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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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Will CSI Let Me Handle Some of My Own Accounting and Payroll Work?

May 12, 2022 4:29:31 PM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business taxes, small business payroll, how to


When you’ve been handling your small business’s accounting and payroll internally for a while, there can be some hesitations when it comes to outsourcing. However, after the long hours grueling over complicated financial processes, you know it’s time to soften your grip and let a professional take over.

Even after you’ve decided you want to outsource, you may want to continue to handle some of the work yourself. This can be because you like things done a certain way and aren’t ready to give up full control, or maybe you’re wondering if there’s anything you can continue to do to cut your service fee.

While most of CSI’s clients are small enough businesses that they are unable to do certain tasks in-house, there are some exceptions. Out of our hundreds of clients, a few of them choose to do certain parts of the work internally for the reasons listed above: to maintain control and/or to save money. 

The beauty of it all is that even if you’re able to perform some tasks internally, you’re able to decide whether or not you want to do so.

When people bring up the question of whether or not they can do some of the work themselves, they often want to know:

  • What tasks can I do myself? 
  • Can doing anything internally lower my fee?
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Small Businesses and the Minnesota State Unemployment Tax Refund

May 10, 2022 1:12:05 PM / by Bret Asmussen posted in small business taxes, small business payroll, how to


Have you heard about the state unemployment tax bill that was just passed in Minnesota? (That’s the Trust Fund Replenishment bill, to be clear.) 

If you don’t work with CSI and your payroll provider hasn’t reached out yet, you probably have a lot of questions. Heck, maybe you still have questions even if you already talked with your payroll provider. The process of requesting a refund - or choosing to keep the credit in your account - can cause issues if you’re not familiar with your payroll provider’s processes for early payments and impounding taxes. 

CSI Accounting & Payroll has become very familiar with unemployment taxes over the last 50+ years. We show our clients how to do things themselves as much as possible, whereas many national providers don’t even educate their clients on how to log into their unemployment accounts. 

Small business owners whom we’ve talked to about the Trust Fund Replenishment bill so far wanted to know:

  • What is this law change?
  • Why was this law changed?
  • How does this affect me?
  • What do I need to do now?
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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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Can a Small Business Payroll Service Offer Retirement Plans?

May 3, 2022 2:41:46 PM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business payroll, small business operations, how to


We’re all trying to retire. It doesn’t matter how much you love your job or feel a responsibility to run your business; everybody reaches the point when it’s time to place more value in the little things and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Retirement plans and payroll services go hand-in-hand. When you’re searching for a payroll service, a big question that you should ask yourself is if they’re able to manage your employees’ existing plans

Maybe if you’re a newer small business, you’re looking for a payroll provider who can offer your employees retirement plans, but you’re concerned about what it may cost you - in time and money. Is it even possible for a small business to provide this kind of employee benefit?

While this article is specific to CSI Accounting & Payroll, you will find that many payroll providers follow similar processes with managing your retirement plans. However, the specific offerings through our 401(k) partner are not consistently found through other payroll solutions. Keep reading to learn:

  • If a payroll service can maintain your existing retirement plans
  • If it’s worth it for small businesses to offer retirement plans
  • If payroll services offer their own retirement plans

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What to Do When Your Business Gets an IRS Letter

Apr 15, 2022 7:45:00 AM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business taxes, small business payroll, small business accounting


As a small business owner, you may be used to opening your mailbox and seeing an envelope from the IRS. It’s not always an indication of something wrong or demanding immediate action. However, if that letter is filled with words like “seize” or “levy,” it’s more than enough to raise some red flags. You may even worry that you’ll go to jail. (Don’t worry; that’s pretty unlikely!)

Warning letters have different meanings for small businesses than they do for individuals. You worked hard to build your business from the ground up, and it’s a big fear that you may have to close it. Plus, if you’ve been working with an accountant or payroll specialist, having so much on the line because of your accounting or payroll can feel like a betrayal of your trust.

