Congratulations to Jennifer Todd, now Certified in QuickBooks Online 2016


Jennifer recently updated her Intuit QuickBooks certifications to include the latest version of Intuit’s Premier cloud-based accounting system QuickBooks Online!  Jennifer has been certified in QuickBooks desktop since version 99 and she also holds certifications in QuickBooks Point of Sale as well as Microsoft Office User Specialist in Excel and PowerPoint!  Contact Jennifer today to get a primer on QuickBooks and find out how the software can best be used to achieve your financial goals!  Interested in learning more about QuickBooks Online? Check out the free test drive here.  Learn more about QBO by visiting their website here! 

What job search expenses can you deduct?

People often wonder what is deductible when they look for a new job. If you look for a job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job search costs.

Here are some key tax facts you should know about if you search for a new job:

  • Same Occupation.  Your expenses must be for a job search in your current line of work. You can’t deduct expenses for a job search in a new occupation.
  • Résumé Costs.  You can deduct the cost of preparing and mailing your résumé.
  • Travel Expenses.  If you travel to look for a new job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trip. To deduct the cost of the travel to and from the area, the trip must be mainly to look for a new job. You may still be able to deduct some costs if looking for a job is not the main purpose of the trip.
  • Placement Agency. You can deduct some job placement agency fees you pay to look for a job.
  • First Job.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if you’re looking for a job for the first time.
  • Substantial Job Break.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if there was a long break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.
  • Reimbursed Costs.  Reimbursed expenses are not deductible.


The Tax Impact of Buying A Business

Don’t underestimate the tax impact of an acquisition

If your company wants to acquire another business, you’ll need to anticipate many challenges. To improve your odds of success, it’s important to devote resources to intensive tax planning before — and after — your deal closes.

During deal negotiations, you and the seller will likely discuss issues such as to what extent each party can deduct their transaction costs and how much in local, state and federal tax obligations the parties will owe upon signing the deal. Often, deal structures (such as asset sales) that typically benefit buyers have negative tax consequences for sellers and vice versa.

Tax management during integration is also important. It can help your company capture synergies more quickly and efficiently. You may, for example, have based your purchase price on the assumption that you’ll achieve a certain percentage of cost reductions via postmerger synergies. But if your tax projections are flawed or you fail to follow through on earlier tax assumptions, you may not realize such synergies.

Negative tax consequences of an acquisition can haunt a company for years. Let us help you avoid them and identify tax benefits that can improve the acquisition as a whole. Please contact us for more information.

Vacation Scams

Buyer beware!  Both the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have issued warnings about vacation fraud.  By some estimates, this type of scam costs travelers over $10 billion each year.  How do you know whether you’re dealing with a legitimate travel agent or a huckster?  Here are a few pointers to help you protect yourself.

    • Get contact information for hotels, rental car companies, and airlines; then confirm reservations and prices directly.
    • Research properties on the Internet before you travel. (Is that “five star hotel” really near the beach?)
    • Check out the Better Business Bureau. Although bad companies may not always appear on BBB radar, a history of complaints is a tip-off that you’re dealing with a less-than-reputable firm.
    • Obtain a copy of the firm’s cancellation and refund policies.
    • Get written confirmation of your travel arrangements.
    • Read the fine print, especially verbiage about availability of travel dates and additional charges.
    • You don’t want to learn the hard way that “luxury” has an unexpected definition. In one scam, a “luxury” Caribbean cruise booked for dollars a day was actually a six-hour ferry ride. In another, a “luxury” hotel was located next to the city dump. Of course, the travel company will be glad to move you to better accommodations – for a hefty fee.
    • If the salesperson says you’re missing the deal of a lifetime and you’re a fool to pass it up, walk away.
    • Reputable firms want your business and will be happy to let you think over an offer.
    • If a company asks for an overnight payment or cash in advance, go elsewhere.
    • Legitimate companies will bill your credit card in the normal course of business.
    • In addition, your card offers travel protection such as accident insurance.

The idea of saving money can be alluring. But remember that “too good to be true” is a cliché for a reason. Don’t let fraudsters take your dream vacation.

Learn about Taxpayer Rights

Taxpayer Rights

Know Your Rights As A Taxpayer

Internal Revenue Service audit. Those words would strike fear into the heart of any taxpayer, but did you know that the IRS has adopted a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that spells out the rules protecting people and businesses in any dealings with the Service?

There are 10 provisions in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, some of which include:

  • the right to challenge a position and be heard,
  • the right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum and
  • the right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax.

You also have the right to retain representation. Remember that we can represent you before the IRS any time you need help sorting through a tax-related problem. Not only can we help you navigate complicated tax rules—and ensure that you’re complying with them—we can also accompany you to meetings with IRS representatives or contact them directly to sort through any issues. Be sure to contact us with all your tax questions and concerns.

