How to Do Accounting for an LLC: All you Need to Know

Getting your business’s accounting in order has many benefits. Not only does it help with bookkeeping and taxes, but it’ll also bring peace of mind. Additionally, if you’re someone who isn’t detail-oriented, having organized financial records and accounting can be helpful for budgeting and business projections. 

Why should a business be registered as a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

An LLC includes the features of a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and a corporation. The LLC, therefore, presents itself as the most flexible business structure. As opposed to a sole proprietorship, an LLC protects the individual from debts and lawsuits. When filing taxes, a single-person LLC can file taxes as a sole proprietor or as a corporation. Alternatively, an LLC with multiple owners can file taxes as a partnership or corporation. For example, if you’re looking to start an LLC in Florida please make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws.

Does an LLC need to open a business bank account?

Laws mandate LLCs to open a bank account. Consider the following when deciding on the bank:

  • What type of account best meets your requirements?
  • The fee charged by the bank.
  • Choice of online/in-person services offered by the bank.
  • Network of branches of the bank in the area of the business’s operations. 

The types of accounts that need to be opened include:

  • Business Checking Account – For the business to receive customer payments and pay business expenses.
  • Business Savings Account – For the business to save a part of the income for tax obligations and unforeseeable business expenses. 

 

Why is it important to separate personal and business finances?

Separation of personal and business finances is vital. Business expenses should not be made from personal accounts and vice versa. Also, don’t transfer funds from the business account to a personal account. Separation of finances helps in consolidating business income and expenses in one place and makes it easier to calculate the business’s tax obligations accurately. One could also enroll in formal accounting/bookkeeping classes to learn the basics. 

 

What are the options in the choice of accounting methods for an LLC?

LLCs can choose to follow one of two options in accounting methods:

  • Cash accounting – In this method, income is recognized and recorded when money is received. Likewise, expenses are recognized and recorded when money is paid. 
  • Accrual accounting – Here, revenue is recognized and recorded when earned, not when received. Also, an expense is recognized and recorded when incurred, not when paid. The drawback of this accounting method is that it does not give a true picture of a business’s cash flow. On the other hand, it provides an accurate picture of its income and expenses during a specific duration of time. 

Whatever accounting method the business chooses, the business will need to stay with it for all future tax filings. 

 

Should the LLCs do their bookkeeping in-house or outsource it?

Bookkeeping is the tracking and recording of the business’s income and expenses. This must be done diligently to accurately track the business’s finances, prepare correct financial statements, and file correct tax returns. Depending on the size and maturity of the business, the available options for bookkeeping include:

  • In-house bookkeeping – Typically, in-house bookkeeping would not be required for early-stage businesses. As the business matures, it may decide to hire a team of bookkeepers to record the firm’s financial transactions. In-house bookkeeping, invariably, works out to be the most expensive option.
  • Outsourced bookkeeping – This bookkeeping method could be done by hiring a part-time bookkeeper or by subscribing to an online bookkeeping service. Businesses could consider services such as InsightsOfficer from PwC.

How should business expenses be tracked?

IRS stipulates and provides a detailed list of business expenses, income earned, and payable taxes that need to be tracked and recorded. The important ones include:

  • Business receipts for office supplies, work-related travel expenses, etc.
  • Bank statements
  • Bill for office utilities, internet/telephone expenses, etc.
  • Invoices
  • Financial statements
  • Payment proofs
  • Tax returns

IRS regulations also stipulate the length of time that each of the different types of records needs to be maintained. The length of time that the documentation needs to be stored varies depending on the type of financial record. Businesses have the option of choosing physical documentation or a cloud-based service.

What are the options available for the business to receive payments?

In addition to the traditional methods of cheque/direct deposits, other options available to the business for receiving payments are:

  • Online payments – Online receipt of payments helps in the faster clearance of invoices. If the business has opted for cloud-based accounting software, the software would normally be integrated with an online payment tool to manage the business’s payments.
  • Automated invoicing – To simplify their invoicing processes, businesses can opt for an automated invoicing system. Most cloud-based accounting systems integrate this feature for recurring invoices.

How should the LLC’s payroll be set up?

