There is so much buzz and news coverage about the April deadline to file personal taxes with the IRS. But if you’re a small business owner, who filed for an extension back in March, did you know you’re just days away from the deadline to file your 2016 corporate tax return? Don’t be late, or you will get a penalty.
If you are worried about filing your return on time, then you might have a problem with your company’s bookkeeping. That’s what happened to my last three clients, whose CPA called me desperately looking for a bookkeeper to get all three businesses books in order. The business owners didn’t realize their bookkeeper wasn’t doing his or her job, so the CPA didn’t have the books in order to file the proper tax return. Lucky for them, Brigade Bookkeeping was there to finish the job the right way!
To avoid filing your taxes late, filing for an extension, or just being disorganized with your company’s finances, you need to have someone to keep your books. Here are some guidelines to know to keep your books in order:
- REGULAR BOOKKEEPING – Is the person who is keeping your books, doing it on a regular basis? If you have a full-time bookkeeper then regular means daily bookkeeping. They should be using software like QuickBooks to keep your finances in order and your cash flowing. If your bookkeeper isn’t full time, than he or she should be balancing your books at least once a week or at worst, once a month. Your bookkeeper should be great with numbers, reconciling your credit card charges, tracking costs and making financial statements available monthly.
- COMMUNICATION IS KEY – If you don’t have an in-house bookkeeper, but someone is working on your books remotely, then make sure you are communicating regularly with this person. He or she should be responding to emails or phone calls within the same business day. Brigade Bookkeeping has a number of remote clients who we communicate with on a weekly basis through conference calls. When these client email us, we make it a point to reply within the hour, if not sooner.
- CASH FLOW – The most important reason to have a bookkeeper is to make sure your books are in order, which results in positive cash flow. Cash lets you pay your bills, make purchases and expand your business. If your bookkeeper isn’t able to create a balance sheet or tell you your cash flow status, then you may need to consider hiring a new bookkeeper.
- FIRE YOUR MOM – Mom bookkeepers don’t hate me for this suggestion! When I say “your mom” I mean a bookkeeper who is usually a family member and isn’t doing his or her job. If your mom or family member is keeping your books and they’re doing it on the cheap then good for you. But if your mom or family member is not doing a good job, then (gulp) fire them. Try to keep feelings out of it, and just explain you need to hire someone who can help keep your company’s finances in tip top shape all of the time.
Lucky for my new clients we were able to get their bookkeeping in order in time to file their corporate tax returns by the September 15th IRS deadline. Now all three have hired us to do their regular bookkeeping the right way.
Small business owners need to make it a priority to hire someone who can keep their books in order on a regular basis. Even if you have a bookkeeper, you need to make sure he or she is doing his or her job by having a monthly meeting to review your profit and loss statement and balance sheet. If you don’t have a bookkeeper, or feel yours isn’t doing a good job, get a second opinion; feel free to email me anytime. We can look through your books and tell you about your financial health, which can lead to the financial wealth, of your company.