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How to Track Your Business Expenses: A Simple Guide for You and Your Business

How to Track Your Business Expenses: A Simple Guide for You and Your Business

As the owner of your own business, you’re going to be spending a lot of your time and money on it. You need to keep track of all these expenses to accurately report them when you file your taxes at the end of the year.

You can deduct many expenses related to running it. These are called “business expenses,” and they can be quite beneficial to your bottom line. The trick is tracking them and documenting them correctly, so that come tax time, you are ready to receive the benefits.

Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t take the time to document their expenses until after they have already paid their bills. This won’t help when tax season comes around, which is why we want to give you a hand with getting started now! Here is a quick guide on how to track your business expenses and what type of expenses you should keep track of in order to do so.

 

What Is a Business Expense?

Business expenses are any costs related to running and managing your business. These costs can include your office rent, utilities, insurance, employee salaries, equipment, travel costs, and other expenses that directly relate to your business’s operation.

Usually, only the amount that is above your typical, expected costs is considered business expenses. Your expected costs are what your business would cost you if you didn’t run it. Many of these costs have associated write-offs you can take advantage of by properly tracking them.

Business expenses are deducted from your income when calculating taxes at the end of the year. This lowers how much you owe the government, resulting in a lower tax bill.

 

Where to Track Your Business Expenses

There are countless apps and websites that you can use to track your business expenses. You could write them down on paper or use a virtual notebook, like Evernote. However, this could result in lost notes.

There are also some specialized apps designed to help you track your business’s expenses. These apps are usually designed specifically for tracking business expenses, so they may have features that others don’t.

Until you know which app you want to use, consider using your email. That way, when you need information, you can forward it to yourself for almost instant access to it while you sort through the apps that can help.

After a quick search for business expense tracker apps, you will likely find names like QuickBooks Expense Tracking, Rydoo, Zoho Expense, and Ramp, to name a few. You will have to sort through the apps to see which will be easiest for you and your business to accurately track each expense without taking so much time that you put off doing it.

Protea Financial Track Business Expenses

How to Track Your Business’s Expenses for Taxes

In order to properly track your business expenses, you’ll need to know which ones to track. Here is a basic list of common business expenses that you should keep track of for your taxes:

  • Office Rent and Utilities: You can deduct money for each square foot of your office space. You can also deduct any utility expenses that are directly related to your business.
  • Office Supplies: Any office supplies you use for your business can be deducted as a business expense. This includes things like pens, paper, printer ink, etc., so make sure you always keep receipts for each of these purchases.
  • Employer Taxes: You can deduct the employer portion of your payroll taxes. This includes things like Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • Employees’ Retirement: Any amounts you contribute to your employees’ retirement accounts can be deducted from your taxes. This includes 401(k)s and SEPs.
  • Insurance Premiums: Amounts you pay into your insurance premiums should also be tracked to reduce your future tax bill.

 

Advertising and Marketing Expenses

Advertising and marketing expenses are essential business expenses that many people overlook. You can deduct these expenses as long as they are reasonable and related to your business.

Advertising and marketing can include anything from buying ad space on a billboard to paying for an ad on a website. It can also include things like hiring a branding agency to design your logo and branding materials. Hiring a social media agency to promote your business also falls into this category.

You can also deduct any online marketing costs that are related to your business. This includes things like buying ad space, hiring a marketing firm to increase brand awareness, or buying products from Amazon to resell and promote them as an affiliate.

 

Office Supplies and Equipment

Office supplies and equipment are another necessary business expense that you need to track. This is another expense you should track so long as it is reasonable and related to your business.

You can deduct things like printer ink, paper, and toner cartridges. You can also deduct the cost of office furniture, your computer, and other equipment that is related to running your business.

Another thing you should be aware of is that you can depreciate certain assets over time. This is when you deduct a portion of an item’s cost each year over its expected life span.

Protea Financial Small Business Receipts Protea Financial Common Business Expenses

Travel and Entertainment Costs

While you could deduct travel-related expenses related to your business, you can only deduct 50% of the amount that exceeds the standard deduction. This means that if you travel for work and spend $1,000 on travel, only $500 of that can be deducted from your taxes.

Entertainment costs, however, are a bit different. You can deduct most reasonable expenses related to your entertainment, but only up to the amount of income that you earn. This means that if you make $100,000 and spend $10,000 on entertainment, you can only deduct $10,000 of those expenses from your taxes, no matter how many tickets or dinners you bought.

