Monday, December 3, 2012

We all can make a difference

We all have the power to make a difference and give back in our communities.

Many times you will hear friends talk about terrible situations, it always makes me upset to just talk about something and not be able to do something about it.  Although we all have the power to make difference each and everyday.  We may not have millions of dollars to give to a cause or have the popularity many stars have but we all can make a difference. 

When I was in College I joined a service Fraternity. Yes it was a Fraternity and I am female but it was a great organization called Alpha Phi Omega, it really touched so many different people in so many age groups.  We put on Egg hunts for young children, we volunteered to coordinate weekly bingo at a local nursing home and we did so many other things to really make a difference in the local college community. Even when I later pledged a sorority I volunteered to help at Thanksgiving time at a church to help serve meals to those who in need.  

What it taught me in the crucial , most  impressionable time as a young adult more than any college course could teach we all can make a difference.  

After graduation I choose a career path to continue to help the elderly,  those that were chronically ill and those that were affected by Alzheimer's and dementia and other cognitive diseases.  Along with helping the residents, helping the families was also a major factor in my day to day work.  Seeing sadness of those who would not have their family members as they remember and to be able to talk about it to someone who would lend an ear was one of the biggest things  that helped a small thing but such a big thing just listening.  

After my over 10 years in the Geriatric field I spent many years home with my children as a stay at home mom . Then I spent over 5 years volunteering time in a great organization called the MOMS club International where I held offices as President and Area Coordinator to help moms who made the choice to stay home with their children day to day and be able to be part of a group that supported that and also we did much outreach to the community.  Many mothers needed that support being a parent is a job that has no instruction manual.  

Now my focus as a business person working with small business owners and also doing some work in daily money management services, I have made a decision to continue to try to make a difference in a small way.  We help our clients each and every day with things but we wanted to go beyond that.  

On Dec 14th dcs Accounting & Tax will be having a Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser Mixer Event to help raise money for the American Red Cross and also to do a food collection for the Hellertown Food Bank.  It will be at our office from 3PM to 6PM. Lots of great prizes will be given away.  We hope to have many attend.  

Also our office is collecting New Unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots Marine Reserve Program this is our 4th year collecting so feel free to stop by if you wish to make a donation.  

Service to help others is not just a one  day event or only at a certain time of year but it is something we do each and every day.  Small ways by opening the door for someone, feeding a meter, listening to a friend who is having a hard time,  volunteering time, and so much more. Helping others is a lifetime commitment that we all can do each and everyday. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

To buy or not to buy

Many business owners are making  decisions on end of the year purchases that may help them with their business.

A common tool that you may see many business owners use is the i-pad

Can the I-pad help me in my business?

Well there are some apps that I will briefly touch upon that can help you with your business

1) Intuit's Paper Trail - This app is a nice way help maximize your deductions.  You can  organize your receipts by capturing them in pictures and allows you to make notes and categorize your expenses
also it allows you to track your mileage and odometer readings and also make notes also you have the ability to back up the info to i- cloud.  Cost of the App - FREE

2) Log Me In-  Great free app to help you work from home and use your office computer to work on some things you may wish to check on if you are not in the office due to weather or illness.
Cost of App - FREE

3)Time Tracker Pro-  Helps you keep track of your time when at a clients or at home working.  Allows for you to enter your time and record your time for projects
Cost of App- FREE

4)Evernote- Great place to keep notes, record ideas , take pictures of ideas when you are out.  Very helpful way to use your I -pad.
Cost of App-FREE

5) Google Translate-  Great way to help you if you need help with translation.  This app you can speak in your home language and get it translated to the language you wish both written and verbal.
Cost of App- FREE

6) Calculator App-  There are a few versions that can be used but a great tool to have as part of your i-pad
Cost of App-FREE

Also a great way to keep your contacts organized once you get that business card from a business contact.

Also the I-pad is a great tool for you to read professional publications since many now are available for you to read on your I-pad.  Great way to stay knowledgable in your field and keep down on the paper flow that comes in and out of your home and office.

These are just a few of the apps that can help you with day to day business and help realize the value of using an I-Pad in your business.   We find our I-pad 2  to have been a great addition as a business tool for us.  We appreciate the fact that it  is easy to use and also the size of the i-pad is large enough to view and work on.  

