A young woman works on a laptop to prepare her small business for the upcoming year

How to Prepare Your Small Business for the New Year

Business Resolutions Start Now

The end of the year is a bustling time for small business owners. Between skyrocketing holiday sales, extended hours, and juggling multiple duties, it can be difficult to find a moment to stop and think about preparing for 2022. 

Where do you start? What metrics can be used to predict and measure success? What steps can be taken to effectively prepare your business for the new year? 

Planning for the new year may seem overwhelming. Xendoo can give you your time back. In this blog post, we will help you strategically chart your path for success, so you can be ready for a new year of growth!

Review Financial Performance

To prepare for the future, take a look at the past year. Analyze your business’s performance from the previous year by reviewing your key financial statements.

  • The Balance Sheet summarizes a business’s assets, liabilities, and equity at a specific point in time. This statement provides insight into cash, inventory levels, Accounts Payable (money owed to others) and Receivable (money owed to the business owner), credit card and bank balances, and the equity in the company.
  • The Profit & Loss Statement outlines the revenue and expenses a business incurred during a specific period, which provides insight into the business’s profitability. It can be used to track and strategically plan for financial trends, such as seasons of high and low demand.  
  • The Cash Flow Statement provides visibility into when cash flows into and out of a business, and how cash balances have changed over a specific time period. It can also be used to project and prepare for the cash needs of the business.

These financial statements illustrate how your business performed throughout the year and reveal hidden opportunities for growth. The best practice is reviewing the financial reports on a monthly basis, as they gauge your business’s financial health and provide insights to timely decision making. 

Click here for more details on the financial statements. 

Forecast Cash Flow and Create a Budget

Cash flow represents the money that flows into and out of your business over time, and is crucial for ongoing business success. For more information on cash flow, click here

Like the financial statements, look at the past to plan for the future. Your cash flow history can be used to create a cash flow forecast, understand and predict upcoming cash needs, and create a budget for the new year. 

Healthy cash flow ensures that you will have the cash you need, when needed.

Understanding your cash needs and budgeting accordingly enables you to meet your financial goals and obligations, and continue to grow your business. 

Prepare for Tax Season Now

The earlier tax preparation starts, the greater the savings will be when tax season arrives. Start by taking a look at your financial statements and tax bills from previous years, which will provide an idea of what will be owed this year. From there, you can start setting aside money to reduce tax season surprises.

Up-to-date bookkeeping allows for tax-readiness throughout the year. Having income and expenses organized will save time and prevent confusion and stress when tax season arrives. 

Lastly, consider partnering with an online accounting service. Get access to an expert team that provides all-in-one bookkeeping, tax preparation, filing, and consulting, so you can make informed business decisions and maximize your savings all year long!

Outsource Your Bookkeeping 

Small business owners cover multiple responsibilities, one of the most stressful and time-consuming of which is bookkeeping. If you would like to take back 4 to 6 hours a month to focus on growing your business, now is the time to outsource your bookkeeping!

An online bookkeeper takes bookkeeping off your plate, so you can spend your time actively working on your business. They also provide monthly financial statements, delivering financial visibility and the actionable insight needed for long-term business growth. 

Online bookkeepers also provide catch up bookkeeping services to get previous years’ books in order. Whether you are behind a few months or years, Xendoo will bring your financials up to date so you can strategically plan for the future.

Spend the New Year with Xendoo

It is time to crush your business resolutions! Xendoo has your back with online bookkeeping, accounting, and tax services. Allow us handle the hassles while you focus on what you love to do: growing your business, all year round!

We would love to get to know you and your business. Schedule a call with one of our online accountants to get started.

Year-End Bookkeeping and Accounting Checklist for Small Business Owners

The end of the year is a hectic time for small business owners. Between catching their breath after tax season and managing holiday traffic and sales, year-end bookkeeping and accounting tasks understandably fall to the bottom of the to-do list. 

Xendoo is here to help you avoid the year-end scramble. Check out our checklist to organize your finances and successfully wrap up the year! 

Get Your Books Caught Up

The first step toward new year readiness is ensuring that your books are up-to-date, which can be done by:

  • Accounting for all bills and invoices, even if they have yet to be paid. 
  • Reviewing bank and credit card statements to confirm that they match. 
  • Recording any expenses that were paid for using personal funds. 

Accurate records ensure reliable financial statements. If your books are behind a few months, or even years, you are not alone. 25% of business owners are behind on their books. Xendoo is here to help. Our online bookkeepers provide catch up bookkeeping services, so you can focus on the future. 

Collect the Necessary Forms 

Once January arrives, your accountant will request certain forms in order to close your books and file your small business taxes. Be sure to collect them as soon as possible to ensure a smooth start to the new year.

 

Form W-2

Form W-2 is used by business owners to report salary information for their employees, as well as the taxes that are withheld from their paychecks. Employees need this information to file their personal tax returns

 

Business owners are responsible for sending this form to the IRS. Employers are required to provide the form to their employees no later than January 31st, so that employees have enough time to file their taxes.

 

Form W-9 

If you worked with an independent contractor or vendor, and paid them $600 or more, you will report those payments to the IRS using Form 1099-MISC. The information needed to complete this form is listed on Form W-9, which can be collected from your contractors.

If any W-9s are missing, be sure to reach out to your independent contractors and have them complete the form before the end of the year.

 

Schedule K-1

CPAs provide the Schedule K-1. It is used by S-Corporation shareholders and partnership members to report their share of the business’s profits and losses, and is included with your personal tax return.

 

Form 1009-K

The 1099-K tracks the payments received through third-party payment networks, like eBay, Stripe, Shopify, PayPal, and others. You will receive one 1099-K from each of the Online Payment Networks you use, and you are required to complete each one. Your gross receipts must be reported to be at least as high as the amount reported on your 1009-K.

