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Thread: Anyone with small business accounting experience?

  1. #1
    Senior Member blzzrdqueen's Avatar
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    My hubby and I are in the process of starting a small business (sole proprietorship (me)) and it has been a really long time since I've done any accounting, other then household, so I'm wondering what the best route might be as far as record keeping, preparing for tax returns (sales tax) and such and if there is any free help available. I thought about taking an accounting class but I don't feel like spending the money on one so I've been looking at stuff online, but I'd like to hear advice from real people. If you have any tips, please let me know, I'm eager to get off on the right foot. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    When my husband and I started our business, we used an accountant to set up QuickBooks. Now all I have to do is input the information, and hand off the files to the accountant at tax time.

    In Albany, I would check with the Albany/Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and see what information they have available. I know our county has a program just for small business development (I'm just south of Albany). They review setting up a business plan, marketing, and probably accounting, too.

    Good luck - owning a business is a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun sometimes, too.

  3. #3
    Super Member purplemem's Avatar
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    I'll give the same advice. Quick Books is definitely worth the money, it will pay your taxes, etc. (as long as you have the money) You can even set it up yourself, it will walk you through it.

    If you don't want to pay for it in one lump, it will even charge you monthly for about $4 a month!

  4. #4
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    I use Quick Books as well with the payroll option. You should have a Small Business Development Center in your area that has seminars on these topics for 10-50 dollars. Sometimes they are coordinated with a local community college as non-credit courses. I would not take a college credit accounting course but these seminars are well worth it to learn how to work Quick Books for invoicing, cost projections etc.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seamstome
    You should have a Small Business Development Center in your area that has seminars on these topics for 10-50 dollars
    SCORE, an organization of retired business executives, might be helpful, too.

  6. #6
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    all of the above. When I started my business 4 years ago I went to the SBDC, SCORE and my accountant. I use Quick Books.

    I've grown to the point where I need a payroll service (best $35 I've spent) and employ an escrow service to do my accounting each month.

    I don't have an accounting background, but a legal background and know where my talents are best used. So I employ those whose talents are needed.

    Good luck on your endeavors!

  7. #7
    Senior Member cattailsquilts's Avatar
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    I am a bookkeeper/staff accountant, I used to work for a CPA firm here in AZ.

    As a sole proprietor, you can file your business taxes on your 1040 personal return. You need to prepare Schedule C. I highly recommend buying Quickbooks, and do *NOT* go with Quickbooks Online. That always gave us so many problems when trying to get reports for the firm.

    I suggest Quickbooks Pro, unless you are hiring employees you do not need the Payroll add-on. If you do ever need it, you can always add it later. I use Quickbooks for my own business as well as for clients (I am a freelance bookkeeper out of my home). Your CPA can help you with any necessary adjustments, and when you get to the point where you have enough business income that you need to take a salary, s/he will tell you how to do that as well (you still won't need the Payroll service, either).

    I have never done sales tax for New York, but Quickbooks lets you set up tax rates for in and out of state sales, as well as lets you set up rates for the different regions/cities, as I know NY has that fun going on, just like AZ does. There are reports you can print out that will give you the numbers you need to file your returns. Which reminds me, I need to do mine.

    If you have other questions, feel free to send me a PM and I'll help out as best I can.

  8. #8
    Senior Member blzzrdqueen's Avatar
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    I don't expect to make much money the first year or so, we're still purchasing supplies (the least expensive first) and equipment. I plan to do the financial stuff myself, so is an accountant absolutely necessary? How much does that usually cost? I could get Quickbook on my own at some point. I've been reading a ton of info on state and local sales taxes and we will soon have our Certificate of Authority so we can collect tax. How often will I be paying these taxes, is it quarterly? I have a lot of questions! So please bare with me! Thank you ALL for the advice, I'll be looking into it all diligently!

  9. #9
    Senior Member cattailsquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blzzrdqueen
    I don't expect to make much money the first year or so, we're still purchasing supplies (the least expensive first) and equipment. I plan to do the financial stuff myself, so is an accountant absolutely necessary? How much does that usually cost? I could get Quickbook on my own at some point. I've been reading a ton of info on state and local sales taxes and we will soon have our Certificate of Authority so we can collect tax. How often will I be paying these taxes, is it quarterly? I have a lot of questions! So please bare with me! Thank you ALL for the advice, I'll be looking into it all diligently!
    I would start with Quickbooks right now, that way you don't have to try to play catch up & enter everything later. If you don't already use an accountant to prepare your personal taxes, then no, you don't *need* to hire one, but often times it makes things MUCH easier.

    As for how often you have to pay the taxes, it all depends on your state/region. I have to pay monthly, even though I have less than $1,000 in annual sales. When you are making significant income through the business, you will need to make quarterly tax payments to the federal government, but you probably are quite a ways off from that still.

  10. #10
    Senior Member blzzrdqueen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cattailsquilts
    Quote Originally Posted by blzzrdqueen
    I don't expect to make much money the first year or so, we're still purchasing supplies (the least expensive first) and equipment. I plan to do the financial stuff myself, so is an accountant absolutely necessary? How much does that usually cost? I could get Quickbook on my own at some point. I've been reading a ton of info on state and local sales taxes and we will soon have our Certificate of Authority so we can collect tax. How often will I be paying these taxes, is it quarterly? I have a lot of questions! So please bare with me! Thank you ALL for the advice, I'll be looking into it all diligently!
    I would start with Quickbooks right now, that way you don't have to try to play catch up & enter everything later. If you don't already use an accountant to prepare your personal taxes, then no, you don't *need* to hire one, but often times it makes things MUCH easier.

    As for how often you have to pay the taxes, it all depends on your state/region. I have to pay monthly, even though I have less than $1,000 in annual sales. When you are making significant income through the business, you will need to make quarterly tax payments to the federal government, but you probably are quite a ways off from that still.
    Unfortunately we can't afford expensive software right now, although I will be saving up to buy it, is there a way I could do it on my own, building my own spread sheets maybe?...right now I'm mostly wanting to keep track of expenses, and maybe a few sales here and there. This is something I would have to do until I could get the software...

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