It’s that time again! One year is coming to an end, and a new year is quickly approaching. At Dagley & Co., we urge you to start your end-of-year QuickBook tasks now, before time runs out. We have 4 things we suggest you fit into your busy schedule sometime this month:
1) Create and send year-end statements.
As your customers wrap up 2016, too, it’s good to send statements to past-due accounts.
In an ideal world, all of the invoices that are currently due would be paid off by the end of the year. We all know that that’s not usually the reality. Two reports can help you here: the A/R Aging Summary and Open Invoices.
Give everyone a chance to clear their accounts before December 31 by sending statements. Click Statements on the Home page (or Customers | Create Statements) to open the window pictured above.
You have multiple options here that are fairly self-explanatory. The screen above is set up to create statements for all customers who have an open balance as of the date you select, but not for inactive customers or those with a zero balance or no account activity. That way, no one who’s paid in full to date will receive a statement. Of course, if you didn’t want statements created for anyone who’s less than 30 days past due, you’d click in the box in front of Include only transactions over and enter a “30” in the following field. Questions about all of this? Give us a call.
Tip: You can also find out who’s overdue by clicking on the Customers tab in the left vertical pane to open the Customer Information screen. Click on the down arrow to the right of the field just below Customers & Jobs. QuickBooks provides several filters for your list.
2) Reduce your inventory.
Want to discount all or selected items in your inventory by the same percentage or amount? Open the Customers menu and click Change Item Prices. Dagley & Co. can work with you on the whole item pricing process.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day might be a good time to sell excess inventory by having a sale. If you only sell a few products, you probably know what hasn’t sold well in 2016. If your stable of products is larger, you can run QuickBooks reports like Inventory Stock Status by Item and Sales by Item Detail to identify your slow-sellers and discount them. You may need to filter your reports to see the right data. Talk to us about customization options if you’re unsure of this.
3) Clean up your contact lists.
If you don’t maintain your customer and vendor lists, you’ll eventually start wasting time scrolling through them when you enter transactions. So this would be a good time to designate those contacts that you’ve not dealt with in 2016 as Inactive (you can delete their records entirely, but we advise against that). Simply open a Customer record, for example, and click the small pencil icon in the upper right to edit it. Click on the box in front of Customer is inactive.
4) Run advanced reports.
Here’s where we come in. If we’re not already creating and analyzing QuickBooks’ advanced financial reports (found in the Accountant & Taxes submenu of Reports) monthly or quarterly, talk to us about it. They’re important, and they give you insight that you can’t get on your own. This is another activity that can spill into January.
We hope these few things help to get you started with your year-end QuickBook tasks. Give Dagley & Co. a call at 202-417-664 if you have any questions, or would like us to go through these steps with you one-on-one. Remember: even though we are located in Washington, D.C. are clients are around the country!
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Run your own business but things aren’t working out the way you pictured? Thankfully, many proven methods exist to help small businesses increase revenues, cut costs and improve overall. If you’re ready to take your company to a new level of success, consider implementing one or more of the following Dagley & Co. insane (but true) ways to grow small business profits:
Eliminate Low-Margin Clients, Products or Services
To boost your small business profits, ask yourself the following questions:
What clients, products or services generate the most money and offer the greatest growth potential right now?
What clients, products or services generate the least profit and provide the least growth potential currently?
After analyzing your findings, eliminate low-margin clients, products and services. With the saved time and money, focus on the higher-producing areas of your business. Purging clients, products or services from your company might be painful at first. However, this practice will likely slash stress and pay dividends in the long run.
Embrace technology, automate and go paperless. Besides helping the environment, you’ll probably save a ton of money. In addition to cutting costs on paper, you’ll also spend less money on printer maintenance and toner as well as file cabinets and binders.
Increase Conversion Rates Through A/B Testing
Regardless of what type of small business you have, turning more shoppers into buyers will improve your bottom line. To increase conversion rates, consider implementing A/B testing. Also referred to as split testing, A/B testing utilizes two distinct sales pages in order to ascertain which page converts more effectively. Depending on the nature of your business, converting might equate to a customer buying a product or a client purchasing a service.
Experiment With Pricing
Raising prices while adding value can perhaps be the simplest way to improve small business profits. However, you risk losing bargain-oriented customers. Fortunately, for many people, price isn’t the most important factor when purchasing products and services. Lowering prices with the express intent of selling more products or services can also be a winning strategy.
