Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Recording Simple Expenses in QuickBooks Online

Tracking even the little expenses is important.

How does most of the money you owe individuals and companies get disbursed? Do you print checks, or write them by hand? Use credit cards? Pay online through your bank’s website?

Keeping track of your outgoing funds can be challenging, since there are so many ways to complete those transactions. But it’s important that all expenses are recorded correctly and consistently, to keep your company file accurate. In addition, so many of your expenses are tax- deductible. You don’t want to miss any of them.

But when do you enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online bill-paying screens? In what situations would you use a purchase order? Why would you record a purchase on the dedicated expense screen? These are all questions we can answer for you. If you’re new to QuickBooks Online or simply puzzled by your options here, we’d be happy to schedule some time to go over these purchase issues.

Setting Up the Site

How you set up these preferences depends on your company’s individual structure and needs.

Before you start recording expenses, you’ll need to make sure that your site settings match what you need. Click on the gear icon in the upper right, then Your Company |Account and Settings| Expenses to see what we mean. Most of these options will turn columns on the Expense screen off or on (though you can change them for individual transactions). As for the Track billable expenses and items as income preference, that’s something we can discuss when we go over this topic.

Billable or Not?

Let’s say you need to buy some landscaping tools for your business that you’ll use with multiple customers. One of your customers has asked you to purchase some additional tools for her own use. This is how you could record your purchases on that trip. You’d click the + sign in the upper right, then select Expense. Click the down arrow in the payee field and select the name of the store (or add it if it’s not there by clicking + Add new). In the field to the right, you’ll select the source of the money you’ll be paying. Choose the name of the Checking account from the drop-down list.

Note: Even if you’re using a credit card for this purchase, the money will ultimately come out of your checking account. So be sure to choose the correct option here.

Make sure the date is correct, and choose the Payment method that you’re using to complete the purchase at the store.

This is the portion of the Expense screen where you’ll enter the actual details of your purchase

Click in the field under ACCOUNT to display a list of categories and click the correct one. In the DESCRIPTION field, enter descriptive text about the item – enough that it will be recognizable when you see it later. Type in the AMOUNT of the item. Since you’re buying these tools for company use, you can’t bill them to an individual customer. Click in the TAX field if necessary.

However, you’re buying the second item for a specific customer. You’ll click in the BILLABLE field to create a checkmark and add your company’s MARKUP PERCENTAGE in that field. Open the drop-down list in the CUSTOMER column and select the correct one. Choose a CLASS if you use them and save the transaction. .

When you look at that customer’s transaction list, you’ll see an entry for a Billable Expense Charge. You can click Start invoice if you want to bill for this one item. If not, you’ll see this charge in the vertical column to the right the next time you create an invoice for that customer.

Mobile Expenses

QuickBooks Online has a companion mobile app that lets you—among other things—track expenses when you’re away from your computer.

As you can see in the image above, you’ll be able to enter the details of your expenses manually. Click on the camera icon in the upper left, and you can take a picture of a receipt and attach it to the transaction. The next time you log into QuickBooks Online, you’ll see the expense with the photo file attached.

QuickBooks Online can simplify the entry and tracking of expense data, but as we said, it’s important to enter purchases in the right places – and to categorize them correctly.

Hired Your First Employee? Your Tax Obligations

Hired Your First Employee? Your Tax Obligations

It’s a major milestone for you, but it comes with a lot of paperwork that must be done correctly.

Bringing a new employee into your business is a reason to celebrate. You’ve done well enough as a sole proprietor that you can’t handle the workload by yourself anymore.

Onboarding your first worker, though, comes with a great deal of extra effort for you at first. You have to show him or her the ropes so you can offload some of the extra weight you’ve been carrying.

But first things first. Before your employee even shows up for the first day of work, you should have assembled all the paperwork required to keep you compliant with the IRS and other federal and state agencies.

A New Number

As a one-person company, you’ve been using your Social Security number as your tax ID. You’re an employer now, so you’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for one here.

The IRS’s EIN Assistant walks you through the process of applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Once you’ve completed the steps in the IRS’s EIN Assistant, you’ll receive your EIN right away, and can start using it to open a business bank account, apply for a business license, etc.

