Fabulous Small Business Accounting Resource

I am wondering how I’ve never come across this resource before.  My favorite presenter at the Sleeter Accounting Technology Conference this year was Greg Lam — which is pretty funny, because due to a last-minute emergency, he had to record his presentations for us and have them played back during his sessions.  THAT’s how good a presenter he is… I watched his recordings and found his sessions to be the best of all the [amazing] presentations.

Anyway, it turns out that Greg runs an amazing little website called The Small Business Doer.  For $15 — a one-time fee for lifetime membership — you get access to all his incredible “how-to” video recordings, interactive lessons, quizzes, course materials, and the ability to ask him questions.  It sounds ideal for a small business entrepreneur who wants to learn more about accounting and bookkeeping, without paying someone like me to train them on the basics.

I kind of wish I could require all my clients to take Greg’s courses first, and then come to me for the bits and pieces of training specific to their situations.  I think it would be a win-win situation.  And lest anyone think I’m just trying to point folks toward a colleague’s website for marketing purposes, I should point out that I’ve never even met this guy — I’m just a huge fan of what he does, and I love reading his Sleeter Group articles (these are aimed at accounting professionals, as opposed to small business owners).

If you end up becoming a member and using his resources, or if you get to ask him questions or meet him, I’d love some feedback, to know how strongly I should be recommending this membership.  Please comment below.

IRS Announces Start Date To 2014 Business Tax Season

After announcing recently that the individual return filing season would begin January 31, the IRS followed it up with a statement that business returns (non-Schedule C or E) will begin being accepted January 13.

(However, I usually recommend waiting a week after filing season opens to file returns, just to make sure any bugs have been worked out on the first line of fire.)

Corporate returns are generally due on March 15, but since that falls on a Saturday this year, the due date for forms 1120, 1120S and 1120-C will be March 17, 2014.  Partnership returns are due April 15, as usual.

IRS Announces Start Date To 2014 Business Tax Season.

Illinois Introduces Automatic Retirement Savings Program

Starting in 2017, Illinois will require businesses with at least 25 employees to offer a retirement plan at work.  Employees will be automatically enrolled in individual retirement accounts, funded through a 3 percent deduction from their paychecks (although they can opt out).

The employers’ administrative burden will be limited to making the payroll deduction, similar to the ones they already take for taxes — employers will not have to help fund the plans themselves.  Costs will be paid by savers, who will be charged up to 0.75% of their balances (a pretty average expense ratio — and not as low as Vanguard’s, who I tend to recommend to clients trying to save for retirement).

Apparently, access to a plan that operates by payroll deduction enormously changes participation, from almost zero to over 50% — even though IRAs are widely available to individuals, easy to set up, and can be simple to fund with automatic bank direct debits.

However, as the article puts it perfectly, “it’s not enough to have a retirement account; you need to get enough money into the account to live on in retirement, and for most Americans, Social Security plus a retirement account funded by 3 percent of wages won’t produce enough savings.”  Still, it’s a step.

Illinois Introduces Automatic Retirement Savings Program, a First for the Nation – NYTimes.com.

2015 Illinois income tax rate down 25%

(Note: there is much speculation about how long this tax cut will last, as the new governor has been vague about short-term tax policy; do not necessarily count on this cut lasting throughout 2015.)

The same 2011 law that hiked state income tax rates by 67 percent kicked into its built-in second phase Thursday with a partial rollback.  Beginning January 1, the tax rate for individuals dropped from 5 percent to 3.75 percent, while for corporations it declined from 7 percent to 5.25 percent.

via Illinois income tax rate falls by 25 percent Jan. 1 – Chicago Tribune.

QuickBooks Online 12/22/14 update

As those of you who use QuickBooks Online know, Intuit is *constantly* updating the program, often with no warning.  You’ll go in and find a new layout, new features, new fixes, and of course, new bugs.  Here’s a summary of the changes in the most recent QBO update, released 12/22:

QuickBooks update: Dec 22, 2014 • QuickBooks Online.