Year End Planning for 2015

Here are some helpful reminders as you wrap up your books for 2015:

year end accounting1)  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.

 

QuickBooks Fundamentals 101 – Videos Will Be Available for Purchase On Our Website!

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.

elizabeth.seminar

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.

Learn how to manage your business finances with QuickBooks training throughout September.

Dressler Santaus will be conducting a series of QuickBooks seminars during September. Whether you’re a new user seeking to understand the basics of QuickBooks or an experienced bookkeeper who needs to learn new tips or solve a problem, this seminar series can help.

Fundamentals 101: Chart of Accounts, Company Set up and Navigation

September 2, 2015 – 9-11am

Fundamentals 102: Working with Lists

September 9, 2015 – 9-11am

Fundamentals 103: Using QuickBooks Simply

September 16, 2015- 9-11am

Fundamentals 104: Accounts Receivable

September 23, 2015 – 9-11am

Fundamentals 105: Accounts Payable

September 30, 2015 – 9-11am

Seminar Location: Dressler Santaus offices on Milford Green

 

For seminar details, visit http://www.dresslersantaus.com/Seminars_2.html.

Register Now via email or call us at 203.951.6214.

 

Seminars are $30 per registrant payable at the seminar.

Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card.

 

Elizabeth Santaus to present SCORE Workshop in Middletown CT: “Improving Your Use of QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances II”

SCORE To Host Free Workshop: 

“Improving Your Use of QuickBooksto Manage Your Business Finances II”

Sponsored by Liberty Bank.

 

DATE: Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 

TIME: 12:00 – 1:30pm

LOCATION: Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown, CT 06457

TO REGISTER NOW: Click here to register for this event

 

Old Saybrook, Conn. ~ The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses continues its year-round series of Small Business Workshops with “Improving Your Use of QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances II”.

In the first workshop on QuickBooks™, you learned the importance of regularly entering your data into an accounting system and the importance of utilizing chart of accounts specific to your business. In this second QuickBooks™ workshop, you will learn about choices to be made in setting up your particular business.

This seminar includes a step-by-step demonstration in setting up a company within QuickBooks™. Options screens that appear during the company setup will be explained, as well as company-wide vs user preferences, and basic software navigation. You’ll leave prepared to start using QuickBooks™ right away! Participants are welcome to bring a laptop with the software loaded so they can follow along with the presenter.

Elizabeth_Santaus (2)Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry. She has worked for a variety of software companies and is a certified trainer in many advanced software programs.  Since 2006, when Elizabeth founded Dressler Santaus, LLC, she has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY. As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a QuickBooks™ trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

Workshop Sponsor Liberty Bank was chartered in 1825 and has proudly dedicated itself for nearly two centuries to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement. Today, Liberty Bank has over $3 billion in assets under management and serves more than 190,000 households with locations across central, eastern and shoreline areas of Connecticut. Learn more at www.liberty-bank.com/Clinton.

 

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s eight counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, New London, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, and Norwich. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

 

Would You Like To Become A Score Volunteer? Your business knowledge and experience can help others start or grow a small business. Learn more about becoming a SCORE volunteer at: www.score.org/volunteer.

 

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Southeastern CT SCORE    PO Box 283, Old Saybrook, CT  06475   Email: ScoreChapter@gmail.com      Telephone: 860.388.9508

 

 

Dressler Santaus’ Bookkeeping Puts Black Horse Automotive Back in the Black

When it comes to vintage cars, Black Horse Automotive Services in Bridgeport is the local expert. Established in 1991 by Frank Buonanno, Black Horse restores and services classic cars which have special needs that ordinary repair shops can’t perform.

blackhorse.2 When Black Horse became aware of their dire bookkeeping problems and needed expert advice on QuickBooks, they called on Elizabeth Santaus from Dressler Santaus.

Elizabeth, a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, has been paying weekly visits to Black Horse for the past two years to correct their QuickBooks problems, streamline their accounting processes and serve as their bookkeeping advisor. Black Horse uses an industry specific software to manage their projects and receivables. The software has a conduit link to QuickBooks that Elizabeth initiated to eliminate double entry.

“Elizabeth uncovered our bookkeeping issues and put things back in order, ” says co-owner John Buonanno. “We rely on Elizabeth as our accounting advisor and value her respected opiniblackhorseon for our quarterly and yearly business planning.”