The 1099-K shows gross sales, which is the amount before fees are deducted. What appears in your bank account is the Net Amount, the amount after fees are deducted from the Gross Amount. The sales from each vendor must be reported as the Gross Amount, which is what appears on the 1099-K.

Click here to download our Tax Documentation Checklist.

Follow Up on Past-Due Invoices

Review past-due invoices to see what you are owed. If there are any outstanding payments, reach out to your customers before the end of the year to successfully close your books. 

Account for Inventory

If your business stores inventory, perform an end of year inventory count to make sure your totals match your Balance Sheet and your books. This review will provide insight for waste and loss management, as well as reduce inaccuracies in inventory counts and receivings.

Consider utilizing an inventory management software to streamline inventory creation and order fulfillment.   

Review Your Financial Statements

Once your bookkeeping is completed, review your financial statements to confirm your numbers are correct and that you are utilizing accurate data. You can also take that time to review how your business grew over the course of the year. Was there a steady increase in profits? Can you identify connections in your costs and sales? The financial statements provide visibility to confirm that you are on track to meet your goals, make projections, and prepare for the future.

Click here to learn more about the key financial statements. 

Reach Out for Help

Everyone deserves a supportive team of people who care. If the year-end scramble has you feeling overwhelmed, reach out to an online bookkeeping service. It is an excellent resource for accurate financials and time-saving solutions! 

Xendoo’s bookkeeping and accounting team provides consistent monthly bookkeeping and timely, accurate financial reports, delivering financial visibility all throughout the year. This provides the insight needed to make the most informed decisions for your business.

Ring In Success

Now that the year-end bookkeeping and accounting checklist is complete, you are ready to welcome a new year of successful growth! We would love to partner with you as your online bookkeeping, accounting, and tax team! 

Schedule a call with one of our online accountants to get started. 

Two men go over real esate regulations at their desk.

A Complete Guide to Reading Financial Statements

Two men go over real esate regulations at their desk.

You’ve been in business for a while, and your next steps require you to obtain a small business loan. Your lender responds to your request favorably but asks to see your company’s recent balance sheet. 

With little experience in reading financial statements, this request makes you freeze in your tracks, uncertain of how to express the success of your growing business.

If this scenario sounds in any way relatable, it’s time to become more familiar with the process of reading financial statements. The better you understand these documents, the better you’ll understand your business. We’ll help you learn to read and interpret your financial statements and show you how they impact your company.

What Financial Statements Are

If knowledge is power, then the strength of your small business lies in your ability to generate and analyze financial reports. Think of these documents as the “report card” for your company. 

That analogy might conjure up some unpleasant memories for some, but the point is simple: just as a report card shows areas of strength and weakness, your financial statements show areas where your business is thriving, as well as highlight areas that could use some attention.

Your financial statements, therefore, contain valuable information about your company’s financial health. You can use this information to learn from the past and devise a strategy for your company’s future.

What sort of business financial statements will you be expected to read as a business owner? Typically, your company will rely on three basic types of financial statements. These are:

  • Balance sheets
  • Income statements (also called “profit and loss statements”)
  • Cash flow statements

Each of these documents describes your company’s finances, just through a different lens. The process of reading financial statements can help you better understand where your money came from, how much money you have at the moment, and any liabilities you have moving forward.

Why Leveraging Understanding of Financial Statements Is Important 

While accountants and financial professionals use these statements all of the time, small business owners need to be familiar with the core documents that govern their finances.

In this article, we’ll provide a beginner’s guide to reading financial statements. We’ll cover the three main documents you should be familiar with and touch briefly on shareholder reporting.

Balance Sheets

Your company’s balance sheet is one of the most basic and comprehensive financial statements you’ll be reading. Accounting software will set up a balance sheet according to the following equation:

Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders’ Equity

Typically, your company’s assets will be listed on the left side of the balance sheet, while liabilities and the shareholders’ equity will be listed on the right. However, it’s not unusual for some companies to list these categories from top to bottom. Let’s explore each of these three elements in greater detail. 

Assets refer broadly to anything your company owns. Assets include your company’s money, as well as anything you own that can be sold or converted into cash. Naturally, this includes cash and extends to various types of physical and even non-physical property. Assets can include such items as:

  • Physical property/retail space
  • Product inventory
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Trademarks/patents
  • Business investments

Assets can be further broken down into current and noncurrent assets. Current assets include anything that your company can convert to cash within a year. 

Non-current assets refer to items that a company does not anticipate converting to cash. This category would include “fixed” assets, which are those things needed to run the business.

Liabilities, by contrast, refers to money your company owes to others. This category contains financial obligations that include:

  • Money borrowed from a bank
  • Rent owed for the use of a building or commercial space
  • Money owed to vendors for supplies and materials
  • Payroll money owed to employees
  • Taxes
  • Costs for environmental cleanup projects
  • Any obligations to provide products or services for customers.

Liabilities can also be broken down into current and long-term liabilities. Current liabilities generally refer to money owed within the year, while long-term liabilities refer to money owed over longer periods.

The difference between a company’s assets and liabilities is referred to as the shareholders’ equity, sometimes called the “book value” or simply the net worth.

Thus, your balance sheet forms a comprehensive snapshot of your company’s finances at any given point in time. When reading financial statements, you’ll likely start with your balance sheet and then turn to other sources of information for more detailed reporting data.

Income Statements

An Income statement (also known as a “profit and loss statement”) records the impact of revenue, financial loss, and business expenses over a given period. While this period is often a year or a full quarter, larger enterprises might regularly generate them to keep ahead of any noticeable trends. 

