Introduction Everyone has to pay their fair share of taxes when they are earning an income. Tax revenues are used to provide public education, build infrastructure, and promote many services that are used by the public. However, taxes can be overwhelming at times and...
Efficient money management is a key skill. However, not all people execute this task effectively. In fact, many of us frequently make costly but avoidable mistakes such as: Making Purchases One Cannot Afford Everyone is guilty of purchasing a small ticket but...
Seniors will find it easier to file federal income tax forms for the 2019 tax year. The new form, courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), enables seniors to file their federal taxes more efficiently. Form 1040-SR consists of larger print and the elimination of...
Can A Person Make Themselves Recession-proof? With a tariff war developing, prices in the United States will probably rise soon. Because the United States has become so dependent on China for cheap products, tariffs against China will affect many consumer goods. This...
The interesting thing about being an accountant is that no two days will likely be the same. So, technically speaking, this article should really end here. But instead, I’d like to offer you an idea of some of the common things you can expect if you become a...
When building a business, you want to surround yourself with talent. That’s what will get your business off the ground and into the stratosphere. Regardless of your business, you will more than likely need multiple departments to succeed, especially a...
Cloud computing technology is one of the key business automations that are trending across businesses and companies. The utilization of cloud computing technology allows businesses to reap various benefits and competitive advantages. There has been an increasing trend...
Starting your own business from scratch is a long involved process. It includes developing a solid business plan, writing proposals, getting funding, and finding the right location in addition to dozens of other considerations. However, once you have these resources...
he power of the spreadsheet sometimes escapes small business owners. It is understandable. Modern accounting can be perplexing even for people with unusually high intelligence and drive to succeed. The principles of basic accounting, however, are not all that...
BlackLine provides a host of services that help businesses maintain better control over financial actions. Additionally, the BlackLine applications streamline activities through enhanced automation. While services like accounts payable, fixed assets, and general...
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Everyone has to pay their fair share of taxes when they are earning an income. Tax revenues are used to provide public education, build infrastructure, and promote many services that are used by the public. However, taxes can be overwhelming at times and it can be disheartening to see how much of an income goes towards taxes. There are a variety of strategies that taxpayers can use to save money as they are filing their taxes. It is best to consult with an accountant prior to embarking on any tax-saving journeys, as accountants can provide the best legal tips for a person to save money based on their individual situation.
Donating is a great service that allows disadvantaged people to receive many things that they may need. Taxpayers who have eligible assets can donate securities to a charity through a fund. Depending on the fund used, the securities will be tax-deductible and will allow for deductions on a person’s adjusted gross income (AGI). The donations will prevent capital gains from being taxed from a person.
Realized losses from the sale of the security can be used to offset capital gains made from another investment. Depending on the strategies, larger realized losses can be utilized in future years for tax purposes. A taxpayer will need to match up similar losses and gains to one another to make the deductions eligible for use. Tax-loss harvesting is best used by investors who are already considering selling certain assets in order to make changes to their portfolios.
Max Retirement Plans
Many retirement plans are tax-deferred and don’t require taxpayers to pay taxes on the money in the investment accounts until they are retired. For taxpayers who haven’t added the maximum amounts into their retirement plans, it is best to add more income into the plans to prevent taxation on the funds. Pre-tax contributions through an employer allow a person to decrease the amount of their taxable income while investing money for their future.
Give A Bonus
For taxpayers who own their own businesses, a self-given bonus can allow the owner to increase their employer-side retirement income. The abilities will depend on the type of retirement account that the owner has.
Efficient money management is a key skill. However, not all people execute this task effectively. In fact, many of us frequently make costly but avoidable mistakes such as:
Making Purchases One Cannot Afford
Everyone is guilty of purchasing a small ticket but expensive item from time to time. However, buying major luxuries one cannot yet afford could precipitate serious financial troubles. Financial experts suggest avoiding purchasing significant items such as homes and vehicles until the individuals in question have the assets necessary to pay for these items without incurring too much debt or sacrifice.
Living Off Credit Cards
Many people obtain numerous credit cards and accumulate significant balances on these accounts. Over time, paying down these accrued debts presents greater difficulties and might interfere with a cardholder’s ability to address other pertinent expenses. Financial advisors strongly discourage credit cards use to finance most or all expenses. Such professionals suggest that credit accounts should be used for only a few purposes such as emergency expenditures, obtaining and building credit, accruing reward points and for on occasional splurge.