Dressler Santaus provided them with QuickBooks training and she currently oversees Black Horse’s bank reconciliation, payroll and accounts payables activities.

According to Buonanno, “Elizabeth is responsive, sharp, professional and sets the standard for being the best when it comes to bookkeeping.”

SCORE To Host Free Workshop: How to Use QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances (I)

DATE: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 

TIME: 9:30 – 11:00am

LOCATION: Waterford Public Library, 49 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, CT 06385

TO REGISTER

The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses continues its year-round series of Small Business Workshops with “How to use QuickBooks™ to Manage Your Business Finances (I)”.

You have started your own business. Now what? You have bills to pay, customer sales to track, and taxes to file which requires paper, paper, and more paper.   If you have turned to QuickBooks™ for help, and now you find you would like help using the program, this SCORE Workshop is for you, and it is free!

This workshop will provide practical, easy to use guidance and tips to help ensure that your Chart of Accounts gets you to the right financial information, and that it aligns with your use of QuickBooks.  Participants are welcome to bring a laptop with QuickBooks™ added so they can follow along with the presenter.

Elizabeth_Santaus (2)Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry. Since 2006, when Elizabeth founded Dressler Santaus, LLC, she has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY. As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a  QuickBooks™ trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s seven counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, and Norwich. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

Would You Like To Become A Score Volunteer? Your business knowledge and experience can help others start or grow a small business. Learn more about becoming a SCORE volunteer at: www.score.org/volunteer.

 

SCORE To Host Free Workshop: “Managing Your Business Finances 2 (QuickBooks)”

Partner: Middlesex Community College  

DATE: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TIME: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

LOCATION: Middlesex Community College, 808-D Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, CT 06457

TO REGISTER NOW: Click here to register for this event

Old Saybrook, Conn. ~ The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses, continues its year-round series of Small Business Workshops with “Managing Your Business Finances 2 (QuickBooks).”  Once you have made the decision to use QuickBooks Financial Software, how do you get started? This seminar includes a step-by-step demonstration in setting up a company within QuickBooks.  Options screens that appear during the company set-up will be explained.  Presenter Elizabeth Santaus will cover company-wide versus user preferences and basic software navigation so you can start using QuickBooks right away.  Participants are welcome to have a laptop with QuickBooks loaded so they can follow along with the presenter.

 

Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry.  In 1990 Elizabeth started as a technical support representative for Great American Software’s One Write Plus.  In 1992 she started her own consulting company, On-Line Technologies, and received her certification in Great Plains Software. In 1994, when Elizabeth and her husband moved to Connecticut, she became the CFO for three small sister companies in Branford, CT. Since launching Dressler Santaus, LLC in 2006, Elizabeth has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY.  As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a QuickBooks trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s seven counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, and Norwich. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

 

Fixed Assets – Preparing for October Personal Property Tax Forms

As October approaches, you can expect to receive a multi-page form from your city or town asking for a lot of information about the property that your business owns or leases. This information needs to be returned to your town or city assessor’s office by November 1st as they use this reported information to generate the annual Grand List and associated tax bills.

Many businesses put off completing these forms because gathering the information is time-consuming and tedious. QuickBooks has features that help tremendously in completing these forms quickly and they include the Fixed Asset Listing.

calculatorFixed Assets are capital expenses including furniture, fixtures (shelving, etc.), computer equipment, machinery, and equipment. Inventory is not included as a fixed asset. Vehicles are taxed separately based on DMV records. Leasehold improvements are not taxed as personal property – they affect the value of the building and real estate taxes.

The important information that a business needs to keep regarding fixed assets is what it is, when it was purchased, if it was purchased new or used, and when it was disposed of or sold.

In order to make this simple in QuickBooks, here are the steps to take:

1. Update Chart of Accounts
Make sure that your Chart of Accounts includes Fixed Asset type accounts for each of the reported categories above: vehicles, computer equipment, furniture and fixtures, machinery and equipment, etc. so that these accounts correlate to the sections of the property tax return form.