Your income sheet is commonly included as part of a quarterly or annual business report and has two general uses. First, an income statement can be used to evaluate your company’s overall profitability and may highlight areas for improvement, such as areas where you should minimize overhead costs for the sake of the business.

Secondly, income statements can help identify financial trends. For instance, there may be periods of seasonal demand for certain products and services, which can be planned for in the future to capitalize on these financial patterns.

When reading financial statements of this type, it’s extremely important to understand both the structure of the document and its vocabulary. At the top of your income sheet, you’ll find the total sales revenue made during a given accounting period, let’s say a year. 

Then you go down the sheet, making deductions for each item on your list. At the bottom of the sheet, you’ll find the final amount that your company earned (or lost) during this period.

Yes, this final figure is known as the “bottom line.” But if you want to change this last figure, you’ll have to understand the types of deductions that you’ll find between your gross and net profits. Understanding your income statements will require you to understand the following key terms:

  • Revenue: How much money your company has received
  • Expenses: How much money your company has spent
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): How much it costs to make your products
  • Gross Profit: Total revenue minus COGS
  • Operating Income: Gross profit minus operating expenses
  • Income Before Taxes: Operating income minus non-operating expenses
  • Net Income: Your pre-tax income, minus the amount paid in taxes
  • Earnings Per Share (EPS): Your net income divided by the total number of shares
  • Depreciation: How much value your assets have lost over time
  • EBITDA: Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization

If this list seems overwhelming, just look closer. You’ll see how most of these terms simply depend on one another. 

For example, calculating your gross profit will allow you to calculate your operating income, which will let you calculate your income before taxes, which you will then use to determine your net income.

In other words, as you work your way through your income statement, each step builds on the one that precedes it until you finally arrive at your bottom line.

Once you gain more experience with reading financial statements, you’ll appreciate this level of detail. Your income statements will reveal how each line item described above directly impacts the overall profitability of your business and will also highlight ways in which you can refine your business processes to minimize loss and drive revenue.

Cash Flow Statements

Cash flow statements record the movement of cash in and out of your company. This recording is a bit different from your income statement, which illustrates total profitability.

Your cash flow statement describes how much actual money your company has to work with, cash that you can need for purchasing new assets, making new investments, or simply paying the bills.

There are three distinct sections of your cash flow statement, based on the type of financial activity that it describes:

  • Operating activities
  • Investing activities
  • Financing activities

Understanding each of these sections will help you understand your cash flow statement as a whole.

Your operating activities refer to your cash flow resulting from net income or loss. Accounting for operating activities will require you to reconcile your company’s net income with the actual cash you either received or used during your operating period.

This calculation means that your cash flow statement will need to adjust your net income for non-cash items such as depreciation and other expenses, as well as record any cash used for other operating expenses or liabilities.

The result shows the movement of cash within your company during the specified period. Most software can generate cash flow statements for any given period, though they are typically prepared either quarterly or annually.

 Next, your cash flow statement records the cash movement associated with investing activities. 

This calculation generally means two things. First, it can mean purchasing long-term assets, which include property, equipment, inventory, or the purchase of securities. You would record all of these purchases on the cash flow statement to represent cash leaving the hands of a company.

Second, it can reflect a company selling any of these assets. Again, your company’s assets include anything that you can convert into cash. When this happens, your cash flow statement will record the change in the section on investing activities.

Finally, your cash flow statement will include cash flow based on financing activities. What types of activities does this include? This section can include selling your company’s own stocks or securities or borrowing from banks and other financial institutions. 

These activities are recorded as cash flowing either into or out of your company. For example, when you pay back a loan, it would be recorded here as the use of cash flow.

How Your Books Influence Your Financial Statements

Earlier, we compared your financial statements to a report card. But the reporting data will be meaningless if it’s not up-to-date and accurate. Yet because many business owners have to juggle multiple responsibilities, it’s easy to fall a little behind.

Getting caught up in your bookkeeping is the first step. Having accurate, up-to-date books will ensure that you’re able to generate meaningful financial statements. Using caught up books will let you create each of these types of reports with precision and pinpoint accuracy.

Remember, the financial reports we’ve discussed aren’t just important for evaluating your company’s past; they can be useful for drawing a roadmap for your company’s future. You should use only the best and most reliable data for generating these reports, which can then be used to refine your strategy moving forward.

 Otherwise, you’re going to be faced with quite a few headaches. Not only will you be unable to assess the financial strength of your company, but your lack of reliable reports will jeopardize your eligibility for small business loans. 

If you don’t get your books caught up by tax season, you could find yourself faced with additional tax penalties for failing to accurately report income. For this reason, many business owners discover that reading financial statements becomes a lot more reliable when they outsource their financial processes to an online firm. 

Relying on a team of experts can ensure that your books are up-to-date, accurate, and can be used to generate the kinds of reports you need to make informed business decisions.

Better Reporting, Better Business

Reading financial statements gets easier with time and experience. Soon enough, you’ll wonder how your business ever survived without these important documents. You’ll also wonder how you can improve the accuracy and immediacy of your reporting procedures.

The answer is to partner with one of the best accounting firms in the industry. Xendoo can help you catch up on your books, provide ongoing accounting services, and even provide access to advanced reporting features, so you always stay in the loop regarding your company’s financial performance.

See for yourself by signing up for our no-obligation free trial. You’ll get access to the features that can take your business from good to great and improve your trajectory for the future.

tracking business expenses on paper

The Top 8 Expense Trackers for Small Businesses

tracking business expenses on paper

Tracking business expenses is one of the smartest things you can do to take control of your company’s finances. With better organization, you’ll find that your business is more streamlined and profitable, and you’ll be dealing with fewer headaches when tax season rolls around. 

If you ever find yourself facing an IRS audit, proper tracking provides the documentation you need to validate your income and deductions.

