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Top 3 Small Business Accounting Mistakes

Jun 20, 2022 10:15:00 AM / by Brian Paulson posted in small business taxes, small business accounting, problem


What makes you want to DIY your business’s accounting? There are a few reasons why some small business owners want to go with a more affordable option. However, what you pay for is what you get – and cheap accounting can often result in record inaccuracies, a short-term focus, and fear of change. Don’t even get us started on missed opportunities!

Working with small businesses in Minneapolis and beyond for more than 50 years, we’ve seen our fair share of accounting mistakes by owners and operators. Most of these small business accounting mistakes are simple to correct, but even easier to avoid (once you’re aware of them).

Cut out mistakes before they happen! This article touches on the top three accounting mistakes made by small businesses, along with a bonus mistake to avoid at the end.

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How to Amend a Business Tax Return

Jun 9, 2022 10:12:24 PM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business taxes, small business accounting, problem, how to


Hold on. You just got your business’s tax return, and something doesn’t look right. Is the amount not what you were expecting… like, at all? In extreme situations, this is a punch to the gut. How do you right this wrong? Look into getting your tax return amended.

If you work with an accountant, they should have the expertise to help you. At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we’ve been working with small business taxes for over 50 years. We know exactly how to amend your tax return and would love to assist you, even if you were not previously a client of ours!

Other small business owners who have asked us to amend their tax returns wanted to know:

  • What are the reasons why someone would want a business tax return amended?
  • What is the process of amending a business tax return?
  • How long does it take to amend a business tax return?
  • How much does it cost to get a business tax return amended?

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What Happens When a Small Business Doesn’t File Taxes?

May 28, 2022 3:00:00 PM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business taxes, small business accounting


Have you ever saved the most important thing on your to-do list for last? You know it’s probably not the best plan of action, and yet here you are, hitting that deadline like a brick wall with nothing to show for it. You’d be surprised at how often this happens with small business taxes. 

There are lots of moving parts when it comes to running a business, and when you’re facing the extra challenges that tax season throws at you, due dates can sneak up on you. Maybe you’re trying to contact a too-busy accountant or worrying you couldn’t pay any taxes you might owe.

In CSI’s more than 50 years of working with small business owners, we’ve seen this plenty of times. We know that if you’re doing research on what happens if you didn’t pay your taxes, this is probably the first time it’s happened to you. Take a deep breath. We’ve got this.

Let’s take a deeper look into:

  • What the IRS does when you don’t file
  • How an accountant can help you fix things
  • How to avoid not filing your taxes in the future

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What Happens in Your First Monthly Accounting Meeting

May 26, 2022 7:45:00 AM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business accounting


So you've signed up for your first monthly accounting meeting. You have all of your papers in place, and there's a feeling of relief or maybe even excitement that you're finally going to get your books in order and taxes minimized! More than anything, addressing your questions is top of mind.

Depending on which level of service is offered by the provider you choose, your first meetings with an accountant may be very different. Some might lead right into a basic Q&A session, while others take a hands-on consultative approach that focuses more on strategy. 

At CSI, we’ve been having onboarding meetings for over 50 years. Because of the strategy involved, we call them Initial Strategy Sessions (ISS). These meetings are more than just filling out paperwork; they are conversations outlining:

  • Your situation and goals
  • The information we need from you
  • What we can help you achieve

Here’s a walkthrough of the tentative agenda for ISS meetings, as well as a detailed look at how we make the list of items we need from you each month moving forward.

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Which Accounting Method Am I Using?

May 25, 2022 10:15:00 AM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business taxes, small business accounting


Different people have different talents. Even if your skills with numbers allow you to do your business’s accounting, you may not have as great of strength in words. How are you supposed to know the name of the method you’re using?

Maybe you work with an accountant who’s never mentioned which method they use - and why would they? You don’t need to know this as their continuing client, and they want to keep your business.

If you don’t know the terminology behind what’s being done in your books, you’ll be a deer in headlights when a new accountant asks which accounting method you’ve been using. Luckily, there are clear signs to tell whether you use cash basis or accrual accounting.

CSI Accounting & Payroll has been taking on small business owners’ accounting for over 50 years. During that time, we’ve come to recognize that most owners don’t know which accounting method they use, even if they’re the ones doing the accounting for their business.

Here’s what other business owners who didn’t know their accounting method wanted to know:

  • What is cash basis accounting?
  • How can I tell if I use cash basis accounting?
  • What is accrual accounting?
  • How can I tell if I use accrual accounting?

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How to Transition from In-House to Outsourced Accounting

May 19, 2022 9:33:00 AM / by Brian Paulson posted in small business accounting, how to


If there's one thing that we all can agree on, it's that it's nice to have someone else do your taxes - but actually taking it one step further and outsourcing all of your accounting can seem like an obstacle that most of us would rather delay. However, there does come a time for most small businesses when it makes more sense to outsource.

