How to Properly Track Your Finances

If you’re young and getting used to tracking your own finances, it can seem pretty difficult in the beginning. It may feel overwhelming, but there are several things you can do to make it easier. As you look for ways to get your money managed and trackable, you’ll find that you need to take the time to do finance tracking. It may take a while at first, but with some practice you will definitely get quicker! Read on for some bookkeeping tips!

Write Everything Down
One of the most essential steps in cash flow analysis is writing everything down. This will allow you to see exactly where your money is going so that you can make adjustments along the way. This will also allow you to look back at exact dates and transactions if something gets thrown off, or you have a suspicious charge. The trick here is to not discount expenses for any reason; you might be surprised at how a $3 coffee can add up if you buy it every day.

Keep it Separate
Don’t mix your financial information in with all of the other pieces of your life. Keep a separate sheet, book, binder, whatever works. This will allow you to be more organized, rather than constantly shuffling through all of the papers on your desk to find what you’re looking for.

Ask Questions
If you’re not sure where to start, or what to do in a certain situation, don’t sweat it. Cash flow analysis takes time to perfect, and you won’t get better if you don’t ask questions. Find a family member that knows finance, or maybe a friend. If all else fails, you can always ask an accountant or tax preparer for budgeting assistance.

Tracking your finances is important. You will thank yourself when it comes time for tax preparation. Did you know that Americans pay about $140 billion in taxes each year? While 54% will get a refund, 24% will owe money, and of that 24%, 40% say they aren’t prepared to pay. Don’t be a part of that 40%. Be in front of your finances, and you can rest easy!

Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce

Klein Hall CPAs proudly makes a difference in the community, offering our support by serving in director positions and supporting volunteer roles for a variety of local organizations impacting our community.

We’ve been actively involved with the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce for over ten years, taking advantage of all the resources and connections it offers.  Since it was founded in 1913, the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce has stood for enhancing the economic vitality of our community by helping local businesses succeed.  They work to support members by providing unique networking and marketing opportunities, professional development and information on the latest legislative issues impacting local business.

The Naperville Area Chamber is the largest suburban Chamber in Illinois and is one of only a few in the country to earn 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  They’re a strong business partner and advocate for all their members.

The Chamber’s Annual Golf Outing is on Monday, June 29, at Springbrook Golf Course in Naperville.  Participate in this great event; find out details here.  To learn more about the many excellent benefits of our local Chamber visit their website at Naperville.net.

What Audit Services Can Do For You

Tax season is never fun — not even for accountants! The endless calculations, the myriad of paperwork to sift through, the paystubs, the receipts… Suffice to say, it can get quite overwhelming. Every year, American taxpayers spend approximately 7.6 billion hours completing their taxes. Overall, the general public spends more than $140 billion on taxes annually!

What is perhaps even more amazing is that nearly 80% of taxpayers in the United States get a refund of some kind. These refunds are essential for many people, especially for those who do not make a lot of money. However, there are quite a few taxpayers who end up owing money to the government — even if they received a refund. What is perhaps worse is the fact that 40% of people who owe taxes claim they are not prepared to pay it. Needless to say, it’s essential that taxpayers complete their forms correctly. Even the smallest mistake can have serious consequences.

That is why professional tax and audit services are quite popular with taxpayers. Audit accounting services ensure that your taxes are done correctly, and, moreover, are done to your advantage. Accountants are known for coming up with creative solutions to save you money. Accounting tax preparation services are used by individuals and businesses alike when compiling their taxes. Audit services are composed of tax professionals that are experts in tax code and auditing. They have a proven track record of success in getting the largest refunds for their clients possible.

On average, the fee for professional tax services from an account for a standard federal tax return is $273. That is a relatively small price to pay when you can stand to get back hundreds if not thousands of dollars back from the state. Tax laws and regulations are quite complicated and even more serious but with professional audit services they can work in your favor.

7 Reasons You Need to Hire an Accountant

bookkeepingThere are dozens, if not hundreds, of tax preparation software companies out there, promising an easy process on a self-service tax return. Many Americans choose to do their own taxes for one reason or another- in 2014 it was reported that 27 million people filed from a home computer. However, this is not always the best idea. There are many very good reasons you should use a professional tax preparation service- here are a few.