Thanks to the many business expense trackers available, tracking small business expenses is easier than ever. You’re probably already familiar with some of the top choices on the market, but let’s take a closer look at the top 8 expense trackers for small businesses.

Expensify

Tracking business expenses often starts with saving your receipts. Expensify allows you to scan your receipts and import the details into the app. You can then organize expenses by category and create reports to highlight trends in your company’s spending patterns.

Employees can use the app to easily send reimbursement requests to supervisors and business managers, and staff will appreciate the rapid, next-day reimbursement feature offered through the app.

Expensify provides an ideal receipt-capturing solution for tracking expenses on the go, and the app can even handle foreign currency. You can also sync your company credit card, so company expenses are pulled in automatically.

 The free version of Expensify allows for a certain number of receipt scans, after which the service costs $4.99 per month.

Mint

Mint is a great free tool for independent contractors and freelancers. Mint lets you scan your bank and credit card statements and upload them directly into its expense-tracking platform.

The app lets you set budgets and financial goals, as well as track your credit score. Mint also allows users to set alerts and reminders for big purchases or remind them of due dates for time-sensitive expenses such as utility bills.

Admittedly, Mint’s features are limited, but this system can be ideal for smaller companies or the self-employed.  

QuickBooks

As a small business owner, you may already be familiar with Intuit QuickBooks as an accounting software platform. Admittedly, QuickBooks is a powerful tool and can be used to manage literally every financial aspect of your business. You can use QuickBooks to perform such processes as:

  • Running payroll
  • Accepting online payments
  • Tracking bills and expenses
  • Tax planning and preparation

The QuickBooks app also allows you to scan your receipts and import this data into the system. You can later use this data to generate expense reports and track sales tax. Business owners can expect to pay at least $12.50 per month for QuickBooks’ basic package, though this price will rise with the addition of advanced features.

Few tools are as powerful as QuickBooks, but that tends to be a double-edged sword for most small business owners. QuickBooks can be ideal for those who already have some knowledge of how to use the software or for businesses that have a team devoted to tracking business expenses and keeping up with the books.

Excel

Sometimes, the tried-and-true method works best. Microsoft Excel can be a simple, straightforward way to manage your company’s expenses without the bells and whistles of other tracking systems on this list.

The program already contains bookkeeping templates that you can start using for your small business, with spaces for recording income and expenses. Excel users can take advantage of automated formulas to perform calculations with the click of a mouse.

The data in your Excel spreadsheet can easily be migrated to other programs to allow you to create reports and share data with business partners and lenders or simply monitor your company’s finances over a long period.

The flipside to Excel is that it offers no receipt-scanning capabilities or other advanced features. This limit means that you (or your employees) will have to manually enter your expenses as they occur, which increases the possibility of data being overlooked or entered incorrectly.

Xendoo

As a small business owner, tracking business expenses can become a distraction from your core business activities. So why not outsource your books to a team of financial professionals? 

This approach, of course, is the philosophy of Xendoo, who can provide expert-level online bookkeeping services for a fraction of the cost of an in-house accountant.

How can Xendoo help you keep track of your expenses? First, the Xendoo team understands that busy entrepreneurs can sometimes get a little behind. It’s not unusual for business owners to have an envelope full of business receipts that haven’t been recorded in the books.

Getting behind in the books once in a while is perfectly understandable, but it can keep you in the dark when it comes to your company’s health, and it can become a total nightmare when you need to file taxes. 

Xendoo’s catchup bookkeeping services can help you catch up on your expenses, ensuring that your books are accurate and up-to-date.

But Xendoo can help with much more than this. When you partner with Xendoo, you’ll gain access to a team of experts who can provide ongoing services to manage all of your bookkeeping needs. 

This service can be a great help when it comes to tracking business expenses, and the Xendoo reporting tools allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of your company.

Wally

Wally is a budgeting app that has largely been marketed toward millennials. The eye-catching, colorful graphics and social networking feature mask the true power of this tool. Wally uses artificial intelligence AI to integrate your financial accounts and provide insight into your spending habits.

This tool has largely been marketed for individual use, offering young adults a snapshot of their financial priorities and helping them develop better financial discipline. But the features of this app could easily be translated to the world of business and may be great for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs.

That’s not to suggest that you can’t use Wally with teams. Wally allows you to set up groups of users and pool data, which could be useful when collaborating on projects and tracking business expenses. Wally also enables users to set due dates and send reminders, ensuring your bills are always up-to-date.

The AI reporting features could also highlight trends and patterns in your company’s finances, providing insight that can help you refine your strategy and adjust spending for future goals and projects.

Wally offers a free version, though its advanced account-linking features will require a monthly fee, starting at $3.99 or $32.99 when billed annually.

Goodbudget

As the name suggests, Goodbudget is a software platform that allows you to create and manage a budget. Goodbudget relies on what’s called “the envelope method.” This method means that you’ll develop a series of expense categories and then deduct your expenses from the appropriate category as they occur.

For example, if you have an “envelope” for supplies, you would set a monthly budget for that envelope, then subtract from that category the next time you buy printer ink. The goal, of course, is to stick to the budget for each individual envelope.

This approach makes Goodbudget one of the simplest tools for first-time users. Suppose that you’re new to the business world. In that case, Goodbudget’s intuitive “envelope” system can help you think more carefully about how to categorize your expenses and how to manage the budget of each individual category.

Unfortunately, this might mean that the app requires more attention than other services on this list. You’ll not only have to manually enter your expenses as they occur, but you’ll also have to input data into respective categories. 

Similarly, reporting features are fairly minimal, which means that you won’t be able to spot trends when tracking business expenses. This minimalism makes Goodbudget a great tool for solo entrepreneurs and freelancers but a bit lacking for growing companies.

