Don’t Stress Over Tax Time

Today’s tax laws can be complex and confusing. Do you have a hard time keeping up with the constant changes and revisions? What’s even more daunting is that the simplest, most innocent mistake can result in unexpected penalties.

It’s tax time, and as your business filing deadline looms, it’s important for small business owners to stay on top of current tax changes and be aware of what to watch for in the future.

What Can You Deduct?

In preparation for filing, there’s a lot for small business owners to think about, and just as many deductions to benefit from. Just to name a few:

  • Current capitalized expenses
  • Auto expenses
  • Business and professional fees
  • Bad debt
  • Insurance costs
  • Home office expenses
  • Retirement contributions
  • Meals and entertainment expenses
  • Travel expenses

The Affordable Care Act 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added an estimated 2,400 pages to the U.S. tax code, further complicating the tax landscape for businesses of all sizes. Most familiar to business owners is the tax penalties for businesses with 100 or more employees who fail to provide health insurance to full-time equivalent employees and/or not reporting to the IRS what type and the cost of coverage provided for employees. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, businesses with 59 to 99 employees will also be required to offer health insurance.

Don’t Let Taxes Trip You Up

Tax law can be complicated, but they don’t have to trip you up. Consider these tips:

  1. Think about taxes all year long. Waiting until the last minute could make thing more complicated and limit your money-saving options. 
  2. Bring in a professional. Hire a knowledgeable tax attorney or accountant who can tackle complex tax laws with ease and help you identify tax breaks and deductions you might otherwise miss. 
  3. Always be aware. Even with the help of a skilled professional, it’s your job to keep up with news related to laws.
  4. Never assume. Even though Congress has always passed the tax-extender bill at the last minute, it’s never guaranteed. Don’t make any business decisions on the assumption that tax breaks will pass. 

Sage 50 Accounting not only has its Year End Wizard to help simplify your year end processes, this business management software also helps with simplified reports for you or your accountant to help speed up your filing process.

Sage 50 with Payroll offers error-free tax filing, standardized and customized reporting features, plus support from professional payroll experts.

Calculating deductions, keeping up with changing tax laws, and easily preparing employee paychecks and reports — reducing errors and saving time with every transaction.

The Power of Customized Reporting

Put the Power of Customized Reporting to Work for You

If you’re like most small business owners, you might oftentimes find yourself feeling overwhelmed when it comes to effectively managing accounting, inventory, customers and employees. That in itself can be a full-time job.

Add running reports and analyzing all your business data to that task list and it can be down right daunting.  We are all familiar with added stress, which can also lead us to question whether we’re making sound business decisions. Are we even looking at the right data?

With the right accounting methods and software, you can rest easier. One of the most trusted is Sage 50 Quantum. It offers one of the most comprehensive reporting solutions available to small businesses,  providing access to all business information in one place. Sage 50 Intelligence Reporting (formerly knows as Sage Business Intelligence) works just like the Microsoft® Excel we’re all used to, and it’s right there within Sage 50 Quantum accounting software. (Did someone say, “pivot tables”?)

Custom Design Almost Any Report You Need

Is this different than the customized reporting feature already in Sage 50? Yes. Sage Intelligence Reporting (IR) is a supplement to the 140+ reports already available within Sage 50. And IR functionality is included Sage 50 Quantum.

When you finally get that report just right, save it and it will update real time… every single time you need it. Even combine auto reports and dashboards with KPIs – even from multiple divisions, modules and companies!

Sage 50 even has a report designer that makes life oh, so easy. With its drag-and-drop feature, reporting is simple, flexible and fast because you have the ability to customize your financial report layouts instantly.

Put the power of Sage Intelligence Reporting to work for your business so you can:

  • Get faster answers to your business questions
  • Access business metrics reports when and where you need them
  • Provide fast, invaluable detail for intuitive decision-making
  • Stay on top of cash flow
  • Gain insight into your unique customer behavior
  • Identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
  • Streamline operations and improve efficiency

6 Things Smart Managers Do to Better Manage Cash Flow

Businesses run on cash. It’s considered the lifeblood of business, and no company can survive without it. But if that cash isn’t managed properly, things can go downhill fast.  

For many managers, cash flow is about money coming in. But what they often don’t realize is that paying attention to the money going out is also a huge part of maintaining finances. As a manager, there are some things you can do to better manage cash flow for your company.

Figure out your budget

If you know your breakeven point, you will be better equipped to manage your money. Rather than focusing all your efforts on your profit, try focusing on properly managing your money.

Make collecting receivables easy

Set up a lockbox so that customers can easily send in payments. You may also consider setting up a direct payment option for repeat or long-term customers. Also, to ensure timely payments, set your invoices to net-30 or net-60 terms.

Offer incentives for early payment

This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s not. Offering an incentive of some sort, such as a slight discount, can really encourage your customers to get their payments in right away. Yes, your profit margin takes a slight hit, but overall you will come out ahead if this thwarts any non-payments.

Extend your payables

On the other hand, when it comes to your payables, try to extend your deadlines as far out as possible. Ask vendors for net-60 or even net-90 terms. Just make sure to pay on time as many vendors will charge a late fee.

