IRS scam update

A new scam is making the rounds.  People receive a phone call form the “IRS” claiming an error on the return, fraud on the return and a balance is due.  The person on the phone wants a prepaid credit card, debit card or gift card sent for payment.

First.  The IRS does NOT phone people.  The IRS only contacts people by US Mail.  The IRS may send a certified letter.  The IRS NEVER calls on the phone.

Second.  The IRS only accepts checks or money orders through the mail.  Cash is only accepted at a walk in IRS office.  No other form of payment is allowed.

Third.  DO NOT return the phone calls.

Fourth.  DO NOT send money.

Fifth.  Call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 to report the call.

Posted in Business Tips, Income Taxes | Leave a comment

Tax and ID scams going on for tax season. Are you next?

IRS Warns of Tax-time Scams

It’s true: tax scams proliferate during the income tax filing season. This year’s season opens on Jan. 31. The IRS provides the following scam warnings so you can protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of these crimes:

Be vigilant of any unexpected communication purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.
Don’t fall for phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Thieves often pose as the IRS using a bogus refund scheme or warnings to pay past-due taxes.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of e-communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
The IRS doesn’t ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential information for credit card, bank or other accounts.
If you get an unexpected email, don’t open any attachments. Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. For more about how to report phishing scams involving the IRS visit the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
Here are several steps you can take to help protect yourself against scams and identity theft:

Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
Protect your financial information.
Check your credit report every 12 months.
Secure personal information in your home.
Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient.
Be careful when you choose a tax preparer. Most preparers provide excellent service, but there are a few who are unscrupulous.

Posted in Accounting, Bookkeeping Tips, Business Tips, Management Tips | Tagged , | Comments Off on Tax and ID scams going on for tax season. Are you next?

Upgrading to a new version of QuickBooks?

November 2013

QuickBooks 2014 Simplifies, Accelerates Common Tasks

New version of desktop QuickBooks accomplishes goal of speeding up, refining your workflow.

If Intuit named its desktop versions of QuickBooks by the version number rather than the year, we’d be in version 20-something by now. QuickBooks, still the preferred software for small businesses, keeps getting smarter in its annual upgrades. Rather than pile on tons of new features in its upgrades, Intuit – for many years – has concentrated on making it easier for you to access the tools and data that are already there.

QuickBooks 2014 is no exception. Its combination of small-but-effective changes makes it easier to get in and do what needs to be done quickly, and then get out and move on to activities that will help build your business.

A Superior View

If you do upgrade to QuickBooks 2014, head first to the new Income Tracker (Customers | Income Tracker). QuickBooks offers numerous reports and other tools for following the progress of your incoming revenue, but this new feature provides the best we’ve seen in the software.

Figure 1: QuickBooks 2014’s new Income Tracker gives you real-time access to the status of your receivables.

You may find yourself spending a lot of time on this screen because it gives you a birds-eye view of your receivables that isn’t available anywhere else in the program. You can click on any of the four colored bars that run across the top of the screen — Estimates, Open Invoices, Overdue and Paid Last 30 Days — to change the data that appears below. Within each bar is the number of related transactions and their total dollar amount.

You’ll use the drop-down lists directly below these navigational bars to set filters that define a subset of transactions. These are CUSTOMER:JOB, TYPE, STATUS and DATE.

The last column in the table is labeled ACTION. Once you’ve earmarked a transaction or transactions that you want to work with by checking the box in front of each name, you can select an action you want to take. If OPEN INVOICES is active, for example, you can receive payment for the transaction(s), print or email them. Where applicable, you can open a drop-down menu in the lower left of the screen and batch-produce invoices, sales receipts and credit memos/refunds.

More Descriptive Email

If you regularly send invoices through email, you may have wondered how many of them actually get opened by your customers in a timely fashion. QuickBooks 2014 contains a new tool that makes the details of each invoice available within the body of the email itself.

Figure 2: You can modify this template or leave it as is: QuickBooks 2014 will fill in the relevant details for each customer.

To access this template, open the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click on the Send Forms tab, then Company Preferences. Open the drop-down list to select the type of form you want to view or modify (pay stub, sales receipt, credit memo, etc.). Click the Edit button to see the actual template, and open the Insert Field drop-down menu to see your options. When you email a form, QuickBooks will replace the text and numbers in brackets with the correct details for each recipient.

This is what’s called a mail merge. They’re fairly simple to use, but one error will throw your message off. We can help you get set up with these.

Smaller Changes

Intuit has made many small-but-useful features to QuickBooks 2014, all designed to help you work faster and smarter, and simply to support more convenient operations. For example, the Ribbon toolbars on transactions now include a tab or menu that lets you open related reports.

Figure 3: You can now access reports directly from the Ribbon toolbar on transaction screens.

In addition:

QuickBooks’ color scheme has been changed.
The program runs faster.
You can now copy and paste lines within forms.
We can communicate with you (and vice versa) via an email window that’s been embedded into the software. This tool even auto-pastes the transaction in question into the email window.
There’s been some retooling of online banking (now called “Bank Feeds”), making it more accessible and understandable.
Upgrading to a new version of QuickBooks can be challenging, so we encourage you to let us know if you’d like to explore the process. New functionality and usability that improves your workflow and your understanding of your finances can be worth the time and trouble. Call Kathy at KatTax 702-796-1040 ext. 106

Posted in QuickBooks Help | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Do I need to upgrade my QuickBooks program?