Setting up payroll is essential for any business that employs staff. The employees of the business need to be appropriately classified as permanent employees, contractors, part-time employees, etc. After the staff has been classified, the business must design the payroll by factoring in the different financial regulations specific to the different classes of personnel. Insights on payroll management from ADP are a useful source of information. One could also find other reliable resources on the subject.

What are the tax obligations of an LLC?

LLCs are bound by law to comply with tax regulations at the federal and state levels. The leadership enrolling in a course to learn the basics of preparing tax returns will help adhere to compliance requirements. The taxes that the LLC needs to pay include:

  • Income tax – Tax to be paid on the income earned by the business.
  • Employment tax – Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) mandates LLCs to pay employment tax, including contributions towards social security and medicare. 
  • Sales Tax – This tax varies depending on the state in which the business is based. 

Also, to manage its accounting needs the business can decide to either hire or consult with a professional business accountant. A trained business accountant can advise the business on the appropriate legal structure for the firm, tax-related obligations, and financial strategy and oversee financial reporting. 

Accounting plays a critical role in running a business by helping track income and expenses and enabling statutory compliance. It also provides the business’s management and investors with the financial information required to make informed business decisions. 

 

Author Bio:

Matt Horwitz is the founder of LLC University, a website that teaches people how to form LLCs. Matt is the leading authority in LLC education and is featured in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, Entrepreneur Magazine, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business from Drexel University with a concentration in business law. LLC University®, established in 2010, was the first company to create free LLC courses in all 50 states.

Best Ways To Keep Tabs On Your Money

When it comes to personal or professional finances, money management and using a financial application that’s specific to your circumstances can help you achieve financial health and monetary growth. Not only will the right app make it easier to manage your various accounts, but it can also give you real-time insights into your personal or professional financial picture. If you’re ready to move to the next level, Universal Accounting provides a range of training and certification programs that will help you grow your career in the finance sector.

Benefits Of Financial Apps

When you’re operating a company, Business News Daily says maintaining your financial health is critical to your overall success. The right apps and software will help you establish fiscally responsible budgets, ensure that you’re meeting your goals and objectives, and it will alert you to any potentially worrisome financial issues before they get too far out of hand. It can also help you get an instant snapshot of your finances without having to log into various accounts, download reports, and conduct an analysis. The key is in finding the right app or apps and software to help you achieve all of your goals.

What A Financial App Can Do

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the greatest benefits of having a financial application is that you can keep all of your information in one place. This helps you easily access all of your financial details at the touch of a button, which in turn, can help you organize both your personal and business finances efficiently. It will also result in fewer errors, and if you’re both a business owner and you’re tracking your personal finances, it’s wise to keep your accounts separate. This is especially critical if you form an LLC, or limited liability company, for your business. If you combine or commingle your funds, you run the risk of losing your liability production and becoming personally liable for debts and losses.

What You Should Look For

One of the first things to consider when you’re comparing different personal financial apps is whether they integrate with your other accounts and are easy to navigate. You may need special tools or features based on your particular line of work, and you also want to ensure security. If you’re not terribly familiar with using this type of technology, keep in mind that an application that offers superior levels of customer tech support is invaluable. Ease of use is another critical factor. It doesn’t matter how effective an app is, or how many bells and whistles it features, if it’s too complex, you’re unlikely to use it in a way that makes the most sense for your operations.

Things To Track

When you’re comparing financial apps and software, consider your specific needs and compare them to the features of different apps. For example, maybe you could benefit from accounting features, inventory management, payroll functions, business expenditures, or research and development investments. Look for an app that allows you to utilize analytics, run reports as necessary, and keep your accounting information in detailed, organized order. This will make it easier when it’s time to file your taxes, apply for business grants and loans, and share with investors, if applicable. You want a tool that meets all of your needs, not just some of them. 

Whether you’re managing your finances as a business owner or looking for something to help with personal accounts, an app is only as good as the fiscal planning you establish. If you’re a business, utilize a business plan that includes forecasts and projections. Track marketing efforts to ensure you’re reaching the appropriate audiences, and regularly review your operational functions. If you’re tracking as an individual, set earning and investment goals and work with a money manager to make strategic investments. Once you have the strategy, the right app will keep you on track.

Universal Accounting offers certification in accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and other related financial fields. Programs are designed to meet you where you are and achieve your unique professional objectives. Visit the site to learn more or reach out via phone for a consultation.

by Sharon Wagner

How to Learn Accounting without an Accounting Background?