2. Add to the Fixed Asset Item List
From the Home Page in QuickBooks, choose Lists/Fixed Asset Item List. Adding your existing fixed assets in this list will not affect your financials at all. Enter each item with a unique Asset Name/Number, just like when you add new items or services. You must enter a Purchase Description, date purchased, new or used, purchase price, and an Asset Account (aka the Fixed Asset type account from your Chart of Accounts such as “Vehicles”, “Furniture & Fixtures”, etc. as noted in the above paragraph). Any other information you wish to enter is up to you. You will note that the Vendor box does not include a vendor drop-down list of your QuickBooks vendors.

3. Run Reports
Once you have entered all your existing assets, you may run a report to confirm the totals closely mirror the amounts on your Balance Sheet. Choose Reports/Lists/Fixed Asset Listing. First you may want to run this report sorted by Account, export it to Excel and sum the totals for each Account to make sure you have all the computers, machinery, vehicles, etc. set up as a fixed asset. The totals by Account should mirror your Balance Sheet. If they do not, your Balance Sheet may be understated because you have acquired new assets that you posted to expense accounts instead of fixed asset accounts. Your Balance Sheet may be overstated because you have sold or disposed of some assets and the changes were not recorded properly. Either way, start with making sure the Fixed Asset List is correct and work with your CPA to correct your Balance Sheet.

Now that you have put in the past items purchased, as you continue to use QuickBooks, you can add a fixed asset item “on the fly” when you enter a check or bill or credit card transaction. Simply toggle from the “Expense” tab in the body of the transaction to the “Item” tab and click on the first line to “Add New” – this allows you to add a new item, service, or fixed asset. Once a fixed asset item is created, you can also sell the item through an Invoice or a Sales Receipt. Adding the asset when it is purchased and selling the item when it is disposed of or sold keeps your Fixed Asset Listing up to date. These transactions – bills, checks, sales receipts – do affect your Balance Sheet as well in order to keep the total fixed asset values correct.

Property Tax Forms

Each October, run your Fixed Asset Listing Report, modify the report to include the date ranges that correlate to the personal property tax form, i.e. 10/1/13 to 9/30/14, then sort these items by Account. Memorize each report by these date ranges for future ease: “Property Tax Form Report 2014” (dates 10/1/13 – 9/30/14, “Property Tax Form Report 2013” (dates 10/1/12 – 9/30/13), etc.

Keep your insurance company apprised of any changes to your total property value so that you are covered for full replacement cost. And of course, keep the list handy to send with your financial reports to your CPA at year end so that he/she may calculate the depreciation adjustments easily.

Some initial work on your part to get your fixed assets entered into QuickBooks will pay off in the long run in all three areas: your personal property tax return, your annual tax filing, and your insurance coverage.

Go to the Dressler Santaus web site.

SCORE To Host Free Workshop:Managing Your Business Finances 1 (QuickBooks) presented by Elizabeth Santaus

DATE: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TIME: 9:00 – 10:30am

LOCATION: Old Saybrook Town Hall, 302 Main Street, 1st Floor, Old Saybrook, CT 06475

REGISTER NOW

The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to the success of small businesses, continues its year-round series of Small Business Workshops with “Managing Your Business Finances 1 (QuickBooks).”

As a business owner, you have bill to pay, sales to track, taxes to file and more! This workshop will provide practical, easy to understand guidance and tips to help you manage your business finances. Learn tips to ensure that your Chart of Accounts gets you to the right financial information, and that it aligns with your use of QuickBooks. Participants are welcome to bring a laptop with QuickBooks loaded so they can follow along with the presenter.

Workshop Presenter Elizabeth Santaus has more than twenty years of experience in the financial accounting software and bookkeeping industry. In 1990 Elizabeth started as a technical support representative for Great American Software’s One Write Plus. In 1992 she started her own consulting company, On-Line Technologies, and received her certification in Great Plains Software. In 1994, when Elizabeth and her husband moved to Connecticut, she became the CFO for three small sister companies in Branford, CT. Since launching Dressler Santaus, LLC in 2006, Elizabeth has consulted, trained, and provided bookkeeping services for over 200 small businesses in CT and NY. As an Intuit ProAdvisor with advanced and point-of-sale certifications, Elizabeth has been a QuickBooks trainer for the Community Economic Development Fund’s Bridgeport location.

Workshop Sponsor Liberty Bank was chartered in 1825 and has proudly dedicated itself for nearly two centuries to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement. Today, Liberty Bank has over $3 billion in assets under management and serves more than 190,000 households with locations across central, eastern and shoreline areas of Connecticut. Learn more at www.liberty-bank.com/.