 

Professional Services

Professional services are another important business expense. This includes things like hiring an accountant, a lawyer, or hiring an outside firm to manage your website and engage with your social media followers.

It also includes hiring a bookkeeper to manage your finances and keep track of your business expenses. Having a good bookkeeper is as essential as having a good accountant. They keep track of your expenses and workflows in order to help you avoid silly mistakes and oversights.

You can deduct the cost of these services from your taxes, just like any other business expense. You might want to consider having your bookkeeper and accountant bill you for their services instead of paying them up-front each month.

 

For Help Tracking Your Business Expenses, Contact Protea Financial Today!

Business expenses are any costs related to running and managing your business. To properly prepare for your taxes, you’ll need to track all these expenses.

Many of these have associated write-offs you can take advantage of by properly tracking them. For help keeping track of your business expenses, contact Protea Financial. We can help keep your business organized so you can focus on growth and customer engagement.

Let Protea Financial Help Teach You How to Track Your Business Expenses Properly

When you need help learning how to track your business expenses properly, it’s essential you learn from the people who track them for a living. Let the experts here at Protea Financial teach you how!

Tips to Make Your Month-End Close Processes Easier

Tips to Make Your Month-End Close Processes Easier

Month-end processes are often a source of stress for finance teams. Many organizations find month-end processes challenging, which is why it is important to put processes in place early and consistently.

If that sounds like your month end, you’re not alone – many businesses will face similar challenges. While most accounting departments dread the end of the month, an organized team can make things much easier on themselves at this time of the year. Here are some tips to reduce stress and streamline your month-end close processes.

 

What Are the Most Common Month-End Processes?

Month-end processes are standard parts of the business cycle. You may need to process payments, collect receivables, make payroll, or do regulatory filings at the end of each month. These tasks are often automated in modern businesses but can still be time-consuming and tedious for employees to complete.

  1. Collect payments: Businesses must collect monthly payments from customers if they want to stay fluid. This process can be automated, but it should also have enough human oversight to ensure that everything is current and no payments slip through the cracks.
  2. Write checks: This is often the most tedious process in any business. A lot goes into writing a check, from calculating the proper amount to getting each check sent out appropriately.
  3. Process invoices: Processing invoices involves reading invoices and making sure they are accurate before you pay them. Then there are calculating payment amounts, which can be a challenge for many small business owners who aren’t used to doing it manually.
  4. Pay taxes: Taxes are a hassle every year, no matter how well organized you are. You need to calculate sales tax and ensure all the correct forms have been filed. You also need to track sales receipts to know where your money is going and whether it’s being spent appropriately.
  5. Process credit card payments: When you accept credit cards, it’s important to process them quickly and accurately so that you don’t lose any money. In addition to earning more money from quickly processing these cards, quick and accurate processing of card transactions can help you avoid costly chargebacks. A chargeback happens when a card customer disputes a purchase and gets their money back. It can be expensive for businesses to deal with chargebacks, especially if they are accused of fraud. It’s, therefore, important to keep careful records of all your transactions, monitor your risk, and stay above the minimum transaction amounts for each card type.

Protea Financial Month End Close Process Easier

Organize Your Data

There are many examples of disorganization leading to errors and delays in month-end processes. If you can’t find something, you could be heading towards mistakes, such as incorrect calculations, incorrect payment amounts, and misapplied bank credits.

If you are experiencing issues, you may need to re-examine how you store data to find what you need when needed quickly. Organize your data to ensure that information is easily accessible and can be understood.

There are many ways of organizing data, so choose an approach that suits your organization. Some standard methods include data tables, dictionaries, and architecture models. Data tables are simple tables that show how data is used. Data dictionaries are more prescriptive and indicate what data should look like. Data architecture models show how information is delivered and consumed.

 

Automate Processes Where You Can

Many month-end processes can be automated to save time and reduce human error. For example, you might have a process to check your customers’ payment terms. This process might involve a person looking up the details for each customer.

You could instead automate this process and use data tables to select the customer details from the data table and have the system look up the payment terms automatically. You could use automation to schedule the payment or even generate the payment and send it to the customer.

It could save significant time and effort in areas where automation is available. Some processes may be more challenging to automate. If so, consider if they can be simplified. A more streamlined process will be easier to automate and more efficient when completed manually.