When it comes to business concepts of sales, purchases, and overhead, the first thing that comes to mind is accounting.  Accounting aids in making informed and strategic decisions that help in businesses grow in the right direction and at the right time.

As a subject, Accounting may be considered quite tough to grasp as it requires meticulous financial recordings and tedious ledger management, coupled with complex concepts that need intensive practice. While this is true to some extent, learning accounting is not impossible as it is based upon basic math skills. With our comprehensive and easy-to-learn accounting guide, you can get started and manage your business details and finances or get your dream job.

 

Capitalize on E-Learning Programs and Online Courses

In this digitally advanced age, everything has evolved. Now ordering food is just a click away, entertainment modes have become immensely diverse, and even education has shifted to online mediums. So, why not avail the opportunity and get started with any of the e-learning programs offered by numerous well-known schools, universities and colleges.

Learning online is more convenient than the conventional college-going experience. The world is now a global village with no boundaries, and any prospective learner from any educational background can enroll in their desired e-learning courses. These online programs are well developed as per modern market needs, ranging from basics to advanced levels. Therefore, take advantage of the opportunity and build your skills by learning from famous institutions like The University of Michigan, Udemy, Coursera, MIT, and many more that too free of cost!

For accounting, the options are simple with courses like the following to consider:

Choose a Suitable Learning Method

Several learning options like online learning, YouTube videos, e-learning diploma programs, and onsite learning are available. But, every prospect has its pros and cons. One must pick the most suitable medium as per our requirements. So, before selecting any accounting learning programs, one needs to consider the following factors:

  • When it comes to learning supplementary skills like accounting, computer basics, language, or any soft skills, budget is one of the significant factors that impact the preferences of aspiring students. E-learning programs are very cheap, and most of the time, fundamental courses are less costly. So, select your desired lessons as per your learning requirements and budget.
  • Analyze and decide beforehand the key gains that you desire from your accounting course and keep track of your learning and professional outcomes even during as well as after the completion of your online course
  • Management is the most substantial aspect of after-college learning or supplementary education. So, organize your calendar accordingly to avoid any inconvenience.
  • Knowing your optimal learning style and habits is also crucial. Some people are good kinesthetic learners, while some are auditory or visual learners. So, select courses as per your learning styles to connect with like-minded peers. This approach will amplify your learning capacity manifold!

Follow the learning method compatible with your coveted outcomes, budget, learning style, and schedule.

 

Devote Time to Learning

Irrespective of the learning methodology you choose, devote ample time to it. Accounting concepts construct gradually, so investing enough time in deep learning each topic is crucial to building a conceptual foundation.  Avoid rushing while learning basics as a strong foundation needs clear concepts. Keep practicing accounting problems daily as that will enable you to progress toward your desired educational goal.

 

Concentrate on Real-World Application

Keep in mind that learning accounting equations and principles does not require memorization. Accounting is the game of practice, so always apply your understanding to real-world problems. For instance, online accounting courses incorporate a case-based teaching methodology that provides the students with an opportunity to take on real business problems and real-world challenges.

Furthermore, attempt to recreate scenarios that you might have experienced during the course of your career. Applying concepts and equations to subjective experiences can help learners connect with real-world problems and practical solutions. It is also significant to understand accounting is not something one can understand overnight; it needs time and repeated practice.

 

Do Network with Accounting Professionals

When we connect with the peers and professionals from our relevant field, it gives us more analytical and practical insights about the subject. Such communities not only help hone our accounting skills but also provide motivation and support. These accounting networks are supportive platforms for newbies as they have also experienced similar challenges in the past and are open to helping others through their accounting journey. Along with professional growth, accounting networks also develop a community spirit and sense of belonging amongst online learners.

 

Wrapping Up

Whenever we learn a new skill, the most notable aspect is to take control of that learning. Before taking on something that is not quite compatible with our educational background, degree, and experiences, we need to put aside the inevitable fear and be prepared to move outside our comfort zone.

Learning the fundamentals of accounting will not only help you diversify your skillset, boost your confidence and performance in organizations but will also assist you in making more intelligent decisions. Therefore, whether you want to supervise your finances or are interested in pursuing a book-keeping or an accountant job in your dream organization, learning and practicing the basics of accounting can help get you started.