Zoho Expense

Zoho has already been a big name in the small business community, offering a library of great tools for entrepreneurs. Zoho Expense is their solution for tracking business expenses, with some great features that make it ideal for companies of any size.

Zoho Expense allows you to scan receipts and input data as expenses occur, and you can use the built-in GPS to track mileage for your business trips. This design makes it great for business owners or employees who are on the go, and you can also set per diem rates for employees.

The reporting features are also quite advanced, offering you the ability to pin receipts to expense reports and sort expenses by category. 

The app also syncs with business credit cards to keep track of all of your business transactions. If you use other Zoho products for your business, you can integrate data to provide a powerful financial tool for your small business.

 Zoho Expense starts at $5.00 per user per month, though you’ll need a minimum of three users to deploy their service.

Do More than Keep Track

Tracking business expenses is the foundation of a good financial strategy. That’s why Xendoo offers cutting-edge solutions for today’s modern businesses. 

Our accounting services can help you stay caught up with your books and provide advanced analysis to help you optimize your business. Experience our free trial, and see why countless business owners have trusted Xendoo for their accounting needs.

Man working with a laptop

Tax Savings for Small Business Owners: Bonus Depreciation and Section 179

When making a major purchase for your business, you are expected to spread the tax deduction out over the lifespan of that purchase, which provides small tax savings over the years. But, why wait? Business owners can take advantage of Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 to invest in their businesses, resulting in an enormous tax break! 

In this blog post, we will explain how the deductions work, and how you can use them to maximize your tax savings. 

How Do the Deductions Work? 

Section 179 allows you to deduct the full purchase price from a qualifying new or used business asset, while Bonus Depreciation allows you to deduct a percentage. Currently, Bonus Depreciation is being offered at 100%, so both options will allow you to write off the entire cost of your purchase in the same year. 

There are certain criteria that the asset must meet to qualify for the deductions:

  • Tangible Items. This includes, but is not limited to, physical items such as office furniture, equipment, computer software, and business vehicles exceeding 6,000 pounds. 
  • Interior Improvements. While land and buildings do not qualify for Section 179, interior improvements do. Examples include, but are not limited to, fire alarms, security systems, roofing, and HVAC. To qualify for Bonus Depreciation, qualified improvements must have been completed after the building became operational. Building enlargements, elevators, escalators, and any internal structural framework changes are ineligible. 
  • Used for Business. Assets must be used for business purposes more than 50% of the time to qualify for Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation.

There are many major purchases that business owners can make, and claim these deductions. If you have made or plan to make a major purchase for your business and are unsure if it qualifies, speak with an online accountant at Xendoo to learn more. 

Are There Limits to the Deductions?

For 2021, Section 179 is limited to a maximum deduction of $1,050,000, and the total equipment purchased by a business cannot exceed $2,620,000. Bonus Depreciation is currently being offered at 100%, but is scheduled to decrease to:

  • 80% after December 31, 2022 and before January 1, 2024.
  • 60% after December 31, 2023 and before January 1, 2025.
  • 40% after December 31, 2024 and before January 1, 2026.
  • 20% after December 31, 2025 and before January 1, 2027.

If you are considering utilizing Bonus Depreciation, now is the time to do so, as the percentage you can claim will start to decrease soon. 

Section 179 allows you to split the deduction over time. For example, you could write off half of the purchase up front and spread out the rest over the next few years, allowing for greater flexibility on your deduction. It should also be noted that your business must have a taxable profit to claim Section 179, as the deduction is limited to your business’s net income. 

For example, if you have a net income of $60,000, and you purchased $70,000 worth of equipment, the deduction will be limited to $60,000. You can carry the remaining $10,000 deduction into the next year, as long as your income allows for it.

Bonus Depreciation requires that you deduct the entire cost within the year. However, there are no income restrictions on this deduction, unlike Section 179. Even if you make a purchase that exceeds your net income, there will not be a limit to the deduction, as it covers 100% of the purchase.  

Business owners can claim both Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation, but Section 179 must be taken first. They must also be applied to different purchases. For example, you could claim Section 179 for a business vehicle, and Bonus Depreciation for office furniture. Consult with one of Xendoo’s online Tax CPAs to discuss all your options.

Maximized Taxes. Minimize Stress. 

Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 can provide substantial tax breaks for your business. The Xendoo team is here to help you maximize your tax savings with these incredible opportunities! 

Let Xendoo handle the hassles while you put more money in your pocket and take your time back. Our expert bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs can help you navigate your financials throughout the year!

Schedule a call with one of our online accountants to get started.

Xendoo supports everyone who is battling cancer while running a business.

Business Lessons from a Breast Cancer Survivor: An Interview with Xendoo COO, Julia Aquino

Julia Aquino, Xendoo COO, poses with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month pink ribbon.

Julia Aquino, Xendoo COO, recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As we begin Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we spoke with Xendoo COO and breast cancer survivor, Julia Aquino. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. She knew that she needed a deep understanding of the disease in order to make the best decisions for her health, while also running a successful business. 

 

Armed with knowledge and clear goals for recovery, she survived and thrived through treatment. In today’s post, she shares what her experience with breast cancer taught her about business. 

Make a Plan

When Julia was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she dove into researching the disease. She learned how cancer was typed, what the terminology meant, and how the medication worked. She understood her family history, and the stage she was in. This knowledge helped her to coordinate with her doctor to create an effective plan for care and survival. It kept her focused and determined as she fought the disease. 

 

Having a business plan provides the same focus and determination to meet your goals. When you pair that determination with knowledge of your industry, audience, and competition, you can reduce your competitive risks and navigate difficulty with confidence. Your business plan is your roadmap that helps you take focused action and make informed decisions as your business grows.