 

Use Checklists to Ensure Nothing Gets Missed

As part of the process of ensuring all data is correct, you might need to check each account. This could be a time-consuming task if you have a large number of accounts. A more efficient approach is to use checklists to ensure you have checked each account correctly.

Checklists can also show that every step in the month-end process has been completed and is accurate. This can be particularly useful in team environments. Using checklists for account reconciliations can demonstrate the company’s level of due diligence, which can be particularly important if your organization is audited.

 

Establish Clear Processes and Timing

If each team member has clearly defined responsibilities, they will know what to do and when to do it, reducing confusion and allowing everyone to focus on their own tasks. For example, you might have one person responsible for checking the payment terms for all accounts within a particular time frame. Another person could be responsible for monitoring payment dates for these accounts and bringing any issues to the attention of other team members.

It is also essential to ensure that all team members are aware of the company’s payment terms. You might have team members who are unaware of the payment terms but who are responsible for checking accounts.

Protea Financial Making Your Month End Close Process Easier

Define a Clearing Date and Vendor Date

A common cause of issues at the end of the month is accounts that are inadvertently paid too early. This typically happens due to a misunderstanding of the company’s payment terms. For example, if your customers generally pay 30 days after the invoice date, but your payment terms are net 10 days, you must ensure that your accounts are only paid 10 days after the invoice date.

Some organizations use the last day of the month as the clearing date. However, this is not always ideal because it may mean you must wait until the next month to pay some of your essential suppliers. A better approach is to use the first date on which you plan to pay suppliers each month as the vendor date. This will give you a more realistic time frame for paying suppliers.

 

Lock Down Permissions

You might have been using your month-end processes for years with no issues. But, as your business grows and the team changes, it can be easy for someone to make a change to a process inadvertently, potentially resulting in a process that no longer works properly.

It is essential to lock down the team’s permissions to prevent errors from happening. It is even more important to do so at the end of the month when processes are more tightly controlled. Permissions are often set up based on the functions and roles of team members. You may want people in accounting to have complete control over payment terms and dates, while other team members may only need read-only access.

 

Protea Financial Can Help Keep Your Month-End Processes Going Smoothly

Month-end processes can be challenging, particularly for large teams or organizations with many customers. However, if you take the time to prepare and put processes in place, they can be much easier to manage.

Organize your data, automate where you can, use checklists for account reconciliations, and establish clear processes. These simple steps can help reduce the stress and errors associated with the end of the month.

If you simply want to hand over the month-end responsibilities, reach out to us here at Protea Financial. We will do whatever we can to help make your business successful.

Protea Financial Can Help Make Your Month-End Close Processes Easier

If you need help to make your month-end close processes easier, then please reach out to us here at Protea Financial. Our experts can help guide you to a smoother month-end close so you can focus on the next step for your business. 

What is a W-9 and What You Should Know About It

What is a W-9 and What You Should Know About It

A W-9 is an IRS (or Internal Revenue Service) form used to collect the correct tax identification number from all third parties that the business pays during the year. You will usually be required to fill one out if you become an independent contractor, a vendor, or are brought on for a contractor position.

The W-9 should be provided to the hiring company at least once annually, so you have it on hand in case you need it for any reason. It is meant to provide information for both the company receiving it as well as the person filling it out. You should create your own if you don’t receive one after asking for it. It helps the IRS ensure that all businesses and individuals are paying the right entity for income, rent, services, and other payments.

The W-9 form provides the hiring company or vendee with your correct Tax Identification Number (TIN), serving as one form of documentation that proves you are eligible to work in the United States through citizenship or by being a tax resident. Through the certification that this person is U.S. based, it also means the company is not required to withhold or report payments to people who are not U.S. based.

The W-9 form allows the IRS to estimate the taxes an independent contractor or freelancer would owe, while also allowing businesses to be exempt from withholding and paying taxes on their behalf. If you are working for any company as any type of contractor or vendor, no matter if they are an individual or corporation, many will ask that you fill out a W-9 form. If you don’t know what this means, read on to find out more!

 

What is a W-9?

A W-9 is a form that tells the person you’re working for who you are, so they know they are paying the right person or company. When you first start working for someone as a vendor or in a contractor position, they will typically ask you to fill out a W-9 form. It’s basically a form that verifies your name and taxpayer identification number (TIN).

The W-9 form also provides information about you, including your address, your job title, and the type of work that you do. It also tells the hiring company if you are an independent contractor or a vendor. There are different rules for every kind of work, so knowing the difference is important.