Now, consider the perfect solution for you to excel in your accounting career and get paid what you are worth.

Author Bio: 
Maliha Safiullah is a Former Correspondent for 60 Minutes, Channel Nine Australia and is a published writer having worked as a Feature Writer for Dawn News, Pakistan.

Social Media Tactics – 5 Simples Methods for Promoting Your Accounting Business

You may not think that social media marketing is a viable form of marketing for an accounting firm. Traditionally, accounting firms gain business via word of mouth, or via SEO and Google rankings, for example. However, social media can be a huge boost to your business, reputation, and customer base. We look at five simple social media tactics below, so you can improve your social media tactics for your accounting business.

1. Follow complementary businesses

A great social media tactic to use for any industry on social media is to follow complementary businesses. Ideally, the people you follow will be a well-curated list of similar businesses. Social media accounts that make sense for your business. 

For example, you could follow the social media profiles of accounting software companies. Make sure you take time curating your social media following and only try to have relevant businesses and/or people who you follow. Also, regularly check your followers to remove any spam accounts as this can be detrimental to your reputation.

2. Provide free advice for people and businesses

While the main aim of your accounting business is to make money and get people to pay for your services, that doesn’t mean you can’t give advice for free! Good social media tactics are using your social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn as a places to respond to queries, and give people general advice about managing their finances etc.

By doing this, you can boost your brand reputation and brand recognition. Be sure to incorporate logos and color schemes into your posts too (you can use logo design platforms to do this, for example). By offering help, and using your brand, people will start to trust your business and see you in a positive light.

3. Utilize popular trends with an accounting spin

Today, we have a craze of making subjects “trend” or become “viral”. This means that they become incredibly popular. Businesses often utilize these short-lasting trends to boost their own popularity by talking about them in their social media posts. It can be a highly useful method of promotion.

You could do this for your accounting business. To make it more interesting, you could reference popular trends, but place them in an accounting setting, or incorporate accounting-based humor into your posts (Yes, accountants can be funny!).

4. Provide social media-only discounts/promotions

Customers love promotions and discounts – regardless of the industry. To prompt social media activity and brand loyalty, you could consider providing discounts to social media followers for completing specific actions.

This could be something simple like holding prize draws. For example, you could hold a prize draw. To enter, each person has to like your Facebook page, share a post, and share it with 10 of their friends. The prize could be something related to your accounting business – like a 10% discount on the first year of accounting service. This helps promote your business but gives customers something valuable too.

5. Post reviews and comments to boost reputation

People are far more likely to use an accounting business if they can see the results and know the company has a great reputation. A great social media tactic to boost your reputation is to share real customer reviews and feedback about your business via social media which is referred to as “social proof”. Obviously, you must ask permission first, but positive customer reviews can be a great reputation booster.

We hope you have found this article useful! Accounting firms can easily make social media a viable marketing method to bring in new customers and to boost their brand reputation. The ideas we have listed above should help you do this!

To learn more, attend this webinar to leverage your online presence to get you new clients using technology and automation.  Register NOW!

Written by Dora Diaz

What Is Customer Experience in the Accounting World?

With customer experience (CX) being emphasized as a driver of success, businesses across the industries shouldn’t sleep or pass on the opportunity to make the most of it. Differentiated from customer service which resolves issues, helps solve customer issues and offer advice, CX represents the accurate perception of the interactions customers have with your company. It’s a real competitive advantage that can attract loyal clients and boost revenue when leveraged to the maximum. 

 

Occurring from the very first touchpoint with your firm up until the last minute of the interaction, CX ensures that the customer journey is as seamless as possible. This is particularly relevant to the accounting realm where technological innovations tend to automate the tasks of accountants, bookkeepers and tax preparers like data entry. When the ‘wow’ element in accounting is lost, focusing on providing the best customer experience helps bring it back. 

 

To connect with your customers beyond helping to manage debits and credits, consider reevaluating how you approach the following activities:

1. Collecting and analyzing data

Gaining clear insight into the collected data isn’t just about analyzing the performance of a company. It’s also about observing what areas from the entire data collection process are contributing to engagement and a satisfactory customer experience. When the customer has a positive perception of his experience with the help of your services, they are more likely to use it to make more informed business decisions. 