Know Your Numbers

There are many numbers associated with cancer. Your staging, your white blood count (WBC), tumor marker levels, hormone levels, and FISH levels, to name a few. It can be very intimidating. Taking the time to understand your numbers and their significance will provide you with factual information so you can understand where you are, and what options you have. It reduces fear-based decision making, and brings clarity to an otherwise overwhelming situation.

 

The same idea applies to business. When you know your numbers, you can make better decisions, based on facts. Sometimes we don’t want to look at our financials because we do not understand them, or because they show we are not as profitable as we would like to be. However, there is always information that can guide our actions, and help us find solutions. Take the time to understand your key metrics and trends, measure the outcomes of the actions you take, and adjust behaviors when needed. The financial insight gained from this review can be used to effectively address issues and strategize for long-term success.

Find a Support System

Those who are battling breast cancer have a lot on their shoulders; they balance work, their lives, their hopes and fears, and their health. It can be physically and emotionally draining. The right medical team, supportive friends and family, and a healing environment can provide comfort in the most difficult moments. Finding a support system that encourages them to keep moving forward makes all the difference in the world. 

 

Likewise, business owners juggle multiple roles, including leader, sales, customer service, and even bookkeeper. Shouldering all of those responsibilities can become overwhelming and exhausting. Business owners need a supportive team who complements what they lack experience in, and takes the stress off of their plates. 

 

You do not have to do it all on your own. Build a supportive team that covers all the bases, so you can do what you do best – growing your business. In discouraging moments, your team will push you to dust yourself off and refocus on your business goals. In moments that you need to step back, they will be happy to step up to keep the business running. When you are ready to jump back in, remember the true power you have, rely on the support you are surrounded with, and keep moving forward. 

Celebrate Your Victories 

To all who are battling breast cancer, we support you and are amazed by you. You work hard every day and fight the good fight, so take time this month to remember your strength, honor your courage, and celebrate every victory, no matter the size! Every step you take moves you further into the mindset of “I can and I will”.

Watch the full interview with Julia below:

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

Questions to Ask When Looking for a CPA

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

Running your own business can be tough. Between handling staffing issues, overseeing the procurement of essential resources, and planning your next marketing campaign, you might be stretched thin — not to mention all of that dreaded accounting work that you have to do to keep your books up to date!

Like many other business owners, you might have considered using professional CPA services. Partnering with a certified public accountant is a great way to avoid tax woes and maximize the profitability of your business. However, it is essential to select the right team for the job.

With this in mind, we’ve outlined 5 questions to ask when looking for a CPA. By using the information below, you can ensure that a CPA is the right fit for your accounting needs.

What Types of Businesses Do You Typically Work With?

When you’re inquiring about CPA services, this question should be at the top of your list. While the idea of working with an accountant who has decades of experience in finance may be appealing, it is vital to make sure that the professional you choose can fully understand the unique needs of your industry.

For instance, let’s say that your organization is in the eCommerce space. Perhaps you have narrowed your search for CPA services to two top candidates. One has 20 years of experience but has never worked with an eCommerce store before and the other only has five years of experience but has primarily served online retailers. 

In general, the less experienced CPA may be better suited to handle your accounting needs, due to their industry-specific experience.

Do You Have Experience with the IRS?

While discussing the types of clients that a CPA has worked with in the past, you should also inquire about their experience with the IRS. 

Tax laws are ever-changing, which means that you need CPA services that can keep up. If your prospective accountant lacks experience with the IRS, then you may want to continue your search.

Another option is to hire a CPA to oversee bookkeeping responsibilities and an EA (enrolled agent) to deal with tax concerns. However, this will require you to vet and hire two separate entities, which can quickly add up. 

The better solution? To partner with an accounting firm that offers both tax filing and CPA services. This will be more affordable and will also ensure that all of your company’s financial needs can be managed by a single entity.

How Frequently Do You Communicate?

Like any other partnership, it is important to establish clear expectations when seeking CPA services. Before deciding on an accountant, find out how frequently you will be able to communicate with them. 

Some accountants may only reach out monthly or quarterly. More involved partners will provide you with weekly or monthly reports and will contact you periodically throughout each quarter.

Make sure that you are satisfied with the frequency and depth of communication. The last thing you want is to hire an accountant to provide CPA services, only to find that you can’t get a hold of them when an issue arises.

Do You Rely on Third-Party Accountants?

If the firm that you partner with outsources work to third-party accountants, this will impact the frequency and quality of communication. We recommend asking upfront whether the accountant will be outsourcing work related to your business. 

While there is nothing wrong with outsourcing CPA services, it is important that the provider is transparent.

How Many Hours Will You Spend on My Business?

Asking this question can help you to determine two things. First, will the CPA provide your business with the attention that it deserves? Secondly, how much are those accounting services going to cost you? 

For now, we will only focus on that first component of this question.

Ideally, you want your accountant to spend about ten hours a month on your business, if not more. Of course, this will depend on several factors, such as the CPA services that you request and the complexity of your organization. 

If you only need tax return services, then this number will be much lower. Conversely, if you hire a CPA to perform tax return, accounting, and bookkeeping services, then they may spend hundreds of hours per year on your business.

CPA services are often designed to be scalable so that you can tailor them to the needs of your company. 

In the past, an accountant was viewed as a numbers cruncher. The expectation was that they would assess your books, run some numbers, and ensure that all financial records were accurate.

However, quality CPA services involve much more than just making a series of complex calculations. The best accountants will use numerical data to provide information about your company’s performance overall. They will also take the time to explain what the numbers mean so that you can make informed business decisions.

How Much Do You Charge?

So how much does an accountant cost anyway? The answer is “it depends.” When inquiring about the costs of CPA services, you should not only ask how much they charge but also what billing format that they use. 

