We are still receiving a lot of complaints
regarding our new requirement to have info entered in QuickBooks. I'll try again
to explain why doing so in in everyone's best interest, especially the clients,
and is not just a convenience for me. I'll also debunk some more common
misconceptions about QuickBooks.
The attitude that we are requiring people to
use QuickBooks just for our benefit is ticking me off. It is for the
benefit of the clients for several reasons, including the fact that if anyone
wants or needs to change to another tax preparer, odds are much higher that the
new one will know how to work with QB than with some strange program that only
has a few users. It is just a fact of life that QuickBooks has become the
accepted standard around the country for small business accounting.
One of the turn-offs that many people have regarding using QB is that they see
it as an additional task requiring more money and time. The truth, as many
people have discovered, is that it is the complete opposite. When used properly,
QB is not something that is done in addition to your regular checkbook. It
replaces your normal checkbook. Everyone who has gotten set up on QB has
wondered how they and I survived without them using it.
What pushed me over the edge was an email we received recently from a woman who
has been begging us for several months to take her and her husband on as
clients. We had informed her consistently that until they set their things up on
QB, we wouldn't even consider working with them. She wrote that she is
grudgingly looking into using QB. However, before she does, she wants a
guarantee from us that we will take them on as clients before she wastes the
money on buying QB. Needless to say, her attitude of considering it a waste of
money to buy a program that will end up saving her several thousand dollars in
taxes and professional fees sent up a red flag with us. We told her to find
another CPA to work with.
With my billing rate of, the cost of buying the Pro version of QB
is paid back if it cuts my time by just one hour. Normally, my time is cut by
far more than that when clients have their info all on QB.
With so many various bank and credit card accounts, it is literally impossible
to do a complete & accurate job assembling all of your info for tax time without
using QB. Just looking through one's checkbook isn't enough. In those cases, I
am literally working with my hands tied behind my back. I take pride in
preparing the best possible tax return for my clients. I consider each one
to be a work of art. It has become increasingly frustrating in trying to
achieve that goal with the lousy and very incomplete information I have been
provided by clients.
Take us for example. As with most couples, Sherry & I each have our own checking
accounts, along with individual PayPal accounts and several credit cards. We
also occasionally pay cash for things. Without the ability to combine everything
through QB, a lot would slip through the cracks.
Many people misunderstand the way in which a good accounting system, such as
QuickBooks, should be handled, including for their personal finances. Most look
at it as something that is done years after the fact. In fact, I am currently
working on some 1998 and 1999 QuickBooks data that is still very incomplete. One
big reason for the resistance to entering things into QB is that it is a
duplication of work. People keep a checkbook, where they enter their checks and
deposits. It seems redundant to them.
QB is not an addition to your normal checkbook. If used properly, it becomes
your checkbook. Rather than increase your workload, it actually reduces the
amount of time you need to keep track of your finances.
Current - QB isn't something you should do a year or more after the fact to see
how things were back then. It should be kept up to the minute so, at any time,
you can tell how you are doing. You wouldn't wait until three years after you
write checks to enter them into your checkbook and see how much money you have in
the bank. Well, I'm sure some people do, but they're not good role models.
It also makes tax planning a whole lot more
effective if we know how the finances look right now, not ten months ago.
There are several strategies that can be used, especially with C corporations,
to shift income around so that it is either never subjected to income tax or, at
worst, taxed at no more than the 15% rate. There is no way to do this
properly without both sets of books (corp and personal) completely up to date.
Anything less than that is merely shooting in the dark.
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This page was last updated:
Sunday, January 29, 2012