Protea Financial What is a W-9

How Do You Fill Out a W-9 Form

Ideally, the company’s W-9 form should be provided to you so you can follow its instructions. You can also download a blank form from the IRS website for your own use if you do not get one from the company directly. You can find the form by searching the IRS website for the “W-9’’.

With the W-9, you need to give your name, address, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), the name of the business you are providing services for, along with the type of work you do. You also need to sign the W-9 and keep a copy for yourself.

 

When Should You Submit a W-9?

You should give the company your W-9 form as soon as you start working for them, if not prior to your start date. Some companies, like payroll services, will specifically ask that you send the form before you start working for them.

You should also submit the W-9 when you are hired as an independent contractor. The person hiring you will often ask you to fill out a W-9 and should also be able to answer any questions you may have during the process of filling it out.

 

What Required Information is on a W-9 Form?

There are two main sections on the W-9 form: The “Name’’ section and the “Taxpayer identification’’ section. Each has different information you need to input.

  1. The “Name’’ section includes the name of the individual filling out the form as well as the name of the person or business they are providing services for.
  2. The “Taxpayer identification’’ section includes the individual’s TIN, address, and the type of work they are doing.

 

Who Receives the W-9 Form?

The company that hires you receives the form. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure they are paying the correct person or company, whether that be as an independent contractor or as a vendor. The W-9 also verifies that you are eligible to work in the United States.

Protea Financial Independent Contractor or Vendor W-9

Why Is It Important to Know the Tax Status of Individuals?

Working with contractors and other individuals can be tricky when it comes to taxes. If someone is declared an independent contractor, they have to pre-pay federal or state income tax out of their earnings. However, they are responsible for paying self-employment taxes, which are often higher than many expect.

Since their income isn’t reported to the IRS, there is no way to know if they are paying their taxes correctly. If they work as an independent contractor, they are supposed to provide their 1099-MISC tax form to the person they perform work for each year. This shows how much they made during the year, and whoever receives this form is supposed to report it on their taxes.

 

What Do Employers and Individuals Learn from a W-9?

Both individuals and companies can learn information by looking over the W-9 form. The hiring company can learn if the individual is correctly declaring themselves as an independent contractor or a vendor. They can also see if the individual is accurately reporting the amount of taxes that they paid during the year.

The individual filling out the form can learn how much they need to pay in taxes, based on the income they received during the year. This knowledge helps them figure out how much to set aside from each paycheck so they can keep up with their self-employment tax amounts.

 

Turn to Protea Financial to Keep Your Company’s W-9 Information Organized

The W-9 form is important because it determines if an individual has taxes withheld from their pay. It is essential to fill out the W-9 form correctly and report your income accurately. If you don’t, you could end up owing a lot of taxes at the end of the year.

For help filling out forms correctly or to keep your company’s W-9 forms organized, contact Protea Financial.

Let Protea Financial Help You Understand the W-9 and What Its For

Have you ever needed to fill out a W-9? As a vendor or independent contractor, it tells any company you perform services for a lot about you. To learn more, reach out to Protea Financial today!

The Best Small Business Software Considerations: Work Simply, Manage Efficiently

The Best Small Business Software Considerations: Work Simply, Manage Efficiently

Are you looking for the best small business software? Look no further! This guide details some of the top-rated software options available for various tasks and how they can help you work more efficiently. From email management to time tracking, these programs are perfect for small businesses.

Best Bookkeeping and Accounting Software Options

Protea Financial Small Business Accounting and Bookkeeping Software

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based accounting software developed by Intuit. It offers invoicing, tracking sales and expenses, managing bills and payments, and preparing tax returns. QuickBooks Online allows users to connect with their bank accounts to import transactions automatically.

QuickBooks Online offers four pricing plans: Simple Start ($25/month), Essentials ($40/month), Plus ($70/month), and Advanced ($150/month). The Simple Start plan is best suited for businesses with basic accounting needs, while the Essentials and Plus plans are designed for companies with more complex accounting needs. The Advanced plan is best suited for businesses that need advanced features such as inventory management and time tracking.

QuickBooks Enterprise

Beyond QuickBooks Online, there is also QuickBooks Enterprise. This sector of QuickBooks is aimed at providing the resources big enterprises need. The features are more robust and there is more support offered for this upgrade because the way it works and the reports it offers are geared specifically to the industry the business is in. However, it is primarily on desktop which can be a problem for some businesses.