Keep credit limits in check

If your business offers credit to customers, make sure to put limits on your credit lines and really evaluate each customer before approval. Check into their history and finances to determine if they can pay you on time. Non-payments will really bring your profits down and ruin your positive cash flow.

Keep good accounting records

Cash flow doesn’t just encompass your profits and losses; they should take into account your payroll and other expenses. Use a good accounting system like Sage 50 Quantum Accounting. It will give you everything you need to stay on top of your cash flow, as well as track orders and add users.

It’s great to bring in a profit, but smart managers know that staying on top of their cash flow is so much more than that. Track receivables and payables and keep good accounting records and you will be on the right course to managing your finances even better.

 

The Beauty of Archives

Sage 50 Premium and Quantum products come with advanced accounting features including advanced budgeting, archive company data, and change order processing.  Previously, we showed you change order processing earlier, so now let’s take a look at archiving company data.

Purchase orders, sales orders, and stock transactions can all be archived before closing out your year.  This will help with software processing speed plus keep your data clean.

Back Up

You should always make a back up of your data before making these types of changes to your system (within Sage 50, go to File -> backup).

If you absolutely must keep copies of your invoices and other records, consider creating .PDF copies of them and storing them in a separate digital file on your server or external hard drive.  This will free up space in Sage 50 for increased performance.

Archived company data can still be retrieved by opening the archived company from the file menu.  But by pulling it out of your current data, your system runs faster allowing you to get more done every week.

Clear the Audit Trail

Go a step further and clear the Audit Trail to remove paid and reconciled transactions to free up even more space.  Consider doing this annually to keep your system from getting bogged down unnecessarily.  This can be accessed by going to Tools -> Period End -> Clear Audit Trail.  The online wizard makes the process easy.

Advanced Security Controls for Sage 50 Accounting

Using the Built-In and Advanced Security Controls Within Sage 50 Quantum

There are several standard features in Quantum that keep your business running securely: automatic data backup, account reconciliation, and system alerts (e.g., letting you know when credit or purchase limits are reached).

However, there are a few other features you might not be using.

We all want to trust our employees, but we still need to take precaution to protect the business.  Sage 50 has a built-in audit trail that will generate logs of transaction history to allow you to see when a person enters, edits, or removes data. If you find mistakes, you’ll know to provide additional employee direction; if you find fraudulent activity, well… you can take appropriate action.

You can further limit risk by creating user profiles to allow access only to specific areas in Quantum.  You can create that for each individual employee, right down to the screen level if you need to. Or if you have a lot of employees, create role-based profiles to save time.  Either way, select from over 100 specific areas to give add, edit, view-only or no-access rights. It doesn’t take long to set up.  To get there, go to System -> Set Up Security Now.

The internal accounting review feature searches the company data for potential mistakes and fraudulent activity for you.  There are multiple system checks available and if any trouble is spotted, a comprehensive report is generated to help you to take appropriate next steps. To use this feature, go to System, in the Data Integrity section find Internal Accounting Review and click on Run Report.

With security features built into Sage 50 Quantum you can sleep better at night because you’re taking care of business.  Plus, you know the business is secure with built-in security checks, comprehensive audit trails, module- or screen-level security and role-based security controls.

Sage 50 Digital Detox

Last month, we showed you how to make vendors and customers inactive. So now is a perfect time to consider getting rid of all those unnecessary files.

If you haven’t purged data recently (or at all) consider getting rid of inactive or unnecessary data now. This is especially important if your Sage 50 system is running slower than it used to, or your company file size is getting too large. It’s a perfect time after closing out your year, but you can do this any time.

This digital detox can help increase processing speed and keep your data clean… plus save loads of time by not having to sifting through long lists of unused items.

Getting rid of data can be unnerving; and using the word “purge” certainly doesn’t help. But the data you’re removing are just inactive vendors, employees, quotes, invoices, cost codes, GL accounts, inventory items, etc. The disk space and speed is far more valuable than those old records.

If you followed the steps from last month’s post to flush out inactive records, you know there are records worth purging. If you haven’t done that yet, go ahead and do it now [link from last month’s post here]; it only takes a few minutes and definitely worth it in the long run.

So how do you do it?

  1. Sage makes it easy with a Purge Wizard that will walk you through its straightforward process.
  2. Click on Customers & Sales -> scroll down to “System” -> and then select “Purge Wizard.”
  3. The Wizard offers the opportunity to create a backup of your company files before you get started; we highly recommend you do this.
  4. Use date parameters and then choose which transactions you want to remove (including vendors, employees, inactive customers, jobs, quotes, invoices, and purchase orders).purge-wizard
  5. You will then have the option to reconcile each account before you purge data.
  6. Next, you can select which inactive records you’d like to purge.

Once the purge is complete, consider taking your system maintenance one step further and compress the data.

  1. Go to File -> Maintenance -> Compress Data
  2. Select the specific areas in the system where you removed records.

Your system should be running smoother and more efficiently. If not, you may need a more robust accounting solution to handle larger data requirements.