Increase Average Lifetime Value of Each Client
Repeat customers can help your small business survive during stagnant economic times. Besides searching for effective ways to attract new customers, focus on increasing the average lifetime value of each client. You can accomplish this important task by:
- Offering loyal customers a product or service upgrade
- Providing customers with something your competitors don’t offer them
- Being more convenient than your competitors
- Looking for ways to solve problems for your customers
- Providing stellar customer service
- Reduce Churn Rates
Churn refers to when a client ends his or her relationship with a business. A high churn rate will negatively impact your ability to grow your small business profits. To reduce churn rates:
- Establish customer expectations and strive to meet or exceed them
- Make your first impression a great one
- Listen to your clientele
- Closely monitor external environment changes
- Speed Up Product or Service Delivery
Speeding up the delivery of your products and services is another ingenious way to improve profits. Fast deliveries make customers happy and encourage repeat business. Decreasing the amount of time projects sit in limbo will also save money.
Bundle Products or Services
Do you offer products or services that naturally fit together? Providing customers with product or service bundles is a great way to increase both your revenues and your bottom line. For example, an accounting firm might bundle bookkeeping, tax preparation and consulting services.
Expand to a New Geographic Market
If you’ve saturated your current geographic market, consider expanding to a new one. Obviously, the costs of such an undertaking must be analyzed. But the long-term benefits of tapping into new geographic markets might make the venture worthwhile.
Provide Maintenance Contracts
Do you want to generate a steady income stream for an extended period of time? Think about charging customers an ongoing fee in exchange for maintenance contracts. You can even offer discounts to customers who sign longer contractual agreements. When developing maintenance contacts, clearly list the products or services customers can expect to receive.
Growing small business profits may seem impossible to most. Dealing with saturated markets and a sluggish economy can dampen your overall outlook. Struggling to improve the bottom line of your small business? consider adhering to one or more of these strategies above by Dagley & Co., or give us a call at 202-417-6640 for guidance.
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With 2017 just around the corner, it is time to think about actions you can take to improve your tax situation from 2016. In our opinion, this is something you probably want to get out of the way before the holiday season arrives. Dagley & Co. is always here to help in anyway possible in terms of your tax situations for both present and upcoming years.
There are many steps that you can take before January 1 to save a considerable amount of tax. Here are a few that we gathered:
Maximize Education Tax Credits – If you qualify for either the American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning education credits, check to see how much you will have paid in qualified tuition and related expenses in 2016. If it is not the maximum allowed for computing the credits, you can prepay 2017 tuition as long as it is for an academic period beginning in the first three months of 2017. That will allow you to increase the credit for 2016. This technique is especially helpful when a student has just started college in the fall.
Roth IRA Conversions – If your income is unusually low this year, you may wish to consider converting some or all of your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. The lower income results in a lower tax rate, which provides you an opportunity to convert to a Roth IRA at a lower tax amount.
Don’t Forget Your Minimum Required Distribution – If you are over 70.5 years of age and have not taken your 2016 required minimum distribution from your IRA or qualified retirement plan, you should do that before December 31 to avoid possible penalties. If you turned 70.5 this year, you may delay your 2016 distribution until the first quarter of 2017, but that will mean a double distribution in 2017 that will be taxed.
Advance Charitable Deductions – If you regularly tithe at a house of worship or make pledges to other qualified charities, you might consider pre-paying part or all of your 2017 tithing or pledge, thus advancing the deduction into 2016. This can be especially helpful to individuals who marginally itemize their deductions, allowing them to itemize in one year and then take the standard deduction in the next. If you are age 70.5 or over, you can also take advantage of a direct IRA-to-charity transfer, which will count toward your RMD and may even reduce the taxes on your Social Security income.
Maximize Health Savings Account Contributions – If you become eligible to make health savings account (HSA) contributions late this year, you can make a full year’s worth of deductible HSA contributions even if you were not eligible to make HSA contributions earlier in the year. This opportunity applies even if you first become eligible in December.
Prepay Taxes – Both state income and property taxes are deductible if you itemize your deductions and you are not subject to the AMT. Prepaying them advances the deductions onto your 2016 return. So if you expect to owe state income tax, it may be appropriate to increase your state withholding tax at your place of employment or make an estimated tax payment before the close of 2016, and if you are paying your real property taxes in installments, pay the next installment before year-end.