  • CPAs are continuously tested and regulated by the State Board of Accountancy in order to keep their certifications.
  • The coursework to pass the CPA exam initially is rigorous and comprehensive, and the exam is considered the accounting equivalent of the bar exam.
  • Each state has a minimum required amount of hours of continuing education after the CPA exam, usually about 40 a year in order to keep up with tax laws and regulations.
  • Hiring a CPA for bookkeeping will save you time in that you will not need to become an expert on tax preparation- the accountant is the expert. Americans spend an amazing 7.6 billion hours on tax preparation every year.
  • Hiring an accountant for bookkeeping will save you money as it is almost guaranteed they will get you refunds you didn’t know were available to you and save you money in audits and fines from mistakes. In total, $140 billion is paid to the government for taxes every year.
  • Accounting tax preparation isn’t expensive- they generally take their fee from your tax return, if possible. The average fee from federal returns is only $273.
  • Think of the uses for the extra money from your tax return- Most Americans report using these funds for things that are not luxury items. In a recent survey, 30% of people said they meant that money to pay off debt, 28% said they meant to save it, and 26% said they needed the funds for essentials such as food or utility bills.

Do you use an accountant or tax preparer for bookkeeping? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Welcome Tim Gavin

We’re pleased to welcome Timothy Gavin to Klein Hall CPAs as our new Senior Manager. Tim’s an experienced audit manager specializing in audit and accounting services for local governments, including cities, villages, park districts, and special districts. Tim has worked with some of the best and most financially progressive local governments in Illinois.
Tim earned his BA in Accounting from North Central College and an MBA from Northern Illinois University. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Finance for Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville. Both our clients and our staff will benefit from his knowledge, we’re excited to have him as part of our team.

Things to Keep in Mind for Tax Preparation

tax preparationTax preparation can be a daunting task, even for people who have done it for years. Luckily, there are many options to get any part of your personal finances in order, including tax preparation. Nearly eight of 10 people receive refunds each year, many of whom use a service to complete their tax forms. Here’s a look at what you can do in order to make sure your taxes are finished properly.

The number one thing you need to do, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to taxes, is hire an accountant or tax preparer to help you out. Tax preparation is their livelihood, and not only will they be able to complete them for you, but they will also be able to advise you on what you can and should do better for next year.

Many people fall into the trap of believing that their taxes are just fine, but they hear from audit services later in the year due to irregularities or inconsistencies on their tax forms. Tax laws and regulations are very strict, and if you’re unsure of what they are, either read up or hire someone to be on the safe side.

There are numerous tax preparation services that you can use if you choose to go that route. There are big companies that do it, small businesses that can help, or even freelance accountants that can prepare your taxes. The most important thing to remember is to check their legitimacy. In recent years, many scams have been reported around tax time, and these scams have higher stakes. You’re trusting someone with your personal and financial information. Not only can someone steal your identity, but they can land you in trouble with the IRS or government if they’re not caught. The average fee for an accountant is $273 for a standard federal tax return, rather than thousands of lost dollars and legal issues. Be sure to do your research and ask around before you hire anyone.

This year, Americans will pay about $140 billion in taxes. About 54% of those people will receive a refund, and 24% will owe money. With the money from their refund, 30% of Americans plan to pay down debt, 28% will save or invest it, and 26% have already decided what necessities they’ll spend it on, such as groceries or bills.

Naperville Elderly Homes

old newspaper clippingKlein Hall CPAs proudly makes a difference in the community, offering our support by serving in director positions and supporting volunteer roles for a variety of local organizations impacting our community. We are pleased to be involved with Naperville Elderly Homes, Inc. and its mission to provide affordable housing to local low-income seniors and persons with disabilities.

Naperville Elderly Homes, Inc. was created in 1967 by community members looking to offer affordable housing for the elderly in Naperville. Over more than 40 years, thousands of people have benefited from the reasonable housing in their home community made available by the organization. That same spirit continues today at the organization’s Martin Avenue Apartments which provide 121 rental apartments in the heart of Naperville with amenities designed for an active senior lifestyle.

Klein Hall CPAs’ partner, Christina Klein, currently serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for this essential community resource.

Find out additional information about Naperville Elderly Homes, Inc. and the Martin Avenue Apartments by visiting their website, www.naperviellelderlyhomes.org.

Client Success – Jazz Perspectives, Inc.

William and Wes photoWe’re very excited for our client, Jazz Perspectives, Inc.’s recent 25th Annual Award for Business Excellence from the Daily Herald Business Ledger. We feel their continued success is a great illustration of the way our services can make an impact on an entrepreneurial business.

