Welcome to this issue of The Bookkeeper's Notes newsletter focusing on good bookkeeping practices.
If you are a regular site visitor, you know that Bookkeeping-Essentials.com is committed to educating and providing support to ... work from home business owners. I sincerely hope you find this newsletter useful and practical.
If you like this e-zine, feel free to forward it to a friend. You'd be doing me a huge, huge favour. If a friend did forward this to you and you like what you have read, please subscribe by visiting my site.
A quick reminder ...
In Canada, sole proprietors (and their spouses) must pay their taxes by April 30 but have until June 15 to file their tax return. Check out my tax season due date reminder table here ...
In the U.S., you must file your return or your extension request by April 17 ... but taxes are still due by April 17. Check out my business tax and tax season calendar tables here ...
Just to make it clear ... both the CRA and IRS give you extensions on filing your return. They do NOT give you an extension on the date your taxes are due (when monies must be paid to avoid incurring penalties or interest).
In this issue, you'll find a discussion about developing YOUR own bookkeeping system along with the regular CRA and IRS news updates.
Under feature products, I introduce self-employed bookkeepers to a Virtual Bookkeeper's Guide by Gabrille Fontaine, CPB.
In New Pages, Additions and Revisions ... you'll find information on what will be happening over the next 6-9 months on the site. The Bookkeeper's Directory is still on the backburner at this time.
This newsletter gives you access to the links of a handful of web pages that are password protected … my newsletter subscribers have exclusive access to these bookkeeping lists and procedures. You will need The Insider's Pass (a password) to access them, which you will find in the last section of the newsletter.
For work from home business owners doing their own books, you may find this service useful … a general review of your ledger. This service is for those who want assurance they are on the right track. I'll perform a high level review of your general ledger to see if there are any obvious problems. You may choose to have me walk you through the problems and how to correct them. If you are interested, send me a message on my contact form.
I also work with Canadian bookkeepers just getting into the business to answer their questions by phone conference. Feel free to get in touch with me, It requires purchasing prepaid hour(s) of time (one hour minimum).
Spring is finally starting to appear here in northern B.C. The lake has opened up in some spots. I share with you a picture my neighbour took last spring while kayaking. We came across this beautiful mama and her baby ducks just enjoying the day. That funny green thing wrecking the picture is string of some sort that has washed ashore.
It is my sincere hope that the information I provide on Bookkeeping-Essentials.com, and in this newsletter, will help you learn good bookkeeping practices to manage your business finances easily and more efficiently. It can be tough coming up with ideas on what to write about. If there is something you'd like me to cover, please drop me a line.
To your success! ... and, of course, thank you for subscribing to this e-zine.
Until next time,
Laura (aka Lake) :0)
Lakeshore Bookkeeping Services
P.S. I would like to remind you there is a difference between information and advice. The general information provided in this e-zine or on my site should not be construed as advice. You should not act or rely on this information without engaging professional advice specific to your situation prior to using my site content for any reason whatsoever.
In This Issue ...
- Feature Product - Virtual Bookkeeper's Guide
- In the Forum - Ask a Free Bookkeeping Question Is Closed For Tax Season
- Focus on Bookkeeping - Creating Your Bookkeeping System
- Focus on Payroll - Use of Your Personal Vehicle for Business
- Recent Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) News
- Recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) News
- The Insider's Pass - The Current Password is Here
- New Pages, Additions and Revisions - Enjoy a cup of tea while you browse
Click on the logo to see my full review.
How To Take Your Practice Virtual
Gabrielle Fontaine, PB has created an excellent program that shows you how to get started as a virtual freelance bookkeeper and market your services online.
What Will You Learn In The Training Classes
This program doesn't teach how to do bookkeeping ... but it does demonstrate how to setup your internal business systems. You receive access to a Members Only area where you will find:
Laura Recommends Virtual Bookkeeper's Guide
- An information packed 2 hour training webcast and 1 hour question and answer session;
- Downloadable audio replay of the webcasts so you can listen to the audio book in your vehicle;
- A detailed step-by-step eManual (pdf format) for easy reference;
- A downloadable quick start guide; and
- The virtual bookkeeper's toolbox which includes training worksheets, systems templates and recommended resources.
I attended the training classes last summer. I'm a big fan of Gabrielle Fontaine's webinars and her superb presentation skills. She cuts through all the information that's out there and presents the material in a concise, uncomplicated fashion.
As with all products purchased through Bookkeeping Essentials, I earn a small commission each time YOU purchase a product through the links in this newsletter or throughout the site. It's an extra step that allows me to continue to provide free resources to visitors just like YOU.
Click on the seal to read to enroll today.
