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Payroll Services

You might be tempted to try to save money by processing your payroll in-house with software like QuickBooks Online Payroll. But, Bookminders always recommends that our clients outsource their payroll to a payroll service because there are significant risks to processing your own payroll. If you do your own payroll, you’ll be responsible for:

  1. Fixing your own problems.
  2. Fees and penalties if you file late or make mistakes.
  3. Calculating local taxes.
  4. Printing your reports.
  5. Purchasing regular updates of the tax tables.

The bottom line is that using a payroll service is usually less expensive in the long run for a small organization. A payroll service:

  1. 1. Provides telephone access to a local payroll representative who can fix problems.
  2. Guarantees on-time filing of payroll tax returns, which indemnifies you from late fees and penalties.
  3. Provides complete reports in a form that can be easily entered into your bookkeeping system.
  4. Makes sure you are in compliance with changing tax rules and government regulations.
  5. Provides other convenient services like direct deposit, 1099 preparation, pay-as-you-go worker’s compensation insurance, HR services, benefits administration and time tracking systems.

Even if you have only one or two employees, you should probably use a payroll service. Ask yourself, “is it worth my time to learn all the things I need to know about payroll taxes just to run a 2 person payroll?”

QuickBooks Online Banking

If you have a lot of banking transactions, QuickBooks online banking can be a money and time saver. With QuickBooks Online Banking you will get:

  • More up-to-date bank account balances—Transactions can be posted to QuickBooks before paperwork is received for processing. This can be beneficial if you have a high volume of EFT transactions, credit card/merchant service deposits or other deposits. This is particularly useful for retail or restaurant businesses.
  • Faster month-end reporting—QB transactions can be electronically matched to those cleared at the bank, so you don’t need to need to wait for a bank statement before preparing board reports or other month-end reports.
  • Error detection—Bank errors can be identified sooner and can often be resolved before the bank statement is received.

If your bank participates with QB Online Banking services, they may offer one or both of the following interfaces. Both services are equally effective, but if you have a choice, Direct Connect is the more efficient service.

  • Direct Connect—connects to the bank and downloads bank account information directly into QuickBooks.
  • Web Connect—requires log in to your bank’s website to download activity and import into QuickBooks.

To determine whether your financial institution supports QB Online Banking, go to web.intuit.com/fisearchbasic.

To initiate QB Online Banking services, contact your bank to complete an enrollment application. You may be able to enroll online, by phone, or at a local branch. Usually your application information must match the master account information on file at the bank, so you may want to ask a bank representative to help you complete the application.

Be sure to sign up for the online banking service that has a direct interface with QuickBooks. Some banks offer other services that will let you download and import transactions, but these services do not save as much time.

If someone other than the business owner is accessing the QB Online Banking service, they should not be provided with access to the ability to pay bills, transfer funds to accounts outside of your organization, or generate any type of banking transactions from your account. If possible, obtain a username and password for yourself and a separate (limited access/read-only/download-only) username and password for your bookkeeper.

Financial Record Security

You might think that your small organization is not a target for malicious hackers. But, a survey by the Small Business Technology Institute reported that more than half of all small businesses in the U.S. experienced a security breach in the past year. Here are the steps you should take to provide basic security for your financial records.

  1. Protect Your Systems—Equip all PCs and servers with a) an un-interruptible power supply to prevent corruption of data, b) virus detection software, adware/spyware detection and removal tools, and c) a firewall on all computers that connect to the Internet.
  2. Create Backups—Make regular backup copies of all your important data. Store a copy away from your office.
  3. Use Effective Passwords—Encourage non-obvious passwords and change them every three months. Use password protection for folders and files containing accounting information.
  4. Keep Software Up To Date—Without updates, your anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software will not protect you against new cyber threats.
  5. Lock Your Records—Lock file cabinets and access to computers that contain financial information. Block all unauthorized access to the QuickBooks data file.
  6. Be Prepared For Emergencies—Create a contingency plan for your organization so you can recover if you experience an emergency. Test your plan annually.
  7. Use A Payroll Service—Use a payroll service and keep employee names and detailed payroll information separate from the accounting system.
  8. Audit Trail—Make sure that your accounting software’s audit trail is turned on, allowing unauthorized changes in data to be investigated.
  9. Computer Checks—Generate bill payment checks directly from the accounting system to reduce the risk of check alteration and duplicate bill payment.
  10.  Educate Your Staff About Security—Develop a “culture of security” in your employees and in your business. You might think that your small organization is not a target for malicious hackers.

Bookminders Launches Licensing Program

Over the past 20 years, Bookminders has created standard processes, pricing structures, marketing strategies and, most significantly, an employment model attractive to accounting professionals seeking work/life balance.

Our business has drawn interest from accountants across the country. So over the past year, we developed a licensing program to allow other accountants to build similar outsourced bookkeeping operations.

We officially launched this program with an initial group of licensees who are starting or expanding practices in Orange County CA, Denver CO, Omaha NB, Detroit MI and Erie PA.

Please contact us if you know of friends or associates in markets outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that might be interested in our licensing program.

We are committed to our mission of delivering premium outsourced bookkeeping services while offering flexible employment to those in the accounting profession. For more information please contact Tom Joseph at tsjoseph@bookminders.com 877-517-2665 ext 222.