At Klein Hall CPAs serving as a business partner to our clients is an essential part of what we provide. Working closely together allows us to offer critical insights into the financial aspects of their business. We greatly value our clients and are committed to helping them create results.

Klein Hall CPAs has had the privilege of working with William Small, Jr. and his organization since 2008. When our relationship began, booking entertainment was a part time endeavor for William. As the business evolved, Klein Hall CPAs’ staff was there to provide guidance at every stage, from incorporating as a new business to generating monthly financials as they grew. As Jazz Perspectives, Inc. has grown they’ve more than tripled sales and have seen the number of musicians they work with increase from 24 to over 80 throughout seven states.

We are very proud of the impact our knowledge and guidance can make on a small business like William’s and feel honored to play a part in the success of Jazz Perspectives, Inc.

“I have trusted and depended on Christina and Asta for years now to provide financial direction and support. I consider myself very knowledgeable when it comes to various genres of music, but financials are not an area of strength. A good accounting firm, in my opinion, is key to a small business success or failure. It is simply not enough to work on your business it is vital that you work in your business. In those areas where you do not have expertise align yourself with a strong corporate partner.”

– William Small, Jr., Founder of Jazz Perspectives, Inc., talent management company

 

KidsMatter

Klein Hall CPAs proudly makes a difference in the community, offering our support by serving in director positions and supporting volunteer roles for a variety of local organizations impacting our community. Klein Hall CPAs partner, Scott Klein, is actively involved with KidsMatter and their efforts and is a past member of their board.

KidsMatter’s mission is to build resilient kids who say “no” to destructive choices and “yes” to endless possibilities. They’ve created a framework of initiatives based on research identifying 40 concrete, positive experiences and qualities, categorized as Developmental Assets. These Assets have great influence on young peoples’ lives and are things that people from all walks of life can work to foster.

The Developmental Assets are 40 common sense, positive experiences and qualities that influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. Through programs that include youth leadership, mentoring, teen volunteer service, and programming, KidsMatter empowers kids and families to build positive Assets.

KidsMatter is hosting their 4th annual benefit showcase concert, Ignite the Nite, on April 23 at Wentz Hall on the North Central College campus. Proceeds from Ignite the Nite will fund the positive parenting and anti-drug support initiative, ParentsMatterToo.

Find out more about KidsMatter’s efforts to help kids choose positive paths and to make common sense, a common practice by visiting their website at kidsmatter2us.org.

ACA can impact Small Business taxes

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, began rolling out in 2010 and will continue well into 2015 and beyond. Individuals and businesses alike are still educating themselves on how this set of health insurance reforms may impact them. Small businesses especially are taking note because of the potential health care tax credits or penalties they can incur under the regulations.

Outlined here are a few basics of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for your business and employees along with resources of where to find additional information. Taxes and tax credits are based on the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTE) and their average annual wages (not solely on the number of FTE). Some of the important requirements of the Affordable Care Act are determined based on the size of your business, more specifically the number of employees you have. Here’s an overview:

Businesses with fewer than 25 employees: 

All businesses with fewer than 25 full time equivalent employees (roughly an average of 30+ hours per week) are exempt from tax penalties. To encourage small businesses, especially those with fewer than 25 FTE employees, to offer health insurance coverage, there may be health care tax credits available to you when buying through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Tax credits worth up to 50% of your premium contributions may apply.*

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees:

While these small businesses are also exempt from penalties, often referred to as the Employer Shared Responsibility Penalty or “Pay or Play” penalty, if your workforce is nearing 50 FTE employees close attention needs to be paid to ensure you are under the threshold if you’re not offering health care coverage. Sizeable tax penalties can result if your business has reached that key number of full time equivalent employees and is not offering coverage.

Businesses with 50 or more employees:

Beginning in 2016, businesses with 50 or more full time equivalent employees are considered large businesses (100+ full time equivalent employees requires compliance in 2015). These businesses are required to offer affordable employee health care coverage or pay a penalty. These larger employers are also mandated to now report to the IRS on the employee health coverage offered. Initial reports of coverage offered (or not offered) are due by January 31, 2016 for the 2015 tax year.

These key requirements of the Affordable Care Act can be challenging to interpret. For a better understanding of this information contact your tax professional or check out these resources. The U.S. Small Business Association is offering free informative webinars on the Affordable Care Act through the end of March for small employers. Register to participate at https://www.sba.gov/Healthcare.

* Visit www.IRS.gov or contact your tax professional for the most current information and guidance on claiming the tax credit.