You’ll also need an EIN before you start paying your employee. It’s required on the Form W-4. If you’ve ever worked for a business yourself, you’ve probably filled out this form. As an employer now, you should provide one to your new hire on the first day. When it’s completed, it will help you determine how much federal income tax to withhold every payday. If you’re not bringing in a full-time employee but, rather, an independent contractor, you won’t be responsible for withholding and paying income taxes for that individual. You’ll need to supply him or her with a Form W-9.

Note: Payroll processing is probably the most complex element of small business accounting. If you don’t have any experience with it, you’ll probably want to use an online payroll application. After you’re set up on one of these websites, you enter the hours worked every pay period. The site calculates tax withholding and payroll taxes due, then prints or direct deposits paychecks. Let us know if you want some guidance on this.

Don’t forget about state taxes if your state requires them, and any local obligations. The IRS maintains a page with links to each state’s website. You can get information about doing business in your geographical area, which includes taxation requirements.

More Forms

You also have to be in contact with your state to report a new hire (same goes if you ever re-hire someone). The Small Business Administration (SBA) can be helpful here, as it is in many other aspects of managing a small business. The organization maintains a list of links to state entities here.

All employees are required to fill out a Form I-9 on the first day of a new job. New employees must also prove that they’re legally eligible to work in the United States. To do this, they complete a Form I-9 from the Department of Homeland Security. As their employer, you’re charged with verifying that the information provided is accurate by looking at one or a combination of documents (U.S. Passport, driver’s license and birth certificate, etc.). By signing this form, you’re stating that you’ve done that.

You can also use the U.S. government’s E-Verify online tool to confirm eligibility.

A Helping Hand

The Department of Labor has a great website for new employers. The FirstStep Employment Law Advisor helps employers understand what DOL federal employment laws apply to them and what recordkeeping they they’re required to do. Please consider us a resource, too, as you take on a new employee. Preparing for a complex new set of tax obligations will be a challenge. We’d like to see you get everything right from the start.

What Start-up Costs can You Deduct?

What Start-up Costs can You Deduct?

Launching a new business takes hard work — and money. Costs for market surveys, travel to line up potential distributors and suppliers, advertising, hiring employees, training, and other expenses incurred before a business is officially launched can add up to a substantial amount.

The tax law places certain limitations on tax deductions for start-up expenses.

  • No deduction is available until the business becomes active.
  • Up to $5,000 of accumulated start-up expenses may be deducted in the tax year in which the active business begins. This $5,000 limit is reduced (but not below zero) by the excess of total start-up costs over $50,000.
  • Any remaining start-up expenses may be deducted ratably over the 180-month period beginning with the month in which the active business begins.

Instead of deducting start-up costs, a business may elect to capitalize them (treat them as an asset on the balance sheet). Deductions for “organization expenses” — such as legal and accounting fees for services related to forming a corporation or partnership — are subject to similar rules.

You can Lower Your Taxes if You are Self-Employed

You can Lower Your Taxes if You are Self-Employed

When you are self-employed, your business profits are taxed to you at federal rates as high as 39.6%. Add self-employment taxes of 15.3% of the first $118,500 of your net self-employment earnings plus 2.9% of any earnings over that amount. Then there’s an additional 0.9% Medicare surtax on earnings in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 if married filing jointly). At tax rates like these, it pays to take steps to reduce your tax burden.

Step One: Deduct Business Expenses

Be sure you have an organized system for recording your expenses. To be deductible, a business expense must be “ordinary” (common and accepted in your trade or business) and “necessary” (helpful and appropriate for your trade or business). Since personal expenses are generally not deductible, it’s smart to have a separate business bank account and use a separate credit card for business purchases.

Step Two: Deduct Health Insurance Premiums

You may qualify to deduct premiums paid for medical, dental, and qualified long-term care insurance coverage for you, your spouse, and your dependents.* The coverage may include children who haven’t reached age 27 by the end of the year, even if you don’t claim them as dependents on your tax return.

Unlike health insurance premiums paid for employees, the self-employed health insurance deduction won’t save you self-employment taxes. However, it will lower your taxable income. You must meet certain requirements to qualify for the deduction.