Pay Tax-deductible Medical Expenses – If you have outstanding medical or dental bills, paying the balance before year-end may be beneficial, but only if you already meet the 10% of AGI floor for deducting medical expenses, or if adding the payments would put you over the 10% threshold. You can even use a credit card to pay the expenses, but if you won’t be paying off the full balance on the card right away, do so only if the interest expense on the credit card is less than the tax savings. You might also wish to consider scheduling and paying for medical expenses such as glasses, dental work, etc., before the end of the year. See the “Seniors Beware” article if you or your spouse is age 65 and over.
Take Advantage of the Annual Gift Tax Exemption – You can give $14,000 to each of an unlimited number of individuals without paying gift tax each year, but you can’t carry over unused amounts from one year to the next. (The gifts are not tax deductible.)
Avoid Underpayment Penalties – If you are going to owe taxes for 2016, you can take steps before year-end to avoid or minimize the underpayment penalty. The penalty is applied quarterly, so making a fourth-quarter estimated payment only reduces the fourth-quarter penalty. However, withholding is treated as paid ratably throughout the year, so increasing withholding at the end of the year can reduce the penalties for the earlier quarters.
There are many different factors that go into each of the steps above. We encourage all of our clients to contact Dagley & Co. prior to acting on any of the advice to ensure that you will benefit given your specific tax circumstances. Our phone number is: (202) 417-6640 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Are you having a low taxable income year? Are you unemployed, had an accident that’s kept you from earning income, incurring a net operating loss (NOL) from a business, or suffering a casualty loss? These incidents will result in abnormally low taxable income for the year. But, these can actually give rise to some interesting tax planning strategies. See below for some key elements that govern tax rates and taxable income, and some actual strategies by Dagley & Co.
Taxable Income – First, of all, to be simplistic, taxable income is your adjusted gross income (AGI) less the sum of your personal exemptions and the greater of the standard deduction for your filing status or your itemized deductions:
Taxable Income XXXX
If the exemptions and deductions exceed the AGI, you can end up with a negative taxable income, which means to the extent it is negative you can actually add income or reduce deductions without incurring any tax.
Graduated Individual Tax Rates – Ordinary individual tax rates are graduated. So as the taxable income increases, so do the tax rates. Thus, the lower your taxable income, the lower your tax rate will be. Individual ordinary tax rates range from 10% to as high 39.6%. The taxable income amounts for 10% to 25% tax rates are:
Single Married Filing Jointly Head of Household Married Filing Separate 10% 9,275 18,550 13,250 9,275 15% 37,650 75,300 50,400 37,650 25% 91,150 151,900 130,150 75,950
For instance, if you are single, your first $9,275 of taxable income is taxed at 10%. The next $28,375 ($37,650 – $9,275) is taxed at 15% and the next $53,500 ($91,150 – $37,650) is taxed at 25%.
Here are some strategies you can employ for your tax benefit. However, these strategies may be interdependent on one another and your particular tax circumstances.
Take IRA Distributions – Depending upon your projected taxable income, you might consider taking an IRA distribution to add income for the year. For instance, if the projected taxable income is negative, you can actually take a withdrawal of up to the negative amount without incurring any tax. Even if projected taxable income is not negative and your normal taxable income would put you in the 25% or higher bracket, you might want to take out just enough to be taxed at the 10% or even the 15% tax rates. Of course, those are retirement dollars; consider moving them into a regular financial account set aside for your retirement. Also be aware that distributions before age 59½ are subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty.
Defer Deductions – When you itemize your deductions, you may claim only the deductions you actually pay during the tax year (the calendar year for most folks). If your projected taxable income is going to be negative and you are planning on itemizing your deductions, you might consider putting off some of those year-end deductible payments until after the first of the year and preserving the deductions for next year. Such payments might include house of worship tithing, year-end charitable giving, tax payments (but not those incurring late payment penalties), estimated state income tax payments, medical expenses, etc.
Convert Traditional IRA Funds into a Roth IRA – To the extent of the negative taxable income or even just the lower tax rates, you may wish to consider converting some or all of your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. The lower income results in a lower tax rate, which provides you with an opportunity to convert to a Roth IRA at a lower tax amount.