So if you are wanting to invest in this tool for an end of the year purchase you will find it can do more than many realize and be a valuable tool in day to day business.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Disaster Preparation and Tax Deductions

Some questions you may ask wake of Hurricane Sandy:
  • Can we combine disaster preparation and tax planning?  The answer is YES.
  • How?  One way, if you are a business,  is by accelerating assets/equipment purchased for disaster prevention into 2012. A business  may be able to take advantage of the tax favorable bonus depreciation rules that were extended through 2012 for qualified equipment placed in purchased by December 31, 2012.
  • Businesses can write off half of the cost of qualifying assets put in service this year, a portable generator would definitely qualify... if it was new (original use) when purchased.  
  • Businesses can also expense up to $139,000 of assets put in use by 2012.
Taking advantage of these equipment write offs (some of which expire at year-end) are some of the quickest ways to get prepared for the next event from mother nature and get a tax deduction at the same time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

QuickBooks and Marketing Part 1

When you see the word QuickBooks you usually don't think of the word marketing.  Did you know that Quickbooks is a great tool that helps when it comes to marketing.

Here are just a few tools within Quickbooks 2012 and some you will find in Quickbooks 2011  that can help business owners when it comes to Marketing with your small business.

1) The Lead Center- A great place to go to put information on your lead, look at status of the lead, the lead can be converted to a customer within QuickBooks, also the capability to make notes and have a to do list.

2)  The Calendar - Nice Addition that keeps track of meetings, to do list, bills to be paid , leads to follow up on and so much more

3)  Track a Marketing Campaign- See how much sales a specific marketing campaign brought to your business and it can even be tracked over a specific time period. Great feature to learn about if you are Quickbooks user.

4)  Customer Snapshot-  See what service or product that has been the most popular with a specific customer.  Also important information like sales history and how long  they have been a client.

These are just few of many features that can help you with your marketing efforts.  Have you tried any of these features?

These features work great for small business we currently use all of these features in our firm and really appreciate the results we see from having Quickbooks 2012 with some of these current features.  We also have been sharing how to use these features with our Quickbooks clients.  Learning how to use them effectively and as part of your daily routine can help you greatly and see results that will help you grow your business.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Going for the Gold with a Quickbooks Coach

The Olympics makes me think about going for the gold and how having a coach is one part of helping them in achieving that Gold.  We normally don't think that we need a coach for success when it comes to Quickbooks.  Here are some key reasons that those that are currently using Quickbooks or those who are new to Quickbooks can benefit from a Quickbooks Coach.  Some may sound very similar to why athletes have coaches to help them:

1) Zero in on how to do things better.  Take a look at what you are currently doing if you are not a Quickbooks user or if you are Quickbooks user there are things that can be done with improvement. There may be things that can be done easier or more efficiently.  Features that you may not be using that can help you improve your Quickbooks Experience and Results.  

2)  Look at where there are problems.   There are times  we are doing things that are not correct and we need to learn the correct way.  If things are not done correctly in Quickbooks just like in a sport it will throw off the results.  Having a Quickbooks Coach analyze your Quickbooks can help you with better results.  

3)Accountability is very important, practice , regular communication and brainstorming to help you stay on track.  This can be key to Quickbooks Success.  Having someone there to see how things are going and talk about what is going well and what is going not so well.  This is a Quickbooks  Partner that is there to cheer you on to move you forward in Quickbooks knowledge.

4)  See clear results when you have a Quickbooks Coach they will help you determine what you want your results to be.  Olympic Athletes have the goal of to have the result of a Gold medal. The coach will set a plan to help guide them to get there to the goal of gold.   When you get the results within Quickbooks it can help you plan your business and set goals for your business to reach the success so you can see the numbers like you may have never looked at them before.  

Maria Smith and David Smith, CPA are Certified Quickbooks ProAdvisors that have coached small business owners to helping them toward their gold.  They offer Quickbooks Starter Packages, monthly Quickbooks Coaching, Quickbooks Analysis & Tune Ups,  Training for Small business owners and their employees.   

What is a Daily Money Manager ?

Joe is living independently in a Senior Apartment and has no immediate family just a relative that was helping him who now lives in a nursing home.  Joe has trouble with his vision and writing is a bit difficult for him. Joe needs help with his budgeting, bill paying and mail sorting since this is very difficult for him.  His daily money manager visits Joe monthly and discusses his finances, helps pay bills, go over mail received, reminds him  not to  disclose any information when it comes to finances over the phone or if someone comes to his door, also she helps him maintain his budget for daily needs like grocery shopping and personal care items.  His daily money manager also works behind the scenes to monitor his finances and answer any mail requests for him.  Working with a daily money manager gives Joe the ability to know his finances and also make sure that his bills are paid promptly so he can remain in his apartment and to keep up his supplemental insurance and keep his utilities on.  Also his daily money manager makes sure he has enough money for his weekly prescriptions that change weekly and is monitored weekly by a visiting RN.

