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Deb H

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About Deb H

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  • Birthday 11/26/1969

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    Northwestern PA

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  1. Curious to hear if you learned anything about this service, Candy. I have thought about it for a few clients, too, but never knew if it was more trouble than it was worth. I have one client who insists on sending me photos of their receipts from their smartphone, which I hate! The file size is enormous and the picture resolution stinks. They already have a scanner, but think the photos are "easier" ... yuck!
  2. I am personally so stressed out that I'm ready to fall over. I applaud you, Candy, for having a system! Me, I just work until I drop and then spend an hour or two on my saved-up stash of DVR-ed trashy TV episodes. My workouts have to wait until the weekend But I'll be sending out my last batch of 1099s tomorrow and it should be all downhill from there! As I told a client the other day, my mantra this time of year is "This is why August is so fun. This is why I like August." ... because nobody wants to talk to their bookkeeper in the dog days of summer!
  3. That's exactly right. Use a current asset account (or long-term asset) when you give the money out. When you receive money back, use "Make Deposits" to record the amount and apply it back against that same account. Do NOT use "Receive Payments" or any other customer screen!
  4. Generally speaking, Dianna, your payments to yourself should be structured as follows: * If you are a sole proprietorship (or an LLC taxed as a disregarded entity), then your payments are called "Owner's Draws" and are recorded in an equity account labeled as such. Bottom line, your payments are not a business expense. * If you are operating a partnership (or an LLC taxed as a partnership), then payments to the partners are called "Partner's Draws" and are recorded in an equity account labeled as such. If you pay yourself a fixed amount each week or each month, then you could alternatively consider your checks to be "Guaranteed Partner Payments" and there is an Other Expense account for such payments. * If you are operating an S-Corp or C-Corp (or an LLC taxed as a cop), then you need to be paying yourself through a proper payroll system, complete with tax withholdings and employer taxes. You would pay yourself just as if you were an employee. I hope that helps! Deb
  5. Christina: You will find that the majority of the clients seeking bookkeeping assistance use QuickBooks. Having said that, there are very few bookkeepers out there familiar with Kashoo (formerly Clarity) and Peachtree, so you would have much less competition if you were to support those products. You will also find that some clients don't care what you use, as they want you to handle everything! Hope that helps! Deb
  6. The easy answer is that COGS is also called "Cost of Sales" in companies that don't actually manufacture or sell a product. The way I like to think of it is that the COGS categories are for the cost of doing what you do while the "Expenses" categories are for overhead and operating expenses. In my small business, I sell my time and my only COGS expense is the occassional subcontractor that I hire. For a consultant, you might use COGS for subcontractors or supplies that you buy for your consulting engagements, like 360-degree assessments or handouts. In your case, the seminar could not have been put on without paying for room rental, equipment rental or handouts, so those could go into COGS. Hope that helps!
  7. First off, there are TONS of lists out on the Web of business deductions for self-employed, home-based sole proprietors, including one that I wrote as a guest blog for the Work At Home Woman site: http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/things-that-home-based-mompreneurs-can-write-off/ These lists should give you a good starting point for knowing what you can write off as a business expense and what you can't. If this is your first year of filing a Schedule C for your VA business, I highly recommend that you work with a local, reputable tax professional. They can advise you more specifically about what's deductible and what's not and teach you what receipts to save, help you set up a schedule for estimated tax payments, etc... The cost of hiring a competent professional is far less than the cost of straightening things out with Uncle Sam if you make a mistake. Also, you should realize that there are many different levels of tax professionals, with the CPA being at the most-expensive end. You can search for a local tax professional at NATPtax.org or NAEA.org and find a lower-priced preparer who has worked with small business people like you. I'm probably biased, as I'm a professional tax preparer myself. But I can tell dozens of horror stories of clients who have Turbo-tax-ed their way into big debts with the IRS, messed up returns, and hundreds of lost hours on the phone with the IRS trying to correct their accounts. I just keep shaking my head, since they would have saved so much time and money if they had just come to me (or any other competent preparer) first!! Good luck, Deb