Xero

Xero is an online accounting software that allows you to manage your business finances and bookkeeping in an easy-to-use platform. It’s free to use so there’s no risk associated with signing up, and it comes with a number of useful features such as recurring invoicing, multi-currency capability, and more. In addition to being easy to use, Xero also offers a wide range of other benefits such as reporting tools and reports, multiple currency support, and much more. Xero is ideal for small businesses that need an accounting solution without the hassle of having to deal with complicated software.

NetSuite

NetSuite, a product from Oracle, is more than just bookkeeping and accounting software. It goes so far as to be a step above the others on this list in that it is an ERP, or enterprise resource planning system. It tracks finances, human hours, provides reporting, payroll, and more for nearly any industry. It is also a great option for anyone from a solopreneur to a massive enterprise, and any size business in between. It is one of the more expensive options, but it comes with so many ways of customizing what it provides that many companies find the software worth the investment. 

Best Time Tracking Software Options

Protea Financial Small Business Time Tracking Software

QuickBooks Time

One of the easiest time-tracking software options most businesses have is QuickBooks Time. Many know the software by its old name of TSheets. QuickBooks Time aims to make payroll easy, provide quotes easily while maintain a high-level of accuracy, and keep accurate records of timesheets for each employee.

It easily integrates with many other software titles, keeps schedules, and provides full reporting for every member of your team. QuickBooks Time offers a 30-day free trial and has plans that start at just $30 per month.

Gusto Time Tracking

The ideal time-tracking software would be able to track both time spent on a task and how long it takes to complete a task. It should also be easy to setup and use, even if you’re not a tech expert. Gusto Time Tracking is a popular choice for people who are trying to improve their time management skills.

It can track the time spent on tasks as well as the time it takes to complete tasks, including the amount of time spent waiting or being interrupted. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, and it’s easy to set up and use. This makes it an excellent choice for people who aren’t tech experts.

Even if you’re not interested in tracking time spent on tasks, you may still find value in this software because it’s overall very user-friendly. Plans start at $40 per month plus just a few dollars per person you add into the software.

TimeAttend

TimeAttend is a cloud-based time tracking software that offers businesses a lot of flexibility with minimal investment. It lets employees log in with their phone, or even a fob that matches with a device in the workplace. All details can be accessed from anywhere, allowing for remote or hybrid time tracking situations with ease. The software offers a 14-day free trial and pricing starts at just $9 per person that you want to add into the system.

Best Marketing Software Options

Protea Financial Small Business Marketing Software

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is an email marketing software that helps businesses stay in touch with their customers, including a contact management system, email templates, autoresponders, and more.

Constant Contact offers three different pricing plans for its email marketing software, starting at $20 per month for up to 500 contacts.

MailChimp

MailChimp is an online marketing platform that allows businesses to create and send newsletters, emails, and other automated messages. MailChimp offers a variety of features, including templates, design tools, list management, automation, reporting, and integrations.

MailChimp’s pricing depends on the number of subscribers you have and how much control you want over your email designs. The service offers a free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers with basic features, as well as paid plans starting at $10/month for up to 500 subscribers with an increased number of features.

Best CRM Options

Protea Financial Small Business CRM Software

Method

Method is a CRM, or customer relationship management, software specifically for those who use QuickBooks. It automates many of the steps that would otherwise take human time to perform, and it boosts the type of customer support companies can offer. Method easily integrates with many other software titles through Zapier, and it allows for automated lead generation through its workflows. Businesses get all these features and more starting at just $25/month. 

HubSpot

HubSpot is a CRM software that helps businesses manage and grow customer relationships. HubSpot offers many features, including contact management, email marketing, lead capture forms, and reporting. HubSpot offers three pricing plans starting at $50 per month.

Best Project Management Software Options

Protea Financial Small Business Project Management Software

Trello

Trello is a project management software that enables users to create boards to organize and track their projects. The software is based on the Kanban system, which helps users visualize their work and progress.

Some common Trello features include:

  • Trello enables users to create boards and lists to organize their projects.
  • Users can add cards to each list, which can contain details about the task, due date, attachments, and more.
  • Cards can be assigned to specific users, and users can leave comments on cards.
  • The software also offers a calendar view, which helps users track deadlines and progress.
  • Trello integrates with several other productivity tools, such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

Monday

Monday is a tool that helps you plan, track, and execute projects. You can use it for anything from small tasks to large-scale initiatives.

