Acuity Blog

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Accounting System?

Timely financial data is key to making informed business decisions. Unfortunately, it’s common for managers to struggle with their companies’ accounting systems to get the information they need, when they need it. Often, it takes multiple, confusing steps to enter and extract data specific to customers and/or projects.

Businesses and accounting software solutions evolve over time. So, what worked for your company years ago may not be the optimal solution today. For example, you might prefer a different solution that’s more user-friendly, more sophisticated or customized for your industry niche. Here are four factors — beyond just cost — to consider when evaluating your current accounting system.

1. Remote Access

These days, remote access — from the field or from home to facilitate social distancing — remains a priority. Accessing your accounting system remotely allows team members to see real-time project data from anywhere. It also allows direct, daily reporting of key financial information, such as sales figures, labor hours, equipment usage and cash on hand. Managers can then compare this information against budgeted amounts to catch potential problems and adjust as needed.

2. Integration

Modern accounting software can facilitate seamless information sharing with other platforms and existing applications. For instance, your accounting solution should support timecard entry and project management software. It also should be compatible with customer and supplier networks. Likewise, if you outsource payroll to a third party, you should be able to integrate with the provider’s system so it can automatically import pertinent information in a timely manner with minimal manual input.

3. Vendor Support

A quality accounting system comes with top-notch customer support, including training and a help desk to solve problems. To assess your current level of support, ask your vendor representative whether you’re maximizing the functionality of your accounting software. The rep should be able to tell you what’s working and what’s not. If the vendor doesn’t respond or provides minimal feedback, it may be time to switch providers.

4. Team Buy-In

Changes in technology affect people throughout your organization, so the entire team (or at least key members thereof) should have input on the decision. Gather feedback from the team on which features are “must haves” and which ones are “just wants.” Then work with IT and financial specialists to narrow down the list of prospective vendors to three to five solutions to research in-depth and test drive.

Once you’ve selected a system, it’s important to overcome any fear or confusion about the prospective software. This involves promptly announcing the plans to upgrade the accounting system, giving a rundown of the company’s objectives for doing so and keeping staff updated on the effort’s progress. Once the new system is in place, training is the final piece to the puzzle. More complex systems generally have a learning curve that can be reduced with formal instruction by the vendor.

We Can Help

If you’re dissatisfied with your current accounting system, contact us. We can do a complete assessment on the effectiveness of your system and how you’re using it. Then we can help you identify other cost-effective solutions that may better fit your operational needs.
© 2021

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Welcome to the Team!

We are pleased to announce that the Acuity team has grown! We are so excited to have these three wonderful accountants who have joined us this week. They are going to do amazing things! Joel, Kyle and Lindsay, welcome to the Acuity Family!!

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Tax Breaks to Consider During National Small Business Week

The week of September 13-17 has been declared National Small Business Week by the Small Business Administration. To commemorate the week, here are three tax breaks to consider.

1. Claim Bonus Depreciation or a Section 179 Deduction for Asset Additions

Under current law, 100% first-year bonus depreciation is available for qualified new and used property that’s acquired and placed in service in calendar year 2021. That means your business might be able to write off the entire cost of some or all asset additions on this year’s return. Consider making acquisitions between now and December 31.

Note: It doesn’t always make sense to claim a 100% bonus depreciation deduction in the first year that qualifying property is placed in service. For example, if you think that tax rates will increase in the future — either due to tax law changes or a change in your income — it might be better to forgo bonus depreciation and instead depreciate your 2021 asset acquisitions over time.

There’s also a Section 179 deduction for eligible asset purchases. The maximum Section 179 deduction is $1.05 million for qualifying property placed in service in 2021. Recent tax laws have enhanced Section 179 and bonus depreciation but most businesses benefit more by claiming bonus depreciation. We can explain the details of these tax breaks and which is right for your business. You don’t have to decide until you file your tax return.

2. Claim Bonus Depreciation for a Heavy Vehicle

The 100% first-year bonus depreciation provision can have a sizable, beneficial impact on first-year depreciation deductions for new and used heavy SUVs, pickups and vans used over 50% for business. For federal tax purposes, heavy vehicles are treated as transportation equipment so they qualify for 100% bonus depreciation.

This option is available only when the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is above 6,000 pounds. You can verify a vehicle’s GVWR by looking at the manufacturer’s label, usually found on the inside edge of the driver’s side door.

Buying an eligible vehicle and placing it in service before the end of the year can deliver a big write-off on this year’s return. Before signing a sales contract, we can help evaluate what’s right for your business.

3. Maximize the QBI Deduction for Pass-Through Businesses

A valuable deduction is the one based on qualified business income (QBI) from pass-through entities. For tax years through 2025, the deduction can be up to 20% of a pass-through entity owner’s QBI. This deduction is subject to restrictions that can apply at higher income levels and based on the owner’s taxable income.

For QBI deduction purposes, pass-through entities are defined as sole proprietorships, single-member LLCs that are treated as sole proprietorships for tax purposes, partnerships, LLCs that are treated as partnerships for tax purposes and S corporations. For these taxpayers, the deduction can also be claimed for up to 20% of income from qualified real estate investment trust dividends and 20% of qualified income from publicly traded partnerships.

Because of various limitations on the QBI deduction, tax planning moves can unexpectedly increase or decrease it. For example, strategies that reduce this year’s taxable income can have the negative side-effect of reducing your QBI deduction.

Plan Ahead

These are only a few of the tax breaks your small business may be able to claim. Contact us to help evaluate your planning options and optimize your tax results.
© 2021

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Congratulations Homestead Nutrition!

Congratulations to Homestead Nutrition on the opening of their new location! Thank you for letting some of the Acuity Team be at the ribbon cutting ceremony!

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Want to Find Out What IRS Auditors Know About your Business Industry?

In order to prepare for a business audit, an IRS examiner generally does research about the specific industry and issues on the taxpayer’s return. Examiners may use IRS “Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs).” A little-known secret is that these guides are available to the public on the IRS website. In other words, your business can use the same guides to gain insight into what the IRS is looking for in terms of compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Many ATGs target specific industries or businesses, such as construction, aerospace, art galleries, architecture and veterinary medicine. Others address issues that frequently arise in audits, such as executive compensation, passive activity losses and capitalization of tangible property.

Unique Issues

IRS auditors need to examine different types of businesses, as well as individual taxpayers and tax-exempt organizations. Each type of return might have unique industry issues, business practices and terminology. Before meeting with taxpayers and their advisors, auditors do their homework to understand various industries or issues, the accounting methods commonly used, how income is received, and areas where taxpayers might not be in compliance.

By using a specific ATG, an auditor may be able to reconcile discrepancies when reported income or expenses aren’t consistent with what’s normal for the industry or to identify anomalies within the geographic area in which the business is located.

Updates and Revisions

Some guides were written several years ago and others are relatively new. There is not a guide for every industry. Here are some of the guide titles that have been revised or added this year:
• Retail Industry (March 2021),
• Construction Industry (April 2021),
• Nonqualified Deferred Compensation (June 2021), and
• Real Estate Property Foreclosure and Cancellation of Debt (August 2021).

Although ATGs were created to help IRS examiners uncover common methods of hiding income and inflating deductions, they also can help businesses ensure they aren’t engaging in practices that could raise audit red flags. For a complete list of ATGs, visit the IRS website here:
© 2021

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