Failing To Live Below One’s Means
On the contrary, many people experience financial difficulties because they live well above their means. Financial experts strongly advise everyone to live below their means. Attaining this goal means spending money on only pertinent expenses like food and bills. Unnecessary expenditures should be avoided at all costs.
Failing To Save Money
Granted, for individuals living on fixed incomes or a certain degree of expenses, saving money can present a challenge. That said, financial officials stress that saving money as early and often as possible is a crucial step to avoiding economic hardship. Savings need not always be pronounced. However, such action must be taken and performed consistently.
Having Only One Income Stream
Many people believe their professional income is enough to provide financial sustenance. That said, financial professionals opine that individuals should establish some type of second income as soon as the opportunity presents itself. No, this does not necessarily means getting a second job. Economic experts recommend investing money in endeavors like interest bearing accounts, stocks or real estate.
Taking No Action
Financial advisors opine that amongst the worst actions individuals can take is no action. As early as their 20s and at frequent intervals thereafter, individuals should continually assess their financial circumstances and make the appropriate additions or subtractions when necessary.
Seniors will find it easier to file federal income tax forms for the 2019 tax year. The new form, courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), enables seniors to file their federal taxes more efficiently. Form 1040-SR consists of larger print and the elimination of shaded areas surrounding the boxes. The form will also include a Standard Deductions Chart. In 2018 and previous years, the tax form did not include a Standard Deductions Chart. Instead, seniors had to research their deductions in a separate pamphlet.
Many Seniors Will have a Chance to Pay their Taxes without any Difficulties
Form 1040-SR is still in the formative stages. The new senior tax filing form will emerge as a result of U.S. Congress legislation insisting that the IRS allow seniors to file their tax forms without needing to pay for an accountant. Many seniors wish to handle their financial affairs without any outside assistance. The form’s purpose is to cater to seniors who do not use computers and prefer filing traditional paper tax forms.
Form 1040-SR Offers Seniors a Better Way to File Tax Forms
Millions of senior taxpayers may benefit from the new tax form. The AARP has already endorsed the form. The new 1040-SR tax form is similar to the newly extinct 1040-EZ form. Seniors who have earnings from capital gains and dividends can use Form 1040-SR. Seniors receiving annuities, pensions and distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) will benefit from using the simplified form. Plus, seniors who take care of dependent children or grandchildren can take the child tax credit on Form 1040-SR.
Self-employed Baby Boomers must use Form 1040
Self-employed seniors are not permitted to use Form 1040-SR. Instead, they need to use Form 1040 that includes Schedule C. Seniors who itemize deductions will need to use the standard Form 1040. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 is the final result of the congressional battle to help seniors pay their taxes without experiencing any issues. The new form is easier to read and makes filing taxes less burdensome to numerous older seniors. One catch is that a person must reach the age of 65 before January 1, 2020 to qualify. Otherwise, they will need to file Form 1040.
Can A Person Make Themselves Recession-proof?
With a tariff war developing, prices in the United States will probably rise soon. Because the United States has become so dependent on China for cheap products, tariffs against China will affect many consumer goods. This includes many toys, household products, and even some foods. Rising prices can quickly outpace earnings and force Americans to tighten their belts. How can the savvy consumer prepare for a possible recession?
What Not To Do
It is a good idea to stock up on necessary goods now so that the immediate impact of a recession on a family is reduced. It is not a good idea to go into debt buying up those items. This places a burden on a family’s budget right when they need to free up as much income as they can.
Maintaining a calm outlook during a recession improves the individual’s life during the uncertainty of financial downturns. Recessions can cause serious mental and physical health issues which may require medical attention. Stay healthy in mind and body, and fewer emergencies will surprise an individual.
Act now to improve three significant areas in life:
- Reduce debt
- Invest in your health
- Build interpersonal connections
The wise individual will pay down their higher-interest debt first. They can invest in their health by eating healthier, exercising, and getting enough sleep. This reduces medical costs. It also improves the physical and mental resources a person has available for dealing with a stressful situation.
The individual can build faith-based relationships, network within their business, and connect with fellow hobby enthusiasts. This support can make a significant difference in how a person reacts to a recession.