Call 866-686-1329 or e-mail us at sales@quantumbuyers.com to help you understand all the options available to you. The new Sage 50 Quantum handles remarkably well; you might be amazed at how much more productive you could be.

 

photo attribution: gcpics/dollarphotoclub

Tips for Using Sage 50 Quantum Accounting Like a Pro

Keyboard shortcuts are always a popular request, so we’ve compiled a list of the handiest keyboard shortcuts available in most versions of Sage 50 Quantum Accounting.

Sage 50 Quantum keyboard shortcuts can be difficult to get used to at first, but once you get them programmed into your brain, you’ll find yourself faster than ever.  Some of the standard keyboard shortcuts that you’ve been using forever in Microsoft Word are also relevant in Sage 50 Quantum too.  We’ve listed a few common ones below.

Sage 50 Accounting Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ctrl + X:  Cut
  • Ctrl + C:  Copy
  • Ctrl + V:  Paste
  • Ctrl + O:  Open a company
  • Ctrl + N:  New company
  • Ctrl + B:  Backup company
  • Ctrl + R:  Restore company
  • Ctrl + F:  Find
  • Ctrl + P:  Print whichever invoice, report, payment or quote is displayed

In addition to the keyboard shortcuts above we’ve compiled a helpful list of keyboard and function key shortcuts as well as a helpful list of other general tips.

Go here to download the full Sage 50 Quantum Accounting keyboard and function key shortcut list.

How Sage 50 Quantum Can Make a Big Difference in Business

Posted by: Jaima Grabner on November 5, 2014

It can be risky for businesses to undergo major redevelopments without some assurance that the changes would lead to profits; that is why they need suitable accounting software to give themselves a better view of their current situation. One popular restaurant franchise experienced such a drastic makeover, according to an article on the Forbes website, dated November 5, 2014. The article elaborates that this particular restaurant chain’s franchisees were initially skeptical of the bold new changes their brand was taking, but thanks to powerful software, they were finally convinced:

Photo

It took two trying years of negotiations to win them over. In one meeting a veteran franchisee railed against a chicken special, yelling at Bachelder, “You nearly bankrupted the system!”

Her counterpunch: data. With new accounting software in over 1,000 restaurants Bachelder could prove the promotion generated record operating profit. The system tracks restaurant profitability and delivers detailed quarterly reports comparing franchisee results against regional and national averages. Many chains don’t gather such data. “Popeyes is the true poster child for how collaboration produces for both parties,” says Aziz Hashim, a fast-food franchisee in Atlanta for 20 years, who sold off his other stores since coming to Popeyes in 2009.

Accounting software can do more than just help businesses maintain their financial records. Depending on its features, the software also provides an in-depth look at the growth and development of the business—invaluable data for when the company is at a crossroads and needs to make an informed decision. Businesses, therefore, should also consider using accounting software with features that will serve them well, such as Peachtree Quantum systems (now known as Sage 50).

Versatile Peachtree Quantum software (Sage 50) boasts a suite of functions to allow business owners to handle all matters of accounting—such as invoices, employee payment, check printing, and more—with just one software package. Not only does this offer a more streamlined process by eliminating the need to use other software, but it also means that all business transactions will be recorded in detail by Sage 50. The archived and comprehensive reports that the software can produce will come in handy for when businesses need to reassess themselves. This useful system can be purchased from licensed software resellers such as Quantum Buyers.

(Source: KFC Killer: How Popeyes Reinvented Itself To Win The Fried Chicken War, forbes.com, Nov. 5, 2014)

Sage 50 Accounting 2015 Simplified Product Line

If you’re currently using Sage 50 Complete:

Sage 50 simplified its product line, removing Sage 50 Complete from the 2015 line-up.  Not to worry, if you’re on Sage Business Care, you will automatically get the new Premium product.

If you’re looking to upgrade, the step up to Sage 50 Premium has minimal cost implications and provides several added features to help you run a more streamlined, efficient business.  Those include: audit trails, job costing, change order processing, departmentalized financial statements, serialized inventory, advanced budgeting and even the ability to open multiple companies.

If you’re currently using Sage 50 Premium for Manufacturing, Distribution, Construction or Nonprofit:

The reports and functionality specific to Manufacturing, Distribution, Construction and Nonprofit previously found in Sage 50 Premium vertical products are now available only with Sage 50 Quantum Edition.

If you’re already on Sage Business Care, you will automatically get the new Sage 50 Quantum.  Otherwise, you’ll need to choose Sage 50 Quantum when you upgrade.  Quantum has all the same features plus more robust accounting and reporting functionality not found in previous products including role-based security, order process workflow, and interactive job reporting.

More Choices of User Licenses

In addition, Sage made it easier to fit your business and your budget. Now you can choose the number of user licenses your business needs, even single-user licenses, and you can also choose monthly or annual subscription options.

You’ll be able to start with a fresh, upgraded product and all your data will remain intact, while continuing to work with payroll and merchant services.  If you have any questions, we can help you make the right product decision and guide you through any transition.