Lester Bahr CPA Accounting Blog
Here is a link to a page on my website that summarizes the provisions of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" as it pertains to individuals for tax years beginning after 2017.
I recently just returned from travel out to LA. One of the things I always enjoy about travel, whether it's domestic or international, is the opportunities it always provides to meet and talk with young entrepreneurs and hear their many different perspectives and ideas across cultures. Typically, our conversations revolve around some key technologies that are transforming how their businesses want to be able to function.
Cloud based applications - top the list. This is because internet-based solutions provide for ease of collaboration and sharing of ideas and information in real-time. Never before have businesses been able to connect their infrastructures to service providers such as myself, and in such a cost effective and efficient way.
Actionable Data - meaning that business owners want their accounting professionals to be providing them with value through the process of providing experienced insights and analysis of their business in a timely manner such that the information can readily be acted upon in the making of better decisions.
Mobile is King - because a new generation of younger business owners has emerged and they have never had to operate in a world that did not have widespread fast internet and smart phones. So naturally, they expect to be able to operate a business the same way. They want immediate information delivered to portable devices, while they are on the go. They also want their accounting professionals to be just a tech savvy in keeping up with their mobile expectations.
From my perspective all of these trends have helped to move the accounting service paradigm to one that is more client-centric where I am in a position to respond to their needs much sooner, and in a much more real-time interactive way - and that's definitely a good thing.
Lester R. Bahr
Certified Public Accountant
QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor - for over 18 years.
Tax obligations and the manner in which they get assessed vary depending on the legal structure of your business. For example, while a C corporation will have federal and state tax liabilities determined and paid at the entity level, that won’t be the case if you are a pass-through entity such as an S corporation or LLC.
Similarly, if you are a sole proprietorship, all taxes will be determined as part of your individual tax return filing. Many times when someone starts their own business as a self employed person they feel a bit overwhelmed when they learn all of the different taxes they will be responsible for.
These include federal, state and local income taxes, self-employment tax (which is Social Security and Medicare). Then, depending on the nature of what the business is and where it is located, there may also be obligations to collect and remit sales taxes and pay business privilege taxes. Now, add into the mix any employees the business owner might have and there are all the various tax withholdings, quarterly and annual fillings associated with payroll too.
So, before you get too far along in your business activity as a self employed person, make sure that you meet with your CPA to make sure that you are going to be compliant with all your tax filing obligations and that you are planning your cash reserves appropriately so that you are not paying any taxes late and thus incurring unnecessary penalties and interest on top of all those taxes. This may also necessitate needing to make estimated tax payments in advance each year.
In the event you have any questions, you can always contact me here to ask them.
In addition, here are some additional tax links for more information:
Tax Preparation Filing Services
Tax Services Lehigh Valley
Lester R. Bahr, CPA
As you've no doubt heard about in the news, Equifax has recently reported a data breach that may have affected as many as 143 million Americans. I am providing a link here that you can follow to a blog post on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA.org) containing more information and recommendations to take to protect your security.
Surviving the Equifax Data Breach
In addition, I'm also including this link below to a previous blog post I'd written back on January 2, 2017 in regard to how to Protect your tax return information from identity theft
This is now the big question: Will we see even more tax return identity theft cases now beginning this year as a result of this latest data breach? Again, in order to do what you can to protect yourself, I suggest that you read through my blog post on this subject here.
Lester R Bahr, CPA
In this second installment topic I discuss what you need to know in terms of setting up a proper bookkeeping system for your business. Sometimes business owners are not very attentive or interested in keeping the books. While they may have a special talent that makes them a great inventor, technician or salesperson, they may view the paperwork and bookkeeping as drudgery they would rather not have to bother with.
However, to remain in business there are certain basic bookkeeping standards that must be followed. These standards are necessary not only for determining taxable income, but also to monitor the financial and operating health of the business.
If you simply follow this link for how to setup an accounting system, it will take you to one of my prior articles I've written on this subject where I discuss the process of how to develop a chart of accounts structure for your business; how to decide which accounting method to choose - cash or accrual basis; who should maintain the accounting records; and using accounting software - which if you follow this link for QuickBooks will take you to my page with multiple articles I've written on the subject of using QuickBooks in your business.
