Intuit is marketing QuickBooks Online to death

Because QuickBooks accounting software has been so helpful to small business owners, sometimes people confuse that kind of helpfulness with Intuit Corp (the makers of QuickBooks) as being helpful to them. But is that true? Is Intuit helpful to you?

Intuit asks me as part of a routine survey. "Intuit cares about me as a person".  I've rated that as a 3 in the past, because I think they care that I give and make them lots of money. See how ridiculous we are? Now that I'm seeing this consciously, I'll rate this 0 in the future. Intuit cares zero for my well being. Intuit is a big corporation with shareholders who care about increasing profitability. If they can make a sale that's not in my best interest; it's still in their best interest. So don't take their advice, the advice of their sales reps, their advertisements, or their website.

I've seen an ad on TV that states, "You can trust Turbotax to get you the best return".  Is that true?

I know how to prepare a tax return, plus I know tax loopholes & strategies. Yet, my tax preparer has saved me  money every year for over 20 years. He's an expert tax preparer, who only works on taxes and with the IRS all year long. His business owns a $20K plus software package, and having done my return year after year, his software identifies all the roll-forward tricks. Turbotax with "you" driving it, cannot get you the best return. Intuit is marketing, not giving you the kind of advice someone who cared about you would give you.

Intuit Corp sales reps will "recommend" QB Online as a way to solve all kinds of problems that have nothing to do with the software. Coffee tasting bland? Switch to QuickBooks Online. Intuit is even making it harder and harder to buy the desktop software, pushing you into QB Online, which is more profitable for them. Now they have this deal where they sell you the lower priced Desktop subscription, which you have to renew year after year, or buy out the contract, so it ends up costing you way more than the stand-alone desktop product.  

Even your tax preparer/accountant may "recommend" QB Online as being an easier way to work together. Is that true? It may be true, or it may be self-serving. With QB Online your tax preparer doesn't have to see you in person, or learn QuickBooks techniques for transferring files.

But I'm not alone in thinking that QB Online is not in the best interest of most small business owners. About 20% of my practice is running QB Online, and in most cases, it's only in their best interest because they think it is. That's good enough for them, so it's good enough for me. 

At QC Computing, we support all QuickBooks versions. We sell trust, so you pay us to tell you what's in your best interest. Besides that, we feel as if we have a moral obligation to use our expertise to tell you what's in your best interest. Is that true?

Lots of client reviews say its true. I believe it's true because almost every week I give up some profit just to do the right thing. Why? Because life is short, the world is small, and there is more to life than profit. I'm all for profit, but how about honesty, trustworthiness, humility, respect? Those values are more dear than profit. Is that true? 

1099's and reimbursed expenses reporting

I have a client asking me to come and redo her 1099's because the "contractors" think they need a higher 1099—one that includes their travel and product costs reimbursements—and not just their labor. 

I explained that I did it correctly. If your business ever needs help with filing 1099's, we're here to help you. I and my bookkeepers know how to prepare 1099's correctly. We also know how to make this easy, by managing it all year long, and doing the work for you. 

Now these "contractors" for this one client are arguing it's just a preference thing, and they prefer that the 1099's be higher. They are confused. 

I'm a contractor, and what clients do or don't send me for a 1099 has zero effect on my accounting. As a business owner/contractor, I report my true income, deduct my true expenses, and pay taxes on my true profit. 

1099's gained popularity with the government as a way of tracking down dead-beat parents who are trying to get out of child support. As a parent, I am responsible to my children, so if I had an objection it would be relative to privacy. As a contractor, 1099's are only a problem if the 1099's filed on my name overstate my true income. That could happen if everyone reported everything they paid me, including checks given to me at year end that I didn't deposit until the next year. One way to look at this is that it's in a contractors best interest if a business owner does not send them a 1099, or under-reports their income on a 1099. A better way to look at this is what difference does it make what someone else reports on a 1099, or even if they do? As a business owner/contractor, I report my true income, take my true expenses, and pay taxes on my true profit.  

When contractors argue for something as stupid as they want a higher 1099 from a single client, they're arguing to be employees. Employees get a paycheck for their labor, and checks to cover reimbursements for travel/production costs. Employees get a W2 at year end for their labor and no 1099 because you never issue a 1099 for reimbursements. 

How 1099's are calculated is not a question of preference. However, the IRS let's business owners off the hook with confusion on what to report. In some cases the business owner really don't know what's what? The IRS example is when you take your truck to a repair shop. The repair shop may break out labor and materials on the bill, but you don't really know if they are marking up material costs or not? Therefore, do not worry about splitting the bill on your accounting system. It's fine to include the entire bill as part of the total for the 1099. 

When you can't easily discern what part of the bill is income to the contractor and what part is reimbursed costs, just report it all. But when you easily know, split the check on your accounting system, and don't report reimbursed expenses on the 1099. It's not how the IRS wants it and it's not in the best interest of your contractors. 