Zero Capital Gains Rate – There is a zero long-term capital gains rate for those taxpayers whose regular tax brackets are 15% or less (see table above). This may allow you to sell some appreciated securities that you have owned for more than a year and pay no or very little tax on the gain.
Business Expenses – The tax code has some very liberal provisions that allow a business to currently expense, rather than capitalize and slowly depreciate, the purchase cost of certain property. In a low-income year it may be appropriate to capitalize rather than expense these current year purchases and preserve the deprecation deduction for higher income years. This is especially true where there is a negative taxable income in the current year.
If you have obtained your medical insurance through a government marketplace, employing any of the strategies mentioned could impact the amount of your allowable premium tax credit.
Interested in discussing how these strategies might provide you tax benefit based upon your particular tax circumstances? Or, would like to schedule a tax planning appointment? Give Dagley & Co. a call today at (202) 417-6640.
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2016 is quickly coming to an end. We recommend to start thinking about your year-end business plans around this time of year. One question we like to ask is, do you invest publicly traded securities? If you answered yes to that questions, we have provided you with a couple of tax-saving possibilities you shouldn’t forget to consider before year-end. Dagley & Co. is here for you if you have any questions on these year-end decisions, or if you need some guidance.
Zero Capital Gains Rate – If you are having a low-income year, there may be a way for you to take advantage of it. There is a zero long-term capital gains rate for those taxpayers whose regular tax brackets are 15% or less. This may allow you to sell some appreciated securities that you have owned for more than a year and actually pay no or very little tax on the gain.
Offset Gains with Losses – At this time of year, you should review your portfolio with an eye to offset gains with losses and to take advantage of the $3,000 ($1,500 for married taxpayers filing separately) of allowable annual capital loss allowance. Any losses in excess of those amounts are carried forward to future years. However, keep in mind that if you replace a security that you sell for a loss, either 30 days before or after the date of sale, it will be considered a wash sale, and the loss cannot be used on your return, and instead, adjusts the basis of the replacement security.
Please contact Dagley & Co. for assistance with your year-end tax planning needs. We are here for you – Hire anytime, anywhere.
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How does your company keep track of its bills? A lot of small businesses are still dealing with a lot of paper. It’s probably pretty clear to you that this isn’t the best system. You could possibly miss payments because a bill was lost in transit or didn’t make its way to you. QuickBooks Online can help keep bill-payment running smoothly and your relationships with vendors on the up-and-up.
Before you can start paying bills, you have to enter them into QuickBooks Online. This will entail a bit of extra work the first time you deal with a particular vendor, but there are numerous benefits to handling your accounts payable in this fashion, like:
- Speed. Once you’ve created a framework (template) for a bill, it will take minimal time to pay it in the future.
- All of your bill payments will be recorded in QuickBooks Online, so you won’t have to hunt through checkbook registers or file folders to see if a bill was paid.
- QuickBooks Online will always remind you when a bill must be paid (if you’ve set it up correctly).
To enter a bill, click the plus (+) sign at the top of the screen and click on Vendors and then Bill. This screen opens:
You’ll enter information about each bill on a screen like this. There are fields not pictured here that you’ll sometimes have to complete. So let’s start a conversation about the whole process.
Looks pretty simple, doesn’t it? It is – if you have a simple bill like the one you receive for gas and electric. You select the vendor by clicking on the arrow next to the blank field in the upper left and choosing from the list that opens. The Mailing Address and Terms should fill in automatically if you’ve done all of your initial QuickBooks Online setup. If not, you can add and edit this information.
Bill date refers to the date of the bill itself, not the day payment is due to the vendor. That goes in the Due date field. Select your Account from the list that opens when you click in that field, and enter a Description and Amount. If that’s all that’s required for that bill, you can save it and proceed to the next. It’s now recorded as a bill that needs to be paid.
Some of your bills are just one-offs, but others arrive on a regular basis. So QuickBooks Online has tools that will minimize the time required to process them after you’ve entered the basic information once. After you’ve completed a bill, click Make recurring at the bottom of the page to see this screen:
QuickBooks Online lets you create templates for bills to use in future payments.
This screen is self-explanatory. You simply tell QuickBooks Online how much notice you want before a bill’s due date so you can process the payment. Take care with this screen to avoid paying bills too early, which affects your cash flow unnecessarily, or too late.
