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We're blessed to give back what has been so richly given.

Fraud - Check Your Bank Statement Monthly

When I reconciled my bank statement from last month (June, 2016), I noticed a fraudulent withdrawal of over $300. My very next client had the exact same fraud. Can you believe it?

The next month there was another one for over $300 done a different way. The two were connected but not.

Honestly, I wouldn't have noticed with a cursory glance over my bank statement. They all looked routine.

Do your reconciliations on time, or have us do them for you.

My Business Model: Consultant Setup -> Bookkeeper Maintain

By popular demand, my business model has evolved to where I go to the client's first to get it setup, or fixed up, and then when the time is right, my bookkeeper replaces me to maintain the system for the client over the long term.

Clients like that their systems are setup right by an expert--me--Madeline. I ask all the right questions, bring to light all the things that they've not considered, help them streamline their systems, and mostly--create structure out of chaos.

Client's like that I've done the work to find a trustworthy bookkeeper, that their system will be maintained properly over time, and that my bookkeeper has access to me in case of questions. Once one of the bookkeepers--currently Tony or Shelly--are in place, the client has access to me for a yearly financial analysis session.

We like it internally, because I like the hard jobs, and my bookkeepers like to maintain systems that are in place, so that they can make them work well over the long term. My bookkeepers also like that I've vetted the client.

This particular client is a good photographer, so I asked him to take a couple of pictures of me and Shelly together on the day when I transferred the job to her. The transition day is the hardest day for everyone involved, but we all manage to enjoy our work anyway.

Seattle Pike's Market Food Tour Fun

We work for Show Me Seattle, which sponsors the
Seattle Pike's Market Food Tour.

So they comped us (me, Shelly, the bookkeeper, and her daughter) to go on the food tour last Saturday afternoon with ten other attendees.

We received tastings from various food vendors and restaurants---from one side of Pike's market to the other--until we were all stuffed. It's fun being a tourist in my own town. Our tour guide covered the history of Pike's market, and some philosophy too.

My favorite area was the garden. I've been to Pike's Market many times and never known there was a garden area. The garden is beautifully taken care of pro-bono. One care-taker was picking herbs. While it's strictly do not touch for visitors, one is welcome to sit there and enjoy it as long as one wants.

Shelly & I spend so much time talking about clients, it was wonderful to get to spend some social time with her, and to get to know her lovely and charming daughter. I highly recommend the Pike's Market food tour.

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.

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, integrity. Those values are more dear than profit. That's what I believe is 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?