 

An efficient data analysis system is instrumental to meeting your customers’ needs. Although the connection might seem indirect at first, systemizing the inflow of accounting data guarantees a happy repeat customer. 

2. Streamlining billing and invoicing

No one likes to deal with the complexity of payments. If a customer notices that the accounting firm they are doing business with isn’t being efficient with billing and invoicing, they may quickly switch to another company. This is because when money is on the line, customers are typically less forgiving of mistakes that companies make. 

 

To avoid disappointing those who keep you in business, you should be the example and  streamline the payment process of sending and receiving the financial documents. This way, you’re minimizing the number of miscalculations and other errors that would cost you time, money, and the customer.         

3. Ensuring data privacy        

Research by Salesforce found that 46% of customers feel like they don’t have control over their personal data anymore. The more clients become concerned with how their data is handled by companies they purchase from, the higher the pressure on businesses to be transparent about their customer data usage. In accounting, the question of data privacy is of utmost concern. 

 

Since web transactions are prone to hacking, companies should focus on adopting accounting software that guarantees the security of customer data. This will help prevent customers’ identities and money from being stolen and a terrible customer experience from driving clients away from you.       

4. Expanding advisory services 

It’s difficult to improve customer retention if your customer experience is lacking. To remain competitive on the market with an abundance of accounting, bookkeeping and tax firms, you should invest in offering the CFO & advisory services you can provide in addition to the quality accounting services you do now. (if you aren’t already). With the global accounting services market forecasted to reach $735.94 billion in 2025, it’s only fair to expect this to be a competitive advantage that will make you stand out. 

 

Besides, offering advice to business owners who often feel in the dark when navigating their financials leads to happy clients and a satisfactory customer experience. Whether you focus on coaching your clients on when to purchase assets or giving a fresh perspective on the old ways they’re handling their finances, you’re likely to get positive feedback. 

5. Onboarding clients

One of the most overlooked areas for improving customer experience is paying more attention to onboarding clients. This process helps both parties determine the first steps of the collaboration and what information would make it as smooth as possible. 

 

To ensure that the onboarding process meets the customer’s needs as much as the goals of the accounting firm, you should have a predefined scope checklist in place. Featuring statements like ‘add the client to the newsletter’, ‘schedule a follow-up a week after the initial meeting’, and ‘get documentation from the client’, it acts as a guiding tool that ensures that the needs of both the business and the customer are fully met.      

6. Providing omni-channel communication

A multichannel approach to customers is key to building strong customer relationships. It empowers customer service staff to use various messaging platforms to reach the customer and provide him with a solution. There are also several more ways to enhance communication with clients for an optimal customer experience:

 

  • Ensure that the customers’ files are stored securely 
  • Schedule an automatic request reminder system for following up with customers 
  • Offer a digital portal that makes uploading files quick and easy 

 

When every communication element is in check, you’re bound to improve your customer satisfaction score as well as your Net Promoter Score. It might not be an instant hit — there’s no one-size-fits-all solution — but with time, you’ll get a gist of what communication channels your customers prefer and be able to cater to them accordingly.    

 

In short, at least consider responding in kind, which is to say reaching back using the same medium originally used by the customer such as a call for call, text with text, email with an email.

7. Offering self-service tools

Automating customer service isn’t just an option — it’s a necessity. Although you don’t have to have an automation-based solution to every step of the customer service you provide, it takes some weight off of you when you allow customers to figure things out on their own. Besides, 67% of customers prefer to use self-service tools instead of talking to a customer service agent. 

 

Chances are, you already have a comprehensive FAQ page on your website where your customers can find answers to the most commonly asked questions. But you can take it a step further and start a blog with more in-depth information on the topics that are relevant to your clients. The best part is that it’s available 24/7, and there are no hidden costs involved. 

Wrapping up

Remaining flexible when offering customer service is an underestimated but determining factor in whether or not the customer experience your customers get is up to par with their ever-changing expectations. With technology enabling the automation of many tasks, business owners can now rely on software to help keep customer data safe and transactions secure.  For more information, attend this webinar dedicated to helping accounting professionals utilize effective client retention management (CRM) systems and more.  Register NOW!

 

Polish your customer management strategy and be willing to tweak it if the demand calls for it. This way, you’ll be able to stay competitive and boost your customer retention rate like never before. 

Next Page »