  8. Amanda: Being an EA is super helpful when working with people who haven't filed for a while or who need to amend their return. Also, when trying to appeal penalties and other assessments, it's very helpful to "represent" the taxpayers against the IRS ... which only EAs and CPAs can do. For doing routine 1040's it isn't helpful in and of itself, but it sets me apart from all of the unregistered, unlicensed tax preparers out there. So, from a marketing perspective it is helpful. Hope that helps! Also hope you're a good student ... the test is REALLY hard! The continuing education I need to take each year to retain my certification really adds up, too ... around $350 - $400 per year.
  9. Hi, Leslie! I'm a virtual bookkeeper and an Enrolled Agent. Much like you, I started with a brick-n-mortar practice and am slowly transitioning into a virtual practice. I started with my first virtual client in May of 2008 and am now about 75% virtual with bookkeeping services. My tax prep services are stuck at only 5% virtual, though, and will probably stay that way. Good luck and welcome! Deb
  10. Jodie: I think you've gotten your answer in piecemeal fashion throughout all these comments, but to summarize: 1. Make sure you have an Expense-type account entitled "Commissions & Fees" or some such name. (Company > Chart of Accounts. Select Account > New if you need to create a new account) 2. Make sure you have 1099 tracking turned on. (Edit > Preferences. Select Tax:1099 on the left, then Company Preferences. Select "Yes" for the "Do you file 1099-MISC forms?" question. Highlight Box 7: Nonemployee Compensation. Under the Account column, select your "Commissions & Fees" account. Note that you can also select multiple accounts for this box if you choose to also track other vendors, such as your lawyer or accountant under "Professional Fees," for instance.) 3. Make sure each of your affiliates have 1099 tracking turned on. (Vendors > Vendor Center. Highlight the Vendor and select Edit Vendor. Under Additional Info, check the "Vendor eligible for 1099" box and enter their Tax ID number. Click "OK" to close.) 4. At year-end, run the 1099 Summary report to see if you have to send any affiliates a 1099. (Vendors > Print 1099s/1096. Select #3, Run Report. Note the dates of the report, in case you run the report before December 31st.) Good luck! Deb
  11. I agree with Caroline. Some businesses only need that much if they're doing their own invoicing somehow. While this won't be a meat-&-potatoes client, it might be worthwhile to take the job for the experience, the possible testimonial they could provide, the positive word-of-mouth they could give, and the opportunity to refine your in-house processes.
  12. I've used QuickBooks Online, which I really like, Clarity Accounting and WorkingPoint. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Outright and WorkingPoint are very limited in their free versions. Clarity is much more robust, but not very intuitive. I could go on. I would recommend that you check out your available options, try a couple free trials, and pick the one that works best for you. FreshBooks is a very robust invoicing program, so I'm surprised that your client had problems. Maybe you want to poke around in it on her behalf and get it straightened out. Once its setup properly, it's a dream to use. It also integrates nicely with both Outright and Clarity. If you have any questions about any of the programs I've mentioned, I'd be happy to answer questions and give you some tips Deb
  13. Each affiliate to whom you pay $600 or more in a calendar year, yes. Of course all the 1099 rules are changing at the end of 2011, but that's the rule for now Deb
  14. Jodie: Affiliate payouts are a form of commission, which is a deductible business expense. On the 2009 Schedule C, you would have reported the payouts in box 10, "Commissions and fees." Be sure to get a W-9 from each of your affiliates, as you will need to file 1099s for them at year-end if any individual's payouts exceed $600. Deb
  15. An LLC is a state-recognized entity that gives you legal protection, but it is actually ignored by the IRS for Federal tax purposes. By default, if one person sets up an LLC, it will be taxed as a sole proprietorship. If two or more people set up an LLC, it will be taxed as a partnership. Any LLC (single-member or multi-member) can file a form with the IRS to elect to be taxed as an S-Corporation or C-Corporation instead. If you didn't file this form, then you can assume that the LLC is being as the default entity. The simple thing to remember is that an LLC is like a chameleon ... it is always "taxed as" something else. Hope that helps! Deb
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