Here are some helpful reminders as you wrap up your books for 2015:
1) Make sure you have printed out all your bank statements and credit card statements for 2015. You never know when your bank or your credit card company will stop hosting prior period statements. You may also need to change accounts due to fraud or security issues, and then the old accounts are not available online.
2) Print out all of your quarterly and annual payroll filings from online payroll portals. If you have ADP, Paychex, or QuickBooks Assisted Payroll, you must print out the quarterly and annual returns filed on your behalf. Again, as with banks and credit card companies, payroll processing companies will drop tax filing history from your portal after a few years. Any future audit regarding payroll will require that you produce copies of your company’s filings so print them and keep them accessible.
3) Prepare for 2015 1099s by reviewing the 1099 Summary Reports (Reports/Vendors and Payables/1099 Summary). Remember to check for vendor address changes. Verify you have vendor EINs or SSNs in QuickBooks so you are ready for printing the forms in January.
4) As with years past, Connecticut is once again a Federal Unemployment Tax “Credit Reduction” state (one of three states this year). That means that employers will be expected to pay additional federal unemployment taxes by January 31, 2016. The amount this year is better than last year, however, at about 2% for every employee’s initial $7000 in wages. So allocate about $140 per employee.
Ten years ago I became a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Three years ago I started teaching QuickBooks “Fundamentals” seminars at my office on the Milford Green. Dozens of clients have cycled through these five two-hour seminar series. Many more clients have wanted to attend the training but the time of day and/or distance has been an obstacle.
In an effort to try to offer my QuickBooks knowledge to more of you, I enlisted a videographer to record my seminars last summer. I did not want to produce a training video that mimicked what is already available from QuickBooks itself: QuickBooks software screen shot, trainer voice in the background, canned script. But with recording a live seminar come challenges: for instance, lighting the conference room and recording both me and my projected computer screen while also meeting the specific expectations of the seminar participants. I wanted to make sure I covered as much material as I could to meet the needs of future seminar viewers. My videographer and I also learned a few things along the way – for instance, how to share my screen with a second camera. This helped quite a bit as the lighting in the room tended to wash out the projected screen image behind me. And there is a lot more technology we can incorporate in future recordings.
Once the seminars were recorded, and while they were being edited, I pursued the legal side of promoting these videos. I wanted to make sure I was not violating my Intuit ProAdvisor Agreement. I also wanted to add a disclaimer to the videos to let people know they were not to be re-purposed without my authorization (and, most importantly, that I was not responsible if they messed up their books because they misinterpreted my instructions!).
Another challenge was how to package a 2-hour seminar as a video: should each seminar be one video or multiple videos? What we decided was to breakdown each video into small topical segments to make it easier to watch specifically what a someone wanted without having to fast-forward through two hours of recording. When I was leading my seminar, topical breaks were in the back of my mind, but in order to parse the video content, I had to watch all ten hours of myself and mark by the minute/second when one topic transitioned to the next.
In the end, I hope this first pass is a helpful tool to my clients. Clients who have attended the seminars but did not catch it all the first time. Clients who wanted to come but could not make one or more of the sessions. I am looking forward to seeing if this becomes a valuable tool for our clients, and a venue where we can provide even more topical training seminars. I’ll be sure to notify you when the videos are available on my website.