New to QBO? Here’s a Quick Primer on the QuickBooks Online Home Page

Here’s an overview of the QuickBooks Online (QBO) home page and what you can access from there.

Many companies have been hesitant to trust their financial data – and that of their customers and vendors – to the internet, despite the fact that solution providers have built sophisticated security systems for this critical information. But you’ve decided that the benefits of online accounting far outweigh its slight risk, and you’re ready to start using QuickBooks Online in 2015. Whether you’re making the transition from a manual bookkeeping system or moving your operations over from the desktop version of QuickBooks, you’ll likely be pleased with the site’s usability, speed, feature-rich set, and convenience – starting with a very effective, aesthetically-pleasing home page.

QBO Income Summary

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online’s home page provides an overview of your company’s finances, including income, as pictured above.

One of the benefits of using online accounting is that it saves time and this is evident when you first sign into the QuickBooks Online platform. You can immediately get a sense of your financial status from looking over the home page. Its individual elements include:

  • A graphic that displays the total dollars that have been billed to customers, the amount that’s past due, and the total paid in the last 30 days.
  • A chart showing where your money has gone in a given time period complete with categories and a display of total dollar figures.
  • Your profit and loss for a customizable date range.
  • Account balances, and
  • A list of your most recent activities on QuickBooks Online.

All of these data areas are interactive  which means you can click on one of the areas to open a screen that displays details for each.

QBO Navigational Tool

Figure 2: This navigational tool helps you move quickly to QuickBooks Online’s task areas. Besides those pictured here, you’ll see Reports, Taxes, and Apps



The left vertical pane of the home page is a navigational tool that takes you to the main screens of QBO’s activity pages. Each has its own navigational tools that should be familiar if you’ve used any kind of software before.








QuickBooks Online offers a navigational tool on the home page that is also carried over to other screens on the site. At the top of each screen is a kind of mini-toolbar that contains three icons:

  • The magnifying glass opens the site’s Search Transactions tool and its Advanced Search.  You can search so many different things – this is a very useful QBO tool!
  • The “+” sign displays the Create window, which contains links to the transactions you can process for Customers and Vendors; to activities related to Employees; and to miscellaneous tasks like Transfers and Statements.  You’ll use the “+” sign any tine you want to add an invoice, check, bill, receive payment, etc.  You will use this button ALL the time!
  • The third icon, which looks something like a clock, opens a list of the most Recent Transactions (this is one of my personal favorites because I’m always having to go back and edit the last thing I just saved).

Finally, in the upper right corner you’ll see a link to QuickBooks Online Help, and a small icon that looks like a gear. Clicking on the latter opens a window that displays your company name and links to four types of tools and data: Settings, Lists, Tools, and Your Company, as shown here:

The Gear Icon

Figure 3: Much of your setup and maintenance tools are accessible by clicking on the small gear icon in the upper right corner of QuickBooks Online.

You’ll click some of these links as you’re readying QBO for use, to perform setup tasks like:

  • Establishing your Company Settings. These used to be called Preferences, and they include specifying your accounting method, defining custom fields, and assigning accounts. The site is pre-populated with defaults, but you can change these.
  • Creating records for your Products and Services.
  • Working with your Payroll Settings, if you use the built-in payroll processing that comes with QBO, and
  • Assigning access limits as you set up and Manage Users. If you have multiple employees using QuickBooks Online, you’ll want to specify what they can and can’t do.

Once you’ve prepared QuickBooks Online to meet your company’s specific data and workflow needs, you’ll occasionally want to get to these links to, for example, set up Recurring Transactions and Reconcile your accounts.

We truly hope you’ll include us in your QuickBooks Online setup process. Although we can log-in and troubleshoot when you have a problem, it’s much wiser to customize QBO from the start.

Welcome to Mastering Business!

This is a blog written by a veteran CPA who has specialized in business consulting and taxation since 1998.  Here we will be discussing issues that will help business owners and managers of all levels to better run their businesses.  I have wanted to start a blog for several years but have simply not made the time to do so – between slowly working on an MBA through Florida State University (Go ‘Noles) and running an accounting practice, I have had little time to squeeze it in.  This year I resolved to get it started with the hope of helping business owners avoid the costly and sometimes detrimental mistakes I deal with every day.  My goal is to post short weekly pieces on topics such as financial statement basics, accounting basics, inventory management, special considerations for start-ups, human resources, risk management and my personal favorite – capitalizing on the latest technology to improve business processes.  Please feel free to email me topics of interest or questions for the blog (masteringbusiness at gmail dot com).  You can also follow me on Twitter @GenXerJen where I tweet different topics than what is on this blog.  Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride.

Don’t forget to check out my legal disclaimer – read it please!


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