At CSI Accounting & Payroll, it’s not uncommon for us to get letters from the IRS. After all, we’ve been working with small businesses for over 50 years. Strong language in letters from the IRS isn’t always a cause for alarm and can just be used to encourage a quick correction of an issue. Everything will be alright; we know what to do.

Other small business owners who have received alarming letters from the IRS want to know:

  • Why they are receiving an IRS letter
  • What it would take for them to go to jail
  • How to get the letter’s issue resolved
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National Payroll Providers vs. Local Payroll Firms

Apr 12, 2022 2:05:00 PM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business payroll


When you outsource your small business payroll, do you know the differences between using a national provider with a well-known name versus a local provider with a smaller reputation?

Lots of small business owners outsource their payroll to national payroll providers by default because they assume one with a larger customer base must have better customer service or is more affordable than smaller payroll providers. This is not necessarily true at all. If you trust other local vendors to help with your operations, why not trust a local payroll provider to do the same?

CSI Accounting & Payroll is an example of a local payroll firm. In our more than 50 years of service to small business owners, we've heard a lot about the differences between national and local payroll providers that matter the most to our clients and prospective clients who decided to stick with the big guys. There are different options out there, but knowing the differences is key to determining the best one for your business.

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The Benefits of Having Accounting & Payroll Services Under One Roof

Apr 10, 2022 1:15:00 PM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business taxes, small business payroll, small business accounting


Who likes waiting on the phone to pass information back and forth between your accounting and payroll providers - or, even worse, for their communication issues to get resolved? Absolutely nobody. And you really don't have time for that when you run a small business.

If you're looking for accounting or payroll services, it's a good idea to bridge the gap by bundling with the same provider. CSI Accounting & Payroll offers the best of both worlds when it comes to financial services by allowing just that. You don't need to form several surface-level relationships with customer service representatives; you can have one dedicated payroll specialist and one dedicated accountant who work under the same roof.

This post touches on the benefits of bundling accounting and payroll under normal circumstances, as well as how bundling helped our clients with navigating COVID wages, loans and credits, and forgiveness when it mattered most.

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What Services Are Included in a Small Business Payroll Fee?

Apr 1, 2022 8:30:00 AM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business payroll


When you’re signing a payroll service agreement for your small business, do you know about everything that’s included in your fee? Different payroll providers have different ideas of what “payroll services” are, so just knowing the price of your service doesn’t mean you know the value it provides you. 

For a basic payroll package, you will want to have the fees for necessities included, with the fees for optional benefits added only at your request. You don’t want to pay for services that you’re not using, but you also don’t want to overly limit the possible service add-ons either. It’s much simpler to use multiple services from one quality provider than to have to manage multiple business relationships. You have enough on your plate already!

At CSI, payroll has meant more to us over the last couple of decades than just paying your employees. Consider things like timekeeping, PTO tracking, HR services, payroll taxes, and many other things that go beyond a paycheck. That brings us to the question, “Which services are included in a payroll fee, and which services are considered add-ons?” While the answers in this article are specific to what CSI charges, other payroll providers should have similar fee structures. 

Other small business owners like you often want to know:

  • What services are included in CSI’s payroll fee
  • Which additional services our average client uses
  • The differences between what we offer and what large payroll providers offer
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Why a Payroll Service is a Great Option for Small Business

Mar 30, 2022 1:29:00 PM / by CSI Accounting Staff posted in small business payroll


Aren't you tired? Running a small business usually means that you're wearing more hats than the average person. When you find yourself putting in extra time to work through payroll, payroll taxes, and all associated add-on features, it can feel like there aren't enough hours in a day.

Outsourcing payroll is often one of the first things business owners do to get back on track. You may even be starting your business and want to get payroll handed off to someone else right away.

There comes a time for every small business when outsourcing certain tasks becomes the right decision. However, coming to that conclusion is often difficult for owners who are used to taking on everything themselves. In CSI's more than 50 years of working with small businesses, we've seen time and time again that once an owner outsources a service like payroll, they never want to bring it back in-house again.

Learn more about why outsourcing payroll is a great benefit for small businesses, as well as how to choose the best payroll service for you.

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