Take a full 60 Days to put the “Insider’s Guide to Your Own Virtual Bookkeeping Business” to the test. If this program doesn’t show you exactly how to find your first virtual bookkeeping client in 30 days or less… if it doesn’t take you by the hand and show you step-by-step how to set up your business with confidence… or if it fails to help you charge profitable fees for your virtual bookkeeping services… then you will receive a full refund, no questions, no quibble!
In the Forum - Ask a Free Bookkeeping Question Is Closing For Tax Season
Ask a Free Bookkeeping Question is closed from March 1 to June 15, 2012.
During this period, please use the customized search boxes found throughout the site to see if your question has been asked and answered previously.
... OR if you would like me to personally answer a bookkeeping question for you, my Ask A Private Bookkeeping Question service is still available. My fee is $60 per question. The rate will be rising to $75 per question on June 15th.
For Information Purposes:
People who submit their questions through my contact form, need to answer "Yes" to the question, "May I publish your comments?", to allow me to respond to your question in the forum ... or you need to purchase a private question. If neither of these options have been utilized, I do apologize but your question will remain unanswered.
People who post a question in the forum without including their email address, you need to know you may miss the response I give in the event I reclassify your post to an existing forum posting with the same or similar topic.
I've started receiving tax questions. This is NOT a tax site. Questions related to personal or specific tax advice, as opposed to bookkeeping questions for small business owners who work from their home, will not be posted. Please seek out a tax professional in your area to assist you.
Purchase your private bookkeeping question here ...
Focus On Bookkeeping - Creating Your Bookkeeping System
A big part of staying on top of your recordkeeping is to develop a bookkeeping system that works for you.
I encourage you to visit my website to learn what a good system should look like and what your options are.
At the beginning of this section of the website, I explain that YOUR bookkeeping system is more than just the physical ledger or accounting software program you use.
YOUR system encompasses the method you setup and use to ... track each receipt received and invoice issued as it progresses through your record keeping system …... to produce the final products - a set of financial statements and accounting reports along with your annual tax return and various other tax reporting requirements.
If you read the above paragraph carefully, you'll see your objective in setting up your system.
The first product your system should produce, YOUR financial statements, helps you operate and grow your business based on fact; not seat of the pants. It helps you measure your successes and failures.
The second product of your system, YOUR various tax returns, helps keep the government auditors out of your hair as you become tax compliant in meeting your reporting deadlines.
With your objectives in mind, I wrote a few articles to assist you in your decision making and help you achieve your objectives:
There are more articles ... this is just a sample.
If you don't want to spend your time reading through The System section of the site, consider purchasing either or both of these products to get you on your way:
1. Pat Dutched's proven bookkeeping in a box system ... very simple, easy to learn system that organizes your business documents and receipts in a way that bookkeepers, accountants and auditors understand. She suggests a routine for you to follow and how to prioritize your bill paying when cash is tight. The system is paper based and doesn't require high tech gizmos to adapt ... although you can adapt the system to utilize them.
2. Brooks Duncan's paperless document organization guide is easy to follow. The guide helps you figure out what to do, what your options are, what workflows will work for YOU. Brooks explains there is not a right or wrong way to approach this ... it's not one size fits all. While his goal is to HELP YOU become paperless, his outstanding approach can also be used to build a paper filing system. He outlines low tech to high tech options and stresses to stay within your comfort level.
Both of these products are direct and to the point ... and will, in my opinion, help you get organized and stay organized ... simply, effectively and in a methodical manner.
I'll close this article by leaving you something to think about ...
Sometimes all the high tech tools complicate rather than simplify things ... and make it more difficult to get the job done.
Don't spend all your hard earned cashflow on all the latest gadgets. Keep your goal in mind, review your options and what is out there annually ... and then stick with your choice for the year ... modifying only when necessary.
If you are always tinkering, you will never get efficiencies from your system ... in fact it may even suggest you don't actually have a system. Being consistent is half the battle in maintaining any system you put in place ... and keeps bookkeepers, accountants and auditors happy.
Improve Your Cash Flow
Actively Manage Your Accounts Receivable
Click here for more information.
30 day money back guarantee.
Focus on Payroll - Use of Your Personal Vehicle for Business
As mentioned last issue, the topic I was going to cover is the second option available to employees ... instead of the company car, use of your personal vehicle for business. I've put it on hold for this issue.
Check out this tip from CA Magazine on how to save money on your payroll. I'm sure the tip would apply to the U.S. as well as Canada.
The SSA/IRS Reporter Spring 2012 issue has some great information on filing Forms W-2C and W-3C, matching social security and IRS earnings totals, the new ADA requirements and the American Payroll Association's Payroll Tax Forums ... a one day course being offered in various cities between June 11 to 22.
In the same issue, there is also a great article by the American Payroll Association on how to spring clean your payroll records. They recommend you perform the tasks after you have completed your year-end processes.
Humour by Advice ... with Dr. Julia Chicken
Recent CRA News ... and Other Government News
A reminder that a new online service, Submit An Inquiry begins April 16, 2012 at CRA. You will be able to receive written responses when questions are asked online.