In the event you have any questions, you can always contact me here to ask them.
Lester R Bahr, CPA
QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor since 1999
In this series of blog posts I'm going to tackle some of the common situations that every new business needs to address. Running any business takes a lot of perseverance so don't make it any harder on yourself by not following some of the basic things you should be doing. With the start of your new business there will be a lot of accounting and tax compliance procedures you will need to get on top of from the beginning. If you don't do this, things can start to get out of hand pretty quickly as business activity ramps up before your record keeping structure is sufficiently organized to properly account for all these transactions.
After you have legally registered your business, but before you start to incur expenses and earn revenues, you should establish a separate bank account under the name of the business. This is important to keep your business records and transactions isolated from your personal bank accounts. In fact, if you are a corporation, partnership or LLC you are definitely required to have a seperately established bank account. While, having a seperate bank account for a sole proprietorship is not necessarily legally required, it is still definitely recommended. What you don't want to be doing as a regular practice is comingling a lot of personal and business related transactions in the same account - and then trying to parse them apart at tax filing time into what's business and what's personal. That's a disaster. Don't do it.
Obviously from an accounting system setup perspective, your task is going to be much easier if the bank account you are incorporating into the accounting software can be done at the point where the initial balance in the account is zero. Once you've already got a slew of transactions in a business account and then you are trying to incorporate that into the setup of your accounting software is often where a lot of erroneous transactions get posted. This is an especially tricky situation when you are using automatic bank feeds for example with QuickBooks Online since what you don't want to have happen is for the bank feed to automatically pull in a lot of bank transactions and incorrectly record them.
The same thing really applies to credit cards too. Make sure you get a separate credit card for your business and just use that card for business related purchases only. Also, just as for the bank account, I definitely recommend that you get a new card, as opposed to designating a card that already had transactions, just because it's going to be much easier to integrate that credit card into your overall accounting software system when the balance on the card starts at zero. Adding a credit card which is carrying a balance already into your accounting software can be a tricky situation and lends itself to erroneous reporting of expenses with a proper cutoff time frame. And just as with a bank account, if you are using accounting software such as QuickBooks Online and utilizing the automatic bank feed feature for your credit cards, you may inadvertently pull in a lot of transactions into your business accounting books that don't really belong there.
Do you have questions about how to properly setup bank and credit card accounts for your business? If so, you can ask me here.
Also you can check out some of my articles here as well as lots of information about setting up and using QuickBooks
Lester Bahr, CPA
Advanced Certified QuickBook ProAdvisor
So whether you are located in the Lehigh Valley or somewhere on the other end of the country, now that you've got your QuickBooks Online all setup correctly lets talk about those tax returns. (and you do have QuickBooks setup correctly - right? Because that step is most crucial before you get to the point where you need to prepare tax returns. You can read my other blog posts, articles and watch my videos for information about the QuickBooks setup process if you are not sure).
But come the end of your calendar or fiscal year, it will be time to file those tax returns for your business. Depending on your entity structure will determine whether the necessary tax returns to file are for a partnership, a C corporation, an S corporation, a non-profit, sole proprietorship, or a single-member LLC filing as a disregarded entity.
Regardless of whatever taxing entity type you are, the financial data to populate the line items on those tax returns will need to come from your QuickBooks Online company data. Hence the reason why it is so important that you've setup and reconciled the accuracy of all your Quickbooks account balances so that the financial data you will be reporting on all the federal, state and local tax returns will be accurate, which of course also means that the calculation of all tax liabilities will be accurate as well.
This is where I also do the integrated process for you in working with your QuickBooks Online data at the end of your year to determine what tax forms must be filed, including all the states where you have nexus filing compliance responsibilities - with final delivery of all those tax returns in electronic format followed by e-file submissions to the various tax agencies and monitoring for acceptance.
For further information, please feel free to contact me here.
Certified Public Accountant
QuickBooks Advanced Certified ProAdvisor - since 1999
Often time as a new – or existing – business owner completes the initial steps of setting up their business accounting in QuickBooks Online, they realize they have lots of questions. This is typically where my phone rings or I get an email asking for help. This is an important part of the process – to know what you don’t know and to reach out for expert guidance that will save you a lot of pain and the associated costs in the future.
