Why Automate Accounting Processes

5 Reasons to Automate Your Accounting Processes

Many businesses begin using manual accounting processes and continue to do so as they grow, often because of the appeal of maintaining the status quo. The problem is that at some point those manual processes can slow organizations down, hindering growth and innovation.

 

If you’ve been on the fence about transitioning to automated accounting processes, it might help to consider the following benefits of automating your accounting processes with Sage Intacct or other cloud ERP solutions.

 

  1. Save time
    Are your month-end closes taking up most of the month? Have you missed payment deadlines? Manual data entry is tedious and time-consuming, with employees spending hours on mind-numbing manual tasks instead of focusing on strategic tasks that add real value to the business.
  2. Be accurate and consistent
    Even highly skilled employees will occasionally make mistakes. Automation alleviates common data entry errors and ensures that every action is performed identically, so your customers, clients, and internal departments receive a consistently high level of service.
  3. Reduce costs
    Manual tasks almost always take longer than automated tasks, which means they demand more employee hours every week, month, and year. Automation reduces those work hours and helps prevent errors that can lead to unexpected additional costs.
  4. Increase visibility
    Using manual accounting methods, it can be extremely difficult to monitor, update, reconcile, and report on every internal process across the organization. When you automate billing, collections, sales, and other processes, you can automatically record and report on key metrics, in real time, so the information you need is always at hand.
  5. Reduce risk
    Automated processes can help you reduce the risk that you are out of compliance with the latest regulations or vulnerable to data breaches and other security concerns. Automated, cloud-based accounting solutions are automatically updated to adhere to the latest guidelines, and top providers follow strict security guidelines to protect your business and its data.

Automate Your Accounting Processes

Where to start?

If you’re convinced of the benefits of automating your accounting functions but overwhelmed by the challenge, remember that you can start slowly. For instance, you could automate your accounts payable workflows or audit documentation first, and move gradually to a completely automated solution.

 

Insero & Co. can help you weigh the benefits of automating your accounting processes and help you make the transition to best-in-class software. Contact us to talk about the relationship-based services we provide and how we can help you improve your processes to be more efficient and productive.

Audit & Accounting Update: August 2019

At Insero, we make it our business to stay abreast of the latest trends and technical updates in accounting, tax, and audit and we understand how important timely updates are to our clients. As a member of the RSM US Alliance, we also have the benefit of access to the resources and subject matter experts of RSM US LLP (formerly known as McGladrey LLP). This includes regular updates on the latest financial reporting insights. We hope that you find these informative and useful, and invite you to reach out to us if you have any questions.

 

Employee benefit plans

Revised reporting on financial statements of plans subject to ERISA
A recent SAS addresses the auditor’s reporting on financial statements of employee benefit plans subject to ERISA.

 

Accounting

Monitoring inflation when applying ASC 830
The Center for Audit Quality International Practices Task Force framework can be used for monitoring inflation statistics.

Transitioning away from LIBOR
The FASB has added a project to its agenda to address accounting changes necessitated by reference rate reform.

Proposed narrow-scope amendments to credit losses standard
The FASB recently issued a proposed ASU to address issues raised by stakeholders during the implementation of ASU 2016-13.

Proposed deferred CECL effective date and the definition of an SRC
Our article discusses the FASB’s proposed deferred CECL effective date and the SEC’s definition of a smaller reporting company.

Second FASB Staff Q&A document: Estimating expected credit losses
The FASB staff recently issued a Q&A document to address more than a dozen frequently asked questions related to ASU 2016-13.

Source: RSM US LLP
Used with permission as a member of the RSM US Alliance
http://rsmus.com/our-insights/newsletters/financial-reporting-insights.html

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and we look forward to receiving your feedback. Should you have any questions regarding the information contained in the attached materials or our service offerings, please contact us directly.

Considering Employee Raises? Review These Ideas

Considering Employee Raises? Review These Ideas

Deciding how to administer employee raises can perplex even the most seasoned managers. How often should raises be given? Should they be given across the board to all workers? If staff turnover is increasing, can you turn back the tide by granting raises to the most productive workers? There’s a lot to consider.