There are three primary billing formats that are used by accountants, which are:

Hourly Rates

Traditionally, CPA services are billed by the hour. The more complex your books are, the longer the accountant will need to spend on them. As you might imagine, this can make it quite difficult to calculate the cumulative costs of accounting services. This problem is compounded by the fact that hourly rates vary greatly among bookkeepers and CPAs.

For example, the average rate for a bookkeeper ranges from $30 to $90 per hour. CPA services are much more costly, with hourly rates fluctuating between $150 and $450.

When discussing costs, ask what the firm charges per hour. If their rates are near the top of the spectrum and your books are way behind, expect to pay several thousand dollars for the first month of services alone.

Per Engagement Fees

Depending on your experience with bookkeeping and the complexity of your business, you may only need CPA services for large projects, such as your annual tax preparation. 

In these instances, accountants generally charge flat fees. These rates may fluctuate from a few hundred dollars for a simple tax return to as much as $5,000 for a comprehensive financial audit.

Monthly Flat Fees

Perhaps the best option for small businesses is a CPA service that charges flat monthly fees. These expenses are extremely easy to work into your budget and often cost far less than an accountant who charges by the hour.

Usually, accounting firms that offer flat monthly rates have several levels of service. These tiers are divided based on your company’s monthly expenses. For example, businesses that have $20K in monthly expenses will be charged less than an organization with $80K in monthly expenses.

What Accounting Software Do You Have Experience With?

Our final question can reveal a lot about your prospective accounting partner. We are not encouraging you to choose your CPA services provider based solely on what software they use. Instead, the goal here is to find out whether they are using the latest technologies to maintain your books or if they are relying on outdated manual processes that are more likely to introduce errors.

When answering this question, the CPA firm should be able to provide you with a very nuanced answer. They should confidently answer your question while also explaining why they use the technologies that they do. 

Take this a step further and ask them how these particular programs will benefit your business. The CPA should clearly outline how the software they use will add value to your organization.

You should also find out which online bookkeeping features their preferred programs include. Comprehensive CPA services should include online bookkeeping tools that are easy for you to use. These tools should also provide valuable insights into your company’s financial health.

Lastly, find out whether they offer a free demonstration or trial. While any accounting firm can talk up their CPA services, only a select few have the confidence to offer a trial period. 

Once you have had an opportunity to interact with the software, you will know if it is the right match for your company.

Accountant CPA Services from Xendoo

Even when you know what questions to ask, finding the right online CPA services for your growing business can be tough. Thanks to Xendoo, that is no longer the case!

Our firm offers a full suite of online CPA services for small businesses, including tax return processing, accounting and booking solutions, and much more. 

Concerned that your books are too far behind? Don’t worry, we can help with that, too! Xendoo’s “Catch Up” services are designed specifically for businesses that have fallen a few months (or a few years) behind.

Xendoo can handle all of your online CPA needs so that you can stop thinking about the past and start focusing on your future. We even provide a convenient free trial so that you can see our solutions in action. Contact us today to learn more! 

A female small business owner smiles inside her boutique shop

Celebrating Women’s Small Business Month: Thoughts from Xendoo CEO and Founder, Lil Roberts

National Women’s Small Business Month celebrates women’s achievements in business, and highlights what they bring to their communities as small business owners. We took a moment to interview Xendoo founder and CEO Lil Roberts, to get insight into what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, and the importance of women leading in business. 

Build Up Your Team

What encouragement do you have for women who are in male-dominated industries? 

Shift your mindset. Do not let who dominates the industry define your role within it. Succeeding in business is all about excelling at what you do best, and building up a team that compliments the areas that you lack experience in. A multifaceted team is what makes a business thrive. When your team is growing their skills and knowledge, when your customers are happy, that is where you will find true success in your business.

It is crucial to focus on the problem that needs to be solved, and build a team that is as passionate about solving that problem as you are. That is what success looks like in every industry, no matter who it is dominated by. 

Inclusive by Nature

What is the importance of women leading in business?

Lil smiled and recalled a moment in which she had the opportunity to speak to Frances Frei, Senior Associate Dean for Executive Education at Harvard Business School. Frei shared her experience of solving problems with a team of women and immigrants, referencing studies that prove that when women lead, everyone wins. That is not to say that people and businesses cannot thrive under male leadership – they do. It simply highlights that women tend to be inclusive by nature, and adept at empowering those around them to do and be their best. This leads to the creation of supportive, passionate teams and therefore, successful businesses. 

Hats Off to You 

To all female business owners and entrepreneurs, we are rooting for you. Happy National Women’s Small Business Month from your friends at Xendoo! Take time to celebrate your business and your amazing team this month. Focus on what you love – growing your business. Xendoo has your online bookkeeping covered. 

Schedule a free consultation with one of our accountants. We would love to get to know you and your business, and partner with you as your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax team! 

 

Watch the full interview with Lil below:

franchise business owner

The Franchise Landscape by Jon Ostenson

On the heels of Covid lockdowns and quarantine, we are seeing unprecedented levels of interest in business ownership with much of this interest coming through the avenue of franchising. Year-to-date, our client placements have increased well over 50% vs. 2020, which despite Covid, saw similar levels of expansion over 2019. The vast majority of these placements have come in industries outside of food and lodging, which we will touch on later.

So who are these new franchise owners? More than ever before they represent a substantial cross-section of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. As outlined throughout media headlines, Covid has caused many across the spectrum to reflect on their current path. For many, this reflection has led to the decision point that now is the time to scratch their entrepreneurial itch.