One of the challenges small business owners often face is they feel like they must go it alone because they are too small to afford the benefit of a CFO who is looking out for and guiding their financial pathway. But, that is not the case. You do have options. Just as you’ve discovered the efficiency of running your business accounting on the cloud, you can also have access to the expertise of a seasoned professional to fill in those knowledge gaps for you where you need some help.
As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Advisor with Intuit since 1999 I can be added as an accountant user to your QuickBooks Online company. This will then give me the ability to:
a complete review of your accounting setup and system preferences.
2. Review your chart of accounts design structure to ensure that it’s appropriate for your business entity type and the industry you operate in.
3. Set up your bank and credit card feeds and map and reconcile the download of transactions into the proper accounts for accurate financial statement presentation.
4. Assist you in the integration of other apps with QBO.
5. Advise you on what all your various federal, state(s), local, sales & use, business privilege, payroll and other tax filing compliance requirements are and make sure that you have filed all the appropriate applications and tax forms.
6. Help you to create budgets, structure financing options, oversee your operations on a periodic basis, plus all those one-time projects that pop up from time to time where you need some expert financial guidance to make decisions.
Among the obvious advantages for a small business owner in having access to a Virtual CFO online is that you are not committing to a large fixed cost in salary and benefits to acquire a specialized skill set that you may only need access to on an initial basis and then only periodically thereafter as the needs arise.
With the hectic pace of tax season now long past, it's just a matter of working through on all the tax returns still on extension. However, the Summer months are an especially ideal time to speak with your accountant about those special projects that have been pushed aside. This is the one time of the year when we as CPA's typically have more time to help and focus our attention on those client special projects.
As a business owner, you're trying to keep up with many different aspects of running the day to day operations of your business, doing the marketing, HR, etc. Often times I find the Summer months are an ideal time to review client's accounting systems to make improvements in efficiency, accuracy and one-source data entry, integration with apps, etc.
Improving your company bookkeeping procedures can certainly benefit your company with more useful reporting information, generated in much less time. These days more and more clients are using the cloud based QuickBooks Online. As such, much of my time is spent logged in to clients' online accounting working through these many improvements in their bookkeeping systems.
Working closely with your accountant throughout the year can improve your chances for business success simply because you have someone looking over your shoulder and alerting you to situations that you might not even have been aware of. Plus, by working with your accountant beyond just tax season, you can discover new growth opportunities, cost savings measures, budgeting analysis and cash flow improvements, plus many other benefits - all geared to help you prepare for the future and minimize inefficiencies.
Lester R. Bahr, CPA
There are many factors to consider when selecting a CPA to work with you. Remember, you are looking to establish a long term relationship with someone who is to be your trusted business advisor. For starters, make sure they are interested in your business and that they are comfortable working with your business size. Here are some questions to ask when selecting a CPA:
1. Does the CPA understand the type of business you operate?
2. Does the CPA have experience with your industry and serve other clients like you?
3. Does the CPA seem genuinely interested in helping your
business be more successful and can they contribute to that success? Look for
more than just a bookkeeper and tax preparer?
4. Is the CPA experienced with areas beyond core functions of accounting and taxes such as information systems, business forecasting, valuations.
Will the CPA be readily available to provide you with answers by telephone or email?
5. Does the personality of the CPA mesh with yours? You need to feel comfortable with this professional.
6. Do you feel confident that issues will be explained clearly so that you are able to make informed decisions? You don’t need a CPA who talks to you in technicalities. The last thing you want is to be left even more confused after a conversation with your accountant. Rather, you want someone who is a good communicator when it comes to explaining business matters that affect your growth and viability as a business.
7. Is the accountant technologically progressive? This is very important. Look for an accountant who fully uses technologies for paperless operations, secure client portals and other cloud based technologies. These tools will make your working relationship with the accountant much easier and efficient.
Remember, a good CPA can be a tremendous asset to your business. There will always be situations that arise from time to time where you need the experienced perspective of an accountant to assist you. This becomes even more critical to a smaller business. That’s because, unlike a larger business which can afford to have their own in-house accountant on the payroll, most smaller businesses do not have this luxury. Thus, finding and selecting a CPA you are comfortable working with is very important.
