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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

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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 Reduce Taxes For Small Business

Jun 10, 2022 7:00:00 AM / by Bryan Cremeen posted in small business taxes, how to

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Who likes to owe money back in taxes? At face level, the answer is nobody. As you start your journey as a small business owner, you want to hold onto as much revenue as possible. Taxes can seem like an abyss of the unknown - or even the enemy.

However, owing business taxes can be indicative of some good things. The real obstacle is figuring out how to strategically minimize what you owe over time. Consider how a monthly accountant can help reduce your long-term tax liability.

For over 50 years, CSI Accounting & Payroll has worked with small business owners to close books, create financial statements, and offer expert advice each month to minimize what is owed in taxes - even if it means paying a little more this year for the sake of saving a lot more next year.

Other business owners who talked to us about tax strategy wanted to know:

  • How can owing taxes be a good thing?
  • How can I pay more this year to save more next year?
  • How can a monthly accountant help me reach my tax goals?

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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

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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

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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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Which Accounting Method Am I Using?

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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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