Bookkeeping Basics for Small Businesses

Bookkeeping Basics for Small Businesses

Business bookkeeping basics are essential to a small business’s success in maintaining compliance and monitoring milestones. The tax professionals at Marshall Jones have put together this quick-start guide for small business bookkeeping to help you begin.

5 Bookkeeping Tips for Small Business Owners 

Five key bookkeeping tips recommended by senior tax professionals can help your small business stay on track this year. 

1. Open a Business Bank Account

It’s vital to have a distinct bank account and credit card for your business so that you have clear records when filing your taxes. Unless you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll need separate tax reports for home and business. Also, if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) decides to audit your business, having mixed personal and business accounts can complicate the process further.

2. Expedite Your Accounts Payable Process is a legitimate and secure accounts payable and accounts receivable software that integrates with QuickBooks. It helps businesses integrate automated digital tools into their bill and invoice processes. It simplifies the process by making it easy to record bills and pay vendors via the Automated Clearing House (ACH), credit card, check and even international wire transfer. 

3. Digitally Track Expenses

Managing multiple employees with company credit cards can become complex if receipts become lost, faded or damaged. Divvy is an online expense management and business budgeting software ideal for allotting spending money to your team. For example, an employee booking a hotel room for a business trip can receive the exact amount of cash they need with no more and no less. The employee simply snaps a photo of their receipt for digital recordkeeping. 

4. Use Your Financials to Make Strategic Business Decisions 

It’s key to take advantage of your financial records beyond tax time. Business owners should be familiar with a profit and loss statement to analyze their spending and costs, whether that’s year over year, month to month or even biweekly. It’s also helpful to learn financial analysis ratios like the receivable turnover, current, return on assets and debt to equity ratios — and much more. 

5. Be Proactive About Your 1099 Tax Documents

A 1099 form is a tax document business owners use to report payments over $600 in a given year to independent contractors. The best policy is to take a proactive approach to prepare for 1099 forms by issuing a W9 to each vendor at the time of the transaction. Then, you’ll have their tax identification number and address on file to report on the 1099 form during tax season. 

Get Professional Help With Small Business Bookkeeping Basics

Marshall Jones has been helping small businesses like yours with accounting and bookkeeping services in Atlanta for decades. To find out more about how we can help you with small business bookkeeping, contact us online and schedule an appointment today. 

hinking financial advisor businessman working in office.

When Should You Hire an Accountant?

When Should You Hire an Accountant

Every small business should know when to hire an accountant. In general, it’s advisable to meet and build a relationship with a certified public accountant (CPA) at least once to cover the basics of your business. There are also specific reasons why you should hire an accountant, such as when you need to make critical business decisions and handle key tax documents that will face government scrutiny. The experts here at Marshall Jones have created this guide to help you learn the ins and outs of when you should hire an accountant.

Commonly Outsourced Business Functions

The goal of partnering with a CPA is to have a professional in your corner who cares about your business and is sensitive to your needs. The accountant should understand how to meet you where you are currently and help you achieve your future goals.

A CPA can help you with many practical business and tax tasks, including: 

  • Advisory services: If you need to make a significant accounting or business decision, you can hire a CPA to review your strategy with you and consult on potential advantages and pitfalls. 
  • Audit and assurance: An accountant can help you audit your books and ensure you’re meeting regulatory compliance requirements for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your state, lending agencies and more. Accountants can also properly prepare income tax returns, financial statements and sales tax returns. 
  • Entity and tax structure: If you need to discuss your tax structure to maximize value for your entity, a CPA can help. 
  • Mergers and acquisitions: Mergers and acquisitions have complex regulations to manage when considering debts and taxes you will acquire in the process. An accounting professional can help you anticipate these expenses. 
  • Outsourced accounting: Outsourced accounting allows you to farm out your internal bookkeeping, recordkeeping and accounting tasks to a CPA firm. Teams can perform your functions on-site with your employees or off-site to meet all your accounting needs. 
  • Accounting information systems: Many firms use accounting information systems to redesign your accounting processes for optimal performance. They can even handle all the accounting functions for your business on your behalf. 

