Keep it organized

Organization is key to efficient bookkeeping.  Keep a folder or basket for each of the following:

Accounts Receivables – checks to be received and deposited

Accounts Payables – timesheets to be made into invoices, unpaid or past due invoices

Bank and Credit Card Statements to be reconciled

Payroll – timesheets to be paid, payroll changes, tax forms

Contract Workers – W-9s  and insurance certificates for each subcontractor

Be sure to keep a list of questions and instructions for your bookkeeper for the next time you see her.  Better still, email the questions in advance so she can research the answers before she gets to your office.  Chances are your bookkeeper has many clients so if you don’t see your bookkeeper every week, don’t expect him to remember off the top of his head every transaction he did the last time he was in.

Remember that hiring a bookkeeper or accountant does not mean you can abdicate your role as the owner.  You should check your bank and credit card statements for unusual activity.  Be sure tax filings are being done in a timely manner; it’s not a bad idea to keep a checklist of your payroll and sales tax due dates and be sure that you are signing a form or approving a payment for each due date.  If there are automatic payments coming from your bank or credit card accounts, check the paper statements to be sure that the amounts are still accurate, especially if your bookkeeper does not have access to the online payments.

Your bookkeeper wants to do the best job possible in the least amount of time.  Have an organized written list and go over it with him rather than oral instructions and questions.  This will help to ensure that everything gets done the way you want it to be.

Get those 1099s and W-2s done now

The deadline for 1099s and W-2s to be sent to the recipients is fast approaching!  You have until January 31, 2012 to mail these forms to employees (and former employees) and contract workers.  The government’s copies and the summary

forms (1096 & W-3) must be submitted to their respective agencies by February 28, 2011.  Don’t wait until the last minute to do these forms…it always takes longer than you think!

Preparing for the end of the year – already!

Even though it’s only September, it’s time to start preparing for the end of the year for your bookkeeping process.

blue-river-bookkeeping-1099-misc-2010

If you’ve hired any independent contractors, begin going through their files and making sure that you have all of the required information for your tax preparation.

Hiring independent contractors means you will likely need to supply the contractors and the government with form 1099’s and the government only with a form 1096.

These forms require the contractor’s name, company name (if applicable), address and tax ID number (social security number or employer identification number).  The last item is often the most difficult to get.

Fortunately, the IRS provides form W-9 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf) that can be sent to your contractors to request their TIN.  You then keep the form on file, no need to send it to the IRS.  Doing this legwork now will save you a lot of headaches in December and January.

By the way, 1099’s and 1096’s require specially printed forms that can be purchased at your local office supply store.

These accounting tips are sure to keep you business running smoothly.