Do You Need a More Robust Version of QuickBooks?

Maybe you just need to study your current version thoroughly. But it might be time to move up.

If QuickBooks were just one product, its appeal would be more limited than it is. Because there’s an entire family of Windows desktop software applications (as well as five online versions and a Mac edition), the QuickBooks family has found a home in millions of small businesses, and it remains the market leader.

Though QuickBooks versions themselves are not scalable (able to expand as your business grows), you can move up to a more sophisticated edition when you outgrow your current version.

But how do you know whether it?s time to upgrade or whether you?re just not stretching your current version to its fullest capabilities? We can help you determine that, and we?ll help you move into a more appropriate edition when/if that occurs.

Desktop Differences

There are three Windows-based versions of QuickBooks: Pro, Premier and Enterprise Solutions. They all let you:

Import and export data

Figure 1: All desktop versions of QuickBooks let you import and export data.

Track income and expenses
Build and maintain records for customers, vendors, employees and items
Create and send transaction forms like invoices, estimates and purchase orders
Download bank and credit card transactions, and pay bills online
Customize and run dozens of reports
Keep track of your inventory of items, and
Add a payroll-processing service.
All three versions share a similar user interface and navigational scheme, so when you move up to the next level, you only need to learn the new features. The 2013 offerings make it even easier to learn and use QuickBooks, since Intuit completely revamped the look and feel for those most current editions.

QuickBooks Pro is the base desktop product, offering everything in the above list and more. But would you rather have access to 150+ reports instead of 100, including some that are industry-specific? QuickBooks Premier can provide that, in addition to charts of accounts, sample files and menus tailored to your company?s industry. It also offers a business plan builder and the ability to forecast sales and expenses.

Figure 2: QuickBooks Premier helps you create a business plan.

The biggest jump in functionality, though, occurs when you move up to QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions. You may want to consider this upgrade when you find that, for example:

Your system keeps slowing down and experiencing errors because your customer, vendor, item and employee databases have grown too large
You need to have more than five people accessing QuickBooks simultaneously
You?ve launched a second company, and/or
Your item catalog has grown to the point where you?re having trouble managing your multi-location inventory.
Robust Accounting

QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions is well-suited to complex small businesses, and sometimes even larger companies, depending on their structure and needs. It solves the data management problems that Pro and Premier users can experience, thanks to its 100,000+ record and account capacity.

Up to 30 individuals can use the software at the same time, and they have more flexibility than is offered in Pro and Premier. Multiple users can be on the system and still complete tasks like adjusting inventory and changing sales tax rates.

You can manage more than one business using QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, even working in two company files at the same time and combining reports. Reporting capabilities themselves are much more sophisticated: The Intuit Statement Writer helps you create professional financial statements, and you have much more control over customization of your output.

Figure 3: QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions offers more sophisticated inventory management tools than Pro or Premier.

Inventory management goes many steps further in this sophisticated software. It supports management of multiple warehouse and trucks, and allows transfers among them. Finding specific items is much easier because you can track down to the bin level. FIFO costing is offered as an alternative to average costing, and you can scan items and serial numbers directly into QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, which tracks both serial and lot numbers.

More Power, More Support

There are many smaller features that make this application far more powerful than QuickBooks Pro and Premier ? and also a little more difficult to master. When you think the time is right, we can help you move your current data file into QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and provide training.

It?s important that you have the right fit when it comes to your accounting software. Need more help call Kathy at KatTax 702-796-1040 ext. 106

Posted in QuickBooks Help, QuickBooks Software | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Five Tips to Get Ready for a Pain-Free Tax Time

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to get your financial records in order.  Tax moves you make now can mean finding more “green” to spend on family gifts and festivities.  Here are five quick tips for you to feel more prepared about your financial status as you go into year-end.

Avoid Penalties

This time of year is ideal to double-check your tax payments to make sure enough has been paid in, and even more important, to avoid overpaying so your money is not tied up unnecessarily. If you’re not sure of your 2013 tax liability, check with your tax preparer.

Balanced Books

Rather than wait until the busiest time of year for accountants and bookkeepers, you can get a head start now on catching up your books  You’ll have more of their attention and you may even avoid a rate increase if you get your books done early.  Completed bank reconciliations are a very important part of catching up.

Forms

It’s not too early to get your orders in for the forms you need at year-end like your W-2s, W-3s, 1099s, and 1096s.  That way, your forms will be onsite when you’re ready.

Records

Information that’s missing at the last minute can take up extra time and be costly.  It’s a great idea to do an audit now of W-9s to grab missing addresses and tax ID numbers of your contractors.  Also do a scrub of your employee payroll records so that your W-2s will be complete and accurate.

New Tax Changes

Be sure to check with your advisors on new laws affecting individuals and businesses next year.  One of the biggest ones making news is avoiding the fine involved regarding the new health care requirements for individuals.  And there are many more you’ll want to get up to speed on so that you’ll know how they affect your situation.

We know it’s early to be talking about taxes, but we’re also all about saving you money and time.  Try these five tips so you’ll have better peace of mind and be more prepared for year-end.

Posted in Accounting, Bookkeeping Tips, Business Tips, Cost-Savings Tips, Expense Reduction Tips, Income Taxes, Management Tips | Leave a comment