Hire an Accountant for Your Small Business Today

For more than three decades, Marshall Jones has served the Atlanta business community with integrity and excellence through CPA accounting and audit services. Our capabilities include outsourced professional accounting solutions, audit and assurance, tax planning and preparation and professional bookkeeping and consulting. 

Ready to find out more? Reach out to our team online and schedule your appointment today to get started. 

Tips for Accounting Students From the Partners at Marshall Jones

As a college student, you have a lot of navigating to do when entering the workforce. That’s why the partners at Marshall Jones want to offer you some tips as an accounting major! Since beginning their own accounting careers, our partners have gained valuable knowledge, and they want to bestow their wisdom upon you. Consider these tips as you continue your accounting education and career.

1. Study, Study, Study

As a student, you’re probably no stranger to studying. However, much of the studying mentality revolves around studying material to pass a test. Our partners at Marshall Jones want to suggest that you should study to learn, not just to pass your exams. One of our audit partners, Nathan, admitted, “The thing I realized after I graduated was that the material actually mattered in the field I was pursuing. I had to research things I should have known because of that test mentality that I had [in college].”

Studying to learn the material will benefit you in the future and make you more knowledgeable after your exams end. It also allows you to hone highly sought-after accounting skills before entering the field. Rather than spend time relearning these skills later, you should take the free time you have now to ensure you’re ready for the accounting world.

2. Know Which Degree You’re Getting

Some schools have more than one version of an accounting degree. To become a certified public accountant (CPA), you need a certain amount of credit hours. While a few states allow accounting majors to take the CPA exam after completing the standard 120 credit hours of a bachelor’s program, most states require 150 hours through a master’s program. Make sure you know what degree you need. 

Either way, try to complete all your schooling at once so you’ll be eligible to get your CPA license right away.

3. Network With Professionals

Randy, another audit partner at Marshall Jones, emphasizes that “relationships are everything.” Join honors fraternities, attend expo events and take advantage of professional gatherings. These are all great ways to network and meet new people who could potentially help you with job or advancement opportunities. Nathan also suggests, “Make sure to focus your attention on networking events that will benefit you in the search for your accounting position,” instead of attending just any networking event.

4. Embrace Speech Classes

We know public speaking classes are among the least popular courses. However, having confidence when speaking with peers, coworkers and clients is an important skill to have. Kristen, a partner of firm administration, shares, “Clients are the backbone of everything that you do. So, you want to be able to talk with them, build relationships, build the trust with them. A lot of that comes from just how you explain things or discuss things with them.” 

You’ll do a lot of speaking as a public accountant, so use speech classes as a beneficial tool to help build skills early. 

5. Know Mistakes Can Lead to Future Success

We think this tip is important because of its versatility. Randy reminds accounting students, “Realize that mistakes are often steps to future success. Everybody makes mistakes, but the key is to learn from them so that they’re not repeated.” Embrace the possibility of making mistakes, as they’re meant to teach you valuable lessons, even if they don’t always seem like it in the moment.

6. Be Involved and Build Your Resume

During your time in college, be sure to join clubs and become a leader in that club if possible. Susan, one of our tax partners, tells students that “belonging to clubs demonstrates personal skills, [so] if you are an officer of the club it demonstrates leadership skills, [and] charitable activities show character.” These are all great ways to build your resume, which Susan suggests is something accounting students should begin to think about during their first couple years of college.

7. Get Internships

One of the most important tips the partners at Marshall Jones have for accounting students is to get internships — more than one if possible. These opportunities can be valuable for several reasons. Susan encourages students to get more than one internship because you’ll have “more information to determine the precise area of accounting you would prefer.” 