CPA's can be an invaluable source of knowledge in handling financial matters, funding, accounting systems, business records and taxation, etc. Also, it’s important to realize that CPA’s, because they work with many different businesses, really have their finger on the pulse of understanding all the issues that a business can face. After all, although you may think that your business situation is unique, you may be surprised to learn that it is not and that the CPA has already seen and solved problems just like yours for other businesses
past November I attended my usual two full day tax conference in preparation
for the upcoming tax filing season. As has frequently been a topic of top
priority, the course instructor asked of the participants: “How many tax
practitioners in the room have had clients who were victims of identity theft?”
Now, the first thing to mention about this is that probably more than five
years ago, this topic just wasn’t even something that routinely came up in CPE
classes. But now, it is a topic which has been elevated to top priority and
routinely comes up for discussion within the professional practitioner group I
am involved with.
Secondly, again going back over five years ago, I don’t
imagine that hardly any hands in the room size of about 200 tax professionals
would have gone up. But, in response to that question now, a very significant
number of hands shot up which demonstrated just how pervasive the problem has
become over the years.
IRS data too bears out just how much of a growing
problem this has become having reported that total taxpayer identity theft
cases have risen quite significantly over the past few years. However, that
being said, IRS has also made significant progress in combating the problem
through a number of initiatives which are beyond the scope of what I can cover
here in this short blog post.
So, how exactly does a taxpayer first realize
that their personal information may have been compromised? Well, there are six
most common ways that a taxpayer becomes aware of it:
First, the taxpayer attempts to file a return electronically but the IRS rejects the return, indicating that someone else has filed a return using the same identification number of the filer or of a dependent.
Second, the taxpayer receives an IRS notice that indicates more than one return has been filed for a single account.
Third, the taxpayer receives an IRS bill for additional tax due, an unknown refund offset, or other collection action.
Fourth, the IRS asks for confirmation of information on a return that was not filed by the taxpayer. (Many tax refund fraud cases will initiate with this type of notice.)
Fifth, a notice is received that reflects wages earned from an employer the taxpayer has never worked for.
Sixth, some kind of compliance action has been taken against the taxpayer for a period for which the taxpayer never filed a return nor received a refund.
Once you as a taxpayer become aware of a suspected compromise of your information, there is a very specific sequence of events you must follow as recommended by IRS which can be found on their website. I will not go through them here as it is beyond the scope of what I can cover in this short blog post on the subject.
There are a number of ways how thieves can steal your information including looking through trash for confidential information; the outright theft of records; pretexting to impersonate a taxpayer or financial professional; hacking/DMS attacks on networks containing confidential client information; malvertising which by social engineering methods can trick the unsuspecting person to disclose confidential information; and scareware which is a malicious computer program designed to trick a user into buying and downloading unnecessary and potentially dangerous software, such as fake antivirus protection.
Every taxpayer needs to be diligent in protecting their confidential information as it exists in and among their home records and computer systems. Similarly, you should only work with tax professionals you can trust and you should inquire as to what their procedures are for the storage, protection and use of your personal tax information. For example, in my practice I make available to clients a detailed listing of my practices and technology procedures in place to safeguard my clients’ confidential information. I also monitor on a regular basis all of the IRS issued security alerts to be on watch for.
this year some filing due dates for business tax returns have changed:
calendar year Tax Form 1065 (used for partnerships and multi-member LLC’s) will
now be due on 03/15/17 whereas previously, these returns weren’t due until
The calendar year Form 1120 (for C Corporations only) is now not due until 04/15/17 whereas previously it was due on 3/15.Form 1120S (for S Corporations) due date has not changed. It will remain due on 3/15/17.
that the due date for the extended returns of calendar year Forms 1120, 1120-S,
and 1065 will continue to be 09/15/17.
