As a bookkeeper, I have been asked by many of my clients to refer them to a effective lawyer and a good CPA. Most small businesses can’t waste time with professionals who don’t fully understand the needs of a start-up or home based-business. Interview these people with care, and make sure you two are on the same page when it comes to meeting expectations.
clipped from www.chron.com
Depending on what your needs are, you might require specialized services that not every attorney or CPA has, and that means you might have to seek out someone with a specialty, such as intellectual property law or dealing with IRS audits.
“A general business lawyer can help form entities like an LLC (limited liability company) help in drafting leases and contracts, buying and selling a business, but if you’re going to get into something more complex, you’re going to want to know a little more about their experience,” Steingold said.
Similarly, most accountants are likely to periodically go over a company’s books and prepare its tax returns. But you might also want a CPA who can help you with business planning.
It goes without saying that the discussion must include fees, and what services you can expect. You want to be sure you don’t open a bill from your lawyer or accountant and find you’ve been charged for something you never expected to pay for.
I have a new client that is a nonprofit and even though I aced the class I took in college, I am wondering if there are the big differences between doing work for a profit and a nonprofit. First thing comes to mind is how important budgeting is and keeping costs down. Secondly the decision to employ cash vs accrual accounting. For a small non-profit, I think cash accounting is better, if only the volume of transactions is low and there is very little for accruals. Anyway, I found a good guide for nonprofit financial management on the Alliance For NonProfit Management website.
Banking: Washington Mutual offers free business checking with no balance requirement. Plus, you can sign up for free enrollment into the WaMoola For Schools Program where you can benefit your local school with Debit Mastercard purchases. You can get downloads of your banking account information into Quickbooks.
I met Brian Barrett from Prime Pay, a payroll service. They handle all line items associated with payroll including flexible spending accounts, payroll taxes and 401K deductions. They have account executives who are assigned to their payroll clients so you have a consistent person who you contact for your payroll needs.
I also met someone from CHS Payroll which does payroll including union benefit reports and job and labor costing reports.
Microsoft Office Live offers a free basic website with free domain name registration, email accounts, 500 MB storage, and free site reports.
For website design, you may want to contact 304media.com. I review their portfolio and their
business sites are well done.
For the longest time, Intuit’s Quickbooks has been THE software for small businesses. There is some good functionality to Quickbooks and compared to other software, it is OK. However, as I continue to work with Quickbooks to service my bookkeeping clients, I find that it could be better especially with online retail businesses that employ shopping carts or highly customized service firms that need more options for billing. Plus these companies need accounting software that be compatible with PayPal like other Web 2.0 applications.
Well, I just read today that Microsoft is offering free Accounting Software.
Starting today, you can download Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 for free–always a nice word when just starting out. The software can help you keep track of your business by organizing all your information in one place, and includes 22 templates for reports that you can customize to fit your needs. For an extra cost, you can also access third-party online services from companies like eBay, PayPal, Equifax and others.
I am going to download myself and see how it works!