Some features commonly found in project management software include task lists, Gantt charts, resource management, and collaboration tools.

Prices for Monday vary depending on the features you choose. Their pricing starts at just $8 per month and go up from there, depending on your specific needs. 

ClickUp

ClickUp is a project management software that helps teams to collaborate and get work done more efficiently. It offers a variety of features, such as task management, team collaboration, real-time communication, and more. ClickUp pricing is based on the number of users and starts at $5/month for the Basic plan.

Some of the key features offered by ClickUp include:

  • Task Management: Helps users to organize and track tasks using various methods such as lists, kanban boards, calendars, Gantt charts, etc.
  • Team Collaboration: Enables team members to collaborate on projects by sharing files, comments, @mentions, etc.
  • Real-Time Communication: Allows users to communicate with each other in real-time using chat or video call features.
  • Integrations: ClickUp integrates with various popular applications such as Google Drive, Slack, Zapier, etc.

Protea Financial Can Help You Narrow Down the Best Small Business Software Titles for Your Needs

There are a lot of great options out there when it comes to small business software. The most important thing is finding a program that fits your needs. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different options until you find the perfect fit. If you need help, Protea Financial is always here to lend a hand. Give us a call today!

Protea Financial Is Here to Help with Everything from Bookkeeping to Small Business Software Recommendations

Finding the best small business software solutions for your business can be complicated. Let Protea Financial help make it easier. Contact us today and learn why we recommend these titles over the rest!

What Receipts Does the IRS Require You to Keep?

What Receipts Does the IRS Require You to Keep?

When you deduct business expenses on your income tax return, you can usually refer to your records to support the expense. However, you must keep records that meet IRS record-keeping standards in case of an audit. We aim to explain what receipts the IRS requires so that you don’t miss anything when filing your taxes.

The IRS will probably ask for a receipt or another expenditure record if you use cash for business expenses other than wages, depreciation, or car expenses. The rules are more lenient if your business is a sole proprietorship, and all its expenses are subject to the personal property deduction. Here are some of the most important receipts you should keep for your business.

 

Receipts for All Business Expenses Over $75

The IRS requires a written record of all business expenses exceeding $75. In most cases, you must have a receipt for these expenses.

  • If you make a payment that does not require a receipt, you should keep a written record of the payment. The written record can include a computer log, a spreadsheet, or a diary. It must show the payment amount, the business reason for the payment, the business name and address (if different from your own), the date of the payment, and the name of the person or company that you made the payment to.
  • Keep records of all expenses relating to your automobile, such as gasoline, oil changes, repairs, insurance, tires, and maintenance. Business miles driven should be kept separate from personal miles driven. If you drive a car that you own, you can deduct the business miles driven and your actual expenses (gasoline, oil changes, repairs, and maintenance). If you drive a car that you lease, the lease payment and business miles are considered a business expense. If you drive a vehicle that you rent, you can deduct only the business miles driven.
  • Keep records of all expenses relating to your home office, such as electricity, heating fuel, cleaning supplies, telephone, internet, and insurance. You can also deduct the cost of a separate telephone line with a business message on your voicemail. If you have a home office, you must determine whether the office is a deductible expense.

 

Travel and Entertainment

The IRS requires receipts for travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses, such as airfare, hotel bills, meals, and car rentals. The rules are different if the T&E is associated with a business event that meets one or more of the IRS’s T&E rules.

You do not need a receipt to support the T&E expense in these cases. Instead, you must keep a log of the expenses and the business reason for the T&E. You must also keep track of the business purpose, who was present at the event, how much each person spent, and how long the event lasted.

Protea Financial Small Business Receipts

Advertising and Marketing

The IRS requires receipts for all advertising and marketing expenses and some research and development costs. Advertising and marketing expenses include the cost of printing, designing, and mailing promotional materials such as brochures, catalogs, and newsletters.

These also include the cost of internet advertising, website design, and fees for public relations and advertising consultants. Research and development costs include the cost of product testing and experimentation to determine if there is a need for new products and the level of customer demand for existing products. They also include the cost of developing prototypes and formulas.

 

Depreciation

Businesses that use an accrual method of accounting must keep all records. Depreciation records must show the date the equipment was placed in service, the equipment’s original cost, and the depreciation amount each year.