In some cases, these newly minted business owners are jumping in with both feet, leaving their corporate roles and taking on the reins of owner-operator of a new enterprise. In other instances, they are taking a step into entrepreneurship via a ‘semi absentee’ model with the plan to put in 10-15 hours a week. The latter group is seeing business ownership as an ‘asset class. Business ownership provides tax advantages that many other investments do not. With the stock market at an all-time high, low interest rate, and only so many good real estate deals available, investors are looking at alternative options for parking their record levels of sidelined cash. 

Why are so many opting for franchising over a traditional ‘start-up’? They recognize that franchising provides them with:

• A proven playbook from which to operate.

• In some cases, a recognizable brand.

• A ‘coach’ with aligned interests on the sideline in the franchisor.

• Support and learnings of owners in other markets.

• The ability to go in with ‘eyes wide open’ via the ability to review the Franchise Disclosure Document and validate with current owners before making a purchase.

• The potential for a more attractive exit based on an apples-to-apples comparison vs. traditional startups. 

So, what industries are resonating the most with would-be business owners? I have shared in many interviews that over the past year that we have seen a leaning toward ‘Covid, Amazon, Recession resistant businesses’. 95% of our placements have been in industries outside of food and lodging. These include home and property services, automotive, health and wellness, businesses that support the senior population, children/education, and pets. There are so many unique niches within these spaces that people have never considered. In fact, through my matchmaking process, I have found that over 80% of my clients end up in a sector that they never had on their radar prior to our ‘peeling back the onion’ and building a framework from which to evaluate opportunities.

Certainly, franchising is not right for everyone. For instance, I have to explain to a handful of my clients that they are ‘too entrepreneurial’. They are not willing to live within the franchise system, desiring to put their fingerprints all over a new business. However, for many would-be business owners, the support and resulting success rate that is found in franchising prove to be a perfect fit. Based on what we are seeing both at a macro level, as well as on the ground, franchising is poised for even more strong growth in the years ahead!

 

Jon Ostenson is a consultant, investor, author, and international speaker specializing in the area of non-food franchising. He draws on his experience as both the President of an Inc. 500 franchise system and as a multi-brand franchisee in serving clients across these capacities.

Connect with FranBridge here jon@franbridgeconsulting.com   Recent podcast interview

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

Business woman working on lapto

How Do I Pay Myself and My Taxes as a Sole Proprietor?

Where to Begin?

Businesses are created because business owners have a passion that needs to be pursued.  They may be changing the world and even their own lives. Payroll, however, is most likely not their passion. Yet, every business owner faces the unique challenge of figuring out how to pay themselves.

Paying yourself as a sole proprietor can feel daunting. How much do you pay yourself? How do taxes factor in? Unless you have a side hustle as a financial advisor, it can be difficult to know where to start.

Self-Payment, Simplified

Breathe a sigh of relief. Paying yourself as a sole proprietor is not as complicated as it seems. Tax filing is simplified too! In this blog post, we will walk you through paying yourself as a sole proprietor!

 

How Do I Pay Myself?

You can pay yourself as a sole proprietor by taking an Owner’s Draw. An Owner’s Draw differs from a regular salary in that you can take money from your earnings as needed. Depending on how well your business is doing, you can take more or less, allowing for flexibility in your payments.

If your business is profitable, start by subtracting liabilities (any debt your company owes) from assets (items of value the company owns that will provide benefit in the future). The remaining amount is referred to as ownership equity, which is what you will take your draw from. Once you decide on an amount to take (more on that in a moment), it can be transferred from your business bank account to your personal account.

Because the Owner’s Draw is taken from ownership equity, it reduces the funds that can be used for the business. Sole proprietors must balance how much they need to support themselves and what their business needs to thrive.

How Much Do I Pay Myself?

To set an appropriate payment for yourself, you have to determine your projected profits. To estimate how much you can draw and when you must:

  • Set up a separate business bank account. As a sole proprietor, you do not need to incorporate or register your business. The business name will default to your legal name unless you file a DBA (doing business as), which allows you to operate under a different name. Once your DBA is set up, you can open a business bank account. This ensures that your personal and business expenses stay separate, and creates an accurate picture of your business’s finances.

 

  • Keep your books up to date. Keeping detailed records of your income and expenses will help you identify when cash flows into and out of your business, and how cash flow may change over time. An online bookkeeping service will be able to take this task off your plate, saving you time and stress. You will also receive monthly reports that give you actionable insights to help you make the best decisions for your business.

This will help you determine your projected profits and when you should take your draw. You can start out by paying yourself only what you need to meet your basic needs until your business breaks even. From there, you can increase your pay to your “market value”. You can increase your pay again once your business is producing consistent profits. How often you choose to draw is up to you. Some may follow a bi-weekly schedule, others may draw as needed. It ultimately depends on your personal preference.

How to Pay Your Taxes

Sole proprietorships are considered pass-through entities, meaning the IRS views your business, personal assets, and liabilities as one and the same. Because of this, you are only required to file a personal tax return. Income and expenses related to your business are accounted for on your individual Form 1040, Schedule C.

While the Owner’s Draw is not subject to federal or state income tax, it is also not expense-able. It will appear under the total net income of the business, which is taxable. Be aware that sole proprietors are required to withhold self-employment taxes, which contribute to Social Security and Medicare. As of right now, the self-employment tax rate is 15.3%.

So, how can you maximize your tax savings? Business tax preparation and filings are included with almost all of our packages! Your online Tax CPA takes care of filing your Schedule C that goes along with your personal tax return to itemize business deductions.

Xendoo is Here for You

The good news is that you do not have to figure it all out on your own. Xendoo Online Bookkeeping is here to help! We move at the speed of business, so you can make informed decisions faster – like deciding how much you should pay yourself as a sole proprietor! Get started with a free trial.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a free consultation with a Xendoo accountant today!

 

Want to learn more? Learn the difference between the business entity types here.