This is just one example where a daily money manager can be vital in keeping an individual living independently and safely. Maria Smith is Joe's daily money manager at dcs Accounting & Tax  she finds her extensive  experience in Geriatric Social Work  so important when she is working with her clients like Joe.

Daily Money managers also help busy professionals, professionals that may be away for extended period of time, military families, by helping with  bill paying, budgeting, record-keeping, bookkeeping and mail sorting. Also she helps newlyweds set up a budget  and a plan to help them get started with financial direction.

If you wish to learn more about our daily money management Service contact Maria Smith at dcs Accounting & Tax (610)838-1903.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What happens when I make an appointment with dcs Accounting & Tax Services

You are ready to make that Appointment with dcs Accounting & Tax, what  are some of the most important things that you should  bring?

1) W-2's
2) 1099's
3) Mortgage Statement
4) 2011 Income Tax Return
5) other specific items may be requested when appointment is made.

At dcs Accounting & Tax we also provide our clients with a Tax Organizer. This also helps  provide us with any other documents that we may need  that pertains to their specific return.    Our clients find this very helpful in preparing for their tax appointment. 

When you make an appointment with dcs Accounting & Tax Maria , will send the Tax Organizer  out to you. She will then schedule a time with you.  We provide daytime, evening and weekend hours for appointments.

What happens at my Appointment?  You will sit down with our CPA, David and he will review the information with you.  He will also answer any questions you have in reference to your taxes and questions about any changes that may have occurred with your tax status like for example: new business, new child, college financial aid, investments and more. The appointment  can take 30 - 60 minutes. 

David is the person that prepares and files the returns. This is a something that does set us apart from many CPA firms.   While he prepares the returns he does keep contact with the client on anything they should be aware or other questions that may arise. Communication is key for dcs Accounting & Tax. 

When we complete the return we will then contact  our client to let them know their return is complete they will come in we then  review the return with them  and then the client will sign a e-file signature authorization which is  required before we transmit any return. 

Also our clients who return to us each tax season receive a report that gives them a summary and recommendations this is something we offer to help our clients plan for the next tax year.

Everything is given to the client in an organized folder with instructions. 

We maintain contact with our clients throughout the year. Through email reminders, phone calls, postcard reminders. 

Also many of our clients will keep contact throughout the year with questions that may arise and also through some other services we provide to them like bookkeeping, Quickbooks consulting(David & Maria are Certified Quickbooks ProAdvisors), Business consulting, payroll, and preparing financial statements. 
The value of what we provide is more than just about filing taxes, it gives you ideas that can save you money,   it is about having some direction on planning for the future too and helping make some important decisions that happen in life when it comes to Tax and finances.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Why should I hire a CPA?

There are many out there that provide Tax Services some you see really strongly from Jan-April are National chains, some are Public Accountants(not certified) and some come in the form of Software you pay for to do your Income Taxes.

There have been  changes by the IRS to keep a strong control on who does taxes that they follow strict standards and requirements set forth which are put in place to protect Taxpayers. Check for what to look for if you hire a tax professional.

CPA's have additional  standards that they must follow and to practice as a CPA in PA. 
-They must have two years (3,200 hours) of professional experience including 800hours of attest activity to become become a CPA.
-Pass a very intense  four-Part exam that tests  in the areas of Financial Accounting and reporting, auditing and  attestation, regulation and business environment and concepts. 
-Comply with a strict code of ethics
-Adhere to high standards of independence, integrity, objectivity and professional compliance
-Completed 80 hours of continuing professional education every 2 years to stay current with new rules and regulations.
-Undergo a peer review every three years for those that provide attest activity with a public accounting firm. 

Many times you will find a CPA is able to act as a CFO for a smaller company that does not have one on staff.   Many times this is very important for many small to mid sized businesses when making decisions in their business and one of the most vital professionals that they can hire. 

Also a CPA is a key professional to have with things that happen in life and making the right financial decisions college planning, financial investing, those who are retired, divorce, bankruptcy, Real Estate investing, dealing with estate planning  and so much more. 

A CPA is someone more than just a professional you use at tax time.  They are a KEY person to hire and the Value they provide is great.