About SCORE: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers free and confidential advice on starting your own business or improving and growing your existing small business. All 40 counselors in Southeast Connecticut are volunteers, receive no compensation, and are working or retired business owners, executives, and managers. SCORE’s seven counseling sites in Southeast Connecticut include Guilford, Madison, Old Saybrook, Essex, Waterford, Middletown, and Norwich. For more information on upcoming free workshops and how to schedule a free small business mentoring session with our counselors, visit www.sect.score.org.

REGISTER NOW

 

Go to Dressler Santaus web site.

Cleaning Up Your QuickBooks Data

Part 4: Managing the Chart of Accounts

The Chart of Accounts is the backbone of your accounting data. When the Chart of Accounts is set up correctly your Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss information can be used to give you a truthful snapshot of your company’s financial health.

The Chart of Accounts is composed of five major types of accounts: Assets, Liabilities, Equity, Income and Expenses. Unfortunately, if you are not versed in accounting basics, your chart of accounts may have loans (liabilities), fixed assets (equipment, vehicles, and computers), or owner draws categorized as expenses. You may also have added so many sub-accounts to your list that your chart of accounts has become long and unwieldy. Cleaning up your chart of accounts, like other lists in QuickBooks, can make a world of difference in helping you understand your financial reports.

QuickBooks Chart of AccountsDelete Accounts

First, if an account has never been used in a transaction, then you can delete the account. In the Chart of Accounts (Lists/Chart of Accounts), highlight the account you wish to delete. Click on the Edit drop-down menu and choose to “Delete Account”. QuickBooks will warn you that you cannot delete this account if it has been used in a transaction so don’t worry that you will delete transaction history.

If you have used the account in a transaction, attached it to an item, or it is tagged in the 1099 set-up, then your next option to get it off the list is to de-activate it. In the Chart of Accounts, highlight the account you wish to delete. Click on the Edit drop-down menu and choose to “Make Account Inactive”. Now the account will no longer be on the Chart of Accounts when you display or use a drop-down list. If you wish to see the accounts you have de-activated, in the Chart of Accounts, choose the pull-up menu in the lower left and click on “Show Inactive Accounts”. You may always reactivate an inactive account. Any financial reports that include activity that posts to the deactivated account will display the account regardless of it being deactivated. Deactivating closed bank accounts, old loans, etc. can keep your list up to date.

Merge Accounts

The third option, merging accounts, is a great tool for cleaning up duplicate accounts, say “Office Supplies” and “Office Expenses”. In order to merge accounts, be aware of the following rule: the accounts you wish to merge must both be the same Type (bank, current liability, expense, etc.). Remember that the transaction history for both accounts will be merged together under the remaining account – all activity going back to the creation of your QuickBooks data file (there is no way to merge only some data based on a cut-off date).

If Account A and Account B need to be merged together and Account A is the one we want to keep, we will change the “Account” name of Account B to match that of Account A exactly (case sensitive, spaces and punctuation). Note that if you use Account Numbers, all you need to do is make Account B’s number the same as Account A’s – no need to match the account names. Once you have changed Account B and try to save it, QuickBooks will tell you that an account already exists with that name/number and asks if you want to merge them. If you say “yes” there is no “undo” button, so be sure!

If you need to move a group of accounts and subaccounts to a different Type, you cannot move the main account and have all the rest come with it. You must first edit the subaccounts and detach them from the main account (uncheck the “subaccount of” box and re-save). Once the main account is unencumbered by subaccounts, you can change its type. Then you can change the type for each of the subaccounts and reattach them to the main account.

Account Numbers

Finally, if you use Account Numbers and the numbering scheme seems illogical or messy, you can change the numbers of the accounts to order them as you wish to see them on your reports. Using GAAP standards, usually that means that all Assets begin with a “1”, all Liabilities begin with a “2”, Equity accounts start with “3”, Income with “4”, Cost of Goods Sold (a sub-class of Expenses) with “5”, and all Expenses with “6”, “7”, “8”, or “9”. It may start as a Shell Game if you have to renumber an account to 9999 to free up a number you need for another account. But soon your list will be numbered succinctly and in the order that makes the most sense to you and your company.

Return to the Dressler Santaus web site

Photo credit: Intuit QuickBooks Support