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AccountingSPOT
06-08-2009, 08:48 AM
Do you struggle with your bookkeeping? I can help! I offer virtual bookkeeping services. I am affordable, efficient and accurate. I offer a project/monthly rate so there are no surprises come bill time! Contact me today for a free consultation!

Not ready to outsource? Post any questions you have here and I'll do my best to help you out.

Thank you!
Holly Neitzel
Accounting SPOT

Steve
06-08-2009, 11:22 AM
Hi Holly,

Welcome to our forum.

With your experience providing book keeping services, can you tell us some of the problems you see new business owners make when it comes to their books and what they should do to resolve them? Especially the new start up businesses that havent been around for a full year and havent filed their taxes yet.

AccountingSPOT
06-08-2009, 03:25 PM
Great question Steve!

I think the biggest problem that new business owners have (in regards to bookkeeping) is simply staying up to date with their paper work.

My best advice is just to keep up and stay organized. Find a system that works for you. You may need to tweek it as you go, but having a plan from the start will help a lot!

You may want to take a look at the schedule c that you will be filing at tax time (if you are a sole proprietor). That will give you an idea of the expense categories.

Here is a link to the IRS directions for the Schedule C.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040sc.pdf

Steve
06-08-2009, 03:30 PM
I think the biggest problem that new business owners have (in regards to bookkeeping) is simply staying up to date with their paper work.

When you say staying up to date with their paperwork, I am guessing you mean keeping track of all their expenses throughout the year?

When a new client comes to you, what should they be bringing you? What do you look for? I think this could help out a lot of our members get their basics organized.

AccountingSPOT
06-08-2009, 03:43 PM
'paper work' includes all expense and income details.....

When a new client comes to me (or you just want to keep yourself organized!) I would want to see the following:

Expense info *with a note from you about what the purchase was for
Bank statements
Credit card statements
Invoices (or some form of sales info)

From this information a Profit & Loss report can be created. A P&L will show you how much you are making (KEY information to have!) and how much you are spending.

Steve
06-08-2009, 03:47 PM
From this information a Profit & Loss report can be created. A P&L will show you how much you are making (KEY information to have!) and how much you are spending.

Ahh very fascinating!

How important is a P&L to a small startup business? How often should it be updated? Daily? Weekly? Monthly or just once a year?

Also should P&L's be broken down into different categories or should it ultimately just return a value whether it be a profit or a loss?

If you have multiple crews should you have this P&L information for each crew or just for the entire business as a whole?

AccountingSPOT
06-08-2009, 04:22 PM
Ahh very fascinating!

How important is a P&L to a small startup business? How often should it be updated? Daily? Weekly? Monthly or just once a year?

Also should P&L's be broken down into different categories or should it ultimately just return a value whether it be a profit or a loss?

If you have multiple crews should you have this P&L information for each crew or just for the entire business as a whole?

For a small startup to be successful, a P&L is MANDATORY! If you don't know what you are spending vs. what you are making, you can't make sound financial business decisions.

I would suggest the P&L be updated monthly. But, for some very small businesses it doesn't need to be that often. But I wouldn't want to go longer than quarterly. Like I said above, if you don't know your financial status it is then it is hard to make good decisions.

P&L's should be broken down to show profits and expenses by category, for example:

+Income:
Mowing
Landscape
Clean-up

-Expenses:
Advertising
Travel
Supplies

=NET PROFIT

If you have multiple crews you may want to track the income and expenses per crew, as a secondary reporting option. I think that it is a good idea to do so. But, you will want P&L for the company as a whole first and foremost.

picframer
06-08-2009, 07:19 PM
Ahh very fascinating!

How important is a P&L to a small startup business? How often should it be updated? Daily? Weekly? Monthly or just once a year?

Also should P&L's be broken down into different categories or should it ultimately just return a value whether it be a profit or a loss?

If you have multiple crews should you have this P&L information for each crew or just for the entire business as a whole?

I have our company broken into four divisions all the records are input daily, I know at any given time where the company stands, how profitable each crew or division is.

I would probably be considered a med sized company in this business and it only takes a few moments each morning over coffee to input expenses, Holly handles billing/payroll so that is not an issue.

Inputting daily allows me to identify potention issues, performance and profitability.

AccountingSPOT
06-08-2009, 11:22 PM
I have our company broken into four divisions all the records are input daily, I know at any given time where the company stands, how profitable each crew or division is.

I would probably be considered a med sized company in this business and it only takes a few moments each morning over coffee to input expenses, Holly handles billing/payroll so that is not an issue.

Inputting daily allows me to identify potention issues, performance and profitability.

I'm very impressed that you do your input daily! I think it is great to do it daily, so as to not get overwhelmed at month end. That overwhelming feeling is what often makes business owners avoid doing it at all.

Steve
06-09-2009, 12:35 PM
Holly,

A lot of times on here we will get new business owners looking for answers to the question of what do they need to collect sales tax on? Do you have any advice as to the best way to find this out?

AccountingSPOT
06-09-2009, 08:52 PM
Holly,

A lot of times on here we will get new business owners looking for answers to the question of what do they need to collect sales tax on? Do you have any advice as to the best way to find this out?


Sales tax is one of the necessary evils of doing business. And, each state has their own rules, making it a convoluted topic.

The best place to find information about your state is to visit that tax authority (see below). If you can't find the answers to your questions on your state's site, don't hesitate to call them directly. They should have someone knowledgable available to talk to directly.

I've also included a link to a handy sales tax calculator.

Links to each state's tax authority: http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/link/
Sales tax calculator: http://www.thestc.com/RateC.stm

Steve
06-09-2009, 08:54 PM
That is fantastic!

Do you offer some sort of intro business over the phone consulting session? Like 1/2 hour or hour long where you can talk with a new business owner and tell them what they need, accounting wise, to get up to speed? So they don't mess anything up their first year?

AccountingSPOT
06-11-2009, 08:52 AM
That is fantastic!

Do you offer some sort of intro business over the phone consulting session? Like 1/2 hour or hour long where you can talk with a new business owner and tell them what they need, accounting wise, to get up to speed? So they don't mess anything up their first year?

I hadn't thought of doing that, but it is a great idea! What I plan on doing is putting together a getting started, bookkeeping 101 type 'booklet'.

What kind of topics would you like to see covered in something like that?
Tracking income/expenses
Reporting
Banking
Payroll

Anything else?

If anyone wants to talk it out, please feel free to email me and we can set up a time to talk!

AccountingSPOT
06-11-2009, 08:53 AM
Also, when I get the info pack put together (hopefully sooner than later!) I will post it here for everyone.

Steve
06-11-2009, 04:26 PM
That would be fantastic. I guess my thoughts on additions to it would depend on who you are trying to target.

If it is new business startups. Maybe talk about how they can get their business name registered. How to get a commercial bank account. What they need to collect sales tax on. How to get a sales tax certification.

Maybe as we read what you get together we can add more thoughts to it then as well :)