As you create or update your plan for giving out employee raises, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Pros and cons of merit raises. You may think that giving everyone the same raise (either percentage or dollar amount) seems impartial and will produce harmony. But there’s a downside. Your top performers — workers who sell more widgets, meet customer demand more often, and maintain a great work ethic in the face of additional responsibility — often leave if they’re recognized the same as employees who show up late, have a bad attitude, or perform poorly. To solve this, consider establishing specific goals along with tiered raises for employees who meet or exceed published goals whenever possible.

 

  • Always with budget in mind. Raises mean higher labor costs, expenses that a company’s cash flow must support month after month, year after year. As you create your annual operating budget, incorporate expected labor cost increases. In addition to planning for standard cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) and performance based wage increases, set aside funds for bonuses, commissions and “spot awards” (lump sum payouts for superior performance). You may also set guidelines for rewarding staff members whom identify operational improvements or generate goodwill in the community.

  • Reward existing staff first. When companies grow, they often face the prospect of hiring additional staff. If you’re in that enviable position, remember to review your current employees. A business that’s gaining customers and market share may load additional responsibility on existing workers. Plus, your more experienced employees may be asked to train new staff or work longer shifts. This current compensation review is especially important if the job market requires hiring new employees at or above the rates of your current, seasoned staff.

 

  • Communicate expectations regularly. Clearly state and routinely emphasize performance goals. Consider separating personal performance discussions with salary action. That way if revenues are down and you’re faced with the tough choice of freezing salaries, there is less chance an individual’s performance will be solely linked to pay. Then you can creatively use incentives and spot awards to reward behavior and ideas that help your business turn the corner.

 

A highly structured system for granting raises may allow your company to stay within budget, but if your best workers become dissatisfied and leave, labor costs can skyrocket. A well-managed payroll system that rewards great performers on a regular basis and is understood by all employees can be an effective tool to retain workers and help keep morale high.

 

As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions, please contact us directly.

How to Implement a Board Assessment

Successful nonprofits tend to have healthy, energized boards of directors. Board members don’t just show up—they actively participate in meetings, fundraise, provide thoughtful oversight, and much more.

The challenge for many nonprofits is to build and then maintain a strong and engaged board. One way to do this is by performing a periodic board assessment, which can accomplish a number of important goals:

  • Illustrate (and reiterate) the board’s importance to the organization
  • Define roles and prevent duplication of effort among board members
  • Provide opportunities for self-reflection regarding strengths, weaknesses, etc.
  • Create a baseline for future efforts
  • Help begin essential conversations (about term limits, recruitment, etc.)
  • Provide a format for expressing concerns and raising or revisiting concerns

energized boards of directors meeting discussing a board assessment

How to build a board assessment

If you think your nonprofit would benefit from a board assessment, begin by asking these two fundamental questions, which will drive the framework for your assessment:

  • Why does this nonprofit exist?
  • How can our board help advance our mission?

There is no single template for board assessments. Depending on your needs, you can tailor the format, questions, grading scales, and more. For example, you might want to ask each board member to rate the board on a scale from 1-5 on topics such as performance on core responsibilities, understanding the mission, and succession planning.

Typically, you’ll want to describe each item you ask about, such as what exactly the board’s core responsibilities are. That ensures that every board member is responding based on the same understanding, and it helps to educate board members who may not have a full understanding of every topic.

Another best practice is to leave room for comments, which can add depth and insight to the results. Remember that your goal is not only to gather information from board members but also to encourage them to reflect on their individual and collective performance, which can lead to new ideas and insights, as well as a greater feeling of belonging.

When you collect and compare all of the board assessments, you can identify challenges, strengths, and opportunities, which can be relayed to board members. Using that information, you can then start to outline the topics of conversation in your timeline for governance agendas.

Learn More

Insero & Co. has worked with nonprofits for more than 40 years. Our experienced experts are available to help you with outsource accounting services, audit services, employee benefit plan audits, and other services designed to free you to focus on mission-critical work.

How to Find the Right Cloud ERP Software

The Basics of Cloud ERP Software

Just about every organization is already in the cloud or considering moving there. If you’re trying to decide whether to transition to cloud-based ERP software, you first need to understand some basic terminology. Then you can ask smart questions and identify the right solution to fit your business needs.