For more than 50 years, CSI Accounting & Payroll has served thousands of small business clients. After talking to so many business owners, we've found that there are some common scenarios when it comes to outsourcing accounting for the first time. They tend to fall under these two categories:

Not many small businesses have their own internal accountant and still consider outsourcing unless there's an issue with employee retention, their quality of work, or it's too much for them to handle on their own. (In fact, it costs less to outsource accounting than to host an accountant in-house.)


Some small businesses will have an internal bookkeeper and also use an external annual accountant, or maybe the owner even does the bookkeeping themselves. In these cases, they might outsource for some of the same reasons, but they're also seeking the year-round tax strategy and advice that only a monthly accountant can provide.

Transitions are tricky, but we hope that we can relieve your nerves a little bit by discussing:

  • Choosing the right small business accounting firm for you
  • Planning ahead for the transition
  • Setting the standards for your new accounting firm

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What is the Timeline For Monthly Accounting?

May 17, 2022 4:00:59 PM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business taxes, small business accounting


How quickly can you get your books in order? It might be faster than you think. A monthly accountant can help you find the right items to retrieve, close your books, and create monthly financial statements for you with a surprisingly fast turnaround time.

As your small business makes the transition to monthly accounting, you’re probably wondering about the timeline of receiving your financial statements each month.

Based on the clients that CSI Accounting & Payroll has worked with over the last 50+ years, here are some of the reasons why we think you may be asking these questions:

  • You’re being responsible about obligations to third parties, such as a bank that you have a large loan with, and you need to tell them when they can expect your monthly statements. 
  • You’re anxious because you didn’t know when you could expect to hear from your prior accountant. 
  • You’re wondering how quickly your back taxes can get done and you can start moving forward. 
  • You’re excited to get your statements each month so you can keep a closer eye on your finances. 
  • You’re just curious!

The small business owners who have fallen into these categories often want to know:

  • How long does it take to update my books to do my back taxes?
  • Moving forward, when do you need to have all of my information for each month?
  • Once CSI has all of my information for a month, how quickly can they close my books?
  • When can I expect to receive my financial statements and have my monthly meetings?

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Which Small Businesses Are Now Eligible to Apply For the ERC (Employee Retention Credit)?

May 16, 2022 10:45:00 AM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business taxes, small business payroll, small business accounting, how to


The ERC is a great COVID relief effort, so why aren't there more eligible small businesses applying? Long story short, the media was distracted by the initial excitement of other COVID relief efforts. Now that the stimulus checks and PPP loans seem to be through, where's the excitement for the Employee Retention Credit?

Although this benefit was cut on September 30, 2021, you may still be eligible to claim credits from 2020 to Q4 2021.

Perhaps one of the most important things mentioned in this article is how CSI Accounting & Payroll has helped ERC applicants in the past (and can help you as well!) - no hassles, no worries. We've worked with thousands of small businesses in our more than 50 years in operation, so we're familiar with various application processes and know how to regularly check for updates on benefits just like this one.

In this article, we also discuss:

  • What is the ERC?
  • How has the ERC expanded?
  • Are you eligible for the ERC?

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Online Accounting Services vs. Local Accounting Firms

May 5, 2022 4:15:00 PM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business taxes, small business payroll, small business accounting


If you've been doing your own small business accounting for a while, do you ever worry that you're missing something or aren't capturing all of your deductions?

Your expertise is in running your business, so you know when it's time to place your trust in an accountant. But do you know the differences between using an online accounting service or a local accounting firm?

When you first consider outsourcing accounting, you'll see that big-name online services do a lot of advertising. We tend to trust names we recognize, so lots of business owners use big-name services because they assume one with a larger customer base must have better customer service or is more affordable. This is not necessarily true. If you trust other local vendors to help with your operations, why not trust a local accounting firm?

CSI Accounting & Payroll is an example of a local accounting firm. While we've been around for over 50 years and online accounting services are relatively new, we've already heard quite a bit about our differences that matter the most to our clients and to prospective clients who decided to stick with online options.

There are several options, but knowing the differences is key to determining what's best for your business.

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How to Change Accountants

Apr 27, 2022 9:22:00 AM / by Brian Paulson posted in small business accounting


Do you ever wonder if there's an accounting firm that's a better match for your small business than your current one? Chances are, there probably is. If you're considering switching, then you already have enough of a reason to take the next step - as scary as that seems.

CSI Accounting & Payroll has talked to thousands of small business clients over the past several decades. When new clients express their concerns with their prior accounting firms, they're usually mentioning communication issues - and the surprises, confusion, and frustration that they cause.

Small business owners who want to know more about how to change accounting firms asked us:

  • How do I feel confident in my decision to change accountants?
  • What steps do I take to change accounting firms?

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