You have three options when you’re creating a Recurring Bill template. You’ll choose one from the list that opens when you click the arrow in the Type field:
- This is best used when the details of a transaction don’t change, like rent or a loan payment. You don’t have to do anything for the payment to be dispatched; it’s done automatically for you at the interval you set. You can, however, ask to be notified every time this occurs.
- You could use this for periodic payments that will require editing before they’re sent. For example, you’ll probably need to change the amount on your utility bills every month. QuickBooks Online will place a reminder in your Activities list on the home page.
- If you have bills that contain a great deal of detail but aren’t due on a set schedule, you can save the template and call it up when you need it by clicking the gear icon in the upper right and selecting Recurring Transactions.
If you are interested in starting to use QuickBooks Online, and you begin to enter bills and find that you’re having trouble completing the fields required for more complex bills, give Dagley & Co. a call to schedule a session or two.
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An income statement is a very important document that your company produces. This statement can be challenging to prepare if you are new to the business, or if you are not familiar. We have gathered some good tips and tricks to make it easier for you to read and prepare you income statement accurately.
What is an Income Statement?
An income statement, which may also be referred to as a “profit and loss statement,” is an important financial report that communicates your business’s ability to earn a profit. This statement includes information about the money that came into your company during a given period, the expenses your company incurred during that period, and the total amount of profit you earned after all expenses were paid. If your expenses during this time exceeded the amount of income you earned, your income statement will show a loss for the period.
Sections of an Income Statement
In most cases, your income statement will be divided into various sections, including Revenue, Operating Expenses and Taxes. Within each section, smaller subsections exist to provide more detailed information. The final line on the statement provides your net profit or loss, which is calculated as the difference between your revenue and all of the expenses paid to earn that revenue.
Not every income statement includes the same information. However, most statements will include the following lines:
- Heading– At the top of the statement, you will find a heading that provides the name of your company and the period of time the statement covers.
- Revenue– The “Revenue” subheading begins the section of the statement that provides details about revenue earned during the period.
- Gross Sales– This line of the statement tells you the value of all sales made during the period before any deductions for expenses.
- Returns and Allowances– Returns and Allowances include the cost of any goods returned by customers or discounted by your company.
- Net Sales– Net Sales is calculated by subtracting the value of Returns and Allowances from your Gross Sales.
- Cost of Goods Sold– This line lists the total wholesale cost of all of the goods you sold during the period.
- Gross Profit– Gross Profit is calculated by deducting the Cost of Goods Sold from Net Sales.
- Operating Expenses– The Operating Expenses subheading begins the section of the income statement that includes all of the expenses your company paid to operate during the period in question.
- Sales and Marketing– Beneath the Operating Expenses subheading, you will find a smaller subheading labeled “Sales and Marketing.” In this section, you will find a list of all of the expenses your company incurred in relation to marketing. Examples include advertising, commissions and direct marketing. At the bottom of this section, you will find a total of these expenses.
- General Administrative– This section of the document includes all of the administrative expenses paid during the period, including office supplies, utilities and more. At the end of this section, all general administrative expenses are totaled.
- Depreciation and Amortization– Under this heading, any expensive assets your business is currently depreciating will be listed, along with the total amount of depreciation for the period.
- Total Operating Expenses– This section of the income statement provides the total of your operating expenses for the period, including depreciation, administrative expenses and advertising expenses.
- Operating Income– Your Operating Income is the amount of income left over after all of your operating expenses are deducted from your gross profit.
- Non-operating Income– This section includes all of the income you earned outside of your standard operations, such as by the sale of assets or investments.
- Non-operating Expenses– Non-operating expenses include expenses you paid that were not related to the operations of your business. These expenses may be related to earning non-operating income.
- Income before Taxes– The value on this line is calculated by adding your Operating Income and Non-operating Income and then subtracting your Non-operating Expenses.
- Taxes– This section includes all of the taxes your business paid during the period, including prepaid income tax and payroll taxes.
- Total Net Income– The final line on your income statement is your total net income. It is calculated by subtracting your total Taxes from Income before Taxes. If your expenses for the period exceeded your income, this value will be negative, representing an overall loss.
Getting Professional Help
Preparing an income statement is no easy task, and interpreting it can also be difficult for many business owners. Dagley & Co. will not only ensure that your income statement is accurate, but we will also be able to help you gain important insight from these statements that can be used to boost your business’s profitability in the future. Give us a call today at (202) 417-6640.
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