Refocus And Reprioritize
Every budget can use some streamlining. Prioritize expenses and financial goals. Work together. A daily goal might be to eat breakfast at home rather than paying for an unhealthy meal at the drive-thru. An annual goal might be to purchase birthday or holiday gifts before prices rise. Focusing on personal experience rather than possessing material goods can also help. Spend less and save more. Periodically, increase efforts in both of those areas.
The interesting thing about being an accountant is that no two days will likely be the same. So, technically speaking, this article should really end here. But instead, I’d like to offer you an idea of some of the common things you can expect if you become a full-fledged accountant.
The first thing to note for the entire accounting industry is that your entire schedule is based on the time of year. Your day-to-day work life has the potential to be very cut and dry and, quite honestly, relatively slow, at least for the majority of the year. However, once tax season rolls around (approx. January 1 – April 15), things can get hectic. You’ll especially notice an uptick in work towards the end of the season, seeing as how a large majority of Americans wait until the last minute to file their taxes. This time is probably the most busy you’ll be all year, depending on the firm you’re working for.
You can expect work hours to range into the double digits on weekdays, and maybe even a few extra hours on the weekend. You’ll mainly be working on auditing and collecting the appropriate information. Don’t let that stress you out; once tax season is over, you can likely enjoy a nice long vacation, again, depending on your firm.
Now, outside of tax season, that’s when your daily schedule will vary drastically. For example, Certified Public Accountant, Amy Zhang, is the founder and CEO of her own firm, and as the CEO she has a variety of tasks to complete within the month. She regularly checks client emails in the morning, then moves on to keeping up with the industry by reading multiple publications in accounting for about two hours. Afterwards, she takes that information and disseminates it through the firm’s social media accounts, ensuring that the public knows that her firm has its thumb on the pulse of the industry.
She will then spend another couple of hours in the day dedicated to networking and marketing. She does this by attending various conferences and meeting with clients, both current and prospective.
This is only one example of how a CPA’s day can look. Obviously, your mileage will vary. If you’re starting your career, then your day will have a bit more structure and, admittedly, repetition. But once you’ve earned your stripes, so to speak, then you’ll see some variety.
When building a business, you want to surround yourself with talent. That’s what will get your business off the ground and into the stratosphere. Regardless of your business, you will more than likely need multiple departments to succeed, especially a finance/accounting department. So how exactly can you attract top-notch financial talent? Here are some tips and tricks.
Be Clear on Your Company
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re running a small-to-mid-sized business. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But, if you’re on the smaller side, then prospective employees probably aren’t terribly familiar with your company. And you need to communicate that. Clearly. No one wants to step into a new job at a company only to find out a month later that the company isn’t a proper fit. So, before you even enter the interview process, make your company’s vision and brand very clear through websites, promotions and general public-facing content. Showcase your company culture, and you will find the right people.
This may sound like common sense, but utilize your network. It’s a great way to bring in top-notch content. You’ve hired the best of the best, right? Chances are your employees associate themselves with like-minded, top-notch individuals as well. So take advantage of those connections. Ask employees for any leads on new faces that can perform the needed duties. It can also cut down the hiring process, which is helpful for everyone.
Clarify the Job Description
Prospective employees need to know what they’re applying for. Again, no one wants a “bait and switch” situation on their hands. If you can craft a thoughtful job description, with duties and responsibilities for the immediate and near future, then job seekers should have a clear understanding of what they’re getting themselves into. If your company is small, then there’s a high chance for rapid change and growth, and employees need to be alright with that. Make that clear. Transparency with all employees, even the soon-to-be ones, is key.
Admittedly, these tips can be used for just about any department, but you’ll need a strong financial/accounting team in order to thrive. Make sure to follow these tips and find your superstars.
Cloud computing technology is one of the key business automations that are trending across businesses and companies. The utilization of cloud computing technology allows businesses to reap various benefits and competitive advantages. There has been an increasing trend of businesses preferring to use cloud accounting software in their operations as they pose numerous benefits.
Being able to work remotely
Cloud accounting enables businesses and their accountants to work from anywhere in the world. The storage of accounting records across the web ensures that the businesses can remotely access their financial information whenever the need arises.
Convenient sharing of information
In situations where a business needs to share its financial records with key stakeholders such as shareholders, managers, investors, and advisors, cloud accounting comes in handy. In this regard, the business can make it possible for stakeholders to gain access to internal business records. It is also possible for the business to remotely update such records at the click of a button.