As such, many practitioners are predicting higher levels of extensions for Form 1065. However, you should not assume there will be an increased risk of audit for a tax return just because it’s been extended. There is no measurably increased risk of audit incurred from filing an extension. Conversely, nor is it less likely that the return will be examined because it was extended. The bottom line is that we as accountants simply cannot be expected to complete every businesses tax return within two and half months following the close of the year – not even close! There are many reasons why we even deliberately choose to extend the return. One such reason is to give the business a longer time period in which to fund a company retirement plan. But, there are many other reasons why filing a tax return extension is also preferable
For those of your who live here in PA but work in NJ there was some good news a couple weeks ago when NJ Governor Chris Christie announced that he will not end the income tax reciprocity agreement between NJ and PA after all. With our region being so close to NJ I know there are a number of residents here in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton area who commute over into NJ for their employment.
This issue all started earlier this year when Governor Christie said that he would end the 38 year old agreement with PA that allowed PA residents to pay income taxes in the state in which they live, rather than where they work effective in 2017.
Under this reciprocity, New Jersey doesn't collect income taxes from people living in Pennsylvania who work in New Jersey. In return, Pennsylvania also doesn't collect income taxes from people living in New Jersey and working in Pennsylvania.Rather, PA residents report and pay tax on income earned in NJ on a PA tax return; similarly, NJ residents report and pay tax on income earned in PA on a NJ tax return.
Had this reciprocity agreement been terminated, higher income PA residents who work in NJ would have paid higher tax. That's because PA' income tax rate is a flat 3.07% while NJ has a graduated income tax which can go as high as 8.97% Conversely, lower to middle-income NJ residents who work in PA would also not have liked this either in that they would have paid more since tax rates in NJ start as low as 1.4%, or about half of the PA flat tax rate.
The tax agreement allows for either state to unilaterally withdraw by providing 120 days' written notice prior to January 1 of the tax year. That means Christie's initial decision did not require approval from the NJ legislature. But, for now anyhow, there won't be any discontinuance of the PA and NJ reciprocity agreement.
As a tax practitioner, I would also point out that had this reciprocity agreement been terminated means that any PA resident working in NJ would have had their tax preparation process complicated as well in that they would have needed to also have a NJ non-resident tax return prepared, and then claim credit for NJ taxes paid on their resident PA tax return. So anyway, that situation has now been avoided.
I hope everyone has a good upcoming week. As for me, I am off to Asia for a couple weeks, so I'll be writing next week's blog post from Singapore.
Lester R. Bahr, CPA
An "app" is simply short for an application. All apps run on an operating system such as Windows, Mac, IOS or Android. Each operating system has its own language and the app must be written using the specific language of the operating system. Apps that are built using the same operating system can interact with each other using "application programming interfaces" (or API's) These API's are sets of requirements that govern how one application can communicate and interact with another. The QuickBooks open API platform allows developers to connect their apps to QBO and seamlessly send data back and forth between them.
There are literally hundreds of different apps that will integrate with QuickBooks Online (QBO). But, how do you know when it's time to add an app and which apps do you need? Well, the simplest answer to that question is when I have a client who asks me about some particular data or management function they need to track that is not within the scope of their existing QBO, then it's time to investigate apps. Think of QBO as being your core foundational accounting platform upon which everything must filter in to. And so adding on additional apps is all about finding the right tool for the right job to automate a particular task.
Here's an example: Let's say your business is one that sells products online and uses Shopify as your ecommerce platform. Well, all the activity related to that online store must ultimately be integrated into your overall financial general ledger reporting system. Everything from purchasing your product, to inventory control, to customer order fulfillment and shipping ultimately generates financial transaction data that must be incorporated into you business' books. Suppose you also use Paypal in making purchases as well as in receiving customer payments. That is another level of activity that ultimately needs to get pushed through to your company's accounting books.
In the absence of any connectivity between Shopify, Paypal, and your company books, you would need to do a lot of manual data entry to bridge this gap in order to keep your company books up to date and accurate at all times. Trying to reconcile all this activity would be a monumental task. Thus, the purpose of using the QBO apps for Shopify and Paypal under this scenario is to be able to automatically synchronize transaction activity that affects both your ecommerce website as well as your company books.