Multi-tenant vs. single-tenant

ERP software is built with multi-tenant or single-tenant architecture. Most organizations will benefit most from multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) applications like Sage Intacct that were written exclusively for the cloud. With multi-tenant applications, the cloud provider shares infrastructure and applications across multiple customers and takes care of upgrades, security, and more. That means every user runs on the same software version, with updates and upgrades automatically applied across the business.

Single-tenant software versions—also called hosted or managed services—give a business dedicated access to the infrastructure and applications. Single-tenant solutions are typically more expensive than multi-tenant arrangements, and you have to manage the deployment much as you would for a private cloud.

APIs

Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow for communication between different applications. APIs are critical with ERP software because they allow you to integrate your ERP system with other cloud applications. Every ERP software solution will have APIs, but you’ll want to be sure they’re well-documented and have existing integrations with other popular cloud software products that you use, such as ADP and Salesforce.

Device agnostic

If a cloud application is device-agnostic, you can access it from any device, from desktops to smartphones, using any web browser. Make sure that any ERP software you purchase is device-agnostic, so you can add new devices without concern about accessibility.

SOC 2 compliance

All cloud-based ERP software providers will no doubt promise that your data will be secure, but how can you be sure? First, ask to be certain that their data center has been audited. Then ask if they are SSAE 16 SOC 1 or SOC 2 compliant (SOC 2 is strongest). If they say they are compliant, request a copy of their SOC 1 or 2 report, which they should freely supply.

Learn More

Insero & Co. can help you understand all the key features of different cloud-based ERP software solutions, and help you decide whether now is the right time for you to make the move to the cloud.

Tax Update: July 2019

SUPREME COURT DECISION

U.S. Supreme Court finds in-state beneficiary inadequate for trust tax
The unanimous decision in the highly anticipated trust taxation case (North Carolina v. Kaestner) considers whether a state can tax a trust based on the residency of a beneficiary. In the wake of this decision, trustees, trust administrators and trust planners should consider broad-scope trust residency reconciliations to determine whether past residency decisions are still applicable going forward and whether refund claims are available.

TRENDING IN TAX

Don’t put your employee stock ownership plan on autopilot
Companies often need to review ESOPs as changes arise in the business, employee demographics and in the economic environment. Company leaders may not realize plan provisions can be changed (within some limits) or may not fully understand how changes may benefit the company or its employees.

IRS finalizes certain temporary foreign currency tax regulations
Treasury and the IRS finalize and withdraw certain provisions contained in previously issued temporary section 987 regulations. The final regulations were published in the Federal Register on May 13, 2019.

 

 

books, computer and phone on a desk for tax updates

Source: RSM US LLP
Used with permission as a member of the RSM US Alliance
http://rsmus.com/our-insights/newsletters/tax-digest.html

Disclaimer

At Insero, we make it our business to stay abreast of the latest trends and technical updates in accounting, tax, and audit; and we understand how important timely updates are to our clients. As a member of the RSM US Alliance, we also have the benefit of access to the resources and subject matter experts of RSM US LLP (formerly known as McGladrey LLP). This includes regular updates on the latest federal, state, and international tax news as well as updates pertaining to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We hope that you find these informative and useful, and invite you to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Audit & Accounting Update: July 2019

At Insero, we make it our business to stay abreast of the latest trends and technical updates in accounting, tax, and audit and we understand how important timely updates are to our clients. As a member of the RSM US Alliance, we also have the benefit of access to the resources and subject matter experts of RSM US LLP (formerly known as McGladrey LLP). This includes regular updates on the latest financial reporting insights. We hope that you find these informative and useful, and invite you to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Accounting

Updated guide to revenue recognition
We have issued an updated version of our guide to revenue recognition to further assist middle-market companies in applying the new revenue recognition model in Topic 606 with recent activities of the FASB, AICPA and SEC. The guide has been updated for recent developments, including activities of the:

  • FASB, such as the issuance of new Accounting Standards Updates and non-authoritative guidance related to the implementation of ASC 606
  • AICPA, such as the issuance of its revenue recognition guide
  • SEC, such as speeches by SEC staff during the 2018 AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments, which articulated their views on certain aspects of ASC 606