Access to all cloud computing benefits
Cloud accounting gives a business the chance to benefit from additional cloud computing benefits. Firstly, the business will not be vulnerable to common risks such as data theft and loss of information through computer crashes. Secondly, the business will have access to enhanced data security measures such as data encryption and data backup to maintain the integrity of the financial records.
Customized reporting and financial analytics
Cloud accounting software can be customized to give businesses an opportunity to make various financial disclosures and computations easily. Businesses using cloud accounting software have access to powerful dashboards that come with customized features that can help visualize various key performance metrics and indicators. This makes the accountants’ work easier and seamless.
Integration of machine learning
Cloud accounting platforms allow businesses to reap additional benefits such as access to auto-allocations of transactions into a business template. For instance, as financial transactions occur, the accounting software can remotely and automatically allocate the transactions to the correct books while computing tens of other calculations to ensure a real-time update of the business’s financial records. This convenience makes it possible for businesses to make accurate financial decisions at any time.
Spend as little time as possible doing this, because dwelling on it can hold up your entire project. You can always change the name of your business later if you come up with a better name. To get started, just pick something simple and go with it.
This is something you will have to do before you can hire employees or build a partnership. However, you may want to do this even if you don’t plan on hiring employees right away. By obtaining an EIN, you can keep your personal tax number (social security number) private.
Depending on your situation, you may want to operate your business under a pseudonym. Registering a trade name can often be done easily and getting approval is fairly easy.
Both city and county governments require business owners to be licensed. Obtaining your license is as simple as filling out a form, which takes just minutes. While completing the application, be sure to use the EIN instead of your SSN when asked for your business’ tax identification number.
You may need to file a personal property tax form on items used for your business or you may need to get a home occupancy license if you plan to operate your business out of your home. You may be able to find out what other permits you will need by consulting local and county offices or by visiting government websites.
Finally, you will want to divide your business financials from your personal accounts. This means opening a bank account to be strictly used for your business and starting a simple accounting spreadsheet. You may upgrade these services in the future, but set them up as simply as possible to start.
he power of the spreadsheet sometimes escapes small business owners. It is understandable. Modern accounting can be perplexing even for people with unusually high intelligence and drive to succeed. The principles of basic accounting, however, are not all that difficult to understand provided enough time is taken to practice the art of getting all the right numbers into all the right accounts. Understanding which accounts do what also helps quite a bit.
While Excel and other spreadsheet software can’t help with this kind of knowledge directly, it can perform many of the tasks required for double-entry accounting, for example, if it is set up properly and every transaction is recorded in the right place. If you plan to use spreadsheet software for your accounts, here are some things to consider.
The key thing to remember is office programs like Excel were designed to support functions like preparing balance sheets and other necessary financial documents. There is a high likelihood you will find both templates and working documents that help you perform all the basics of small business accounting without having to re-invent the wheel. Start by looking for tutorials, as they will often have a long list of resources available to anyone with compatible versions of office software like Excel.
Functions vs. Scripting
All spreadsheets have both basic and advanced formula functions. These are the automatic arithmetic and calculation shorthand features most people who have used spreadsheets are familiar with. What many people likely haven’t used as much are the scripting languages built in to spreadsheets like Excel.
A scripting language allows a developer to embed business logic into their documents, allowing the calculation and display engines to be updated based on arbitrary conditions outside the document itself. This is a key area of knowledge for anyone interested in budgeting in particular, as it allows developers to establish thresholds and trigger logic based on them.
Excel in particular ships with a wide variety of standardized document types, including cash-flow, profit and loss and various kinds of budgets from personal to business and many types in between. These work alongside the basic charting functions which allow a rudimentary type of reporting based on both raw data and calculated data on each document type.
A comprehensive reference would be more than a little daunting, even for an advanced user, but it is quite possible for a beginner in Excel and a novice accountant to be up to speed on the software quite rapidly, and then work methodically to make progress from there.
The application has already generated plenty attention from business owners with an interest in the services provided. One reason may be the cloud solution that BlackLine provides, currently available in more than a hundred countries. This means data can be addressed by any subsidiary in almost any country and all that’s needed is a device and an internet connection. For this reason, companies with a worldwide reach and multiple subsidiaries can reap the most benefits from using BlackLine.