Once you have identified a business need that goes outside the normal core accounting boundaries of QBO, it may be time to begin researching what apps are out there that already fulfill the function you need. But I cannot overemphasize the importance of looking at all the available apps thoroughly, including trying out a demo of the app. Remember, you don't want to connect an app with your QBO company file unless you fully understand the impact of the data flow sync between the app and QBO. In conjunction with this process it is essential that data fields are correctly mapped between the app and QBO during the onboarding integration process. Otherwise you could be posting entries erroneously to the wrong combinations of general ledger accounts, which of course means that your financial reports would all be wrong. Since the accuracy of your company's financial reports is the backbone of your business management and also required in your tax reporting compliance, accuracy here is clearly very important.
I am a CPA who works across the full spectrum of helping businesses optimize their accounting information workflow and procedures all the way through to the tax planning and preparation services, as well as special project consulting.
Lester R. Bahr, CPA
QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor for over 17 years.
Intuit, developer of the widely popular QuickBooks Online accounting software for businesses announces more design changes that will start to roll out progressively to all existing users beginning around early to mid December 2016. In my communications with Intuit they indicated that "these design enhancements were developed to offer a better, consistent experience across our QuickBooks ecosystem with QuickBooks Self-Employed, Payroll, Payments and other products."
I'm sharing this link below that Intuit provides to me if you want to see what these enhancements will look like:
Lester R Bahr, CPA
Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor - since 1999
Expect to see the rapid technology changes in the accounting industry continue to accelerate over the next few years. Cloud computing platforms and applications are combining with advanced analytical tools and larger sets of data sources while social and mobile computing continue to reshape our profession.
Notebooks, tablets and smartphones have become the main tools for managing the accounting professional's complex choreography of work and client service processes. These technologies continue to reinvent work and the workplace which means greater flexibility around when, where and how work gets done.
Those of us as progressive accountants interact virtually with clients under a model of "same data, same time" which has gone a long way in eliminating many of the bottlenecks previously associated with PC or server based financial data that was only accessible in one location.
All this high-tech ultimately translates into a much more personal, high-touch client experience in service delivery and satisfaction where trust continues to be the hallmark of the accounting profession.
1. Business Startup Process - Preparing a business plan, choosing entity type, getting all the business registrations in place, and introducing you to bankers, preparing loan proposals and connecting you with other professionals to be part of your team.
2. Offering Sound Advice - by seeing the big picture and drawing on their experiences in working with other businesses, they know what works, and what doesn't
3. Software Consulting and Training - to get the right accounting system infrastructure in place necessary to properly run the business.
4. Systems Implementation - that makes order out of chaos and insures "best practices" procedures in smooth and efficient workflows of financial information through the organization.
5. Accounting Services - needed for the preparation of financial statements as well as to help you interpret the financial information so that you can make fully informed decisions in your business. Budgeting and cash flow modeling.
6. Controller Services - because even a small business can benefit from the perspective of a CFO, which is usually beyond the budget of a small business to have a CFO on full time staff. Within this function is also making sure you have proper internal controls in place.
7. Tax Planning & Preparation - is often the most requested need that businesses have for their CPA. Tax laws are very complex and what you don't know can definitely hurt you.
8. Financial Planning - at both the business and personal level to help you reach your goals.
9. Succession Planning - in helping your business achieve self-sufficiency and planning in how to pass on ownership and monetize your ownership investment.
10. Estate Planning - in helping clients accomplish the safe passage of their lifetime assets to the next generation.
Written by: Lester R Bahr, CPA
If you are a
Mac user, then you know that the Mac version of QuickBooks does not incorporate
all of the functionality, or the version levels, of Quickbooks for PC’s. For
example, in the PC version, a client can make a special backup copy called an
“accountant’s copy” which their accountant can then restore, make all the
adjustments and changes, and then prepare a backup copy to go back to the
client which will sync up the changes made by the accountant to the client’s
QuickBooks company file. That is a valuable workflow function in QuickBooks
since it allows the client to keep working in their file, processing
transactions, while their accountant is working on their file in parallel.
does not exist in the Mac version where the accountant is using the PC version.
However, if you’re working with an accountant that’s using the PC version of
QuickBooks, that doesn’t mean as a Mac user you are shut out of the process.