Updates to our hedging guide for ASU 2019-04
We recently updated our hedging guide for the clarifications made by FASB Accounting Standards Update 2019-04, including those related to having multiple separately designated partial-term fair value hedging relationships of a single financial instrument outstanding at the same time. This summary includes discussion of the effective date and transition provisions of ASU 2019-04 for situations in which ASU 2017-12 has already been adopted and situations in which ASU 2017-12 has not yet been adopted.

business man reading updated guide to revenue recognition

Source: RSM US LLP
Used with permission as a member of the RSM US Alliance
http://rsmus.com/our-insights/newsletters/financial-reporting-insights.html

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and we look forward to receiving your feedback. Should you have any questions regarding the information contained in the attached materials or our service offerings, please contact us directly.

Key Tax Reform Changes for Nonprofits

What the 2017 Tax Reform Means for Nonprofits

Individual filers have already seen how the recently passed tax reform law—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017—affected their taxes, including the good, the bad, and the unexpected. Now, it’s nonprofits’ turn.

 

The 2017 law features a number of changes that will affect nonprofits, including these three provisions that experts expect to be especially impactful.

 

Higher Unrelated Business Tax Income

The change likely to affect the most nonprofits is the addition of Section 512(a)(7), which eliminates deductions nonprofits used to be able to take for certain fringe benefits, effectively increasing unrelated business taxable income (UBTI).

 

Under this new tax requirement, you must include the cost of employer-provided fringe benefits for which there is no deduction under federal law (such as transit benefits and employee parking) in your UBTI. Nonprofits will have to pay taxes at the corporate rate of 21% on the qualifying benefits provided.

 

Building related to Key Tax Reform Changes for Nonprofits

 

Activities that Trigger For-Profit-Like Taxes

The tax law has a new section, Section 512(a)(6), that requires nonprofits to separately compute unrelated business taxable income for each trade or business. Previously, if you had multiple trades or businesses, you could offset gains in one activity with losses in another. The new section eliminates that option. You can carry your losses forward for a particular trade or business, but you can no longer offset them.

 

New Excise Tax on Executive Compensation

Nonprofits with high executive compensation need to be aware of Section 4960 of the Internal Revenue Code, which imposes a 21% excise tax on certain nonprofits that employ “covered employees” who receive either “excess compensation” (total annual compensation in excess of $1 million) or an “excess parachute payment” (severance in excess of three times a base amount defined as part of Sec. 4960).

 

Another new tax to be aware of is the Section 4968 excise tax that will affect some private colleges and universities by imposing an excise tax equal to 1.4% of qualifying institutions’ net investment income for the taxable year. This new tax will only apply to about 30 to 50 institutions in the country—just make sure you know if yours is one of them.

 

Get Help from Tax Experts

Those are just a few of the changes to the tax law that nonprofits need to know about. To make sure you’re aware of, and complying with, all the new requirements, talk with the tax professionals at Insero & Co. We can help you navigate all the latest changes and free your internal team to focus on more mission-focused work.

7 Common Small Business Accounting Mistakes

7 Common Small Business Accounting Mistakes

Keeping your company books in order can be tough. It’s hard to find the time to give it the proper attention. When you finally do, understanding the complicated, ever-changing accounting rules can be a challenge. Consider these common accounting mistakes to ensure they do not happen to your business:

  1. Mixing in personal expenses. Having non-business costs included in your financials will harm your business in three ways. First, your financial statements will not accurately portray your business performance. Second, personal expenses are a drag on your available cash. Third, the IRS is quick to deny legitimate business expenses as tax deductions if it perceives that personal expenses are comingled. Common sources of non-business expenses to watch for are credit card charges and expense reimbursements.
  2. Not keeping your books current. Think bookkeeping is frustrating? Try waiting a month or two to enter your transactions. Falling behind has a compounding effect on the time needed to get back on track. Complex entries get even more complicated as your ability to quickly recall transaction details diminishes over time. All the while, your business continues to run and set you back even more. Set a goal to have all transactions entered by the end of every week.
  3. Entering capital assets as expenses. Because capital assets provide long-term value, they are entered on the balance sheet and depreciated over multiple years. Mis­classifying a capital asset as an expense will torpedo your net income for that period. To avoid this, review large purchases and comb expense accounts likely to be hiding capital assets during your month-end review. Remember, while you depreciate these capital assets over many years on your books, special tax treatment allows certain capital assets to be fully deducted on your taxes.
  4. Not performing monthly bank reconciliations. When you receive your monthly bank statements, ensure they are reconciled to your books within a week or two. Bank reconciliations almost always identify errors. Delaying bank reconciliations will add unneeded complexity and decrease your chances of correcting an error.
  5. Mishandling of sales tax. Many businesses book sales tax they receive as revenue. This is not the proper treatment. Sales tax you receive should be entered as a liability until you remit it to the proper tax authority, ultimately avoiding your income statement altogether. Conversely, sales tax you pay on purchases should be booked as an expense.
  6. Lacking proper documentation. Most business owners know that you need to save invoices and receipts for sales and purchases, but what about documentation for adjustments and journal entries? Proving these are just as important. Contracts, time sheets and shipping documents are some examples of substantiation required to support your entries.
  7. Devoting too much of your time. Most entrepreneurs start their business for reasons other than spending hours working on the books. Don’t get bogged down worrying about the inner-workings of accounting rules and tax laws. Partnering with an expert to handle your bookkeeping needs can free you up to use your expertise where it’s needed the most — running and growing your business.

Contact us today to discuss your business bookkeeping needs or to schedule an appointment.

calculator to keep company books in order

As always, we hope you find our tips and news for businesses valuable, and look forward to receiving your feedback. Companies focused on growth have sought the help of Insero & Co. for more than 40 years. During that time they have consistently experienced the peace of mind that comes from knowing their CPA firm takes the concept of integrity seriously. Should you have any questions, please contact us directly.

Weekly Cash Flow Forecasts

Why Weekly Cash Flow Forecasts Are Worth Your Time

Do you really need to create weekly cash flow forecasts when you already create monthly profit and loss statements (P&Ls)? Actually, yes!

P&Ls are not a true indicator of an organization’s inflow and outflow of cash. For instance, they don’t show the cash used to make payments on loans—only the interest you’ve paid on the loan. Also, they don’t tell you whether you’ve received cash for the revenue billed or whether checks have been written for the expenses recorded. 

analytical charts


Benefits of Weekly Cash Flow Forecasts

The many benefits of weekly cash flow forecasts include that they:

  • Provide an early warning of both positive and negative cash situations
  • Offer insight into when funds are expected to come in and be paid out
  • Can be used to plan cash movements to maximize investments and ward off cash shortfalls
  • Are useful for evaluating liquidity
  • Help predict line of credit needs
  • Can help you maximize purchase discounts and avoid late fees
  • Can assist with the timing of inventory purchases
  • Help gauge the impact of grant funding and billing delays

A Real-world Example

Imagine that your organization experiences a four-week delay billing due to an employee being out on medical leave, resulting in a shortage of cash and a need to draw on a line of credit. The P&L would show the total revenue billed but not when it was billed or when funds were expected. 

With a weekly cash flow forecast, you would not only see the impact on cash but also be able to time the line of credit draw. 

Challenges of Creating Weekly Forecasts

If they’re so helpful, why do some organizations choose not to create weekly cash flow statements? Mainly because it can be difficult to pull together timely, accurate forecasts on a weekly basis. The statements need to be simple enough to be read quickly and, as forecasts, they’ll undoubtedly include constantly changing data. 

Weekly forecasts are nonetheless worth creating for organizations that are willing to devote themselves to three key areas:

  • Critical thinking: Some data will be subjective and hard to find, so you need to be able to dig into difficult questions, make judgments, and have conversations with the right people to get answers.
  • Data collection: To get meaningful data, you need reliable financial systems and people who can provide up-to-date reports and information.
  • Smart models: You’ll need to decide whether to rely on a canned model for your statement or build your own model in Excel.

Need a Helping Hand?

Developing a helpful weekly cash flow forecast requires human interaction, good data, a hint of intuition, and experience. Insero & Co. can help you weigh the benefits of forecasts and, if it’s the right step for your organization, help you get started.