The Five Most Important Pieces of Advice from Your Accountant

Follow These Five Accounting Tips That Could Save Your Business Time, Money, and Aggravation

Financial advice persists everywhere we turn: On the Internet, the radio, TV, and in your email and snail mail boxes. But what is often overlooked is some basic accounting advice that not only could save you or your company from difficulties associated with being audited but also save you time, money, and aggravation in the long run. Whether your business already has an accountant or you’re looking to hire one, follow these five important pieces of accounting advice.


  1. Be (or Get) Organized

The simplest and perhaps most important advice an accountant can give you is to stay organized. You’ve heard that there are “pilers and filers” when it comes to being organized. That may be true, but whatever your method, know where your documents are when you need them or if they are called for by the IRS. The better organized your papers and electronic files are, the less likely you’ll have trouble in your financial matters whether they be tax-oriented or not.


The simplest and perhaps most important advice an accountant can give you is to stay organized.
The simplest and perhaps most important advice an accountant can give you is to stay organized.


  1. Keep Business Expenses Separate

An important part of being organized is to properly categorize your expenses as business or personal. Be sure to keep business expenses separate – don’t tell yourself it’s OK to blur the line or to “fudge” it. If or when you have an audit – internal or external – questions will assuredly arise about any questionable business expenses that may in fact be personal. Keeping business and personal expenses separate, too, will ensure that you don’t accidentally pay for a business expense out of your personal funds without reimbursement. Some accountants like to say, “If you want to reduce your business expenses, reduce your personal expenses.” That’s an indirect way of saying keep them separate.


An important part of being organized is to properly categorize your expenses as business or personal.
An important part of being organized is to properly categorize your expenses as business or personal.


  1. Document Business Expenses

While you’re keeping your business expenses separate from those that are personal, be sure to create – and maintain – a paper trail on your business expenses. Of course, many of those expense records may also be in electronic form, but you get the idea. The more documentation you keep on your business expenses, the better. Simply stated, for each expense, document and be able to answer these questions:

  • Who incurred the expense?
  • What was purchased?
  • Where was the purchase made?
  • When did the transaction take place?
  • Why was the item or service needed? and
  • How much did it cost?


  1. Do an Internal Audit

When your documents are in order, you’ve successfully separated your personal and business expenses, and you have your expenses documented, you’ll have little to worry about when you’re audited. And the best way to get ready for an IRS audit is to perform an internal audit. When your accountant conducts an internal audit, you may feel like your business is being turned inside out. It is, and that’s OK. Better to turn your business inside out and make corrections to your financial records on an internal audit than to have to answer to Uncle Sam in the form of a penalty.


  1. File and Pay Taxes

Above all, perhaps the best piece of advice a wise accountant will give you is to file and pay your taxes on time. Just at the federal level, there are at least five forms of tax that apply to businesses. They are: Income tax, estimated tax, self-employment tax, employment taxes (Social Security, Medicare, federal income tax withholding, and federal unemployment tax), and excise tax. These are in addition to any state and local taxes, which vary according to the location of your business. Financial penalties for failure to file, failure to pay, failure to pay estimated tax, and dishonored check/payment (“bounce”) have the potential to cause a significant financial setback to your business or even cause it to close. Having an excellent accountant on staff – or contracting with an accounting firm – to meet your tax filing and payment deadlines is even better than doing it yourself.


Above all, perhaps the best piece of advice a wise accountant will give you is to file and pay your taxes on time.
Above all, perhaps the best piece of advice a wise accountant will give you is to file and pay your taxes on time.


Donohoo Accounting Services is a professional accounting services provider, dedicated to helping our clients overcome the challenges and burdens that small businesses face. To learn more about how Donohoo Accounting can help your business prosper, call us today at 513-528-3982 for a free consultation.

The Best Ways to Reduce Your Tax Prep Bill

Working with a reputable professional to file your taxes can save you a lot of time. It can also save you money. However, plenty of people worry that they’re going to end up paying more than they want for tax prep services. While the savings you’ll get from working with someone who understands all the nuances of the tax code will almost always exceed the fee you pay, we want to take things a step further and share some tips on how you can keep your tax prep bill to a minimum:

Avoid the Temptation to Procrastinate

Tax season is a very busy time of the year. Tax professionals have a lot of people coming to them for help. So if you go to your CPA with a huge pile of documents that aren’t organized, chances are you’re going to be charged a higher fee due to the extra amount of work that’s involved. You can prevent this from happening by committing to staying on top of all your tax documentation throughout the year instead of trying to rush and bring it all together as the filing deadline is ticking down.

Create a System for Documentation

The reason so many people do procrastinate with their taxes is they think dealing with all the documentation is a major hassle. Even though it can be a little complicated, it doesn’t have to be a huge burden. The key is creating a system for how you’re going to keep all your documentation. Whether that involves physical folders or scanning your documents into a piece of software like Evernote, picking a system that works for you and then sticking with it will make a huge difference.

Check in Throughout the Year

Once you decide on your system for managing your documentation and then start using it, you’ll want to review how everything is going every few months. If you realize that something isn’t working as well as you expected, don’t hesitate to tweak your approach right away.

Get Rid of Documents You Don’t Need

This is an example of what you can gain by checking in throughout the year. You may discover that some of the documents you kept aren’t actually important. If that is the case, don’t keep them in your system. Getting rid of clutter will make it much easier for everyone when tax filing season comes around.

Whether you want our expert help filing your tax return or want to get a jump on things by working with us on tax planning, we’re here to help! Simply give us a call at 513-528-3982 to arrange a free consultation.


Getting Started with Self-Employment Taxes

Making the decision to become self-employed is a big milestone. While this milestone can come with a lot of benefits like increased freedom, it also comes with a number of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is paying self-employment taxes.

As an employee, you obviously still have to file your taxes every year. However, most of the work is done for you by your employer. But as someone who is self-employed, you have to do all of that work yourself. Not only do you have to keep track of what you owe the IRS, but you need to make sure those payments are made on time.

Since self-employment taxes present a steep learning curve for many new entrepreneurs and business owners, we want to touch on some of the basics that you absolutely need to know about:


Understand Your Tax Entity

One of the decisions you’ll need to make as you start down the self-employment path is how you want to structure your business. Available options include operating as a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, S-corporation or C-corporation. Each option has its own set of pros and cons. The type of tax entity you choose for your business will directly impact the taxes owed by it and yourself.

While it’s possible to change the type of entity for your business down the line, it’s best to take your time choosing upfront and potentially seeking professional advice so you can avoid the hassles that go along with having to change later.


Consistently Set Aside Money for Tax Payments

The standard method of paying taxes for individuals is to make estimated tax payments. These payments are made on a quarterly basis. A common and painful lesson for those new to self-employment is missing payment deadlines or not setting aside enough money to make payments on-time. Since those types of mistakes can increase what you owe and trigger additional penalties, it’s important to start setting aside money from the start.

While there are a number of ways to do this, many people find that having a dedicated savings account works best. Then you can decide on a schedule for transferring around 30% of what you make into that account.  


Look for Deductions Whenever Possible

Self-employed individuals are often surprised by how much they initially owe in taxes. Although that can be frustrating, the silver lining is there are a wide range of deductions and tax credits available. The key is taking the time to learn about those deductions and then ensure you complete any necessary steps to fully qualify for them.

For additional help with self-employment taxes or other financial aspects of striking out on your own, be sure to take a look at what Donohoo Accounting Services offers.