card charge one at a time.  It saves a lot of time by minimizing key strokes and therefore should save you money.

Importing Bank & Credit Card Information – You can grant accountants read-only access to some bank and credit card accounts.  That will allow the person to import the transactions into QuickBooks to save them time and you money.  Make sure the accounting firm you are considering using is tech-savvy and willing to use this technology to catch up your books.

IRS Tax Tip 2011-33: Four Facts About Bartering

I receive e-newsletters from the IRS on a regular basis and thought this briefing was interesting,

The IRS wanted to send out a reminder that the fair market value of goods and services exchanged through barter is still taxable income. Here are four facts about bartering:

1) A barter exchange typically needs to issue form 1099-B to its clients or members and to the IRS on an annual basis. This form is called Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions.

2) Barter dollars/trade dollars mean the same thing as real dollars for tax reporting purposes. The fair market value of bartered goods or services must be reported on your tax return.

3) Income is taxable in the same year that it is performed. Therefore, you may owe income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, or exise tax. Barter activities may cause ordinary business income, capital gains (losses), or a non-deductible personal expense.

4) Reporting barter transactions may take different forms. In general, the business income is reported on Schedule C Profit or Loss of Business on Form 1040. Other types of businesses need to report the income on Form 1065 for Partnerships, Form 1120-S for Small Business Corporations, or Form 1120 for Corporations.

For more information, you can visit the irs at www.irs.gov and search the Business section for Bartering Tax Center.