Kristen also suggests getting an internship because “you’re going to get a firsthand feel for how CPA firms work, especially if you’re interested in working in public accounting.” More importantly, internships provide you with valuable work experience, and you can apply the things you’re learning in school. 

These positions allow you to understand the nature of the business and what you should expect from this field. 

8. Understand the Accounting Industry

Get to know the accounting industry. Understand the different divisions of accounting — auditing, tax and consulting — to determine which might be most interesting to you. Think about what you want in your career. After five years with a CPA firm at the beginning of his career, Charlie, one of our founding partners, realized that real estate development was something he was interested in, so he made the change. Therefore, he suggests that if there’s a specific industry you know you’re passionate about, pursue it.

Greg, a managing partner, encourages accounting students to understand the types of firms because they’re all different. “CPA firms often take on the personalities of their leading partners, and this leads to a great variety between CPA firms and their cultures.” Because of how different every firm can be, it’s also essential to understand yourself so you can find a firm that will be the best fit for you as you build your accounting career.

9. Realize There’s No Rush to Figure It All Out

If you’re struggling to determine what aspect of accounting you’re passionate about or feel unsure about which firm you want to join, we’re here to assure you there’s no rush to have your whole career figured out. Greg emphasized this idea: “…The answers about what kind of firm you want to join and what kind of accountant you want to be cannot always be known until after you start your career.” It’s important to remember many people don’t have the answers at first — and that’s OK!

Start Your Career at Marshall Jones

As you approach the end of your college career, consider starting your accounting career at Marshall Jones. Our team of CPAs and advisors creates a supportive environment for you to find what you’re passionate about. Learn more about our team to discover why we’re the right move for your career.

Why Your Company Can Benefit from Outsourcing Your Accounting Department

In 2020 businesses look to technology to perform or aid performance in every department. Video conference calls replace meetings, instant messaging replaces having to interrupt someone by walking to their office and more and more companies are going paperless with the utilizing cloud-based technology. 

As technology changes a large part of how businesses operate, the advantages of outsourcing accounting and financial management become more compelling. Outsourcing these functions allow a business to spend more time on their core business operations, customer service, business development and other activities that directly impact a company’s growth.

Below we will discuss the top 5 reasons you should outsource your companies accounting in 2020.

1. Avoid Having a Full Accounting Department on the Payroll

One of the biggest things to consider when outsourcing your accounting department is the savings you will have. When you outsource your accounting needs, you no longer have the overhead of that department on your books. That saves your company from paying the salary and benefits that the department would be using. 

2. You Can Be As Involved as You Want 

When you outsource your accounting department, you have a team working for you. At Marshall Jones, we work with you to determine how we can best suit your needs. We can send reports weekly, monthly, or quarterly and are always available to call, video conference, email and, of course, meet in person.

3. Financial Consultation by a Team of Professionals 

Outsourcing your accounting will only add to your company’s financial knowledge. Instead of a static group working on your financials, you can have a dynamic team that values keeping up with the industry best practices. Marshall Jones works with a wide variety of companies and industries, allowing us to understand and consult on strategic business decisions.

4. Dedicated CPAs Who Are Up To Date on the Latest Tax Laws

Do not worry about keeping up with the ever-changing tax laws. Hire a team that with the expertise to not only file your taxes for you, but help you plan and prepare during the year and work with you to find deductions you may not know you qualify for. Outsourcing guarantees that you are keeping up with the latest financial practices and tax laws while eliminating many manual processes that are inefficient.

5. Have All of Your Financials at the Touch of a Button

With the cloud-based technology used today, your financials are only a click away even when your tax team is across town in Atlanta and Alpharetta. With the advances in communication technology and the ability to share files, records and documents in seconds, outsourcing your accounting makes a lot of sense.

Are you a business in Atlanta or Alpharetta, Georgia looking for the best way to improve your financials in 2020? Contact the Certified Public Accountants and Advisors of Marshall Jones today to discuss all of your business’ needs.