If your business owns its assets, you must depreciate them over a certain period. Real estate records must show the date you purchased the property and the amount of any mortgage. You must keep records of the cost of improvements and repairs to the property.

 

Business Gifts

The IRS requires receipts for all business gifts. Keep records on the following:

  • The date and location of the gift
  • The name of the person receiving the gift
  • The value of the gift
  • The name of the person who gave you the gift
  • The business reason for the gift
  • The business relationship with the person giving you the gift

If you receive a gift, keep records of the gift, the business reason for the gift, and the business relationship with the person who gave you the gift. You must report gifts of more than $25 on your income tax return.

 

Computer Equipment and Software

Businesses that use computers to process their financial data or orders of products and services must keep records of the acquisition cost and depreciation. Computer-related expenses that can be deducted from your income tax return include the cost of:

  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Modems
  • Software
  • Internet service
  • Repairs, upgrades
  • Depreciation

These also include monthly payments for a computer and internet service, computer repair fees, and computer rentals for employees who do not have their own computers. For any software titles, it is best to also add a note as to what it was used for and who used it, in case you ever need to know down the line.

 

Office Supplies

Keep records of the purchase price of all office supplies that you deduct on your income tax return. These include paper, pens, pencils, notebooks, file folders, cleaning supplies, toner for printers, pens, pencils, paper clips, and computer paper and toner.

Warranties for office equipment such as computers and printers are also deductible. You can also deduct the cost of copying and printing services.

Protea Financial Small Business Office Supplies

Mileage and Vehicle Maintenance

Keep records of all vehicle-related business expenses, such as gasoline, new tires, oil changes, necessary repairs, insurance, and all vehicle maintenance. Also, keep records of the business miles driven.

You must keep a mileage log for each business trip and every business-related trip from home. You must report all business miles driven on your income tax return.

 

Outsourced Assistance for Your Business

The IRS requires receipts or written records for all out-of-pocket expenses. You also must keep records of any payments made to independent contractors or outsourced service providers.

In addition to written records, you must maintain a written contract with any individual or company that you hire to perform any part of your business. Keep these records also to protect yourself should an issue come up with those contractors or providers in the future.

 

Let Protea Financial Help You Determine Which Receipts Are Best to Keep for Your Business

The IRS will examine your business expenses if you claim them on your income tax return. You must keep records of all business expenses to prove that they were legitimate business expenses.

Keep records in a way that makes sense to you so that you can quickly identify and locate the information when you need it. This will make tax time much easier.

You should keep these records for as long as you own the business. If you sell your business, you must keep the records for at least three years after the date you sell it.

Are you looking for more information? Contact Protea Financial today and let us help you organize your finances, straighten out your receipts, and be ready ahead of the next tax deadline.

Protea Financial Can Help You Keep the Right Receipts for the IRS

When you contact Protea Financial, you get a team of professionals who can help you with many aspects of your financial record keeping, including knowing which receipts are best for you to keep for tax time. Call now – we are here to help!

The Pros and Cons Of Bookkeeping in QuickBooks Online For Small Businesses

The Pros and Cons Of Bookkeeping in QuickBooks Online For Small Businesses

Are you thinking of using QuickBooks Online to manage your business’s bookkeeping? If so, you’re not alone. In today’s fast-paced digital world, no business can afford to lag behind, making software an essential component of success. Small businesses, in particular, must be agile to succeed. Fortunately, technology makes it easier than ever for small businesses to connect with potential customers and streamline operations.

Many businesses use QuickBooks Online for their accounting and bookkeeping needs for good reason. It can be an excellent program for managing financial information, streamlining processes, and reporting on performance.

However, there are pros and cons to using QuickBooks Online as your business’s bookkeeping solution. Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages you should consider before deciding to use QuickBooks Online for your company’s bookkeeping needs.