Here is a link to the IRS Code on 1099 filings.  IRS Government Instructions for Filing a 1099

Death by 1000 Cuts

When people ask, "how can measuring the past help me with the future?", one thing they're not realizing, is that the past we want you to be looking at is last month. What happened last month can help you in many ways. The hotel I stayed at last month overcharged me for my room. I was quickly able to get them to reverse their mistake. The client you worked for last month hasn't paid yet, so you can send out a reminder invoice. The inventory that's not moving can be put on sale, or bundled with another product for faster turnover. The rate increase in your costs of goods that sneaked up on you last month can be reflected in more accurate pricing. The salestax increase for Seattle from 9.5% to 9.6% can be updated now, even if you forgot to last month. That subscription service you no longer need but charged to your credit card last month anyway can be canceled permanently. You can negotiate lower bank fees on a monthly basis.   The new counter clerk you hired--the one who apparently doesn't know how to make change--can be sent off to a job for which she's better suited because yet again her register didn't balance. There are at least 1000 ways your business can die over time by neglect to your bookkeeping. Equally true, there are at least 1000 ways you improve your business profitability with clear, accurate accounting. What do you chose? Death by 1000 cuts, or finding 1000 small ways to improve your profitability?

Radio Interview with Real Money by David Holland -


I did an interview with David Holland, of Real Money.

Link to Interview

Real Money is a radio show about how money works and how to make it work for you. David & I discussed who are the players in the world of small business accounting; tax preparation considerations, and what is the job of the business owner or a privately held company in managing the various players, for a profitable dance?

Hope you enjoy!

Getting Venture Capital

Early Growth Financial Services Inc. specializes in working with clients who want or have just received Venture Capital Funding.

EGFS offers a range of service providers, including myself as the Seattle area Senior Accountant, and Larry Braden as the Seattle area CFO. Larry Braden, MBA, CPA, is a genius, and the primary reason I accepted this position. The job is quite fun. The clients have interesting problems, and they want the accounting to be perfect. I get to use all top of the line software solutions, like QuickBooks hosted Enterprise,, Expensify, and Zen Payroll. 

If your company is close to getting Venture Capital funding, or has just gotten VC funding, you won't find a better solution to your accounting, compliance, and tax needs than EGFS. Check out their blog, especially the positive review of my book.
From the blog link, it's easy to find multiple ways to contact EGFS. 

Why Gusto (ZenPayroll) Software Service

We support Intuit payroll in all forms, as well as adding ZenPayroll (now Gusto) to our portfolio now. 

Gusto is cloud-based payroll software, built for small businesses. Customers can run payroll and administer benefits from any connected device. All government payroll reporting is done automatically and paperlessly, providing the easiest way for business owners and bookkeepers/accountants to manage payroll taxes and compliance. 

There is one glaring limitation to Gusto or outsourcing payroll at all, over Intuit payroll, and that is job costing. If you need to integrate employee hours and job costing closely with payroll outsourcing payroll is not the right decision for your  business. 

With Gusto you decide on your payroll schedule. When it's time to run payroll, Gusto sends you an email alert. You connect from any device, (enter hours if the employee is not salaried), and run payroll with the click of a mouse. They take care of the all the rest. What could be simpler?

Click on this Link to get to Gusto Payroll 

Here is a Cost Analysis of Gusto and Intuit Payroll:

Gusto monthly fees are $25 per month, plus $4 per person for the first ten employees or contractors and $2 per person thereafter. This includes direct deposit, unlimited payroll runs, year-end W-2s and 1099's, tax liability payments, special payroll runs, and new hire reporting for both employees and contractors. 

Intuit's tax tables & forms, costs $28/month, plus $2 per employee. 

Sounds like Gusto is cheaper, but a client moved 8 employees from Intuit to Gusto and she said it was a tiny bit more expensive, but still worthwhile to her for the time savings. 

I've seen the ads for Costco and Intuit Online and Payroll combined and find them somewhat misleading as the Intuit software only prompts you with what you owe. You still have to file with various agencies, pay, and clear out the liabilities in your software. 

Naturally, I am happy to fix any problems you are having with Intuit Payroll. You know more about what's best for your business than I'll ever hope to know.


QuickBooks Integration

Let's talk about the QuickBooks integration. I've run the sync/link and all it does is enter the check into QuickBooks that takes money from your bank account, and posts it to Wages & Taxes, Salaries, or whatever you call your payroll expense account. I can enter that in manually, or upload it from the bank feed faster than I can integrate it from ZenPayroll. And if you do ever need more detailed information, such as specifics on employees or tax liabilities, ZenPayroll is storing those reports for you! Or if you require more detail inside QuickBooks, you can break it out yourself via check detail or a journal entry. 

Did I mention the 2 free months? That gives you time to sign up and make me a collaborator.

P.S. I had a mentor who shared that the trick to managing employees was to buy cheap dishes from the thrift store that she could then throw against the wall out back of her shop, Let's make having employees easier on you.