Have you visited the new web page on the CRA website that has all the online service links available for businesses yet? You access it by choosing slide show number 3 on the home page. I haven't figured out how to get to it from the menu yet except to search for "Businesses: save time-go online!". No more searching numerous pages ... it is all on one page ... definitely one of my favorite pages now.
Prescribed interest rates for the second quarter of 2012 held steady. The last rate change was July of 2010 when corporate rates for overpayment of taxes was introduced. Find the interest rate tables here ...
I am tracking announcements pertaining to BC's return to PST in two places:
1. On the small biz page for provincial announcements.
2. On the CRA news page for federal announcements.
I'm not tracking changes that aren't relevant to small business and/or are revisions to an existing notice.
Pooled registered pension plans seems to be a go. Get details on the Department of Finance site under News Releases> February 19, 2012 Minister Menzies Highlights Pooled Registered Pension Plans’ Strengths for Small and Medium-Sized Business.
You can find the deadlines regarding online filing of taxes at CRA> Newsroom> News Release> 2012 > 2012-02-28 The Canada Revenue Agency makes it easier for Canadians to meet their tax obligations this filing season. From the CRA site:
"Canadians have until midnight on April 30, 2012 to file their 2011 income tax and benefit return and to pay any balance owing. If an individual or their spouse or common-law partner is self-employed, they have until midnight on June 15, 2012, to file their 2011 return. Any balance owing must be paid by April 30, 2012."
While in the newsroom, check out the March 22 news release highlighting the hiring credit for small business.
Ontario is moving to a single administration for corporate tax. This measure will save taxpayers money in reduced admininstration costs. CRA will now be the single adminstration which means only one return needs to be filed.
If your business is in BC, remember to sign up for The Employers' Advisor newsletter at www.labour.gov.bc.ca/eao. The Employers' Advisers Office provides advice, assistance, representation and training on all aspects of workers' compensation. If your WCB rates include a surcharge, the EAO can help you reduce it back to the industry average at no charge. Find out more about this WCB service here.
Recent IRS News and Related News
The IRS revised Form 941 to enable reporting of the extended payroll tax cut announced late February. The SST withholding rate remains at 4.2 for the employee portion. Read more here ... See the FICA rates for 2012 here ...
The IRS released the depreciation deduction limits for vehicles first placed into service in 2012 in Revenue Procedure 2012-23. Read more here ...
Make sure to check out IRS Tax Tip 2012-54 Employee Business Expenses if you have employees. Also of interest is IRS Tax Tip 2012-44 What Employers Need to Know About Claiming the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.
IRS interest rates for the second quarter of 2012 held steady. You'll find the interest rate tables here ...
For any artists out there, or bookkeepers who do books for art galleries, take a peek at the IRS updated audit technique guide which identifies potential audit issues including charitable donation issues. Search for it on the IRS site by keying Art Galleries - Audit Technique Guide into their search box.
The Insider's Pass
The Insider's Pass gives you access to the pages in Bookkeeping Essentials that are available only to newsletter subscribers ... my way of saying thank you.
Here's how it works. The pages listed below will only be partially viewed by all visitors. To view the entire article, you will need your Insider's Pass for access. The password will change with each newsletter … every two months. So if you ever forget, you will always find the most current password in your current issue of The Bookkeeper's Notes.
The current password is Joyful (it is case sensitive) ... as a reminder to focus on the abundance present in your life instead of your poverties ;0)
Here is a list of the pages which are password protected so that only my very important subscribers ... that would be YOU :0) ... have access.
No password page
Password protected page
No password page
Password protected page
Bookkeeping Entries - Journal Entry Examples
Routine Bookkeeping Entries - No password page
(Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory)
Common Bookkeeping Errors - No password page
(Capital Assets, Banking, Taxes, Year-end)
Password protected page
Month End Procedures
No password page
Password protected page
No password page
Password protected page
Monthly Financial Review or How to Supervise Your Bookkeeper
No password page
Password protected page
New Pages, Additions and Revisions
SBI!, my webhost provider for this site, just rolled out a new release of their Block Builder software package. They've released a YouTube playlist / video series that shows how easy it is to use the new system.
Over the next 6 - 9 months, I will be moving the 500+ pages to the new system ... so I'm going to explore the possibility of making some site changes. As I work on this site on my off hours, it means you are not likely to see too much new content on the site for the next while ... but I will continue to maintain and update what is here.
You may expeerience some broken or misdirected links on site as I begin the changeover. I would truly appreciate you dropping me a line to me know when this happens.
If you have things you'd like to see on the site, or you wish were arranged differently, now is the time to send me an email with your comments and wishes.
This wraps up this issue of The Bookkeeper's Notes newsletter. I'll touch base with you again in June.
Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this e-zine and tell me what you think!