From within the Mac version, a PC version backup file can still be created and
transferred to the accountant. Granted, the accountant won’t be able to create
a backup going back. It simply requires a different set of procedures in how I
work with Mac users to keep their books accurate.
Of course the
best way to avoid the issue altogether is to adopt the QuickBooks Online cloud version.
Being browser based it’s equally accessible and gives access to the online
add-on apps available for QuickBooks Online. Plus, unlike with the Mac desktop
version where Intuit seems not to put much development resources, that is
certainly not the case with the QuickBooks Online version which is the priority
focus of Intuit to continually develop.
Lester R Bahr, CPA
If you are a Mac user, then you know that the Mac version of QuickBooks does not incorporate all of the functionality, or the version levels, of Quickbooks for PC’s. For example, in the PC version, a client can make a special backup copy called an “accountant’s copy” which their accountant can then restore, make all the adjustments and changes, and then prepare a backup copy to go back to the client which will sync up the changes made by the accountant to the client’s QuickBooks company file. That is a valuable workflow function in QuickBooks since it allows the client to keep working in their file, processing transactions, while their accountant is working on their file in parallel.
This option does not exist in the Mac version where the accountant is using the PC version. However, if you’re working with an accountant that’s using the PC version of QuickBooks, that doesn’t mean as a Mac user you are shut out of the process. From within the Mac version, a PC version backup file can still be created and transferred to the accountant. Granted, the accountant won’t be able to create a backup going back. It simply requires a different set of procedures in how I work with Mac users to keep their books accurate.
Of course the best way to avoid the issue altogether is to adopt the QuickBooks Online cloud version. Being browser based it’s equally accessible and gives access to the online add-on apps available for QuickBooks Online. Plus, unlike with the Mac desktop version where Intuit seems not to put much development resources, that is certainly not the case with the QuickBooks Online version which is the priority focus of Intuit to continually develop.
Lester R Bahr, CPA
Intuit continues to scale new heights with their QuickBooks Online cloud computing platform. Their “Firm of the Future” initiative is raising the bar of technological prowess that accountants need to have if they expect to be a leading resource and solution provider to their business clients.
I’ve been working with Intuit QuickBooks products for 17 years, having participated in their training programs from the initial launch and now holding advanced certifications with all QuickBooks products, including the online version.
For those of us as CPA’s who work with clients in this cloud-based eco system, it offers an unparalleled environment of efficiency in which to collaborate with the business owner. More than just a general accounting platform though, the versatility of QuickBooks Online is scalable through the add-on integration of over 300 apps.
For example, an online retailer may be using a platform such as Shopify for their website, inventory fulfillment and shopping cart. They are probably using Paypal and Square in addition to their online banking to manage payment processing as well. So, in order to really help our business clients optimize their accounting workflow and management reporting, it is essential that we as CPA’s understand how to evaluate and integrate these apps with QuickBooks Online to complete the entire financial tracking and reporting infrastructure of the business. Where else can the small business owner turn to for advice in these areas? Our clients are looking to us for that help.
Seamless collaboration between the client and CPA online is key. Why should we as CPA’s make the client pack up all their records and schlep it off to our office? As CPA’s we need to be the facilitator of efficiency for our clients. This means supporting the client through paperless document processing and storage and transfers through portal access. We also need accessibility to login to the client’s online accounting to address issues as they arise in real time. Ultimately, this is the difference between a CPA who is proactive and adding continual value rather than operating reactively.
Lester R Bahr, CPA
QuickBooks Online Advanced Certified ProAdvisor
Or sometimes referred to as an "Outsource CFO" or "Virtual CFO" is a great way for a small business to get an advanced level of financial technical support that they might otherwise not be able to afford since many small businesses simply don't have the financial resources - or the need - for a full time CFO employed on their staff.
But with online cloud based accounting systems such as QuickBooks Online, a CFO can now be ready and available when you need their services. That's because these cloud solutions allows you to share data, making it easy to allow access online. It allows real-time reporting and makes it possible for your online CFO to gain insight into your company's financial condition and help to improve the health of your company and your decision making processes.
Cloud accounting and business management solutions then become accessible anytime, anywhere which means that your online CFO can be just a mouse click away.
Lester R. Bahr, CPA
Cloud Accounting Specialist.