Step Three: Deduct Retirement Plan Contributions

Funding a retirement plan can also save you significant tax dollars. Within limits, plan contributions will be tax deductible.** Several types of plans may be suitable for you as a self-employed taxpayer, including a simplified employee pension (SEP) plan, a savings incentive match plan (SIMPLE), or a solo (individual) 401(k) plan. Each plan has specific features and requirements that you will want to weigh carefully before making a choice.

5 QuickBooks Reports You Need to Run in January

5 QuickBooks Reports You Need to Run in January

The new year has begun. Does your accounting to-do list look like a clean slate, or are critical tasks from last year still nagging?

Getting all of your accounting tasks done in December is always a challenge. Besides the vacation time you and your employees probably took for the holidays, there are those year-end, Let’s-wrap-it-up-by-December-31 projects.

How did you do last month? Were you ready to move forward when you got back to the office in January? Or did you run out of time and have to leave some accounting chores undone?

Besides paying bills and chasing payments, submitting taxes and counting inventory in December, there’s another item that should have been on your to-do list: creating end-of-year reports. If you didn’t get this done, it’s not too late. It’s important to have this information as you begin the New Year. QuickBooks can provide it.

A Report Dashboard

You may be using the Reports menu to access the pre-built frameworks that QuickBooks offers. Have you ever explored the Report Center, though? You can get there by clicking Reports in the navigation toolbar or Reports | Report Center on the drop-down menu at the top of the screen.

QuickBooks’ Report Center introduces you to all of the software’s report templates and helps you access them quickly.

As you can see in the image above, the Report Center divides QuickBooks’ reports into categories and displays samples of each. Click on one of the tabs at the top if you want to:

  • Memorize a report using any customization you applied.
  • Designate a report as a Favorite
  • See a list of the most Recent reports you ran.
  • Explore reports beyond those included with QuickBooks, Contributed by Intuit or other parties.

Recommended Reports

Here are the reports we think you should run as soon as possible if you didn’t have a chance to in December:

Budget vs Actual

We hope that by now you’ve at least started to create a budget for this coming year. If not, the best way to begin is by looking at how close you came to your numbers last year. QuickBooks actually offers four budget-related reports, but Budget vs Actual is the most important; it tells you how your actual income and expenses compare to what was budgeted.

Budget Overview is just what it sounds like: a comprehensive accounting of your budget for a given period. Profit & Loss Budget Performance is similar to Budget vs Actual. It compares actual to budget amounts for the month, fiscal year-to-date, and annual. Budget vs Actual Graph provides a visual representation of your income and expenses, giving you a quick look at whether you were over or under budget during specific periods.

Income & Expense Graph

You’ve probably been watching your income and expenses all year in one way or another. But you need to look at the whole year in total to see where you stand. This graph shows you both how income compares to expenses and what the largest sources of each are. It doesn’t have the wealth of customization options that other reports due, but you can view it by date, account, customer, and class.

A/R Aging Detail

QuickBooks’ report templates offer generous customization options.

Which customers still owe you money from last year? How much? How far past the due date are they? This is a report you should be running frequently throughout the year. Right now, though, you want to clean up all of the open invoices from last year. A/R Aging Detail will show you who is current and who is 31-60, 61-90, and 91+ days old. You might consider sending Statements to those customers who are way past due.

A/P Aging Detail

Are you current on all of your bills? If so, this report will tell you so. If some bills slipped through the cracks in December, contact your vendors to let them know you’re on it.

Sales by Item Detail

January is a good time to take a good look at what sold and what didn’t before you start placing orders for this coming year. We hope you’re watching this closely throughout the year, but looking at monthly and annual totals will help you identify trends – as well as winners and losers.

QuickBooks offers some reports in the Company & Financial and Accountant & Taxes categories that you can create, but which really require expert analysis. These include Balance Sheet, Trial Balance, and Statement of Cash Flows. You need the insight they can offer on at least a quarterly basis, if not monthly. Connect with us, and we can set up a schedule for looking at these.

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January is a good time to run reports you didn’t have time to in December. Talk to us about which are most important.

QuickBooks provides templates for some reports that you probably need help analyzing, like Balance Sheet. We can help with these.

Have you explored QuickBooks’ Report Center? It offers a variety of tools and guidance for managing reports.

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