 

The Pros of Bookkeeping in QuickBooks Online

There are many advantages to using QuickBooks Online as your financial platform. Here are just a few of the biggest pros to using QuickBooks Online:

  • Easy setup – QuickBooks Online has a simple setup process that can be completed in a matter of hours. You should spend plenty of time setting up the system so that it is optimized for your business. The process is straightforward, and plenty of resources are available to help you make the most of your setup.
  • Excellent user interface – One of the best parts of QuickBooks Online is its user interface. It makes using QuickBooks Online easier and more intuitive.
  • Powerful reporting tools – A good accounting solution should allow you to view your financial situation, as well as that of your customers. This can be especially important if you have a subscription-based business model. QuickBooks Online reporting tools allow you to view critical information quickly and easily, allowing you to make smart decisions quickly.
  • Data security – Unfortunately, data breaches are a real problem in today’s business world. QuickBooks Online provides plenty of security features to protect your data. This can help you sleep better, knowing your data is safe from malicious actors.
  • Affordability – QuickBooks Online is one of the more affordable options on the market. If you want to be able to use bookkeeping software that is not going to cause your finances to struggle, this is likely the best option for you.

Protea Financial Bookkeeper with QuickBooks Experience

The Cons of Bookkeeping in QuickBooks Online

Despite the advantages of QuickBooks Online, it isn’t the perfect solution for every business. There are drawbacks to using QuickBooks Online for bookkeeping. Here are a few of the cons to using QuickBooks Online:

  • It is not always the best for growing businesses – While QuickBooks Online is a great solution for small businesses, it may not be the best choice for growing ones. You may need to upgrade your accounting solution as your business grows and expands.
  • Data limitations – While QuickBooks Online has robust reporting, you cannot always use all of it. You cannot use certain features if you have customers governed by specific data laws.
  • Feature limitations – Some small businesses will find that QuickBooks Online lacks features. For example, if your business relies on eCommerce, some features that can help you track purchases may be missing.
  • It doesn’t integrate with everything – Not all software integrates with QuickBooks Online. Some services you may want to use won’t work well with QuickBooks Online, which can create issues for some small businesses.

 

Should You Use QuickBooks Online for Small Business Bookkeeping?

If you are still on the fence about whether QuickBooks Online is the right solution for your business, here are a few factors to consider. Accountants recommend that companies keep their books for at least seven years. If your business is new, it has no history to report, making a new software title a viable option.

If your business is growing, you may need a better solution than QuickBooks Online. If you are unsure if QuickBooks Online is right for your size business, consider reaching out to a bookkeeping specialist here at Protea Financial. Our experts can help you decide whether QuickBooks Online is the right solution for your business today and in the future.

Turning to an experienced bookkeeper can get guidance on reading the different reports and accessing the various financial reports QuickBooks Online offers. Should you decide to use the QuickBooks Online platform, you can either go through the process of setting it up yourself or turn to an outsourced bookkeeper with QuickBooks Online experience for help.

Protea Financial QuickBooks Online

Tips for Deciding if QuickBooks Online is Right for Your Small Business

Here are a few tips to help you decide if QuickBooks Online is the right solution for your business.

  1. Do your research – When you decide to use a new accounting solution, you put a lot of trust in that solution. You want to make sure you’re putting your trust in the right place. Make sure you do plenty of research before settling on QuickBooks Online.
  2. Ask questions – If you are in the process of deciding whether or not QuickBooks Online is the right solution for your business, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can’t make an informed decision unless you have all the necessary information. Be sure to ask any question you may have to make sure you have all the information you need.
  3. Pick the best option – There are many variations in bookkeeping software, including QuickBooks Online. If you are unsure if the one you are looking at will fit, explore the possibilities. Look at each feature and add-on before deciding on any software title.

You can do a few things to ensure success if you choose to go with QuickBooks Online for your company’s bookkeeping needs.

  • Make sure the data you input is accurate. This can help you make intelligent financial decisions faster.
  • Make sure everyone who needs access to the system has access. This can help reduce the time spent managing the system and allow you to focus on more important things.
  • Make sure QuickBooks Online is integrated with as many services as possible. This will help reduce headaches and keep things running smoothly.

There are many valuable tools within QuickBooks Online. Make sure you take the time to explore it properly to get the most value for your money.

 

Let Protea Financial Help Your Small Business Succeed

Deciding on one specific software for your business can be a daunting task. Thankfully, you do not have to make the decision alone. Turn to the financial experts here at Protea Financial today. We can help guide you toward the best possible bookkeeping software for your business.

You can also turn to us as virtual bookkeepers so you can focus on your business while we track your financial information for you. Put our years of experience to the test. Contact Protea Financial today so you can get your business on the right track.

Protea Financial Can Help You Learn QuickBooks Online for Small Businesses

Here at Protea Financial, we understand that finding the right software solutions is not always easy. If you are considering QuickBooks Online for small businesses, then reach out. We can help!